The weather was relatively kind, and the outstanding men’s doubles semi final could be played on grass.
There was no Gourmet Dinner tonight, but Alex Vallmajor’s father Manuel kindly provided a mix of Spanish and other nibbles.
Here is the Order of Play for the West Heath Tournament Finals on Saturday 29th July 2023:-
The remaining semi final for the tournament was the men’s doubles semi-final which was played on Centre Court (grass court 2). The 4th seeds, Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja took on top seeds Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke in front of a partisan crowd of around a dozen, generally supporting the underdogs, as seems typical at West Heath.
Stephen has tennis elbow, and withdrew from the singles and mixed doubles event. However, he remains in the men’s doubles with Logan as he did not feel he could let him down. Alex generally plays for the second team, while Logan, Stephen and Alan play for the first team. All are consistent players, though Logan & Stephen probably have the edge in heavy serving.
Alex was broken early in the match, but, after a few games, Stephen also had problems with his serve and was broken, and Alex was then serving to give his side a chance in the set. The number of deuces in the game depends on who you ask(I wasn’t counting), but estimates vary between around a dozen and 18 or 19. Alex had game points, but double faulted more than once and eventually Logan & Stephen took the game and then the set 6-3.
At times, Alex & Alan struggled to put the ball away at the net, perhaps because of the lack of time to react to Logan & Stephen’s heavy groundstrokes. Logan & Stephen did not generally then give them a chance at a second volley. But, when at the net, Logan & Stephen generally hit the killer volley first time, giving them a significant edge. I also felt that Alex & Alan could have smashed one or two more high balls – those due to bounce just deep of the service line – instead of playing the safe ground stroke on them.
The second set was less even, with Alex & Alan holding serve only once, for a 6-3 6-1 victory to the top seeds, Logan & Stephen
Logan & Stephen now meet the wily pair of Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim in the final. Hopefully Stephen’s elbow will hold out, and the final might turn into a great tactical match.
With a bit of sun and a breeze on Finals Day, grass courts 1 and 2 could be in great shape for the finals:-