Marcus Willis is the last remaining British player in the $15,000 Aegon GB Pro-Series tournament at The Shrewsbury Club ahead of today’s semi-finals.
The popular Willis, watched by a big crowd as he beat Belgian player Yannick Vandenbulcke in the quarter finals yesterday afternoon, faces another busy day.
Not only does he have a last four clash against Slovakian Filip Horansky to look forward to – that will be the first match on court at 11.30am – for Willis is also through to the doubles final with Jack Molloy.
They will meet fellow British pair Scott Clayton and Luke Johnson in a match scheduled to start at the Sundorne Road venue this afternoon at 4.30pm.
Willis, yet to drop a set in three singles matches in Shrewsbury this week, delivered another strong performance to get the better of Vandenbulcke 7-5, 6-3.
He said: “I’m happy with the win and happy with the way that I gritted that one out. It was a very tough match because he beat me a couple of weeks ago, so I was really happy with the way I performed.”
Willis, who hit the headlines by reaching the second round at Wimbledon last summer, added he’s enjoying his latest experience of playing in Shrewsbury and is pleased with the support he’s receiving from local tennis fans.
He said: “It’s always nice here, they’ve got a good event. It’s nice to play well in front of people rather than lose, so it’s good. It’s my third time here and I feel very welcome.”
Standing between Willis, the tournament’s No 5 seed, and a place in the final is fourth seed Horansky, who, at 417 in the world, is currently just above Willis in the rankings.
Horansky held his nerve to come through an entertaining quarter final against Spanish player Andres Artunedo Martinavarr 7-6, 7-6.
The second semi-final will be between in-form German Oscar Otte and unseeded Swedish player Jonathan Mridha.
Otte ended the exciting run of British wild card Jonathan Gray, beating the 19-year-old from Leeds 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter finals, while qualifier Mridha recovered from losing the opening set to get the better of German Tobias Simon 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.
Otte said: “It was a good match. I feel the whole week very comfortable here on the surface, like last week. I haven’t dropped a set until now so I’m quite confident.”
Otte, seeded seven this week and enjoying playing in Shrewsbury for the first time in his career, was the winner of a similar $15,000 tournament in Tipton last week – where he also claimed victory in the doubles – and he’s now targeting another title.
He added: “My confidence at the moment is really high and I think the head is a really important factor in tennis.
“Now my goal is also to win the tournament here, that’s what I came for. I’m not going to a tournament and say ‘okay, we’ll see how many rounds I can make.’ I will always try to win the whole competition.”
There is free admission for spectators to enjoy both today’s singles semi-finals and also the doubles final.