BRIDPORT real tennis ace Ben Matthews was unable to land his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, as he went down in straight sets to 11-time world champion Rob Fahey in Melbourne.

Fahey, arguably the greatest player the sport has seen, won 6-3, 6-5, 6-4 on his home court at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club.

Having won more than 40 Grand Slam singles championships in a glittering career before the match, Fahey was always going to be the favourite.

But Matthews, in his first Grand Slam final, had done superbly to get there and had his moments against his Australian opponent.

The second set proved to be the closest and had Matthews sneaked it then the outcome may well have been a lot different.

It was in the semi-final that Matthews really shone through.

Taking on the in-form Bryn Sayers (Queen’s Club), who won the European Open at Lord’s in October, Matthews lost the first and fourth sets but eventually triumphed 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

This was a sensational result which showed the determination and grit that Matthews has added to his game.

Although he is now based in Hertfordshire, where he is a senior professional at Hatfield House Club, his friends in West Dorset will be thrilled that he has come so far.