Sargent taking the positives from World Championship exit

For Felicity Sargent, her debut on the world stage was a learning experience. Picture: Mike Baker
For Felicity Sargent, her debut on the world stage was a learning experience. Picture: Mike Baker
  • Baptism of fire for Sargent
  • Jones makes smooth progress
  • Favourite Fahey looks ominous

Felicity Sargent from Combrook lost in straight sets to former US Open champion Tara Lumley in the Women’s World Real Tennis Championships at Leamington.

However, she remained upbeat during a hard-hitting match and took the positives from her performance against the top under-21 in the world.

“It was a real lesson in courtcraft,” said Sargent after her 6-1, 6-1 defeat to the eighth seed.

“Tara is an outstanding player and lovely stroke-maker and I learned so much from the way she kept a beautiful length and stepped in to volley on any loose shots.

“Her mum Penny was world champion six times so she’s been very well taught.

“I was pleased with how I served and now I’m hoping to do well in the Plate singles tournament.

“I’m also thrilled that my partner and I have won our opening matches in the Handicap Doubles Championship.”

Felicity and partner Eve Shenkman from Manchester, also 17, won all three of their round-robin matches in the handicap event, dropping only seven games throughout and are tipped to reach the final stages.

Former world champion Sally Jones from Newbold Pacey reached the last 16 of the singles with a straight-sets victory over Jane Weaver from Pillerton Priors but will face a tough battle next time out against sixth seed Harriet Ingham, a squash international from Hampton Court.

Weaver, a former dentist who now volunteers at Upton House the National Trust property beside Edge Hill, was one of the first women to join the Leamington Real Tennis Club when it started admitting female members after 162 years as an all-male bastion.

She had earlier survived a thriller in her opening match, beating clubmate Zoe Morrisey from Leamington 6-5, 6-4.

“I really love my real tennis” said Weaver.

“It’s a really strategic game and not just about hitting the ball very hard.

“Even though this is the World Championships with the best players in the world, it’s got a wonderfully friendly atmosphere and the Leamington Club has made us really welcome.”

Julie Levy, also from Leamington, outlasted the gritty Katy Weston from Hardwick, Oxfordshire, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 but predictably bowed out to the third seed, six-time world champion Penny Lumley.

The world champion and favourite Claire Fahey, 24, who last week retained her British Women’s Open title with a hard-hitting victory over her elder sister Sarah, looked sharp and mobile as she cantered through her first round match, beating Linda Sheraton-Davis without loss of a game, and the other seeds all came through comfortably.

The Women’s World Championships run through until Sunday.