International Tennis Shrewsbury

Isabelle's plum tie to make main draw giant killing

Belgian star Yanina Wickmayer, once ranked as high as 12 in the world rankings, was one of the first qualifying round winners as the W100 tournament got under way at The Shrewsbury Club. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.


Promising British player Isabelle Lacy will face former US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer in the final qualifying round of the Budgen Motors W100 tournament at The Shrewsbury Club tomorrow.

The 16-year-old, handed a wild card to feature in the qualifying rounds of the prestigious ITF World Tennis Tour event, impressively beat Romanian player Arina Gabriela Vasilescu - currently ranked 565 in the world - 6-4, 7-6 on the tournament’s opening day. Lacy’s reward for getting the better of a player ranked more than 540 places higher is a meeting with Wickmayer, once ranked as high as 12 in the world, with a place in the main draw of the prestigious tournament awaiting the winner.

Belgian star Wickmayer, 33, who reached the last four of the US Open in 2009 and was runner-up in the W60 tournament at The Shrewsbury Club in 2019, progressed on day one with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Brit Jasmine Conway. It was also a successful day for Ella McDonald, another British teenager handed a wild card to compete in qualifying, as she knocked out Danish player Olga Helmi 6-2, 6-2.

It was a notable triumph for McDonald as the 17-year-old currently ranked 1,138 impressively beat a player ranked 389 in the world. She will now face Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech. Two British players who have both enjoyed success at The Shrewsbury Club both advanced to the final qualifying round.

Maia Lumsden, the winner of a $25,000 title at the Club in 2018, set up a match with Alexandra Eala from the Philippines tomorrow by beating Emma Wilson 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Freya Christie, who has also played regularly in tournaments at The Shrewsbury Club, enjoyed a winning return by sealing a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Imogen Haddad.

“I was really happy with my performance,” said Christie. "I love being back at Shrewsbury and I like the courts.

“I always enjoy coming here. I got back to the club on Saturday evening, got a feel for the courts again and to play the first match up and get the win was really good.”

Christie, from Nottinghamshire, twice a singles finalist at The Shrewsbury Club, including in last November’s UK Pro League, as well as a former doubles champion at the venue, will now face the Czech Republic’s Jesika Maleckova tomorrow.

“I’ve never played her before,” she added. "I know her game a little bit, so I will have to do a bit more research. It should be a good match and I know she’s a good player, so I’m looking forward to it.”

As for the quality of this week’s tournament, the biggest indoor women’s tennis event staged in the UK since 1995, Christie said: “There’s definitely a good list of players and there will be very high level matches all the way through, so there should be some good tennis this week.” 

The other British player to progress to the final qualifying round on day one was Eliz Maloney, who beat Lauryn John-Baptiste 6-1, 6-1, and will next play Diana Marcinkevica from Latvia tomorrow.

The main draw matches in singles and doubles will start on Tuesday morning.