GALLERY: Marcus Willis wins Felixstowe title
PUBLISHED: 16:10 23 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:10 23 July 2013
Marcus Willis from Berkshire won the Aegon Pro-Series event at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday.
The 22-year-old overcame friend and training partner Neil Pauffley 6-2 6-4 on court one.
Despite being ranked behind Pauffley in the tournament, county rankings and nationally, Willis romped ahead in the first set, twice breaking his opponent.
The fifth-seed won five straight games to go 5-1 up and knock the stuffing out of Pauffley, pictured right, who could only break the run towards the end of the set.
But Willis was in the driving seat and, despite a brief comeback from Pauffley which at one stage saw him with a break point, he held his serve to win the first set 6-2.
However, it wasn’t as straightforward for him in the second set, tournament number two Pauffley matching the leader over four service games. This was despite a tense game at two all where Pauffley double faulted and found himself 15-40 down. But just when the crowd, who were enjoying the entertaining spectacle, thought the set could go to a tie break, Willis found another gear and broke Pauffley to go 5-4 up.
Serving for the set was simple enough, a slip form Pauffley on the dampening grass summing up his luck as Willis took the match on his second championship point.
Paying tribute to his victorious friend Pauffley said: “It’s disappointing to lose but he deserved it. He played better today.
“I’m pleased with how the tournament’s gone for me. It’s been a great week even though I haven’t played my best tennis so making the final is a good achievement.
“Marcus is very tough to get a rhythm against. He plays a lot of slice and he’s a lefty so it’s an advantage for him.”
A delighted Willis said: “I haven’t lost here this year, perhaps I should stay away for a bit!”
“I’m really surprised. I haven’t been in the best form the past couple of weeks but in each match I got better.
“I held my nerve today and saved a few break points but you have to block out that you’re playing a friend.
“I started the year very well in Glasgow and won, I’ve made a few more semis and finals as well.
“I’ve racked up a good few points so I’m looking to keep that going and the goal is to play Wimbledon next year or the year after.”
PICTURES: ANDY ABBOTT