Norfolk’s Pippa Horn makes her mark on tennis professional circuit
Norfolk's Pippa Horn picked up her first main draw wins on the professional circuit by reaching the quarter-finals at the recent $10k Futures event in Bournemouth.
After impressive victories over Frenchwoman Harmony Tan and eighth seed Lucy Brown, the West Harling teenager fell just short in the quarter-finals against Daiana Negreanu of Romania.
Horn had secured a spot in the main draw after two wins in qualifying on the clay at Bournemouth, against Emily Gibbens of Surrey and Lancashire's Sabrina Federici and was drawn to face eighth seeded Brown in round one.
Brown, ranked 724 in the world, seized the early initiative by taking the first set 7-5 but 17 year-old Horn came storming back to win the second set 6-1 and force a decider. The third set was an even affair, but the underdog from Norfolk held her nerve to record her first main draw win by closing out the match 5-6, 6-1, 7-5.
French qualifier Harmony Tan provided a decent contest in round two but Horn negotiated her way through the business end of each set to win 7-5, 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals.
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World No 536 and third seed Negreanu was Horn's conqueror but not before the Norfolk youngster had pushed her all the way to a third set tie-break in a marathon match that had twists and turns throughout.
After Negreanu had claimed the first set on a tie-break, Horn again fought back to win the second set 6-4 but in the crucial decider, experience shone through and the 24 year-old Romanian edged another tie-break to end Horn's run. The results mean Horn has picked up her first four points on the 'Race to Istanbul' and will hope to build on this with several more Pro-Series tournaments over the year.
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Norfolk Men's Over 55 team began the season with a narrow home loss to Middlesex.
Debutant Steve Pye, moving up from the 45s, made an impressive start with a singles win in the deciding championship tie-break against a higher rated opponent.
Gary Thrower, playing at second singles, and the pairing of Nick Smith and Mark Reeves were beaten in their respective first rubbers. In the second doubles rubbers Smith and Reeves bounced back with a win but Pye, paired with another newcomer Mike Hutson, narrowly lost giving Middlesex a 3-2 victory.