Last weekend saw the first regional qualifying events for the BUCS Individual Championships at Stirling and Warwick Universities, with a very few shocks taking place and seeded players securing their places in the finals at the start of March.
With representatives from universities across Scotland, both the men’s and the women’s draws had three qualifying slots for next months finals, taking place at Loughborough University from 3-6 March. For the most part, the draws were dominated by students from the University of Stirling, whose tennis program far outranks that of the other universities in Scotland.
All six of the seeds in the men’s draw were Stirling-based, and Reuben Henry, the top seed, faced Kieran MacArty in the final round, with Henry securing a routine 6-2 6-4 victory and his place in next month’s finals. The second qualifying slot was fought out between two Spanish players from Stirling University, while the final slot was taken by fifth seed Julian Page, having come through a match tiebreak 10-8 in the third round before beating third seed Scott MacAuley 6-4 6-4 in the final round.
Three of the six seeds in the women’s draw were also Stirling based, and it was Slovakian Lenka Hojckova who came through in the top third of the draw. Germany’s Patricia Skowronski beat University of Strathclyde’s Katherine McPhie for the second qualifying slot, while the third match was the only one not contested by a Stirling student: the University of Strathclyde’s Lisa Munro  took on the University of St Andrews’ Alice Keddie . It was Keddie who emerged victorious after a 6-4 6-0 victory, and she’ll be in the finals in March.
In Warwick, there were five qualifying slots available for the men, with three Loughborough students, one Warwick student and one Durham student qualifying for the finals. Top seed Troy Dixon of Durham navigated a slight wobble in the penultimate round against Simon Musset (6-4 0-6 [10-8]) before beating James Kirkpatrick in the deciding match 6-3 6-2. UCL’s unseeded Douglas Yang won three matches, including defeating eighth seed Joshua Towers, before coming up against second seed Matt Richmond in the final round, with the Loughborough student coming through 7-5 4-0 ret. Loughborough’s Gavin MacKinlay took the third qualifying slot without too much bother, dropping just 12 games in the three matches he won, while Durham’s Henry Parocki came through a tough final match against William Spencer from Warwick 3-6 6-1 6-3. The final qualifier was Loughborough’s Liam Earnshaw, who overcame unseeded Martin Slater after the favourite for the section, Mehdi Naqvi, was forced out with injury.
There were four slots available for the ladies in Warwick, and there were very few surprises on offer. Top two seeds Joanna Kondratowicz (Bristol) and Farah Abdel-Aziz (Wolverhampton) came through with ease, while eighth seed Sophie Williamson from Loughborough defeated Rebecca Brook 6-0 6-0 after third seed Camille Goodman withdrew due to injury. Romanian Ioana Maria Buzelan took the last remaining slot.
Full draws and results are available here.