8:47 am, 26th October, 2021

Lauryn John-Baptiste believes the unique UK Pro League format can be a springboard for stardom

Lauryn John-Baptiste believes the unique UK Pro League format can be a springboard for stardom after battling from behind to clinch the Week 8 title in Aldershot.

John-Baptiste, 22, came from one set down to beat Katy Dunne in nerve-jangling super tie-break and rack up a haul of 18 ranking points to propel herself up the table.
The Premier League of British tennis, the innovative UK Pro League is the only competition for the UK’s top professionals and brings them together for nine weeks of action to qualify for November’s Finals Week.
And jubilant John-Baptiste, who won the final 3-6, 6-3, 10-3, said: “The UK Pro League is a really good opportunity to not only play at a good level, but also play a lot of matches.


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“They do a lot of work and it’s a really good opportunity to play the top players in England.
“I definitely want to keep going – I’m really happy with this week, happy that I got to the final and happy that I was able to close it out and win. I thought it was a pretty tough match – Katy’s a really good player and she’s really solid.”
“I think I got better and improved throughout the week as I started to work on some things.
“I definitely want to keep going, play some more of these tournaments, get better and improve.”

John-Baptiste lost against Dunne in her first pool match of the week but turned on the style when it mattered to cap a gruelling victory.
The East London ace toppled Katarina Stresnakova and league leader Emily Appleton to navigate her way to the final before downing Dunne in Hampshire to seal a week of tennis to savour.

Dunne, 26, was playing her first competitive tournament for 10 months and wants to use her long-awaited return as a platform for hitting the international heights.


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She said: “I’m really happy about the whole week.
“It’s really nice to be back – it was a mixture of emotions. I was nervous as you don’t know what to expect in terms of execution, but I’ve really enjoyed the week and I feel good.
“I’m going to take a few days off, have a couple of weeks of training and then play some ITF [International Tennis Federation] events.”

The UK Pro League has a lucrative prize pot of half a million pounds and is broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv.

And in the men’s competition, George Houghton was the player who shined brightest in front of the cameras as he too fought from behind to beat Dan Cox and grab his first title.
The Guildford star toppled his experienced opponent 10-8 in a super tie-break thriller after losing the first set 7-6.
The 18-point haul safely secured his place in November’s Finals Week in Shrewsbury and Houghton, 23, said:


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“The final could have gone either way – it came down to two points at the end and I was very lucky to get over the line. “I’m happy with the week – I’ve played a lot of close matches and it’s quite nice to come through on top of them. “It’s by far the best I’ve done – it’s really nice to have a successful week before going away now.
“It’s great [to qualify for Finals Week]. I came here with the aim to qualify for Shrewsbury, so it’s very nice to come out on the other end rather than leaving it in other people’s hands.
“It should be a good week and I’m looking forward to it.”

Cox, whose 15 points take him up to second in the overall standings behind league leader Billy Harris, added:

“I’m pretty pleased with the week – I didn’t really know how it was going to go at all.
“I’m pretty pleased with getting to the final and am pretty happy.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Nadia Rawson received a walkover against Appleton – who withdrew with an eye injury – to finish third, while Scott Duncan beat Vijay Prashanth to do the same and claim 12 overall ranking points.