Last week saw the start of the 2018 AIG Irish Open Tennis Championships kick off. The finals of the ladies singles and doubles were held in Carrickmines Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Dublin on Saturday the 4th and Sunday, 5th of August.
The event which is held annually, is second only to Wimbledon as the oldest tournament in the world. The women’s and men’s singles finals of the tournament were broadcasted live on TG4 2 over the weekend, with Emily Appleton winning the ladies singles prize on Sunday.
In her defeat of fellow Brit Sasha Hill (6/4 6/3), Appleton proved the stronger force on the court after winning four games in a row and coming back strong on her serves to take the lead and secure her title as women’s singles champion for 2018.
After defeating Ireland’s Julie Byrne in Saturday’s singles semi-final, Appleton was favourite to take the plate. Though Hill demonstrated good ground stroke play throughout the first set, she had one too many unforced errors to secure her win. Hill was competing in her first pro tournament and securing her place in the final is an admirable achievement for the newcomer.
The women’s competition is an International Tennis Federation Pro Circuit event with a cash prize and opportunities for players to gain vital world ranking points.
Irish contenders Amy Bowtell and Julie Byrne had a great start progressing to the second round of the competition earlier in the week. Byrne’s week continued to be a success with her win in quarter finals against seeded pair Rushri Wijesundera (USA) and Lisa Ponomar (GER). It wasn’t to be for the North Western University student when she lost out to Appleton in the semi-final who won four consecutive games in the second set.
This year’s competition shows promise for Irish women’s tennis with a hope to seeing many more Irish women competing at this level both here at home and abroad.