Goal #2 Now finally, the last event of the four January Senior Grand Prix tournaments: doubles. With my partner Tom McCune re-injuring his hamstring in singles, I was paired with Mike Dahm, a dentist from Dayton, whose partner (John Berry) also injured his hamstring.
Since Tom and I have a modest national doubles ranking (and many of the top players have gone home after the first three tournaments!), we had been seeded #1 and had a first round bye on Wednesday.
On Thursday, I had my pre-op at the hospital in the morning and my new partner was still alive in the 60 singles AND, was also â€˜playing downâ€™ and had a 55 doubles match. So his THIRD match of the day was our doubles, starting at 4 p.m. against a strong team from upstate NY, Tom Long and Sam Corso (who had taken out a good team the day before of Greg McConnel and Larry Albriton, a teaching pro from Naples Bath & Tennis â€“ where this tournament was being played).
With all that as backdrop, here then are the match highlights:
- Mike and I had never played together before, but teamed up very well and won the first set 6-3.
- We carried the momentum, with solid service returns and strong net play into the second set, taking a 3-0 lead (one break).
- Then, as frequently happens, the momentum shifted. I think my partner started getting tired after all his tennis and the other team took the net and the offense.
- They won eight consecutive games: to take the second set at 6-3; and start by breaking us in the third and holding for an 0-2 lead.
- The â€œcrowdâ€ of 10 chilly friends and family (and me too, I confess) thought the match was getting out of reach.
- But we were able to hold Mikeâ€™s serve, break their serve, hold my serve, and then get a break point on their next serve.
- We did not convert; so Mike served (now under the lights) at 3-3 in the third.
- That was the game of the matchâ€¦ with about four break points and four game points, we survived to hold that game.
- As we crossed, one of my friends said, â€œtime to go to dinnerâ€ and I responded, â€œso that means we will break and hold my serve!â€ Which we did, to pull out a solid 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
- So my second goal for the four tournaments has been met: to get to a doubles finals.
Fridayâ€™s finals at 2 p.m. (if the rain doesnâ€™t get here by then) will be against a solid local team of George Morton and Bob Dilworth (who Steve Feldhaus and I lost to last week at Cambier Park).