Michelle Misses Out on Main Draw Chance
Michelle Dzjachangirova, a member of The Shrewsbury Club, enjoyed the experience of featuring in the first qualifying round as the ITF World Tennis Tour returned to Shropshire.
Dzjachangirova had plenty of local support in the crowd as she produced a good performance before eventually losing 6-4, 6-4 to Arina Gabriela Vasilescu from Romania, a player currently ranked 573 in the world. Elsewhere, there were opening day wins at The Shrewsbury Club for British players Hannah Klugman, Alice Gillan and Katherine Barnes.
Dzjachangirova, 21, who played in one of the day’s opening matches as the Budgen W100 Shrewsbury tournament got under way, said. “It was really nice. The crowd was really supportive, which lifted me at certain points, and it was just really nice to play at home.
"I’ve trained here for so many years now and seeing familiar faces in the crowd was nice, so I just really enjoyed the experience overall, even though I lost and losing always feels bad.
“But you just keep going and I just enjoyed the whole experience.
"Playing this event makes me really hungry to go and play more events like this, so hopefully I can get my WTA ranking by the end of this year and compete 30 weeks of next year and just get more points and hopefully be higher ranked.”
Dzjachangirova, who represents Azerbaijan, knows The Shrewsbury Club’s courts well as she trains regularly at the venue with Adam Wharf, the club’s head of talent.
"I’ve worked with him for almost 10 years now,” she added. "He was my first coach when I moved to England and I really enjoy working with him. I hope that we can work together for a long time.
"He helped me a lot throughout the match - I kept looking over at him.”
A number of British players played in the first qualifying round, with Klugman underlining her potential with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 victory over higher ranked Aneta Laboutkova from the Czech Republic.
Klugman, 14, who will face experienced Turkish player Pemra Ozgen in tomorrow’s second qualifying round, progressed to the quarter-finals of the US Open Junior Championship girls’ singles last month. She also teamed up with Isabelle Lacy to reach the girls’ doubles semi-finals at Junior Wimbledon earlier this year.
Gillan impressed as she beat Austrian Tamira Paszek, the top qualifying seed, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, a notable win for the British player against an opponent currently 430 places above her in the world rankings.
Paszek, ranked as high as 26 in the world in 2013, twice reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals earlier in her career. Gillan will next play Poland’s Gina Feistel tomorrow.
Barnes was the other British player to enjoy victory on the opening day of the biggest women’s tournament, outside of the grass court season, to be played in the UK this year, as she got the better of Italian Laura Mair 6-1, 6-4. Barnes now faces Emma Lene from France tomorrow.
The second qualifying round matches start tomorrow at 10am, with the main draw first round matches to be drawn during the Lanyon Bowdler and Sales Geek Shropshire Sponsors and Players’ Paella party at The Shrewsbury Club tomorrow night.