On Wednesday the 8th of November, Newcastle women’s first team took on Lancaster’s first team in a home match at the Northumberland tennis club. After a quick warm up, the number one doubles duo Hayley Macpherson and Steffi Rodriguez prepared to take on Lancaster’s first doubles pair. Elizaveta Dmitrieva and Daisy Ronn also prepared to face Lancaster’s third and fourth players in singles on courts three and four.
Hayley and Steffi had a great start to their doubles match, winning the first set 6-1 and impressing the crowd with their volley intersections and smash winners. This high standard continued into the second set, which was won without dropping a single game, ending with the final score of 6-1/6-0.
On court two, Dmitrieva battled it out against Lancaster's number three player, hitting impressing angles and comfortably defeating her opponent 6-0/6-2. On court three, Ronn played solidly against Lancaster’s number four. Ronn found her stroke with aggressive serves and strong groundstrokes to win her match 6-1/6-2.
Team Newcastle started the day in dominant fashion and carried their momentum through the second round of matches. Macpherson started off the round on court one against Lancaster’s top athlete. Despite starting first, the match finished significantly later than the remaining matches. Macpherson battled her way through the first set, as her opponent stepped up her defense and used skillfully placed drop shots to keep the match close.
After a marathon first set the Lancaster managed to tighten the score with a 7-5 victory. In the second set, Macpherson rebounded to win 6-3.
Heading into a third and decisive final set, there was a brief argument over the rules concerning how the third set should be played. To settle the scuff, Macpherson whipped out the rulebook and proved that unless both players agreed to stop playing, a full third set had to be played. It seemed as though the Lancaster opponent was fatigued, so it was in Team Newcastle's favour to take advantage.
The third set was incredibly close the whole way through as both players were desperate to win. Macpherson was leading 5-4 with two match points in the third set, but the Lancaster player hit two impressive shots off of serves to overtake Macpherson. After two more long games it ended up 6-6 in the third set. Both players fought through exhaustion in the tiebreak in the hopes of victory. At 5-5 in the tiebreak, the Lancaster player went for it and hit a forehand winner and an impressive volley to close out the match.
Adversely to the first match of the round Newcastle's Rodriguez had a very quick match on court two, winning 6-0/6-0 (or by a double donut as it's called in the tennis world). Rodriguez overpowered her appointment with her strong groundstrokes and net play.
On court three Dmitrieva and Ronn took on Lancaster’s number two doubles pair. Lancaster brought in an additional player for doubles in the hopes of a different outcome, but Team Newcastle still pulled through, topping its opponent 6-3/6-4.
At the end of a long day Newcastle University headed back to the Toon with a satisfying 10-2 win. Overall, the Newcastle girls were delighted with the result and how well they competed.