Ipswich’s James Ling wins Aegon British Tour title at Felixstowe after starting as qualifier
PUBLISHED: 12:11 16 July 2017
Harman H Hopkins, H3 Photography
Ipswich youngster James Ling remarkably stormed his way to the Aegon British Tour title at Felixstowe on Saturday having started the week as a qualifier.
The 20-year-old Suffolk county player, who is back for the summer during a tennis scholarship in the USA, won seven matches in five days, beating top-seed Nicholas Nugent 6-1, 6-2 in a one-sided final played out in front of around 50 spectators.
Nugent plays for Surrey, but his parents hail from Suffolk.
Ling saw off Patrick Foley (6-3, 6-3) and Max Benaim (6-7, 7-7, 6-4) in qualifying, then dropped just one set in the main draw with victories against Thomas Pudney (6-1, 7-5), eighth seed Nicholas Turnbull (6-0, 6-1), Piers Foley (6-4, 2-6, 6-2) and seventh seed Michael Shaw (6-2, 6-3).
“It’s extremely unusual for a qualifier to win the whole thing,” said tournament referee Pete Greatorex. “I think it’s happened only three times in the long history of this tournament.
“James just played some very solid tennis. He just got better and better as the week went on and I don’t think he missed a ball in the final.”
Ling’s comfortable win in the final may have been something of a damp squib for the neutrals watching, but the crowd had been left thoroughly entertained by the women’s final.
Lancashire’s Olivia Peet (third seed) beat Kent’s Nell Miller (fifth seed) following an epic battle. Peet won the first set after a tie break, Nell hit back with a 6-2 second set win, but Peet – who had lost in the final of the Frinton tournament earlier this month – stepped up a gear to claim the decider 6-3.
“I have been running this tournament since 1991 and that was one of the best women’s finals I have ever seen,” enthused Greatorex. “You had two 17-year-old girls going at it hammer and tongs for three sets. There was very few mistakes. It was fantastic.”
Elsewhere, Suffolk’s William Cooke Wharton reached round two. The 18-year-old came through qualifying with wins against Edward Colclough and Casey Recci, beat Florian Hagmann 6-2, 6-4 in round one before losing to seventh seed Michael Shaw 1-6, 3-6
Ipswich’s Jared Bones was forced to retire injured in his final qualifier after he’s beaten higher-ranked opponent Angus Bradshaw 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.