Thursday night’s match turned out to be a real battle. I started the match well. I felt confident and ready to cause a big upset. Again, I was fortunate to be in good serving form. The match went on serve until 4-4. I had been holding fairly easily and had created a couple of good chances to break. I held at love at 4-3 and knew that this was the moment to step up. I made a few deep returns and really put pressure on his backhand, coming into the net a few times and finishing the points with a volley, something I’ve always liked to do. These tactics worked and I had the break. I held to close out the set 6-4.
Winning the first set in such simple fashion took me by surprise and I started the second a little off my game. I sprayed a few balls in the opening game but then managed to regain my composure and hold in the second game of the set. The second set turned out to be a very frustrating one for me. I continued to hold serve easily and created many opportunities to break. I started every one of his service games up 0-30 but then I would miss a few returns, he would hit a few good serves and the game would be over. However, I tried to stick to my game plan and felt that a break was just around the corner. We went back and forth and finally at 5-5 I had 3 break points, and I thought it was my moment. Unfortunately he played a few good points, I got a little tentative and again he escaped with a hold. At 6-5 I suddenly felt the pressure. I hadn’t lost my serve in two days but all of a sudden I was a bit tight. I started the game with a double fault, which was not good. I managed to pick myself up and get the game back to deuce. Unfortunately, playing a no-ad scoring format meant that I had a point to take it a tiebreak and he had a point for the set. I hit a good kick serve right into his body, he tried to run around it and hit it up the line, but he completely miss-hit it and hit a frame winner inside out. I was not happy but I knew it was my mental lapse that had put me in that position in the first place.
In the 3rd set I felt deflated and he began playing some flawless tennis. I got broken early and never really recovered. I fought hard and almost got a break to make it 4-3 but in the end he held and eventually went on to win 6-2.
Therefore the final score was 6-4 5-7 2-6. I felt disappointed after the match but I knew it wasn’t a bad effort against the No. 1 seed in my first tournament in over a year. Looking back there are definitely some things I need to work on. I need to tighten things up mentally, but that will come with more matches. I also need to stick to the game plan throughout the match. I felt I lost a little focus every now and then. Fortunately, following my two and a half hour singles match my partner and I managed to win our doubles match in convincing fashion, 6-1 6-3. We play again this evening at 6:30pm in the quarterfinals.
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