Saturday was a long day! When I woke up to get ready for my 9 am match, it was in the 40s and windy. This definitely was not the ideal match conditions I was expecting or wanted, but I was ready to battle. My opponent was a very good college player and spent some time on the futures circuit. Last year, we met in the semi-final and within the first 2 or 3 games I hurt my ankle really bad and somehow managed to take the second set, but lost 6-3 in the third. I figured if I played well this time around, I should be able to win in 2 relatively close sets unless I was not playing well.
I started off very energized and playing very well. I was taking control of the points and moving him around a lot, and found myself up 4-0, cruising. I was very confident that it was going to be my day, and gain some revenge for my loss and his antics after last year. But, after I won the first set 6-2, I was starting to miss a little more and was down 0-1 serving and down in the game. He made a bad call and though I don’t believe it affected me, it seemed from that very moment on, I was never quite the same as I was in the first set.
I was serving poorly and missing my attacking balls, and I was getting very negative. I broke a string on a game point and the racquet switch didn’t feel good. The cold, windy conditions and the court bounce (which was staying lower than usual) were beginning to effect me more, and the wheels came off. Still I was in it if I could get it together. He played well and raised his game, and I lost the set 6-4.
I got down early in the third with more of the same, and decided to switch to a different racquet that was strung looser. This seemed to help, and I began making fewer errors and playing better. Unfortunately, it was probably too late, and being down a couple breaks I was down 2-5 0-40. Frustrated and in shock at how I was unable to summon up my game, I still wanted to fight. After some good play and one incredible point, I fought off the 3 match points and even had a break point, but ended up losing the game and match. Normally I would feel awful since I really wanted this win, but Im getting better at understanding that you’re just going to have off days sometimes along with the great ones too.
I had to move on because I had 3 more doubles matches that day! My partner and I played well together and got into the semis but lost a close match to a good young team, where I feel I could have returned better. I had mixed doubles which was fun and we won our match to advance to the final there, while we got a 3rd place default in the men’s doubles.
On Sunday, I played a 3rd place singles match against a solid player and came up with a win. It was similar to my semifinal, where I started great and was up 5-0, before he started playing better, and I made errors while getting negative. I focused at the end and got the job done after some great, physical points for a score of 6-3 6-4. After winning the mixed doubles final in straight sets against a girl that got nearly reached the top 300 a couple years ago, my job was done! Although despite being exhausted, I agreed to hit some balls with my girlfriend on the green clay.
I know I will have a tournament in December that should be pretty tough, but otherwise I will be training and looking for events to play this winter. I will keep you updated on my progress and I am hoping for another great and improved 2014!
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