21st January, 2022

Gray, Vasilescu, Kartal and Peniston progress through the week 1 Finals.

A very mature performance from Alastair Gray denies what would have been Matusevich’s 23rd consecutive win at the UK Pro League.

The 23-year-old TCU alumni took charge early in the first set to break the 2021 UKPL Champion at 3-1 and didn’t lose his focus holding all his service games. The second set mirrored the first, with a solid, consistent, and dependable Gray who broke Matusevich twice and progressed to his second UKPL final in just under an hour, winning 6-2, 6-1 with an incredible 83% of first serve points won and 8 aces.

On the women’s side, Vasilescu managed a tremendous fight back against Katie Stresnakova and reached the final of week 1 in her UKPL debut winning 2-6, 6-3, 10-6.

Stresnakova was very clinical in the first set, not letting anything pass Vasilescu, who only earnt her first break point early in the second set. After breaking Stresnakova twice to get the second set, an early lead in the match tie-break didn’t worry Vasilescu, who managed with incredible grit to find her best tennis when she needed it most. Her determination paid off as she completed an outstanding come back and heading into the final.

Vasilescu will face the UK 2021 Champion Sonay Kartal in tomorrow’s showdown, who has earnt her spot after a tremendous battle with JET Academy player Eliz Maloney.

The two former UKPL weekly winners, faced each other in a match of long rallies with Kartal coming through victorious and now competing in her fifth UKPL Final. After a first set of very fine margins that could have gone either way, the 19-year-old showed a different gear in the second set, pushing the contest to a set tie-break. Maloney did secure an early break to go up 4-2, but Kartal flipped the switch and once again brought the power-led attacking display she is capable of to win 12-10.

Kartal and Vasilescu previously met in the week, with Kartal beating the guest player 6-2, 6-1.

The last semi-final of the day saw the highest-ranked player in the draw, Ryan Peniston, win 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 against Aidan McHugh.

The 26-year-old took his time to warm into the game, losing the first set to a very focused McHugh. Some frustration from McHugh in that looked like he had the match in control with a set and break up in the second set, wasn’t quite able to extend his advantage and Peniston gradually start to find his way back into the match. Peniston then clinched his comeback with an excellent shot down the line to break at 4-4 and by holding serve in the next game. In the decider, Peniston kept his calm and with the help of a couple of forced errors from McHugh, bagged his second UKPL final since 2020.

Peniston will join Gray in the UKPL week 1 final, which will be their second encounter at the UKPL after facing each other in the second week of the 2020 event, where Gray stormed pass Peniston 6-4, 6-2.