DISCIPLINED serving helped Luke Johnson take the Aegon British Tour men’s singles title at Ilkley yesterday.

The top seed, who won the first 12 points of the match and the first 13 points on his own serve, defeated sixth seed Clay Crawford 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in what was an all-Leeds battle.

Johnson, 23, from Roundhay, is a full-timer, while 22-year-old Crawford from Seacroft would like to have another bash at the circuit but is lacking funding.

Crawford, who has been ranked 1606 in the world, said: “I wouldn’t put my slow start down to the fact that I am not full-time and Luke is. I just started poorly, and it was the first time all week that I had played on Centre Court as my semi-final was on the adjacent court.

“I had one or two chances to get it back in the second set, when I played much better, but he served well on the big points.

“As for playing full-time tennis again, I would love to have a bash but it is down to funding.”

Johnson, who is world ranked 1028 and won their previous Ilkley clash a decade ago in the 12 and under boys’ singles, said: “I served really well and varied my serve well, but Clay certainly has the talent to have another go if he can get the funding.”

Johnson, who is heading to Chinese Taipei for some ITF tournaments before coming back to Britain for three more events, pocketed £1500 for his victory.

Crawford took home £750, which is still £150 more than the usual Tier One prize-money for a British Tour win, but the Ilkley tournament had enhanced prize-money provided by the club.

In the semi-finals, which were played on Saturday afternoon, Johnson defeated fifth seed Brandon Murphy (Surrey) 6-1, 6-7 (6-8) 6-2, while Crawford was defeating second seed Sean Hodkin (Lincolnshire) 6-4, 6-2.

The men’s quarter-finals started on grass on Saturday morning but, after a sharp shower towards the end of the first sets, were transferred indoors.

Johnson defeated Samuel Archer 6-3, 6-2, 17-year-old Murphy put out third seed Henry Beesley 6-2, 6-1, Crawford despatched fourth seed Jack Gibbens 6-4, 6-1, and Hodkin beat seventh seed Michael Shaw 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Johnson and Murphy dished up a high-quality semi-final, and the Sutton teenager did well to take the match to a final set, but then couldn’t capitalise on breaking Johnson’s serve in the first game of the final set.

The women’s singles finalists warmed up outdoors but ended up playing indoors on Saturday morning.

Emma Wilson won the ‘battle of Newcastle’ 6-3, 6-3 against Grace Dixon to win the women’s singles.

Wilson, 20, who won £200, said: “I played really well and broke quite early in both sets.”