Both singles and doubles were played by me and others at Sterling Oaks on Wednesday. My second round singles match was against former professional tennis referee Norm Chryst, who beat the #5 seed 6-2, 6-4.
Early scouting said he had a big serve, which he frequently came in behind and had excellent volleys and overheads… all of which proved to be true! In his first service game, he had two aces and one service winner.
He took an early break in the first set to go up 1-4; but I figured out he liked his backhand better than his erratic forehand + I was able to start crowding his serve to take it earlier and give him less time on the volley.
I broke back; and broke again to be serving for the first set at 5-4, set point. Serving in the ad court, I played Fearless Tennis and busted a good serve right down the middle. He barely got just a frame on the ball … but it knuckled over the net to land on the sideline for a “winner.”
He used that luck to build some mini-MO to break my serve and then hold an easy service game. At 5-6, I regrouped and held serve to bring it to a tie-breaker; but he won it.
The second set was all service holds for nine consecutive games. But with Norm serving at 4-5, I had SIX BREAK POINTS. He served and played well on the first five. On the sixth, I stood in the alley on an ad court second serve and whacked one down the line for a set-point winner.
The third set…. Four games on serve; then, he broke me at 2-2 and I broke right back for 3-3. He broke me again and then was able to hold; so I served at 3-5.
I wanted to hold to make him try to serve it out. And did. But he did. And in two and half hours of hot tennis, he won, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
After a shower and some pretzels, I went back out on the court for our first round doubles match with partner Tom McCune, who played a tough match against #1 seed, Dave Nash (6-3, 6-2).
We played two solid 4.0 players from World Tennis Center in Naples; and started off playing down to their level.
At 0-2, instead of giving Tom “a kick in the pants” to get us motivated, I whacked his hand on a high volley over the middle … to cause a medical time out to try to stop the bleeding.
We stopped the bleeding on his hand and on the court, going on to win 11 of the next 12 games. With only a slight hiccup with me serving at 5-1 (after four hours of tennis, I had no legs left), we went on to a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
The bright side: even though I drank a gallon of water and still lost four pounds on the court, there was no cramping till the drive home.
Thursday’s match is vs. #4 seeds, Larry Albritton and Mike Melnik. For the rest of the match-ups, just click HERE.