Humble beginnings

Still the grateful recipient of a 1,200 euros winner’s cheque from Vale de Lobo’s ITF Futures tournament organiser Pedro Frazão in February 2006, Carla Suarez Navarro proved to be one of the sensations of the just ended Australian Open.

The 20-year-old from Las Palmas beat No6 seed Venus Williams in the second round before world No4 Elena Dementieva finally proved too good in their quarter-final showdown. Further stars of the future are again on show at the same Algarve venue until this Sunday before the circuit moves to Albufeira (9-15) and Portimão (16-22) later this month.