International Tennis Shrewsbury

Three Brits Make It to The Final Countdown

Picture: Alastair Gray booked his place in the semi-finals at The Shrewsbury Club with victory against Oliver Tarvet today. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.


Stuart Parker delivered an excellent performance to beat top seed Antoine Escoffier as he set up an all-British semi-final against Harry Wendelken at The Shrewsbury Club tomorrow.

The other last four clash in the Budgen Motors ITF World Tennis Tour M25 tournament will also feature a British player with Alastair Gray facing Henri Squire from Germany. Parker, 24, ranked 500 in the world, impressed as he knocked out No. 1 seed Escoffier in straight sets. Escoffier, from France, currently 289 in the world rankings, won an ITF World Tennis Tour event in Loughborough last month, but Parker ended his hopes of adding another title by winning 6-4, 6-3. Parker will now face Wendelken in the semis - it will be tomorrow’s opening match at 11.30am - after the 20-year-old followed up knocking out third seed Aidan McHugh in the second round by securing a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Felix Gill.

It was another fine win for Wendelken against a much higher ranked opponent, with Wendelken currently 1,037 in the rankings and Gill the world number 560. Tomorrow’s second singles semi-final will see Gray, from Surbiton, meet Squire, with the two players currently separated by just 15 places in the rankings, with Squire at 480 and Gray 495. Gray, 23, progressed to the last four by ending the excellent run of Oliver Tarvet, the 18-year-old who emerged from the qualifying rounds to impressively reach the quarter-finals at his first ITF World Tour event. 
Gray, pleased to complete a 6-3, 6-4 triumph, said: “It was a very tough match. A good player, I think he’s just 18, it’s his first tournament, I think he had won four matches in a row, so it’s a good start to your pro career, isn’t it?

“It was a tough match. He made me work hard for it, but very happy to be in the semis.”

Gray is enjoying his first experience of playing at The Shrewsbury Club: "It’s a really nice club, a nice town, we’re staying in the centre,” he said. "All the people putting on the tournament are really putting in a big effort and all the players can definitely feel that. It’s very nice to play here.”

Squire continued his fine form - he has not lost a set this week - by beating teenage Brit Jack Pinnington Jones 7-6, 6-1 in today’s quarter-finals. Meanwhile, singles semi-finalist Wendelken faces another busy day as he is also through to the last four of the doubles after partnering Oscar Weightman to a straight sets victory over No. 1 seeds Martin Damm and David Poljak. They will next face fellow Brits Henry Searle and Thomas Welsh, with tomorrow's other doubles semi-final also an all-British clash, with Henry Patten and Mark Whitehouse, the No. 3 seeds, against Anton Matusevich and Joshua Paris.