Brandon Murphy reckons mental fortitude and an ability to win ugly fired him to a stunning Week 2 victory on his UK Pro League debut.
Murphy, 21, beat experienced Luke Johnson 6-4, 7-6 in Saturday’s men’s final to cap a week to remember. He toppled long-term UK Pro League campaigner Billy Harris in a thrilling quarter-final and after breezing past Ewan Moore on Friday, finished his week in style with another straight sets victory.
And Murphy, who battled back from a break down in the first set against Johnson, 27, at Sheffield’s Graves Tennis Centre, said:
“I didn’t start very well but I thought mentally, I was very good and very strong. I was a break down at the start but I clawed it back – I wasn’t playing the best tennis but mentally, I thought it was one of the best performances I’ve had for a while.
“Mentally I could have let that first set slip away from me, but I just focused on the basics, the bread and butter, clawed it back and got a bit lucky.
“In the second set the momentum was flowing, I took my chances when needed before we played a good tie-break.
“It’s been an unbelievable week for me.”
The premier league of British tennis, the innovative UK Pro League is the only season-long domestic competition for the UK’s top professionals and brings them together for seven weeks of action to qualify for the UK Pro League Finals Week in November. Murphy racked up five matches in a week at the Yorkshire venue and after a year without playing much tennis, added:
“Even if I didn’t win any matches I’m guaranteed matches here, and that’s the best way of practice.
“Not many places do that – this is the third year [of the UK Pro League] and all the players that play really benefit from it.”
Murphy reigned supreme in the men’s Saturday showpiece while in the women’s event, it was Elena Malygina who was crowned Week 2 winner. The Estonian ace blew away Sofia Samavati 6-1, 6-4 in the final to complete a searing week of tennis.
Malygina, 21, lost just one match all week in Sheffield and dropped a total of just seven games in the process, beating Week 1 winner Arina Vasilescu and Anna Brogan in the quarter and semi-finals.
That teed up a mouth-watering clash against Samavati on Saturday and having met three times already in recent weeks, it was Malygina who grabbed the win to clinch a crucial 18 ranking points in the standings.
The UK Pro League next heads to Welwyn Garden City’s Gosling Tennis Centre and ahead of Week 3 kicking off on February 20, Malygina said:
“I played really good. [Me and Sofia] have played in each recent tournament and I’m leading 3-1 now, so that’s good. I liked my serve, my forehand and I’m happy with everything this week.
“I really like the Pro League format – it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you play five matches and that’s good for experience and playing different players.
“Every day you have a match – you need to be in shape, which is really good.”