Appleton books semi-final spot with clean sweep of wins in Week 4 of UK Pro League

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Emily Appleton continued to shine under the Loughborough lights as she stormed through to the UK Pro League Week 4 semi-finals with a clean sweep of victories (Credit: Ian Hall)
Emily Appleton continued to shine under the Loughborough lights as she stormed through to the UK Pro League Week 4 semi-finals with a clean sweep of victories (Credit: Ian Hall)

Emily Appleton maintained her charge towards a third 2021 UK Pro League win out of four, after storming through to the Week 4 semi-finals with a clean sweep of victories in Pool B of the women’s draw.

The 21-year-old - who fell 6-4 6-3 to Eliz Maloney in the Week 3 showpiece - has been in red-hot form since the tournament began in Loughborough in March, and is on course for a fourth consecutive final appearance.

A 6-0 6-0 win over Angelina Graovac on Friday capped off another stunning week for Appleton, who had earlier seen off Sofia Johnson, Nadia Rawson, Emma Wilson and Danielle Daley in the round robin format.

Appleton will now meet Alice Gillan in a tantalising Saturday semi-final, with the latter having finished second in Pool A with three wins from her five contests, yielding ten points.

Despite falling to defeat against Maloney and Katarina Stresnakova Gillan progressed at the expense of Stresnakova, whose three wins left her one point adrift of the top two.

Dan Cox didn’t drop a set in Pool B of the men’s draw (Credit: Ian Hall)
Dan Cox didn’t drop a set in Pool B of the men’s draw (Credit: Ian Hall)

Though beaten in a super tie break by Freya Christie after a marathon of 2 hours and 53 minutes on Friday Maloney’s four wins were enough to earn her top spot in Pool A, and a subsequent semi-final clash against Rawson.

A solitary defeat against Appleton was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect week for 22-year-old Rawson, who came back from 8-4 down in the match tie break against Wilson on Friday to secure her last four place.

The Premier League of British tennis, the innovative UK Pro League brings together the country’s top professional players and runs across nine separate weeks from March to November.

The season-long competition involves players competing in a round robin format in eight individual qualifying weeks, with the weekend play-offs then giving them the chance to accumulate ranking points to seal qualification for December’s Finals Week.

Valuable points are up for grabs all season and one player who looks well-placed to add to his tally is Dan Cox, who didn’t drop a set in Pool B of the men’s draw.

A 7-5 6-2 win over George Houghton on Friday rounded off a string of strong displays from the 30-year-old, who reached the first round of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014.

Cox will lock horns with Luke Johnson in his third semi-final of the 2021 UK Pro League campaign, with Johnson finishing behind Week 1 winner Joshua Paris in Pool A.

Paris will be looking to extend his unbeaten run this week with last-four victory over Henry Patten, whose 7-5 6-4 win over Jack Findel-Hawkins in the last match of the Week 4 group stages saw him clinch the second spot in Pool B.

With all eight semi-finalists confirmed, the stage is set for a thrilling weekend of action as the star-studded Week 4 line-up continue to duke it out for valuable ranking points in Loughborough.

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.