Sun shines on Rye tennis aces

The Rye Open Tennis Tournament was successfully concluded after four days of unbroken sunshine enjoyed by 270 players and large numbers of spectators.

The most exciting final came in the ladies’ singles where defending champion Anthea Stewart and tournament newcomer Antonia Smallbone were involved a titanic struggle lasting over two hours.

Smallbone took a tight first set 6-4 before leading 5-2 and 30-15 in the second, but Stewart clawed her way back and eventually won the second set 7-6 after a long tie-break.

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The third and final set was also close at 3-3 before Stewart finally broke her opponent and ran out the winner 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 to take the Rye ladies’ singles title for the fourth successive year.

By contrast, the men’s singles final was a much more one-sided affair with another newcomer to the Rye tournament, Thibaud Charron from France, beating Jonathan Tassell (Kent and Queen’s Club number one) 6-4, 6-1.

In the men’s doubles final, Tassell got partial revenge for his singles defeat by pairing up with New Zealand international Mark Hadley to beat the European partnership of Charron and Alessandro Rafael (Italy) 6-1, 6-2.

The unlucky Smallbone was again on the losing side in the ladies’ doubles decider. This event was won by the number one Surrey county pair of Philippa Coates and Julia Lowis, who beat the Hurlingham Club’s top pairing of Alice Anderson and Smallbone in another close match 7-5, 6-4.

Charron won the mixed doubles with Annabel Watson (Queen’s Club first team) by a walkover when their opponents, Richard Moss (Middlesex) and Alexandra Chong (USA), could not appear on court due to injury.

See Friday’s Rye Observer for the full article and more pictures.