Sunday, October 3, 2010

Humdinger to start the season

Yesterday I played my first interclub match of the season. It was a great afternoon for it too, if a little windy (well quite a lot windy, actually). For some reason I was playing in a higher grade than normal, albeit in the bottom position in our team. In the men's match I was lucky enough to have a very good partner. I needed him. At times I felt bad because of my ineptitude at the net. It was nip-and-tuck in the first set which went all the way to a tie-break. The standard of play in that shoot-out was possibly the best of the set; we eventually won it 7-5. My partner's serve was less consistent in the second set, I found little penetration with my groundstrokes, and everything seemed much more of a struggle. We dodged three set points in a lengthy tenth game, then had two match points of our own at 6-5. On the first of these my partner missed a put-away volley, then on the second I made a hash of the return. The next point was one of the day's many long rallies: they had me running all over the court, chasing down balls, getting further and further out of position until finally I'd had it. I let out a loud shriek at the loss of that point, in frustration I guess, and blasted the return out on the following point. On to a second tie-break. At 6-5, our third match point, my partner said, "this is your big moment" as I stepped up to serve. Thanks for telling me that. I missed my first serve, the second only dribbled in, and we lost that point as well as the next two. Going into the third set our opponents had the momentum and any confidence I had in my shots seemed to ebb away. At 4-2 down the match was ebbing away too, and I consciously became more aggressive. This seemed to work, and I felt the match start to turn in our direction when I hit a down-the-line winner. My partner grew in confidence and I was grateful that he had the chance to serve out the match at 5-4. On our fifth match point he put away a smash to finish one of the best doubles matches I've ever played in.

In contrast we lost the mixed match 6-1 6-2, but the score didn't do justice to all the long rallies and deuce games we had. My partner had the same first name as my mum but was a few years older. This meant I did all the donkey work, for very little reward, not that I minded. To be playing tennis at a reasonable level at that age is no mean achievement.

It was an enjoyable afternoon all round. The food we had after the tennis was perhaps the most enjoyable part of it.

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