IF THE Aegon Ilkley Trophy thought that they had done well to get their 2015 champion Denis Kudla through to the last 16 of the men's singles at Wimbledon (and first-round loser Olga Govortsova to the same stage of the women's singles), it pales by comparison to the efforts of their 2017 winner Magdalena Rybarikova.

The 28-year-old, who had never previously been past the third round of a Grand Slam, came into the grass-court season with no great expectations, having only returned to the tour in February after seven months out with wrist and knee surgeries.

By March, her world ranking had dropped to 453, but she won 18 of her 20 matches on grass, winning Surbiton and Ilkley and reaching the semi-finals in Nottingham before taking a liking to the courts at the All-England Club.

Five victories later, including a triumph over tournament favourite and third seed Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), the world No 108 was in the semi-finals.

Other wins for the skilful Slovak, whose ranking is now 33 compared to her career-best of 31 in August 2013, came against Monica Niculescu (Romania), Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine), fellow Ilkley competitor Petra Martic (Croatia) and 24th seed Coco Vandeweghe (United States), and although Rybarikova disappeared without trace against eventual winner Garbine Muguruza, it should not detract from her earlier efforts.

Following the 6-1, 6-1 defeat in 65 minutes on Centre Court, Rybarikova, whose run to the last four garnered Ilkley much publicity, tipped the Spaniard for the title.

The Bratislavan added: "Garbine played an amazing match. I never saw her playing that well – even when I played against her, she never played that well.

“I had no idea what to do on the court. If she plays like this, she has a huge chance to win it.”

Two days later, Muguruza beat tenth seed Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 to take the title.

Before facing the Spaniard, Rybarikova said: "My rehabilitation paid off – it's incredible.

"I could not imagine I could play like this. I cannot believe I am a Wimbledon semi-finalist. I need to sleep on it to believe it. I'm so happy and grateful. I had a really tough time and right now I'm here."

But the tall Slovak was not the only Ilkley entrant to prosper.

Martic reached the last 16, defeating 20th seed Daria Gavrilova (Australia) in the first round, and Maria Sakkari (Greece), Madison Brengle (United States) and Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) reached the third round.

"It just goes to show the calibre of entrant that we attracted to Ilkley because of the increased prize-money (the men was tripled to $150,000 and the women doubled to $100,000), and for a third year we again showed a marked improvement as a tournament," said Aegon Trophy tournament director Charlie Maunder

A total of 20 'Ilkley women' made the first round at Wimbledon, but times were tougher for the 12 men, with only qualifier Peter Gojowczyk (Germany) reaching the second round.

Last year it was one first-round Wimbledon winner from 13 for Ilkley's men (Australia's Matthew Barton) and none from four for the women.