Thursday Gourmet Dinner
This evening’s Gourmet Dinner was a tasty lamb tagine, provided by Moira Duncan. Marjan Denis supplied apricots and ice cream.
Some time after the Gourmet Dinner was completed, there was a very clear view of Jupiter (large) and Saturn (smaller) from the club later in the evening, when the clouds lifted.
During the Gourmet Dinner, Sultan and Rachael treated everyone to champagne as an early celebration of their thirtieth wedding anniversary on the Friday.
(photo by Susan Grossman)
The weather was decent. As well as one of the two ladies’ doubles semi-final deferred from Monday, two men’s singles semi-finals were played on grass, following by the mixed doubles final.
In the first of the ladies’ doubles semi-finals to be played, the second being scheduled for Friday evening, the fourth seeds, Moira Duncan & Lesley South were up against top seeds Elena Valarche & Katie Baston. Lesley and Moira are both consistent. Moira has a good forehand, and Lesley finds some super angles. Elena has very aggressive net play, and Katie has good accuracy and pace. However Moira and Lesley didn’t give up, and created some good openings to win points. This gave them a couple of games in each set. But Elena and Katie were too strong most of the time, and won the match 6-2 6-2.
The first of the men’s singles semis was between the fifth seed, Philip Reid and the second seed, Greg Lim. Philip is starry eyed at the moment, after he and Martha got engaged at the weekend.
This may be a good time to remind everyone that Philip is the holder of the West Heath boys’ singles title and cup, since the last time the children’s tournament was run was in 2006! Not only that, but Philip beat Vivek Sood in the adult event that year. Vivek asked for a rematch, and Philip won that too.
Both players have big serves, and groundstrokes, though Philip uses more topspin, and Greg tends to use flat strokes, which rely on good timing for accuracy of placement.
In the first set, both players took a while to warm up. Greg played a little better than Philip, using his flat strokes with pace to hit the ball beyond Philip’s reach. Greg won the first set 6-3.
But Philip was growing in consistency as the match went on, which put pressure on Greg. Perhaps due to a lack of singles play since the last tournament, specifically, singles play on grass, Greg missed the occasional opportunity for a drop shot winner off a shorter ball from Philip, and couldn’t eliminate the errors, especially from balls with lower bounces. Philip took the second set 6-3.
The singles events are best of three tie-break sets. The final set was similar to the second set, with Philip playing the more consistent tennis, and Greg missing the occasional shot. Although, it was a little closer, Philip won the set 6-4 for a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory.
In the other semi-final, the third seed, Logan Mair, had a crack at last year’s champion, Marcio Sugui. Marcio is taking his part 3 coaching qualification and has been playing a lot recently, and had been rumoured to have tennis elbow. But he showed no signs of this during the match. Marcio has a strong leftie game, with swing serves. Logan can hit hard first serves, but not as consistently as Marcio.
There were a number of tactical rallies in which Logan would use less pace, but depth to keep Marcio away from the net. This didn’t necessarily stop Marcio from winning the point though.
The first set was tightly contested, but Marcio generally had the upper hand, and won the set 6-4. Marcio kept up the consistency and pressure in the second set, and took that 6-1 for a 6-4 6-1 victory.
Mixed Doubles Final start and resumption
The mixed doubles final took place between the top seeds, Sultan Gangji & Jen Ehr, and the second seeds, Greg Lim & Marjan Denis, under the eagle eye of umpire Stephen Cooke. Both sides were up for it. Jen was covering a lot of court, including the space behind Sultan at the net. Greg was putting away anything high that he could reach, as was Sultan at the net. The set was very tight up to 5 all, but then Greg was broken and Sultan held, to give the top seeds the first set 7-5.
The second set started, with Greg holding serve. But it then became obvious that the later timing of the tournament this year meant it was unlikely to be finished, so all parties decided to suspend play due to bad light.
The conclusion of the final took place on the evening of Tuesday 31 August in front of a small band of spectators. Matters proceeded with serve until 3 all, at which point Marjan held for 3-4 on Jen’s serve. Jen was struggling to hit first serves to Greg, who won all the points. But the ad court is her preferred side for serving, and she missed very few first serves against Marjan, who struggled to return any of them. But after a large number of deuces, Marjan eventually won a point on her service return, and Greg wrapped up the set 6-3.
In the ensuring Champions Tie Break the momentum was decidedly with Greg and Marjan, who took it [10-4] to become mixed champions for the second time.
Friday ladies’ doubles semi-final match
On the Friday evening, under a gloomy but dry sky, a small band of determined watchers came to see the third ladies’ doubles seeds , Barbara Thomas & Rebecca Vaughan, play the second seeds, Marjan Denis & Sue Ehr on grass. All the players hit the ball hard, but the soil under the grass is still a little moist, and lowish bounces made it difficult to hit with a lot of pace. Marjan and Sue went to the net wherever possible, and it was difficult to lob over them, so they put away a number of volleys.
Sue throws the ball up low on her slice leftie serve, which keeps the bounce low and makes it tricky to get a clean hit on it. Early on, Rebecca had some difficulty in reading Sue’s serve, but got the hang of it as the match went on, taking it on the backhand to allow room for an angled, cross court return.
Sue and Marjan broke, but Barbara and Rebecca pulled it back, and themselves broke again, allowing them to win the first set 6-4. The tennis got better as the match went on. Everyone got more used to the conditions and opponents, and could put more pace on the ball without driving it out. In the second set matters reached 4 all before Sue was broken and she and Marjan could not break back. Barbara and Rebecca also won the second set 6-4 for an overall 6-4 6-4 victory.