A tennis ace from Acle helped Team Great Britain secure a spot in the semi-finals of the Billie Jean King Cup.

For the first time in 41 years, Great Britain has made it to the semis of the illustrious women's international teams tennis tournament. And Olivia Nicholls was part of the winning duo - along with Alicia Barnett - who smashed Team Spain in a 3-0 drubbing on Thursday.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Team Great Britain secured their place in Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals after beating Spain on Thursday.Team Great Britain secured their place in Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals after beating Spain on Thursday. (Image: PA)

The 28-year-old, who also played at Wimbledon earlier in the year, has had a standout 2022, with her and her partner leaving Canada victorious after their win in the WTA 250 Finals at the Championnats Banque Nationale de Granby in August.

The duo have also competed at the US Open and made it to the Quarter-Finals of both the Tallinn Open and the Agel Open 2022.

Miss Nichols' efforts on Thursday at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow have granted Great Britain a place in the semi-finals against Australia on Saturday from 10am.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Acle's Olivia Nicholls has had a stellar 2022, and she has bigger plans for 2023.Acle's Olivia Nicholls has had a stellar 2022, and she has bigger plans for 2023. (Image: PA)

Britain last reached the semi-finals back in 1981, when Sue Barker and Virginia Wade carried them to the last of four finals in what was then known as Fed Cup.

Speaking in September, Miss Nicholls said: "It’s been an exciting year, with lots of firsts, and some big climbs up the rankings.

"I'm absolutely loving every aspect of the journey and hope to continue to progress in a similar fashion next year.”

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett on the court in Glasgow.Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett on the court in Glasgow. (Image: PA)

The Acle tennis ace has her eyes on making next year even more memorable.

"I think to finish next year in the top 40 is the aim," she said.

"A ranking of this kind guarantees entry into the masters 1000s as well as the slams, and that is where we want to be. To win a 500 event would be something we would like to achieve next year as well.”

She has been playing since she was four years old, and she trains at Acle Tennis Club where her mother Ann Nicholls is the head coach.

She attended Acle Primary School, Acle High School (now Acle Academy) and East Norfolk Sixth Form College before studying Sports Science with Management at Loughborough University, where she continued playing tennis.

She went professional in 2017. Currently, Miss Nicholls is ranked 63 in doubles.

Norfolk's Tennis Stars

Olivia Nicholls joins a line of some of the country's tennis stars who originally hailed from Norfolk.

Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewitt, from Cantley, secured a spot in the men's finals of Wimbledon in July. Eventually losing to the world's number one, Shingo Kunieda, it was the first time a men's wheelchair tennis match was staged on the No. 1 Court.

Earlier in 2022, Mr Hewitt won the men’s doubles British Grass Court Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, alongside partner Stephane Houdet.

Chris Bailey became a professional player at the age of 19 in 1987. That same year, the Norwich athlete competed in his first outing at Wimbledon where he made it to the second round.

Mr Bailey made it to the finals of the British Championships in 1993 before retiring in 1994.

He is now a commentator.

Winning the British Junior Championships in 2001, Alpington-born Richard Bloomfield had his first full ATP tournament in 2003, when he competed at Wimbledon as a wildcard.

Mr Bloomfield made it to the second round of Wimbledon in 2006, and he reached the British Tour Masters Final in 2013.