Norfolk players Olivia Nicholls and Richard Bloomfield enjoy success at British Tour Masters event

Norfolk tennis player Olivia Nicholls. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk tennis player Olivia Nicholls. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The Norfolk challenge to win the Aegon British Tour Masters finally came to an end with defeats for both Richard Bloomfield and Olivia Nicholls.

Playing at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, Nicholls lost in the quarter-finals to top seed Mariam Bolkvadze, 6-7, 7-5, 1-6. While Bloomfield made it through to the semi-finals, where he had to retire at 5-7, 0-3 to third seed Neil Pauffley.

Nicholls said: 'I served for the first set at 5-4, won the second 7-5 and ran out of steam in the third. The match lasted just under four hours! Disappointing but it's been a good couple of weeks for me with some positive performances and results.'

The previous week the 20-year-old Loughborough University student also helped Norfolk's ladies team remain in Division Three of the Winter County Cup and beat world ranked opponents in Nottingham, making it an encouraging couple of weeks. Cantley youngster Alfie Hewett also continued his excellent year, playing in the UK National Wheelchair Championships in Gloucester.

It was always going to be difficult for the 17-year-old to break up the dominance of Gordon Reid and David Phillipson who reached the men's singles final for the second successive year, with Reid successfully defending his title.

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Reid had beaten fourth seed Hewett 6-1, 6-0 in the singles semi-finals but British number two Marc McCarroll and Reid were beaten 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 by Hewett and Phillipson in the men's doubles final.

Norfolk LTA president Richard Palmer said: 'It's been a good couple of weeks for our county. Great to see Richard and Olivia making it to the year end British Tour Masters event and both taking out higher seeds on their way to the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively. Well done to them both.

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'Also Alfie Hewett making the semis of the UK National Wheelchair Championships was another outstanding achievement.'

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