Rising star wins national crown

Hemel Hempstead's Jaquelyn Ogunwale with her national junior championship trophy at Nottingham at the weekend.
Hemel Hempstead's Jaquelyn Ogunwale with her national junior championship trophy at Nottingham at the weekend.

An up-and-coming tennis star from Hemel Hempstead won a national junior championship on Saturday

Jaquelyn Ogunwale won the 14-and-under girls’ singles crown at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Junior National Championships – the most highly-regarded competition for junior players in the country.

The 14-year-old Hemel player remarkably did not drop a single set on her way to Saturday’s final.

In the showpiece match she overcame the odds to beat number one seed Ranah Stoiber in a tense encounter at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

After taking the first set 6-2, the number eight seed Jaquelyn lost her way in the second set and didn’t win a game as Stoiber seized the initiative and looked set to go on to win.

But Jaquelyn dug deep and broke Stoiber’s serve early in the deciding set, before holding on to take the match and the championship 6-2, 0-6, 6-3.

It means Jaquelyn follows in the footsteps of current British number two and world number 122 Heather Watson in winning the tournament.

A similar performance in next year’s 16-and-under tournament would earn Jaquelyn the chance to compete on the hallowed lawns of The All-England Club at Wimbledon.

It follows the LTA’s announcement last week that the winner of the 2020 16-and-under national competition will be given a wildcard in the junior championships at Wimbledon.

The runner-up will be given a wildcard into the qualifying rounds for the junior grand slam tournament.

As part of the new LTA Junior National Championships schedule, the 16-and-under and 18-and-under national competitions will be staged during Easter at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

The schedule changes are part of a range of strategic measures the LTA is undertaking in a bid to both improve and align competitions with player development, and “realise its vision to open up tennis to more people” the UK’s tennis governing body said.

Jaquelyn, who has now secured points for the ITF Junior World Tour, has previous competed in Tunisia and across the UK in pursuit of her tennis success.