Youngster Jones helps guide Great Britain University side to silver at event in France
PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 December 2018
© Etienne Jeanneret / www.etiennejeanneret.com / @etiennejphoto
West Hampstead youngster Ben Jones helped Great Britain’s university tennis team bag a silver medal at the Master ‘U BNP Paribas event in France.
Jones, a Cumberland Tennis Club first-team player, made his debut for his nation at the world’s biggest annual university tennis team tournament.
And the former UCS School pupil helped his country defeat the hosts France and Germany but couldn’t help prevent them falling short against the United States in the final.
Great Britain produced a stunning comeback in their opening match of the tournament to defeat France and earn a semi-final tie against Germany.
University of Stirling’s Maia Lumsden and Jones, who studies at the University of Bath, helped Britain put points on the board from the two matches they were each involved in.
France won the opening two singles matches to take an early 2-0 lead and put pressure on the British team, but a comprehensive win for Lumsden looked to have turned the tide.
However, an agonising defeat for Jack Findel-Hawkins with both sets going to a tiebreak left Great Britain needing to win all three doubles matches to progress.
Brilliant wins in the men’s and women’s doubles saw the tie levelled, before Jones and Manisha Foster teamed up to seal the win in the mixed doubles.
University of Sussex’s Isaac Stoute got the second day off to a perfect start with a straight sets win against Germany.
And a repeat final appearance looked like it would be within touching distance as University of Nottingham’s Manisha Foster won her opening set, before her Germans rival hit back to level.
Devon’s Findel-Hawkins then put in a brilliant performance to gain an important victory over his higher-ranked opponent in three sets, with the in-form Lumsden surviving a German fight back to put the GB team 3-1 up after the singles.
That left the Brits needing just one more win from three doubles matches to earn a place in the final, with Findel-Hawkins combining with Jones to do just that at the first attempt.
The British students saw their hopes of the title hit as they suffered a 4-1 defeat to the USA in the final, but it could easily have been a much different outcome had a few crucial points gone the other way.