Emily Appleton produced some fireworks in south London at the weekend to get her tennis grass season up and running.
The 18-year-old Sky Sports Scholar has come through a challenging few weeks dealing with torrential rain across Florida in the United States.
A trip home to the UK and a visit to the Surbiton International was the perfect tonic as she began with a gruelling test against a very experienced Samantha Murray in the first round of qualifying.
“It was a tough opener against a player who has been in the top 150,” Appleton said.
“I lost the first set but I fought back and with some awesome serving I won 4-6 6-4 6-3. I was so pleased to come through as it wasn’t an easy first round match-up.
“Next up was an experienced Russian called Marina Melnikova who actually won the event in 2016.
“I won the first set 6-2 playing pretty fabulous tennis! Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite close out the second set and she raised her game in the final set to take the match.
“That was disappointing but it was so great to be on the grass with lots of people out supporting. That’s what I love about the grass season – loads of Brits coming out to cheer us on.
“In the doubles I partnered the same girl I beat in the first round Samantha. We had never played together before and faced two experienced Americans ranked in the world’s top 150 with Grand Slam experience.
“We won the first set but narrowly lost a tight second and lost the third set tiebreak 10-8. It couldn’t have been any closer!
Appleton’s efforts were enough to earn herself a main draw wildcard into the next tournament at the Manchester Trophy.
“I’m super excited to get out there again!” she added.
“My busy weekend also involved playing an exhibition match with Australian John Peers (World no 2 in doubles last year) against GB’s Anna Smith (no 49).
“We also played with Kiwi Michael Venus who won Roland Garros doubles last year so that was all pretty fun.”