An Ugly Win

I played tennis match #4 of the Men's 4.5 league at the club.  During warm up, could see opponent's backhand was slightly weaker than forehand.  Good indication to go to his backhand during crucial points.

Started out with an early lead.  Opponent hit lots of moon balls which is unusual at this level.  I figured this would be an easy match.

Usually the rhythm of a match is somewhat fast.  Not this one.  Between points, the opponent would walk slowly to pick up a ball, walk to the service line, bound the ball 6 times, then serve.  On second serve, bounce the ball 6 times.

I counted the time interval, 30 seconds between points, 15 on second serve.  I began to lose focus.  Shots were missing everywhere.  I lost the set 4-6.  I mentioned to the opponent I could see why all his matches lasted over 3 hours, I was falling asleep between points.

By that time the sun was going down, and only half the lights on the court were lit.  We moved to another one.  Next court over, they were teaching a lesson to kids, lots of noise and screaming, not easy to focus.

At that point, I said to myself, just need to win the 2nd set and go to a tie breaker for the 3rd set.  Except I lost the first few games.  My shots were missing, not by a little, hitting the frames, missing easy shots, no rhythm.  Game was in the rubbish.

At that point, I had nothing.  I was destined to lose that night.  So I tried to get the ball back into the center of the court, match moon ball for moon ball.  With that, he was sending me from side to side to side, wearing me down further.

But I was getting the ball back and scraping out a few points here and there.  Then I won a game.  And another.  Started to get some confidence.  Was hitting to his back hand, drop shots, trying to tire him out.

I won the 2nd set 6-4.  On to the tie breaker to decide the 3rd set.

I lost the first 2 points of the tiebreaker.  Then tied it at 2-2.  After the next point, I regained the lead, first time since the opening games of the match.  Then I won the next 6 points to go up 8-2.  He started walking to my side of the court, as you change sides every 6 points.  I must have lost track of the score, I was up 9-3.  Then closed out the match 10-4 in the tie breaker (3rd set).  A victory.  And an ugly win.

We chatted afterwords, all the people he lost too during the season, I had beaten.  Said it was a good match for him.  First set I dropped all season.  He should have won.  But I was happy I didn't spiral into defeat after getting down early.  Kept head in the game, big improvement actually.

Since one guy dropped out, only one more match to play to complete the league.  Hoping for a win to go undefeated, but then again, over confidence got me into trouble this past match.

Just hope for the best.

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