Naples City Championships

Naples City Championships:
This weekend is the 37th Naples City Championships, with players coming from all over the state to compete in men’s/women’s singles and doubles ranging from 3.0 to 5.0 levels (any age).  I entered the 4.5 singles. 

The largest field was the 4.0 singles, with a 32-draw; while in the 4.5, we started with the round of 16.  My first round match was with my regular Friday singles opponent, Bob Dilworth! 

We normally play close, while I have had the recent edge; but he is #1 in New England in men’s 65 doubles and a real solid tournament player.  Going into the match my strategy against him was very basic: since he has such a strong return of serve (and especially attacks the second serve), to get a high percentage of first serves in; keep the ball away from his strong cross-court forehand; and make a minimal number of unforced errors. 

In the first set, I was able to do all those tactics and – while the points were long and the game scores close – I took the first set 6-1.  Toward the end of the set, he started rubbing and flexing his knee. 

I tried to block that out of my mind and not let it influence how I played, and was able to start the second set the same way, breaking and taking a 2-0 lead.  But he was able to break back.  We then again exchanged a series of breaks – the primary reason was I started to stray from my basic tactics, making costly unforced errors. 

As we were crossing over with Bob having just broke me back again and his serving 3-4, he announced that his knee was hurting too much to continue. 

One of the contributing factors was that the winner of our match had to come back out in the court in ONE HOUR and play the quarter finals against the #3 seed (and Bob had committed to also play 4.5 doubles and had that first match at the end of the same day!). 

So I scooted home to grab something to eat, walk the dogs, and went back for the second match.  The #3 seed was a 37-year-old wide body, who drove 2.5 hours down from Tampa, and hit the ball hard.  As we warmed up, I probed for weaknesses and didn’t find any. 

Winning the toss, I took Brad Gilbert’s advice and elected to receive.  Since I had played a match, I was loose; while he wasn’t.  So I was able to break his serve the first game and take and early 3-2 lead.  He then settled in, placing solid serves in both corners and controlling the middle, Agassi-like with good topspin going both ways. 

The only chance I would have had was to re-take the center of the court and run HIM side to side; but I couldn’t; so he took the match in just under an hour and a half 6-3, 6-2.  Had I been a little fresher, I probably could have taken a few more games; but unless that closeness would have gotten into his head, he still would have beaten me with his more powerful groundstrokes.

2 thoughts on “Naples City Championships

  1. George, Thanks again for including me in your newsletter. I do enjoy reading about you and your game. I think that it would have been great to have watched your match. See you on the walk. Susan

  2. Good playing George. FYI, this was not the 37th City of Naples chamionships. That will actually take place the month of May. That event is not a USTA tourney.
    This past weekend was the “Chickee Classic” which is a USTA designated event.
    I think you should stay for the tournament in May and leave for CT after that.

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