The mixed doubles format quite simply includes six doubles matches. The first to win four matches wins the crucial four points for their respective university. The pairings are seeded 1-6 and play their corresponding seed from the opposing university. The first four on court were Lancaster’s 3-6 seeds. Men’s and women’s captains Antoine Prieur and Krista Ozolina made up one pair, Andre Danus and Gemma Cardy, Dami Yussuf and Laura Mermet and finally Chris Bell and Hannah Stevens made up the first four matches to take place on the tennis courts.
Both captains of the men’s and women’s tennis did not have a great start, comfortably being beaten 6-1 6-2 putting Lancaster on the back foot straight away. However in the other three matches being played, Lancaster’s fourth, fifth and sixth seeds, the possibility of a mixed tennis victory for Lancaster were given greater positivity.
Andre Danus and Gemma Cardy looked like they could go the way of their captains, as they lost the first set by a break 4-6. Meanwhile on the other two courts Yussuf/Mermet and Bell/Stevens took their first sets with ease 6-4 and 6-3. Lancaster were now down in two matches and up in two which would mean the mixed tennis could come down to the last match, making for an exciting start in the Roses tennis.
Sure enough the tides were changing in the mixed tennis as Yussuf and Mermet got Lancaster’s first point of the day, bringing the overall score 1-1 as they took their match 6-4, 6-3. This was made even better as Bell and Stevens capitalised on their first set, by beating York in a tiebreak in the second. That made the overall score 2-1 to Lancaster and we were showing greater signs of getting a result in the mixed.
Danus and Cardy showed great resilience in their second set, with some great groundwork display from Danus and top volleying from Cardy, the pair were able to fight back convincingly taking the second set 6-1, pushing the tie into a ‘super tiebreak’ meaning first team to ten points would take the decisive set. They started horrendously though, going down 1-6, needing an unbelievable fight back to get to see Lancaster take a 3-1 lead with two more matches to play. Sure enough Danus and Cardy performed beyond the point of call winning eight points in a row, to take a driving seat in the final set. To their disbelief they had done it, Danus with a meaty ground stroke to the body of the York female opponent ending the match with the intensity they had shown in the previous set. Tiebreak clinched 10-7 and Lancaster had the pivotal lead they craved, meaning that they would need one win from the two remaining matches to take all four points.
Despite leaving it to the last game as the number one seeds, Abdul Jananhi and Harriet Comley lost easily 1-6 1-6, meaning all hopes of a Lancaster win were pinned to the final pairing of Ollie Wigan and Olivia Marshall. With Wigan’s unstoppable volleys and returns, teamed with Marshall’s groundstrokes, the pair complemented each other nicely. Despite the opposition having a big serve at their disposal, Wigan and Marshall won their match in style, 6-3, 6-2 with two breaks of serve in each set.
Yussuf paid tribute to the ladies who were phenomenal and gave them the cutting edge to secure victory. Also speaking to captain Prieur he too was very proud of his team and looked forward to the men’s firsts and women’s firsts who would compete the following day, citing that the competition could be equally as tight.