German ace Anna-Lena Friedsam, the former world number 45 on the comeback trail from injury, could be one to watch in the $25,000 Aegon GB Pro-Series at The Shrewsbury Club as main draw matches get underway today.
The 23-year-old has come through two qualifying rounds at the Sundorne Road venue without dropping a set and proved too strong for French player Margot Yerolymos en route to a 6-2, 6-1 victory yesterday.
Friedsam was ranked in the top 50 in the world as recently as August 2016. That was the year in which she reached the last 16 of the Australian Open and the last 32 at Wimbledon before suffering an injury after the US Open, but she recently returned to competitive tennis.
Richard Joyner, the tournament director, said Friedsam, who will face French player Elixane Lechemia in the first round of the main draw today, was an exciting addition to this week’s Shrewsbury line up.
“She’s come through her two qualifying matches fairly comfortably,” said Joyner. “She beat a player with a world ranking of 677 in the second qualifying round and Anna-Lena has just got her ranking back.
“She’s 1,028 at the moment, but it’s early days for her. She also qualified for the main draw of a tournament in Nantes in France last week and will now be wanting to make some indents into main draws to help her get her ranking hurtling back towards near where she was.
“I would certainly say she’s a dangerous player in the draw for anyone.”
As for her impressive credentials, Joyner added: “She was playing all the Grand Slams and lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the last 16 of the Australian Open in the third set.
“She’s a quiet girl, very polite, and she used to play some $25,000 tournaments in Britain before she hurtled up the rankings.”
Dutch player Lesley Kerkhove, this week’s No 1 seed, will face Shilin Xu of China in the first round today. Kerkhove, currently ranked 156 in the world, reached the Pro-Series semi-finals in Shrewsbury in 2015.
Rising British star Katie Swan will begin her quest for a second successive $25,000 title following her recent victory at a tournament in Portugal against Danish player Karen Barritza.
There will be two all British clashes with Freya Christie, runner-up in Shrewsbury in 2015, drawn against Harriet Dart while Eden Silva will face Alicia Barnett.
Today’s first round matches in the main draw for a tournament held in association with local company Morris & Co Homes will start at 10.30am with all the players in action.
The draw was held during a civic reception at The Shrewsbury Club last night.
Admission is free for spectators to watch a host of up and coming stars throughout the week, including Saturday’s singles final.