Week 3 concluded on Saturday at Gosling Tennis Centre, meaning we are already a quarter of the way through the 2023 UK Pro League calendar! George Loffhagen was crowned the Week 3 Men’s champion, which is his second Week Win and first of this year. Meanwhile, UK Pro League regular Danielle Daley won the week for the first time in the Women’s competition. Daley has competed in 18 UK Pro League Weeks, including the very first week ever held back in 2020. A very well-deserved win. Carry on reading to learn how our two Week Winners triumphed.
Winner Danielle Daley (left) and runner-up Emma Wilson (right) Winner George Loffhagen (right) and runner-up Dan Cox (left)
If you were following Loffhagen’s week at Gosling, you might have assumed he was a shoo-in for the Week Win. He didn’t drop a set on the way to the Finals and in most of his matches he lost only a few games. However, Dan Cox, the other Men’s finalist, could not be counted out. Cox is over 300 places above Loffhagen in ATP ranks, and is much more experienced, being over 10 years Loffhagen’s senior.
However, it was Cox who got off to a shaky start in the Final; an erroneous first game from the 32-year-old handed Loffhagen an immediate break of serve. Starting off on the back foot was not ideal for Cox. His first chance to break back came in the 4th game when Loffhagen was 2-1 up, and Cox had a break point at 40-15. However, a string of unforced errors lost Cox this chance to break at a crucial point in the match. Loffhagen quickly broke Cox’s serve again in the following game and closed out the first set 6-2. The score does not reflect the quality of tennis coming from both sides of the court; the ball was flying about the court with incredible speed, and the precision of Cox’s shots would have easily overcome his previous opponents of the week. Loffhagen, however, had not only the power for a deadly serve and forehand, but the speed and agility to reach the ball when it seemed impossible.
George Loffhagen was competing in his second ever UKPL Final
In the second set, Loffhagen, once again, broke Cox’s serve in the opening game. The next break of serve came again from Loffhagen to go 4-1 up, but Cox immediately broke back. However, Loffhagen was not going to let this be an opportunity for Cox to begin a catch up- another break of serve from Loffhagen kept him firmly in the lead, and now serving for the match. It was a fierce battle until the very end; Cox saved 2 match points, but Loffhagen swept up the win in an impressive 6-2, 6-2.
Keep an eye on George Loffhagen in the coming year- he last won a UKPL week on his debut with us last November. At that point in time he was at an ATP ranking of 1373- now, approximately 3 months later, he has already soared up to 692. A straight-sets win against Dan Cox, who has a current ATP ranking of 408, suggests he is not done rising yet. Loffhagen said when interviewed after the match:
“It was a tough match- Dan’s a good player so I felt like I had to play very well.”
“I enjoy getting 5 guaranteed matches, I think that’s really good. You can try a few things because, say in Futures, if you lose you have to go home, so here there’s a bit more room for experimenting and trying to play in a way that you can get better.”
Now onto Danielle Daley’s incredible win, a wonderful highlight so far of her UKPL journey. 22-year-old Daley had an impressive week. She also didn’t drop a set in her 4 matches leading up to the final, and her 6-1, 6-4 win against Andre Lukosiute in the semi final was particularly noteworthy; Lukosiute was easily the favourite to win, as top seed and sitting over 300 WTA ranks higher than Daley.
In the Final, Daley faced second seed Emma Wilson. A strong first game from Danielle Daley awarded her two break points, but she failed to convert. The first break of serve did, however, come from Daley but for 2-1, and then again for 4-1. Wilson nearly broke back when Daley was serving for the set, but Daley saved a break point and won the first set 6-1. Daley seemed completely in control of the match during the first set. She was making very few errors and was able to push Wilson about the court until her she would make an inevitable error.
Danielle dominated the first set of the Final
However, the tide began to turn in the second set; Wilson was playing better and Daley was making more errors and struggling to return Wilson’s serve as easily. It turned into an extremely even match. Both women were winning their service games and, to highlight just how close it was, when Daley was serving at 2-3 the game went back to deuce 5 times before Daley was able to win it. The first break of serve came from Wilson for 3-5, and she continued the momentum to win the next game without dropping a point, winning the set 6-3.
Unsurprisingly, the subsequent match tiebreak was equally as tight. Neither player had ever won a UKPL Week before, despite competing numerous times, and both were in touching distance. Neither one managed to move more than one point ahead all the way until Daley managed to go 8-6 up, a crucial point to win. Daley converted the first match point which shortly followed to win the match: 6-1, 3-6, 10-7.
“It was a difficult match because I’ve actually never beaten Emma before, so this was a first time win.”
“I’m very pleased, I feel like its been a long journey over the last few years, and playing the UK Pro Leagues has helped so much, so to be able to come and win one has been really really good.”
Loffhagen is planning for a few weeks of practise next, meanwhile Daley is heading straight to South Africa for ITF W25 and W60 events.
Missed the finals? Watch them on demand over at ukproleague.tv
See the results from the week in full here