Today was semi finals day for the CAT II tournament at Sanchez/Casal (Naples Bath and Tennis); and for the second week in a row, Noble and I faced #1 seeded Hugh Thomson (former world #1 singles) and his partner Jerry Thomas (World 75 doubles runner up).
Noble and I were “knocking on the door” and lost a close first set 5-7 … won a strong second set 6-1 … but lost the third set 6-3. Thomson and Thomas then went on to beat Hank Irvine and Evert Jonsson in the finals (also in three sets).
Today’s First Set
- This time, Noble and I started out stronger and went up a break
- I was serving at 5-4 … and we took a 40-15 lead (two set points)
- They won both those points and went on to take that game
- They served at 5-5; and we had a couple of break points and were able to convert one
- So, Noble served at 6-5; and we again went up 40-15 (two more set points)
- But they won them and the game to bring us to a first set tie breaker
- We again took an early lead and they were serving at 2-6 (three more set points)
- They won that point on their serve and the first point on our serve
- So Noble served at 6-4 and we had a long point that ended with all four at the net and them hitting a strong volley down the middle to Noble’s backhand
- Except Noble switched hands and hit a left-handed half-volley back that dribbled over the top of the net and landed in THEIR alley to give us the first set!
- They reversed the pattern from last week (where they won a close first and we won a dominating second set)
- And they cruised to a 6-2 win
- So I pointed out to Noble at the start of the second, “The pattern is now reversed from last week and WE are going to win the third set!”
- We did start out strong and went up a break, which held to the tale end of the set
- They served at 2-5 and held a solid game
- We served for the match at 5-3 and they broke us
- They served at 4-5 and they held
- Noble served at 5-5 in a critical game… and we held
- Their stronger server (Jerry) then served at 5-6 to try to bring the match to a deciding tiebreaker.
- We managed to go up 15-40
- They won the next point to save the first match point
- Then the serve was to me in the ad court at 30-40
- He missed his big first serve and I went after the second serve cross court
- They hit the next one with a short angle, wide in my alley
- I ran to it and saw Hugh at the net and Jerry still deeper in their ad corner; so a drove a solid running backhand down the seem between them that went for the match point winner!
- At critical times, you can’t just “get the ball back in play”; because the better players will then take charge
- The team that has the offense at the end of the match will usually win
- I kept telling myself, “You can only control what YOU do and nothing else.”
- Also kept reminding myself, “No story thinking” (i.e. what happens if you win or lose the next point or game); but rather have “Action thinking” (i.e. where am I going to hit the next ball?).
Tomorrow’s doubles finals (vs. Irvine/Jonsson) are all at 1:30. For all the other interesting scores (check out Larry Turville vs. Mas Kimball!) and match times, click HERE.
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