GRACE Schumacher has added the prestigious Tildesley Shield singles title to her name following a stellar run of performances for Presbyterian Ladies College Croydon.
The Eglinton player won six straight matches at the Pennant Hills Tennis Club to come out on top in the 250-strong knockout draw. In the process Schumacher helped her school team finish fourth overall in the century-old tournament.
It continues what's been an exciting year for Schumacher, who came close to an Australian Open juniors main draw appearance in January and made a semi-final appearance at the J4 Christchurch event later that month.
As a seed, Schumacher joined the singles draw in round three, winning both her matches (in a first-to-eight set format) on the opening day.
Schumacher defeated three straight players from tennis powerhouse Meriden College before defeating a Pymble Ladies College opponent in the decider.
"I'd played against her a couple of times before. I ended up winning the final 8-3," Schumacher said.
"It was a pretty good tournament for me overall. That was the closest match I had.
"I'd been playing really well lately. The games were really close but I've been in good form and backing my points up well."
Schumacher has become the third PLC Croydon player to win the singles title in the past 50 years.
The last player from the school to achieve that feat was Nicole Kriz, a former professional who would go on to win two ITF singles titles and make several grand slam doubles main draw appearances.
Schumacher is currently the sixth-highest placed Australian on the World Junior ITF rankings and will be seeking a breakthrough inside the top 200 in her final junior season.
Before taking on her next ITF tournament Schumacher is heading south for an open-age attempt.
"I'm going to Melbourne on Thursday to play in a platinum AMT [Australian Money Tournament] and then I have two junior ITF events after that," she said.
"I've won a few gold level tournaments but haven't played a lot of these since I've been focused on the junior tournaments.
"That's because of the Transition Tour. It's a lot easier to get into the Pro Tours because they're making it so the top five-ranked juniors in ITF, who enter the tournament, get wildcards into the main draw."
The ITF Transition Tour is a new system introduced in 2019 which is focused on improving the pathway between the ITF Junior Circuit and the professional tour.