This is how the HTC Ladies from Gladbach started

Kick-off for the GHTC women in the 2nd tennis Bundesliga
Lesson in Berlin and tie-break drama against Hanover

This season, the women’s tennis team at Gladbach’s HTC will play in the 2nd Bundesliga for the first time. At the start in Berlin on Friday, the GHTC had no chance against a top team, but on Sunday they only needed two points from their first win against Hanover.

The contrast between the old and the now new league for the tennis ladies in Gladbacher HTC could hardly have been greater in the beginning: the away match went to the capital, but no longer to the state to Düsseldorf, but to the federal to Berlin. That meant a journey of 600 kilometers – in the regional league, the travel distances to Bredeney or Cologne were a maximum of 70 kilometers. Bundesliga tennis is of a different caliber in terms of travel expenses, but also in general. So on Thursday, the majority of the GHTC squad boarded a VW bus for the several-hour drive to the capital – to start the long, slightly sober journey home to the Lower Rhine two days later. Sportingly, the trip was fruitless: At the tennis club SCC Berlin, the GHTC women lost their premiere in the 2nd Bundesliga by a clear 7-2.

    HTC from Gladbach won two doubles over DTV Hannover.  The other two went to the guests

HTC from Gladbach won two doubles over DTV Hannover. The other two went to the guests
Photo: Susanne Breithaupt

“As predicted, Berlin was a really strong opponent,” GHTC coach Steffen Klasen said afterwards. The Berliners immediately offered their three best players to welcome the league’s newcomers, a trio that is currently among the top 350 in the world rankings. “But we did well, we did not go under at all,” Klasen said. Jasmijn Gimbrere for GHTC narrowly lost the duel between the two top players by 6: 7 and 6: 7 against Dea Herdzelas from Bosnia, who is still ranked 192 in the world. However, there were also significant defeats like Leah Luboldt (1: 6 and 1: 6) and Soraya Moradian (0: 6 and 0: 6). The Romanian signature Elena Bogdan had to admit defeat in second place with 2: 6 and 0: 6.

Only Renee van Bommel from the Netherlands won her single for GHTC in sixth place with 6: 2 and 7: 5 – and later also had success in the doubles with her compatriot Lizette Blankers. However, those were the only match points for the Gladbach women, the other two doubles and five singles matches were all lost. A lesson at the premiere. “It was a match to get into – it was shown on Sunday against Hanover,” said Klasen in retrospect. Because after the long journey home on Saturday, the GHTC women were back on the clay court on Sunday, this time at GHTC’s home facility. It was on the second day of the match against DTV Hannover – with a bitter outcome for the Gladbach women.

The match was much more open than before in Berlin, after the six individual matches it was 3: 3. GHTC’s number one, Darya Astakhova, who was still missing on Friday due to planning reasons, won the top match against Julia Middendorf 6: 4 and 6: 2. In addition, Gimbrere (7: 5 and 7: 6) in second place and again van Bommel in sixth place decided their individual matches – van Bommel after 3: 6 and 6: 1 in the end with 10: 8 in the tiebreak of the match, the third and a decisive passage . Van Bommel thus became the weekend’s player in the GHTC. “She played fantastic singles. It was not used that often last year. But she is currently in excellent shape and a very strong number six for us,” said Klasen.

In the last three doubles matches, Hannover won one, Gladbach with Astakhova and Gimbrere the other. The result 4: 4 therefore came down to the last double, where Bogdan and van Bommel met Amelie-Christin Janßen and a certain Anna-Lena Herzgerodt. The 36-year-old Herzgerodt was known as Grönefeld during his playing days and competed in the doubles semi-finals at the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon. The first set went 7: 6 in a tie-break for GHTC, the second 2: 6 for Hannover. And the match tiebreak then went to the guests with 11: 9. Final score: 5: 4 to Hannover, again no points to Gladbach. “Disappointment is the wrong word,” said Klasen, “but we only needed two points for the victory in the tie-break of the match. We would have liked to have taken the victory with us.” Still, Klasen came to the realization that they had now “come” into the league. To the delight of those responsible for GHTC, 175 spectators came to the facility on Sunday – more than expected. “Something had really happened here,” said Klasen.

The next opponent on Saturday, however, is Club an der Alster from Hamburg, who started the season quite impressively with 9: 0 and 8: 1. Hamburg also scored 8: 1 against SCC Berlin on Sunday – even though the club in the capital was not quite as strong this time. “The motivation is great now that we have seen what is possible,” said Klasen and looked forward to the home game.

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