The LAST of the four USTA Super Senior tournaments I am playing this season is this week at the (fantastic!) University Park Country Club near Sarasota.
Tom and I had first round singles matches on Monday against unranked/unseeded players. We did our jobs: Tom won 6-2, 6-3 in about two hours of tennis; and I won 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and a half (coming back from being down a service break at 3-2; and winning the last four games).
Today was a different story. This morning, Tom played #1 seed and former World #1 Jimmy Parker from Texas; and at noon, I played #2 seed and former World #1 Hugh Thompson from Australia/Atlanta.
Tom played very well against Parker. He had about ten game points; but was unable to convert any of them. So although the points were close and the games were close, the score wasn’t.
In my match against Hugh, I thought (and court watchers said) I really “played great.” My strategy was: not to be beaten by his great drop shots, be offensive and drive my forehand, attack his second serve.
The blow by blow details…
• He served first and was a close game that I lost with two notwatchingtheball framed forehands.
• The second game, I served and held at LOVE.
• The third game, he served and I BROKE HIM at either love of 15, can’t remember.
• I knew he would try to up the ante and break right back; but I held for a 1-3 lead.
• He held for 3-2 and broke me for 3-3.
• He served at 3-3 and I had an “Andy Roddick at Wimbledon” moment … break point I drove my forehand deep to the corner, came in behind it, and had a backhand over head to the open court – which I missed (like Andy).
• And like Andy, I lost that game and served at 3-4, with Big Mo all on his side.
• He had me 15-40 on my serve; but I dug deep, played “one point at a time,” and HELD MY SERVE for 4-4
• He held and we crossed for me to serve at 4-5. I played a good game; but he made the winning shots to take the first set.
• The second set was almost as close. I continued to keep the pressure on him; but he got to more balls than in the first set and made some excellent shots.
• He took the second set at 6-2.
Lessons learned? I asked him afterwards what was good and bad about my performance. He said: my cross court forehand and cross court backhands were both very deep and effective; but what gave him the most trouble was my backhand down the line.
What to add/improve upon? He said I need to add drop shots into the mix of my shots. I hit the ball so deep in the court that my opponent is backing up to take the shot; and even if the drop shot is not a winner, it will keep them guessing about “back or forward.”
P.S. on his drop shots: I got to every single one of them, except for the last one on match point!
Tomorrow: first round of doubles.
for the full draw, click HERE