The 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 little 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.
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.
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.
At 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.