Tennis: Normal service resumed as Foster leads British exodus

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ANDREW FOSTER, Mark Petchey and Miles Maclagan were all beaten yesterday to leave Britain without a representative in the Northern Electric Open in Newcastle.

Petchey missed a marvellous chance of reaching the quarter- finals when he took the first set 6-0 against the Hungarian, Sandor Noszaly, but then lost the second in a tie-break before succumbing 6-2 in the third.

Noszaly is a familiar name to British players, having beaten both Jeremy Bates and Chris Wilkinson three months ago in a humiliating Davis Cup defeat.

Foster's defeat by the Kenyan qualifier, Paul Wekesa, 6-4, 6-4 completed a disappointing week for the home challenge after their success at Wimbledon and at last week's Bristol Challenger where British players filled six of the quarter-final places. Earlier in the week Chris Bailey and Chris Wilkinson were forced to scratch because of injury.

Maclagan's display against the highly rated Swede, Jonas Bjorkman, restored some pride but the 18-year-old eventually lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 against a player ranked 243 places higher on the computer.

'It's just one bad week after five or six great ones. The future still looks bright for British tennis,' Foster insisted. 'I need to find a bit of consistency. I played very well in the first round but just could not get into my rhythm when we switched from inside to outside courts on a different surface.'

Britain's Julie Pullin beat the second seed, the Australian Catherine Barclay, 7-5, 0-6, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the LTA women's satellite tournament at Frinton yesterday.