Three matches were played today – a mixed and two men’s doubles.
In the early mixed, Terry Heller & Peter Davies took on their second round opponents of Jen Ehr & Sultan Gangji, the second seeds. Terry can be a demon at the net, and Peter is revelling in his new hip (replacement November last year), restoring his previous mobility, and the opportunity to play more frequently and thus more consistently. Meanwhile, with an excellent eye and good anticipation, Sultan can generally make shots whenever he can reach the ball, though can’t jump as high as some when lobbed! Jen has an excellent all round game with the particular ability to hit awkward (for the opponents) topspin forehands to within a couple of feet of the baseline.
Although the challengers got a couple of deuces in the first set, they didn’t translate into games, Jen and Sultan winning it 6-0.
In the second set, Terry and Peter played more consistently and kicked off by breaking Jen to take a 2-0 lead. Again they had deuces in other games, but lost the critical points on which they could maybe have hit winners which would have given them more games. Jen and Sultan took the match 6-0 6-2. A great time was had by all though, which was the main thing, given the likely outcome.
Dr Heller had to rush back home for important medical consultations, so here is a picture of the winning team celebrating their victory. Please don’t look too closely at the baseline.
In the first of the men’s doubles evening matches, Dan Dalton & Rob Curtis played David Hirst & Steve Yoo with no one seeded.
In the first set, David and Steve came out hitting hot, in Steve’s case perhaps with something to prove after his loss in the singles to Leo Colle. Both have demonstrated elsewhere that they are are well capable of doing this, though sometimes the effect can be blunted by a high rate of errors. Dan and Rob took longer to get going, winning a game only after losing five in a row, so David and Steve took the set 6-1.
In the second set Dan and Rob dug in to the extent they took the lead (if I am not getting confused), while David and Steve could not sustain their pace, but managed to get back to 5 all. Viewed from the men’s doubles match next door, it appeared that everyone was cracking down good serves and the standard of play was excellent. But at 5 all, David and Steve just managed the break to give themselves the set and match 6-1 7-5.
In the second of the men’s doubles, Charles Rubinstein & Richard Nightingale played Andrei Cristescu and Peter Davies. Charles is famous for his wily approach to angled shots and placement to make life as difficult as possible for opponents, while Richard is very consistent with a decent serve. Andrei has some good, reliable, heavy groundstrokes and a decent serve, while Peter had his eye in due to the earlier mixed doubles, and both were highly mobile.
In the first set, Charles was exploiting the angles and the pair forced a number of errors from the opponents during the early games. While Peter and Andrei had the upper hand, it took them some time to settle fully to the task in hand. Notably, all their shots aimed close to the baseline were flying just out, though there weren’t enough to affect the outcome of the set, which Andrei and Peter won 6-2.
In the second set, Andrei and Peter played a tighter game, eliminating the errors on shots close to the baseline and were able to exert more pressure. Matters reach 4-0, when gentle rain started. By 5-0 the rain started in earnest, and the match would have been abandoned for a while, but the players toughed it out in the light of the score. Andrei and Peter won the second set 6-0 for a 6-2 6-0 victory, the scale of which surprised some of the spectators.
Peter had an exactly neutral day, losing 6-0 6-2 in the mixed and winning 6-2 6-0 in the men’s doubles! However, trust me, it feels a lot better afterwards to win the last match than the first!