Aces fall at Rye Open tennis

Rye tennis men's singles champion
Rye tennis men's singles champion

The Rye LTC Open Tournament was blessed with glorious sunshine throughout its four days.

More than 270 players from all over the world took part in the popular annual event watched by around 2,000 spectators.

There were shock results in the men’s singles where some of the ‘big names’ were defeated by the eventual finalists Steve Bates and Charlie Turney, both of whom were new to the event.

The first surprise was when New Zealand international and top seed Mark Hadley was beaten 7-5, 6-4 by James Acheson-Gray (Hampshire) in the quarter-finals only for Acheson-Gray to fall 6-4, 7-6 at the hands of Bates in the semis.

In the other half of the draw, Dutch international Alex Soeters was beaten 7-5, 7-5 in the last four by Turney (Nottingham University).

Turney suffered a back injury towards the end of that match, however, which led to a very one-sided final as Bates easily defeated his ailing opponent 6-1, 6-2.

Originally from Yorkshire, Bates now works as a policeman in Notting Hill, London, and lives in East Sussex where he plays for the Southdown club in Lewes.

By contrast, the ladies’ singles was much more predictable with the top two seeds reaching the final. World ladies’ senior singles champion and number one seed Anthea Stewart regained her title by overcoming Arabella Martin, the Rye ladies’ singles winner in 2005, 2006 and 2008, 6-3, 6-4 in a hard-fought final.

There was an international flavour to the men’s doubles final as Hadley and Joe Tassell (Kent and Queen’s Club) beat Alessandro Miotto (Italy) and Matthew Leahy (Surrey) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a very even match.

The ladies’ doubles decider turned out to be a closely-contested duel between the first pairs of two of the top London clubs. The Queen’s combination of Karen Hazzard and Annabel Watson finally saw off the Hurlingham duo of Martin and Antonia Smallbone 6-4, 7-5.

It was third time lucky for Martin in the mixed doubles as she teamed up with Soeters to get the better of Acheson-Gray and Katie Purnell (London) 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

See today’s Rye Observer for the full article and more pictures.