Tournament report – Sunday 14 July 2019

Posted 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

Posted Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

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 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 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.

Tournament report – Thursday 26 July 2018 (Mixed final & men’s semis)

Posted Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

Mixed Doubles Final

This was between the fourth seeds, Cedric de la Chaise & Carine Valarche and the second seeds Greg Lim & Marjan Denis. Cedric and Carine had knocked out the top seeds Tim Simpson & Anais Reding in the previous round. The match was expected to be tight.

Carine serveCedric’s strategy was to rely on Carine not to make unforced errors, but not to play aggressively, while he expected to cover the rest of the court and either hit winners outright or set them up for his or Carine’s next shot. However, in the first set there were possibly signs of fatigue from Cedric after his previous singles semi-final. He made a few unforced errors when there was a possibility of hitting a winner. Carine did not have her eye in fully, and Cedric and Carine never got fully going. Carine struggled throughout to get her first serves in and to hold on to her serve. By contrast, Greg and Marjan were much more solid. Greg and Marjan won the set 6-2.

Mixed Doubles Final - Carine, CIn the second set Cedric was able to to step up his game, but not to eliminate the errors completely. The pair equalised at 3 all, but found themselves losing 3-5 until Greg lost his serve to give them 5 all. Then came Marjan’s serve, and Greg, in particular, having mostly played well throughout, started to feel the pressure and dumped two volleys into the net from the left hand side of the court, the second of which should have been relatively straightforward. This eventually resulted in Marjan being broken. Unfortunately, in the next game, Carine could not get her first serves in or deliver a good enough second serve to get into the point properly. Thus, at 6 all, matters rested on the set tie break. Cedric and Carine had the mini-break until Carine had to serve, but she could not take either point. On Greg’s serve Cedric had a shot for a winner to even matters up, but could not get it right, and Greg and Marjan were then able to take the tie-break 7-4 for a 6-2 7-67-4 victory.

Cedric presentation of cake to CedricHad Cedric not had to play the previous singles semi-final, and thus been more likely to play at his best, the pair could have won. Greg and, particularly, Marjan generally played solidly. Carine generally held her own, except, perhaps, on the serve. She also hit some great winners at the net and some great service returns, although Greg managed to ace her a few times on the forehand side. She also surprised Cedric on a few occasions. On one point he was at the net with Carine at the back and the opponents lobbed over him three times, to opposite corners of the court. Carine chased down all three and won the point for her side. You should have seen the look on Cedric’s face. After the match, to mark Cedric’s acceptance of Carine’s invitation to join her in the mixed, Carine presented him with a specially baked thank-you cake!

Gourmet dinner

Rachael Gangji provided the traditional delicious Thursday fish pie Gourmet Dinner, and Lara provided a selection of tempting puddings.

Other matches

In addition to the mixed final the two men’s singles semi-finals were played.

Semi-final Marcio, EdOn grass court 1, Ed Fitzgerald, fresh from playing out of his skin to beat the second seed Greg Lim, had to contend with the third seed Marcio Sugui. Ed continued with his power game and hit a number of winners on both services and groundstrokes. Although Marco denied it, Ed felt that Marcio made only two unforced errors, though Ed himself made rather more. However Marcio does have excellent placement and control of spins, and this did induce a significant number of errors from Ed. As a result, Marcio won the first set 6-1 and the second 6-2.

Semi-final Cedric, PhilipOn centre court, the fifth seed, Philip Reid‘s previously smooth progress towards the final was somewhat disrupted by having to play an actual match against the top seed Cedric de la Chaise. Previously Philip had had a bye in the first round and two walk-overs in the next two rounds. As Philip is very tall, he has a penetrating serve which can set him up for a volley, and can also hit some powerful ground strokes. Cedric can play very consistently. Rather than going for it, Philip played well within himself in the first set, which to a large extent played to Cedric’s strengths. This did not look like the right game plan and Cedric won the first set 6-1. However, in the second set, after going two down, Philip took his power game to Cedric. This did work better, as Philip hit winners and was able to induce errors and short balls from Cedric, but because Philip started late and was not able to apply this game plan consistently, Cedric took the match 6-1 6-3.

BetThere was a big discussion about Elena Valarche’s chances against Andra Marinescu in Saturday’s ladies’ singles final. Andra was playing for West Heath over the winter season, but in the summer season has been playing in the Cumberland ladies second team, which is a higher standard. When asked about the match, Elena herself drew a pair of goggles around her eyes with her hands (implying a double bagel). Tim Simpson tackled Antoine Valarche about it, which resulted in the bet pictured, drawn up on a serviette. The concensus was that Antoine had got the worst of the bet.

Tournament report – Wednesday 25 July 2018

Posted Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

The Gourmet Dinner last night was a comprehensive, eclectic and delicious Spanish meal prepared by Lesley. See the menu in the post below.

There were two men’s doubles and a ladies singles match played.

James, Ed, Cedric, LajosOn grass court 1 the unseeded Ed Fitzgerald & James McKenzie played against the top seeds Cedric de la Chaise & Lajos Szucs. Although Ed can send down booming serves, and James can swing out his leftie serve, they struggled to hold serve. The rest of Ed’s game relies more on power than consistency, but the top seeds are used to dealing with thhis.
Cedric and Lajos had too much consistency and power and they were able to turn this into pressure. Cedric in particular is very fast around the court and Lajos made few unforced errors to back him up. The top seeds won 6-1 6-2.

whdraw2018marcioserveGreg, Marcio, Dan, SultanOn the centre grass court the spectators were expecting the second seeds Dan Oakley & Sultan Gangji to force an eventual win over the second seeds Greg Lim & Marcio Sugui. However, after his defeat at the hands of the unseeded Ed Fitzgerald in the men’s singles quarter fina, Greg had a point to prove, and Marcio is a strong leftie with enough service variety to make it difficult for the returner (see super back-scatch position in photo on right from Susan Grossman), so they were both up for it. By contrast, Sultan and Dan didn’t seem to be playing at their best – possibly two nights of Gourmet Dinners taking a little more of a toll on the older contingent?

whdraw2018sangriamarciogregsultandanHowever, there was some good tennis played all round, and a number of very entertaining points to divert the crowd’s attention away from the Sangria and nibbles (photo courtesy of Susan Grossman). The first set didn’t go according to plan, with Greg and Marcio breaking and take it 6-3. The second set was even less of a success for Dan and Sultan, enabling Greg and Marcio to take the match 6-3 6-2. Greg and Marcio thus face Cedric and Lajos in the final on Saturday.

Andra and MarjanOn grass court 3, Marjan Denis and Andra Marinescu faced each other for a place in the ladies’ singles final. Although Andra was playing for West Heath ladies’ first team last year, this year she is in the Cumberland ladies second team, so is obviously a strong player, but Marjan was not playing particularly well, particularly on the low balls which perhaps resulted from the greener (and less bouncy) grass coverage on court three compared with courts one and two. Andra won 6-0 6-0.

Tournament report – Tuesday 24 July

Posted Posted in 2018 Tournament

Moira Duncan was the Gourmet Chef for this evening, cooking a delicious chicken and spinach curry. This was followed by a mango pudding.

The entertainment kicked off with two men’s singles.

Ed and GregGrass court one hosted Ed Fitzgerald vs Greg Lim, the second seed. According to Greg, Ed has never beaten him. Ed says he has beaten him twice, among lots of defeats. Greg wasn’t playing particularly well, but Ed was playing out of his skin. Both made a number of unforced errors, but Ed’s booming serve, long-armed reach and lethal forehand also provided him with a number of winners. Greg hit fewer winners and seemed to be having particular difficulty in getting his first serve in. It was all very tight, with fine margins and a number of breaks of serve. Ed won the first set 6-3 with a couple of net service breaks. The second set was more even, with breaks traded evenly until 4 all. There was then a slightly peculiar game on Ed’s serve which, given that Ed kicked off with a double fault, according to both Sultan and I, did not seem to have enough points in it for Ed to win it, though both players seemed to agree that Ed had, in fact, won it. Greg could not then hold his serve, Ed taking the match 6-3 6-4. Given the way Ed played, his mother should be proud of him! So that was one upset for this evening.

whdraw2018eugencedricOn Centre Court, Eugene Berlin was hoping to get at least a game from Cedric de la Chaise. Though Eugene played some great points this proved difficult. Cedric played a medium-paced game, looking to win on consistency while preserving energy for his subsequent mixed match. Eugene got to 30 points in some games, but couldn’t meet his target. Cedric won with a combination of placement, winners off short balls and occasional unforced errors from Eugene.

whdraw2018cedrictimannaiscarineFollowing the conclusion of the singles on centre court there was a mixed semi-final, the fourth seeds, Carine Valarche & Cedric de la Chaise, played the 2017 champions and top seeds Anais Reding and Tim Simpson. Having asked Cedric to play with her, Carine, given she had missed a lot of the summer tennis season, had been concerned to ensure she pulled her weight in these matches, and had had training sessions for the last few days with Peter Davies (once) and Dhananjay Talwar (twice). Meanwhile Anais was supported by the full contingent of her family, including husband Tom, and 4 month old sons Archie and Charlie, one of whom gently reminded her from time to time that he was around.

Anais and Tim did not play as well as they did during the 2017 tournament. Anais and Carine struggled to hold their serves as it was tricky to serve into the sun from the far end, particularly on the deuce court. Cedric gave a number of instructions to Carine to “leave” which mainly meant leaving the ball to him, though on one occasion it meant both of them watching a looped topspin shot from the opponents landing at least 3 feet in for an outright winneer. However, Carine rightly tended to ignore such shouts from Cedric if she felt the ball was hers and she could deal with it. She got a number of looks from Cedric which seemed to say something like, “OK I know I told you to leave it and you didn’t, but I wasn’t really expecting you to be able to either hit a winner from it or to hit a shot good enough to set me up to hit the winner on our next shot.” Another difference between the pairs was that Carine, though making the occasional mistake, was able to provide some solid volleys on Cedric’s serve and some good returns on Tim’s serve, enabling Cedric to rush around the court to try to hit winners off as much as possible, mostly consistently. Both sets went a similar way, with Tim and Anais getting to 2-5 down, but losing the last game. Cedric and Carine won the match 6-2 6-2 to earn themselves a place in Thursday’s final.

It seems that the other semi-final will not take place, and Greg Lim and Marjan Denis, the second seeds, will play Cedric and Carine in the final on Thursday, as a result of a walk-over.

Oh, and the smooth progress of Philip Reid, the fifth seed, might be interrupted at the semi-final, as he might actually have to play a match instead of progressing by means of a series of byes and walk-overs!