British player Henry Patten targets world’s top 500 after first round Shrewsbury scalp

Today’s second round action at the Budgen Motors ITF World Tennis Tour M25 tournament will feature a strong British contingent after wild card Henry Patten led the charge of home players sealing first round victories, defeating No. 6 seed David Poljak in three sets.

Patten, 25, is a familiar face in Shrewsbury after finishing runner-up at the UK Pro League Finals Week in November. The skilled left-hander put his main draw wild card to good use by coming from a set down to upset an opponent ranked 270 spots above him in the current world rankings, closing out the triumph 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4.

“I definitely struggled with serving today - the first few games of the match I was serving great, and then I lost my rhythm a bit,” Patten analysed post-match. “I’d never played [Poljak] before and hadn’t seen him play, either. He’s a tricky player, returns really well, moves well. I was a little bit up and down but I was really happy with the third set, from 4-2down I actually played really good tennis right to the end.”

Having won his first ITF World Tennis Tour singles title at the end of last year, Patten has hopes of skyrocketing his ranking during the 2022 season. 

“[Poljak]’s ranked in the 400s, and I feel like I could definitely have played better today yet still managed to come out and win,” the current world No. 701 said of his latest result. “So that’s really good for the confidence, because a big goal for me is to try and push into the world’s top 500. 

“Last year I made some good strides in the rankings and I’m excited. It’s the start of the year, I feel like I’ve got a lot of time to achieve that goal.”

Next up for Patten in Shrewsbury today will be Stuart Parker, the world No. 500, having edged Patten’s good friend Charles Broom in a tight 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 first round encounter.

Yesterday also saw big victories for rising youngsters, including unranked 18-year-old Oliver Tarvet, who qualified without dropping a set before claiming an impressive 7-6(1), 6-3 defeat of world No. 515 Omni Kumar. 
Tarvet’s fellow British teens Felix Gill and Jack Pinnington Jones also won in straight sets, with all four seeded home players - Paul Jubb, Aidan McHugh, Billy Harris and Anton Matusevich – moving safely into the last 16.

Second round action at The Shrewsbury Club kicks off at 10am today, with tickets costing £7.50 available from 
Picture: Henry Patten on his way to victory in the first round at The Shrewsbury Club yesterday. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.