19-year-old Richard Bloomfield completed an excellent week at the
Men's $15,000 Futures in Southampton beating South African, Wesley
2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 to take his first senior title.
Bloomfield ranked 598 was not seeded and in fact had to qualify
for the event despatching a host of higher ranked players along the
way to taking the title.
First up was fellow Brit David Sherwood who went down 7-6(8),
2-6, 4-6 in a tough encounter. This set up a clash with the 4th seed
Emin Agaev from Azerbaijan. Bloomfield again dug deep and went
through 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
The biggest challenge though came next in the shape of number 1
seed Rik De Voest ranked some 425 places above. Ignoring the ranking
difference, the youngster from Norfolk swept him aside taking the
match in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Semi-final day approached and all that stood in the way of a
final appearance was Swede Marcus Sarstrand, the conqueror of
Britain's Mark Hilton in an earlier round. Bloomfield showed little
respect however removing the Swede
7-6(5), 6-3 to advance to his
first final and a showdown with Moodie.
A special mention must go to Welshman Ian Flanagan who obtained
his first world ranking points in Southampton by making the
quarter-final stage and bowing out to the eventual runner-up.
Other British representatives in Southampton were Delgado and
Hilton who made the 2nd round, whilst Childs, Sherwood, Bamford,
Auckland, Kiernan, Layne and Goodall all exited at the first round
17.02.03 - Report by Colin