Tony Williams and I took the court for our quarter final 70s doubles match just before 3 p.m., as a huge weather front starting moving through south Florida, bringing with it heavy clouds and winds gusting to 35 mph!
Our opponents were the solid team of Gary Englehard (Bonita Springs and Dayton ) and Steve Hull (Dayton), who upset the #2 seeded team yesterday in straight sets.
The wind made it difficult to play and almost impossible to regularly hold serve. So in the first set, they went up an early break; we broke back; and at 4-4, broke them again and served out the set.
In the second set, they went up another early break; and we served down 2-5. We were able to hold and break again to get back on serve. But they then broke us at 4-5, for them to even up the sets.
In the third set, it was our turn to go up an early break; they broke back; we broke again; and were serving at 4-3, with the lights now on the court.
With Tony serving, the first return of serve went right by me standing totally still at the net and at Tony’s feet coming in. That point was important for two reasons: first, it was my ball to cut off over the middle and I froze, losing us the point – and eventually that game… to make it 4-4.
But equally important, made me mad at myself for being too passive at the critical point in the match. So I raised my adrenalin level, and the level of my game – and Tony matched me.
We broke serve again, losing just one point. And then I served it out at a love game. For a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 (2 hours and 20 minutes).
Tomorrow, we have the #4 seeds in the semi finals.
KEYS FOR PLAYING IN THE WIND
• Roy Emerson stresses: keep moving your feet because the ball will be moving around
• Work extra hard to TRACK THE BALL as it is coming to your racquet – especially on the high ones
• Catch a wind-blown service toss (I didn’t and double faulted too many times)
• Remember when your opponent hits a weak serve/shot to you into the wind, it is not going to reach you
• Tell yourself, “The wind is my friend,” and try to use it to your advantage
Ray Bellamy, who beat me in singles yesterday (6-3, 6-4), today beat #3 seeded (and leg-weary) Bill Simonton in straight sets.
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