Mankad's experience serves him well

THE first round of the Gotelee & Goldsmith East of England Lawn Tennis Championship began with high drama in Felixstowe yesterday.On a day when the full line-up for the first round of both the men's and ladies' singles was finalised, a rising young British star announced himself to the Bath Road crowds.

THE first round of the Gotelee & Goldsmith East of England Lawn Tennis Championship began with high drama in Felixstowe yesterday.

On a day when the full line-up for the first round of both the men's and ladies' singles was finalised, a rising young British star announced himself to the Bath Road crowds.

In the game of the day, 15-year-old Daniel Cox pushed experienced fifth seed Harsh Mankad all the way, in a display that augurs well for the future.

Cox began the match in nervous fashion, which was unsurprising given that he was facing a player ranked more than 1,000 places above him.

Down an early break, Cox did well to hold off three further break points before hitting a string of unforced errors and the first set had passed the youngster by.

However, there was a new sense of purpose about Cox's play in the second set.

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Now his passing shots were clipping the lines and he was visibly rejuvenated, pumping his fist as he continued to hold his own.

An excellent cross-court return skimmed the net and landed agonisingly out of Mankad's reach to give Cox the second set 6-4.

The stage looked set for an incredible upset, but the wily Mankad had other ideas.

He began to grind out points from the baseline, working Cox around the court and forcing errors from the tiring teenager.

The Indian's chance finally came in the ninth game and he made no mistake, breaking serve before winning 6-2 4-6 6-4.

Another player to impress was Britain's Lauren Dossor, whose elegant displays saw her defeat two seeds in a day.

Her graceful style was a joy to watch and earned her a surprise place in the first round.

Men's Singles

Final qualifying round: T Bradshaw (Gbr) bt (13) E Seator (Gbr) 6-7 (7-3) 6-3 6-4.

First round: R Irwin (Gbr) bt C Grassi (Ita) 3-6 7-5 6-2. (7) C Fleming (Gbr) bt O Charroin (Fra) 7-6 (7-4) 6-1. (5) H Mankad (Ind) bt D Cox (Gbr) 6-2 4-6 6-4.

Women's Singles

Second qualifying round: (3) R Fong (Gbr) bt S Stallard (Gbr) 6-3 6-4. (4) S Bhambri (Ind) bt L Rawling (Gbr) 6-7 (7-4) 6-3 6-0. J Webster (Gbr) bt (16) M Gibb (Gbr) 6-1 3-6 6-2. (5) I Pavlovic (Fra) bt T Lock (Gbr) 6-1 6-1. L Dossor (Gbr) bt (6) L Doutrelant (Fra) 5-7 6-3 6-3. (8) R Doernemann (Ger) bt S Proctor (Gbr) 6-0 6-2. D Armstrong (Gbr) bt (15) Y Clarke (Gbr) 6-4 6-2.

Final qualifying round: (9) N Khan (Gbr) bt N Mooney (Gbr) 7-6 (9-7) 6-2. (2) A Tout (Rom) bt J Jackson (Gbr) 6-3 7-5. (12) K Vankova (Cze) bt (3) R Fong (Gbr) 6-2 7-6 (7-5). (4) S Bhambri (Ind) bt J Webster (Gbr) 6-2 6-0. (5) I Pavlovic (Fra) bt (13) S Murray (Gbr) 6-2 6-2. L Dossor (Gbr) bt (14) E Thomas (Gbr) 6-4 6-3. (7) A Smith (Gbr) bt (10) M Gaverova (Rus) 6-3 6-0. (8) R Doernemann (Ger) bt D Armstrong (Gbr) 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 6-3.

First Round: J Bone (Gbr) bt A Bhambri (Ind) 1-6 6-4 6-1.

Women's Doubles

R Llewellyn (Gbr) & A Smith (Gbr) bt R Fong (Gbr) & G Stoop (Gbr) 6-2 6-3.

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