Cyprus Today


British-Turkish Cypriot tennis player climbs up global ranking as she takes on ‘top profession­als’


UK-BASED tennis player Eliz Maloney Yorgancı has taken major steps on the road to becoming a profession­al star following a string of impressive performanc­es recently.

Yorgancı, 22, whose mother is Turkish Cypriot, reached the semi-finals of the Internatio­nal Tennis Federation (ITF) W25 tournament held in Loughborou­gh, England, between October 24-30.

After just a one-day break, she participat­ed in the ITF’s W100 tournament in Shrewsbury, England, described by organisers as the “largest women’s indoor tournament in Great Britain”.

The ITF Women’s Tour is seen as the “entry-level and mid-level tour” for women’s profession­al tennis and is just one tier below the Women’s Tennis Associatio­n (WTA) Tour.

Points gained in ITF tournament­s contribute to WTA rankings, helping young talent rise through to the elite levels of women’s profession­al tennis.

The number of the women’s ITF tournament­s denotes the prize money on offer, with W25 standing for $25,000 and W100 – the highest level – for $100,000.

By playing in the W100 tournament in Shrewsbury, Yorgancı had the opportunit­y to face players among the top 50 in the world and who have previously played in Grand Slam championsh­ips.

She made short work of the qualificat­ion round for the competitio­n, easily defeating Britain’s Lauryn John Baptise 6-1, 6-1 and Latvian Diana Marcinkevi­ca 6-1, 6-4.

Mother İlkay said her qualificat­ion for the tournament marked the “first time* a Turkish Cypriot has played in and won a match at the W100 level”.

In the first round, she beat another British player, Eden Silva, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the second round where she faced Japan’s Misaki Doi, who is currently ranked 180th in the world but has previously been ranked as high as 30th and who has won nearly $4 million in prize money during her career.

Yorgancı, who had previously never played against a top profession­al, had a nervous start, losing the first set 6-4.

She then composed herself for the second set, putting on an incredible performanc­e to win it 6-0.

The third and deciding set saw a hardfought battle end 7-6 in favour of Yorgancı to claim the match.

Yorgancı described the result as the “biggest win” of her career. “It’s up there with when I played Junior Wimbledon, so I would say those two are my two proudest moments so far.”

She added: “It was actually good to play qualifying looking back, get used to the courts, get some matches in, so happy with the week so far. I just hope to keep it going.

“It’s just a nice confidence boost because I’ve only played two 100K tournament­s so far, so it’s just giving me a bit more belief that actually I can come here and compete at this level too.”

In the quarter-finals Yorgancı came up against the tournament’s number one seeded player, Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, ranked 49th in the world ahead of the match.

Kalinina has held a career high of 34th this year and has beaten some of the world’s best female tennis players

such as Garbina Muguruza, Elena Rybakina and Slaone Stephens.

Yorgancı gave the top seed a run for her money in a closely fought match that saw Kalinina eventually win 7-5, 6-4.

Afterwards Yorgancı said she had been “very happy” with her performanc­e and had the opportunit­y to test herself by playing against big names.

She said the recent matches have shown her that the way she plays is “not far behind” the biggest names in tennis, and that they have also helped her see “more clearly what I need to do to go further”.

She continued: “When my dear trainer Yusuf Yönlüer and I decided to leave my country, family and friends behind and go to England at the age of 10, our goal was to one day achieve the best place in the world rankings.

“I still have faith but financial difficulti­es continue to be a major obstacle for me. If I can resolve these issues, I believe that I can reach higher places in the world rankings in the near future.”

Yorgancı’s recent results have seen her climb 111 places in the WTA singles rankings to 389th as of November 7, her career high, making her the 13th highest ranked British women’s tennis player. She is also ranked 76th in the IFT singles ranking.

Yorgancı could rise further up the rankings following the conclusion of another tournament she is taking part in, week 7 of the UK Pro League.

She cruised through her pool stage with straight sets wins on Monday and Tuesday, before a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Nadia Rawson in the quarter-finals. Yorgancı was yesterday due to face Beth Grey in the semi-finals.

 ?? ?? Eliz Maloney Yorgancı Photo courtesy of İlkay Yorgancı
Eliz Maloney Yorgancı Photo courtesy of İlkay Yorgancı

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus