Noble, a very nice retired orthopedic surgeon from NC, had beaten me in a close match (6-4, 6-3) at the first tournament; so I came in with a strategy of giving him some softer pace and moving him around. Buuuuut, I found myself in a deep hole with him serving at 5-1.
I said “the heck with that strategy” and decided to play the game I like to play… hitting out, going for shots, and using “controlled aggression.” I then broke him to go 5-2. Held serve to go 5-3. Broke him for 5-4. Held for 5-5. Broke him to go up 6-5.
But then, that little run stopped and he was able to break me to bring it to a first set tiebreaker, which he held on to win 7-5. That first set took one and a half hours!
The first four games of the second set were long 5-7 deuce point games; but I continued to pound the ball, attacking his serve and going deep crosscourt. We ran each other side to side for another HOUR; but I was able to dominate and took the second set at 6-2.
The Path Not Taken
During the last game (in which I broke his serve), I decided that was enough singles for the day! We had battled for 2.5 hours… It was 3:30 and I had a doubles match scheduled for 4:30.
No, I wasn’t too tired; and I wasn’t injured. But I felt, if I HAD played another one-hour set, and then played a tough doubles match, that there was a tournament-ending injury in my future. So I said, “I will do you a favor and retire, so we can both play our doubles matches and you can move on (vs. a very strong Steve Gottlieb in the next round).”
So after our tough doubles match (which we lost 7-5, 6-4) I went home looking forward to “Hot tub and cold beer.” Took two Advil before going to bed … and feel fine this morning — and happy with my “mature” (?) decision.
How would have I felt otherwise? We will never know. What would YOU have done?
For full results of all the matches at Sterling Oaks, click HERE.
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