It’s funny how tennis works. I was only two points away from writing about one of the best British doubles stories for decades. Instead I probably have our drabbest week of the year so far.
James Cerretani / Max Schnur vs Daniel Evans / Lloyd Glasspool Drummonville Challenger Match Point https://t.co/A3rK3oYnWg
— Your Tennis Source (@SourceTennis) March 19, 2016
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. There was one excellent run by a pair who certainly caught everyone’s eye. Dan Evans paired up with Lloyd Glasspool in Drummondsville to form, on paper, an incredibly exciting doubles pair. Lloyd has proved his doubles prowess with a number of partners, especially Soren Hess-Olesen back in college, whilst seeing Dan on a doubles court is always a rare treat.
The pair made ominously light work of their first round opponents, dispatching them for a bagel and a breadstick but were up against it in the second round against Philip Bester and Peter Polansky. Despite dropping the first set the boys clinched the second on a tie-break, forcing a final set decider which they eventually came through, 10-7.
The semi-final would see a reverse of the quarters, with Evans and Glasspool winning the first set but being pegged back in the second. Once again a deciding tie-break was needed, once again it was clinched by the British pair. In the final they faced the second seeds though, and, with Evans probably exhausted from his battle on two fronts, the pair finally succumbed to defeat, losing the deciding tie-break 11-9.
In my opening couple of lines I mentioned that there was almost a monumental story. If you haven’t heard by now, this was the news that Jamie Murray needed to just win his quarter-final match to become the highest ranked doubles player in the world. We left last week’s edition with Jamie needing to beat Dom Inglot and Robert Lindstedt to reach the final and, as you may have guessed, he did manage that.
— British Tennis (@BritishTennis) March 18, 2016
A clash with Feliciano and Marc Lopez greeting Jamie and Bruno Soares in the quarter-finals and a pair of tie-breaks could not split them in the opening sets. It was left to a third set tie-break for Jamie to decide his fate but unfortunately the tennis gods were not behind him on the day, with the Spaniards claiming a 10-8 victory. Fear not though, for Jamie Murray as world number one is on its way in the coming weeks.
Neal Skupski decided to have a week apart from brother Ken as he teamed up with Colin Fleming in Irving. The pair were the third seeds and more than lived up to their seeding, advancing to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, the top seeded pair of Nicholas Monroe and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi also reached the same stage and the two faced each other.
Third set deciding tie-breaks seem to be the story from this week as this time Colin and Neal found themselves embroiled in one. As with every other example this week it was close, but like Jamie, Dan and Lloyd, there was just two points in it as the boys went out 10-8.
Alongside Lloyd and Dan in Drummondsville was regular doubles duo Liam Broady and Luke Bambridge. The pair came through their first round encounter reasonably comfortably but, yes, you guessed it, they fell in the next round courtesy of a two point defeat in a deciding tie-break. This was the most nerve jangling of the lot though, as they eventually succumbed 14-12 in a nail-biter.
To say that there was minimal action would be fair. The only player in action was Naomi Broady with yet another new partner as her and Alicja Rosolska fell in the first round. I don’t even need to tell you what the margin of defeat was, I’ll just tell you that Naomi managed 9 points.
Here is where the week gets a bit drab. Usually we get a fair few semi-finals, with the occasional final thrown into the mix for good measure. This week though, barely even a sniff of success.
A couple of Brits did only lose their quarter-finals by, you guessed it, two points in the deciding tie-break. Richard Gabb and James Marsalek lost a topsy-turvy encounter against the German pair of Jonas Luetjen and Timon Reichelt as they failed to make the most a momentous 6-1 second set victory to lose 10-8 in the decider.
Top seed Jonathan Gray went in an opposite direction, blowing a one set advantage alongside Loic Perret and then the deciding tie-break 12-10, also in the quarter-finals. In the first round, Jonathan had defeated the wildcard pairing of Luke Simkiss and Saitejas Mopuri.
Elsewhere there really was little to cheer about. In Mexico Gabi Taylor navigated through round one but was routinely beaten in the second round by a pair of second seeded Russians. Joe Cooper endured an almost identical fate alongside Michal Konecny, with the only major difference being that one of his second round opponents was from Uzbekistan rather than Russia.
There was one upset down in Australian as Katy Dunne and Barbora Stefkova produced a solid display to upset the third seeds and advance to the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, they could not repeat the feat and failed to reach the semi-finals. Lisa Whybourn was also in action down under but she fell in the first round to a pair of qualifiers.
The final victory of the week came courtesy of a walkover as wildcards Dylan Gee and Beauregard Treyz progressed to the quarter-finals. They met stiff opposition in the form of Tom Schonenberg and Matthias Wunner and ultimately came up a long way short. Oliver Hudson and Toby Martin were also dispatched by the top seeds 6-1 6-1 in the opening round.
Finally, Laura Deigman was handed a tough opening round draw against the third seeds Anna Morgina and Julia Terziyska, and was beaten four and two.
Here’s hoping for an altogether more successful week next week with just one final to shout about for the second week running. Surely the Brits won’t let it go three weeks without a trophy?