Freya Christie warms up for Wimbledon in style

FREYA CHRISTIE -- in form (PHOTO BY: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).
FREYA CHRISTIE -- in form (PHOTO BY: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).

Hucknall’s tennis ace Freya Christie warmed up in style for another possible tilt at Wimbledon later this month.

For the 16-year-old was the last Briton standing in the women’s singles qualifying tournament at the Aegon Challenge at Nottingham.

In the opening round, Freya produced a superb victory over Tereza Smitkova, of the Czech Republic.

Although Smitkova is rated a massive 833 places above her in the world rankings, the Hucknall girl strode to a 6-2 2-6 6-3 success.

Victory in the next round would have booked a place in the quarter-finals. But Freya went down 4-6 4-6 to Japan’s Miharu Imanishi, who is ranked 209 in the world.

Nevertheless both performances won rich praise from Mark Taylor, who is head coach at the Nottingham Perfornance Academy.

“She proved she is able to compete with players in the top 200 of the world,” said Taylor. “Freya has a game for the future. I have a lot of faith in her.”

Before the tournament, Freya’s own ranking was 1,003. But she is as high as 82 in the world junior rankings, having climbed into the top 100 last November.

This followed a memorable 2013 in which she made her debut at Wimbledon after gaining an 11th-hour wild card into the girls’ singles.

She was beaten in the first round -- but only by the best under-18 in the world, Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland. Now she is keen to return when the championships start on Monday 23rd June.

Freya, of Beardall Street, also made her debut at the Australian Open in January, reaching the quarter-finals of the girls’ doubles.

And despite the distraction oif her GCSEs, she played at the Roland Garros in the French Open in Paris last month. Tackling the women’s singles qualifying, Freya knocked out Australian Olivia Tjandramulia 3-6 6-1 6-3 before losing 6-7 1-6 to Natalia Vikhlyantseve, of Russia.