FIP Rise Rocks Lane: GB No 1 Tia Norton ‘satisfied’ with performance

by RJ Mitchell, Chief Writer

GB No 1 Tia Norton pronounced herself ‘satisfied’ with her run to the quarter finals of the FIP Rise Rocks Lane in Chiswick over the Easter weekend. 

Tia partnered Portugal’s Margarida Fernandes, easing past Polish opposition in the opening round and a French/Spanish pairing in round two before coming up short in a three set quarter final against No 6 seeded Spanish pairing Francesca Ligotti and Lorena Capilla.

Dissecting her direction of travel with a partner she’d had no time to train with it is easy to see why Tia views this as a promising springboard rather than a tale of what might have been en route to her appearance in the inaugural US Pro Padel League (PPL).

Tia said: “We played a couple of tournaments together last year and did quite well and I was looking for a partner for Rocks Lane and Margarida was keen to play. We were satisfied with how we did – we would have liked to do better but considering we had no time to train together it was a decent outcome. 

“In our first round well, I didn’t know Poland had such good level players and they (Rosolska & Piorkowska) took the first set 6-4. I think we were maybe a bit too relaxed but then we focussed on our game, re-started the match from the second set and it was 4 and 0 after that. We moved up a gear nicely.

“With the Spanish/French pair (Nogueras & Ligi) in the second round we felt really confident going into it. We had a good game plan and stuck to it and the score reflected that. We knew they would be tough as I have trained with Elisabeth (Nogueras) and have spoken with Fiona (Ligi) and knew they were a good level. The key was to stay consistent and we did that well to win in straight sets (7-5, 6-2).

Match break

“In the quarters the Spanish pairing of Ligotti and Capilla (No 6 seeds) had had a three hour match prior to ours and they wanted a two hour break! We didn’t get on court until 9.30pm, there was a lot of waiting around for us when we just wanted to get the job done.

“That said we made a strong start and were 5-0 up in about 20 minutes and we took the first set 6-2 but after that they lifted it and managed to dominate and take control of the net and that turned things. So at the end of the day they played better than us in the second and third sets and deserved the win.

“But 100% I enjoyed Rocks Lane, any British tournament these days I am absolutely loving and when you get an international tournament coming to the UK it’s extra special and I take extra pride in playing and seeing the sport grow with the opportunity to play such a high level tournament over here.”

Next steps

Tia is now weighing up possibilities in terms of her next competitive outing, which will either be the World Padel Tour in Brussels or FIP RISE Burriana in Spain: “I have applied for a couple of tournaments coming up, the WPT Brussels and also FIP Star Burriana in which I will be playing with Maaike Betz (Netherlands) who made the semis at Rocks Lane and that is potentially really exciting,” she said.

“So I’m preparing for these tournaments and then it will all be about the US PRO Padel League where I will be playing for Las Vegas Smash and that will be awesome.”

Before heading to Europe Tia stars in the Pro Am Padel Tour event at Roehampton Club, playing with Carly Telford, the former Chelsea and England goalkeepe. She said of the event: “With World Cup winners, Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists and media personalities all playing it will be something really different and I’m sure it will be great fun.”

Meanwhile in other results for the GB Women at Rocks Lane there were straight sets first round defeats for Abi Tordoff and Lisa Phillips, Amy Cairns and Laura Deigman, Victoria Davies and Sarah Lochrie, Jo Ward, and Helen Crook. GB pairing Catherine Rose and Aimee Gibson were unlucky to lose 6-4 in the third set to the impressive Japanese couple Yamada and Kutsuna.

Abi Tordoff
Tia and Margarida
Aimee Gibson and Catherine Rose