Daniell's love affair with Ilkley continues

Wharfedale Observer: Marcus Daniell successfully defended his AEGON Pro-Series title at Ilkley Marcus Daniell successfully defended his AEGON Pro-Series title at Ilkley

IT IS small wonder that Marcus Daniell rates Ilkley as his favourite venue.

The 24-year-old New Zealander won his maiden singles title there last year and successfully defended it last Sunday, the tournament finishing a day later due to the Tour de France.

"Grass is my favourite surface and there is the river nearby and the moors, where I have walked in the evenings. Scenically it is the most beautiful," said the Kiwi Davis Cup player.

As for his 6-2, 7-5 victory over unseeded Briton Lewis Burton, Daniell said: "I would have liked to get more first serves in."

Daniell was soon in charge against the 22-year-old, who was affected by nerves in his first ITF singles final, and was able to hit most of his volleys downwards, whereas Burton was often forced to volley defensively.

The fifth seed broke in the first game, whose game had no obvious weakness, and went 3-0 ahead when the Sidcup man double faulted three times.

Burton held for 1-4 after receiving a warning for ball abuse but Daniell wrapped up the set 6-2 after dropping only six points on serve.

The Briton saved a break point in the opening game of the second set and then began holding serve with relative ease.

He had the Kiwi 0-30 down on his serve in the sixth game but the fifth seed recovered to level at 3-3.

Burton led 5-4 and was 15-0 up on Daniell's serve when there was general sympathy for the Briton.

World No 531 Daniell seemed to either hit the ball into the ground or made a double hit on a fierce Burton return of serve, which would have put the Briton 30-0 up and two points from the set.

There just seemed something wrong with the New Zealander's shot. However, rather than being awarded the point by the umpire, play continued and a puzzled Burton ended up losing it.

"It all happened so quickly but I would like to see a video of it," said Burton afterwards of the potential double hit.

Daniell, who was one of only four overseas players in the 32-strong main draw, said: "I felt that I scooped it back in one motion."

World No 829 Burton lost that game and the next two in being defeated in 1hr 19min, and said: "I was more nervous than I thought I would be as it was my first final."

It seemed to mainly affect his serve and his backhand. However, at least he had the consolation of winning the doubles title, top seeds Burton and Ed Corrie beating second seeds Brydan Klein and Joshua Ward-Hibbert, also of Britain, 6-2, 6-4 in the final on Saturday.

In the singles semi-finals, also played on Saturday, Daniell beat third seeded Briton Brydan Klein 6-3, 6-4, while Burton defeated fourth seed Neil Pauffley 6-4, 6-4.

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