This week the cuppers tennis semi-finals take place following an entertaining and eventful competition. New College take on LMH in one semi final, with Brasenose and Keble contesting the other. Tennis cuppers is aimed more at the social side of the sport, but by this stage of the competition all the teams will be desperately wanting to win.
Teams consist of three doubles pairs, with any combination of men and women allowed to play. Each pair plays one set against the three opposing pairs – meaning there are nine sets played in total so a team must win at least five to progress.
The competition so far has provided a few surprises. Top seeds Worcester saw off St Catz in their first game but were then surprisingly beaten 6-3 by New in the next round. Pembroke might have thought they would have a good run, especially with Blues captain Marc Baghdadi in the team, and comfortably beat Christ Church in the first round. Their run was halted however after a closely fought contest with Brasenose, losing 5-4.
The semi final between Brasenose and Keble follow pre-tournament expectations, with both teams highly fancied. After Brasenose’s victory over Pembroke they saw off St Peters in the quarter finals and have their eyes firmly set on the final. In their way however will be a very impressive Keble side who have blue Gregory Weir in their ranks. The two time Scottish junior champion helped the second seeds dispose of St Hughs in the first round, followed by a crushing 9-0 defeat of University and a routine victory over Magdalen to book their place in the semi final.
The other semi final features two less easily predicted teams, but both have impressed in getting to this stage. New had a walkover against Corpus Christi in the first round, and followed that with their excellent win over Worcester. A 5-2 win against St Johns in the quarter finals booked their place in the semi. They will face LMH who have seen off St Hilda’s, Balliol and Teddy Hall in their run in the competition.
The eventual winners of the competition would be expected to come from the semi final between Keble and Brasenose, given they were two of the pre-tournament favourites. However if LMH and New can keep up their giant killing form no one would bet against either taking home the title.