The last January tournament!

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; soooo… forehands it was! As I just read in Brad Gilbert’s book, playing a retriever, you need to have ‘controlled aggressive play,’ which is what I did – 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, ‘you just didn’t let me play MY game.’

Next match: rematch with #1 Mr. Hugh Thompson! We played on a beautiful Florida day, with blue sky and 72 degrees. And it was interesting…..

Knowing that it was going to be ‘cool’ (by Florida standards) and that Hugh always wears long white sleeve shirt and long white pants, I decided to wear my ‘Darth Vadar’ 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 2-5… 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 – serving on/near the inside and outside lines and using that incredible drop shot. So while it was ‘competitive,’ 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 – 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 didn’t hit his return hard; but had good control and could go down the line, lob over the net man’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 “OK”, and lost 6-2, 6-1. If we had played ‘great,’ 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 “The smartest kid in the dumb row!”

(and the breakthrough will come when I can beat one of the seeds! To be continued….)