Katie Jill O'Brien (born 2 May 1986) is a British former professional tennis player from Beverley, Yorkshire. She was briefly the British No. 1 tennis player. She reached her career-high singles ranking of World No.84 on 1 February 2010 and won four ITF singles titles and two ITF doubles titles.
|Country (sports)|| Great Britain|
|Born||2 May 1986|
|Height||1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Retired||12 August 2011|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Career titles||0 WTA (4 ITF)|
|Highest ranking||No. 84 (1 February 2010)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||2R (2010)|
|French Open||1R (2009, 2010)|
|US Open||Q3 (2010)|
|Career titles||0 WTA (2 ITF)|
|Highest ranking||No. 174 (8 October 2007)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Wimbledon||1R (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|Last updated on: 26 May 2014.|
In 2007, she reached the second round of her home Grand Slam, Wimbledon, by beating Sandra Klösel in round one. She lost to the No.31 seed, Michaëlla Krajicek, in the second round. In 2010, she replicated this achievement by beating Patricia Mayr to reach the second round of the Australian Open where she fell to 8th seeded Jelena Janković.
O'Brien's parents are Phil and Jill O'Brien. Her father is a quantity surveyor, and her mother is a nursery school teacher. Her brother James, and sister, Holly both have been awarded the Development Coach Award, a licence to coach tennis from the Lawn Tennis Association.
O'Brien attended Hymers College, Hull from 1997 to 2002. She studied her A-levels at Woodhouse Grove School in Leeds from 2002 to 2004. She began studying business studies with the Open University in 2008, pursuing studies while competing professionally.
O'Brien played her first match on the junior ITF tour in February 2000 and her last in June 2004. During her junior tennis career, she won two titles—the Team Leschly Danish Junior Cup in February 2002 and the Vierumaki Junior Cup in October the same year. She also reached a total of five semifinals and three quarterfinals overall. O'Brien's best result in a junior Grand Slam came in the 2003 junior Wimbledon Championships where she reached round three before losing to Emma Laine, 1–6, 5–7. Her career-high junior singles ranking was World No.101, reached on 15 September 2003 and her overall win-loss record in singles was 44–34.
In addition to her singles success as a junior, she also won one doubles title, lost in the final of another, reached four doubles semifinals and seven doubles quarterfinals (one of which was in the 2004 Wimbledon Championships partnering compatriot, Melanie South). She reached her career–high doubles ranking of World No.201 on 3 February 2003 and ended her junior career with a win–loss record of 17–26.
One year later, in September 2002, she reached her first ITF quarterfinal as a qualifier in the $10,000 event in Sunderland and was beaten by countrywoman, Anne Keothavong, 0–6, 1–6. This was her only quarterfinal appearance in 2002 and she finished the year with a ranking of World No. 693.
In 2003 she again reached only one quarterfinal, this one in the $10,000 ITF tournament in Felixstowe. In every other tournament she played she either lost in the first round or the qualifying stages. As a result, her year-end ranking fell from the previous year to World No. 742.
In May 2004, O'Brien played her first ever semifinal on the ITF tour against Elke Clijsters (the sister of former World No.1 Kim Clijsters) and was beaten, 3–6, 5–7. She was given a wild card into the main draw of her home Grand Slam, Wimbledon for the first time in her career in June 2004. She was beaten in the first round, 4–6, 4–6, by María Sánchez Lorenzo. Following Wimbledon, she played twelve more tournaments on the ITF tour, reaching the final of one (Manchester $10,000), the semifinals of three of them and the quarterfinals of two more. Her end-of-year ranking was World No. 401.
The 2005 season started well for O'Brien; she reached the finals of her first two $10,000 ITF tournaments (in Tipton and Hull) and won the second of the two. In her third tournament, Sunderland $10,000, she reached the quarterfinals but was beaten by compatriot, Elena Baltacha, 4–6, 3–6. Her second quarterfinal of the year was in the $10,000 tournament in Oxford.
In June, she received three wild cards into three consecutive WTA tournaments; the DFS Classic qualifying draw, the Hastings Direct International Championships qualifying draw and Wimbledon main draw. She failed to qualify in the first two tournaments and was beaten by Kim Clijsters, 2–6, 3–6, in the first round of Wimbledon.
Following Wimbledon she entered the $25,000 tournament in Felixstowe and reached the semifinals before losing to Jarmila Gajdošová, 4–6, 4–6. She competed in twelve more ITF tournaments that year (reaching the quarterfinals in six of them) and the qualifying tournament for the BGL-BNP Paribas Open Luxembourg where she reached the second round of qualifying. She finished the 2005 season with a ranking of World No. 263.
In January, O'Brien reached yet another ITF quarterfinal, this one in the $10,000 tournament in Hull, and the very next month she progressed to the semifinals of the $25,000 tournament in Sunderland before losing, 2–6, 4–6, to Anne Keothavong. She reached the semifinals of the ITF event in Fukuoka, Japan ($50,000) where she was beaten by Ayumi Morita.
She again spent June attempting to qualify for the DFS Classic and the Hastings Direct International Championships without success. She also competed in the Wimbledon main draw but again lost in round one, beaten by Tathiana Garbin in three sets, 6–2, 6–7(2), 2–6.
After this she lost to Monique Adamczak in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 event in Valladolid in July and she reached the final of the ITF tournament in Changsha ($25,000) in August. Two consecutive $25,000 ITF finals followed in September; the second of which she won. Her good form continued into October and November when she reached the quarterfinals, semifinals and quarterfinals of $25,000 ITF tournaments in Glasgow, Istanbul and Jakarta respectively. Her final ranking of 2006 was World No. 193.
O'Brien's first tournament of the 2007 season was the qualifying event for the Australian Open where she beat Chen Yanchong in a marathon three-setter, 3–6, 6–2 8–7 ret, to set up a second round clash with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova which she lost 6–7(5), 1–6. She then returned to the ITF circuit until May. During this time she played in ten ITF tournaments, reaching the quarterfinal stages in four of them (two $50,000 events and two $25,000 events). She then attempted to qualify for the French Open but was beaten by Florence Haring, 6–4, 3–6, 3–6.
O'Brien's grass court season began with another ITF quarterfinal, this one in Surbiton ($25,000). She then tried to qualify for the tier III tournament, the DFS Classic but was beaten in another tough three set match, 6–7(1), 7–5, 6–7(5), by compatriot Sarah Borwell. O'Brien had more success trying to qualify for the tier II Hastings Direct International where she beat Yuan Meng, Tsvetana Pironkova and Jill Craybas to qualify. She faced Vasilisa Bardina in the first round of the main tournament and had enough momentum carried over from the qualifying rounds to defeat her as well, 7–5, 6–3. Her opponent in the round of 16 was No.4 seed, Elena Dementieva who proved too much for the Brit. She beat O'Brien by a score of 3–6, 4–6. The confidence and experience she gained helped her capitalise on a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon; she beat Sandra Klösel in round one, 6–3, 7–5, (by coming back from 3–5 down in the second set) before being demolished in the second round by 31st seed, Michaëlla Krajicek, 0–6, 1–6.
O'Brien spent August trying to qualify for the East West Bank Classic (tier II), the Roger's Cup (tier I) and the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. She failed to win a match in any of these qualifying tournaments. In September she managed to reach the final round of qualifying in a tier IV WTA tournament, the Banka Koper Slovenia Open in Portorož and just a few weeks later reached the quarterfinals of the main draw of a tier IV event, the Tashkent Open, for the first time in her career before losing to Olga Govortsova, 2–6, 3–6. She played six more $25,000 ITF tournaments that year, reaching the semifinals in four of them and the final of another. She finished 2007 with a ranking of World No. 134.
O'Brien's first tournament of the season was the Australian Open where she entered qualifying as the No.15 seed. After being gifted an easy first round victory over Darya Kustova when Kustova had to retire with the score at 6–3, 1–0 in O'Brien's favour, O'Brien was forced to fight hard in her second qualifying match against Yanina Wickmayer. She eventually won, 4–6, 6–3 8–6, to set up a final round qualifying match against the No.11 seed in the qualifying tournament, Yuan Meng. O'Brien was defeated 4–6, 2–6. In early February, she competed as part of the Great Britain Fed Cup team in the Fed Cup and was given tough opponents. She challenged Patty Schnyder but eventually lost, 6–7(5), 5–7, and also lost to Ágnes Szávay and Caroline Wozniacki. However, she and Anne Keothavong managed to save Britain from relegation from the Europe/Africa Group I by winning two singles matches against Portugal. This was followed by O'Brien's first appearance on the ITF circuit in 2008 which came at the $75,000 event in Midland where she was the No.5 seed. She faced the No.2 seed, Laura Granville, in the quarterfinals and was beaten, 6–1, 3–6, 1–6. O'Brien then attempted to qualify for four consecutive WTA events, in Doha, Dubai, Bangalore and Indian Wells. She lost in round one of qualifying in each of them with the exception of Indian Wells where she lost in the round two of qualifying to Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová. Over March and April she reached the quarterfinals of two ITF tournaments: Jersey ($25,000) and Saint-Malo ($100,000). In May, O'Brien entered the French Open qualifying draw and beat fellow Brit, Melanie South in the opening round. She fell in round two to Kristina Barrois, 4–6, 2–6. After this she headed to the DFS Classic where she beat Alla Kudryavtseva, 6–0, 3–6, 7–6(2), in the first round before falling to Yaroslava Shvedova in round two, 5–7, 6–1, 5–7. A wild card allowed O'Brien entry into the International Women's Open (previously the Hastings Direct International) where she lost to Samantha Stosur. Shahar Pe'er beat O'Brien in the first round of Wimbledon.
Following the third Grand Slam of the season, O'Brien participated in the Internazionali Femminili di Palermo where Lourdes Domínguez Lino beat O'Brien in round one. Two weeks later she reached the second round of the Banka Koper Slovenia Open by beating No. 5 seed, Tsvetana Pironkova, in round one. She lost to Vera Dushevina in the second round. In August, she reached the second round of qualifying for the US Open before being knocked out by home favourite, Alexa Glatch. September saw O'Brien fall to Ioana Raluca Olaru in round one of the Tashkent Open and in October she reached the semifinals of the $50,000 ITF in Barnstaple where she lost to Anne Keothavong. She reached two more ITF quarterfinals in 2008, in Phoenix and Saint-Denis, both $25,000. Her year-end ranking was World No. 154.
O'Brien started her 2009 season by attempting to qualify for the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. She came up against the number 2 seed in the qualifying tournament, Ayumi Morita, and lost in three sets, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5. Her next tournament was the qualifying event for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. She beat Sandra Záhlavová, Julie Ditty and Betina Jozami to gain entry into the main draw for the first time in her career. She faced Monica Niculescu in round one but lost, 4–6, 4–6. Nevertheless, the 2009 Australian Open marked the first time since the 1992 US Open that four British women had competed in the main draw of a Grand Slam other than Wimbledon. O'Brien's three compatriots were Anne Keothavong, Melanie South and fellow qualifier, Elena Baltacha. Following the Australian Open, O'Brien returned to ITF action as the No.3 seed at the $25,000 event in Sutton. She won four matches in straight sets before defeating wild card Johanna Konta, 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, in the final to win her first title since September 2006 and the third ITF singles title of her career. Between this and the French Open she reached the semifinals of ITF tournaments in Midland ($75,000), Biberach ($50,000) and Johannesburg ($100,000) as well as reaching the quarterfinals of a $100,000+H ITF event in Torhout. She also won a $25,000 ITF in Jersey and was the runner-up in another $25,000 event, this one in Minsk. In May she reached the final round of qualifying for the French Open before losing to Arantxa Rus, 4–6, 6–7(6), however she gained entry to the main draw as a Lucky loser when No.6 seed Vera Zvonareva withdrew from the tournament due to injury. O'Brien lost to Olga Govortsova, 6–1, 6–1, in the first round.
O'Brien began her grass court season as the No.5 seed in a $50,000 ITF in Nottingham but she was beaten in the second round by Naomi Cavaday, 2–6, 3–6. She was then given a wild card into the main draw of the Aegon Classic where she was drawn to face fellow British wild card, Melanie South. O'Brien eventually lost in three sets, 6–4, 1–6, 7–6(5). Immediately following this she went on to fall in the second round of qualifying for the Aegon International to the world No.46, Ekaterina Makarova, 6–4, 6–2. Another wild card then granted O'Brien entry to the main draw of Wimbledon where she lost, 2–6, 7–5, 4–6, in round one to world No. 35, Iveta Benešová. After Wimbledon, a number of first and second round defeats followed before O'Brien reached the final of another $25,000 ITF in July. She was beaten in the final, 5–7, 2–6, by fellow Britain Georgie Stoop. In August O'Brien was the No.3 seed in the qualifying tournament for the US Open but she was stopped in round two of qualifying by lower-ranked Anna Tatishvili. In late September she reached the final of a $75,000 ITF in Shrewsbury as the No.6 seed where she came up against fellow Brit and No.5 seed, Elena Baltacha. O'Brien lost in three sets, 3–6, 6–4, 3–6, but this result was enough to move both finalists into the top 100 for the first time in their careers. Over the course of her final few tournaments of the year, O'Brien reached another $100,000 ITF semifinal as well as the second round of the HP Open where she was swept aside, 0–6, 1–6, by top seed, Caroline Wozniacki. She finished the year inside the top 100 with a ranking of World No. 90.
O'Brien started 2010 by attempting to qualify for the $220,000 ASB Classic in Auckland but lost her opening match 1–6, 5–7 to Canadian Valérie Tétreault. She moved onto the $600,000 Premier event in Sydney and lost 3–6, 3–6 to Anastasia Rodionova in the first round of qualifying. On 11 January O'Brien achieved a new career high ranking of 87. Playing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the second successive year, O'Brien defeated Austrian Patricia Mayr 6–3, 6–3 in the opening round for her second career victory in a Grand Slam. In the second round O'Brien faced the eighth seed and former world number one Jelena Janković and put in a spirited performance but went down 2–6, 2–6. O'Brien is expected to move to a new career high ranking after the Australian Open.
O'Brien kicked off her 2011 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Her ranking was not high enough for her to be directly accepted into the main draw so she entered the qualifying tournament. In the first round she defeated Emily Fanning of New Zealand 6–2, 6–2 and in the second round defeated No.4 seed 7–5, 6–3, but lost to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and did not win a place in the main draw.
O'Brien then got a wildcard into the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, where she faced Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round. However, she lost in under an hour, and became the first player eliminated from the main draw in the tournament. On 12 August 2011 she announced her retirement at the age 25.
|Runner-up||13 September 2004||ITF $10,000||Manchester, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Andrea Sieveke||4–6, 6–7(4–7)|
|Runner-up||19 January 2005||ITF $10,000||Tipton, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Irina Bulykina||7–6(7–5), 2–6, 4–6|
|Winner||24 January 2005||ITF $10,000||Hull, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Ivanna Israilova||6–4, 6–4|
|Runner-up||1 August 2006||ITF $25,000||Changsha, China||Hard||Chen Yanchong||1–6, 1–6|
|Runner-up||19 September 2006||ITF $25,000||Madrid, Spain||Hard||Olivia Sanchez||7–6(9–7), 4–6, 4–6|
|Winner||26 September 2006||ITF $25,000||Nottingham, Great Britain||Hard||Amanda Keen||5–7, 7–6(7–3), 6–4|
|Runner-up||17 October 2007||ITF $25,000||Glasgow, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Sofia Arvidsson||3–6, 1–6|
|Winner||3 February 2009||ITF $25,000||Sutton, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Johanna Konta||3–6, 6–2, 6–4|
|Runner-up||3 March 2009||ITF $25,000||Minsk, Belarus||Carpet||Darya Kustova||7–6(7–3), 1–6, 4–6|
|Winner||25 March 2009||ITF $25,000||Jersey, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Claire Feuerstein||7–5, 1–0 ret.|
|Runner-up||28 July 2009||ITF $25,000||Vigo, Spain||Hard||Georgie Gent||5–7, 2–6|
|Runner-up||22 September 2009||ITF $75,000||Shrewsbury, Great Britain||Hard||Elena Baltacha||3–6, 6–4, 3–6|
|Runner-up||13 July 2010||ITF $25,000||Woking, Great Britain||Hard||Tímea Babos||5–7, 4–6|
|Runner-up||27 July 2010||ITF $25,000||Vigo, Spain||Hard||Andrea Hlaváčková||2–6, 0–6|
|Runner-up||22 February 2011||ITF $25,000||Mildura, Australia||Grass||Hsieh Su-wei||1–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||20 January 2005||ITF $10,000||Tipton, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Melanie South|| Surina De Beer
|Runner-up||24 January 2005||ITF $10,000||Hull, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Melanie South|| Irina Bulykina
|6–4, 3–6, 5–7|
|Runner-up||2 February 2006||ITF $25,000||Jersey, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Melanie South|| Andrea Hlaváčková
|Winner||19 September 2006||ITF $25,000||Madrid, Spain||Hard||Sorana Cîrstea|| Céline Cattaneo
|Runner-up||27 September 2006||ITF $25,000||Nottingham, Great Britain||Hard||Margit Rüütel|| Karen Paterson
|2–6, 6–2, 6–7(1–7)|
|Winner||12 October 2006||ITF $25,000||Jersey, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Margit Rüütel|| Veronika Chvojková
|Runner-up||19 October 2006||ITF $25,000||Glasgow, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Margit Rüütel|| Veronika Chvojková
|Runner-up||23 October 2006||ITF $25,000||Istanbul, Turkey||Hard (i)||Sorana Cîrstea|| Mervana Jugić-Salkić
|Runner-up||11 October 2007||ITF $25,000||Jersey, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Georgie Gent|| Andrea Hlaváčková
|Runner-up||3 February 2009||ITF $25,000||Sutton, Great Britain||Hard (i)||Rebecca Marino|| Raquel Kops-Jones
|Runner-up||31 May 2010||ITF $50,000||Nottingham, Great Britain||Grass||Naomi Broady|| Sarah Borwell
|3–6, 6–2, [7–10]|
|Europe/Africa Group I|
|Date||Venue||Surface||Round||Opponents||Final match score||Match||Opponent||Rubber score|
|21–23 April 2005||Antalya||Clay||RR||Denmark||2–1||Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue)||Jacobsgaard/Jensen||3–6, 6–7(5–7) (L)|
|Serbia and Montenegro||1–2||Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue)||Timotić/Zarić||6–2, 6–4 (W)|
|Ukraine||1–2||Singles||Valeria Bondarenko||6–3, 6–3 (W)|
|Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue)||A.Bondarenko/V.Bondarenko||3–6, 2–6 (L)|
|30 January –
2 February 2008
|Budapest||Carpet (i)||RR||Switzerland||1–2||Singles||Patty Schnyder||6–7(5–7), 5–7 (L)|
|Hungary||1–2||Singles||Ágnes Szávay||1–6, 2–6 (L)|
|Denmark||1–2||Singles||Caroline Wozniacki||2–6, 6–1, 2–6 (L)|
|Portugal||2–0||Singles||Magali de Lattre||6–4, 6–2 (W)|
|3–6 February 2010||Lisbon||Hard (i)||RR||Bosnia and Herzegovina||3–0||Singles||Ema Burgić||6–2, 6–0 (W)|
|Belarus||2–1||Singles||Olga Govortsova||3–6, 3–6 (L)|
|Netherlands||1–2||Singles||Arantxa Rus||5–7, 6–3, 4–6 (L)|
|Doubles (with Sarah Borwell)||Hogenkamp/Thijssen||2–6, 4–6 (L)|
- "Former British number one Katie O'Brien quits aged 25". BBC Sport. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- The Press Association, 19 January 2010[dead link]
- "WTA Profile – Katie O'Brien". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "LTA Profile Katie O'Brien". Lawn Tennis Association. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Hodgkinson, Mark (19 January 2010). "Australian Open 2010: Katie O'Brien passes grand slam test with against Patricia Mayr". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- ITF Juniors Profile
- "Activity: O'Brien, Katie (GBR)". www.itftennis.com.
- Davies, Catriona (25 June 2004). "Mixed fortunes for Wimbledon's young Britons". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Clijsters happy among the big guns". www.rediff.com.
- "Miserable day for British women". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "O'Brien keeps the flag flying". The Guardian. London. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Too nice, too rich, too bad". The Mirror.
- Newman, Paul (11 January 2008). "Four British players rise above heat to win qualifying matches". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Newman, Paul (12 January 2008). "Henman's conqueror Tsonga provides first obstacle for Murray". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Herbert, Ian (25 June 2008). "Eaton holds aces to hit unlikely heights". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "British pair Elena Baltacha and Katie O'Brien qualify for Australian Open". The Telegraph. London. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "O'Brien handed French Open berth". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "South beats O'Brien at AEGON Classic". www.lta.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2010.
- "Anne Keothavong and Katie O'Brien join British exodus from Wimbledon". The Guardian. London. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Robson close to US Open qualification". The Independent. London. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Hodgkinson, Mark (27 September 2009). "Elena Baltacha and Katie O'Brien set to make it three British players in world's top 100". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Katie O'Brien reaches Australian Open second round". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- Katie O'Brien at the Women's Tennis Association
- Katie O'Brien at the International Tennis Federation
- Katie O'Brien at the International Tennis Federation – Junior profile
- Katie O'Brien at the Fed Cup
- LTA Profile
| British Tennis number one
7 May 2007 – 15 May 2007
25 June 2007 – 23 September 2007
26 November 2007 – 13 April 2008
21 April 2008 – 14 June 2008
9 November 2009 – 29 November 2009