Hewitt off to a flyer in Aegon GB Pro-Series

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Day one of the Aegon GB Pro-Series at Sunderland Tennis Centre kicked off with plenty of British interest to follow, with 23 of the 32 players all being British.

The No1 seed, Ashley Hewitt, wasted little time against qualifier Nick Eeckelaers, in his 6-1 6-1 victory, which took 44 minutes.

The 21-year-old, from Cheshire, will now face Germany’s Pirmin Haenle.

Middlesex’s Harry Skinner, who came through qualifying, took on fellow qualifier, Samuel Taylor, and progressed to the second round with a 6-1 6-4 victory.

Skinner, who earlier in the year was hitting partner for world No51 Bernard Tomic, was extremely pleased with his day’s work which resulted in him regaining his ATP ranking.

24-year-old Skinner will now meet South African Tucker Vorster.

“I haven’t played Tucker before. I’m just going to go out there and swing free and just have fun. Everything from now on is just a bonus.”

In the bottom half of the draw, Cheam’s Tom Farquharson was made to work hard for his 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 win over Hertfordshire’s George Coupland.

In a match that lasted just under two and a half hours, Farquharson was ahead 3-1 in the first only for Coupland to come back and go 5-3 up, but the right hander held his nerve and won the set 7-3 in the tie-break.

Farquharson then went 4-1 up in the second set and seemed to be in control when Coupland hit back, out playing him to take the second set 6-4.

In the third set, the games went with serve until Farquharson broke in the ninth game and held serve to take the set 6-4.

A relieved Farquharson said: “I hung in there and did my best. He played a good match.”

The only casualty of the day was the No7 seed Richard Bloomfield, who suffered a 6-3 6-3 loss to Warwickshire’s Jathan Malik.

Malik, who is ranked 995, will now face qualifier Tom Allen.

Allen, who, by beating ‘lucky loser’ Scott Duncan, has now earnt his first ATP point.