Second round of singles and I played #5 seed, Tony Cessna from KY. I played him twice before … lost once and beat him in three sets two years ago (when he had a bad shoulder and really couldn’t serve well.)
My strategy was to play to his forehand, which can be more erratic, and run him side to side to tire him; and bring him into a third set, where my conditioning should be to my advantage.
Well, I succeeded in the first parts; but never got to a third set. He beat me in straight sets (6-3, 6-0 but in an hour and thirty minutes, which Tony said, “Felt like two hours!”).
• The day was warm and very humid; so the balls got real heavy. Tony hits with a surprising amount of topspin on the forehand side; so those were all falling in when I didn’t expect them to.
• Lesson: stay in the point till the end.
• His forehand and total game can be “streaky”… and today it was streaky-good. Bob Wilkie watched the match and suggested that I should have tried playing more to his steady two-handed backhand, rather than let him continue to hit forehand winners.
• Lesson: remember to ask yourself, “What is happening here?” And change your game to meet the situation.
• I missed about four “open court winners” that all the top players do not miss. And those points tend to be worth more than just the four points. One that I remember, serving first point, 3-4 in the first set, served him wide to his forehand… got a short reply. Hit is cross court to his backhand… got a shorter reply. And missed the volley to the open court!
• Lesson: Play Spike Gonzales’ “hit the target” game to ingrain the habit of hitting safely into that open court.
Next week: Singles and doubles (with Tom) at the Cape Coral tournament.