Tennis: Blues cling on to top spot against Notts

Tim Prossor - Sports Reporter 23 November 2012

This week’s BUCS league match was to be a potential threat to the recent success of the team, the Blues yet to lose a single rubber. Nottingham University were second behind Cambridge in the league so this was to be a pivotal match.

The first doubles pair, Constantine Markides (Wolfson) and Tim Prossor (Girton), raced to an early lead with a helping hand from this week’s ball selection. This solid start to the match set the tone for the proceedings and the first pair were looking to take advantage of every break point opportunity available. Markides calmly serving out the first set at 6-2. The Nottingham first pair of Niall Keegan and James Griffin fought back in the second set, with some strong serving and fast paced doubles to take it to a tiebreak at 6-6. Prossor and Markides held their nerve to take the second set 7-6, another good win for the pair in its infancy.

The second pair doubles, James Shacklock (St.Edmund’s) and Charlie Cohen (St.Catharine’s), initially had difficulty dealing with the tricky doubles tactics of their opponents who sneaked the first set from them. The class of Shacklock and Cohen shone through after some long rallies and rapid volleying exchanges at the net, which helped them secure the second set. This momentum continued into the third set with some thumping serves resulting in a comfortable 10-2 victory in the tiebreak.

Markides, at No.1 singles, was playing a tough opponent who had a consistent competitive record in this league. The Cambridge No.1’s solid play frustrated the Nottingham player, allowing him to take control of proceedings with a 6-1 first set involving some well-placed ground stroke winners from both forehand and backhand sides. The second set did not seem to be quite as one sided with some long cross court rallies on the baseline. Markides was able to outmanoeuvre his opponent and with some strong serving closed the match, a final score of 6-1 6-4.

The second singles match involved first year Tim Prossor who was looking to continue Cambridge’s unbeaten season record. Initially Prossor started the match off slowly, losing his serve in third game which could have been problematic on the fast indoor carpet at David Lloyd. Prossor managed to gain some momentum with some backhand winners and closely fought exchanges to win the first set 6-3. The second set began with some solid serving from both players, making it difficult for either to dictate with groundstrokes. At 3-3, with the ominous cycle back to Girton looming (a distance recently likened to the Shire and Mordor), Prossor looked to take control of proceedings breaking twice to win the match 6-3 6-3.

At No.3 singles, James Shacklock looked to use the home advantage on the fast indoor hard with some pounding forehands and ferocious serves. His opponent had hoped the change of balls would benefit his chances of returning, Shacklock was able to conclusively prove this was not the case. The first set being 6-4 to the Cambridge No.3. Having closed out the first set, Shacklock was able to relax into the match with exhibition style tennis closing out the match 6-4 6-1.

Charlie Cohen continued the high class performance from the doubles with a quick 5-0 lead. The Nottingham No. 4 then put up a good fight managing to take the set to a tiebreak, but the Cambridge player prevailed to win 7-6. The match continued with long rallies and little momentum change between the players. Cohen broke a string in his racket, making him have to continue the match with his James’ racket, this contributed to him losing the second set 7-5. The Cambridge No.4 dug deep in the third set, with the incentive not to be the first Cambridge player to lose a match this season, winning the tiebreak 10-4. Another impressive 12-0 victory from the Blues, and a distinct lead in the BUCS league table.

Tim Prossor – Sports Reporter