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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