Tournament report – Sunday 22 July 2019

Posted on Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

There were plenty of matches today, and the occasional dark cloud yielded no more than a few droplets. Thanks to Jane for a couple of fine teas on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

The noon singles match was Stan Vasiliev against the third seed, Richard Keep. Stan had previously sought advice as to how to approach the match, and the general response had been to take 20% of pace off, to go for placement, and to keep his cool. Stan and Richard weren’t around later to tell us exactly what happened, but Stan held Richard to 6 all in the first set, which Richard then took on a 7-4 tie break. However, Stan fared less well in the second set, losing it 6-1 for a 7-67-4 6-1 victory to Richard.

The 2 pm doubles match featured James Low and Steve Yoo versus the third seeds Tim Simpson and Greg Lim. It looked very much as if James and Steve were at a disadvantage on the somewhat unfamiliar grass surface, and their error rate was much higher than the seeds, who won the first set 6-0. James and Steve picked up somewhat in the second set, but could still only hold half their service games, giving a 6-0 6-2 victory to Tim and Greg. There were a few comments afterwards that the match would have been altogether different, had it been played on the hard courts.


After a suitable break, Tim Simpson went back on to centre court for the mixed, where he and his partner, Anais Tapper were the third seeds against Lesley South and James McKenzie. It soon became clear that James’ paternal responsibilities for 12 week old Busby had rightly taken priority over his tennis so far this season, and he looked decidedly rusty in the first set, which the seeds took 6-1. However, this “warm-up” prepared James to play closer to his standard in the second set, and Lesley got her eye in more with some of her impossible angled shots to play some fine points. The set was more of a struggle for the seeds, although they eventually got a service break and went on to win it 6-4 for a 6-1 6-4 victory.


Meanwhile, in the parallel mixed on court 1, Julia Abbot and Geoff Isaacs played Andra Marinescu and Marcio Sugui (second seeds). Julia and Geoff struggled against Marcio’s leftie serve and topspin strokes, and Andra’s pace, though Julia, as ever, ran around to retrieve shots and both played some fine strokes. Andra and Marcio won 6-1 6-1.


In another mixed doubles match, Soo Teng Lee and Fred Davidson took on Barbara Thomas and Sultan Gangji, the fourth seeds. Soo Teng played some fine serves and shots, and Fred also hit some good serves and groundstrokes. But the pair weren’t as match tight as the regular first team players, and could not hold serve sufficiently well. Sultan went for placement and occasionally had the opposition running around all over the court. The seeds won 6-0 6-1.


The evening wrapped up with a men’s doubles between James McKenzie and Ed Fitzgerald and top seeds Cedric de la Chaise and Logan Mair. Cedric won the event last year with Lajos Szucs, who has since returned to Hungary. The challengers won some good points with fine strokes and tactics. But it must be discouraging to play against Cedric’s retrieving and brilliant returns off what looked like lost causes, and Logan’s ability get the ball over the net on the half volley and the occasional ball that was behind him. James and Ed did their best, but Cedric and Logan took the match 6-1 6-0.


And lastly, there’s no truth in the rumour that the women in the club have decided to standardise on white tops and blue skirts. Also see Soo Teng in her match photo above.

As we come to the “business end” of the tournament, congratulations are due to the seeding committee (Sultan). At this point, with almost all matches up to date, only one seed has been eliminated from an event by an unseeded player. The seeds only start to meet each other in the second week as the hors d’oevre to the Gourmet Dinners which start Monday.




Tournament report – Saturday 20 July 2019

Posted on Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament



Firstly, the Gourmet dinners are very popular this year and filling up fast. See the lists as of yesterday. If you want to come to some or all, then sign up today!

In the singles, James Low played Andreas Seibold, the sixth seed. Andreas won 7-5 6-4.

In the mixed, Moira Duncan and Julia Abbot beat Anna Ganev and Beatrice Larre

Also in the singles James Martin played Tim Simpson the eighth seeds. Tim won the first set 6-4, but the second set reached 6 all for a tie break. This was also very tight up to 5 all, but Tim won it and took the match 6-4 7-67-5

The big disappointment was the expected 5 pm Saturday match on the court booking sheet between Sultan Gangji & Barbara Thomas and Soo Teng Lee & Fred Davidson. A few of us had stayed at the club anticipating being thoroughly entertained by this.

Barbara arrived at the club just after 4 pm, and proceeded to warm up in a social set of doubles. But by 4:55 pm none of the others had arrived. On asking Barbara why none of the others had arrived, it emerged that the scrawl on the court booking sheet was wrong, and the match was always due to be played on the Sunday. In fact I must have actually entered the correct time into the online draw, but didn’t think to check this as the assumption is always that the court booking sheet is correct.

Tournament report – Mon-Fri 15-19 July 2019

Posted on Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament

In the men’s doubles, Steve Yoo and James Low beat Gideon Stone and Geoff Isaacs 6-2 6-0. Perhaps a pair to watch this year.

Also, Stan Vasiliev and Joseph Rigal beat Walter and Philip Reid (probably the pair with the widest wingspan on the volley), 6-0 6-3. However, Stan and James went on to lose 6-1 6-3 to Tom Tapper and Stephen Cooke.

In the men’s singles, Joseph Rigal and Geoff Isaacs had a very competitive match. Geoff had rather surprised the seeding committee and a few others by beating Ed Fitzgerald in an early match in the first round, though reports were that Ed was playing below his normal level. Joseph has a heavy serve nowadays (when it goes in) and groundstrokes. Geoff is more a consistency player, though considerably older than Joseph. The first set went 6-4 to Joseph, and the second set was even tighter as it must have reached 5 all before Goeff took the next two games for a 7-5 set. But Geoff had shot his bolt – perhaps stamina waned in the third set, because Joseph won it 6-1 for a 6-4 5-7 6-1 victory.

Jasper Tressider took on Greg Lim, the seventh seed. Jasper has some great shots and serve, but is not exactly Mr Consistent. One big aim of Jasper is to perfect the hotdog and catching the ball on the racket – essential tennis skills much neglected by the rest of the club. Two years ago Greg beat Graeme Pearson, a former champion, in the semis in a thrilling three setter 7-68-6 3-6 6-3, but lost to Cedric de la Chaise in the final. Greg’s flat strokes allow him to generate a lot of pace, often leaving the opponent with less time than he needs to get to, and play, a stroke. Jasper started well by breaking Greg in the first game, taking a 3-1 lead. But Greg pulled it back with some effort, and Jasper did not play as well once the lead had gone, losing the first set 6-3. Jasper also took 3 games in the second set for a 6-3 6-3 victory to Greg. Hopefully Jasper will become more consistent over time, in which case some of the lower seeds had better watch out.

On Thursday evening, James Low beat Philip Reid 6-2 7-5. It looks like Philip was able to put together a more determined game in the second set, but could not prevail.

On Friday evening Steve Yoo played Logan Mair, the fourth seed. Logan won 6-2 6-1.

Tournament report – Sunday 14 July 2019

Posted on Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

On Sunday there were a few singles matches played.

Mihika Joshi beat Anna Ganev in the ladies’ singles.

In the men’s singles Eugene Belin beat David Cohen 6-1 6-0.

The battle of the Jameses in the men’s singles must have been pretty prolonged and intense. James Martin won the first set 6-3, but James McKenzie came roaring back to take the second set 6-4. The decider reached 5 all before James Martin took the last two games for a 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory.  It seemed that every other game went to deuce and the rallies were long when J Martin was dominating and shorter when J McKenzie made it into the net for a volley or two.  It was a hard fought match, played in good spirits.

In the mixed, Fred Davidson and Soo Teng Lee played Bruce Rigal and Moira Duncan. Fred is tall, and his wingspan makes it difficult to hit the ball around him or over him at the net. Further, his height gives him a decent serve. Soo Teng has some good strokes. Moira didn’t get her passing shots going. Fred and Soo Teng took the match 6-4 6-3.

Tournament report – Saturday 13 July 2019

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In the singles, Bruce Rigal was beaten 1-6 1-6 by Howard Kingston, an enthusiastic new member!

In a singles clash between two new members, Steve Yoo beat Pushmeet Kohli 6-0 6-2.

Paul O’Flynn and Joseph Rigal played a singles match that was closer. Joseph won 6-3 6-4.

Also in the singles, Fred Davidson took on Stan Vasiliev. Stan’s power game must have taken a bit of getting used to and Fred won only 1 game in each set for a 6-1 6-1 victory to Stan.

The evening entertainment started with a mixed match between Joseph Rigal and Jane Boyle and the third seeds, Tim Simpson and Anais Tapper. Apparently Tim and Anais played very solidly in the first set, which the seeds took 6-2, and their opponents were expecting similar punishment in the second.

However, the second set turned out to be a much more even affair. A lot of service breaks were exchanged. When he wasn’t serving or returning (generally pretty well), Tim often raced from one side of the net to the other, sometimes intercepting perfectly, and sometimes allowing Joseph or Jane clear shots down the line. Anais played some strong volleys and groundstrokes, and Jane generally played strokes awkward for the opponents to return. Joseph hit some good serves and groundstrokes. There were also a number of misses, in the end leading to 6-6 to prepare the way for a set tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Jane and Joseph struggled at first, conceding a 0-5 lead before they got going. They pulled it back to 2-6 but the minibreak discrepancy proved too much, and Tim and Anais took the match 6-2 7-67-2.

With only a slight overlap, the later show was a singles between Matt Wasser and Greg Lim, the seventh seed. Greg mainly uses flat, pacy serves and strokes, which Matt returned as best he could, often with slice and awkward placement, forcing some errors from Greg. But when Greg was able to stretch Matt, his placement suffered a bit, and Greg was often able to hit a winner. Greg won 6-1 6-2.

Lesley South and James McKenzie beat Anna Ganev and Eugene Belin 6-2 6-2.

2019 Tournament Rules

Posted on Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

The 2019 tournament draw can be found HERE.

1. The Tournament officially begins on FRIDAY 12th JULY and the FINALS will be played on SATURDAY 27th JULY. If rain prevents play, the FINALS will be played on SUNDAY 28th JULY. The Draw will be up by TUESDAY 9th JULY to allow competitors to arrange matches during the week. First round matches must be played before or on SUNDAY 14th JULY.

2. A chart of available court times is drawn up and competitors are asked to book the courts they intend to play on.

3. The players whose name appears in the top half of the bracket are initially responsible for challenging their opponents.

4. The tournament is to be played on all the courts, apart from the semi-finals and the Finals, which will be played on grass, unless the weather does not permit. In the event of disagreement between the opponents on the surface to be chosen, this will be decided by the spin of the racket.

5. New Balls will be provided for the FINALS.

6. All rounds are to be played within the scheduled time indicated at the top of each draw sheet in order to allow smooth progress. Extensions will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with permission from the joint Referees.

7. All matches will be the best of 3 Tie-Break Sets except the DOUBLES EVENTS which will have the 3rd set as a MATCH TIE-BREAK (i.e. Champions T/B with a Team reaching 10 points with a margin of 2). The rules of the Tiebreak are displayed.

8. All matches must be continuous and appeal for bad light will be considered after 9.00pm.

9. Please give your Entry Fees £3/£5 to Moira or Marjan.

10. Competitors are expected to volunteer to be lines persons on Finals day.

11. The Mixed Doubles Final will be scheduled for Thursday 25th July?

12. The schedule for the 2nd week is fixed with Gourmet Dinners each evening.

13. The Joint Referees are Marjan and Sultan whose decisions will remain final.

Tournament report – Finals day – Saturday 28 July

Posted on Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

Finals Day was a little cooler than of late. Although the rain held off and the courts were dry, there was a gusting wind which changed direction frequently, to add variety to the only occasional bad West Heath bounce.

Men’s singles final

This year the men’s singles final was contested by Marcio Sugui, the third seed, and Cedric de la Chaise, the top seed and 2017 champion, who had previously won the men’s singles nine times. The chair umpire was Kevin Ryan. Marcio has a good variety of serves, including a leftie slice and a flat serve, and some useful topspin shots off both wings. Cedric is very consistent with good groundstrokes (mainly topspin) and serve, but one of his significant strengths is a combination of anticipation, speed about court, and the ability to hit with good placement even when stretched. This makes it very difficult to win points off him by hitting topspin winners. Further, Cedric does play some singles at the Cumberland, whereas Marcio rarely does.

Men's singles final.  Cedric and Marcio, umpired by Kevin RyanMarcio kicked off and both players held their first two service games. On his third game, Marcio was 40-0 up, but could not convert it to a game, as Cedric chipped away point by point. From Marcio’s viewpoint this was a real problem, as he hit shots which would have been winners against anyone else, but Cedric typically could chase them down and place a winner to earn the point. Not only this, but Marcio was starting to tire, while Cedric was just warming up. Possibly this might be the doing of Paul, Cedric’s personal trainer at the Cumberland. The net of all this was that, although Marcio stayed competitive in the points, tried his hardest and won points, he could not make them add up to games, and Cedric won 6-2 6-0 to emerge as the Champion.

Sultan Gangji had been rather hoping that Marcio would win. According to Sultan, this was because he thought Cedric, Mark Stapleton and Sultan himself were all on 9 singles tournament wins prior to the match. However, a closer examination of the Champions table showed that Mark won in 93, 96-99, 01-03, 10 and 12, for a total of ten, whereas Sultan had won in 76, 78-81, 83-84, 87 and 90 for a total of nine. Cedric is now also on ten with 04-09, 11, 15 and 17-18. No-one else has more than seven. Thus Sultan’s tally has moved from second, jointly with Cedric and behind Mark, to third on his own, behind Mark and Cedric jointly. Perhaps Sultan’s PhD in chemistry doesn’t necessarily imply an ability to add up accurately. And maybe someone should tell Mark of the threat to his West Heath record to see if he feels compelled to try to restore his advantage in 2019.

Ladies singles final

Elena Valarche, the second seed and 2017 champion, played Andra Marinescu, the third seed, to vie for the title under the watchful eye of Greg Lim. Elena has the capability of mixing it up, but prefers to do her playing from the net if at all possible. Andra has excellent technique and can hit the ball with accuracy and pace. Although she played for the West Heath Ladies I team for a few seasons, this year she has stepped up to play for Cumberland Ladies II, while still playing in matches for West Heath over winter.

Ladies singles final, Andra and Elena, umpired by Greg LimElena did her best to hit deep, flat approach shots and come in, but Andra usually had plenty of time to line up her shot and pass Elena on the side of Andra’s choosing. Sultan had a small bet with me on whether Elena would get a game, and Elena gave him hope a few times by getting 30-0 or 0-30 up, but struggled to convert, often with Andra winnng the next four points outright. Sultan lost his bet, Andra won the match 6-0 6-0, Antoine had to purchase 12 bottles of Rose (see Thursday’s tournament report), and Andra won the tournament without dropping a single game in three matches.

Men’s doubles final

Men's doubles final - Lajos & Cedric, Greg & Marcio, umpired by James McKenzieThis was contested between third seeds, Greg Lim & Marcio Sugui and Cedric de la Chaise & Lajos Szucs, and umpired by James McKenzie. Lajos used to be a tennis coach, and is Mr Consistency, though he does not have as powerful strokes as Cedric. Also he is not as fast around court, not that this is saying very much, as few are. The first set was well contested and very entertaining, though Greg seemed to think he did not play well. Cedric and Lajos had the edge to take it 6-4. In the second set Marcio and Greg put up a good fight. When at the net, Cedric took to feinting towards the middle of the net to cast doubt in the opponents’ minds as to whether he would try to intercept or not. On the deuce side Greg put at least one past him down the line, but on the ad side Marcio preferred to always go crosscourt, even though Cedric left himself exposed and the pass down the line would have been on Marcio’s leftie forehand. Cedric and Lajos won the second set 6-3. and thus the title 6-4 6-3.

Perhaps one day someone will find a way to get Cedric to smile in the photo when he wins!

whdraw2018elenamarjanbarbaraanaisandra

Ladies doubles final

Anais Reding & Andra Marinescu, the second seeds, played Elena Valarche & Marjan Denis, the top seeds and 2017 champions under the watchful eye of the umpire Barbara Thomas. Although Elena and Marjan both played well, Anais and Andra were too strong. Anais and Andra won the title 6-2 6-1.

Finals Day tea

Finals Day tea, prizegiving and BBQ

The sumpuous 2018 spread stretched over the full length of two tables. By the end of the afternoon most of it had gone too.

As retiring men’s team captain, James McKenzie was invited to present the trophies this year.
2018 finalists

In the evening there was the traditional West Heath Finals Day BBQ.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the tournament this year, particularly to Sultan and Marjan, the referees.

Pictures

Here’s a link to all the West Heath 2018 tournament pictures on my Dropbox.