Yvanna is a part of the University's Sports Scholarship Scheme

University Tennis Scholar competes on the international stage.

University of Exeter Tennis Scholar Yvanna Kurlack has returned from competing in the Master U BNP Paribas International University Tennis Tournament.

The competition, which took place in Aix-en-Provence, France between 7-9 December, saw eight teams from around the world compete in an event that combined the Davis Cup and Federation Cup formats. Teams competed as a team over three days in a knock-out competition with each round consisting of four singles, two doubles and one mixed doubles match.

The British team drew from some of the best University tennis players in the country and included Yvanna (Exeter), Scott Whitbread (Loughborough), Joe Gill (Stirling) , Matt James (Cardiff Met), Amanda Elliot (Loughborough), Natasha Starling (Bath). The team was captained by Alistair Higham.

Despite a difficult first draw the team fought hard against 3rd seed Russia.  The men came through to win their matches 2:1 with the women losing 1:2 to a very strong Russian ladies team. After an incredibly close round Yvanna and Joe Gill just missed out on the deciding mixed doubles match, losing 10-7 in a final set tiebreak.

The second day saw enter into a playback against Belgium, who had lost their opening round against.... Again the scores went down to a mixed doubles decider, the ladies having won their matches 2:1 and the men losing 1:2. The momentum seemed to swing in the Belgians favour as the took the final match in straights sets after 10 hours of competition.

Drama seemed to be the order of the tournament, as on the final day, Britain, once again found themselves in a mixed doubles decider against the top ranked singles players from China. After some exceptional tennis Yvanna and Joe finally got the result that they deserved, overcoming the Chinese pair in straight sets, in front of the cheering crowds on Centre Court.

Yvanna commented “The experience [of the tournament] is something that I will never forget and the weekend was a true test of teamwork, determination and will to win. For me, the best thing about the trip was raising my level to play against people playing on the tour and especially after coming back from injury at the start of the season; I found some form and was able to match up against higher ranked opponents.”

3rd year History student Yvanna is part of the University’s incredibly successful Sports Scholarship Scheme which offers dedicated support and coaching to talent undergraduate athletes. She is also a member of the University of Exeter’s Student Tennis Club which is currently lying second overall in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) tennis league table.

The club is the largest student sports club at the University and has recently benefitted from the £8million investment in new facilities at the Sports Park on Streatham Campus, which has seen six outdoor tennis courts covered. She is also part of the University’s highly successful Sports Scholarship scheme which offers dedicated coaching and support to exceptionally talented student athletes.

Head of Student Tennis Steven Wood commented “This is a fantastic achievement for Yvanna. To be selected to play for your country is an incredible thing and we are all very proud of her. The team had a tough draw, but played exceptionally well. We will continue to support her and push her to perform at the top level.”

Date: 16 January 2013

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