SAM Bayda reached the semi-finals of the boys’ doubles at the Racquette D’Or ITF tournament in Morocco.

The former Deanes School pupil partnered Ireland’s Peter Bothwell in the event.

And he was pleased to reach the final four and improve his world ranking.

“In the quarter finals we played players ranked in the top 700 and beat them 7-5, 6-2, so we were really pleased,” said Bayda, who is now ranked 1,683rd in the world for players aged under 18.

“We played really well to beat them but after that we had two players in the top 400 and they were very tough opponents.

“We lost 6-4, 6-2 but still played some good tennis and it was pleasing to be able to improve my world ranking.”

Bayda, 16, also competed in the singles in Morocco.

But he was beaten in the first round by Frenchman Clement Larriere.

“It was disappointing to lose but he’s a top player and it was a really tough opening round draw for me,” said Bayda.

“His sister is number 40 in the women’s game but of course I wish I could’ve done better against him.”

Bayda, who trains full-time at the Soto Tennis Academy in southern Spain, will today return to his Chalkwell home and start preparations for his next event, which is in Bath in two weeks’ time.

“It’s an important event for me to keep up my national ranking and try to improve it too,” said Bayda.

“At the moment I’m 38th for players for 18 and under and 41st in the 16 and under section, so I want to try and get a bit higher up.

“It’s also nice to be home and see my family and friends again and I’ll also be able to watch Southend United, which is something else I’ve missed doing!”