The last January tournament!
My first round singles match was against Nick Rescigno of Brooklyn, NY (my old stomping grounds). During the warmup, I could see he was a very steady player; but did not appear to hit anything hard.
The match play verified that he was primarily a retriever who liked to hit his backhand more than his forehand; sooooâ€¦ forehands it was! As I just read in Brad Gilbertâ€™s book, playing a retriever, you need to have â€˜controlled aggressive play,â€™ which is what I did â€“ primarily to his forehand (which he floated back more than his backhand, which he sliced fairly well cross court or down the line).
Final score: 6-2, 6-1. And the best complement of all afterwards was when he said, â€˜you just didnâ€™t let me play MY game.â€™
Next match: rematch with #1 Mr. Hugh Thompson! We played on a beautiful Florida day, with blue sky and 72 degrees. And it was interestingâ€¦..
Knowing that it was going to be â€˜coolâ€™ (by Florida standards) and that Hugh always wears long white sleeve shirt and long white pants, I decided to wear my â€˜Darth Vadarâ€™ Black outfit!
Having just had the experience of playing/losing to him, I knew I did not want to try to rally with him; so my strategy was to bring out the Power Game.
In the first set, I held serve twice and was broken once and was serving 2-5â€¦ served a real strong game and held. Then he served for the set at 5-3 and I managed to break him! Serving at 4-5, I TOLD myself to stay calm and get my first serve in; but saying and doing are two different things. It was a close game; but he broke me to win the set 6-4.
In the second set, I played well (but not as well as the first set) and he really settled in â€“ serving on/near the inside and outside lines and using that incredible drop shot. So while it was â€˜competitive,â€™ the score was 6-1.
Never felt so good losing in straight sets!
On Wednesday, Tom and I played our first round doubles match against Bob Roydon of Hawaii and Gay Hopkins of Florida â€“ two slicers-n-dicers. We kept the offensive pressure on during the whole match and came away with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
Our second round match was (finally!) NOT against a seeded team: Ken Cheek (KY) and Richard Hall (GA), who came to Florida only to play doubles! They were a solid team with the deuce court guy (Richard) being the steady/slicer and the add court guy (Ken) being the offensive player.
After the first game serving to them, we determined the deuce court returner didnâ€™t hit his return hard; but had good control and could go down the line, lob over the net manâ€™s head, or go cross court. The add court guy liked to run around his backhand and hit a Jim Courrier-style open faced topsin forehand crosscourt.
To solve those problems, we
* Moved back on the deuce returner and
* Played Australian against the add returner.
We played very well as a team and Tom, especially, was very active at the net. We got up on them, never lost focus, never lost momentum, and never lost a game! Love and love.
Next, the semi-finals: our match was against the #2 seeds, Fred Drilling (former #1 in the US in singles) and Joe McAleer (who beat me in singles in tourney #1).
We were over matched, played â€œOKâ€, and lost 6-2, 6-1. If we had played â€˜great,â€™ we probably could have gotten it up to something like 6-4, 6-3. The critical game was their serving at 3-2 in the first set: we were up 0-30 and then also had a break point, which we did not convert. The air went out of us a little and they got their confidence back and essentially ran it out from there.
So, the bottom line for the month of tournaments: I/we beat every unseeded opponent and then lost to a highly seeded opponent. So, I guess I am â€œThe smartest kid in the dumb row!â€
(and the breakthrough will come when I can beat one of the seeds! To be continuedâ€¦.)