UK Pro League tennis finals attract a sell-out crowd to The Shrewsbury Club today
Pictured: Anton Matusevich and Freya Christie in semi-final action at The Shrewsbury Club yesterday. Pictures by Richard Dawson Photography.
Today’s two finals in UK Pro League Finals Week at The Shrewsbury Club will be played in front of a capacity crowd with all available tickets sold. Anton Matusevich and Henry Patten will face each other in the men’s final, with Freya Christie and Sonay Kartal then contesting the women’s final. They came through exciting semi-finals yesterday to secure progress in the prestigious event.
Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, said: "We know that professional tennis here in Shrewsbury is always really popular.
"To be able to have a sell-out crowd here for the Pro League finals, which is the first time we have hosted this event, just shows how much there's an appetite for people to watch live tennis.
"We"re really excited that it’s going to be a full crowd and the stands are going to be full - and we’ve got two cracking finals lined up for the crowd to watch.
“The men’s final will start not before 2pm, to be followed by the women’s final, with a busy day of tennis also featuring a number of other matches to decide the overall final placings in this year’s UK Pro League.”
Matusevich, 20, from Kent, continued the fine form he has produced in Shropshire all week by beating Giles Hussey 6-2, 7-5 in the day’s opening semi-final.
Matusevich, currently 12th in the British men’s rankings, said: "The match was pretty good - I’m just happy to get through."
He added: "I've got a few technical things to improve on, but while we're in a tournament, Giles is a tricky player, so you have to give everything, so I'm very happy to get through.”
Patten, 25, from Essex, booked his place in the final with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over Dan Cox, who had beaten Jay Clarke, the highest-ranked men’s player competing in Shrewsbury this week, on Friday night.
"I'm just very pleased to come through it,” said Patten, who won an ITF tournament in the USA last week. "I'm really happy to be in the final.”
Looking ahead to today’s final, Patten added: "Anton's the favourite, for sure. He’s proven that this week.
"I think everyone knew going in that even given the strong wild cards, he was probably playing the best tennis.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge and seeing what I can do against him.”
In yesterday’s women’s semi-finals, Christie continued her excellent record at The Shrewsbury Club. Having previously reached three previous ITF finals at the Sundorne Road venue, she’s pleased to secure a place in another final. Christie, from Nottingham, delivered another strong performance to get the better of the higher ranked Eden Silva, a former Wimbledon mixed doubles quarter finalist, 6-4, 6-2.
"I'm really pleased with today,” said Christie, who celebrated her 24th birthday earlier this week. "I really enjoy Shrewsbury. It's becoming a bit of a second home to me now. I've obviously had quite a few finals here, so, yes, I'm really pleased with the way I played today and really looking forward to the final.”
Yesterday’s fourth semi-final proved to be the closest of the day as Kartal, 20, from Brighton, eventually beat Beth Grey, ranked just outside the world’s top 400, a career-high, in a third-set match tie-break. Kartal won the opening set 7-5 before Grey hit back to take the second 7-6 to take it to a match tie-break, which Kartal won 10-8. It was her second victory in as many days over a player handed a wild card to play in Shrewsbury this week after also impressing to beat Lily Miyazaki on Friday. Now Kartal is preparing to face Christie in today’s final.
“We’ve come across each other a lot at these Pro Leagues,” said Kartal.
"I think we both know how each other play, so I think it’s just going to come down to really fine margins and who can execute their game style the best on the day.”