Thursday 23 July
Rachael Gangji baked fish pie, which, by common consent, gets more excellent every year (unless memories just fade), plus lemon tort and cheesecake which maybe provided too much in the way of temptation.
The resumption of the ladies’ singles semi-final between Lesley South and the second seed Elena Valarche started from 2 all in the final set. Although Lesley provided resistance, Elena was the more determined and closed out the match for a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory.
On court 1, the sixth seed Gabor Felsen hoped to make a dent in the final appearance record of the second seed Cedric de la Chaise. To allow Gabor more convenient seated banana breaks, the officials were now providing on-court chairs for courts 1 and 2 – just like the hard courts really. Cedric generally had a look of grim determination on his face, and generally played the more accurate and penetrating tennis, evincing various expressions in Hungarian and English from Gabor, particular when losing a point had been due to Gabor’s unforced error. Gabor claims the Hungarian translates into phrases such as “Come on! Your grandmother plays better tennis than this”. Certainly the English phrases, though loud, did not seem likely to solicit a penalty for a verbal obscenity. Cedric took all this in his stride, though at a certain point you could see him trying unsuccessfully not to laugh.
Cedric’s accurate and mobile tennis in the first set proved too much for Gabor, who did clock up one game, but nothing he tried was able to staunch the flow of points and games to Cedric. Perhaps in the second set Gabor became more resigned to his fate, because the exclamations all but disappeared. The outcome was the same, for a 6-1 6-1 victory to Cedric.
The other men’s semi-final had the potential to be a much closer affair, as Logan Mair has a penetrating and almost unreturnable serve at its best, whereas Graeme Pearson’s strengths are accuracy and consistency. Graeme also seems to be a slow starter, and Logan broke him to get the opportunity to go 3-1 up which would have given him a sporting chance of the first set, but did not take it. It was fascinating tennis, because you could not determine the outcome of each point from the start. Logan tended to come to the net and use angled volleys in alternate directions to try to get the ball out of Graeme’s reach. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes Graeme produced a stunning passing shot from a full stretch. Graeme won the first set 6-3. The second set was similar, but Graeme was well warmed up by now and Logan could not quite keep up the pressure from the first set, so Graeme took the match 6-3 6-2.
If Logan really has not been playing much over the past year or so then he is only going to get better with more practice and play. If he devotes more time to his tennis over the next year then expect to see him put in a serious challenge in the 2016 tournament.