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.
Court 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.
On 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.
On 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.