Joshua wins his first Under-9 national event at Solihull

TENNIS: BATCHWOOD HPC (high performance centre) player Joshua Ben secured his first Under-9 Summer National Tour win with a dominating display at the Solihull Open LTA Grade Two Tournament

In the knockout 32-draw, Joshua reversed a recent losing streak against Ali Habib in the first round 7-3 7-4 before overcoming the hard-serving Finley Briggs 11-9 7-4.

The variety of different challenges continued in the quarter-finals with the heavy slice of Kieran O’Driscoll Pabla, beaten 8-6 7-4.

Joshua maintained consistent, positive hitting and concentration to beat the renowned consistency of Middlesex player Nikolai Marin 7-4 7-2 in the semi-final.

Meanwhile in a strong top half of the draw, St Albans boy Oliver Tarvet was having another fine tournament to set up an eye-catching semi-final against top seed Johnathon Price from Essex. Both boys found their mark early on to share the first two sets one a piece before Oliver produced his best serves of the tournament to help close out the match 7-5 3-7 7-2.

In an entertaining all-Batchwood final Oliver took the first set 7-3. Several successive good shots were needed to create an opening and Joshua took his opportunities to come into the net to set up some fine volley winners to take the second 7-3.

The deciding set was enjoyed by a large crowd with Joshua maintaining form to the end and crossing the line 7-5 with a cross-court winner.

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It was another successful weekend for the St Albans club with other Batchwood performance players Kade Neveling finishing in 6th place and Gugan Muralitharan in 26th place.

Joshua’s win compliments a runners-up spot at the Nottingham International and with several other strong finishes should secure a place in the end of season Grade One final at West Hants in August.