What’s Happening Here?

The first two rounds of singles are completed at the USTA Colonial Senior Grand Prix event, with some interesting results and some lessons.

60’s – New Hampshire and Florida friend Bob Wilkie playing in only his second-ever USTA tournament, won his first round match 6-0, 6-0 on Tuesday. Then today, he played the #5 seed, John Zachary from Sarasota, and won 6-3, 6-2.

65’s –
1 Seed, Don Long beat Paul Veltman (Pelican Landing) 6-3, 6-1
2 Seed, Larry Albritton won in straight sets over Chris Uzzi
4 Seed, Dave Spilseth (MN) was upset by a “new guy,” William MacArthur (NY)

In my match as one of the four number 5 seeds, I played Dan Garrick, who won his first round match Tuesday, 7-5, 6-3. Dan is a tall and rangey played, who has a “chop” serve and slice forehands and backhands. As Jack Lease said from the sidelines, “there is no easy way to play a guy like that.”

In the first set, I was able to control the points, mostly with my topspin forehand; and won easily, 6-2. The second set was another story… Dan took control of the points and was running ME side to side. So at 1-4, I asked myself, “What is happening here and what should I do about it?”

The answer was: force the play with aggressive shots that got him out of the center of the court and back on the run. I held and broke to get back on serve at 3-4… but found myself down 15-40, when I hit a backhand cross-court near the sideline. He walked over to it, studied the mark, and said, “Touches the line.” I thanked him for his honesty and came back to win that game and tie it at 4-4.

The running had worn him down, so he tried serving and coming to the net and going for winners to end the points earlier. I was able to break and hold, which meant a sweep of the last five games and a 6-2, 6-4 (one and a half hour) victory.

Tom McCune had won his first round match on Tuesday, vs. J. Webb Horton, 6-2, 6-0; and then had an even better comeback against one of the other #5 seeds, Gary Wilson. Tom, was on the court next to me, and lost the first set very quickly 6-2. He righted the ship in the second set to squeak out a 6-4 win. After a ten minute break, Tom (even though he is sick) had the energy and momentum to win the third set.

Tomorrow, Tom plays “the new guy” who beat Spilseth; while I take on the #1 seed Don Long.

In the 70’s – #1 seed Fred Drilling had a slight scare, but went onto victory.

#2 Seed Bill Simonton had won his first round match 0 and 0; but today split sets and was down 1-5, when his opponent “retired” (because he had a previous commitment to attend to on Thursday).

In the 75’s – #1 Seed Gordon Hammes cruised to victory.

And Jack Lease played an excellent match, losing 6-2, 7-6. As the-glass-is-always-half-full Jack says, “One of these days, I am going to win one of these matches.”

That’s my Man, Jack.