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2023 2024 tournament Tournament

Tournament Report – Monday & Tuesday 15/16th July

Don’t forget to sign up on the list in the clubhouse for the delicious Gourmet Dinners Monday to Thursday 22nd to 25th July, and for the Finals Day BBQ in the evening of Saturday 27th July! Alternatively you can email the West Heath LTC mailbox at westheathltc@gmail.com and we will add your name to the list (provided it is not yet full).

More details of the Gourmet Dinners and Finals Day BBQ here.

On Monday evening there was light, turning to heavy, rain, plus a few showers on Tuesday. Nevertheless, there were three matches played in this period – one of them over 2 days!!

Two matches were played in the Men’s Singles. The following match report is from Joseph Rigal, amended by Peter Davies.

Played over 2 days and on different grass courts, Gabriele Abatti played the seventh seed Joseph Rigal. Gabriele was a little rusty last winter when I played in a match with him, but has some unreturnable serves and shots, with a higher than normal error rate. But he has had months to shake off the rust now. Joseph has a strong game, generally very consistent. Gabriele defeated Joseph’s father Bruce in the 1st round last year, so Joseph was ready to avenge his father.

This was an epic men’s singles 1st round encounter, the only one played so far to go the full 3 sets.

Starting at 5pm on Monday afternoon on Court 2, Joseph broke early to take a 2-0 lead in the opening set, with the single break remaining the difference as it ended 6-4.

In the second set, breaks were traded back and forth multiple times, with the set ultimately culminating in a tiebreak. After Joseph saved a set point serving at 5-6, he serve-volleyed at 6-6 after the change of ends, narrowly pushing a forehand volley wide into the tramline to set up set point on Gabriele’s serve. The Italian duly took his chance, serving a strong unreturned serve to take the second set 7-68-6.

At the start of the third and final set, Joseph quickly went up a double break. At 7pm, after 2 hours of play, with Joseph serving at 4-1, 15-15, the heavens opened and the match was washed out.

Returning to the club on Tuesday at 2pm, Joseph and Gabriele resumed on Court 1 – the area close to the net on Court 2 was still sodden from the preceding downpour.

Both men held serve on resumption of play. Gabriele held to reach 2-5 down, asking Joseph the question by making him serve it out. But Joseph held his nerve by holding to love to see out a tough battle, watched on by father Bruce. Joseph won 6-4 7-68-6 6-2.

Steve (One) Yoo played Eugene Belin. Steve is a pretty useful singles player but doesn’t always play to his own potential and sometimes loses concentration. Eugene has a very consistent game, not making many unforced errors, so tends to have to be beaten. The match was played on a hard court.

Apparently Eugene played very steadily, forcing Steve to focus to win points. This went well for Steve in the first set, which he took 6-1. But in the second set, Steve got broken early, and was down 2-0 as the sun suddenly came out. This maybe helped him to focus before making a come back to take the second set 6-3 for a 6-1 6-3 victory.

Eugene was also on court in a Men’s Doubles where Eugene Belin & Frederick Barkhof took on the second seeds Greg Lim & Sultan Gangji. Greg and Sultan are established first team players with a strong and consistent game. Eugene plays consistently but not with the same pace as first team players. Frederick can play very accurately, with decent pace.

The first set had some close games, but, aided by a couple of friendly net chords, the second seeds the seeds took it 6-0. In the second set, the seeds were leading at the 3-0 changeover. Eugene was telling Frederick, but heard by all, that he had never lost 10 games in a row. Greg duly obliged with a couple of double faults, while Sultan had to resort to some social tennis shots which didn’t pay dividends with some great running by Frederick to take the game. In the end, Greg & Sultan won 6-0 6-2, but at least Eugene’s maximum losing streak is intact!!

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Finals Day Tournament Report – Saturday 29th July 2023

For a change, the weather was looking good, with only small showers forecast – not enough to prevent play on the grass courts which were cut shorter and re-lined on Friday specifically for Finals Day.

As usual, a sumptuous tea was prepared by everyone. This time, however, it was not all displayed at once, but instead replenished as people helped themselves. Tea was served in between the singles and the doubles matches, brought forward by the downpour.

Men’s Singles Final

This was contested between Logan Mair, the third seed making the singles final for the first time, and Marcio Sugui, the top seed who was also Champion in 2020 and 2021.

The match was ably umpired by Greg Lim, including an amusing incident where he inadvertently called a game for Marcio immediately after Logan had just won a point. Many thanks also to the 6 or 7 people who called the lines for the men’s singles and men’s doubles finals.

The two competitors have very different styles of play. Logan has a heavy first serve, and the capability of hitting some very powerful groundstrokes. He generally aims to advance to the net to get an opportunity to hit volley winners, but also makes some errors. Logan can also hit a variety of spin serves.

Marcio is a leftie and plays a lot in tournaments and team matches elsewhere. He also coached frequently to obtain his part 4 LTA coaching qualification, though, by marital agreement, he will no longer be coaching. As a result of all this regular play, Marcio is very consistent, and rarely makes unforced errors. He tends to wins points by accurate placement of the ball away from the opponent, rather than expecting the pace alone of his groundstrokes to induce frequent errors from his opponent. Marcio can also throw in some (top slice?) leftie spin serves to confuse opponents, particularly on grass. And he is very fit and fast around the court.

In the first few games it looked like Logan’s power game might overwhelm Marcio. But after a while Marcio adapted to Logan’s game. While Logan could often set up the situation from which to hit a potential winner, he subsequently did make errors. This, and some excellent placement winners gave Marcio the edge to take the first set 6-2.

In the second set Logan tightened up his game and made fewer errors, but still couldn’t stop Marcio from breaking. Marcio was up 5-2 when play on both courts was interrupted by a shower. On the resumption, Logan held his service, but could not stop Marcio from taking the match 6-2 6-3.

Marcio has now claimed the title of Men’s Singles Champion three times. But he has never beaten Cedric de la Chaise, who claimed the title a dozen times – compared to Sultan Gangji’s nine times. Marcio would very much like to beat Cedric to the title one year.

Ladies Singles Final

This was played between the third seed, Posy Frederick, and the top seed and 2022 Champion, Jen Ehr. The match umpire was Becca Vaughan, who kindly volunteered in the absence of the previously agreed official.

Posy plays a lot of squash as well as tennis, so has very good hand-eye coordination. At tennis, she has a solid game, but not a huge amount of experience playing singles on a grass court. However, she does seem to take advantage of the softer grass surface by either diving for the occasional shot, or at least ending up flat on the grass surface in trying to get to a shot.

Jen has very strong serves and groundstrokes, and plenty of experience on grass, as her mother, Sue Ehr, has been playing at West Heath and in the Tournament since at least 2004.

Posy made few unforced errors, and was able to force high short balls from Jen on a number of occasions, but often wasn’t able to put the next ball out of Jen’s reach to convert the opportunity into a winner allowing Jen to pass or lob. Jen hit a number of winners, and was generally lethal when she came to the net.

Jen won the first set 6-2, and was 5-2 up in the second set when the shower came. Just as in the men’s match above, Posy won one more game on the resumption before Jen claimed the title 6-2 6-3 – an identical score to that in the men’s singles.

Not only were the scores identical, but the ladies’s and men’s singles finished within a couple of seconds of each other. In an invidious position, I opted to photograph the men’s final players first, because of the larger centre court crowd for the men’s match. The ladies were very gracious about it after I promised faithfully to give them priority in the event that the two doubles matches finished simultaneously.

Men’s Doubles Final

This was played between third seeds and twice Men’s Doubles Champions (2020 and 2021) Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim, and the top seeds Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke. Logan has won the Men’s Doubles title before, with Cedric de la Chaise as partner.

The umpire was Joseph Rigal, and the team of linespersons called the lines.

Sultan and Greg are an experienced doubles partnership. Stephen is nursing a tennis elbow injury, and has withdrawn from the singles and mixed to play with Logan in the doubles. Logan already had the Mixed title from Thursday’s game, and was keen to add to it. Logan & Stephen were the clear favourites to win, putting pressure on Sultan & Greg.

Greg lost his first service game, which put more pressure on Sultan & Greg, and giving Logan & Stephen the leeway to play solidly throughout the set to win it 6-2.

In the second set, Greg & Sultan switched sides to make something different happen, which seemed to do the trick for a while, as the score reached 2 all. Greg was then 40-0 on his own serve. However Sultan & Greg ended up losing this game but broke themselves for 3 all. Sultan was then 40-0 up on his serve, but again the pair failed to convert, losing the game. In the last game, a particularly windy gust resulted in Greg missing a smash, which helped Logan & Stephen win the set 6-3 for a 6-2 6-3 victory. This was the third final to have a final score of 6-2 6-3.

Even if Sultan & Greg had one one of those 40-0 games, Logan & Stephen would probably still have taken a more fiercely contested set, but at least would have had something to think about.

Logan thus wins two titles in 2023, with the other Champion slots going to Marcio Sugui and Stephen Cooke.

Ladies Doubles Final

The Ladies Doubles Final was contested between Becca Vaughan & Bianca Gillam, the second seeds, and the top seeds Jen Ehr & Posy Frederick.

Barbara Thomas was the umpire.

Bianca plays solidly and Becca runs for everything. Posy also runs and, as in the singles, ending up performing one or two Beckeresque (as opposed to Becca-esque) lunges and dives on grass, for those of us who remember what that means. Jen hit her usual pacy serves and groundstrokes.

Despite the exertions of Jen & Posy in contesting the previous Ladies Singles Final, they were very much the stronger pair in the first set, taking it 6-1. The second set was only a little more even, with Jen and Posy taking it 6-2 for a 6-1 6-2 victory.

The result of this and the other finals is that Jen and Posy both won two events, with no one other woman winning anything.

Prizegiving

Thanks were expressed by Sultan and Moira to everyone involved with the tournament.

Alex Vallmajor’s father, Manuel, from Monaco, was asked by Sultan to present the prizes.

West Heath 2023 Tournament winners and runners up

Final thoughts

This is the 24th West Heath Tournament on which I have reported, and, while memory may dim, it has been one of the best, despite the weather. The standard and entertainment value of the tennis has been high, and everyone has pulled out all the stops to get matches played when rain threatened to derail the schedule. The food and drink have been excellent, and the organisation has gone pretty smoothly.

Not only that, but Sultan’s seeding of all the winners as top seed was impeccably performed.

The photos used in the 2023 Tournament reports are available here.

Additional, late, match reports and photos have all now been added

See you all at the West Heath Tournament next year, and most of you well before that.

Peter D

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Friday 28th July 2023

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:-

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Thursday 27th July 2023

Around 40 people dined on Thursday’s tasty Lamb Tagine, prepared by Moira Duncan, who also provided the red fruits dessert. That is the last of the Gourmet Dinners, but don’t forget to sign up for the Finals Day Tea and Evening Barbecue – or contact Sultan if you can’t sign up by Friday.

There is now one only semi final left to play, at 6:30 pm on Friday, before the line up for Finals Day is complete:-

Although it stopped drizzling some hours before, the grass was really still too damp for play, though one match was played on grass court 3.

Mixed doubles final

The highlight of the evening’s matches was undoubtedly the Mixed Doubles Final between the 4th seeds, Alex Vallmajor & Bianca Gillam, and the top seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick. Last year, Logan & Posy were beaten in the final by ex-schoolmates Jasper Tresidder & Margaux Valarche, but Margaux is not available right now, as she has been working in Costa Rica, and is returning in October.

Played on hard court 4, the match was spurred on by a large, very excited and very involved crowd, generally supporting the underdogs, Alex & Bianca.

Both Posy and Bianca have strong games, as do Alex and Logan. Logan & Posy played the more consistently in the first set. Alex & Bianca played well, but didn’t always have the answers to the questions posed. There were some superb doubles rallies to the obvious delight of the crowd. But Logan & Posy took the first set 6-0.

The second set was far more even, with Alex & Bianca hitting a number of winners. On one occasion Bianco hit a super reflex volley from close to the net from a smash by Logan. But Logan & Posy got their noses in front and eventually took the second set 6-4 and take the match 6-0 6-4.

This is Posy’s first title, and she is also in the Ladies Singles Final vs Jen Ehr, and in the Ladies Doubles Final playing with Jen against Becca Vaughan & Bianca.

It is Logan’s second title, the first being the Men’s Doubles in 2017. He also plays Marcio Sugui in the Men’s Singles Final. He and Stephen Cooke are also in the Men’s Doubles semi final to be played Friday evening against Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja.

So Logan & Posy still have opportunities to win more events between them.

Semi finals of other events

On hard court 4, the men’s semi final at the top of the draw was between Richard Keep and Marcio Sugui. Both are lefties. Richard has a strong serve and shots and plays when he can, but professional commitments mean he is away from home a lot. Marcio plays a lot, and has a very low rate of unforced errors. Marcio is also capable of upping the pace on occasions.

In the rallies with Marcio, Richard hit a number of good serves and ground stroke winners which Marcio could do little about. But he couldn’t always control the necessary placement and depth needed to beat Marcio, so often made errors when forcing the pace, or when Marcio was able to put him under pressure. For his part, Marcio gave away very few free points. Richard thus struggled to hold serve, and Marcio won the match 6-1 6-1.

After some persuasion from Logan, Joseph Rigal agreed to play his men’s semi final against Logan Mair on grass court 3, instead of waiting for a hard court to become free. Only the area immediately behind the baseline at the west end of court 3 shows significant signs of wear, though the grass was still slightly damp. Thus, there could still be three matches on the go at once, allowing the evening schedule to be completed even though the grass was not completely dry.

Both Logan and Joseph were playing for their first place in the Men’s Singles Final. Over the past few years at the club, Joseph has been improving year by year after focussing less on tennis while previously at university in the USA. Joseph has a hard serve, and good groundstrokes, but can make more errors under pressure than Logan. Logan has a very fast “whack” type first service which is very difficult to get back, but quite often misses, and is consistent with heavy groundstrokes.

In the first set, the first few games went with serve, and the match reached 5 all. Logan then broke Joseph and took the first set 7-5. In the second set, Joseph found it more difficult to hold serve, while Logan was able to keep up the pressure to take it 6-1 for a 7-5 6-1 victory. Logan thus gets to play in the singles final for the first time, against Marcio Sugui.

On hard court 5, Posy Frederick and Marjan Denis resumed their ladies singles semi final. The match was suspended, on Wednesday, with Posy 5-0 in the lead, as the light rain became heavier and showed no signs of abating.

On the resumption, Posy won the additional game to take the first set 6-0. However, Marjan’s resolve stiffened, and the second set was much closer fought. Marjan won quite a few rallies with some strong groundstrokes and placement, but Posy was a little more consistent when it mattered and eventually closed out the match 6-0 6-4.

Posy thus faces Jen Ehr, the top seed, in the final on Saturday. That will be one to watch!

The next match on hard court 5 was the first of the two men’s doubles semi finals – the one in the bottom half of the draw, between third seeds Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim, and second seeds Joseph Rigal & Olly Turner. This match was a partial repeat of last year’s semi final when Joseph Rigal & Alex Vallmajor beat Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim 3-6 7-5 [10-7]. So revenge may well have been in the collective mind of Sultan & Greg.

However, Joseph & Olly got the upper hand in the first set, to win it 6-4, but could not sustain that momentum in the second set. Sultan & Greg know how to change tactics to swing matches, and took the second set 6-2. With the momentum behind them, Sultan & Greg also took the 10 point match tie break 10-4 to go through to the final, where they will meet the winners of Friday night’s match, either Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja, or Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke.

Only the mixed doubles final report to add now!

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Wednesday 26th July 2023

The weather forecast was miserable – light rain starting 5:30 pm and getting worse as time went on. As a result, only four brave souls attempted to play. More on that later.

However, there was still a sumptuous Gourmet Thai Dinner professionally prepared, and presented by Lesley, with Coconut Cake pudding provided by Anne Sophie.

On Thursday, Moira will be providing Lamb Tagine and pudding.

The order of play for Thursday will be:-

Since the grass was already slippery and the drizzle showed no signs of stopping, Jasper Tresidder and eighth seed Joseph Rigal started a men’s singles quarter final match on hard court 4. The court was a little slippery, and Jasper in particular slid into a few shots. Jasper has a particularly heavy serve, if a little inconsistent, but the damp court surface and heavy, wet balls, must have slowed that down somewhat. Joseph also has a heavy serve, but can rely on more consistency in most shots nowadays, as he plays more than Jasper.

Joseph was more consistent and able to cope with the conditions in the first set, which he took 6-1. The rain was getting steadily heavier, and that, and the likely necessity of playing on a hard court for a resumption on the Thursday, resulted in the retirement of Jasper, to give Joseph the match 6-1 (retired).

On hard court 5, 4th seed Posy Frederick and 2nd seed Marjan Denis started a ladies singles match in light rain. In the conditions, Posy broke Marjan more than once, to lead the first set 5-0. The match will resume on Thursday, hopefully on grass court 1.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Tuesday 25th July 2023

Thanks go to Rachael and Lara for the always delicious, and now traditional, fish pie and Pavlova.

Tonight’s (26th July) Gourmet Dinner will be Thai cuisine, created by professional chef Lesley South, as follows:-

Anne Sophie will provide “coconut cake” pudding.

The order of play for today will be weather dependent, and the initial schedule is:-

The incomplete men’s singles match between David Hirst and Joseph Rigal, the 8th seed, resumed on hard court 4. On Monday night, dusk had forced a postponement after Joseph had won the first set 6-4.

This was a hard fought hum dinger. Unfortunately, with all three grass courts in use from 6 pm, it was not possible for the spectators to watch it closely. There were quite a few breaks in the match, with both players, and particularly David, taking risks to hit winners to gain the upper hand.

After his loss of the first set, David bust a gut in the second set, and gained the upper hand, to take it 6-3, preparing the way for a final set show down.

David started to run away with the finals set, reaching to reach a 5-2 lead. David crucially then accumulated four match points in total. In the most exciting of these, David hit the net cord and the ball rolled along it before deciding to bounce back on David’s side to deny him. Unfortunately for David, Joseph won all of David’s match points and levelled the final set at 5 all.

Unfortunately for David, this provided some momentum for Joseph, and David had little opportunity to regroup before finding himself 0-40 down in the next game. He pulled back two break points but Joseph took the game and was then able to serve out the match. 6-4 3-6 7-5.

David’s partner, Elena Pavlidou, went to console David. Commiserations to David, but, having come so close, he will surely be back fighting even harder next year, with more consistency to call on. Watch this space!

On grass court 1, the third seed, Elena Valarche was challenging the top seed and 2022 champion Jen Ehr (strictly now Jen Ananda-Rajan). Elena’s strategy was the same as usual – come in an occupy the net position and force an opponent to either pass or lob her. Meanwhile, for whatever reason, Jen’s first service speed did not seem quite as high as in some of the aces she had served the previous day. Jen is also amply capable of hitting hard to the baseline and coming in on a short return.

In the first set Elena’s strategy yielded some points, but not games. In the second set she had a little more success, with one or two of Jen’s passing shots straying into the tramlines. Jen won the match 6-0 6-2.

You can see why Jen might favour the jump smash!

On grass court 2, there was a ladies’ doubles semi final between the old guard players and third seeds, Marjan Denis & Lesley South, and the new, second seeds, Becca Vaughan & Bianca Gillam. Lesley’s speciality is the short or angled shot, especially when she plays it close to the net. Given the opportunity, she can drop the ball over the net or create an angle which opponents generally cannot get, to the obvious delight and applause of the crowd at the time. Marjan provided power baseline groundstroke support to elicit the weak shots from the opponents for Lesley to put away. It is not clear that first team players Becca & Bianca have come across enough players with shots quite like Lesley, and they lost a number of points by giving her the opportunity to make them.

So much so, that the score reached 5 all then 6 all in the first set, bringing on a tie break. However, Becca & Bianca walked away with the tie break, without losing a point, to take the first set 7-6⁷⁻¹. In the second set, matters proceeded similarly, though Becca & Bianca were a little more wary of feeding Lesley when she was at the net. They won the second set 6-3 for a 7-6⁷⁻¹ 6-3 victory to Becca & Bianca.

On grass court 3 was a men’s doubles round of 16 match in which Paul O’Flynn & Jasper Tresidder challenged the top seeds Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke. Stephen has had tennis elbow, and had to withdraw from the singles and mixed, but could not let Logan down in the men’s doubles. Stephen does tend to get injured during the tournament – he says he is not used to playing that number of matches with the tournament matches on top of the regular team tennis etc. Fortunately, Stephen’s elbow is much improved.

Paul & Jasper have some great serves and shots which are often winners, but they have to go in, which they don’t always do. Logan & Stephen retain a high degree of consistency with heavy shots in a long rally, so that scenario tends to strongly favour them, especially since it is more difficult for the opponents to hit heavy shots when under pressure.

The result of all this was that, though Paul & Jasper hit winners and played some fabulous points, there weren’t enough of them to threaten the service game dominance of Logan & Stephen, who won the match 6-2 6-2.

I particularly like this photo, in which Stephen undoubtedly wins the prize for the best smile!

The second match on grass court 1 was a fascinating men’s singles quarter final match between 6th seed Richard Keep, and fourth seed Greg Lim. On paper you would fancy Greg to win, though singles is not his favourite event. Richard is a leftie who is at least as tall as Greg, but doesn’t play as much as Greg, often due to performance work commitments. Greg has accuracy and pace in all shots. Richard has good ground strokes and a particularly booming leftie serve with a very clean action. He exploits his height to make it very difficult for an opponent to return serve.

Richard serving against Greg. Photo courtesy of Susan Grossman.

In the first set, Greg had a distinct advantage, with a higher level of consistency, and took it 6-2. But Richard’s consistency and accuracy improved as the match progressed, resulting in a tighter match. Richard took the second set 6-4 to set up a deciding final set, in which he was able to maintain the edge to win 2-6 6-4 6-4.

On the centre grass court there was a mixed semi final between Joseph Rigal & Becca Vaughan, and top seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick. The seeds played consistently throughout. Joseph put down some heavy serves and groundstrokes, but did not play quite so consistently, possibly due to his mental and/or physical exertions during the last two sets of his resumed men’s singles match above. Becca played a solid game, and chased everything until it had bounced twice. She particularly has great forehand topspin shots from the deuce court to keep the ball away from an encroaching net player such as Logan. But it was noticeable she played most shots from the ad court back to Logan when he was also in the ad court, when a down the inner tramline lob over Posy at the net would have put more pressure on the opponents and possibly set up an interception by Joseph at the net.

Logon & Posy took the first set 6-2. The second set was tighter, but the seeds still took it, for a 6-2 6-4 victory.

On grass court 3 the second match was another mixed semi final, between 4th seeds Alex Vallmajor & Bianca Gillam, and second seeds Sultan Gangji & Jen Ehr. Alex must have been well recovered from his nearly two hour men’s singles match against Marcio Sugui the previous night.

I didn’t see the match, but hope to get a report later. However, the match was a bit of an upset because Alex & Bianca overturned the seedings to take it 6-3 6-2, to set up their place in the Mixed Final on Thursday.

That is it for Tuesday’s matches. Let us hope the weather forecast improves for Wednesday evening.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Monday 24th July 2023

Firstly many thanks to Penny, Ann and Sabine for the delicious gourmet dinner. Many people were observed going back for seconds of the lasagne despite large first servings.

Tonight’s gourmet chefs are Rachael and Lara, presenting the traditional fish pie and pavlova.

On Wednesday, Lesley will be preparing an authentic oriental Thai meal …

.. and Anne Sophie will follow up with coconut cake.

Here is the order of play for Tuesday evening:-

Five and a half matches were played on Monday evening, including two on the nearly, but not quite, dry, grass court 3.

Two matches went on the hard courts 4 and 5 around 6 pm. More later of the match on court 5.

Hard court 4 kicked off with a mixed doubles quarter final. Brian Coffey & Jenny Warren took on the second seeds Sultan Gangji & Jen Ehr. Brian came out with a number of good deep forehands, though some of them went long. Jenny played very consistently from both the baseline and net and didn’t make many unforced errors. Meanwhile Jen threw down some very heavy serves (some of which Brian could not get back) and hit pacy groundstrokes, while Sultan was poaching heavily at the net where possible.

Brian & Jenny got the edge on a number of points, with Brian forcing errors from Sultan, and Jenny putting away some angled shots, though not all of them went in. But Sultan and Jen were able to get to the other shots and return them with interest, as well as hitting winners and forcing errors themselves. When there was a decision to be made on their side of the net, then it wasn’t Sultan calling the play either! In the first set Sultan & Jen soon got 3-1 up, and took it 6-2, also taking the second set 6-2 for a 6-2 6-2 win.

The next match on hard court 4 was a ladies doubles semifinal for which Jenny and Jen stayed on court. Jenny Warren & Moira Duncan took on the top seeds Jen Ehr & Posy Frederick. Jenny & Moira generally tried to position themselves on the service line and return almost everything that Jen and Posy threw at them, retrieving a number of wider, higher and shorter balls. They also made very few unforced errors, though Jen & Posy made even fewer. Most points were probably 10 shots or more. Jen & Posy were rarely forced into errors and were highly mobile, hard hitting, and generally looking for the spaces to hit winners. Towards the end of the match they started to exploit the space in between Jenny & Moira to good effect a few times.

Despite the number of shots played, Jen & Posy won a large enough majority of the points that there weren’t any games in the match for Jenny & Moira. But the points tennis was closer than the score indicated. Jen & Posy were made to work for it.

Meanwhile, on hard court 5 in parallel with the above, there was the much anticipated men’s singles quarter final between 5th seed Alex Vallmajor and top seed Marcio Sugui. These two are friends and hitting partners. Marcio, a leftie, was concerned about playing Alex because the two of them have some very close games. And not only does Alex hit with leftie Marcio, but he also plays regularly with another couple of lefties, so is well used to them, unlike most players (whether left or right handed!)

They started proceedings with a leisurely knock up, at the same time as the knock up and match on court 4, much to the annoyance of one of the tournament referees when she found out! Once play started, at first Marcio was trying to hit out, and a few breaks were exchanged. But the match turned into a masterclass, from both, of how to hit deep topspin forehands and slice backhands, with pace, but with very few errors. Occasionally someone might throw in a topspin backhand. Occasionally there was a shorter ball bringing someone in to the net, but it often morphed into a baseline exchange again.

It looked like Marcio was the better able of the two to move the ball around court without error in the first set, as he took it 6-2.

Hard court spectators between matches

But Alex dug in for the second set, while Marcio was less adventurous, and Alex got the upper hand there, to take it 6-2. By this time it was around 8:10 pm, and, on the track record so far, it looked like the match might not finish before the gloom got too profound and play had to stop.

In theory you are supposed to play a third set in the singles events, but tournament referee Sultan offered three alternatives:-

  • Match tie break – first to 10 points etc.
  • Start the third set at 2 all, and play a normal tie break set from there
  • Play a normal tie break set starting at the usual zero zero games

Marcio wanted a quick match tie break, but Alex thought he would do better with a normal full set, so they started on one of those.

Marcio decide to hit out once more, as otherwise the match might never finish. Although Alex got one game, Marcio soon broke and established a run of games to enable him to take the match 6-2 2-6 6-1, but only just in the nick of time before it really got too dark to play. Perhaps Alex needs to eat more carrots? So from being one of two matches first on, this match was also last off. Shame it wasn’t played on grass!

Meanwhile, since Alex and Marcio were camping on hard court 5 and hard court 4 was busy with other matches, 7th seed Olly Turner and 3rd seed Logan Mair agreed to use a very slightly damp grass court 3 for their men’s singles quarter final match.

Both play a pretty decent singles game, but Logan is regarded as the stronger.

Olly hit a number of winners and forced errors from Logan, but Logan was the more consistent. Unlike in the previous round, Logan’s heavy first serve, whee he just whacks the ball, mainly went in. There were one or two slips on the damp grass, but nothing too worrying.

In the first set, Logan broke twice, but Olly broke back once, to allow Logan the set 6-4. In the second set there was only one break, and Logan took the match 6-4 6-3.

Following on from the men’s singles, a mixed doubles match was then played on grass court 3. Jasper Tresidder & Elena Valarche played the top seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick.

There was only one break in each set. In the first set Elena was broken, and in the second set Jasper was broken, which led to a 6-3 6-4 victory for Logan and Posy.

Following the second match on hard court 4, a men’s singles round of 16 match started between David Hirst, and the 8th seed, Joseph Rigal. This was nothing like the careful singles still going on on hard court 5, because both David and Joseph like to welly the ball. They are both fully prepared to smack the ball with no spin to get extra pace, and to take a chance (hopefully more than 50%) that it is more likely to become a winner than to lose the point with an error. The first set was very close. In the eventuality, Joseph made fewer errors than David and took the first set 6-4.

But by the end of the set around 8:45 pm, the gloom was deepening as dusk approached (9 pm) and it was clear that any continuation was just going to be an eyesight lottery to scramble the opening games in the second set when it finally would resume the following day. So common sense won out, and the second set was rescheduled until Tuesday at 5:30 pm on the same hard court.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Sunday 23rd July 2023

Although the grass courts were mainly too damp throughout to enable competitive tournament tennis, the rain held off sufficiently to allow play on the hard courts. Both of these were pressed into play where necessary, and ten crucial matches were played, plus one walkover. By the end of the day the grass had dried sufficiently to allow one ladies match to be played on it.

Thank you to everyone who bust a gut to play outstanding matches, which means the tournament is more or less back on schedule for the final five days of play.

Play started at the crack of dawn at 7 am when Jack Arnold & David Hirst played Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja, the fourth seeds. A brief match report from David follows:-

“Our power game ultimately lost out to the consistency and excellent net play of our opponents, and we lost 6-4, 6-1”

Then around 8:30 am, partners David Hirst & Elena Pavlidou played Jasper Tresidder & Elena Valarche. Jasper & Elena won 6-1 6-3. The match report from Jasper is to follow.

A morning mixed was also played between Nic Sweeting & Liz Hill and the top seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick. The match report from Nic Sweeting follows:-

“A highlight of the mixed doubles saw Liz and Nic (unseeded) take on the top seeds Logan and Posy. The match took place on hard court 5 due to waterlogged grass. Following his exit from last year’s singles, Nic had received valuable advice from finalist Marcio on his grip (namely to change it) and had trained intensively on his serve, so opted to serve towards the Finchley Road.

The service practice seemed to be paying off with some fine serves skidding into the chain link fence putting Nic and Liz up in the opener, but Logan and Posy fought back from game point down to break. The wet court slowed the balls and there followed some slanted winners from Nic when he advanced on short balls to drive them between his opponents or, unchivalrous at the net, at Posy. Posy took Logan to task following a near collision for his ambiguous cries of ‘Okay, okay’, unsure whether her partner meant ‘it’s okay, it’s mine’ or ‘you’re okay to hit that’. But despite Liz and Nic winning a couple of points each game and making few unforced errors, Posy’s accurate winners into the tramlines, imperious net play and angled volleys from Logan, proved decisive as they took the first set 6-0.

In the second set, Logan and Posy’s communication and serving improved still further. Liz kept firing back returns while Nic, receiving inside the baseline, began risking unforced errors in an attempt to beat the person at the net. Rallies became longer with some eye-catching reflex shots, and in his fourth and final service game Nic managed to hold to avoid the double bagel. The thrilling encounter ended 6-0, 6-1 to the top seeds, with onlookers sagely agreeing it looked closer.”

The first of the post-noon matches on hard court 4 was a mixed between Bruce Rigal & Moira Duncan and the fourth seeds Alex Vallmajor & Bianca Gillam. The following match report is from Moira’s verbal report.

Alex is very fast around the court and so consistent that he hardly appears to miss. Bianca is also very consistent and highly effective at the net.

The match was played in quite blustery conditions, though the wind seemed to settle down a little for subsequent matches.

Before either Bruce or Moira had managed to hold their serve, Alex & Bianca had raced into a 4 love lead, but then Bruce held to take the only game in that set for his side. In the second set, Bruce & Moira took advantage of a couple of double faults in the first game to break Bianca, and managed to pick up another game somewhere else. Thus Alex & Bianca won 6-1 6-2.

The next match on hard court 4 was a men’s doubles quarter final between Peter Davies & Mark Webb, and the third seeds Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim, who both play in the Mens I team, of which Sultan has now been captain for 49 years and surely must stay on for another season at least, to get to his half century!!!

Greg not only has almost perfect timing, but is also a demon at the net and is something like 6 foot 2, so it is difficult to keep the ball away from him or to lob him. Mark has some pacy deep forehand groundstrokes, and Peter directed a number of serves well and returned reasonably, but Peter & Mark were just far more error prone than the far more experienced pair at the other end, and it was impossible to keep the ball away from Greg at the net all the time.

Greg served the first game, which started auspiciously for Peter & Mark with a couple of break points. But Sultan & Greg weren’t going to let the break happen if they could avoid it, and clawed the game back to deuce, and then took the game. There wasn’t much joy for Peter & Mark until the second set, when they put together enough points for their one game of the match. Sultan & Greg won the match 6-0 6-1.

In parallel, on hard court 5, Andrei Cristescu played Geoff Isaacs (no relation to Penny) in a very tight match. Both are very consistent, and at 5 all in the first set, it looked like the rallies and set would last indefinitely. At some point, Geoff tried to inject some risk and return into the rallies. According to Andrei, Geoff played some great drop shots, which gave Andrei something different to look at. Whatever, it was, it seemed to do the trick, as Geoff went on to break Andrei and take the set.

The second set was similarly close and extended, but Geoff again got the upper hand eventually to win it 6-4 for a 7-5 6-4 win, after nearly two hours of tennis.

At the completion of the match another problem became crystal clear. Alex Vallmajor had hung around after the previous mixed, so that he could play the next round against the winner of Andrei and Geoff. Geoff said he could not play a further match as his grandchildren (and their great grandfather, his father) were in attendance, and deemed himself to have scratched at match point. But Andrei wasn’t in a position to play the next round either, so that would not have worked. Geoff was deemed to have won then withdrawn, to give Alex a walkover into the quarter finals, which resulted in him feeling somewhat dejected that no one wanted to play him!

However, we are all looking forward to his match against Marcio Sugui at 6 pm on centre court on Monday (24 July).

The next match on court 4 was a singles between Matias Piazza and seventh seed Olly Turner. Both are pretty consistent on a hard court, and Matias often put himself in a position to hit a winner. But Olly plays for the second team and can summon up an extra measure of pace when required.

The first four games were played with no risks taken, as if no one wanted to lose the point and the score reach 2 all. But Olly decided that he needed to make something happen, so started to go for it more, injecting more pace, which shortened the points and resulted in more errors from both. But Olly had the upper hand, and started to hit more winners, taking the set 6-2. This continued into the second set which Olly won 6-1 for a 6-2 6-1 victory. The consensus among some of the spectators was that Matias needs to play more games against players of a higher standard than himself to reach the next level.

On hard court 5, the tall Gabriele Abatti had to play the tournament top seed Marcio Sugui. Before joining West Heath at the start of this season, Gabriele has had six years off tennis, during which he had done some boxing, including Oxford vs Cambridge varsity matches. The consensus is that he has steadily grown in consistency since joining, and that there is more to come. Marcio is a leftie, whose eventual objective is to invest in his own tennis academy in Brazil(?).

From the distance of the grass court, it looked to be a very competitive match. But Marcio took it 6-0 6-1. Gabriele commented that he had put the ball maybe 20 cm out on a number of critical points, which made it very difficult to keep up with Marcio.

A mixed quarter final match followed between Joseph Rigal & Rebecca (Becca) Vaughan and the third seeds Greg Lim & Marjan Denis. The men are both strong hitters, though Greg intercepts better at the net, and is a little more consistent. Marjan has a good all round game, but Becca is more accurate. From the beginning it looked as if the outcome of the match might depend on whether Becca could keep the ball away from Greg when he was at the net.

The first set was pretty even up to 5 all, with Becca and Marjan each broken once. But then Becca was broken again, to give the seeds the first set 7-5. In the second set the challengers Joseph & Becca upped their game, and took it 6-3. The momentum was thus with Joseph & Becca going into the match tie break. During a nervy start for both sides, Joseph & Becca reached 7-2 before Greg & Marjan won a string of points to pull it back somewhat. Joseph still ended up on serve at 9-6 up with two points to serve to close it out. On the first, Marjan returned well and the seeds won the point. But on the second, after a good return from Greg, Joseph (I think) hit a ball to Marjan that looked marginally out. Greg called “leave” to Marjan, but it was too late, and she could not take her racket away from the shot, which ended up in the side netting. Joseph & Becca thus won 5-7 6-3 [10-7] in a very tight match.

Greg Lim had already played two matches (men’s and mixed doubles) in the day, but was now required to step up to a men’s singles match against Alex Taylor. Both have decent games, but Greg plays for the Mens I team while Alex plays for the Mens II. However, Alex has some very useful shots.

Alex view was that Greg’s strategy had been to pummel his forehand, especially on the serve, and Greg seemed to agree with this. In general it worked, as Greg won the match 6-2 6-3.

The last match of the day was a ladies’ doubles, and was actually played on grass, which had just about dried out by then. Julia Abbot & Liz Hill were playing the second seeds Becca Vaughan & Bianca Gillam. In the first set, Julia and Liz managed to hold serve once and broke Bianca, but did not manage a break in the second set. Becca & Bianca won 6-2 6-1.

Phew! I think that is all the match reports from yesterday! See most of you this evening.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Saturday 22nd July 2023

Only two matches were played today. No photos were taken.

In the ladies’ doubles, Sabine Casperie & Elena Pavlidou took on the third seeds Marjan Denis & Lesley South. Marjan & Lesley won 6-0 6-2.

In the mixed, partners Dominic Green & Karen Wilshire played Sultan Gangji & Jen Ehr, the second seeds. Sultan & Jen won 6-1 6-0.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Gourmet Dinners

Tuesday and Wednesday are all full now, and the notice for Monday is a little late now, but you can still sign up for Gourmet Dinner for this coming on Thursday . See the chefs and cuisine on the picture below.

Any volunteers to create a delectable home made pudding for Thursday would be much appreciated! Contact Sultan or Moira.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Friday 21st July 2023

Two matches were played late afternoon.

On court 2, there was a tight but swingy (you will see what I mean) ladies’ doubles between Jane Boyle & Elena Valarche and Jenny Warren & Moira Duncan. Jane is a lefty who can produce a lot of slice. Elena likes coming to the net at every possible opportunity, but the pair haven’t played together a lot. Jenny &Moira have played together more. Jenny has a consistent game and Moira has a particularly strong forehand.

In the event it was Jane & Elena who got going fastest, getting to a lead of 4-2. But Jenny & Moira dug in to get the score back to 5 all, then 6 all. Jenny and Moira ran away with the tie break to take it 7-2 for the first set.

But in the second set, Jane &Elena piled on the pressure once more, to take the set 6-2 to bring on a Match Tie Break (first to 10 etc.). Again, momentum swung behind Jenny and Moira who reached a 7-2 lead. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t enough to win a Match Tie Break. That gave Jane & Elena the opportunity to recover the lost minibreaks and equalise the score at 8 points all. In the crucial battle for the last two points, Jenny & Moira secured the minibreak to give them a tight 7-6⁷⁻² 2-6 [10-8] victory.

The match finished at precisely the same time as the men’s singles match below.

The second match played was a men’s singles between Peter Davies and Logan Mair, the third seed. Logan plays for the first team and has a lot of hard and tricky serves and shots. Peter is now 18 months on from a successful hip replacements, is highly mobile and understands how to win points, but has no particularly strong shots to trouble Logan. Peter’s aim was to get one or two games and have a bit of fun. This was helped somewhat by the fact Logan had been up playing golf at 6:30 in the morning, some distance from London.

The match went as you might expect. Logan won most of the points, and hit a lot of winners from loose shots by Peter, but made one or two errors. In particular most of Logan’s fast first serves seemed to be going out. Peter managed to craft a few points, and hit a small number of winners which added up to one game in each set He also set up half a dozen relatively straightforward winners but then failed to execute. But they would not have changed the course of the match. Sultan commented that Logan was made to work for his 6-1 6-1 victory. But not too hard, fortunately, considering his services were required for a tight men’s first team match to be played the same evening. West Heath men’s I beat Globe I 14-10.

After the event, Peter checked the records for the previous match between them, which was a second round men’s singles match in 2017, which Logan won 6-2 6-2. So one game per set was not actually enough to show progress. Never mind!

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Weds/Thurs 19th & 20th July 2023

In the men’s singles, three further matches were played, so there was only one outstanding match (Geoff Isaacs vs Andrei Cristescu) in that draw by the end of Thursday. Unfortunately the weather doesn’t look too good for the weekend and following, so better to get matches played early if possible right now

Bruce Rigal played Gabriele Abatti, watched by Joseph, Bruce’s son, who also supplied the match report (which has been lightly edited).

This was a tighter match than the scores would suggest, and many games went to deuce. But Gabriele was more consistent when it mattered, though Bruce competed well to make it a good match to watch and play.

The spectators were all very surprised when told at the end of the match that Gabriele had won it 6-1 6-0, as it seemed much closer.

Richard Keep, the sixth seed, had a busy day on Thursday. First he played Steve Yoo in the round of 32, winning a tight first set 6-4, but taking the second set more easily for a 6-4 6-2 victory.

Richard then went on to play Philip Reid in the round of 16. The first set of this match was an even tighter affair, reaching 5 all before Richard went on to take it 7-5. But Philip got only 1 game in the second set, Richard winning the match 7-5 6-1.

Jasper Tresider was due to play Marc Reid in the singles, but Marc has injured his elbow, so has had to withdraw. Jasper progresses to the Quarter Final with a walkover over Marc.

In the ladies singles, Julia Abbot played Posy Frederick, the fourth seed. Julia said she struggled with Posy’s topspin, but was able to slice well, according to Posy. Julia had advantage point a few times but wasn’t able to convert it to games. Posy won 6-0 6-0.

Marjan Denis supplied the following match report:-

“Thursday saw the debut of Elena Pavlidou in the ladies singles draw against Marjan Denis. Elena has been hitting with her partner David Hirst, so is used to hitting hard balls back and is very quick around the court with good anticipation.  Marjan had to concentrate on hitting balls back close to the lines, as they were often returned with interest and some good angles.

Even the slightly dodgy bounce in the near side service box didn’t daunt Elena, as most serves were returned.  It was an entertaining match, but experience told in the end, resulting in a 6-2 6-1 victory for Marjan.  The score didn’t reflect the closeness of the match.”

This completes the lineup of the seeds in the semi finals, so Sultan’s seeding worked out perfectly in this event.

In the men’s doubles, Kerry Karageorgis & J P Doumeng took on Paul O’Flynn & Jasper Tresider. Paul and Jasper took the first set 6-3. The second set must have been more competitive, because it reached 5 all before Paul and Jasper broke for a 6-3 7-5 victory.

Also in the men’s doubles, Dan Dalton & Nic Sweeting played Alex Vallmajor & Alan Calleja, the fourth seeds. The match report below is from Nic Sweeting:-

“The glamorous seeded pairing of Alan (Malta) and Alex (Spain) arrived on a high, having played the West Heath Men’s Second Team into promotion on Monday. After imperiously ordering some interlopers to the bullrushes and cholera of Court 3, regular partners Nic (Herts.) and Dan (Berks.), who have racked up over 1000 hours of playing time together since joining the club last year, won the toss and elected to serve. 

Straight away Nic was broken as the continentals swarmed the net, insouciantly smashing away any and all attempted lobs. Further diffident play in the face of Alan’s powerful lefty serve and overwhelming net presence and the Spaniard’s elegant volleys and depth-charge groundstrokes led the British pairing to lose the first set 6-0 in under half an hour.

With a growing crowd on Centre Court and nothing to lose, the Brits finally calibrated their racquets in the second set with improved serving and some well-timed lobs and passing shots on to the baselines and tramlines. At one point they were only 3-1 down after breaking back, but found holding serve difficult, Nic missing a couple of straightforward volleys at the net following some venomous serving from Dan. The games grew tighter and the rallies longer but at 5-1 down Nic faced two match points on his serve…which he successfully fended off, his powderpuff second serve luring his opponents into shots landing beyond the baseline. The match was over shortly afterwards, a heavy British defeat in the best tradition of Scott of the Antarctic and other heroic failures. The final score 6-0, 6-2 to the fourth seeds, Alex & Alan. Alan and Alex advance to a mouthwatering encounter with the winners of a more contentious game on Court 3.”

Aaron Watkins was paired up with Alex Taylor in the men’s doubles. But, close to the end of his trip to the USA, Aaron injured his back, lifting a heavy suitcase on to a high luggage rack. Although Aaron had a couple of try-out games before visiting the physio, the latter has laid down the law and Aaron has had to withdraw from all events. Hence Jack Arnold & David Hirst get a walkover into the quarter finals.

Bruce Rigal & Brian Coffey took on the third seeds, Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim, in the men’s doubles. Bruce and Brian did get a game in the second set, but that was it. Sultan & Greg won 6-0 6-1.

Steve Yoo & Maciek Janowski (both decent players) took on brothers Philip & Marc Reid in the decently close match in the men’s doubles. The first set must have been relatively even up to 5 all, but the Reids then took it 7-5, and went on to take the second set 6-3 for a 7-5 6-3 win.

Meanwhile, Joseph Rigal & Olly Turner, the second seeds, played Kris Engley & Andrei Cristescu. Kris and Andrei must have played very well in the first set, but the seeds took it 6-4. The score in the second set was less even, with Joseph & Olly giving out a bagel to win the match 6-4 6-0.

With both round of 16 matches out of the way above, Philip & Marc Reid became the opponents of Joseph Rigal & Olly Turner. As in the previous match of the Reids, the first set reached 5 all. But this time it was Joseph & Olly who broke, to take the first set 7-5. The seeds also won the second set 6-2 for a 7-5 6-2 passage into the semi finals.

In the mixed, Eugene Belin & Lesley South were drawn against Nic Sweeting & Liz Hill in the (preliminary) round of 32. Nic’s match report follows (very lightly edited):-

“Nic and Liz had played together only once previously, at the second American doubles event of the summer, and their near-telepathic understanding was undiminished in the first set here, quickly breaking their opponents’ first service game and holding serve themselves to take the first set 6-4. Liz’s late arrival after a wine-fuelled luncheon in Chelsea can only have helped.

The second set saw Eugene and Lesley respond with some unstoppable tennis, their angled returns and devastating net play ratcheting up the pressure and forcing errors from their opponents, leading to two breaks of serve. Volleys that Nic had calmly dispatched with clinical efficiency in the opening set now landed well beyond the tramlines as Eugene and Lesley established a commanding 5-0 lead. Inspired serving and some well-cushioned volleyed lobs from Liz swung the pendulum the other way as she and Nic won three games in a row before Nic sent a routine shot well out of bounds to concede the set.

But the momentum remained with the shorter-named pair as they raced into a 5-1 lead at the first change of ends in the championship tie-break, which they went on to win after a late scare. A real game of two halves (plus one fifth or so to allow for the match tie break).

Nic & Liz thus won 6-4 3-6 (10-5), and face seeds Logan Mair & Posy Frederick in the round of 16.”

I hope this report includes all the results, photos and match reports from Wednesday and Thursday (except for one report promised to me for later). However, it was quite complicated, so please WhatsApp me if I have missed something. (Peter Davies.)

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Tuesday 18 July 2023

There were 6 matches played today, and one was deferred. The draw seems to be progressing nicely, though there are still 4 matches to play past the R32 date in the men’s singles and one in the mixed. Either you know who you are(!), or I don’t know that you have played and don’t have the result.

Kerry Karageorgis has a new infant, and fatherhood still includes interrupted sleep. Nevertheless, he agreed to play his singles against Matias Piazza at 8 am on Tuesday morning, perhaps regretting it after a rough night with a crying baby.

Matias has a good all round game. Kerry is more hit and miss but can hit some decent winners. Kerry commented that he (Kerry) “didn’t show up”, but it doesn’t seem to be that clear cut. Matias held serve throughout the match, and broke Kerry only once in the first set but twice in the second set for a 6-3 6-1 victory. The match was closer than the score suggests.

Also in the men’s singles, Dan Dalton played Jasper Tresider. Jasper said he was feeling rather ill and tired from the men’s 2nd team match the previous night and struggling with the humidity. But beware a wounded animal! Dan had a solid first serve, but occasional double faults lost him a few games. Perhaps surprisingly, considering his comments, Jasper served well and did not miss many returns. 4 or 5 games went to deuce, but Jasper won 6-1 6-0.

Paul O’Flynn took on Philip Reid in the men’s singles. In a slightly different scenario to Jasper, Paul is a surgeon of international repute, had been operating on an Egyptian military patient over the weekend, and had to take a 3 am Sunday night flight back from Cairo to get back to play his tournament match.

The match was close up until 2 all. Then there was a long game on Paul’s serve in which Philip broke. At that point Paul started to run out of energy, and couldn’t mount an effective defence against Philip’s booming serves and wide wingspan to retrieve balls on the other strokes. Philip seems to be well over 6′ 4″. Philip won 6-2 6-1.

Kris Engley played Marcio Sugui, the top seed in the men’s singles. Kris didn’t get any games in the first set, but managed to clock up two games in the second set which resulted in 6-0 6-2 win for Marcio.

Jeff Fine & Penny Isaacs played Brian Coffey & Jenny Warren in the mixed. This would have been an interesting one to predict. Jeff is a wily competitor and has been second team captain in his time but seems to think he suffers from the common tennis malady of “anno domini”. Penny is Ms consistent, who will retrieve most wide balls and return groundstrokes or lobs all day long, and has also been developing a net game. Brian has some good powerful strokes, but also has two artificial hips and two replacement knees and quite a bit of anno domini too. Jenny plays consistently and knows where to hit the ball.

I don’t have a match report, but the first set went 6-3 to Brian & Jenny. Brian & Jenny took the second set too, perhaps surprisingly, 6-0, for a 6-3 6-0 victory.

Paul Rubie & Sabine Casparie played Greg Lim & Marjan Denis, the third seeds, in the mixed. Greg and Marjan are a long standing mixed doubles partnership playing competitive inter-club tennis at a high level. Sabine and Paul are a decent players, but not with the same track record of inter-club competitive matches. Greg and Marjan won the match 6-0 6-1.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – Monday 17 July 2023

Three matches appear to have been played today.

In the singles, Fred Davidson played the fourth seed, Greg Lim on grass court 2, prior to the men’s second team match. No one has sent me anything on this match, apart from the result. Greg won the match 6-0 6-0.

In parallel with the men’s league match on the grass, Barry Adamson & Matias Piazza played a men’s doubles match against the top seeds Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke. Barry and Matias had game points, but fate was unkind in that net balls bounced the wrong side etc., so it wasn’t to be. By common consent, the 6-0 6-0 win by the top seeds does not properly reflect the competitive nature of the match.

Sabine Casparie played Elena Valarche on a grass court. Elena’s view of how to play tennis is basically to get to the net and volley, and she will generally win a match unless the opponent’s ground strokes are good enough to pass her or their lob is good enough. Sabine basically needed to keep Elena away from the net somehow or lob her successfully. Elena can jump a lot higher if it is required to hit a high volley.

Elena won only a few points directly from her service, but was generally successful in chipping and coming in to the net, where she won most of her points. Sabine did circumvent Elena’s strategy some of the time, but it wasn’t enough to stop Elena winning 6-2 6-1.

As it seems to have caused a little confusion, it may be worth pointing out that there are now two “Elena”s in the club – Elena Valarche (with a Russian accent, pronounced “ell” “ain” “ah” with the stress on the “ain”) and Elena Pavlidou (“ell” “en” “ah” with the stress on the “ell”)! However, that is less than half the number of “Alex”es in the club, mostly among the men, and this does not seem to be a major problem.

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2023 2023 Tournament Tournament

Tournament report – weekend 15/16 July 2023

Saturday 15th July 2023

Following a slow start, when no matches were played on the first Thursday and Friday, the weather wasn’t too friendly on Saturday 15th July. In particular it was very windy. But four brave souls did venture out on to the court.

The first match of the tournament was a mixed doubles played between Barry Adamson & Susan Grossman and the couple of Dominic Green & Karina Wilsher in one of the three round of 32 matches. Due to damp grass, the match took place on a hard court.

The wind prevented a lot of hard hitting, which is Barry’s speciality – no sooner did you line up a shot than the wind put the ball in the wrong place. Honours were even until 5 all in the first set, when Barry & Susan got broken to cede the set 7-5 to Dominic & Karina. In the second set, Dominic & Karina started to get more of a feel for the conditions, and the opponents, and Barry & Susan could not prevent a loss of the second set with no games. Thus Dominic & Karina won the match 7-5 6-0, and face the second seeds, Jen Ehr & Sultan Gangji, in the next, round of 16 match.

During his otherwise excellent visit to the USA, Aaron Watkins strained his back. Presumably, not wishing to let down his partners in the men’s or mixed double, nor let down the WH men’s second team for the match on Monday, Aaron gave Peter Davies a walkover in the men’s singles. Let us hope this allows a full recovery.

Sunday 16 July 2023

As the wind dropped somewhat from the day before, and there were no more than a few spots of rain, quite a few matches were played today.

In an early afternoon mixed, Sally Tornow & Richard Nightingale took on Jane Boyle & Aaron Watkins. Richard played consistently and Sally hit some net winners, but Jane & Aaron were able to break serve and win the majority of the points to take the match 6-2 6-3.

Only one men’s doubles match was played today, between Eugene Belin & Minsuk Jun, and Mark Webb & Peter Davies. Eugene & Minsuk are a new partnership. Minsuk and his wife “Diana” (Dahyun) Nam only joined at the beginning of this season, after some time on the wait list – something West Heath LTC had never had to implement in over 100 years of existence until the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns started! We welcome them.

Eugene plays consistent doubles, while Minsuk plays less doubles and can hit hard, though not so consistently as Eugene. Mark has a strong baseline game, but was suffering somewhat from a late night with his brother the previous evening. According to Barry Adamson, Peter’s strength is the ability to analyse court positions and identify the optimum place to hit the ball to best disrupt opponents.

A few breaks were exchanged before the score reached 5 all, but then Minsuk was broken and Mark & Peter held to win the first set 7-5. During the second set, Mark & Peter were able to hold serve more frequently, and closed out the match at 7-5 6-2.

Six men’s singles matches were also played on the Sunday, giving a good boost to the round of 16 matches which have to be played by Tuesday, though there are still a couple of round of 32 matches outstanding.

David Cohen took on Joseph Rigal, the 8th seed. As yet there is no report on this match, but Joseph won it 6-0 6-1.

Earlier, J P Doumeng took on David Hirst in still blustery conditions. David commented he was struggling to line up to hit winners in the wind, and most of the match was a struggle to make sure shots went in, rather than lose points with errors. Apparently there was one notable rally where JP hit the ball with considerable pace, to be returned by David with interest for a winner. David won the match 6-3 6-2.

Jeff Fine is a wily and experienced competitor. On court 1, he and Alex Taylor had a close first set, but Alex broke one more time than Jeff to take it 6-4. Jeff ascribed the second set to “anno domini” and the fact that Alex plays for the men’s second team. When I pointed out that Jeff had played for the men’s second team for many years, captaining it for quite a while too, Jeff explained that a few decades had passed since then. Alex won the match 6-4 6-0.

Later on court 1, Jack Arnold took on Alex Vallmajor, who is Spanish. Both play for the men’s second team. Alex believes he was inspired later on in the match by the cheers from the clubhouse, indicating the Wimbledon triumph of his fellow countryman, Carlos Alcaraz.

Alex plays a consistent game. Jack’s style of serving consists of first serves and second serves. If the first serve goes in then he has a good start in the point. If not, then the second serve is likely to be an ace or lead to a double fault.

In the first set, Jack’s second second serves were generally going in, and there was only one net break in favour of Alex, who took the set 6-4. But in the second set the second service accuracy and luck deserted Jack, possibly because of the exertions of the tight first set. And, as mentioned above, by that time, Alex knew about the Alcaraz win. Alex took the match 6-4 6-0. Incidentally, that makes the second Alex of the day to win his singles match 6-4 6-0!!

Yet another singles on court 1 was between Nic Sweeting and Logan Mair. Nic’s report is below – but where is the picture? The context of Nic’s remarks about Logan’s tennis kits is that, at the recent West Heath AGM, Logan was strongly pushing that all tennis matches at West Heath should be played in tennis whites, as at the Cumberland. But Logan actually turned out for his match with Nic dressed in black tennis kit and black tennis shoes, before Nic’s intervention.

“Sunday evening saw the hotly anticipated encounter between Logan Mair (3rd seed) and Nic Sweeting (unseeded) in the swaying grasses of number one court. Sweeting gained an early advantage by wearing all white, pushing Mair to change his own shirt. 

Roared on by his fellow second teamers in the grandstand, the unfancied Sweeting won his first service game to love. Mair then did the same. Next the players exchanged breaks of serve before Mair pulled away with some brisk serving to take the set 6-3.

The second set saw Mair’s superior groundstrokes power him into a five-love lead, despite some signs of deftness from Sweeting in getting to a couple of dropshots, and setting up some himself. Using a slice serve into the wind to good effect on the mossy surface, Sweeting was able to win a consolation game.”

In the preliminary round of 64 men’s singles scheduled for 7 pm between Dan Dalton and Minsuk Jun, Dan hit 2 aces in the first game and relied on his serve to win games. Minsuk did not play as well as Dan in the first set, losing it 6-2. However, he must have been more into the match in the second set, taking a 4-0 lead before Dan broke back to take it to 5 all. Dan then broke Minsuk to take the match 6-2 7-5, just in time to avoid getting soaked. They shared 2 pots of glorious beer under a golden rainbow – or was it the other way around?

Also in the men’s singles, Olly Turner was given a walkover by Paul Rubie.

On court 2, Julia Abbot & Peter Davies played the couple Elena Pavlidou & David Hirst. David plays in the men’s second team and can hit hard and hit winners off suitable height mid court balls if he has time to line them up. Elena does not hit the ball hard, but can put away anything within reach at the net, and rarely makes an unforced error, though she does not get to every ball in the same way that David can. David would generally chase lobs and anything at the back, leaving Elena at the net, but also come in to put away mid court high balls where there was enough time.

Julia struggled a little with some of David’s heavy serves, but otherwise played consistently. Peter and Julia tried to play tactically, keeping the ball away from David as far as possible, while also not giving Elena anything to hit at the net. The strategy did not work so well in the first set, not helped by Peter losing his first service game. Though Julia and Peter had chances, they set up Elena and David too many times for winners, which the couple rarely missed.

In the second set the strategy worked better as breaks were traded and the score reached 5 all. But at this point Julia and Peter hit a few loose balls, while Elena and David made no mistake in breaking serve and serving out the match.

On court 2, there was a late mixed doubles match between Phillip & Martha Reid and Joseph Rigal & Becca Vaughan. Becca was possibly intimidated initially by one of the opponents seemingly being nearly twice her height (at least in the picture). Joseph supplied the information for the following match report:-

Although the opponents struggled with Philip’s big serve and hits, there were a few breaks in the first set which ended up favouring Joseph and Becca who took the set 6-4. In set two, Martha was broken twice to put Joseph and Becca up 5-2, but Martha and Philip broke back on Becca’s serve to make it 5-3. On Philip’s big service game, there was some heroic defensive scrambling from Becca in one particular point to nullify Philip’s big hits. This set up her and Joseph for the first break of Philip’s serve, to win 6-4, 6-3.

Categories
2023 2023 Tournament

Tournament 2023

2022 West Heath Club Tournament Finals Day winners, runners up, spectators and special guests

The Tournament draws are now published for the 2023 Club Tournament, taking place between Thursday 13th July and Saturday 29th July. They will also be posted in the clubhouse. Also see:-

Match reports and other information will be posted regularly on this web page (link here).

During the last week of the Tournament there will be the traditional Gourmet Dinners. Finals Day is Saturday 29th July, with the customary Finals Day Tea and evening BBQ.