The first of the four USTA Super Senior January tournaments is at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Myers this week; and I drew Phil LaRoche, a retired TWA pilot from St. Louis. The only intelligence I could gather was from my doubles partner Tom, who has a solid, tournament-playing friend (also a retired pilot) who said Phil was “great” and has beaten Tom’s friend every time that had played!
In the first set, I forced the action and determined he would rather hit backhands than forehands. He was just down from playing indoors on hard courts; so he was a little erratic on the soft clay. I was able to control and take it 6-2.
In the second set, he settled in and played more aggressively. After we each held twice, he broke me to serve at 3-2… which turned out to be the critical game of the set. In a marathon game, he had five game points and I had two break points. I was able to survive all five game points and converted on my second break chance to even it at 3-3.
The following games were all struggles; but I was able to hold to go 4-3; break to go 5-3; and serve it out for the match. What seems like an easy 6-2, 6-3 victory had us on the court for one hour and forty five minutes!
So Tuesday at 1 p.m., I play the #5 seed, Gary Wilson from DC, who beat me two years ago in two hours and two close sets.