Henman can inspire Horton to tennis triumphs

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Ben Horton had a successful week at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon.

As the Sussex winner of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14-and-under national challenge county final, the Chichester Racquets and Fitness Club member travelled to the prestigious venue for the national finals.

With a draw of 64 players, the first stage was played in a round-robin format and the winner of each group went into the main draw of 32.  

Horton was in great form and won all his matches in the first stage to qualify for the main draw. He beat Andrew Sanders, a strong player from Hampshire, in a close-fought match 6-7, 6-2, 1-0. He beat Tiago Micallef from South Wales 6-0, 6-1 and Gavin McQuarrie from Scotland 6-1, 6-0. 

In the first round of the main draw he played James Ison (Leicestershire) and won convincingly 6-4, 6-2. In the second he faced Freddie McGeehan (Surrey), ranked 20th in the country, and came away with a pleasing victory by 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.

In the quarter-finals Horton played George Hedley, who is ranked number two nationally.

Horton put up a great fight despite a brewing elbow injury which required time out during the match, but he had to admit defeat to Hedley 6-4, 6-2. 

In the doubles Horton teamed up with Logan Burgess-Hayes and they won in the first round on Court 18 – the showcourt where Isner and Mahut battled out the world’s longest-recorded tennis match last year. 

Unfortunately Burgess-Hayes had to pull out afterwards through injury.

Horton and other players were also invited to take part in a coaching clinic with Tim Henman. 

“The clinic was a fantastic experience and I was extremely pleased to have reached the last eight in a national competition,” said Horton.