CLARE Vigaress is still celebrating after becoming the proud winner of a historic new record.

The 16-year-old real tennis ace from Inworth, near Tiptree, has just become the youngest player ever to scoop the USA Open Singles Championship after only taking up the sport six years ago.

And the talented Prested Hall teenager also came within a whisker of making it a double title celebration when she and her American partner Margie Goodyear were pipped in the doubles final.

Ricardo Smith, professional coach at Feering's Prested Hall - the club where Vigaress has enjoyed her rapid progress - said: "It's a massive achievement, the biggest in the club's ten-year history."

Vigaress lifted the American title by beating world number four Sue Haswell (Hampton Court Palace) 6-1, 6-2 in the final at Aiken, South Carolina.

"It wasn't just a beating, it was a thrashing," said her ecstatic coach Smith.

Just back in the country following her flight from America, the Colchester County High School for Girls pupil told the Gazette: "I never thought about being the youngest ever winner straight away.

"I took a minute or two out on court when the game was over and then it hit me.

"All the names of the previous winners were up on a victors board and I noticed they were all around 30-years-old and many of them were world champions.

"I could so easily have been celebrating a double as Margie and I were only beaten 6-5 in the final set of the doubles, having lost the first 6-2 and won the second 6-5."

Her rise to stardom has been swift in a sport she has only been playing competitively for four years after getting the bug watching her father play two years earlier, when she was ten.

Vigaress said: "My fingers are now crossed that I will be seeded for the British Championships in April at Morton Morell, near Leamington.

"After that, I will be looking to challenge for the World Championship, sometime next year."

There was some good news for Smith as well. He learned he has broken into the world's top ten players.

"I am officially the world number nine and it's a really big deal for me," he said.