US Open National Playoffs

My heart has been heavy, and I have been so exhausted the past 3 weeks. But I have started to regain some energy and spirit, and have been practicing better lately.

We arrived at New Haven late in the evening Thursday, and after a good dinner I crashed for the night. I got checked in at the tournament sight — getting credentials, lunch tickets, parking passes, guest match tickets, booking a practice court and so on. Now all I needed to focus on was winning!

We ate some lunch in the player’s and coaches lounge, and saw many WTA faces that I have watched on TV. The main ones I could put a name to were Lisicki and Puig, who I ate merely 5 feet away from. It was all a very cool experience. I warmed up in the afternoon with a friend from Minnesota who just moved out this way! She actually played in the mixed championship here 2 years ago. We had a good hit and she was there to watch and support me play.

Finally it was match time, and we got golf-carted to my court. I was the last match on of the day against a player from Stanford, who also grew up in New Haven. He had a lot of fan support there! He played very well to start as I was feeling my way in, and I got broken in the first game. I played a great return game to get it back, and we repeated the whole sequence again. Fortunately, I started to play very well without missing and moving the ball around a lot. I was playing like I did in Thunder Bay where I felt really in control of everything. I took the first set 6-2 and held the first game of the 2nd set.

With a couple close games and wearing him down, I didn’t let up and kept coming out on top to take a 5-0 lead. I was feeling more fatigue than I normally would however, and felt lucky to be in this position and wanted to get off right away. With some more ground stroke winners and allowing him to miss, I won 6-0 and felt relieved to be out of round 1 with a win.

I’m hoping my stamina will improve with better sleep and eating, as tomorrow will probably be a tougher battle. If I can win, I will be in the semis, and a step closer than I made it in 2011. Each win is bittersweet though, as I still have my loss off the court to think about. Tennis is a great escape for now.

Thanks to all for your support. Hopefully good news to report tomorrow.

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