Last weekend, I teamed with fellow Newk camper Rich Tarantino for a small 4.5 (no age) doubles tournament in Enfield, Connecticut. It was a rainy and cold New England weekend; so it was good that the play was inside on hard courts.
There were only three teams; so we played an eight-game pro set round robin to determine the top two teams, who then played a regulation two of three sets (10 point tiebreak for third set).
The other two teams played first, with the â€œhouse teamâ€ of a solid lefty in his 50â€™s and an even-better 40-something righty (with the great first name of Edsel) beating two Division II college players. We then played the house team; and also lost to them.
Rich and I regrouped to be â€œthe steady seniorsâ€ and beat up on the college kids, who were then knocked out.
In the finals, our opponents were serving for the first set 5-4; but couldnâ€™t close it out; and we took it to a winning tie breaker. In the second set, we carried our momentum forward to go up a break and the other team serving 15-40 (which would given us a two-break, 3-0 lead). But we didnâ€™t get the job done and let them come back to hold, then break us back, and eventually take the second set.
They then carried their momentum into the ten point deciding tie breaker and won that. The good news: it was three hours of good tennis and my longest time on court since the operation; so the road to recovery is just about completed!
Singles: Yesterday, it was back to outside, soft courts and singles against my former Connecticut doubles partner, Ron Musick. And it was â€˜one of those daysâ€™!
Ron is a hard hitter, but can make errors; so my game plan was to just play steady and make minimal errors. First set: just three errors and 6-0 victory. Second set: zero errors and 6-0 victory. And since all that was in under an hour, third set: two errors and 6-2.
So for the whole three sets, there were just five unforced errors and zero double faults. What was interesting: the only games the strategy started to struggle was when I started playing â€˜not to make errorsâ€™. There is such a fine line between playing steady, but aggressive, and just trying to put the ball back in play â€“ which allows the opponent to tee off on a short ball.