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.