Naples Bath & Tennis Day 2: Todayâ€™s second round singles match was against Tony Cessna of KY. I had a chance to â€˜scoutâ€™ him yesterday after my match and saw a guy with solid, driving groundstrokes, with a two-handed backhand and an all around good game.
My initial plan was to try to give him more topsin than he may like and run him side to side, if I could. But in the first set, I found myself down two breaks with him serving at 4-1. I realized that he just had better, deeper, and more consistent strokes than I did; so I decided to try to make it a War of Attrition.
With the sun out and temp around 83 degrees, I tried to just keep everything in play, looping it deep, and moving him side to side in long points. It worked in that I was able to get him frustrated and break him that game; but he game back to break me; but I was able to run him more, break him again; and then hold serve.
He was getting noticeably tired, serving at 5-4; but him managed to hold and take the first set.
I was committed to continue the game plan into the second set; and after over two hours of tennis, I had him very, very tired â€“ except the match was over!
The key time was with him serving at 1-2 in the second set and laboring. I had a break point that he made a nice passing shot in the corner to save it; and then he went on to hold and â€“ even though the points and games were long â€“ he was able to run out the set.
I donâ€™t think I was tired; and I donâ€™t think I choked. But just this side of choking is starting to play too CAUTIOUSLY. That results in some whimpy serves, whimpy returns, and shorter groundstrokes that allows the other guy to really drive the ball.
Lesson for the match: You have to really force yourself to keep hitting that ball deep in the court till the very end of the match.
Tomorrow: doubles starts.