Sonay Kartal makes triumphant return from injury to claim UK Pro League win

·4-min read
Sonay Kartal has won Week 5 of UK Pro League Tennis after a decisive victory against season standout Emily Appleton
Sonay Kartal has won Week 5 of UK Pro League Tennis after a decisive victory against season standout Emily Appleton

Sonay Kartal was delighted to bounce back from injury by winning Week 5 of UK Pro League Tennis, beating season standout Emily Appleton in the final.

The Premier League of British tennis for the UK’s top professionals, the season-long competition involves players competing in a round robin format in ten qualifying weeks and racking up valuable ranking points to seal qualification for the Finals Week at the end of the year.

Kartal was arguably an underdog in the women’s final against Appleton, who has reached the final in every Pro League week this season.

Eliz Maloney was the only person who’d defeated Appleton in one of those finals, though Kartal dictated play throughout to pick up a standout 6-4, 6-4 win and claim 18 points to boost her position in the league table.

“I think that from having three months out, I’m very pleased to come here and win four matches,” said the 19-year-old.

“I went out in front in both sets and she almost came back. I think I dipped slightly at times, but I think on the big points I managed to keep my concentration high.”

Despite tasting defeat in a final for just the second time this series, Appleton is still happy with the level of tennis she displayed this week despite the result.

Appleton said: “I thought it was my best match of the week, so I’m a bit disappointed with the result. Congrats to Sonay though, I thought she played really well.

“I’m just really happy to make the final again. I think five from five isn’t a bad effort. I can’t complain.”

Appleton’s runner-up spot sees her take 15 points and she leads the women’s rankings on 84 points, 25 points ahead of Eliz Maloney in second place.

Freya Christie sits in third place with 46 points and Alice Gillan in fourth with 38 points, with Kartal now in fifth with 28 points after this week’s victory.

Later in the day the men’s final saw a battle between two first-time Pro League finalists in Julian Cash and Charles Broom.

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In a nail-biting finale, Broom edged his way to glory on his Pro League debut, saving two match points in a 7-4(4), 4-6, 12-10 victory to win Week 5.

The 23-year-old admitted afterwards he felt a little fortunate to have prevailed on his maiden 2021 appearance, though was naturally pleased with his week.

“Those last five, ten points were really high level from both of us. He played really well and I think I’m very lucky just to have got through. It was a really high level match all around and I’m just thankful,” he said.

“It’s been a really good week all around. Obviously reaching the final is great, I think I played a really good tiebreak, but throughout the week I felt like my level was getting better and better.

“I’m really happy with how everything progressed and I’m just looking to carry it on into the next few weeks when I’m playing tournaments.”

It was a first Pro League final for Cash who has only missed one week this year and, whilst disappointed, he felt there were plenty of positives he can take from his time in Aldershot.

He said: “Any week where you do a lot of winning is good. I’ve improved on a lot of things match by match and I’ve built a bit of confidence. I’m about to head away in three days so hopefully I can use some of that when I get on the road.

“It’s always good to be in a final regardless of where it is. I’ve played plenty of these events now and it’s nice to get a little further but hopefully I can get across the line in future weeks.”

After taking 15 points this week Cash is now up to third in the men’s rankings on 39 points, behind Anton Matusevich on 48 points and Josh Paris on 41 points.

Dan Cox and Henry Patten sit in fourth and fifth with 37 and 33 points respectively, whilst Broom sits in 11th after taking 18 points for his win.

Week 6 of the UK Pro League will take place at The Harbour Club in London from the 23-29th August.

With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year. Watch the action live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and ukproleague.com

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