Sterling Oaks Wednesday

Match Point #3
It was a comfortable mid-70s in Naples as the mid-70s players took the court for singles and doubles Wednesday at Sterling Oaks.

My round of 16 opponent was #9 seeded and solid player Charles Burns (KY/SC), who has a strong serve, forehand that he drives to either corner, a slice backhand that goes deep cross court or down the line, and an excellent drop shot. Sound challenging?

My strategy was to “invest in the ground game” in the hopes of tiring him out (he had a three set win the day before).

The first nine games were all on serve; but I was working him as best I could, side to side and bringing him to the net. But he played a stronger game than I did at me serving 4-5 and took the first set. He SEEMED to be tiring; so I thought I could beat him, if getting to three sets.

But the second set had several breaks of serve back and forth; and he ended up with the edge, serving up a break at 5-3. I saved one match point, then saved a second match point, then on the third one, I drove him deep to the backhand corner and came to the net behind my shot, as he hit a wonderful slice down the line (picture). I looked at the mark and said, “Charlie, if it were during the match, I would call that out; but on match point, I have to give it to you!”

He prevailed 6-4, 6-3 in just under two hours of excellent tennis. I am usually pretty good at figuring out what to do against an opponent; but was unable to find a weakness or strategy that would work against this opponent (Jack or Paul, comment?).

Michael Fenster and I got me back on winning ways later in the afternoon in doubles. We again played the two nice guys from MN, Bob Busch and Tom Fridinger, who we beat at the Colonial in week 1.

The MN boys played better this match (perhaps I was a little leg weary?); but Michael and I prevailed in straight sets. So today we have a quarterfinal match vs. the #4 seeded team, two crafty veterans from Texas.

For full results, please click HERE.

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4 thoughts on “Sterling Oaks Wednesday

  1. I watched most of the match and the only way I thought George could win was to keep his ground stokes deeper particularly on his backhand shots. If he did then George could move inside the base line and do some damage. This opponent was tough and I also thought he would tire. We were both wrong.

    Jack – you are exactly right! anytime i gave him something just a little too short, he took control of the point; but when i drove it deeper and came in, had some success. the strategy is right on, it is the execution that is more challenging! tks, george

  2. Charlie beat me, too, several years ago in the Florida Super-Senior Grand Prix in 3 sets, I think, but maybe in 2. He’s a quality payer. Good match!

    Nick – i believe in the finals of this tourny! see you next week at U Park. george

  3. WOW–Great match by both players. George, what a tough call to make on match point . I looked at the mark and it was almost impossible to call, but you followed the CODE since you could not call the ball out you did the correct thing and called it good. I know many players, will not mention any names, who would have called it out. Tough call since your opponent was almost out of gas and had you won that game I feel you would have won the match. Much respect for your call.

    Paul – tks. and any “coulda/shoulda”? george

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