Thursday 26 April 2018

Racquets: Bowtell sights on spot in junior top 100

Paddy Hickey

RISING star Amy Bowtell has opted to play in a mix of senior and junior events up to the end of the year, despite her stunning run in last week's ITF Women's Circuit event in London.

Taking part in only her second adult world-ranking tournament this year, the 16-year-old from Greystones surpassed all expectations by battling her way to the hard-court final.

En route to the decider, Bowtell dumped out the No 2 and No 3 seeds, Australia's Isabella Holland and Britain's Jocelyn Rae, before eventually coming up short against No 8 seed, Tara Moore of Britain. In the process, the Irish player earned eight world-ranking points, which is set to see her enter the adult world ladder for the first time next Monday at approximately 945.

"As well as senior, I'm going to keep playing junior and try to get my ranking into the top 100 in order to get into the Grand Slams next year," explained Bowtell, who returns to U-18 competition in next week's Grade 4 event in Porto, Portugal.

"I'll be playing some ladies Futures events, so when I've finished playing junior (2011), I won't be starting from scratch. Up to the end of this year, I hope to play 10 to 14 weeks of tourna-ments, with 70-80pc of those juniors."

Bowtell, who has a world U-18 ranking of 230, is the second seed in next week's clay-court event in Portugal's second city behind Russia's 203-ranked Ekaterina Nikitina.

In the wake of her five-star sortie into the adult ranks, she accepts the pressure will be on her in a big way.

"There's always more pressure when you've had a few good results and are seeded," she said. "However, I'll just have to put that behind me and play every match as well as I can. Over the last few months I've worked a lot tactically and physically to play on clay. I enjoy playing on clay, because I'm more confident from the training we've done leading up to the clay season."

Recalling last week's events, Bowtell said: "I think it's fair to say I surprised myself and a lot of others with my results. I went to the tournament as the No 2 on the qualifying list, so it was fantastic to get to the final and to pick up eight ranking points. I was really pleased to realise that I can compete with some of the higher ranked ladies."

Particularly encouraging for the Wicklow native was the killer instinct that she displayed during the London event. "Up to last week, I had been struggling to finish off opponents when I had the chance," she explained.

"But at Chiswick, I really tried to work on that which I believe is why I made it to the final in my first main draw of a ladies Futures."

Irish Independent

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