Another warm January day in south Florida, with temperatures hovering in the low 80s as we played the 70s singles quarters.
My opponent was the #2 seeded Clive Kileff, native Zimbabwean, who played for Harvard in the 1960s, and a very tough, steady, and crafty player (he hit THREE winning drop shots off my first serve in the first game!)
You would think the fact that I UNSUCCESSFULLY served for the first set at 5-3 and again in the second at 5-3 would have me upset with my play … but I am not.
If you have patience, here is the long story…
He did break me that first service game and then held his serve easily. But I was able to stay focused, better anticipate his drop shots and win the next four games. We each held and that brought us to my losing the 5-3 service game (he raised his game and hit great shots deep in both corners to accomplish the come-back).
He then held serve (5-5) and brought me to the brink with break point on my serve. The “crowd” watching was surely thinking, “If George loses this game, he is done for.”
But after several deuce/ads, I held serve – and put the pressure back on Clive. I was able to break him again and take the first set 7-5 (one hour).
In the second set, I maintained focus and did not “think ahead” too much … and broke out to a commanding (?) 1-4 lead. But Clive is tough, and threw in some moon balls to win eight consecutive points and two love games, to get back on serve at 3-4.
But I was again able to break him; which then led to my second unsuccessful attempt to hold serve at 5-3.
With him serving at 4-5 to stay in the match, we played a loooong game. I had a match point and did the one thing I HATE to do: missed the return of serve. And then I missed the next return in the deuce court!
But I kept swinging in the ad court, won that game point, and came back to the deuce court. I won that point and had my second match point – which I won, for a 7-5, 6-4 (two hour) victory!
The key to victory? Staying focused to play every point “in the moment” and not get overwhelmed by the situation of who I was playing or getting ready to beat.
Tomorrow morning is the semi-final vs. Bill Simonton (New Hampshire) and the winner gets Fred Drilling on Saturday. Also tomorrow is our doubles quarters vs. Fred and Clive!
There were many more completed matches, which you can see (when the web site is updated) by clicking HERE.
If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com