Julian Cash admits he’ll have to up his game in the UK Pro League Week 5 final despite hitting the jackpot against debutant Max Basing.
Cash, 24, beat Basing 7-6 (1) 6-3 in Saturday’s first men’s semi-final to book a clash against Charles Broom in Sunday’s showpiece event.
The Premier League of British tennis for the UK’s top professionals, the season-long competition involves players competing in a round robin format in ten qualifying weeks and racking up valuable ranking points to seal qualification for December’s Finals Week.
And Cash looks well-placed to do just that after showing all his experience to down precocious Basing, 18, in straight sets.
He knows his forehand wasn’t firing in Aldershot, however, and Cash – ranked eighth in the overall table so far – admitted: “I had a slow start, but I did well to dig in and find a few scrappy points.
“I got a long break at 5-2 down to stay in it, and then my level got slightly better and I managed to finish on a positive note in the end.
“I think my forehand let me down a little bit today, especially early on, so I’ll get on the practice court and fine tune that for the final.”
Cash will take Broom in the final, with the latter having cruised through his semi-final clash against Lui Maxted.
Broom dropped just two games in a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 victory to reach the Sunday climax on his Pro League debut.
And the 23-year-old said: “It’s my first time playing matches in a while and the courts are quite quick, but I think I’ve grown as the week has gone on.
“I just started to play really well at the end when I needed to, so I’m really happy.
“I’m by no means underestimating what Julian can do. It’s far from an easy match but I’m feeling good and feeling confident in myself so that’s the most important thing.”
Meanwhile in the women’s draw, Emily Appleton continued her streak of reaching every final this season with an impressive semi-final triumph over Amelia Bissett.
The 21-year-old prevailed 7-6 (4) 6-3 to reach a fifth consecutive final, with Eliz Maloney the only player to defeat her so far as she stunned the Surrey star at the end of Week 3.
Appleton said: “I thought it was a really tough match – Millie played really well. I got a bit lucky to win the first set, but then I thought I relaxed and played really well in the second.
“Tomorrow I think I’ll just try to stick to my game and the way I like to play, and keep doing that because that’s got me to the final.”
Appleton will face Sonay Kartal on Sunday, with the talented 19-year-old reaching her maiden Pro League final after a searing week in Hampshire.
Kartal defeated Grace Piper 6-3 7-6 (3) to set up a tantalising meeting against Appleton and the south coast ace, who competed in the UK Pro Series’ Finals Week in Weybridge last summer, said: “My week’s been good. I’ve managed to keep up a high level throughout all the matches so I’m just going to try to keep that going for one more match.
“I’m pretty confident. I’ve been playing well this week, I’ve had some good results so I’m just going to try my best to be aggressive.”
With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year. Watch the action live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and ukproleague.com