11th April, 2022

Lumsden and Cox win week 4 of the UK Pro League

Maia Lumsden admitted she had no real expectations heading into Week 4 of the 2022 UK Pro League after completing a remarkable recovery from long Covid to triumph in Saturday’s final at Warwick University.

Lumsden, 24, is returning to the sport after an 18-month layoff and marked her return with a strong week that resulted in a hard-fought victory over Marni Banks in the final. There have been times over the past 18 months where the Scottish star has struggled to get out of bed due to her illness, though the UK Pro League has provided the perfect platform for her to start her comeback.

And in the men’s final, victory went the way of experienced Daniel Cox, who fended off a comeback from Billy Harris to prevail in straight sets.

Glasgow ace Lumsden, who won three singles and three doubles titles on the ITF Circuit before being struck down with the virus in 2020, said:

“Physically, it was a tough one. “Obviously it was great to get through in a tiebreak as tiebreaks to ten are always quite tight. “I thought I played well in the first set and then it was a bad game to lose my serve in the second, but that was all that was in it. I’m glad I found my game for the tiebreak. “I didn’t really have any expectations in terms of results. My goal was to just manage the five matches and hope I was going to feel fine through it. To get a win is such a nice bonus.

The fact that no matter the result I was going to get a number of matches was perfect for me in this situation. To come through them and be feeling OK is a massive positive as before the event I guess I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d feel and how I’d react. Overall it’s been really positive to get all these matches this week.

“It feels great to be back playing after such a long time. I’ve really missed the feeling of competitive matches so to be playing all these matches this week is a great feeling. The event’s been great. It’s so well run and I’ll definitely be back.”

Banks and Lumsden had previously contested one the matches of the event in the pool stage, with Banks prevailing 6-7(5), 7-5, 11-9 on the opening day at Warwick University. Despite an opening defeat Lumsden rallied and won every other match she contested to reach the final, while Banks was unbeaten approaching the Saturday showpiece.

This proved to be another tight encounter, though it was Lumsden who prevailed to cap a memorable return to tennis.

The Scottish star was in control of the opening set, breaking twice, though Banks responded with a strong second set to force a deciding tiebreak. But Lumsden was able to wrestle back control of the encounter, and some impressive tennis in the closing stages saw her claim a 6-2, 3-6, 10-4 win in an hour and 40 minutes.

In the men’s event, Cox and Harris had picked up a string of comprehensive victories on their way to the final, with neither player dropping a set across their previous matches.

And Cox continued his dominant form at the start of the contest, comfortably claiming the opening set and racing to a double break lead as he closed in on victory. However, Harris refused to go down without a fight and battled back from 4-1 down to force a second-set tiebreak against the Lincoln star.

A nail-biting tiebreak ensued and Harris had a handful of chances to force a deciding ten-point tiebreak, though the 31-year-old held firm and closed out a 6-2, 7-6(9) victory in an hour and 56 minutes. Cox, who reached the first round of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, said: “I started off really well, going 6-2, 4-1 up and was really happy with the way I was playing, but then I took my foot off the gas a little bit.

“He started to improve, to miss a little less, he did well to claw it back at the end. It feels good after reaching a few finals. This is my first win since the Pro League started so I’m really happy to come through with a win, especially from being quite far up in the match and eventually nearly losing the second set. I’m really relieved to get through that.

“We’ve got four ITF 25ks in Nottingham coming up. I only live 45-50 minutes away so there I obviously want to try and make the most of it. Having won this tournament is good preparation!”

With nearly half a million pounds of prize money up for grabs across the season, all the thrills and spills are broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv.  News and updates across the season can be found at ukproleague.com