Sports Listings: Plan Ahead: Tennis - Guardian Direct National Championship

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NEXT month the British No 1s, Jeremy Bates and Clare Wood, defend their respective singles titles at the Guardian Direct Nationals, the most important domestic tennis tournament for British players. The championships will be held at the Telford International Centre from 1 to 6 November.

In the First Division, the senior players' category, Bates, who has won five singles titles in the nationals, and Mark Petchey are the only British players ranked inside the world's top 100. This season Petchey, the British No 2, has beaten Michael Stich and Michael Chang, but was defeated at Telford last year in the first round. Chris Wilkinson reached the third round at Wimbledon in June and should improve on his first-round defeat last year.

In the women's singles, Wood has a march on the British Nos 2 and 3 Shirli-Ann Siddall and Julie Pullin in the world rankings, though the latter two are buoyant from Britain's win over the United States in the Maureen Connolly Trophy last week. Jo Durie has won the singles title on seven occasions and the 34-year-old is again competing.

Divisions two to seven are graded according to Lawn Tennis Association ratings. More than 4,000 players entered the summer qualifying and 48 - four men and four women in each division - have won through to Telford.

Guardian Direct National Championships, qualifying 29-31 October, main draw 1-6 November.

Telford International Centre, St Quentin's Gate, Telford, Shropshire TF3 4JH.

Rover tickets: Tuesday to Thursday pounds 5 (if booked before 17 October pounds 3); Friday pounds 6 ( pounds 4); Saturday (Women's singles final) pounds 8 ( pounds 6); Sunday (men's singles final) pounds 9 ( pounds 7). Children under-16 and OAPs are free from Tuesday to Friday; Saturday pounds 4 ( pounds 3 before 17 October); Sunday pounds 4.50 ( pounds 3.50). Box Office: 0952-291919.

Heart of England Tourist Board, Woodside, Larkhill Road, Worcester WR5 2EF. (Tel: 0905-763436).

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