Seb Kay reports as the UEL men’s tennis team end the year with another thrilling display.
The University of East London men’s tennis team finished off their season in dominating fashion by winning UEL a point in the Challenge Cup against Anglia Ruskin University.
UEL’s number one player Mikey Suleau capped off his unbeaten season with a routine victory 6-1 6-4. The serve of Suleau caused his opponent problems throughout, resulting in 23 aces. The break was taken at the first opportunity in the first game of the match and Suleau never looked back as he converted another two break points with the third break at 5-1 to claim the first set.
In the second set Suleau seemed to take his foot off the gas and was almost too relaxed as both players held serve, until at 4-4 the UEL number one took advantage of a sloppy service game to get the decisive break and then close out the match to love to win and put UEL 1-0 up.
The men’s tennis captain Lewis Thompson boosted the chances of an overall UEL victory by winning 6-4 6-2. Like Suleau did in his second set, Thompson had to be patient and wait for a slip up in a service game. That came in the 10th game of the set in order for Thompson to take the set 6-4. Visibly charged up from getting the crucial break, Thompson raced to a 4-0 lead, then held his last two service games to win UEL’s second point.
Ross Kennett was the only casualty of the day for UEL as he couldn’t quite keep up with the winning trend and fell 6-3 6-2. Kennett never really found his rhythm in this match as he found himself 3-0 down within 10 minutes of starting the match. He did manage to salvage one break, but couldn’t find the other break and lost the set 6-3.
In similar fashion, Kennett found himself 5-0 down very quickly after the break, but despite managing a mini revival to get back to 5-2 he had left too much work to be done and Anglia Ruskin gained their first rubber of the match.
The last of the singles was Chrissy Neil-Smith, a last minute replacement for Seb Kay. Neill-Smith played a really good match considering the circumstances and prevailed 7-6 6-3. In the first set, neither player could find a string of points against the other’s serve and inevitably the set went to a tie break, where Neil-Smith played a brilliant seven points to take the tie break 7-0.
The second set looked to be going in the same way, until Neil-Smith played a sublime returning game at 4-3 to position himself to serve out for the match. However, he found himself 0-40 down, before putting together five well-constructed points to put UEL within one point of victory.
Whilst Neil-Smith was playing his singles, the pairing of Thompson and Suleau took to the doubles court as number one pairing. The two looked in good touch as they secured the victory for UEL as the won 6-4 6-0.
In the first set, there were no break-point chances for either pairings until at 4-4, where three good returns from the Thompson-Suleau duo forced the break. It left Suleau to serve out the set with ease. The break of serve proved pivotal as the UEL pair then won the next eight games to win the match for UEL, also putting a point on the UEL side of the Challenge Cup tally.
After the match, UEL captain Thompson said; “It’s always nice playing in the Varsity matches because it’s nice bringing all the sports teams together to support each other and it creates a great atmosphere to play in.”