Jonathan Gray hopes to better his best ever run in an ITF futures tournament after booking his place in today’s quarter finals of the $15,000 Aegon GB Pro-Series event at The Shrewsbury Club.
Gray, a 19-year-old from Leeds, is looking forward to a last eight clash against in-form German player Oscar Otte, who won a similar tournament in Tipton last week.
Grateful to be handed a wild card to take part in Shrewsbury, Gray progressed from the second round after his opponent, No 1 seed Germain Gigounon, retired owing to illness. The teenage Brit was leading 4-1 in the second set after taking the opener 7-5 against the Belgian, who is ranked 277 in the world having been as high as 185.
“He had to retire, which is a shame,” said Gray. “I think he had a bit of a lingering illness, but I was pleased with the way I played and took care of stuff on my side of the court. I was pleased with my performance.
“I’m really pleased to be in the last eight. Good emotions, really happy, so, yes, very good.”
Encouraged by his form, Gray has now equalled his performance in Glasgow a fortnight ago when he also reached the last eight, beating the much higher-ranked German Yannick Maden, last year’s Shrewsbury champion, en route.
Gray, who expects a tough match against No 7 seed Otte, added: “I haven’t come to the quarter finals too many times. My first one was in Glasgow two weeks ago and this is my second, so hopefully I’ll be able to go a step further, but we’ll see and take it match by match.”
Marcus Willis, the No 5 seed, is the only other British player through to today’s quarter finals after a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 victory over American John Lamble.
Willis will now face Yannick Vandenbulcke after he recovered from a set down to beat 18-year-old Brit Ryan James Storrie, who came close to toppling another Belgian after so impressively knocking out No 2 seed Clement Geens in round one.
Storrie took the first set on a tie break but Vandenbulcke hit back to win the next two, both 6-4, in a match which lasted nearly two and three quarter hours, easily the longest of the day.
Today’s two other quarter finals will see Slovakian Filip Horansky, seeded four, take on Spanish player Andres Artunedo Martinavarr, the No 6 seed, while two unseeded players will go head to head when German Tobias Simon – who beat British qualifier Scott Duncan 6-2, 7-6 – faces Jonathan Mridha, from Sweden, who ended the hopes of Italian Andrea Pellegrino, the No 8 seed, in straight sets.
Today’s quarter final matches start at 11.30am and admission for spectators to The Shrewsbury Club to enjoy the action is free.