Nikhil Nair, James Currie and Sarah Fortescue all won singles and doubles titles as a bumper entry of 36 players contested eight events at the North East Blind and Visually impaired Tennis Regional Series over the weekend at the Northumberland Club, in Jesmond, Newcastle.
This was the third event in the Tennis Foundation Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Regional Series in 2016. Hosted by the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club based at the Northumberland Club, the tournament also saw Fortescue and Paul Ryb earn back to-back B3 Men’s and Women’s Singles titles this year.
After finishing runner-up in the B1 Mixed Singles at the first two regional series events of the year in Sutton and Edgbaston, Nair won all three of his round-robin group matches at the Northumberland Club. They included a 5-3 win over Masuma Ali, as both players advanced to the semi-finals. Dawn Fradgley clinched three tie-breaks to also emerge unbeaten from her round-robin group. Fradgley was defeated 6-3 by Ali in the last four as Ali set up another meeting with Nair, but another close contest resulted in the same outcome as their earlier match and Nair took the B1 title 6-4.
Nair partnered Fradgley to the B1 Mixed Doubles title, the duo beating Ali and Lara Green 6-3 in the final.
Currie reached the last four of the B2 Men’s Singles without dropping a game in his two round-robin matches and progressed from his group along with David Russell. David Deas, one of a number of local players, dropped just two games in his three round-robin matches, those two games coming in Deas’s match against Stephen Hogarth as both players also booked their semi-finals places.
Currie secured a third 4-0, 4-0 to beat Hogarth in the semi-finals and Deas clinched another 4-1, 4-1 win to beat Russell. Deas then became the first player to take a game off Currie in the B2 Singles, but Currie proved to be the dominant player once again and wrapped up a 4-1, 4-0 win in the final to add to his B2 Singles victory in Sutton.
In Edgbaston Currie had challenged Paul Ryb in the B3 Men’s Singles, eventually finishing runner-up. Ryb made it back-to-back B3 Singles titles as he reached the final in the North East after claiming three successive 4-0, 4-0 wins. Stephen Norcott and Stephen Trewick advanced from their round-robin group to join Neil Fradgley and Ryb in the semi-finals, Norcott went on to win the only three games that Ryb dropped in singles competition, but Ryb ultimately showed why he is a three-time National singles champion as he took the North East title 4-1, 4-2.
There was an exciting conclusion to the Visually Impaired Men’s Doubles after Currie and Fradgley and Hogarth and Ryb eased through to the final. The title decider culminated in a tie-break before Currie and Fradgley started to pull away for a 7-6(1) victory.
Fortescue dominated the B3 Women’s Singles, winning two of her four round-robin matches 4-0, 4-0. She dropped just two games in each of her other two matches. They included a 4-1, 4-1 victory over runner-up Gillian Currie, who completed the even with three wins in her four contests. Like Ryb, Fortescue’s victory brought her a second successive B3 Women’s Singles title after her women’s singles victory in Edgbaston.
There was another five-way round-robin competition to decide the B4 Women’s Singles as Rosine Pybus also produced a series of dominant performances to secure a local North East victory. Pybus dropped total of just give games in her four matches, including a 4-0, 4-0 victory over eventual runner-up Minerva Ainsworth.
All four of Pybus’s opponents were involved in at least one deciding match tie-break during their respective contests, including Ainsworth’s tense 0-4, 4-1, (10-7) win over Chanel Quatre, which proved to be the decisive factor in Ainsworth finishing as runner-up.
Ainsworth and Pybus bowed out of the Visually Impaired Women’s Doubles in their very first match as Wendy Glasper and Joanne Turnbull progressed to the final 6-2. Meanwhile, Currie and Fortescue came through their semi-final against Andrea Logan and Quatre 6-4, but they proved much more dominant in the final to defeat Glasper and Turnbull, 6-1, giving Fortescue her second title of the tournament.