Bury St Edmunds’ Sean Taylor was crowned UK short tennis champion for the sixth successive time, but had to dig deep against improving opposition.
The world number one headed into the event at Nottingham’s National Short Tennis Centre as favourite, having gone through 2013 without losing a game, set or match.
Despite an abdominal injury, Taylor — who is a member of Culford Tennis Centre — saw off the threat of North Shields’ David Thomas and Sheffield’s Alan Potter before coming across debutant David Samuels, from Manchester, in the quarter-final.
Samuels had caused an upset by defeating the Welsh national champion in the last 16, with a style that caused Taylor problems before the world’s best player got through in three sets, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
He breezed through his semi-final 6-3, 6-3, to set up a final against number two seed, Scotland’s Allan Irvine, which he won 6-2, 6-4 in front of a record crowd of 500 people.