Last year, few British tennis fans would have expected to be getting excited about Samantha Murray Sharan’s future in the sport.
Languising outside the top 300, and withdrawing from the qualifying stage at the W25 event in the Wirral, Murray Sharan has defied the odds to climb back inside the world’s top 200.
How has she done it?
Scheduling like a boss
Murray Sharan has not been afraid to travel. In the last 12 months, she has journeyed far and wide to earn her way back up the rankings. From Uzbekistan and Israel to Canada and South Africa, Murray Sharan has been intelligent in the tournaments she has participated in.
The first signs of her comeback came in Jerusalem, where she reached the semi-finals, before losing to Jodie Burrage. That then followed success on the grass courts, where she reached the semi-finals of W100 event in Manchester as a qualifier (defeating Marie Bouzkova, Asia Mohammed and Naomi Broady) and the final qualifying round at Wimbledon, where she pushed Paula Babosa close in a final set.
An ITF W25 title in Chiswick followed, while two semi-final appearances at W60 events in Saguenay and Toronto propelled Murray Sharan up the rankings before the end of the year.
Sensible scheduling, combined with a fine run of form, has paid dividends for the Brit, and this week’s victorious performance in Potchefstroom has signalled the end of a fantastic 12 months.
Defeating Russian Marina Melinkova in three sets, Murray Sharan fought her way through a topsy-turvy match to clinch the title. And with a second tournament to take place in Potchefstroom next week, with an almost-identical field, the Brit will lead the field and hope to extend her winning run.
Whatever happens in the rest of the year, Samantha Murray Sharan has proven that, with hard work and graft, players can continue to climb the rankings, no matter how far down the list they have fallen. Here’s to another successful 12 months!