Hard work paying off for Portsmouth starlet

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Rina Hayamizu has announced herself on the big stage with her charge to the semi-finals of the National Clay Court Championships.

The nine-year-old Portsmouth Tennis Academy starlet showed her potential, picking up a string of victories against some of the country’s best young talent.

And Hayamizu has been backed to make a big impact in the sport if she continues to impress with her hard-working attitude and quality.

Hayamizu cruised through her round-robin group with two wins.

A 10-8, 8-6 win over Katie Swindell sent her on her way in the under-nine event, before another confident display earned a 7-2, 7-5 win over Sophie Bracegirdle.

That set her up for a round-of-16 meeting with Mila Burek, which the Oliver Barnes-trained talent won 7-4, 7-5.

Hayamizu then triumphed over Matilda Mutadvzic (7-1, 7-5) before going out to Lara Bakhaya in the semis (10-8, 7-2).

A third-fourth place decider defeat to Chloe Elliott (7-5, 1-7, 7-5) completed Hayamizu’s competition against top-drawer opposition.

The event underlined what potential she has, after she went up against opponents as one of the youngest competitors in her age group.

Barnes paid tribute to her endeavour and believes that had much to do with her success.

He said: ‘For Rina to come fourth out of the best 24 girls in the country is a great achievement.

‘She has a whole school year in her age group, whereas some of the opposition move up pretty soon.

‘There were boxes of three and she won her box after two matches.

‘The top two went through to the last 16. She won the last 16 and won the quarters before losing the semi-finals.

‘But it was a close first set there – 10-8. Then Rina lost the third and fourth place 7-5 in the third.

‘She’s a real hard-working girl who is committed to what she does. That is one of her big assets.

‘She works hard and a bit of success after working hard is a good thing.’

Barnes has been working with Hayamizu for over three years as she comes through the ranks at the academy.

He feels she has everything in place to give her the best chance of fulfilling her potential

Barnes said: ‘I’ve been working with her since she was five.

‘She has come all the way through.

‘A lot of clubs pick up their players from somewhere else but we’ve developed her.

‘She has ability. There are a lot of obstacles in the way but she works hard and her family are committed enough.

‘They travel with her and bring her to training and events. That is needed for her to have her shot.

‘We are trying to give her the best chance to do well and so are her family. That’s what is needed.’