Tournament report – Thursday 25 July 2019 and Mixed Doubles Final

Posted Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

Please text Sultan if you will be coming to the BBQ on Saturday evening and have not put your name on the list in the clubhouse.

A delicious fish pie dinner, much-heralded by the forty attendees, was cooked by Rachael Gangji. Lara made wonderful pavlovas and cheese cakes to supplement it. Many thanks to Rachael and all the other Gourmet dinner chefs for an excellent Gourmet week!

There were two mens’ singles semi finals played today, plus the mixed doubles final.

On court 1 it was fourth versus first seed – Logan Mair versus Cedric de la Chaise. Logan executed well in his semi-final match to reach the final, but to beat Cedric would be altogether another step up. Although Cedric had not played that well so far in the tournment, with all the matches behind him, he was starting to get his eye in. Logan’s first step would have been to get the majority of first serves in, but Logan struggled with the first serve in this particular match. This gave Cedric the opportunity to get on top with a service return, and, more often than not, to win the point. In fact, Cedric is also capable of hitting return winners into the corners off a first serve too. Although Logan won some fine points, the balance of power was with Cedric, whether Logan was at the net or on the baseline. Cedric won the match 6-2 6-1.

On centre court, it was third versus second seed with Richard Keep hoping to upset Marcio Sugui. Richard is a leftie and it was noticeable after his semi-final match that his left elbow was sore, perhaps from the number of matches which needed to be played during the tournemnt period. It was bad news for Richard, as he relies on a heavy forehand and serve to compete well. Marcio is also a leftie and has a worldwide singles rating in the 700s in the over 40 group, through playing in a number of open ITF tournaments. More than one admiring lady has commented that he does not necessarily look that old.

Marcio is fit and match tight from tournament play. Richard did his best, but, even fully fit, would not have been favourite to win. Without his two major weapons fully functioning, the result was never seriously in doubt and Marcio won the match 6-3 6-1.

Interesting fact – the average age of the men’s semi-finalists is 46 – Logan 50, Cedric 49, Richard 43, Marcio 42. The youngsters have put up a good showing in the doubles this year – the finalists are the third and fourth seeds. But when will the new guard be ready to take over in the singles?

Mixed doubles final

This was held between Greg Lim and Marjan Denis, top seeds and reigning champions, and Marcio Sugui and Andra Marinescu. Retired professional umpire James McKenzie was officiating. Greg and Marjan are an established partnership and play well together. But Andra and Marcio play a lot of competitive tennis, though not as a pair. Andra played solidly. Both Greg and Marjan found Marcio’s leftie swinging serve into the ad-court service box too difficult to handle. In the first set Marjan was returning in the ad court. Although she often got her racket to Marcio’s serve on the backhand, she found huge difficulty in anticipating the degree of swing and directing her return into court. In the second set, Greg and Marjan swapped courts, presumably to avoid the problem with Marcio’s serve, but Greg fared no better that I could see. In the end, Marcio and Andra were just too strong, and won the match 6-3 6-3.





There is one further match to play before the finals. Emily Bottoni has agreed to play with Lesley South in the ladies’ doubles, and they face Marjan Denis and Sue Ehr in the semi-final at 6 pm today (Friday).

Although the weather for Finals Day on Saturday is uncertain, the plan is to start both the mens’ and ladies’ singles finals at 2 pm. Come early to get a good seat.



Tournament report – Tuesday 23 July 2019

Posted Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

Lesley South prepared a truly Persian Gourmet Dinner for around 40 attendees. Everyone thought it was superb. Very delicious with range of textures and tastes.

The first match of the evening was a ladies’ singles semi-final between Julia Abbot and Marjan Denis, the second seed. Julia does not play as much as Marjan, which would be difficult, as she seems to spend most of her time on the tennis court. Nevertheless she is mobile, with a reasonable tactical nous, has a good volley and doesn’t make huge numbers of unforced errors. And she acquitted herself well in this match. Marjan won the first set 6-3, but Julia held it together until 5 all in the second, putting some pressure on Marjan, who was expected to win. Although Marjan can get nervous at such points, she was able to take the next couple of games to win the set 7-5 and take the match 6-3 7-5.

The first of the mixed doubles semi-finals then started on centre court between Barbara Thomas and Sultan Gangji (fourth seeds) and Marjan Denis and Greg Lim (top seeds and holders). Marjan and Greg are an experienced partnership, playing many matches together outside West Heath. Barbara and Sultan are less so. Nevertheless, Barbara and Sultan broke the holders more than once, and got into good positions in more than one game, but felt the pressure when the opportunity was there and could not convert. Marjan and Greg won the match 6-3 6-3.


The other mixed semi-final consisted of Anais Tapper and Tim Simpson (third seeds) and Andra Marinescu and Marcio Sugui. The match got bumped off court 1 before it started, having to cede the court in favour of the resumption of the last men’s quarter final, by order of the tournament referee. This was not a popular decision with the players. They decided to start the match on court 3, drainage system dips and all, rather than wait or go for a hard court. Thus the eager spectators had a menu of three matches to watch. Anais played very well, often passing Andra and Marcio down the line. Tim did his best, but Andra and Marcio set out to make it difficult for the challengers, and mainly succeeded. They took the first set 6-3, and the second 6-2 for a 6-3 6-2 victory.

The most fascinating match of the evening was the resumption of the mens’s single quarter finals between Andreas Siebold and Logan Mair. The first set was concluded in increasing gloom on Monday night. At 5 all, the tournament referee insisted they finish the first set instead of giving up for bad light. The players held their serve for 6 all, and Andreas took the tie-break 7-3. And at that point they were allowed to give up.

Andreas is very tall, and has a booming serve to match and is capable of directing it to either corner without giving away which, in advance. Logan pronounced that, at well over 120 mph, and was the heaviest serve he has ever played against. The general feeling was that, with height, comes increased distance from the ground, and increased difficulty in getting down to the low shots. However, Cedric de la Chaise commented that he would prefer to play Logan rather than Andreas in the semis, because, if you lose your serve to Andreas, you may have no chance to break back. Logan claims a 112 mph serve, and has good hands, enabling him to place balls back over the net without time to play a full stroke. The consensus was that, with the one set lead, Andreas would win if he could maintain his serve. Not least because Logan now had to win two sets, whereas Andreas required only one.

Logan had well warmed up on court 3 by the time Andreas arrived. When play resumed, Andreas, perhaps, with just the knock up, less up, made more errors than the previous evening, and Logan capitalised big time to take the set 6-0. In the final set, Andreas started well, breaking Logan’s first service game to reach a 3-1 lead and holding his own service games easily with no obvious problems. Logan played to get Andreas’ booming serve back into play wherever possible and played to Andreas’ backhand with low shots. He also used topspin lobs when Andreas came in, though also executing one excellent cross court pass which dropped just in. It was very close, but Logan managed to execute sufficiently to break back to 4 all. Logan then broke once more to take the set and the match 6-73-7 6-0 6-4. The match was played in a good spirit, and both players were clearly in the zone.

Tournament report – Monday 22 July 2019

Posted Posted in 2019, 2019 Tournament, Tournament

A tasty moussaka (laced with some additional ingredients such as cinnamon) was provided by Julia Abbot. Jill Elek provided the dessert of Golders Green cherries and creme caramel.

There were seven matches played this evening, including one that was not completed.

At 4:30 pm the first match on court was a ladies’ doubles semi final in which Moira Duncan and Julia Abbot played Barbara Thomas and Jane Boyle, the second seeds. Everyone was a little tense to start with, ut the score reached 3 all. At this point Barbara and Jane started to play a little better, and Moira and Julia a little worse, resulting in Barbara and Jane taking the first set 6-3. In the second set the seeds played better and won it 6-1 for a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Joseph Rigal and Richard Keep, the third seed, went on court for their men’s singles quarter final just after the ladies’ doubles started. The first game started around 5 pm, was very hard fought and set the tone for the rest of the first set. It lasted 15 minutes. In fact, Bruce Rigal, Joseph’s father, set off from Richmond after the match had started, and arrived in plenty of time to watch the conclusion. The first set lasted an hour. Joseph has a heavy serve and ground strokes powerful enough to create winners on serve. Richard did his best to slow the rallies down, relying on superior consistency to win the important points. In the end, Richard took it 6-4. The second set was similarly lengthy, but Richard had more of an edge, taking it 6-1 for a 6-4 6-1 win.

Having beaten Bruce Rigal, Howard Kingston was looking forward to his match with Cedric de la Chaise, the reigning champion. Howard served well, but was often on the defensive, and missed some winners. Cedric wasn’t playing particularly well, putting a number of balls out of court, but always had an edge. Further he knew that, if he won, he would be playing a follow on men’s single match against Tim Simpson, so was trying to conserve energy. Howard mostly held his serve in the first set, but Cedric was able to take it 6-3. Howard held his serve in the first game of the second set which was otherwise less even. Cedric won it 6-1, winning the match 6-3 6-1.

In his second match on court 1, Cedric de la Chaise had to cope with the booming serves, good volleys and heavy ground strokes of Tim Simpson. Tim won a number of points with his power. He also played a (witnessed) hot dog shot with the ball behind him into the open court to win one point, where Cedric had already given up, assuming his shot was an outright winner. But Cedric always had things under control with consistency and placement, and won the match 6-2 6-2.

After the Joseph Rigal / Richard Keep marathon match finished late on centre court, Greg Lim, the seventh seed, played Marcio Sugui the second seed. Greg has flat strokes with pace generated more with a slap than an extended take back. He played Cedric de la Chaise in the 2017 final, having dispatched Graeme Pearson with a super performance in the semis. Marcio is a leftie with a heavy top spin forehand and a heavy sliced serve hit with pace which aced Greg more than once. Further, Marcio has been playing in open over 40 tournaments and has achieved a world ranking of 900 (?), which is quite and achievement. Marcio did not have this match all his way, as Greg was well able to hit hard flat serves and direct any weak to the court corners to put Marcio under pressure and win the point. But, although able to hit winners by depriving Marcio of time, Greg’s unforced error rate was higher than Marcio’s, and, inevitably, Marcio broke him several times. Greg broke Marcio on at least one occasion, but it wasn’t enough to deprive Marcio of a 6-3 6-3 victory.


Due to the busy match schedule, the men’s doubles involving Howard Kingston (warmed up by his match with Cedric de la Chaise) and Eugene Belin vs Sultan Ganghi and Richard Keep (second seeds) elected to play on a bumpy court 3 rather than the a hard court. With the permission of the losers, I can report that Sultan and Richard are claiming a record of winning the first sixteen point of the match for a 4-0 lead. However, Howard and Eugene managed to win one game before the seeds took the first set 6-1. The second set was a similarly rapid affair which the seeds won 6-0 to take the match 6-1 6-0. It was over before most people realised it was a tournament match.

The last action of the day was a thrilling match up between Andreas Siebold, the sixth seed, and Logan Mair, the fourth seed. I don’t know how tall Andreas actually is, but it must be over 2m. He has a serve, to match, in excess of 110 mph, with which to ace you either side. But Logan is no slouch either, with a fast service action which had Andreas consistently returning into the net in at least one game. Logan also has this annoying habit of being able to retrieve balls bouncing behind him, as well as good half volley technique and the ability to generate power off not very much. Both players seem to go for the lines, occasionally making it difficult to determine whether the ball was in or out. As frequently occurs on a dusty West Heath grass court baseline, it is often no problem to determine exactly where the ball lands, but determining the precise line boundary is another matter!

After exchange of a few breaks, the set reached 5 all in descending gloom, whereupon the two protagonists asked for a deferral. A hard-hearted tournament referee turned down this appeal, and the set ended with a tie break. Andreas won this, so is one set up for the resumption one evening this week.

Tournament report – Sunday 22 July 2019

Posted 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 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 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 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 Joseph 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 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.