Norfolk’s Pippa Horn battles way to final at Tipton event
Norfolk rising talent Pippa Horn had a good start to the British Tour season, reaching the final of the Tier 2 event in Tipton last week.
Horn gave a solid performance in the final against world number 935 Yasmin Clarke but saw her title challenge come to an end after some battling performances in the earlier rounds.
Seeded five for the event, 16-year-old Horn received a bye in the first round before sealing a quarter-final place with a straight sets win over Helen Clements of Sussex.
Next came an outstanding win over second seeded Natasha Hillyer from Warwickshire as the Norfolk youngster battled back from a set down to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-0.
In the semi-final Horn won an epic tie-break in the first set against Danielle Konotoptseva of Middlesex, before her opponent levelled the score with a tie-break win of her own.
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The former Wymondham College pupil brushed off the setback to win the final set 6-2 and book a spot in the final and despite a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Clarke, can reflect on an encouraging week.
The Norfolk men's team began their preparations for the season with a heavy invitational match loss against the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon.
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An AELTC side that included Sky Sports commentator Barry Cowan, who took Pete Sampras to five sets at Wimbledon in 2001, were too strong for a Norfolk team without the services of its top four players.
Norfolk were still able to field a side entirely of first team players, but a slow start set the trend and despite two matches going to championship tie-breaks, the AELTC completed a whitewash victory.
Third pair Chris Parker and Tom Lamming led by a set against Rob Searle and Dave Loosemoore but were eventually beaten in the championship tie-break.
Jonny and Dan Wynne at first pair gave Cowan and John Doran a fright by stealing the second set, but couldn't get a foothold in the tie-break and lost it 10-5.
Nick Crawley and Matt Green had relatively few chances in their matches before Crawley dropped out for the final round, allowing Harry Weeds to make his senior team debut with Green.
A straight sets loss against the opposing second pair completed the score line and left Norfolk staring at a 9-0 reverse.