There were three matches played tonight under good conditions – not too hot!
The 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.
While 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.
Philippe 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.