MAIA LUMSDEN turned 16 last week and, for a while at Scotstoun yesterday, it seemed she was about to celebrate with a victory.
The highly-rated Glaswegian, a winner of the same prestigious Orange Bowl junior tournament once won by a young Andy Murray, stunned Tara Moore, the No.1 seed and world No.212, by taking the first set of their second-round encounter at the AEGON Pro Series, only for the recent Fed Cup recruit, five years her elder, to raise her game and run out a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 winner. Moore was the loftiest opponent yet faced by Lumsden, who must still earn points in one further event to be granted a senior ranking, and there was nothing here to dispel the notion that the Scot is a player with serious potential. "I had chances because I don't think she was playing her best at the start," said Lumsden.
"But it is good experience to play someone like Tara - I have never played anyone as highly ranked as her. She hits the ball a lot harder than most of the people I come up against so I was having to do a lot of running and I am obviously not as strong as her. Even after the first set I felt tired."
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As it was, Lumsden's sweet 16 was spent in transit, travelling from her new base in Amsterdam back to her home city.
After consultation with mentor Judy Murray during the summer, Lumsden took a page out of Andy's book and distanced herself from the British system. She currently trains at the Laurense Tennis Academy in the Dutch capital, under respected coach Martijn Bot, and at least partially under the watchful eye of Sven Groeneveld, who was recently appointed full-time coach by Maria Sharapova, the world No.3.
"My birthday was a couple of days ago but I didn't really do anything special for it," added Lumsden, whose next competitive engagement will be in a couple of junior tournaments in Tunisia.
"I was actually just on a flight home to play in this tournament so it wasn't very exciting. I am in Amsterdam for the whole week really, doing full-time tennis.
"I guess it is quite hard off the court, but on the court it is what I feel I need to do to make the next step, and that is why I am doing it."