Berry's big home win
PUBLISHED: 14:05 12 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 March 2010
TENNIS: SUFFOLK junior Melissa Berry produced the performance of her career and the shock of the week at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club, scalping eighth seed Shelley Stephens in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of the LTA Ladies' $25,000 tournament.
SUFFOLK junior Melissa Berry produced the performance of her career and the shock of the week at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club, scalping eighth seed Shelley Stephens in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of the LTA Ladies' $25,000 tournament.
Only getting into qualifying through a wild card, the 18-year-old right-hander from Felixstowe would have been pleased just to have made the main draw, but she bridged almost a thousand ranking spots for her first appearance in the last eight at this level.
Berry, who is slumming it down at world No. 1,197 after losing 10 months of last year through injury, had not looked at the draw beforehand and was unaware that the New Zealander was rated 945 places higher at 252. She won 7-5 7-5 inside 1 hour 20 minutes.
"This is the biggest win I've ever had. I'm really pleased. I didn't expect to get this far. Even in qualifying, you get a lot of tough matches and I was just thinking about that first. It's difficult to believe I'm in the quarter-finals," she said.
Berry only returned to the circuit in January after repeat back problems.
Tuesday night's first round against Jane O'Donoghue had been postponed by heavy showers until yesterday morning. Berry had won the opening set against her squad partner, and the Lancashire junior was forced to scratch, complaining of tendinitis in her right knee.
Berry's opponent this morning was second seed and British No. 2 Lucie Ahl. The world No. 164 from Devon, who is often accused of trying too hard, was a class above Australian Kristen Van Elden and took the second round match 7-6 6-1.
Berry, who hopes to continue this roll at Frinton next week by getting a wild card into the LTA Ladies' $10,000 tournament, said: "Of course I've got a chance against Lucie. I'm playing well and that's worked so far."
Berry twisted the knife in the eleventh game of the first set, breaking with a backhand pass that whistled past Stephens, who was growing increasingly agitated with the line-calls, the bounce and her opponent's love-affair with the net, and hurled her racquet in disgust.
And the piercing screams and arguments with the chair continued in the second set. Berry got good value from some deft touches around the net as she broke for 6-5 when Stephens spilled a routine volley. On her third matchpoint, Berry struck a sweet, unanswered forehand.
Elena Baltacha also made the last eight, disposing of qualifier Nicole Sewell 7-6 6-0. The sixth seed never really got going in the first set, just edging the tiebreak 8-6, but she moved through the gears in the second set, breaking the Australian's serve three times.
Baltacha now plays India's Manisha Malhotra who beat French woman Marion Bartoli in three tiebreaks, 6-7 7-6 7-6. Bartoli, who receives serve six feet inside the baseline, was seen as a threat to the seeds here.
Top seed Annabel Elwood lost the opening set to Sweden's Maria Wolfbrandt, but the Australian recovered for a 6-7 6-3 6-3 result. Her quarter-final is against defending champion Roberta Vinci who lived up to her name by thrashing Monique Adamczak from Australia.
Third seed Julie Pullin from Brighton barely broke into sweat opposite
Austrian Sandra Klemenschitz, whose twin sister Daniela was also playing here but lost in the first round. The other winner in her section was Jo Ward, who surprised seventh seed Nathalie Grandin 7-6 6-4.