The flag was flown high for UEL at the BUCS Tennis qualifying in High Wycombe, with all four qualifying spaces in the men’s event going to UEL players and two out of three in the female event also going to UEL ladies.
In the men’s event number-one seed Lewis Thompson came through a scare in the second round with a three-set victory, to find himself like last year against a teammate in the last round for a space in the main draw, Michael Elortegui. Thompson came through to gain a berth into the main draw for a third successive year.
Number-two seed James Ledger had a comfortable time in qualifying, dropping a total of five games in his three qualifying matches. The last round looked to be another routine performance for him, winning the first set 6-0. But he made life difficult as he let his opponent settle into the match and find some rhythm, although Ledger won his ticket to the main draw 6-0 6-4.
Patrick Eichler, UEL’s unbeaten player throughout the season, made hard work of his draw, with an easy looking pathway into the main draw. He was 5-4 and a break down in his second match, but pulled through. In a scrappy encounter in the last round Eichler found it hard to break the big serving player from LSE, who beat UEL’s Christopher Neill-Smith, but eventually the UEL man prevailed 6-3 6-4.
The last spot went to Jared Linzell who had the toughest time qualifying, dropping a set in the last round. After cruising through the first set, Linzell seemed to switch off mentally and he paid the price as his opponent, likewise from LSE, took full advantage to force a deciding third set. Linzell switched back on and rapidly found himself 5-0 up and held serve to ensure a UEL clean sweep of the men’s spaces in the main draw.
UEL coach Andrew Foster was delighted with the male effort: “A terrific weekend for the lads’ [it was] a tough match for Lewis and Mike, knowing each other well, to knock one out must be a tough task to be happy with, but all the boys fought hard all weekend and earned their places in the main draw.”
In the woman’s draw, number one seed Winde Jansens, who received a walkover into the final round, was lined up against team mate Brielle Koulen. Jansens seemed in control from the start of the match taking the first set 6-1 in quick fashion, but Koulen came back in the second, forcing Jansens to work hard for her place in main draw, which she did 6-1 6-4.
Number-four seed Aleks Mitrovska had the hard task of sending two teammates out of the competition by beating Marie Prulhiere and Millie Severino in the second and last rounds respectively. The match against Severino was more comfortable than expected with Mitrovska winning 6-3 6-1.
Ava Peruhova had the chance to make it a complete sweep for UEL across men’s and women’s draws, but fell one win short. She found herself a set to the good, but appeared to tire as her opponent started to force Peruhova into errors and sent her out of the tournament 4-6 6-2 6-0.
Again coach Foster was also pleased with the girls performances: “It’s unfortunate that we had so many UEL vs UEL matchups, but that’s the way the draw goes. Also it was unlucky for Ava to fall short, but she tried her best and that’s all I ask of my players.”