Super Sonay Kartal says her power-packed game plan and aggressive forehand can propel her to a UK Pro League hat-trick, writes Will Jennings.
South coast star Kartal, 19, kept her hopes of a third consecutive triumph alive as she swatted aside Emily Appleton in rapid time in Saturday’s second semi-final.
Kartal is the two-time defending week champion in the competition and after roaring to Week 5 and 6 glory in Aldershot and Chelsea, continued where she left off at the University of Bath.
She breezed past Appleton 6-0, 6-1 and confident Kartal, who will now meet Emma Wilson in Sunday’s final, said: “I’m just going to look to keep on doing what I’m doing, playing an aggressive game style and using my forehand.
The back to back is complete, Sonay Kartal is the winner of week 6! 🥇
Sonay capped her great week with an extraordinary performance in the final against Stresnakova, beating her in straight sets 6-1, 6-2. pic.twitter.com/95CYqMqN8F
— UK Pro League Tennis (@UKPLeague) August 29, 2021
“I think I kept my consistency up and played well in the big points under pressure. I didn’t really give her much to work with and my unforced error count was pretty low.
“This week I’m just happy with the consecutive wins I’m getting – I’m coming up against some good players and being able to keep my form and concentration is the main thing.
“I’ve never played Emma – I think I played her two years ago or something. It’s going to be nice to play someone different.”
The Premier League of British tennis, the innovative UK Pro League is the only domestic competition for the country’s top professionals and brings them together for nine weeks of action to qualify for Finals Week at the Shrewsbury Club in November.
And with over half a million pounds of prize money up for grabs across the season, you won’t miss a thing with all the thrills and spills broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv.
Kartal, who competed at Finals Weeks of last season’s UK Pro Series in Weybridge, topped Pool C of Week 7 with an unblemished record before battling past Freya Christie in a champion tie-break in the quarter-finals.
She made considerably lighter work of Appleton – a three-time week winner – 24 hours later, however, dropping just a single game to romp into Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated showpiece.
There she will meet hotshot Wilson, who toppled Alice Gillan in a deciding tie-break to keep her hopes of West Country glory alive.
Wilson, 24, finished top of her group with Nadia Rawson and Tiffany William and after beating Danielle Daley on Thursday, now has a golden chance of racking up her maiden UK Pro League title.
She said: “I think the match was a bit up and down to begin with but by the time I got to the second set, I was able to be aggressive after my serve and get on her shots.
Finals day 🍿🔥👀
Emma Wilson vs Sonay Kartal on the women's side and Billy Harris vs Giles Hussey on the men's one.
Who will be the winner of week 7?
📺 Follow the action live on @TennisChanneli and https://t.co/tSLJiXEaqM from 10.30 pic.twitter.com/WSbxi14gom
— UK Pro League Tennis (@UKPLeague) September 19, 2021
“Because I was winning my service games fairly easily I was able to be a bit more relaxed on my return games.
“I’m most happy this week with able to being able to fight back – I’ve won a couple of third-set tie-breaks and in the past, I’ve maybe not won as many.
“I’m looking forward to the final – I just need to keep being aggressive on my serve and hopefully find my A-game.
“But if can’t, I just need to find a way to keep fighting back like I have done in my other matches.”
Kartal will take on Wilson bidding to add to her 46-point haul on Sunday while in the men’s competition, Isle of Man ace Billy Harris will duel it out with Giles Hussey after the pair won their semi-finals on Friday.
With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year.