EMILY Webley-Smith claimed her first senior singles title by winning the $10,000 tournament in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

The Thornbury-born tennis star has risen over 200 places in the world rankings to number 347 in the last six months and claimed an impressive straight sets victory over Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria in the last four, before beating Russia’s Elena Chalova 6-0 7-6(5) in the final.

Webley-Smith said: “I played my best tennis in the semi-final.

“Having reached finals of singles events before, it was a really good feeling to win my first singles title to add to the consistent results I’ve had over the last six months.”

She began her challenge against the Slovakian Tara Mohorcic and was slow to get into her stride. She lost the first set 6-3 before she got her act together taking the next two sets 7-5 6-1.

Her next competitor was the 20-year-old French girl Natalie Piquion who is beginning to make inroads onto the world circuit.

Webley-Smith took the first set 6-3 but the game was by no means over as the French girl came back to square the match, taking the second set 6-4.

However, Webley-Smith showed her resolve to win the third and final set 6-4 and progress through to the quarter finals where she met Shaozhuo Liu from Tianjin, China who also proved to be another formidable opponent.

Webley-Smith took the first set 6-4 but the 18-year-old came back in fine style to take the second set 6-4 and square the match.

Once again, the girl from North Bristol had to dig deep and found that extra bit of class to take the final set 6-2.

Webley-Smith was up against the number eight seed Kostova in the semi-final. She thought this would be her toughest match to date but the product of Almondsbury tennis club played in imperious fashion to win 6-2 6-3. Webley-Smith had to play the Russian Chalova in the final and charged out of the starting blocks to take the first set 6-0.

Chalova soon raised her game and it was nip and tuck throughout the second set. Neither player could be separated so the second set went to a tie-break where Webley-Smith shone through.

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