While snow put paid to the majority of the Vale’s sport one Halton tennis star has been excelling in the searing heat at the Junior Australian Open.
Despite only just returning from injury, Katy Dunne, 17, progressed to the third round in Melbourne after she defeated Hong Kong’s Katherine Ip 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday afternoon (Australian time).
The Everyball International Academy player said: “It was bloody shaky but I got through it. This was more a challenge of nerves, because I knew that I had a very good opportunity if I played well enough.”
Prior to the match the 13th seed said she expected she would have to impose her game and so it proved.
She added: “I was stepping in well and taking shots early, though I didn’t do it consistently enough because my nerves were playing quite a big part.”
The match followed her first round thumping of Italian Giulia Pairone, 6-1, 6-2, under the watchful eye of the British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray on Sunday afternoon.
Such was the crushing manner of that win BBC Sport reporter, Piers Newbury, wrote: “Just walked around the corner to see Katy Dunne’s opponent Pairone sitting on a bench in floods of tears, absolutely distraught. Losing is rubbish.”
Both wins were doubly pleasing after the teenager spent the past month battling with hip flexor and groin injuries.
She added: “Because I’ve been in rehab I’m just looking to try and get through each match as it comes. I’m just beginning to wish I had been training over Christmas, so it’s a little frustrating. If I keep my head and stay calm, though, I have a fighting chance.”
Turning 18 next month, 2013 is seen as a transitional year for the youngster who is targeting a spot in the top 700 of the Women’s Tennis Association.
Halton Tennis Centre director Mike James said: “It’s a really exciting time at the moment. I see no reason why she can’t go really deep into this event.”
At the time of going to press Dunne was due to face former junior number three Russian starlet Elizaveta Kulichkova.