Beth Grey pleased to start with a win at UK Pro League Finals Week at The Shrewsbury Club

Beth Grey celebrated climbing to a new career high in the world rankings by securing an opening win at UK Pro League Finals Week.

Grey, now just outside the world’s top 400, was pleased to gain a third set tie break victory over Emily Appleton, winning 6-2, 4-6, 11-9, as the group stages continued on day two of the prestigious event at The Shrewsbury Club.

“Me and Emily always have good matches,” said Grey. "We’ve played each other quite a lot in these events, so it was another good battle between us.

“She was serving well, I was serving well, so it was pretty tight to the end.”

Grey, who reached the quarter-finals of the W60 Nantes tournament in France last week, added: “I’ve played a lot of matches lately, so I feel like I’m quite match tight which is good, especially when it comes down to the tie breaks. It’s nice to start with a win.” 

Looking forward to spending the week playing in Shropshire, Grey said: “They’ve put an amazing event on for the finals and Shrewsbury’s a lovely club. They’ve done a great job once again of putting on another great event for us all to play.

“Hopefully I can do well this week. There’s a lot of good players in the pools, so we’ll see how it goes.” 

As for her continued progress up the world rankings, she added: “I’m up to my career high today actually of, I think, 406, so that’s nice.”

Having won an exciting third-set tie break the night before, Freya Christie was involved in another close finish, this time losing narrowly 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 against Lily Miyazaki, the highest-ranked player in this week’s women’s event.

Eden Silva enjoyed a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Lauryn John-Baptiste in her opening match of the week, while Katarina Stresnakova also started with a win, beating Eliz Maloney 6-1, 6-2.

Jay Clarke, the British number six, was happy to begin his week in Shrewsbury with victory against Giles Hussey. Clarke won the opening set 6-2, Hussey levelled it up by taking the second 7-6, with Clarke a 10-8 winner in the third-set tie break.

Clarke said: “It was good to get the win, especially in the box leagues. Every set counts, not only the match wins, so I’m happy with the win today. It’s the first one of the week, so it’s good.”

Clarke enjoyed his first appearance in the UK Pro League this year after receiving a wild card to compete at Finals Week.

“I’ve watched a lot of the matches, but this is the first one I’ve played,” he said. “It’s really good to see so many Brits playing such a good high level of tennis and I like how they’ve made it so special for us with getting the crowds in.” 

Clarke is also pleased to be playing at The Shrewsbury Club again, adding: “| think the first time I was here I was maybe eight or nine years old playing national tours or something, so it’s always nice coming back.” 

The group stages of the UK Pro League Finals Week will be completed today, with the day’s opening matches starting at 1pm.

Admission to watch today’s matches from court-side stands at The Shrewsbury Club is £5, which includes a tournament programme. 

To buy tickets throughout the week, visit www.worldtennistourshrewsbury.com/tickets-and-events/

Pictured: Jay Clarke and Lily Miyazaki both enjoyed victories on day two of UK Pro League Finals Week at The Shrewsbury Club. Pictures: Richard Dawson Photography.