Tassell wins after a fight

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Rye Lawn Tennis Club’s 88th Annual Invitation Tournament, held under mostly blue skies last Friday July 31 to Monday August 3, saw some fierce battles for glory on the club’s eight immaculate grass courts. With a strong international field from France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovenia and New Zealand, the British contestants were put to the test – and rose to the challenge.

The men’s singles final was a South of England affair, as Kent county player and 2013 champion Jonathan Tassell took on fifteen-year-old Londoner Brandon Drew. With some fierce rallying from both sides and great tactical play, Tassell’s experience won the day – but not without some determined opposition from the talented teenager.

Karen Hazzard (left) on her way to victory
Karen Hazzard (left) on her way to victory

In the ladies’ singles, after a close semi-final against her doubles partner Josefin Hjertquist, Karin Lusnic from Slovenia faced Karen Hazzard in the final. Hurlingham coach Hazzard, who had also beaten her doubles partner Annabel Watson in the semis, put in a great performance to take the title. Hjertquist and Lusnic then joined forces to take on Hazzard and Watson in a hard-hitting ladies’ doubles final, from which Lusnic and her partner this time emerged victorious 7-5 6-2.

The tightest match was a fast and furious men’s doubles, in which singles champion Tassell teamed up with former New Zealand international and previous winner Mark Hadley, against tennis-coach-turned-banker Rupert de Laszlo and Middlesex county player Harry Skinner. Some nifty net play saw de Laszlo and Skinner come through to win 6-4 6-4.

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The men’s doubles final was a fast and furious affair

In the last match of the day, the mixed doubles final, Mark Hadley and his partner Annabel Watson took revenge for their previous losses, with a victory over de Laszlo and Hjertquist. All the matches were played before a very appreciative crowd, which was treated to some fine displays of tennis. The action at Rye Lawn Tennis Club continues with the three-day Junior Tournament until Friday, the Closed Tournament on Saturday and the Mixed Doubles on Sunday.

Photos: Ray Prewer

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