13th November, 2021

Finals Week heading for a dramatic crescendo as semi-finals kick-off

By Sportsbeat

The stage is set for a heart-thumping UK Pro League finale as ten thrilling weeks of tennis come to a dramatic crescendo in Shrewsbury.

Dan Cox, Anton Matusevich, Beth Grey and Eden Silva headline a star-studded semi-final line-up all aiming to emulate Liam Broady and Emma Raducanu in clinching the prestigious crown.

Nine weeks of individual qualifying weeks have culminated in the eagerly-anticipated Finals Week, where the highest ranks stars descend on the Shrewsbury Club to duel it out for men’s and women’s trophies.

And as the Premier League of British tennis – and the only domestic competition for the country’s top professionals – with over half a million pounds of prize money up for grabs across the season, you won’t miss a thing with all the thrills and spills broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv.

The innovative competition has kept tennis fans gripped throughout the season as the likes of Emily Appleton, Eliz Maloney, Julian Cash and Billy Harris have impressed in the individual qualifying weeks.

But none of that quartet will appear in Saturday’s semi-finals after a dramatic five days of tennis in Shropshire.

Three-time week winner Appleton – who dominated the opening months of the competition – slipped to a quarter-final defeat against Silva while Maloney, who finished behind her in second in the overall rankings, was unable to grab a win in the pool stages.

Silva overcame Appleton 6-3, 5-7, 10-6 in the last eight while elsewhere on Thursday, Freya Christie (Below) – who qualified in fifth – beat two-time week runner-up Katie Stresnakova in straight sets.

They were two of four quarter-finals played out on Thursday as in the men’s competition, Matusevich toppled Cash – who both starred in last season’s Finals Week in Weybridge – in similarly emphatic style.

Giles Hussey also beat Isle of Man ace Harris 7-5, 6-4, capping a helter-skelter day of tennis as two of the men’s favourites crashed out.

And the drama continued just 24 hours later, as experienced Grey knocked out Week 8 and 9 winner Lauryn John-Baptiste and Kartal battled past Lily Miyazaki in a champion tie-break.

Suffolk star Henry Patten (Below) also required a tie-break to book his place in the last four, edging past Sean Hodkin 7-5, 5-7, 10-6 in a gripping evening duel.

And in Friday’s other men’s semi-final, it was considerably more straightforward for evergreen Cox – who reached the first round of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 – after beating Jay Clarke 7-6, 6-1.

That completed the line-up for semi-final Saturday and it has all the ingredients for a thriller at the salubrious Shrewsbury Club.

Hussey meets Matusevich in the day’s first last four battle at 11am, followed by Christie against Silva in the afternoon.

Cox then goes up against Patten for a place in the men’s final, while Kartal against Grey rounds off what’s set to be an intriguing day of tennis as the season reaches a climax.

Ten weeks – eight players remain. Who has what it takes to follow in Raducanu’s glittering tennis footsteps and indelibly etch their name into UK Pro League folklore?

With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year.

Written by Will Jennings