Tennis: Phillips is on the button at Sutton

Lisa Phillips shone at Sutton
Lisa Phillips shone at Sutton

Seventeen-year-old Lisa Phillips pulled off spectacular results at Sutton to gain enough qualifying wins to secure an increase in her rating to an incredible 3.1.

The Felpham tennis ace – now ranked 49 for GB women – withstood brutal shots from Gloucestershire 19-year-old Laura Eales, a former GB under-18 No1. Phillips battled hard for every point and secured a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Phillips next took on Middlesex’s 3.2-rated Antonia Smallbone. Phillips struggled at first against the 24-year-old and lost the first set 6-3. In the second, Phillips counter-attacked against the thunderous shots raining down on her and clinched a 6-3 win. Phillips was delighted to win 10-2 in the tie-break to win an enjoyable but tough two-and-a-half hour match.

Phillips travelled to Nottingham Tennis Centre to play in the national tier-one British tour.

In the main draw, on outside hard courts, Phillips beat Derbyshire’s 4.2-rated Millie Devey-Smith 6-1, 6-1. In the next round Phillips faced 20-year-old Manisha Foster, who had been knocked out of the Aegon Trophy, being played at the same time on the grass courts of the Nottingham venue.

Foster, ranked 18 nationally and 714 in the world, was unstoppable by winning 6-1, 6-0.

Phillips travelled back to Nottingham for a second national British tour and played in the shadow of the Aegon Challenger taking place on the neighbouring grass courts.

Phillips ruthlessly dismissed 3.2-rated Lily Ghodrati 6-0, 6-1 and secured a place in the next round against 21-year-old Nicole Peterson. The 2.2-rated player from Yorkshire was too strong and won 6-0, 6-2.

Phillips grabbed a 6-4, 6-1 win against Hertfordshire’s 3.2-rated Georgie Walker in a tennis matchplay which proved to be challenging for both players as the indoor hard courts at Hatfield were very slippery. The referee moved all second-round matches to the carpet courts to avoid injury.

Phillips got off to a good start in her next match against Lauren Harrington, a tennis coach at Sutton High Performance Centre. They know each other’s game well, having competed against each other on numerous occasions. Harrington, who has just gone up to a 3.1 rating, appeared to have a slight niggling injury and Phillips took full advantage and won 6-1, 6-3.

Phillips is keenly anticipating the grass court season this year, having missed most of it last year through a wrist fracture, sustained when falling heavily during a match.

Phillips said: “Grass is my favourite surface and my shots are extremely effective on this surface. I love the unpredictable bounce the grass gives the ball and this makes tennis even more fun to play.”