After an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory on Wednesday in our opening round of 32 match, our opponents in the round of 16 on Thursday presented a much bigger challenge. They were the #4 seeds, John Gorsky of Ithaca, NY and Bill Poist of D.C.
They are a solid team of tennis veterans (Bill having won a national indoor championship in his youth) with great hands and vollies, but somewhat limited mobility.
The match started in bright sunshine at 4:10 p.m. with both teams staying on serve until we were serving at 3-4 and lost that game, and eventually the first set.
In the second set, we were up a break twice; but couldnâ€™t consolidate and they eventually went up a break and were serving, with the sun setting, at 5-4 to win the match.
Dick and I were able to break, hold, and break again to take the second set 7-5.
The sun had set; so we had to move to a lighted court, take the 10-minute break, and get a new can of balls. In addition, Bill took a bathroom break; so the delay lasted upwards of 15 minutes. While he was gone, John sat on the bench with his head down and Dick and I hit balls to stay loose.
We started the 3rd set under the lights with me serving the new balls. And even though I knew they would fly, I still didnâ€™t control them well enough and they broke my serve to start. All our momentum seemed to fade away as they went onto our being down two breaks, and John serving at 4-1.
We were able to raise our energy level and seized the offense to break serve and then hold; and with Bill serving at 4-3 (still up a break), we took a 15-40 lead; but were unable to convert either break point. So they held and I had to serve at 3-5 to keep us in the match.
We played a real strong game to hold easily and switched sides with John serving 5-4 for the match; but we broke them again to make it 5-5.
We hold serve. They hold serve. And we go into a 3rd set tiebreaker.
At 3-3 in the tiebreaker, Bill is serving to me and as I go to return, everything goes black! A court maintenance guy mistakenly turned our court lights off; and they would take 20-30 minutes to get back to full brightness; so we had to pack up and find another court.
The only other lighted court they had needed to be groomed; so we waited again.
After the delay, the ref offers us to warm up. We decline and so do they. They serve and we win that point; and then win my two serve points.
At 3-6, they save the first match point; but we converted the next to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) â€¦ 3 sets, 3 delays, 3 hours and 15 minutes.
The difference in the end? We had the energy and we took the offense. We kept moving forward tight to the net and took control of all the critical points.
We finished just before 7:30 p.m.; and literally as we complete match point, my brother calls on my cell to say he just got off the highway in Naples after driving two days down from Connecticut.
Fridayâ€™s quarter final match will be at 1:30 against the tough team of Tony Cessna (the seeded singles player I was able to beat in three sets in Ft. Myers) and tournament veteran Bob Royden, who also won in three sets in darkness last night.