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June 1, 2004

Willcox And Graham Claim Titles In Cardiff

From: The Lawn Tennis Association, UK - Jun 1, 2004

National Deaf Tennis, Cardiff

Top seed and defending champion Peter Willcox (Tiverton, Devon) won his fourth National title on Monday when he defeated third seed Anthony Sinclair (Crawfordsburn, Northern Ireland) 6-4, 6-1 in the Men's Singles final at the 2004 National Deaf Tennis Championships at the Welsh National Tennis Centre in Cardiff.

Willcox, who won his third National title last year, broke Sinclair in the eighth game of the first set to give himself a chance of serving for the set. However, Sinclair managed to break back immediately before being unable to hold his very next service game.

In the second set Willcox broke Sinclair's opening service game to go 2-0 up, but two-time former champion Sinclair, the National champion in 2001 and 2002, broke back immediately. However, the Northern Ireland player came under ever-increasing fire from Willcox, who went on to win the next four games, claiming the match on the second of three match points.

In the Women's Singles final reigning champion Catherine Graham (Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire) won her second National title, beating Beth Simmons (Marcham, Oxfordshire) 6-3, 6-2, having overcome Simmons's twin sister Alex in last year's final. After Graham had broken serve in the seventh game of the first set she claimed the next two games to close the set out. In the second set the 21-year-old Leeds University student raced in to a 5-1 lead, but was then broken herself when serving for the match. However, Simmons was unable to maintain the comeback and a double fault at match point down sealed her fate.

After Sinclair and Willcox had clashed in the Men's Singles final, they paired up to win the Men's Doubles final, the top seeds defeating second seeds Daniel Tunstall (St Andews, Scotland) and Darren O'Donnell (Stocksport, Cheshire) 6-3, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Alex and Beth Simmons took a one set lead in the Ladies Doubles final against defending champions Graham and Sharon Templeman (Winsford, Cheshire). However, Graham and Templeman came back strongly to eventually secure a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

In the Mixed Doubles final Tunstall and Alex Simmons turned around a 4-1 second set deficit to defeat Sinclair and Graham 6-4, 7-5.

Bryan Whalley (North Harrow, Middlesex) had a doubly successful weekend winning both the Men's Consolation Singles final and the Men's Over 35 Singles. Meanwhile, after some promising performances from a number of younger junior players, Harry Allen (Narbeath, Pembrokeshire) emerged as victor in the B Division Singles, defeating Jamie King (Southampton, Hampshire).

While the fight for National titles on the Cardiff clay courts over the Bank Holiday Weekend has been intense, the competition has also played an important part in team preparations ahead of the 10th European Deaf Tennis Championships in Pau, France in July and the 2004 Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, in January.

[31.05.2004 - Report by Marshall Thomas]

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