A comeback and a nail biter

My doubles partner Fabian Matthews and I have toughed out a couple close matches to reach the finals of the Claremont Futures!

My doubles partner Fabian Matthews and I have toughed out a couple close matches to reach the finals of the Claremont Futures!

It has been quite an exciting couple of days! Wednesday brought in the challenge of the doubles quarter finals. Fabian and I were matched up against the Japanese pair of Sato and Katayama, the number three seeds. We got off to a shaky start, losing our serve in the 3rd game. Midway through the first set absolute chaos erupted and our match became somewhat of a sideshow.

Smoke poured across the sky overhead as, we later found out, a nearby botanical garden went up in flames. What followed was pandemonium. A dozen helicopters circled overhead, ambulances raced passed the courts, and twin engine airplanes dived and soared a few hundred yards above our heads dropping water on the flames just a block away. Apparently the linesmen and umpire were not satisfied enough with the air show, and they wanted to see some tennis too, so we continued. Our opponents capitalized, as we played a little distracted, and before we knew it we were down 6-2.

Trying to get my backhand return down at my opponent's feet.

Trying to get my backhand return down at my opponent’s feet.

The circus went on around us until about halfway though the second set when things finally calmed down a bit. By that stage we were down 6-2 4-1, deciding point (we play no-ad scoring), and things were looking bleak. We somehow managed to sneak out a hold followed by a break and all of a sudden the momentum shifted in our favor. We finally figured out our opponents, their strategy, and our game plan. We cruised from that point on, getting another break and snatching up the second set in criminal fashion. The third set was a super tiebreaker. We went down early, clawed back, and finally sealed the match 10-8. It was an unbelievable feeling to comeback from such an unlikely position. It was absolute daylight robbery and our opponents looked shell-shocked as we met at the net to shake hands.

With the number 3 seeds out of the way we stacked ourselves up against the number 2 seeds in Thursday’s semi final, Dennis Nevolo and Keith-Patrick Crowley. We all started well and the tennis was high level. We went back and forth and held to take a 5-4 lead in the first. We had lost a couple of deciding points up to that point and felt like we were due for a break. We both hit great returns with no reply to go up 0-30 and then fought our way through the next few points to come out with the first set, 6-4.

The second set we struggled a bit. They broke us early, we broke back, and they broke us again. Finally they locked up the set with a hold and a break, 4-6. It was time for another nail biting super tiebreak to decide the outcome of the match. We won the first point and then went down a mini break. At 2-5 it felt like we had a mountain to climb. We took a few risks on our returns and they paid off. We some how came back again and won the match 10-8.

What a thrilling experience it has been. In tomorrow’s final we play against the number one seeded pair of Carsten Ball and Daniel Garza. I have to play my first round of the Costa Mesa Futures qualifying draw in the morning (back to the grind of reality) and then I’ll head back out to the club for one last battle in the heat of Claremont. I’ll update you with my results tomorrow.

If you want to watch the live scoring feed of the doubles final at 4pm PDT you can find it at: http://www.itftennis.com/procircuit/home.aspx
And click on the “Live Scores” tab at the top right of the screen.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

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