B Manning and I met at a nearby hard court to warm up for a solid half hour before our 10 am finals match against the two younger finalists (turns out they are 36 and 38 years old). They, on the other hand, showed up at the tournament ten minutes before our match wearing flip-flops (obviously, they didnâ€™t need to warm up too much for this finals).
For good luck, I had on my Darth Vadar black outfit; and for strategy, B and I both stayed back on return of serve; to work our way into the net when we could.
They started serving, with Larry (the wider body with a very hard first and second serve) and held; and then broke us in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. We were able to get back their serves in the fifth game and broke back.
I served at 2-3 and we went down love-30; but we were able to gut it out to hold serve. We then broke John, their second server to go up 4-3. B held a good service game, 5-3. And then we broke The Big Guy again to surprise them and take the first set 6-3 (winning five straight games).
The momentum shifted in the second set. They started really charging and crowding the net, taking control of the points. They had us on our heels and took the second set 6-2.Â DeDe said it looked like we “went flat in the second set.”
For the finals, we were playing out a full third set, which we felt would be to our advantage, since they were steam rolling us. But the steam roll continued, with their controlling the net; and beat us 6-1 for the championship.
Granted they were young, had very quick feet and hands, and made some great Big Point saves in that third set; but I was unhappy with how I played in that third set. What to do differently?
- Make the shots you really have to make (sitter vollies, overheads, etc.).
- (Like this last year at Newkâ€™s camp when I teamed with Jimmy Miller) Be ready for that hard shot right at me at the net.
- And when they are at the net and we are on the baseline, put my ego aside and donâ€™t try to drive it through them â€“ rather go over them with the lob.
B and I played well for the weekend and I should be happy with that. But â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..