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Bates seeks more domestic contests

Jeremy Bates beat Andrew Foster to win the Mercury Communications Challenge at Bristol yesterday and then appealed for more British tournaments.

The former British No 1, who won 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, said: "People are always saying they want more home players to come through, but today we had an all-British final. I am convinced that, with more sponsors for tournaments here, we would see more home players getting to the top."

Foster broke Bates's serve at the start of the match and quickly made it 2-0 with a service game that contained three aces. He delivered 16 aces in all, but the match began to turn against him when Bates broke through in the seventh game of the second set. When Bates passed Foster to take the opening game of the final set and then held his own service to love, he was well on his way to victory.

Foster, playing his first Challenger final, had been using the services of an American psychologist who shouted encouragement at every point.

"That was a bit wearing as it went on for two hours, but I've got used to far worse playing around the world," Bates said.

n Yevgeny Kafelnikov, of Russia, the second seed, had to work hard to overcome Jakob Hlasek, of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the final of the Swiss Open in Gstaad yesterday. It was Kafelnikov's first title on clay.