Tonight, Lesley South prepared a tasty, spicy, Sri Lankan dinner which went down very well. Tonight (Thursday), Moira has prepared lamb tagine.
The sun shone for most of the day, and the grass courts started to dry out. But, although the grass itself was dry, the underlying earth was still a little moist, and there were still a number of low bounces on offer. Various spots of grass in the service boxes provided a target for perceptive servers wishing to surprise opponents with a low bounce.
Marjan Denis was granted a walkover into the ladies singles semi-finals by the other tournament referee, enabling the ladies singles semi-final to proceed.
The four scheduled matches were played today. The evening kicked off with a men’s and a ladies’ singles match, followed by two men’s doubles.
On grass court 1, in the second of the ladies singles semi-finals, the fourth seed, Marjan Denis, was out to get as many games as possible from the top seed, Katie Baston. The conditions were not ideal, with the occasional low bounce still around and the yellow and blinding sun shining right down the court from the clubhouse end (as can be seen in the photo), making it very difficult to see anything from the Croftway end, let alone see the lines when returning or serving. Though generally consistent and accurate, Marjan had not played singles for a year or so. Katie has a strong and consistent game, but is relatively new to the occasional low bounces on grass court 1.
In the first set, Marjan struggled with the light, the bounces and Katie’s game, and Katie took the first set 6-0. However, in the second set Marjan came to terms with all these factors and played much better, at a level more approaching what you would expect from her. She won four games. Katie won the match 6-0 6-4 to schedule a meeting with the second seed, Rebecca Vaughan, in the final on Saturday.
On court 2, there was an entertaining men’s singles quarter final between the sixth seed, Ed Fitzpatrick, and the third seed, Logan Mair. Ed is tall, and has a booming serve and pacy groundstrokes to go with it, but can be inconsistent under pressure. Logan had been the second seed in the 2020 tournament, but, perhaps playing below the form of which he is clearly capable, had been beaten in a tight three setter semi-final by the third seed, Greg Lim. So, in the first absence of Cedric de la Chaise for a while, Logan did not earn the opportunity to challenge Marcio Sugui in the final. Logan can hit the ball, and particularly the serve, very hard, but, according to him, tends to use his ex-rugby player muscles to do this, rather than a classical tennis technique.
The match itself was very deceptive to watch. In the first set Ed seemed to hit quite a lot of winners and got to deuce a few times, while Logan made quite a few errors. But Logan won it 6-0. In the second set, Ed did better, getting to 2-3 down and about to serve. But he couldn’t hold either of his two remaining service games. Logan won the match 6-0 6-2.
After this, Marjan commented she thought she had done very well to get 4 games off Katie in her second set. Logan now gets the chance to play Marcio in the semi-final tonight (Thursday), which is expected to be a close match.
By the start of the men’s doubles semi-final on court 1, there was less of a problem with glare from the position of the sun, because all the court was in the shade. Jonathan Bell & Steve Yoo played the top seeds, Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim. Jonathan and Steve can play pretty well, but aren’t an established doubles partnership, while Sultan and Greg are match-hardened from playing together in first team matches on the West Heath grass. Further, Sultan can rely on Greg to do more than his fair share of running around and hitting with pace to put away any loose balls, leaving Sultan to put away anything within reach with volleys, lobs or dropshots. Anything loose from the challengers was duly punished. During the match, Jonathan and Steve did break once, but they couldn’t guarantee to hold their own serves consistently. Greg and Sultan won the match 6-2 6-2.
The other men’s double semi was a father vs son, oldies vs youngsters affair. Bruce Rigal & Aaron Watkins were taking on Joseph Rigal & Jasper Tresidder. Bruce and Aaron had previously played consistently to buck the seedings to beat second seeds “the Jeffs” Jeff Fine & Geoff Isaacs. It was expected that Joseph and Jasper would hit much harder than the older pair, but that they would also make a number of errors too.
In the event, however, Bruce and Aaron where somewhat intimidated by the pace of Joseph and Jasper, to the extent that they missed similar shots to those they would have returned and/or put away in the previous round. Joseph and Jasper played very well, and prevented the older pair from playing at their best, but that doesn’t explain everything. Joseph and Jasper won the match by a convincing 6-1 6-0 margin.
It is great to have a younger pair in the final, who have come up through the ranks of the West Heath juniors. They meet Sultan Gangji and Greg Lim in the final on Saturday.