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Fitzpatrick's dreams dashed by fiery Pole


Wimbledon junior Anna Fitzpatrick's dream of representing the home
nation in today's girls' singles final was destroyed yesterday by
Polish rival Urszula Radwanska, who got the better of the Yorkshire
teenager 7-6, 6-3 in a keenly fought semi-final.

The depressing performances of British women in the main draw - only
Katie O'Brien, another product of the White Rose county, won a first-
round match - has led to widespread criticism about how home-grown
talent is unearthed and nurtured. Fitzpatrick's exploits over the
last few days will bring welcome relief to the game's administrators,
who have pledged to reward her with greater funding.

She played down the 'flying the flag' cliche. "I'm an individual,"
she said after her narrow failure on Court 18. "It's great for my
country, obviously, but for me it's all personal and individual."

Sheffield-born Fitzpatrick, ranked 15 in Britain and 489 in the
world, has been training this year at the Monte Carlo tennis academy
under her coach David Sammell and fitness trainer Jez Green, and her
daily jottings about her first Wimbledon have been published on the
BBC website.

She has enjoyed the experience. "It has been a good tournament for
me, especially because it is my last as a junior," she said. "I am
pleased with my performances in every match, although I am obviously
disappointed about losing today."

The slim blonde girl, who has been given many nicknames by her three
elder brothers - 'Fat Bloke' being the most outrageously
inappropriate of them - did not set herself a target here. She just
wanted to impose her style on the court and not waste her big

"I knew my game could hurt a lot of players and these are the best
juniors in the world," she reflected. "I play my best tennis when I'm
aggressive from the back of the court and that strategy worked for me
this week."

Two impressive wins on Friday put Fitzpatrick in good heart for her
meeting with the sixth-seeded Pole, who had eliminated the top-ranked
Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in her quarter-final. But she got
off to a sloppy start in the first set and a sluggish start in the
second and that ultimately proved her undoing.

She presented her opponent with the first game by double-faulting on
break point; she squandered break points of her own in the next; she
then lost the third game from 40-0 yet still managed to fight back to
earn a tie-break, only for the fiery-tempered Radwanska to win it
comfortably 7-3.

Fitzpatrick then required lengthy treatment to a shoulder injury
between sets. She had fallen heavily on it in her second-round match
and initially thought it was dislocated.

After the three minutes of permitted courtside attention, she
resumed, only to drop her opening serve again. A swift break back was
devalued when she let hers slip again in the fourth game and from
there, the Polish youngster held on to claim a final meeting with
American Madison Brengle.

For Fitzpatrick, it is the tough world of senior tennis from now on,
starting with a tournament in Felixstowe next week and then three
events in Canada, two in Russia and a longer stint in the United

She was no shrinking violet when asked about her ultimate
ambition. "To be a Grand Slam champion." She also mentioned making
Britain's Federation Cup team as a more realistic objective.
Wimbledon watchers, tired of seeing the female side of the home
challenge wilt in the first two rounds, will settle for seeing her
make the second week in the main draw if she returns next year.

Re: Fitzpatrick's dreams dashed by fiery Pole