Tournament report – Thursday 19 July

Posted on Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

There were three matches played tonight under good conditions – not too hot!

whdraw2018lesleyjuliaThe first match was a ladies’ singles between Julia Abbott and Lesley South. According to Julia, after the event, Lesley was more savvy and Julia could not counter that. But apparently Julia won the first two points by returning Lesley’s serve straight down the line, for winners, which pleased Julia no end. Apparently Janet O’Connor had done this to her in the first tournament match Julia had played against her. We all know that Lesley has an excellent appreciation of all the possible angles (including those on court), and enabled her to take the match 6-2 6-1.

After the match was over, Lesley and Julia started producing nibbles, also offered to all passers by. At first it looked like a simple set of bread, humus, olives and carrot sticks, but every 5 minutes one or the other exclaimed “Oh, I’ve got some XXXXX as well!!”, typically followed by a visit to the ‘fridge where the chilled rose was waiting, and the appearance of new types of nibbles. Eventually the Joy Welch table was pretty much full.

whdraw2018brucesultandanjosephWhile all the food was going on, a men’s doubles started on centre court between the second father-and-son team of Bruce & Joseph Rigal and the second seeds, Sultan Gangji & Dan Oakley. Joseph played a good match against Tim Simpson the previous night. Dan has been playing for the first team this year – there was a vacancy because Graeme Pearson is no longer in London. The first set had some interested points, but the seeds mainly got the upper hand and took the set 6-0. In the second set Joseph and Bruce stepped up their game, but couldn’t stem the tide. Sultan and Dan won the match 6-0 6-2.

OK, so why is Sultan holding a ball up in the picture? It’s to do with Joseph’s first serve (see the match report from his singles match the previous day). Sultan thinks Joseph would get a much more consistent first serve if he threw the ball up higher. And certainly a few practice serves seemed to indicate that Sultan was right, as Joseph got increased pace and consistency. Hopefully this will continue in the next round of singles. Just to be on the safe side, Sultan decided not to mention this to Joseph until after their doubles battle was over.

whdraw2018eugenephilippePhilippe Mouly applied late to be in the draw and might well have lucked out, but Stan Vasiliev had been asked by his company at short notice to work in Dubai. So Philippe was able to take his place in the draw while Stan sweats in the high 30s heat in Dubai (which apparently has air conditioning on some streets). Anyway, this meant that Philippe had to play Eugene Berlin in the second round, Eugene having already beaten Fred Davidson in the first round, while Philippe received Stan’s bye. They chose court 3, somewhat awa from the limelight. At first it looked as if Philippe was making too many mistakes, and indeed Eugene took the first set 6-1. In the second set Philippe seemed to be winning most of the points, and indeed raced into a 2-0 lead. But Eugene wasn’t finished and put the pressure on to take six games to Philippe’s two, winning the set 6-4 and the match 6-1 6-4.

Tournament report – Wednesday 18 July

Posted on Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

Four matches were played this evening, a relatively cool one as far as recent temperatures go.

In the warm-up singles, David Cohen played Peter Davies. David started somewhat cold and Peter was able to win points easily with a combination of placement and a few drop shots, enabling Peter to take the first set 6-0. However, David got wise to this strategy and, now fully warmed up, following a few errors from Peter in the first game of the second set, David started to read Peter’s tactics and vary his pace and placement also, making sure he didn’t stay too far back when a drop shot was on the cards, and keeping the ball deeper whenever possible. As a result Peter’s play became more tentative, as the easy points were no longer available, and his error rate went up. However, he also dug in and the score reached 4 all. Peter then broke David again, including a switch to playing for cross-court winners, and was able to hold his own serve for a 6-0 6-4 victory. Philip Reid now awaits.

Following the completion of this match three matches started up simultaneously – a men’s single, men’s doubles and a mixed, giving the band of 8 or 9 spectators plenty of entertainment to choose from.

whdraw2018timjosephCourt one hosted the fascinating, and it turned out to be a very close, encounter between Tim Simpson and Joseph Rigal. Although Tim would have won this match easily a few years ago, Joseph now has more experience and much more powerful shots, but is still a little erratic. In the first set most of Joseph’s first serves were faults, enabling Tim to take advantage of the slower second serve. But Joseph hit some very good shots indeed, often passing Tim when he played an approach shot and came in. It was a ding dong exchange of breaks which reached 6-all. The tie-break was similarly tight, but Joseph just edged it 7-5.

In the second set matters proceeded similarly to 3 all, at which, if we had it right, Joseph broke Tim and held for a 5-3 lead. But Tim stepped up a gear and cut out a few errors, to bring the set back to 6 all. This time Tim’s momentum carried him through the close tie break which he also took 7-5.

The third set was played in increasing gloom, but neither player seemed unduly affected. Tim became more agressive and hit down some good serves, but so did Joseph, and there was also a hard-hitting ground-stroke game going on. But towards the end of the set Joseph had just a slight edge, and pipped Tim to the post 6-4 just before the last playable light receded over the horizon, for a 7-67-5 6-75-7 6-4 victory.

2018-07-18 20.19.01On centre court, the Reid father-and-son partnership (Walter and Philip) took on the third seeds Marcio Sugui & Greg Lim. Walter acquitted himself well with most things in reach, and aided and abetted by a few unforced errors from Marcio and Greg. The result was Philip running round the court at high speed trying to hit winners off balls which were not strictly his, managing it some of the time, but by no means all the time. It worked reasonably well in the first set, though the Reids lost it 6-3. The second set was a combination of Philip not being able to keep his poaching-shot error rate low enough and Marcio and Greg getting more savvy about what was going on, enabling the seeds to take the set and the match 6-3 6-0.

2018-07-18 20.38.09On court 3 the 2016 mixed doubles champions, James McKenzie & Lesley South were playing the fourth seeds Cedric de la Chaise and Carine Valarche. Knowing that her sister Margaux was in Australia for 6 months, and thus not available for this year’s tournament, Carine had taken pity on Cedric and volunteered to play with him. James and Lesley hit some good balls, but never had the sort of edge that Cedric rushing round the court gives you. Although Carine maybe was a little rusty to start with, Cedric more than made up for this. However, after a certain point Carine seemed to stop obeying any instructions from Cedric to “leave” and hit these balls too, often enabling Cedric to finish the point on the next but one shot. The net result was a 6-3 6-3 victory to the seeds, Cedric and Carine.

Tournament report – Sunday 15 July through Tuesday 17 July

Posted on Posted in 2018, 2018 Tournament

Tuesday 17 July
2018-07-17 19.32.45Today was a little cooler then of late, and a couple of matches were played in front of a small band of spectators.

In the Mixed Julia Abbot & Eugene Berlin played Barbara Thomson & Peter Davies. Julia and Eugene started strongly, breaking Barbara twice, reaching 5-2 and threatening to take the first set. However, at this point Barbara started going for it, leading the charge during which the pair broke Julia and proceeded to win five games in a row to take the set. The second set got to 4 all via a couple of service breaks. Peter then held, and Eugene was broken to give Barbara and Peter a 7-5 6-5 victory.

whdraw2018loganjamesCedric and Lajos warmed up the adjacent court for the Men’s Singles match between James McKenzie and Logan Mair. James might like to comment on this. James reports that conditions started favourably for both players on Court 1 with plenty of longish rallies, a few drop shots from James and some lovely net play from Logan. As the sun swung round, the sunny end became increasingly unplayable which somewhat made the game harder. In general, it was Logan’s pure class that ensured he came out on the better side of the 6-3 6-4 scoreline.

Monday 16 July
Despite the temperature reaching a high somewhere in London of over 30 degrees, the match tempo picked up, at least in the Men’s Singles.

Paul O’Flynn was hoping to neuter Walter Reid‘s wide wingspan in their singles encounter. It looks like Paul’s ability to hit with pace coincided with a modicum of placement to give him victory over Walter by 6-1 6-3.

Jasper Tresidder took on James McKenzie. Although Jasper has some strong shots, there’s no doubt than James has more match savvy about him, accumulated over the years, and probably enhanced by having to lead the second team and evaluate players for matches. The match started with two tight deuce/advantage games with break points aplenty for both players. But a match of youth versus experience helped James to keep the scoreboard ticking over, despite some excellent shots from the promising younger player. James won 6-1 6-2.

Fred Davidson entered this year and faced Eugene Berlin in the first round. It looked like a good battle. Eugene took the first set 6-2, but Fred must have warmed himself up during that time, and went on to the attack during the second set, which he won 6-4. Eugene won the last set, but the writing on the draw sheet was not very readable. My guess was 6-1.

Eugene faces Philippe Mouly in the second round. Philippe was a keen last-minute entry and replaced Stan Vasiliev in the draw. Stan has been asked at very short notice to fill in for collegues abroad, nominally for three months, but we will have to see. If you think it is hot here, the temperature during Stan’s first day (Monday) working in Dubai was 38 degrees C.

Sunday 15 July
There was a slow start to the Tournament over the weekend – just a couple of matches played on the Sunday. Whether this was due to the exceptionally hot weather or the alternative pull of the Wimbledon Men’s semi finish plus Ladies’ Singles final on the Saturday, and of the Djokavic vs Anderson final on the Sunday.

It’s a shame there aren’t more in this year’s Ladies’ Single draw. Charles Rubinstein wanted to know why Andra Marinescu was not seeded higher than three. The reason is that she didn’t play in the event last year. Her first opponent in this year’s draw was Soo Teng Lee, and on Sunday Andra proved too strong for Soo Teng, as Charles would have predicted.

There was also a Mixed Doubles match between Elena Valarche & Ed Fitzgerald and Lesley South & James McKenzie. James and Lesley won it 6-2 6-4. Unfortunately (?) we were at Wimbledon (!) so didn’t see the match – but by some accounts it was more gripping than the men’s singles finals. Ed’s serve proved once again to be a shot to be reckoned with, as he managed on numerous occasions to effect a devilish swing in the deuce court which saw it hit the side fence before Lesley’s racket. The first two games were service holds, before Elena was broken and Lesley held her serve. The pattern was repeated and James and Lesley took the first set 6-2. The second set started in much the same way, with the score advancing to 3-1, but soon become 4-4 with a hold by Elena and break of Lesley’s serve. At 4-4 it was nicely poised but unfortunately Ed couldn’t find the angles on serve and was broken, which left James to serve it out from the newly-christened Pavilion End. Duly achieved, James and Lesley progressed to the next round, winning 6-2 6-4. Whilst disappointed, Elena is looking forward to the next round where her daughter, Carine, awaits with Cedric.

Joy Welch

Posted on Posted in 2018

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The American tournament on June 23rd was held in honour of former member Joy Welch. She kindly left the club a legacy in her will, which sponsored the tournament and provided the club with some new garden furniture. In addition, a ‘joie de vivre’ rose was unveiled at the tournament.

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A marvellous tea was organised by Lesley, with individual contributions from many members. The tournament was organised ably, as ever, by Peter. Many thanks to both!

Sultan provided a fitting speech regaling the audience with anecdotes about Joy such as her fondness for gardening and her inimitable style of tennis. She was a multiple champion, winning singles (1960, 1970), doubles (1963, 1970, 1972, 1976) and mixed doubles (1964) to complete the set.

We trust that her memory lives on at West Heath.

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