By: Stuart Dunn
Anton Matusevich quickly signalled his intent to enjoy a successful week at The Shrewsbury Club by securing an impressive victory on the opening day of UK Pro League Finals Week.
Matusevich overcame Sean Hodkin 6-1, 6-3 to ensure a winning start in Men’s Pool B, a group which also includes James Ward, a member of Great Britain’s winning Davis Cup team in 2015.
“I’m very happy I got through that first match,” said Matusevich, 20. “I think there’s maybe some expectations – 6-1, 6-3 is a good score.
“I was quite happy with the first set. The second set slipped a little bit. I wasn’t too happy with that, but I’m going to hit some balls now, so hopefully get better and better.”
Matusevich, currently 12th in the British men’s rankings, is looking forward to his next group match against the experienced Ward on Wednesday.
He added: “I’ve practiced with him many times. He’s a good guy, he’s got a very good serve, so indoors he’s going to be tricky. I’m looking forward to it though.”
Matusevich enjoys the format of the UK Pro League, with players initially battling it out in a round robin group format. This week’s prestigious event, broadcast live on BT Sports from the Sundorne Road venue’s indoor courts, features 24 players as rising British stars compete alongside more established players.
Eighteen of the players – nine men and nine women – qualified after taking part at UK Pro League tournaments around the country, with six players handed wild cards by event organisers River Media Partners.
“I’m very happy to be back,” said Matusevich, from Kent, who has played at The Shrewsbury Club before. “I very much enjoy the Pro League.
“I haven’t actually played this format before, the five matches in seven days. I’ve always been used to the seven matches in seven days, so this is something new.”
Giles Hussey, one of the players to receive a wild card, made a winning start on opening day, edging a third-set tie-break against Josh Paris 13-11. Next up for Hussey is Jay Clarke, the current British number six, in today’s opening match on Court 1 (1pm).
Emily Appleton, the top ranked women’s player in qualifying, continued her fine form by starting UK Pro League Finals Week with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Nadia Rawson. Beth Grey, 12th in the British women’s rankings, is Appleton’s next opponent today.
The two players to finish second and third in qualifying faced each other as Sonay Kartal got the better of Eliz Maloney 6-1, 7-6.
Today’s other matches include Eden Silva, a Wimbledon mixed doubles quarter finalist in 2019, against Lauryn John-Baptiste, the winner of the final UK Pro League qualifying tournament earlier this month.
James Ward will meet Sean Hodkin in today’s last match on Court 1 from 5.30pm.