A setback

My doubles partner Ibrahim and I at the Yonex Cup.

My doubles partner Ibrahim and I at the Yonex Cup.

Friday night brought the challenge of the quarterfinals of the doubles draw. My partner Ibrahim and I were set to play Rylan Rizza and Peter Lucassen, both good players and both still in the singles tournament. I had been pretty sore all day. To be honest after my long singles and doubles matches on Thursday night I felt as if I had been hit by a bus. When my feet hit the ground on Friday morning I was a little concerned about my match that night. I did, however, have the whole day to try to recover which I took full advantage of. I iced and stretched multiple times, rubbed muscle cream into my quads, hips and knees, and tried every trick in the book to loosen up. Thankfully it was Day 2 of the Masters golf tournament, so that kept me occupied for most of the day as I laid on the floor in my living room trying to expedite the healing process. By mid-afternoon I felt pretty good. I felt I was ready for another tough match that evening.
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A battle

photo (7)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.

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