A War on the Court

warIn today’s round of 16 singles at the World Tennis Club, I faced Jeff Thomas, the #10 seed and a big, muscular lefty … and it was A War!

Despite his size, Jeff’s two most effective weapons are his lefty-spin serve and a killer drop shot. He used both very effectively.

The First Set

Although I struggled in every of my service games, we were at 4-4, with eight consecutive service holds, when I was able to break his serve. As often happens, while serving at 5-4 for the first set, I was broken back.

He then struggled, but was able to hold serve; and then he was able to break me again to take the first set 7-5, in just over one hour.

The Second Set

Following the basic advice of Hank Irvine (who showed up to watch later in the match), I asked myself, “What are you going to do about what is happening here?” I decided to:

• Serve and volley more
• After serving and not volleying, to stand two feet inside the base line
• Move him as much as possible side to side
• Return serve in the ad court by standing in the alley

I was able to take control of the match; and took the set at 6-3.

The Third Set

We got new balls and Jeff took a bathroom break; and he came back to break me in my first service game. He then held serve to take a 2-0 lead … and I was questioning whether I had it in me to fight back.

But once again going to the steps above, I was able to come “roaring back” (that is really a joke, because neither one of us was “roaring” after over two hours in the heat and humidity). But somehow I won five of the next six games and found myself serving at 5-3 for the match.

His first point was his third net court dribbler of the match (to my zero); and he leveraged that to his critical service break. He then served at 4-5 to stay in the match and, although I had five break points, he held to bring it to 5-5 in the third set.

Hank Irvine asked me through the fence, “Are you tired?” and I responded “Very!” But somehow I was able to hold serve and force him to serve at 5-6 to extend the match.

At that stage, after three hours, his strokes finally broke down and he made three consecutive unforced errors. I forced the last point by coming to the net and he hit it into it.

5-7, 6-3, 7-5… three hours.

P.S. Hank’s post-game advice was that i should have done what i did TO THE EXTREME, standing way wide and in close to return serve.

Tomorrow (assuming I don’t cramp up totally) I play Doug McCrea, who upset #5 Clive Kileff, in the quarters.

For all the results and the full draw, please click 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

8 thoughts on “A War on the Court

  1. great win George–hydrate like all hell and best of luck tomorrow!!

    Doc, Thanks. I am drinking water as I write! George

  2. George,

    Great match. I always enjoy your posts. I retire to Florida in 70 days, so hope to see some of the Newks Camp guys in future tournaments. I played doubles with Rich at the last camp (Wankers) and can attest to his tenacity.

    Best of luck for the rest of the tournament.

    Dave – where in florida? george

  3. George-
    Great match, and it really is a war….the tough part of it is that you’ve now earned the right to do it all over again tomorrow!
    Stretch like crazy and hydrate. Good luck.
    John

  4. George,

    Saw where you lost a tough match to “a sleeper”. Will be in The Villages, FL on 1 April. So to see you and some of the guys after my wife and I get settled.

    Dave, come on down! George

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