Worden makes history with Stateside semi-final
Chichester-born ace Molly Worden made it to the semi-finals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association nationals.
Worden and doubles partner Valeriia Efimenko earned their spot at the nationals after winning the Central America regional title.
The nationals took place in Surprise, Arizona, and brought together players from across America.
Worden and her partner lost 6-4, 6-3 in the semi to the number-one seeds from Armstrong State University, Georgia. Speaking following the run, Worden said: “I’m really excited to have got to the nationals.
“We had a tough match against Armstrong. They have one of the best tennis programmes in America.
“I’m proud, though, of how well we’ve done this autumn and knowing that we’re the first tennis players to make it this far in the nationals in the history of our university is quite something.”
Worden, whose family are based in Fishbourne, is in her third year on a tennis scholarship at north-eastern State University in Oklahoma and is currently studying health and human performance.
Worden has picked up a number of accolades in this time. She has a 49-12 win/loss record in singles and a 46-17 return from her doubles matches.
Her tennis team have won two conference championships and advanced to the last 16 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association finals both years.
Worden has also been named an ITA scholar athlete and honoured with an academic excellence award by her university but now her attentions turn to study.
She added: “I’ve now got a lot of university work to focus on, I’m looking forward to the tennis season in the spring. Our achievements at the regional and nationals are definitely something we can build on.”
Meanwhile, reaching the quarter-finals of the doubles in another international Futures event, has given tennis ace Lisa Phillips enough WTA ranking points to be elevated to 933 in the world and 25th in the UK.
Phillips is thrilled to be gaining progress through the women’s rankings, despite still being only 19.
The Felpham teenager, whose kit is sponsored by Game, Set and Match, travelled to Ponta Delgada in The Azores and partnered Elina Vikhryanova from Russia.
In the first round of the main draw, the duo stormed to a convincing 6-0, 6-0 win against the Portuguese pair Raquel Fernandes and Sara Neto.
In the quarter-finals, Phillips and her partner had a tough draw against number one seeds Ioana Loredena Rosca and Ines Murta, who are world-ranked 412 and 428 respectively.
Phillips and Vikhryanova got off to a fantastic start and looked as if they could cause an upset by leading 4-1 and then 5-2 in the first set but they could not capitalise with the more experienced pair fighting back to win 7-5, 6-2.
Phillips also turned out in the singles competition. It was only the third time she had been in the main draw of an international tournament.
Phillips was up against Maria Gutierrez Carrasco from Spain, who on paper was the stronger player. Phillips put up a good fight but struggled before losing 6-2, 6-3.
Despite the defeat, Felpham star Phillips can be proud of her efforts.
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