Sarah Beth Grey battled her way into Wimbledon qualifying on a busy day of action in Roehampton.
Grey, who benefits from the LTA’s NTC Access programme, providing cost-free access to courts on all three surfaces, coaching, trainers and the LTA’s tournament bonus scheme, had a tough task against 27th seed Olivia Gadecki.
Yet the Liverpudlian demonstrated all her grit and determination, battling past the Australian 5-7 7-5 7-6 [10-7] to reach the second round.
She said: "There’s a lot of excitement, relief. It was a lot of hard work, that whole match. I’m just really happy to have got through that.
“I think my physicality is my big strength with my tennis. Because I don’t have the advantage of being a tall, big hitter, I have to maximise in other areas. I always back myself that I can go the distance in matches. But, nonetheless, it is exhausting and I’ll need to do a good recovery afternoon to be ready.”
Meanwhile there was a strong display from Ella McDonald, who pushed former top-ten star Coco Vandeweghe right to the end in a thrilling contest.
16-year-old McDonald was beaten 5-7 6-1 7-6 [10-8] by the two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist, though took plenty of positives from her performance.
McDonald commented: “I just went into the match wanting to have no regrets, just playing my tennis and playing a great game really. I didn’t expect myself to do that well to be honest!
“She [Vandeweghe] played really well. I just wanted to match her and I thought I did that pretty well considering. I’m really pleased with how the performance went today.”
There was also an encouraging performance from Mimi Xu, who was defeated 6-4 6-3 by Hanna Chang.
Xu is one of many promising players emerging from the LTA’s National Academy set-up at Loughborough, led by lead coach Nick Cavaday and his team who provide a professional training environment for players aged between 13 and 18, giving them the best chance to move on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme and push into the top 100 of the world rankings.
14-year-old Xu was pleased with her efforts, saying: “It was about embracing it. I really enjoyed it. There were always going to be a few nerves in the process leading up to it, but you have to accept that you are going to be nervous and find ways to conquer that.”
In her opening round match Maia Lumsden was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Kathinka von Deichmann, though was pleased to be at the event as she continues her recovery from long covid.
“It was obviously something I didn’t expect, to be here. It was last-minute that my protected ranking got me in so for sure it’s a bonus just to be here and playing in it,” said Lumsden.
“Even at the start of the year, I probably wouldn’t have thought that I’d have been able to play the grass court season or this event.”
Elsewhere, Talia Neilson Gatenby was defeated 6-2 6-2 by Jamie Loeb, while Eden Silva was beaten 6-1 7-5 to Catherine Harrison.
Meanwhile, Anna Brogan was defeated 7-6 (2) 6-4 by the experienced Storm Sanders, while Ranah Stoiber was beaten 6-3 6-7 (5) 7-5 by Katerina Zavatska.
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website