Last weekend, the finals of the three-tiered TS (Tennis Scotland) Open Tour event were held at the Gannochy Tennis Centre. With 15 of the top ranked 30 British tennis players taking part, the tennis did not disappoint. In the end, it proved to be a day to remember for the Lumsden family, as University of Stirling student Maia and brother Ewen became the first ever TS Open Tour champions.
The focus of the newly structured tournament masterminded by University of Stirling head coach Euan McGinn, was to get more people competing across Scotland. In an interview conducted with Tennis Scotland before the event, tournament director and head coach at University of Stirling, McGinn described the event as being a “cracking opportunity for anyone who can hit a yellow ball over the net to get involved and compete at their level”.
The 300 competition offered opportunities for club level players to compete at thirteen tennis venues in Scotland. At the Gannochy Tennis Centre, both the male and female draw featured 16 players. Stirling was especially well-represented in the female event, with half of the participants representing the university. In the battle of the freshers, unseeded Ivana Daskalovic overcame Lydia Kelly 4-1, 4-2 to qualify for the next stage of the tournament. Success for Stirling students continued in the men’s event, with Harry Waldie beating the 4th seed Fergus McWilliam, 4-2 4-1 to qualify alongside Daskalovic for the next stage of the Open Tour, the 500 event.
The 500 event saw 100 competitors, along with those who had qualified from the 300 event, battle it out over the course of a weekend. Stirling was one of the three venues chosen to host the tournament, with the level of tennis proving not to disappoint. The final of the men’s saw some high-quality tennis, as Benjamin Abbott overcame fellow Stirling student Felix Beech 6-4, 6-1. Both Abbott and runner-up Beech would join the crème de le crème of Scottish tennis talent, with the TS Open Tour finals played at the Gannochy Tennis Centre last weekend.
The third and final stage of the tournament, the 1000 competition, featured international and national players. Held over three days, the audience watching were in for a treat. On both the men’s and women’s side, there were players who have enjoyed success on the international circuit, demonstrating Stirling’s position as one of the UK’s leading universities for tennis. These include students Scott Duncan, Robert Leck and Maia Lumsden, along with coach Nicolas Rosenzweig.
In the men’s draw ATP ranked player and Stirling coach Nicolas Rosenzweig saw off all other competition to secure his place in the final. Although Rosenzweig faced a stern test in the semi-final when he met top seed Scott MacAulay, eventually his high level of experience showed. In an exciting three setter, Rosenzweig came through as the eventual winner, 3-6, 6-0,6-1.
The other half of the draw featured seventeen-year old Ewen Lumsden, who was making his presence known with some dominating performances. With experience vastly beyond his years, Lumsden proved too powerful for second seed Scott Duncan, whom he comfortably beat 6-2, 6-1 in the quarter-finals. Continuing with an exceptional level of play, Lumsden dropped only four games to Kieran Macarty in the semi-finals to set up a final showdown against Rosenzweig. A substantially sized crowd gathered to watch the final, where eventually Lumsden was crowned the first ever male TS Tour champion, beating Rosenzweig 6-4, 6-2
In the women’s draw, the dominance of the Lumsden siblings was again apparent. Top seed Maia Lumsden, came into the competition full of confidence after her recent success at the Aegon Pro-Series Event in Shrewsbury. At a current career, high world ranking of 534, Lumsden proved too powerful for her opposition, beating Patricia Skowronski 6-2 6-4 to make it two out of two for the siblings, and a great day for the family.
After the event, McGinn praised the exceptional standard of play throughout the tournament. It is undoubtedly an exciting time for Scottish tennis, with plans already in place for developments to be made to increasing the level of competition available to all within Scotland.