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Banks remaining upbeat following Ilkley defeat

Banks set up a clash with Jessika Ponchet of France in the last 16 but lost 4-6 6-3 6-4

Amarni Banks achieved a career-high WTA ranking of 250 in April (Getty Images for the LTA)
Amarni Banks achieved a career-high WTA ranking of 250 in April (Getty Images for the LTA)

By James Reid

Bolton tennis ace Amarni Banks remained upbeat despite defeat in the last 16 of the LTA's Lexus Ilkley Trophy.

Banks powered past Japan’s Mai Hontama 6-1 6-2 on Wednesday, to set up a clash with Jessika Ponchet of France in the last 16 but fell 4-6 6-3 6-4 to bring her run to an end.

The 21-year-old fought well to take the first set but surrendered the second to Ponchet and, despite challenging well, was eventually beaten by the current world No.143.

But Banks refused to be too negative in the face of defeat and insisted there were plenty of good lessons to be learned as she continued to adapt to playing on grass.

She said: "I played a really tough opponent, she had a really big serve. I tried my best, I haven't had a lot of experience on the grass but I gave it all today, just didn't get the result I wanted to today but I was happy with my performance.

"With every match I have played I feel more and more comfortable on it. Even though I didn't get the win today, I still take a lot of positives from that. It's just more experience on the grass.

"I am going to take a little bit of rest, recover, and then get back to practising. I will go through the match today with my coach and improve as much as I can ready for my next match."

Banks has climbed up the world rankings over the past two years, outside the top 500 in 2022 before achieving a career-high of 250 in April.

Still finding her feet, she looked at home on grass, achieving her first win on the surface at Ilkley after losing in the opening round of the LTA’s Rothesay Open in Nottingham last week.

Defeat to Ponchet means the Bolton native can now train her focus on Wimbledon, after she received a qualifying wildcard on Wednesday, as she eyes battling through the tough qualifiers.

But the 21-year-old is excited to tackle her first Grand Slam and determined to put in the work to produce the best result possible.

"It will be my first major Slam, so I am really looking forward to that," she added.

"I don't know who I am going to play yet but I know every match is going to be difficult. I will prepare as well as possible and give it my all out there."

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website