If you have Tennis Channel and watched the Fed Cup (womenâ€™s Davis Cup) semi-final between the underdog American team and the more experienced Czech women, you saw some surprising results.
Team Captain, MaryJoe Fernandez surprised many by selecting 19-year old Alexa Glatch (ranked 114th) to play singles. And Alexa surprised the tennis world with her composure in winning both her singles matches in straight sets.
With American Bethanie Mattek-Sands losing both her singles matches, the weekend came down to Bethanie teaming up with new-American and world #1 doubles player, Liezel Huber in the doubles match (in Fed Cup, the doubles is played last).
The Czech dominated the match and were serving 6-2, 5-2 (match point). But the American women never gave upâ€¦ they came back to win the second set in a tie-breaker; and then cruised to victory in the third.
On Monday, in a sweltering Florida day of high 80â€™s, I had a similar experience. I was playing singles for the first time against a Northern visitor, who was used to playing indoors, hard-court tennis. And his game suited that: big first serve that he placed well, powerful groundstrokes, and good net game.
After we took a long 15-minute warmup, I found myself back on my heals just trying to get his serve back in play. Once I did, I could win about half the points. But he still dominated and was serving 5-1, set point.
I survived the point and broke him.Â I held serve and he again served set point at 5-3 — but it was obvious the heat was getting to him. His serve was slower. He was quick for a big guy; but now a half-step slower.
I survived the second set point. Broke and held to go 5-5. Held serve. And broke again to take the set (and â€œthe matchâ€) 7-5.
He had no more left in the tank. It shows what good Southern conditioning and a never-die attitude can do in sports.
And if you watched the Red Sox / Yankees over the weekend, you saw more of the same from a team that would not give up.