Touchtennis is a smash hit in Portsmouth

Elliott Mould in action in Portsmouth. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Elliott Mould in action in Portsmouth. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The successful Warsash mens team, from left, Mike Challis, Ian Udal, Jake Norris and Martin Wilkinson

Portsmouth secure double over Southampton

Dan Jones

Jones intent on growing appeal of real tennis

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ELLIOTT MOULD blasted his way to the world number one spot as he won the Babolat £500 Masters in Portsmouth.

Mould took advantage of the absence of Simon Roberts, who had been top of the rankings before missing the tournament.

Rashid Ahmad. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Rashid Ahmad. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Overall, it was a successful day for Portsmouth Tennis Centre.

They introduced many new players to the fast growing sport with an open day and some expert advice from the biggest names including touchtennis founder Rashid Ahmad.

It was an excellent day for Mould who also paired up with Stu Searle to win the doubles.

Portsmouth coaches Ashley Neaves, Macca Neaves and Ben Mason boosted their ranking positions with good displays at their home club.

And it was the biggest indoor event so far for touchtennis as the centre proved an excellent host venue.

Ashley Neaves said: ‘We had 80 participants in the tournament and around 40 others came along to try the sport or to watch.

‘Well done to Dave Buzzard, Donna Sheppard, Tasha Bibby, Roy Anderson, Liz Smith and Mark Slingsby for competing in their first event.

‘We hope to see them all playing again.

‘The other coaches from the different clubs in Portsmouth also took part and that was really good.

‘We had the official touchtennis video for 2016 filmed here as well so that is great for Portsmouth Tennis Centre.

‘We are looking to run this event every year, along with a smaller summer event.

‘This was the biggest indoor event for touchtennis.

‘The only other event to have more entries is the All-England Championships, played during the Wimbledon fortnight.’

Players in the provided some great entertainment as the centre was transformed into a battle arena for some of the best matches the tour has seen.

Ahmad’s challenge for glory was ended in the second round when he lost to Edwin Brooks.

Ashley Neaves exited in the last 16, although he has climbed a place in the world rankings, moving above Ahmad to 17th.

The Portsmouth Tennis Centre coach lost out to world number four Alex Bull.

And Macca Neaves was seen off by world number 13 Searle at the same stage.

In the semi-finals Bull showed his quality.

He gave Mould his biggest scare of the day, taking the match to a deciding third set before bowing out.

It was the only set Mould dropped in the competition as he wrapped up a dominant victory.

In the doubles, Portsmouth duo Macca Neaves and Mason reached the quarter-finals.

Touchtennis is the best of three sets and the sets are shorter, with only one serve making the games faster.

There is a world tour and the sport is played in 23 countries by more than 10,000 players.

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