Former world doubles champion Alex Garside, the fifth seed, outhit Southampton’s Lucy Hutchinson to reach the quarter-finals of the British Open Real Tennis championships at the Seacourt Club, Hayling Island. Alex, who lives almost opposite the club, made good use of her home court advantage, cutting the ball to an immaculate length and putting the less experienced Lucy under constant pressure, retrieving even her apparent winners. She now meets fourth seed Freddy Adam, the US number 1 in what promises to be a needle match and hopes for a repeat of her upset victory over the American en route to the final in 2007.
The teenage sensation Claire Vigrass, seeded 2, from Colchester, the world's top junior takes on big-hitting Juliette Lambert, the seventh seed, who put out her Moreton Morrell club-mate Jo Miller in straight sets. Claire is widely tipped to come through with flying colours after training hard for the week with her mentor Ricardo Smith, a young professional who trained Claire at her home club of Prested Hall, Essex. Ricardo is now the pro at Seacourt and has given her valuable tips about how best to cope with the fast, low-bouncing court. Victory over Juliette will give Claire a semi-fina berth and a potential meeting with her great rival Karen Hird, 20, a Cambridge undergraduate and junior badminton international. Karen, the third seed, beat the Essex schoolgirl at the French Open and is keen to narrow the rankings gap between them, while Claire is desperate to show how much she has improved over the last few months.
In the meantime, however, Karen must survive a testing encounter with the gritty Aldona Greenwood, a Manchester scientist, recently back from injury. World champion Charlotte Cornwallis, aiming for a Grand Slam of major titles and to retain her world crown in Newport Rhode Island next month, should have too much weight of shot and experience for her quarter-final opponent, rising star, Claire Watson from Hampton Court, who kept her nerve against the stylish Caroline Gilmore in an entertaining battle.
Results: Seacourt Club, Hayling Island, Hants. Women's British Open Real Tennis championships
2nd round: Caroline Gilmore beat Elvira Campione 6.2 6.1
Juliette Lambert beat Jo Miller 6.26.0
Claire Watson beat Caroline Gilmore 6.5 6.4
Alex Garside beat Lucy Hutchinson 6.0 6.0
Aldona Greenwood beat Jo Crerar 6.0 6.0
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt