Tournament Report – Monday 18 July

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2016-07-18 22.17.42whdraw16_SultansSpecialWine_2016-07-18 19.57.35On a fantastic warm day Moira Duncan cooked a tasty Moroccan lamb tagine for 25 people and Jill Elek made delightful creme caramel for dessert.  We went home just after 11 pm but those more determined and with more stamina were still drinking the wine provided by Sultan, especially his special Rose (click on picture to examine it closely).  With the full moon out and the West Heath fairy lights sporting some new coloured bulbs who knows what time socialising finished, but the West Heath Tournament Gourmet Dinners week is a marathon rather than a sprint, and few have the stamina to burn the midnight oil four nights on the trot (although, it should be admitted, some of them have had plenty of practice).

whdraw16_VandanaRosJaneBarbara_Jul16Tennis277The first two matches to go on court were ladies’ doubles semi-finals.  On court two Jane Boyle & Barbara Thomas were taking on the second seeds Ros Norkett & Vandana Talwar.  The first set did not go at all according to the seeding as Jane’s leftie slice shots and Barbara’s determination to get to balls put them on the ascendancy in a hard-fought set which they won 6-3.  However, in what seemed like a faster second set Ros and Vandana’s better consistency allowed them to impose their game on the challengers.  Ros and Vandana took the set 6-2, setting up a grand finale of a Champions Tie Break.  This was a pretty tight affair which maybe could have gone either way, but Ros and Vandana made just slightly fewer errors to take it 10-8 for an overall 3-6 6-2 [10-8] victory.  At the request of the participants Vince Sudbery agreed to take the photo beforehand.

In thewhdraw16_MarjanRachelLesleyMoira_2016-07-18 19.43.52 second ladies’ doubles semi Lesley South & Moira Duncan were attempting to upset the first seeds, Marjan Denis & Rachel Savin.  You would expect that Moira’s pacy forehand would see her playing on the right, while Lesley’s understanding of the angles would let her hit winners from either side, and this is the way they started the match.  But in the first set this configuration did not seem to work very well as Marjan and Rachel took the set 6-2.  Perhaps they had worked out a way to nullify Moira’s forehand, or perhaps Lesley was worried about Oscar who has not been well the last few days and could not concentrate as well as normal.  Going with the first theory, Lesley and Moira swapped sides in the second set, with Moira unusually playing on the backhand, and this yielded a better result, but Marjan and Rachel’s superior pace still enabled them to win it 6-4 for a 6-2 6-4 place in the final.

whdraw16_SamJason_2016-07-18 20.44.26The evening’s men’s singles quarter-final match started on court 1.  Sam Evans and Jason Traub were battling it out to see who would face either Graeme Pearson (top seed) or Tim Simpson in the semi-final.  Throughout the match Tim kept assuring us that the winner would be facing him, but then maybe he was overcompensating for his loss in the mixed doubles to Anna Ganev and Jason Tressider.  Sam and Jason played some good tennis.  Sam was hitting consistent ground strokes and Jason sent down some pretty hard and high-bouncing serves. In the first set, after reaching 5 all, Sam broke Jason to take the set 7-5.  The second set was even closer, as the score got to 6 all and they played the first point of the tie-break.  At this point the wishes of the spectators became paramount and the match was moved to court 2 to provide the main entertainment to replace the ladies doubles.  Again, the tie-break was pretty close, and, to the delight of the crowd who wanted more (since dinner was not yet ready), Jason took it 8-6.  In the third set, despite Jason’s booming servers, Sam just had the edge and won it 6-3.

In the final match of the evening the winning doubles pairing of Marjan Denis and Rachel Savin split up to compete against each other for a place in the ladies’ singles final.  Rachel surprised the seeding committee by taking the first set 6-4, and the second set reached 3 all.  However, despite the heat of the day, the temperature was dropping and the dew point approaching.  Marjan had slipped a few times already, and the contestants decided discretion was the better part of valour, so they postponed the climax of the contest until Wednesday evening.

Although Monday was warm, Tuesday will be even warmer and temperatures are expected to exceed 30 C on Wednesday, though it will cool off on Thursday.  If you haven’t already booked your place at the Gourmet dinners then put your name down or phone the chefs.  Thursday is already up to 34 people and it may be difficult to fit many more in.

Gourmet Dinners, 18-21st July

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Come and watch the later rounds of the tournament and stay for an excellent meal.  Sign the lists on the wall near the kitchen to reserve your place for the Gourmet dinners. The chefs and matches this year are :-

Monday 18
Moira Duncan (Moroccan lamb tagine)
Tuesday 19
Lesley South (Far Eastern)
Wednesday 20
Marjan (Italian)
Thursday 21
Rachael Gangji & Lara (fish pie) Matches : Mixed Doubles Final

See the “Schedule” tab of the draw page for the order of play during the Gourmet Dinners, though matches may change without notice!

Tournament Report – Sunday 17 July

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Today was another warm and sunny day, though nothing compared to Wednesday’s predicted 30 degrees C.  There were a lot of people around, including those playing in the seven matches and many others who had come for social tennis.  Geoff Isaacs brought a good selection of his extended family too.

whdraw16_GregJason_2016-07-17 15.22.02The first pair of matches were in the men’s singles.  In the absence of the 2015 Champion, Cedric de la Chaise, Graeme Pearson is this year’s top men’s seed and put in his first tournament appearance this afternoon.   Ed Fitzgerald was competing against him in the singles.  Ed won three games in the first set, but none in the second, for a 6-3 6-0 win for Graeme.

The concurrent men’s singles match was altogether a longer affair.  Jason Traub was playing Greg Lim, the fifth seed.  The first two sets were very tight, with Jason taking the first 7-5.  Then Greg stepped up his level slightly to take the second set to a tie-break, which he won 8-6.  In the third set the contestants traded breaks to get to 4 all, whereupon Jason held his serve.  After two and a half hours of playing Greg was then a little nervous on serving to save the match, and played some tentative strokes on one or two points which resulted in Jason breaking to take the match 7-5 6-7[6-8] 6-4.

whdraw16_TakuyaMarkSultanGraeme_2016-07-17 15.27.46The next matches up were men’s doubles.  The first featured the top seeds, Sultan Gangji & Graeme Pearson, against Mark Coxall & Takuya Tonoshima.  The challengers put up a brave fight in both sets, but could not hold on to their serves, and the top seeds won 6-2 6-2.

whdraw16_MarcioTimJasonStan_2016-07-17 16.39.16The second men’s doubles was deferred until teatime (which is nominally 4 pm but often tends to be later) to allow Jason a little recovery time.  It consisted of Stan Vasiliev & Jason Traub taking on the fourth seeds Marcio Sugui & Tim Simpson.  The challengers seemed to be winning quite a few points, particularly when Stan hit out, but both Stan and Jason were also making a number of unforced errors.  Some of the spectators were a little surprised that Marcio and Tim won the first set 6-3.  In the second set matters were a little less even, with the seeds getting the upper hand.  Stan and Jason still hit some good shots but the outcome was becoming more certain as the pressure increased and they went down 6-1 in the second set for a 6-3 6-1 victory to the seeds.

whdraw16_JuliaGeoffRachelPhilip_2016-07-17 16.59.54Before the second men’s doubles match finished a mixed double match started up alongside it.  Rachel Savin & Philip Reid played Julia Abbot and Geoff Isaacs (plus some of his family supporters).  Geoff and Julia took a while to warm up allowing Rachel and Philip to take the first set 6-1.  Rachel generally held her own and Philip’s long reach enabled him to put away a lot of volleys from the net.  Geoff and Julia played better in the second set, but could not stop Rachel and Philip who took the second set 6-3 for a 6-1 6-3 win.

Logan Mair, the second seed had spent most of the day at Lords, witnessing an England whose second-innings wickets increasingly fell at a run total less than was required to match the Pakistan team final total.  By the time the eighth English wicket fell with 80 odd runs still required, Logan decided the writing was on the wall and headed towards the club to play his singles match against Peter Davies, having consumed, he says, only a couple of beers all day in the hot sunshine.  In the first set, Logan was playing well within his capability, whereas Peter was stretched to win points and games, though he also managed to set up an occasional winner which he then missed more often than not.  Logan also made the occasional error while winning the first set 6-2.  In the second set Peter struggled to hold serve and looked like losing 6-1,.  But despite Logan serving at full speed in his final service game, Peter managed to return serve and break Logan in his last service game to make Logan’s margin of victory slightly less one-sided at 6-2 6-2.

On to the Gourmet dinners!


Tournament Report – Saturday 16 July

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2016-07-16 20.07.01The Club today had a real buzz about it as there were a lot of players and spectators intent on having a good time.  Anne Basset provided a great tea and the weather was suitable warm, if a little muggy.

Perhaps the surprise of the day was the mixed doubles match between Tim Simpson &  Soo Teng Lee against Jasper Tressider & Anna Ganev.  Tim plays for the second team and is most recently known for his “luscious beard” which he has recently trimmed a little, but that is another story.  Tim had had one or two drinks the night before and Soo Teng has played very whdraw16_JasperAnnaRosSultan_2016-07-16 17.53.21little doubles, but they were nevertheless expected to win.  The first set was pretty close, getting to 6 all, but, contrary to expectations Jasper and Anna won the tie-break (someone said 7-4). Much  encouraged, Jasper and Anna also took the second set 6-1 for an overall unexpected 7-6 6-1 win.

Jasper and Anna’s immediate next opponents were Sultan Gangji & Ros Norkett.  Although I had seen Sultan drinking at the Cumberland the previous evening, maybe he is more used to it than Tim.  The match was notable less for the score (6-0 6-0 to Sultan and Ros) then for the perfect hot-dog that Jasper performed, though he and Anna still did not win the point.  See one point from the match in the YouTube video below.

whdraw16_JosephPhilip_IMG_3388In the men’ssingles Marcio Sugui defeated Bruce Rigal 6-0 6-0.

Philip Reid and the younger Joseph Rigal had a good match.  In the first set Joseph broke Philip once, to take it 6-4.  However, in the second set Philip gained the ascendancy for a 5-1 lead, but Joseph dug in to break back to 5-4, only for Philip to take the second set.  In the third set Joseph tired, allowing Philip a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory.

whdraw16_SamGaborAfterwardsCropped The men’s singles event forming the entertainment of the early evening was Gabor Felsen vs Sam Evans.  Last year Gabor ate his energy-replenishing bananas sitting on one of the club benches during changeovers.  Although unusual for a tennis club tournament such action is fully within the rules.  This year there were no bananas and Gabor used a chair at the top of the steps leading to grass court 2 while his opponent sat on the grassy bank during changovers.

whdraw16_GaborSam_2016-07-16 19.25.41At the start of the match the shots mostly carried heavy topspin and were hit as deep as possible.  Since Gabor tended to stay around the baseline, it often looked like a short angled shot from Sam would have won the point for Same with much less effort, but sometimes it can be difficult to hit the touch shots on grass.  There were also a few “West Heath bounces” on both sides, bringing the occasional Hungarian phrase from Gabor.  Gabor broke towards the middle of the first set to lead 4-3, but Sam then put in a concentrated effort to bring it back to 5 all, then took the set 7-5.  In the second set Sam’s placement accuracy was a little better and he started winning more points with angled shots, although he could still have exploited drop shots and short shots a little more.  However, since Gabor tired a little in the set, Sam’s strategy was sufficient as he won it 6-1 for a 7-6 6-1 victory.

All in all the tournament is warming up nicely and we are all looking forward to seeing some really entertaining matches on the middle Sunday and during the second week.

Tournament Report – Weds 13 July

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In the mens doubles match two father and son teams battled it out – Philip & Walter Reid versus Bruce & Joseph Rigal.  Although Walter was easily the elder of the two fathers, he played well during the very tight match.  There were no breaks in the first set, taken by the Reids on a tie break, and in the the second set only Bruce was broken for a 7-6 7-5 victory for the Reids.

The consequences next day of the effort by Walter Reid were that he was rather tired for the next round against Logan Mair & Sam Evans, the third seeds.  See Thursday’s match report for the result.



Tournament Report – Monday 11 July

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whdraw16_WhHollyhocksMihika Joshi is a junior member with adult playing rights. She is only 11 and not that tall right now.  Nevertheless she can play very good tennis as she proved against Rachel Savin, who joined West Heath this year and is playing team tennis.  The match was very tight, with good rallies and net play.  Mihita took the first set to 5-all but Rachel broke to take it 7-5.  Mihika also forced 6-all in the second set to take it to a deserved tie break though Rachel won this for a 7-5 7-6 victory.

If you would need a decent player to make up the fourth in your ladies, mixed or funny fours at social tennis then don’t forget to ask Mihika. And look out for her progress (which is likely to be rapid) in future years.

In the mixed, Barbara Thomas & Sam Evans beat Susan Grossman & Richard Wu 6-1 6-0.

In the mens singles Tim Simpson beat David Cohen 6-1 6-0.

(Did anyone take any pictures?)

Tournament Report – Sunday 10 July

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After some threatening drizzle in the morning, the weather cleared up nicely and two matches were played today.
Carol and Michael Clarke provided their excellent annual tea which is generally regarded as the pinnacle of the West Heath social tennis tea season to which everyone should aspire.

In a tight match Moira Duncan & Bruce Rigal beat Vandana & Dhananjay Talwar in the Champions tie-break .  Vandana played well at the net and Dhananjay’s serve improved as the match went on.  And it was one of those matches where the losing side won the most games.  Bruce and Moira started a little nervously but played consistently to take the first set on the tie-break.  In the second set the Talwars were rampant and took it 6-2.  But Bruce and Moira then played consistently and calmly in the Champions tie-break in which they led 7-2 at one point.  But the Talwars came back to level at 8 all before Bruce and Moira stopped their momentum to seal the match with a 7-6[7-5] 2-6 [10-8] win.

Jasper Tressider and Mark Webb had a two-hour battle in the singles.  Jasper took the first set 7-5 but Mark was then warmed up and took the second set 6-3.  In the final set Jasper pulled ahead to 5-2 before Mark broke back to 5-4.  Mark then had a point for 5-5 but missed his backhand pass down the line, eventually giving Jasper a 7-5 3-6 6-4 victory. [final set score corrected to 6-4 from 6-3]

Tournament Report – Saturday 9 July

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whdraw16WhTeaSat9July2016Today four matches were played and one wasn’t.

Paul O’Flynn and Joseph Rigal had a good battle in the singles.  Paul appears to have warmed up first (I bet he had already played that day) and took the first set 6-4.  However, Joseph did a good demolition job in the second set to take it 6-1.  Despite Paul’s attempts to slow down his momentum, Joseph then took the third set for a 4-6 6-1 6-3 victory.

Geoff Isaacs has a slight injury and has pulled out of the singles, giving Bruce Rigal a walkover.  Geoff will still play his doubles matches.

Eugene Belin tried to get games off Sam Evans in their singles match, but to no avail in the first set.  He did win one game in the second though, giving Sam a 6-0 6-1 victory.

Dudley Leigh and Richard Wu played their scheduled match early.  We know Dudley won, but there was no record of the final score.

whdraw16PeterAlbertoAlberto Zanatta and Peter Davies had a 2 hour 45 minute singles “war of attrition”.  With the wind and West Heath bounces making timing difficult, hitting winners was a high-risk strategy, and both players had good movement and consistency so points were hard to win.  That’s the same time it took Andy Murray to beat Raonic the following day to earn his second Wimbledon singles title.  Except that Andy is in his twenties, Alberto in his forties and Peter in his sixties.  Peter took the first set 6-3 and had high hopes with a break in the second, but Alberto dug in and forced a tie-break which he won 7-5.  In the third set Peter relaxed to hit the ball better, and despite good pressure from Alberto, broke and managed to hold on to it to take the match 6-3 6-7[7-5] 6-3.