Monday was a rare January rain out; so all matches were postponed to a Tuesday start. My first 70s singles match was vs. Bill Poist (Ocean Ridge, FL), who according to my scouting report “hits the ball hard, has great hands; but doesn’t move that well.”
My shoulder felt 95% better and the rest did me some good as we took the court around 3:30. In addition to the scouting being accurate, I learned afterwards that Bill had not played much in the last three weeks; so I did my best trying to move him and drop shot him.
Without making any unforced errors of my own, I cruised through the first five games. He got his footing (hitting three lines in one game) to win one game in the first set.
But the rains returned and we sat for about 20 minutes waiting for the courts to dry out and resume play. When we did, he changed his strategy on his service games.
After his serve, he stood 2-3 feet inside the baseline. This mostly took away the impact of my drop shot; and with his great hands he was able to half-volley nice angle shot winners. And on my serves, he started to anticipate my location and went for winners on my second serves.
This put more pressure on my game; so I made some unforced errors to help him along. And found myself serving at 1-4, break point in the second set!
Taking breaths to stay calm, I figured a new strategy of getting a higher percentage of first serves in play (not to give him an attackable second) and hitting high, looping topspin to both corners. Given his position on the court, this forced him to retreat and play the shot going backwards.
After about five deuces in that critical game, I was able to hold serve. He then served another five-deuce game at 4-2, which I was able break to get us back on serve, with me at 3-4.
The MO had shifted back; and I was able to close out the last three games for a challenging 6-1, 6-4 first-round win.
Wednesday’s matches will be singles scheduled for 10 am vs. Ron Trapp of Ft. Myers, who also won his first round match in straight sets. And then Michael Fenster and I team up for the first time in 70 doubles in the afternoon.
There were many more completed matches, which you can see by clicking HERE.
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