July 12, 2011
I had my most successful weekend this past one, reaching the finals of the singles draw and winning the men’s doubles at the Nike Championships in Portland, Oregon. However, it was a lot of tennis, highlighted by five matches on Friday that finished at 11:15 pm, only to be followed by two tough singles matches the following day starting early at 9 am. I had some great matches and played some real solid tennis to get through the weekend! I just took a couple days off to rest my body and mind, and now I’m ready to get right back to work tomorrow!
My most exciting match of the weekend came against my former teammate from the University of Washington, David Chu of Vancouver, Canada, in the semifinals. We had both played a lot of good tennis to get to that point, and it was awesome to reunite with a former teammate and battle it out just like we used to in practice all the time a few years ago.
We both came out playing well. We both would take turns dictating points with our groundstrokes and getting the other person running on defense. We exchanged games until late in the first set, when I was able to string a couple of good points together for a late break, taking the first set 7-5.
At the beginning of the second set I felt unstoppable. It was one of those times when you have complete confidence in all your shots, knowing that you can swing as hard as you want and the ball is going to go wherever you want it to go. I was serving big and hitting hard from the baseline, and took an early lead in the second set. But to David’s credit, he held tough and weathered the storm, and fought back to even the set. We played some hard-hitting baseline points, running each other ragged and exchanging big, heavy groundstrokes. The pressure of closing out the match got to me, and David capitalized to win the second set by the same 7-5 margin as the first.
The first few games of the third set were highly contested, and we were close for a while. We were both finding our rhythms on our return of serves, exchanging breaks early on. Whoever was able to take control of their service games and hold consistently was going to be the one to win the third set and the match. I buckled down mentally, felt David get a little bit tired physically, and was able to take control, closing out the match with a 6-3 third set win.
I felt very good about the match. I was very mentally strong, and served very well except for a couple games throughout the match. I was playing with confidence and being aggressive from the baseline, and was coming forward often to finish points at the net. I was pleased because everything I have been focusing on for the past couple weeks was starting to finally “click” together. My serve had improved, I was feeling comfortable playing aggressively, and I stayed mentally strong and solid throughout the entire match. It was a big win for me!
Unfortunately on Sunday I didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to take down University of Oregon standout Alex Rovello in the finals. He makes you earn every single point you play, with a very strong mental make-up and heavy, consistent groundstrokes. He played well all weekend and very much deserved the title. However, following the singles final, my partner Trevor Dobson and I had some business to tend to in the men’s doubles final, taking on another pair of Oregon Ducks, Alex “Waffle” Cornellison and Stephen Wiechert. Trevor and I both served extremely well, and we strung a couple of good return games together in each set to win the title in straight sets, 6-3 6-3. This is our first title of the summer, and we’re looking forward to continuing our doubles success in the coming weeks!
After a long and exhausting weekend I spent the past couple days at my buddy’s beach house in Seaside, Oregon, resting and recuperating the body with some epic ping-pong matches to pass the time. Next up is the Salem Summer Classic in Salem, Oregon, just 45 minutes south down I-5. I’ll head down that way in the morning, and will get two short practices in tomorrow. I’ll practice again Thursday morning, and have my first singles match of the tournament Thursday night. Following Salem will be a week off, where I will just play doubles back here in Portland at the Adidas Irvington Championships. Stay tuned for updates from Salem…thanks for reading!