[box] Petya Todorova [/box]
The Glasgow mens team salvaged a draw against the odds after a compelling match versus a strong St Andrews side. The Fifers dominated the singles taking a commanding lead but Glasgow dug deep in the doubles to take a share of the points back out west.
The Men`s team with captain Shaakir Salam, David Birrell, Timothy Campbell and Gordon Hill faced the unknown on the hard courts of St Andrews with the sides meeting for the first time in two years. Both teams knew it was going to be a tough; both teams were desperate to win with the game being crucial in the battle for Scottish tennis supremacy.
In the singles two of Glasgow’s most experienced players -David Birrell and Timothy Campbell faced the tough opposition of Alan Conroy and Matthew Monaghan respectively. Conroy had a blistering start against Birrell and stormed to the 1st set 6-2. Birrell, struggling with a persistent ankle injury, provided more of a fight in the second set but still went down in straight sets. 6-2,6-3.
Campbell lost in straight sets against St Andrews Fresher starlet Monaghan. Campbell has been one of Glasgow’s most consistently high performers over the past four years but he really struggled on the slower, hard court, failing to adapt his style to handle the surface as Monaghan took the first set. 6-4. The second set looked to be heading to a tie-breaker but Monaghan got the crucial break in the 11th game and was able to serve out for the match 6-4,7-5.
Gordon Hill lost a nailbiting first set against Matthew Stevens, after being agonisingly edged out in a first set tiebreaker. Hill seemed drained by his exerts, fading badly away in the second to eventually lose 7-6,6-1.
It was down to Salam to deliver a much needed captains performance as he showed great composure to keep Glasgow in the match. It was a rather straightforward affair as he easily brushed aside St Andrews’ Ross Gamblen, outclassing his opponent to comfortably win 6-2, 6-3.
Glasgow began their doubles matches with renewed vigour. Birrell and Campbell faced Conroy and Gamblen. The Glasgow pair, have developed an intense understanding of each others game having trained together for the last four years, and they gave a pulsating performance to ensure the match went to the final tie. Campbell, a doubles specialist, was influential throughout as Glasgow swept the St Andrews pairing aside 6-2, before an injury in the opposition forced a retirement.
This meant that the overall score saw St Andrews leading 3-2 going into the final doubles tie with everything still to play for.
All eyes fell on Salam and Hill who despite having never been paired together before raced to an early lead as Glasgow looked to steal a share of the points. They dominated on court throughout, with the two keeping their calm as across the net the opposition imploded. St Andrews hit a string of unforced errors, whilst Glasgow were dominant at the net notching countless volleyed winners. They took the first set 6-2 and were never seriously troubled as they sealed a sensational comeback with a 6-3 win in the second.
Salim and Birrel were satisfied with the result and optimistic for the future; Salam: “We should win against Dundee”.