GAME4PADEL Growth & Participation director Vincent Hivert has reflected on a hugely successful weekend for women’s and men’s Thistle Padel teams after both qualified for the LTA Padel National League division two play-off finals.
Competing at Edinburgh Sports Club the men’s side, captained by Vincent, defeated West of Scotland Padel on a shoot-out Champions tie-break decider 10-5.
While in the women’s event Claire McCulloch captained the girls to glory via another even more tense Champions tie-break decider 10-8.
This means that both Thistle teams have qualified for the division two play-offs which will be held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton in the autumn all of which led Vincent to say: “First of all it was very competitive between all the four teams in both events and the qualifiers were played in a great atmosphere and very well organised by Edinburgh Sports Club. It was also great that we had enough Scottish teams to run the event in Edinburgh with Hatton, ESC, WOSP and Thistle.
“With the ladies also qualifying, and congratulations to them, it has been a very successful weekend for the Thistle teams and now we can just look forward to the finals in the Autumn which will be a big challenge.”
In the men’s tournament Thistle defeated Hatton 2-0 with Alejandro de la Caba partnering Ross Murdoch at No.1 couple and Vincent partnering Douglas Tait successfully at second string.
As Vincent admitted, in the final against WOSP, nerves were a factor: “Against WOSP we won our first match on the tie-break and then lost our second also on the match tie-break which meant we had to go back for a match tie-break shoot-out.
“In this one I partnered Ross and we managed to get the win 10-5 but it was very nerve-racking, though on a personal level it was good to feel those nerves again and to be playing in the team environment and be just determined not to let your teammates down.
“Ultimately this was the qualifying stage for the division two finals and they will be in London at the NTC and if we can win that we will get back to division one – and that is absolutely where we want to be.”
In the ladies’ tournament captain Claire Murdoch partnered Michelle Crease at the top of the order while at No.2 Emma Birch and Saida Faraco teamed up.
As Claire revealed, her team was happy to enter the tournament as the underdogs – something that made their eventual victory even sweeter and she said: “Our team was made up of some players with experience and some with very little, so there was no expectation and we just went into it to enjoy the matches. We were actually a bit surprised by the result at the end of the day!”
With her team up against Edinburgh Sports Club in the final after beating WOSP in their opening match the finale was once again a nerve-shredder as Claire revealed: “The matches were very close and competitive and in the first match we beat WOSP in a tie-break shoot-out and in the final against ESC it was the same 10-8.
“There was nothing in it and you had to have a player from couple one and one from couple two and we went with Michelle and Emma and they did really well to get the win.
“It was just a fantastic experience for all of us and now we have qualified for the division two finals down south. We are absolutely thrilled to be going down to the NTC to fly the flag and ecstatic with what we’ve achieved.”
Meanwhile GB No.1 and Game4Padel ambassador Tia Norton will feature in the semi-finals of the inaugural US Professional Padel League season after her Las Vegas Smash team defeated Los Angeles Beat 2-1.
Tia and partner ‘Palila’ got ‘The Smash’ off to a winning start by posting a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the ladies’ doubles before Vegas lost the men’s doubles with Pablo Amora and Juan Vazquez going down 6-3, 6-4.
But in the deciding mixed doubles Amora and Palila combined to claim a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory that has put Las Vegas into the last four with the draw, which includes Arkansas Matrix, Cancun Waves and Miami Padel Club, to be made later this week.