This week I am playing downtown Minneapolis in the Aquatennial event. It is one of the most fun tournaments of the year with a very unique setting. They lay out a sport court surface piece by piece in the middle of a plaza beneath tall buildings, surrounded by noise from the light rail passing by, or simply all of the people passing through that come to watch!
It has been a successful tournament for me as I have won it 4 years now. It plays pretty similar to a fast, slick carpet surface where you also occasionally get some wild bounces either 8 feet straight up on a serve or where the ball completely dies and comes up 4 inches. Usually the competition is some of the best players in the state, upwards of 300 or more people come for the final, and they offer some nice prize money to make it a great event.
I have had one singles and one doubles match so far. The singles went great as I played well and got re-aquainted with the surface and conditions, moving on to the semi-final which will be Wednesday at noon. We had a doubles match as well today that was very interesting to be a part of. I have known my partner for several years and he plays around the top of the lineup for the university of Nebraska. We won the first set 6-1, and then lost the second 6-4 with just one break, and then the 3rd set is a 10 point tiebreaker. After getting down a bit early on, we came back to even it up at 9-9. With several chances, match points for us, match points against us saved, great plays and unbelievable easy misses, we ended up losing 18-16. It is a tough way to lose, and I have been agitated thinking about it all day. At the end before bed, all I can do is try to trick myself into being over it, as I am again reminded that my doubles skills are inferior to my singles game. I will just have to keep improving at it!
If I win on Wednesday, the singles final would also be at noon the next day on Thursday. One cool feature of this tournament for the last few years has been online streaming of the matches. This can be found at http://usta.qwikcast.tv/ and the draw is at http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=136004
Should be fun and hope to report Wednesday with good news and in good health! Though it is fun out there, it is a bit dangerous too so I have to remember to be a little careful!