Maia Lumsden was faced with the biggest test of her career last week when she took on world number 28 Caroline Garcia.
The 21-year-old from Lenzie, originally from Bearsden, came through an opening round clash with fellow Brit Tara Moore at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham to get the chance to face top seed Garcia, who got as high as number four in the world rankings last year.
Maia, given a wildcard entry to the event, had to cope with the frustration of rain delays which eventually forced organisers of the grass court tournament to switch matches indoors.
But she negotiated her way past Moore 6-3 7-6 to set up her clash with Garcia.
And although the 2017 French Open quarter-finalist got the expected victory, defeating Maia 6-3 6-1, the Scot says it was a hugely valuable experience.
She said: “I’d never played someone as high as that before.
“I played really well in the first match and in the second match I think I played pretty well in bits of the second.
“It was a whole new experience just to see what her level was like, especially at the start.
“Her serve and return were really impressive but once I was in the rally I felt pretty good so if I can work on my serve and return that will help me get closer to that level.”
It’s been an encouraging 2019 so far for Maia who moved into the world’s top 300 for the first time after reaching the final of the recent ITF tournament in Goyang, South Korea.
She is now ranked 280 in the world and next up for her, after going out in the first round of this week’s W100 ITF tournament in Ilkley, is the qualifying tournament for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, June 24, and for which she has also been given a wildcard.
She said: “You have to win three rounds, so it’s tough but I feel that this year I know more players and I’ve beaten some of the players who have been in it.
“To get through would be amazing, there’s a lot of ranking points.”
For the rest of the year Maia’s target is simply to continue to rise up the rankings and hopefully earn enough points to get a qualifying spot for the year’s final Grand Slam.
She said: “If I can get into the top 240 I might have a chance of getting into the US Open so that’s the goal at the moment.”