Despite the oppressive 100+ “feels like” temperatures, we ventured out onto the courts this weekend for the annual New Hampshire summer tournament … WITHOUT my regular partner, strong lefty Bob Wilkie.
Struggling to Survive…
Not me, but the tournament. This nice, local event was facing much lower than normal signups in all age groups; so in our age 60+ A Division, I voluntarily gave up one of my favorite doubles partners, Bob Wilkie, in order to make more teams and recruit more players.
So the four teams in our three-match round robin were:
- Bob Wilkie and Boston teaching pro Scott Haralson
- Me and Bob Hickey, VT friend of Chuck Kinyon (who I had never teamed with before)
- Tournament vet Nick Ourusoff and local Mitch Utell
- Paul Snow and lefty Rick Aseltine
On Saturday, it was oppressively hot as we all struggled to complete two full matches (best of three sets, with a Ten Pointer in lieu of a full third set). We all drank sports drinks, ate bananas, and put (provided) iced towels on our necks on change overs.
Bob Hickey and I first faced Ourusoff/Utell and quickly went down a break of serve. But we rallied back for a closer-than-the-score 6-3, 6-1 win. While Wilkie/Haralson also won, 6-2, 6-2.
We had a 15-minute break and switched opponents for the second round. Bob Hickey and I immediately went down TWO breaks vs. Snow/Aseltine, before rallying to win the last 11 games for a draining 6-4, 6-0 win.
Wilkie/Haralson had to stay on the hot court 30 minutes longer than we did, surviving 7-5, 6-3.
Sunday’s Final Matches
On Sunday morning, Mr. Hickey and I faced off vs. Wilkie/Haralson, with both teams at 2-0… and the winner being the winner of our match.
We got off to an even slower start than previously, going down two breaks of serve … and losing the first set 6-1.
Bob H and I righted the ship and went UP a break in the second; and I served for the set at 5-4 … but didn’t get it done. Then my partner served for the set at 6-5 … but didn’t get it done. And then I served for the set at 6-5 in the tiebreaker … and DID get it done.
So, four senior tired players had to then play a deciding ten-point match tiebreaker to determine the victor. At 4-4, I had a put-away shot that ticked the net; so they got in back; but my partner then had a put-away that he hit solidly … only to see one of our two opponents (couldn’t tell you which one) hit a reflex, lob volley winner. And that was the turning point … they went on the win the breaker and the match.
In the 3-4 match, Ourusoff/Utell came out on top 6-1, 6,1.
Atlantic Coast Cup
Next weekend, I will catch a flight out of Manchester, New Hampshire to join the New England team (for the first time) vs. the Atlantic Coast team in their annual match, July 29-30 in Bethesda, MD.
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