Well, I went from playing Super Seniors yesterday to â€œJuniorsâ€ today. Marc Vandam and I had our first round 9.0 doubles match against two 28 year old big baseline bangers from Ft. Myers.
When I got the public courts at Cambier Park, the only two guys there were these two â€œkidsâ€ banging the ball back and forth; so when Marc arrived , we agreed we needed to play solid, senior tennis (even though Marc is only 40 himself).
In the first set, we had a series of service breaks; but they ended up with the advantage and the set at 6-4. In the second set, we really focused on getting the ball back in play and taking control of the net. We went up a break; but gave it back. On serve at 4-5, we were able to break them to take the second set.
With the temperature near 90 degrees, we all took the full 10 minutes before starting the FULL third set.
I started serving with the new balls, which were old by the time that five-deuce game was done. We held for that important first game; but I started to feel the heat and my tenth match in eight days.
We were still able to break them; but then played a weak game to give it back to go 1-2.
The set stayed on serve, with my serving the critical 4-4 game and really starting to feel the heat and fatigue. But Marc and I both played a strong game to take some momentum into the change over. I said (in a very tired voice) to Marc, â€œOK, three good returns of serve and one double fault, and the match is ours.â€
We took a 15-40, double break point lead; and with them serving to me in the deuce court, they blasted and missed the first serve. I crowded him on his second serve and, as predicted, got the double fault at match point!
The keys to victory:
- Not being intimidated by their service aces/winners and big ground strokes.
- Taking control of the net.
- Regularly using Australian to take away their favorite cross court returns.
- And signaling each other when we were returning serve that the â€˜off manâ€™ was going to cross after the return.
- And, playing solid aggressive tennis.
So, the final scores were 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.Â We were spent; but luckily the muscle cramps didn’t start until i got home.
Next up: two more young bangers (who happen to be the #1 seeds).