GALLERY: AEGON British Tour Felixstowe tennis open

Tennis tournament at Felixstowe Tennis Club. Qualifying round. Pictured is Ipswich player Matthew Ki

Tennis tournament at Felixstowe Tennis Club. Qualifying round. Pictured is Ipswich player Matthew Kirby.

Proceedings got off to a blistering start at the Aegon British Tour in Felixstowe yesterday as eight players secured their passage into the men’s open qualifiers, which start today.

One of the successful players yesterday was Ipswich-based Matthew Kirby, who convincingly triumphed in both of his pre-qualification matches, beating David Mould (6-0 6-1) and Jack George-Burnell (6-2 6-1) respectively.

Kirby was the highest-ranked qualifier on show and he asserted authority in both of his matches as his power and technique proved too much for his opponents.

Possessing a massive serve as well as a venomous forehand, he faces highly-rated Adam Stevenson today as more players are whittled down for the main draw. There was to be no such fortune for fellow ranked qualifiers from Suffolk – Jared Bones (Ipswich) and William Cooke-Wharton (Bury St Edmunds) – as they bowed out to the impressive Tim Schoenert (Kent) and Ben Hewitt (West Sussex) respectively.

Both put brave fights up but just fell a little short.

At just 15, and standing at 5ft 2in, Cooke-Wharton was by the far the smallest and youngest player on show but what he lacked in size, he more than compensated for in talent as he defeated Bradley Stoneham 6-2 6-2 in the first round of pre-qualification.

However, Hewitt then proved too powerful him in the following match, triumphing 6-2 6-3.

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His close friend and regular hitting partner Bones also whizzed through his first match as he beat Andrey Gavrilov 6-1 6-3, before Schoenert just proved too good in a 7-5 6-1 match that was closer than the score suggests.

Today also sees the start of the women’s tournament with qualifying matches occurring throughout the day.

The main draw for both sexes at the seaside event starts tomorrow, where Suffolk trio James Ling, Paul Midgley and Matt Hough enter the competition.

Pre-Qualification - Open Men’s Singles

Round 1: Matthew Kirby beat David Mould 6-0 6-1, Jack George-Burnell beat Taylor Bate 6-2 6-1, Charles Hughes beat Elliott Farmer by a walkover, Johnnie Carmichael beat Toby Huffer by a walkover, Saqib Farooq beat Joe Rogers by a walkover, William Huyton beat Scott Lawrence 6-1 6-2, William Bourne beat Rhett Purcell by a walkover, Ryan Brough beat Jonathan Nathar 6-3 6-0, Jared Bones beat Andrey Gavrilov 6-1 6-3, Tim Schoenert beat Sam Roy-Chowdhury 6-0 6-1, Jay Sinnadurai beat Darien Lamb 6-3 6-2, Nicholas Wade beat Daniel Stevenson 6-0 6-4, Thomas Watkinson beat Sam Bird 7-5, 6-1, Mark Weatherup beat Ben Stevenson 6-1 7-5, William Cooke Wharton beat Bradley Stoneham 6-2 6-2, Ben Hewitt beat Alex Woolmington 6-2 6-4.

Round 2: Matthew Kirby beat Jack George-Burnell 6-2, 6-1, Johnnie Carmichael beat Charles Hughes 6-0 6-1, William Huyton beat Saqib Farooq 6-1 6-1, Ryan Brough beat William Bourne 6-2 7-6 (5), Tim Schoenert beat Jared Bones 7-5 6-1, Nicholas Wade beat Jay Sinnadurai 6-1 6-0, Thomas Watkinson beat Mark Weatherup 6-2 6-2, Ben Hewitt beat William Cooke Wharton 6-2 6-3.

Eight qualifiers: Matthew Kirby, Johnnie Carmichael, William Huyton, Ryan Brough, Tim Schoenert, Nicholas Wade, Thomas Watkinson and Ben Hewitt.

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