Luke Savill celebrates his final victory over Sam Wilson (picture by Alan Man)

Payet and Savill win under-21 titles

Author:
Toby Oliver and Paul Stimpson

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Denise Payet and Luke Savill won the biggest singles titles of their careers by claiming the under-21 men’s and women’s singles gold medals on day one of the Mark Bates Ltd National Championships, both upgrading from their silver medals last year

On a busy day at the David Ross Sports Village in Nottingham, attention now turns to the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles groups, followed by the Mixed Doubles, which plays to a finish tonight.

All pictures by Alan Man – see more on our Flickr page

Men’s under-21

Luke Savill won the under-21 men’s title, beating Sam Wilson 4-0 (12-10, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9) in the final.

It saw two very different styles come face-to-face with Wilson’s defensive backhand coming under serious scrutiny from Savill’s looping forehand.

Savill combined his attacking shots with delicate, short touches which were too much for Wilson to handle.

In the semi-finals, Savill and Wilson both saw off tricky opponents. Savill beat the in-form Joe Cope 4-1 (11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Wilson’s win over Zak Cantor was a very entertaining match with Cantor’s attack verses Wilson’s defence. After splitting the first two games, Wilson became a brick wall, with everything Cantor threw at him coming back – including one amazing return from the other side of the barrier with Cantor only able to watch the ball fly past him. The final score was 4-1 (11-9, 1-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

Savill, who has often been runner-up to Tom Jarvis through the age groups, said: “It’s the first time I’ve won a national singles title, so I’m over the moon. I’ve been second a lot but never first – thanks to Tom.

“I just focused on every point at a time and I’m really happy with how I played.

“In the semi-final, it was a tough match against Joe. We live together and are good friends and we know each other’s games so well. After getting through that, I felt very confident going into the final.”

Silver medallist Wilson said: “I’m over the moon to get a silver at my first senior nationals. I didn’t really play well enough in the final to pull it out. I probably didn’t have enough in me, but congratulations to Luke, he played really well.”

In the quarter-finals, two of the four seeds were knocked out. Cope dispatched third seed Josh Bennett 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9), not letting Bennett settle and picking him off with clinical shot-making.

Cantor beat fourth seed Ethan Walsh in five sets. The left-hander took the first three before dropping the fourth. After winning the fifth, he was elated to make it to the semi-final.

Zak Cantor

Wilson had a tough time against talented youngster Louis Price. The second seed came through 4-2 (13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5) in the face of a comeback by the young Bristolian.

Savill managed to comfortably navigate his quarter-final opponent, Shayan Siraj 4-1 (13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5).

Shayan Siraj

In the group stage, Cantor topped group 1 after dismissing James Smith 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 14-12), both players having beaten Naphat Boonyaprapa.

Group 4 was a tight affair with Price sneaking through. After Price beat David Gofton, he had to beat James Hobson to top the group. The 15-year-old came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 (11-4, 5-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-9).

James Hobson

In group 3, Cope came out on top with two impressive performances against Israel Awolaja and George Hazell, beating them both 3-0 to progress to the knockouts.

Group 2 went according to seeding, Siraj beating Joshua Weatherby and Amirul Hussain in four sets.

Women’s under-21

Denise Payet after her final victory

Denise Payet won the title, beating Mollie Patterson 4-1 (12-10, 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7). In a closely contested match, Payet just had enough quality to win most of the big points.

Payet came through a marathon semi-final against Charlotte Bardsley. After four sets, Bardsley was 3-1 up and had three match points in the fifth. However, Payet dug deep to save those and win the next three sets to take the match on her second match point 4-3 (6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-9).

In the other semi-final, second seed Patterson came through 4-1 (17-15, 11-1, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4) against Jasmin Wong.

Payet, beaten by Tin-Tin Ho last year, said: “I feel amazing. Last year, I lost in the final and didn’t play well – I was quite nervous because it was by first final at this event.

“So I was glad I was able to bring everything I had this year because last year I didn’t give my full potential.

“My emotions in the semi-final were so up and down. I was happy, angry, even ready to cry at one point. I was shaking after the match. I was happy I could fight my way through that and it surprised me even, because I can let my emotions get the better of me.”

Patterson said: “I’m very pleased with my performance, I feel like I can take a lot from it. I was confident and positive in the way I played today.

“I’ve got three or four more years at this age group, and hopefully next year I can come away with the gold.”

Amy Marriott

Payet came through a tricky quarter-final against Amy Marriott. After winning the first set, Payet was put on the back foot as Marriott claimed the second. However, Payet’s quality shone through with last year’s finalist winning 4-1 (11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9).

Bardsley dismissed Mya Sultan in emphatic style. She won 4-0 (11-5, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7) to set up her semi-final with Payet.

Wong came through blockbuster with Anaya Patel to get through to the semi-final. After Patel took the fifth set, 13-11, she was one set away from the win. In the sixth set, Wong saved two match points to take it into a decider. The fourth seed won 4-3 (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-13, 14-12, 11-8).

Second seed Patterson came through a tricky match with Mari Baldwin. The 17-year-old came through 4-2 (11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5) to set up her semi-final with Wong.

In the women’s group stage, Marriott came through a titanic battle with Gemma Kerr to top group 2. After both players beat Lois Perryman, it was a straight knockout to qualify. Every set was close, with Marriott winning 3-2 (12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9).

Gemma Kerr

Group 3 saw Sultan finish top after winning both matches in five sets. Sultan went two sets down to Jodie Morris, after which she mounted an epic comeback, winning 16-14 in the deciding set. The 19-year-old then saved a match point in the fourth set against Tiana Dennison, winning 3-2 (11-7, 5-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-7)

Groups 1 and 4 went according to seeding with Baldwin and Patel coming out on top. In group 1, Baldwin had a close match with Lisa Rinnhofer, winning 3-1 (12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6). Patel had a tougher time in group 4, having to beat Millie Rogove 3-2 (11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 5-11, 11-8) to get through.

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