Breakthrough week for Norfolk’s Amy Partridge at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club
Norfolk's Amy Partridge put in a terrific run of results last week to reach the final of the AEGON British Tour grass court event at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club.
Partridge, 18, beat three seeded players en route to the final before losing to top seed Aimee Gibson; ranked 1180 in the world.
An opening round bye meant that her first match came against seventh seed Tiffany William from Middlesex. After dropping the opening set, Partridge responded well to win 3-6, 6-2, 7-6.
Abbi Melrose from Sussex, the number two seed and a 2.2 rated player, was Partridge's next victim as the underdog came through in impressive fashion to reach the semi finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win.
Her trio of upsets was complete when she steamrolled sixth seed Natalie Haden-Scott 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final and set up a daunting clash with world ranked Melrose.
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The final was played in tricky conditions with inconsistent weather but the top seed showed her class and provided no real opportunity for Partridge to get a foothold in the match.
A 6-2, 6-0 score line brought the Norfolk Ladies team member's run to an end, but it was a breakthrough week for Partridge who will look to build on the result immediately at this week's British tour event in Frinton.
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The Wymondham College pupil, who has just completed her A-Levels, will compete on the grass at Frinton before heading off to Ilkley in West Yorkshire with the Norfolk Ladies team for AEGON Summer County Cup.
The Ladies team are in Group 3 again after retaining their position from last year, but welcome Partridge back to the fold after she missed the 2011 campaign while travelling in Thailand.
Alongside Partridge in the draw last week was Norfolk Captain Lucy Brooks who was beaten in three sets by Haden-Scott, while regular partner Olivia Nicholls lost in the last 16 after coming through qualifying.
The experienced Karen Highfield and former USA college player Sam Noble are also part of the Norfolk squad that head into Group 3 with real aspirations of promotion this time round.
Meanwhile, the men's' team will compete at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne as the first Norfolk side to play in Group 1 since 1977. Captain Barry Fulcher expects to have a full strength team including Richard Bloomfield who was undefeated in last year's promotion from Group 2.
James Auckland is available as well as veteran Tom Spinks and former junior National Champion Nicky Crawley. Brothers Dan and Jonny Wynne, Matt Green and Tom Lamming complete an almost identical squad from last year with only former skipper Chris Parker unavailable as he is working in Canada.
National champions Hertfordshire are again favourites for the title and Norfolk, who open their campaign against Surrey, will face them on Thursday.
AEGON Summer County Cup takes place across the country from Monday July 23-27 and tennis fans in Norfolk can see Men's Group 2 for free at Cromer Tennis Club.