International Tennis Shrewsbury

British Fans Banking on Amani for Success

Pictured: British player Amarni Banks in action during her quarter-final victory at The Shrewsbury Club. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.

Amarni Banks is impressively through to the semi-finals of the Budgen W100 Shrewsbury tournament after delivering another excellent performance at The Shrewsbury Club. She remains the last British player left in the singles tournament after another day of enthralling tennis for a record crowd on Quarter-Final day.

Banks set up a last four clash against second seed Oceane Dodin tomorrow by hitting back from a set down to beat eighth seed Simona Waltert from Switzerland 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. Tomorrow’s other singles semi-final in the ITF World Tennis Tour event will be between Viktorija Golubic, this week’s top seed and a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2021, and Suzan Lamens from the Netherlands.

Banks, who received a wild card for the W100 Shrewsbury main draw, followed up her victory over British number three Harriet Dart in the second round by getting the better of Waltert, a player currently ranked 177 in the world.

Banks, whose current ranking is 432, said: “I really enjoyed it. A super tough match, but I’m really happy to have come through it.”

Banks was in inspired form as she pulled level before taking the decisive set in front of a supportive Shrewsbury crowd. 

“It’s been really great," she added. "Everyone here has been so nice, all the staff, all the members, everyone’s so supportive. 

“Having the support here has been really good and it’s really helped me to keep going in my matches.”

As she looks ahead to tomorrow’s semi-final against Dodin, Banks reflected: “I’m going to go into the match as I have been doing in my previous ones and just give it my 100 per cent best effort.

“I haven’t played her before, but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of information and speak through the match with my coach, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Dodin, the world number 115, was pushed all the way in her quarter-final by 14-year-old Hannah Klugman before eventually emerging as a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 winner in just under two hours.

Talented young Brit Klugman led 5-1 in the opening set before Dodin recovered to take it. Klugman impressively levelled the match before Dodin, twice Shrewsbury champion of lower level tournaments in 2014 and 2015 on her two previous visits to Shropshire, won the decider to end Klugman’s wonderful run which started last Sunday in the first qualifying round.

Klugman can reflect on an excellent week in which she became the youngest player ever to qualify for an ITF World Tennis Tour W100 tournament after earning her place in the main draw in Shrewsbury.

Golubic, a member of the Switzerland team crowned Billie Jean King Cup champions in Glasgow last November, progressed to the last four after Brit Fran Jones, playing her first tournament since the French Open qualifiers in May, had to retire in the first set of their quarter-final clash - with Golubic leading 4-3 - owing to injury. 

“She started off really well,” said Golubic, of Jones. "She moves well and she was hitting some big shots. I was so into the battle that I didn’t realise that she might be struggling with something, so unfortunately she had to retire. I just hope she didn’t injure herself too much.”

Golubic is now preparing to face Lamens, a 6-2, 6-4 winner against Australian third seed Olivia Gadecki, in the last four tomorrow.

“I’ve never played her,” said Golubic, currently ranked 87 in the world. "I’ve seen her for the first time this year. She’s a great athlete, good mover, solid hitter, so it’s not going to be easy obviously, but I’m looking forward to it and let’s see what I can do.”

Golubic, who won the Rouen 125K Series title in France last week, added: "It’s nice to play here. I like indoor tournaments. I’m coming back from a good winning streak, so I’m going to try to keep it up. I’m feeling good and it’s the end of the season, so I’m just going to enjoy every match.”  

Tomorrow’s play in the DMOS People Arena starts at noon with the second doubles semi-final as Harriet Dart, the Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup star, and Olivia Gadecki, the top seeds, face Brits Madeleine Brooks and Holly Hutchinson.

The winners will play Estonian Elena Malygina and Barbora Palicova from the Czech Republic in Sunday’s final after they beat British player Emily Appleton and Isabelle Haverlag from the Netherlands 6-3, 6-7, 10-6 in today’s first doubles semi-final.

Tomorrow’s opening singles semi-final will be Golubic against Lamens, followed by Banks against Dodin.