Phillips’ tennis success story enters another chapter

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FELPHAM’S 15-year-old tennis ace Lisa Phillips has continued her sharp rise up the rankings.

She is now the youngest 5.1-rated player in Sussex and one of the top-rated junior GB players after securing enough qualifying wins this season to step up to the grade.

Since the beginning of the year, Phillips has had some extremely difficult matches. Her six qualifying wins have all been against older players with 5.2 ratings.

One of the toughest matches was at Hatfield against Lisa Losseva, the Surrey under-18 county closed runner-up who trains full-time.

Phillips had played Losseva twice before and won only one game. But this time she showed how much she has improved with a nail-biting 6-4, 2-6, 10-3 win in a two-hour match.

Phillips also secured a convincing win against one of the fairest players on the tennis circuit, Lauren Harrington.

The 17-year-old full-time Sutton Tennis Academy player is ranked 86 in Great Britain in the ladies’ open category.

Phillips’ shots were faultless and Harrington made unforced errors which resulted in a fantastic 6-1, 6-0 win for Phillips.

She also gained a tough win against Essex under-18 and under-21 county closed champion Carys Gilbert. Phillips lost the first set 6-3 but comfortably won the second 6-1 and clinched the tie-break.

Phillips secured her final win of the season against Buckinghamshire under-18 and ladies’ county cup player Tor Pisani. Phillips struggled in the first set losing 6-4, but turned the second set into a convincing win of 6-1 and went on to win another close-fought tie-break 10-5.

One of Phillips’ most enjoyable matches was against Kitty McWhirter, Suffolk’s under-18 county closed champion.

The first set went against serve before McWhirter inched away to win 7-5. The second set went against serve but McWhirter crept ahead again to win 6-4 and to win the match.

Phillips’ recent success can be partly attributed to the dry winter which has enabled her to continue to play on outside public courts.

In previous years, she has not always been able to play much winter tennis - one of the main problems of not being attached to a tennis academy and its indoor courts.