Dyer and West crowned Island champions once again
YOUNG Chloe de la Mare managed to shine among experienced opposition to reach the women’s singles final at the Hiscox Island Tennis Championships.
The 13-year-old could not stop Jo Dyer from making it a dozen individual titles, but she did not go down without a fight at Longcamps.
De la Mare managed to get two games on the board early on, stretching her seasoned opponent and converting some great points.
But Dyer soon got into the swing of things, using her strength and experience to lead 5-2 then take the set 6-3.
She then put in a more assertive performance in the second, leading throughout and winning 6-2.
‘She’s a fast-improving, up-and-coming player,’ the newly-crowned Island champion said of her opponent. ‘That’s always a tricky situation when you come on court as a favourite.
‘She’s a lefty, which always makes it tricky ... there were a few unique challenges out there today.’
Speaking about her own performance and the hard-earned win, she added: ‘It wasn’t my prettiest, but I’ll still take it.’
And so Dyer reigns on as Guernsey’s dominant female tennis player, but the emergence of de la Mare certainly adds another dimension to the game locally.
The younger finalist had gone in as second seed and made the final by beating Island Games player Lauren Coutanche 7-5, 6-0.
‘I am very happy that I made the final and I am happy with the match that I won in the first round,’ she said.
‘[My goal is] to try and get to the final again and see if I can get any better against Jo.’
De la Mare did claim a Guernsey women’s doubles title, though, in a promising partnership of ‘two Chloes’.
She joined 16-year-old Chloe Guille to edge past Kathy Guille and Leigh Le Page 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-5.
‘I was very pleased that I won the doubles,’ de la Mare added.
‘I was glad we got to play together. I found we really work together as a team.’
Rob West also added to his large haul of singles titles, claiming his 11th after overcoming defending champion Nico Robinson.
West had the better start and led the way through the first set, winning 6-3.
The strong-serving Robinson came back in the second and gave West a real challenge, but the latter’s class shone through again as he took the set 6-4.
‘It’s good [to win],’ he said.
‘The mix is different. This year I’m playing more tennis with the Island Games and a couple events since then.
‘It makes a difference for confidence, feeling you can back yourself and commit to your shots a bit.’
West has recently moved into the veterans’ categories, firstly as an over-35.
This potentially opens up new avenues for off-island competitions.
‘Feeling like you are the youngest in the age group again is a nice feeling – it was completely the opposite in the Island Games,’ he added.
However, Robinson had the consolation of winning the men’s doubles title over West.
He joined brother Pete to beat West and Chris Hickling 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 in a comeback victory.
Unsurprisingly, it was smooth sailing for the Gotland 2017 golden pairing of West and Dyer in the mixed doubles, where they beat Matt Hardy and Coutanche 6-1, 6-0.