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Thursday, December 6, 2012
Three of Norfolk’s senior first team players featured in the end-of-year AEGON British Tour Masters at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
After qualifying for the Masters with results from AEGON British Tour events throughout 2012, Richard Bloomfield, Amy Partridge and Olivia Nicholls flew the flag for Norfolk in Nottingham – and it was Bloomfield who made the biggest impact of the three.
The Norfolk men’s number one reached the semi-final, before losing a close three-set match with top-seeded Josh Goodall.
After claiming the first set in rapid fashion 6-1, Bloomfield was reeled in by an ever-improving Goodall and the second and third sets were both decided by tie-breaks, which the Hampshire and Isle of Wight man won, to send Bloomfield out of the tournament.
Three wins had taken Bloomfield to the semi-final stage, the first of which came against Somerset youngster Toby Mitchell 6-3, 7-5.
Another 18-year-old, Jack Findel-Hawkins from Devon, was beaten in round two and this time Bloomfield was pushed to a second-set tie-break, but held firm to win 6-3, 7-6.
His sternest test before Goodall came against sixth seed and world number 951, Marcus Willis in the quarter-finals as, for the first time, Bloomfield fell a set behind after losing a tie-break.
It proved to be a minor stumbling block and the 29-year-old from Alpington came roaring back to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-1.
The match with Goodall, the current British number two behind Andy Murray, proved to be a bridge too far and the world number 246 eventually won the event with a straight sets victory over the North of Scotland’s Nicholas Rosensweig.
Teenagers Partridge and Nicholls were unable to progress beyond the early stages, bowing out in the second and first rounds respectively.
Partridge had a win over Anna Woosley in round one, but ran into seventh seed Natasha Hillyer in fine form in her next match and was beaten in straight sets.
Nicholls was beaten by Mollie Crouch in the first round 6-3, 6-2.
The pair had qualified after making an impact on the British Tour this year for the first time.
That impact included Partridge’s runners-up appearance and victory in back-to-back weeks in the summer at Felixstowe and Frinton.
Nicholls featured in the latter stages of each and made the semi-final of the event at Easton College in September.