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Henderson targets treble title success

TENNIS by Jackie Thorley

REIGNING Staffordshire men's champion, James Henderson, will be gunning for his third successive singles title next week. The senior county closed championship has reached the semi-final stage, where the 21-year-old title holder faces last year's runner-up and former champion, Matt Sargent. Henderson, from Brocton, is seeded two in the race for the crown behind his doubles partner, Kirk Woodall. Both men carry the same LTA rating, but Woodall is ranked higher in Britain. "My semi-final against Matt will be a hard-fought match," said Henderson, who is at Loughborough University "If I manage to get through to play Kirk, that would be difficult as well. We are good mates off the court, although obviously when we compete we both want to win. "There have been some really decent players in the draw this year. The juniors are progressing and make it tough to win, which is really good news for Staffordshire tennis." In next week's other semi-final, Woodall will face south Staffs player Tom Hole. Meanwhile, in the women's competition top seed Cassidy Crawford (Wolverhampton) will play Liz Rowley, while second seed Emma Hingley takes on Albert club coach Cathy Lea.

Two new under-18 champions will emerge as Sargent stakes his claim for an adult title and Kate White prepares to travel to the United States to begin a university tennis scholarship. Fifteen-year-old Dionne Sanders (Edgbaston Priory) is tipped to win the girls' tournament and Darcy Crawford (Wolverhampton) is ranked top for the boys. Key players Elli Share and Emily Southall are absent from the under-16 draw, leaving top seed Sanders favourite for a second singles title. Basford teenager Josh Eardley is the boys' under- 16s fourth seed, while Uttoxeter youngster Jamie Muirhead heads the draw at under-14, when Betley hot-shot Ben Stannard will step up an age group. Stannard is also in the running for the under-12 title and Alex Dmitrewski (Wolverhampton) is tipped for the top in the under-10s event. Road to Wimbledon representatives Amy Ellis (Basford) and Katie Woodbine (Wolverhampton) are in the girls' under-14 competition, with Tipton's Elli Stokes seeded one at under-12 level. The junior finals are scheduled for September 1, while the senior championships reach their climax on the following day.

Sentinel, 21 August 2007
Courtesy of The Sentinel News & Media

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