Richardson walks tall on the grass

Tennis

AT 6ft 7in, Andrew Richardson has mainly been famous for being the tallest British player, but after this week at Beckenham he can boast more substantial achievement. On Friday he put out Patrick Rafter, the world's number 38; yesterday it was the turn of Javier Frana, ranked 41, to be despatched, 6-4 2-6 7-6.

It must be said that grass is not Frana's best-loved surface (like most of his fellow Argentinians, he is a clay-court man) but it was a dogged semi-final performance by Richardson, who at 6-5 and 30-0 down in the deciding set was eyeballing defeat before forcing the match to a tie-break that he virtually breezed through to take 7-4. It has been a good week for the 21-year-old British No 14, as the last-minute offer of a wild card has also saved him the slog of having to qualify for the Stella Artois at Queen's.

Richardson's opponent in today's men's final will Petr Korda, who dashed hopes of an all-British clash when he defeated Paul Hand 6-3 6-7 6-4.

Richardson's one hour and 45 minutes of fame was preceeded by a ladies' final between Els Callens of Belgium and Ros Fairbank-Nideffer, who has descended to 90 in the world rankings after taking time off to embrace motherhood. Fairbank-Nideffer has won this event twice, but the weather was probably kinder in her glory years, 1989 and 1990. Yesterday, in the cold of Beckenham, the South African gave the impression that she is someone who goes better with the sun on her back, butthe skies over this leafy bit of south London were unremittingly grey, and ball girls and umpires courted frostbite.

Callens, a 24-year-old near six-footer is even lower-rated than Fairbank- Nideffer at 125, but appeared unconcerned by the disparity as she bounced to her pounds 2,500 pay cheque courtesy of a reliable first serve and the smart two-handed backhand with which she by-passed most of her opponent's forays to the net.

The prize-money comes courtesy of the LTA, who have had to put hands in pockets after the loss of Direct Line as sponsors. They hope to have found another backer for this 110-year-old event by next year. Potential sponsors should note that in return for underwriting Beckenham they will be welcomed as supporting sponsors at five other LTA events on the principle of "buy one, get five free".

With Fairbank-Nideffer spending the changeovers rubbing her fists into a towel to keep them warm, Callens took the first set 6-2 at a stroll. The South African pursued her more grittily in the second, but once Callens had won her service to love to lead 5-3 the match was virtually over. Fairbank- Nideffer survived two match points before defeat arrived somewhat tamely, 6-2 6-3, when she served a double fault.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
science
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before