In the ladies singles, Mikika Joshi took on Elena Valarche, the third seed. And, against the odds and Sultan’s seeding, Mihika beat Elena 6-1 6-2. Next, Mihika gets to play Jen Ehr, the top seed.
It looks like no matches were played on the rather wet Wednesday.
There was plenty of entertainment for the enthusiastic spectators on Thursday.
On the grass, Jack Burgess played Stephen Cooke, the fourth seed and 2019 doubles title holder. We don’t know for sure whether Jack had ever played on grass before, but he commented at the end of the match that he was just getting going, on the sixth game of the second set, when the match ended without him clocking up any games.
On hard court 4, David Cohen was playing Steve Yoo in the men’s singles. Steve was concentrating wonderfully in the first set, and managed to win it 6-1. This continued in the second set, which he led 5-0 and match point. At this point, not only was a mixed doubles waiting to go on court 4, but also his wife and kids walked by to distract him (or so he claimed). The rot set in, David dug in and put the pressure on, and won the next three games. However, Steve did then regain his composure to take the match 6-1 6-3.
Taking over on hard court 4 was a mixed match involving Moira Duncan & Howard Kingston vs Marjan Denis & Greg Lim, the top seeds this year, since Andra Marinescu, who won it with Marcio Sugui last year, is living temporarily in Surrey. Howard’s service is particularly effective on a grass court, so it is a bit of a surprise he allowed himself to play on a hard court. Howard and Moira did their best, and managed to break Marjan twice. They also held Howard’s serve twice, but that was it, for a 6-2 6-2 victory to Marjan and Greg.
On the grass, there was also a men’s doubles, with Brian Coffey & Gideon Stone taking on the third seeds, Jeff Fine and Geoff Isaacs. This must have been quite a hum-dinger. Bionic Brian (hip, two knees and both eyes, apparently) and Gideon took a closely fought first set 6-4 to worry the seeds. The seeds dug in to take the second set to 6 all, and won the tie break (anyone remember the score?). Gideon has less excuse than the others, but the other three players must have had senior moments at the same time, as no-one remembered that there was supposed to be a Champions tie break at one set all in all the doubles events. Anyhow, the score in the third set reached 2 all when Sultan intervened to remind everyone. Brian and Gideon went on to win a tight Champions tie break 10-8, to provide the first upset of the tournament.
To the best of my knowledge, no matches were played on Monday. I have three results and match reports from the matches for Tuesday, as follows.
On the hard courts, the veteran mixed pair of Jane Boyle & Brian Coffey took on the third seeds Margaux Valarche & Logan Mair. Brian is pleased just to be on court nowadays, sporting a pair of bionic knees obtained in operations last year. But he is just “breaking them in” so to speak, as far as tennis is concerned. Margaux was struggling somewhat with her serve, and ended up having to serve underarm. But the rest of her game was certainly on a high last time I saw her play. Margaux and Logan justified their seeding by winning 6-2 6-0.
Stephen Cooke is one half of the reigning men’s doubles from 2019, the other half being Tom Tapper. Tom is not available this year, and Stephen attempted to co-opt Tim Simpson to assist in his title defence. However, this was not to be, which is why Tim Simpson & Logan Mair are second seeds this year in the men’s doubles and were hoping for an easy win over Marco Baldini & Howard Kingston. Marco is new to the club this year. However Logan had already played Howard in the singles, and was well aware that Howard’s first serve can be extremely difficult to return on grass – if it goes in.
Apparently, this turned out to be a very entertaining match, with some terrific rallies. And, after a few aces by Howard, it turned out to be a much harder slog for the seeds than anticipated. Tim ended up having to throw himself around the grass court Becker-style with some wonderful diving volleys to secure vital points. Logan hit “wild” (to quote Sultan) powerful backhands towards the net player on others. However, consistency and experience came through in the end, with Logan and Tim securing a 6-4 6-3 victory.
Stephen Cooke is now paired up with Steve Yoo.
Marco Baldini is a new member this year and played Geoff Isaacs, the fifth seed in the men’s singles. From the score it seemed like quite a good match, which Geoff won 6-4 6-3.
In the men’s singles, Gideon Stone played Tim Simpson. Tim won 6-3 6-3.
If you have anything to report, please email me at the address on the list, or text or WhatsApp me on 07957 followed by 199 583. Thanks. (The number is separated to avoid robots reading it then spamming my mobile number.)
The 2020 tournament has started. About time too! Unfortunately the weather was rather wet on Saturday, and no matches were played.
On Sunday, the first match played was a ladies doubles on a hard court where Susan Grossman & Puyisha Kapila took on the second seeds, Jen Ehr & Becca Vaughan, who have played with each other for a few years outside West Heath. Susan and Puyisha competed vigorously, won points in most games, and detained Jen and Becca on court for the best part of an hour, but didn’t get any games.
The other two matches played were men’s singles, involving the top two seeds, though they weren’t playing each other. Cedric de la Chaise isn’t playing in the tournament this year.
In the first match the second seed, Logan Mair, offered Howard Kingston a choice of surfaces. Howard thought the occasional random bounce on the grass might serve him better than it would Logan. At the start of the match my thought was that, if Howard could get his first serve in, he was in with a good chance of winning quite a few services games against Logan. And so it proved, though Howard also threw in a few double faults for good measure. An early service game of Howards must have had something like 14 deuces – mainly from advantage to Logan, and often rescued by a good first service in from Howard. With the help of Howard’s serves, some random bounces and a few overhits from Logan, matters reached 3 all. Howard set up a number of good serve and volley points, but sometimes seemed to me to be trying to hit the volleys too hard rather than placing them, dumping the ball in the net. Logan was also hitting his first serves hard, but seemed to win ground stroke points more consistently when he went for placement rather than outright pace. Logan took the next three games rather quickly for a 6-3 set.
The second set was somewhat similar, with Howard taking a couple of service games earlier on, but Logan’s consistency giving him the games later, for a 6-3 6-2 victory, with Howard acquitting himself well. Logan’s next opponent is either Jeff Fine or Alex Shemie.
In the evening session the top seed, Marcio Sugui, was playing Fred Davidson. Fred is improving all the time, particularly on the serve, taking advantage of his height, and has been seen to throw down the occasional ace in a men’s doubles. Having recently married, Fred’s wife, Soo Teng, is expecting their first child around Christmas, so she is not entering this year. Meanwhile Marcio has been in the wars, tennis wise. He slipped when playing on a clay court, injuring both hands, and particularly his left thumb (he is a leftie), which he could not move for a couple of days. Four weeks later he was able to play again but has been getting pain in his left elbow, as he had during this match. Fred has played on grass a fair bit this season, but, in the absence of any team matches, this was Marcio’s first time on grass this season.
Marcio broke Fred’s first service game, but Fred then held his serve for the rest of the first set. Meanwhile Fred struggled to return Marcio’s leftie swing serves. Marcio was trying too much to force the pace early on, and getting elbow pain as a result. Having taken the first set 6-3, Marcio eased off, going for blocking the service returns and consistency and placement of ground strokes. This worked rather better, and Fred struggled to take any games in the second, with Marcio winning the match 6-3 6-0. Marcio next meets David Cohen or Steve Yoo.
The Tournament officially begins on FRIDAY 14th AUGUST and the FINALS will
be played on SATURDAY 29th AUGUST starting at 2 pm. If rain prevents play,
the FINALS will be played on SUNDAY 30th AUGUST. The Draw will be up by
WEDNESDAY 12th AUGUST to allow competitors to arrange matches during the
week. First round matches must be played before or on SUNDAY 16th August.
Courts can be booked online via ClubSpark and competitors are asked to book
the courts they intend to play on.
The players whose name appears in the top half of the bracket are initially
responsible for challenging their opponents.
The tournament is to be played on all the courts, apart from the semi-finals and
the Finals, which will be played on grass, unless the weather does not permit. In
the event of disagreement between the opponents on the surface to be chosen,
this will be decided by the spin of the racket.
- New Balls will be provided for the FINALS.
All rounds are to be played within the scheduled time indicated at the top of each
draw sheet in order to allow smooth progress. Extensions will only be permitted
in exceptional circumstances and with permission from the joint Referees.
All matches will be the best of 3 Tie-Break Sets except the DOUBLES EVENTS
which will have the 3rd set as a MATCH TIE-BREAK (i.e. Champions T/B with a
Team reaching 10 points with a margin of 2). The rules of the Tiebreak are
All matches must be continuous and appeal for bad light will be considered after
Please give your Entry Fees £3 for single event/£5 for multiple event to Moira or
- Competitors are expected to volunteer to be lines persons on Finals day.
- Mixed Doubles Final will be scheduled for Thursday 27th August.
- The schedule for 2nd week is fixed with Gourmet Dinners hopefully.
- The Joint Referees are Marjan and Sultan whose decisions will remain final.
On Friday the weather forecast for Finals Day was looking pretty dire. However, the Metweather forecast improved by Saturday morning and showed very little rain after 2 pm. Fortunately it was more or less correct. Although no play was possible on the somewhat squelchy grass courts, the rain stopped by 2 pm. The hard courts were a little damp, but were soon playable. Many of the spectators wore woollies or outdoor jackets, as it was a little nippy, particularly compared to some of the record temperatures experienced recently.
A few cute babies have recently made an appearance at West Heath. But James McKenzie refused to hold his three month old son in the umpire’s chair during Thursday’s mixed final, leaving him to entertain members of the crowd. However, 15 month old twins made use of the grass courts during the finals as a play area, taking great delight in throwing tennis balls for others to fetch, though it will be a while before they can return balls over the netting or hit the ball over it. Nowadays you have to start training team players early, and these two are progressing fast.
Before the ladies’ doubles final could be played, there was the little matter of the resumption of the semi final at the top of the draw. After some uncertainty in securing a partner willing and able to play in the second week, Lesley South teamed up with Emily, back from recent extensive travels, to take on the top seeds Marjan Denis and Sue Ehr. The first installment of the match took place on Friday evening, and reached 4-0 to Marjan and Sue before it was interrupted by rain. The resumption followed on from the ladies’ singles final on hard court 2, and resulted in a 6-1 6-0 victory for Marjan and Sue.
Men’s singles final
The men’s singles final took place between the top two seeds, Marcio Sugui and Cedric de la Chaise, the 2018 champion, umpired by Kevin Ryan. Marcio has a big swing serve which is particularly effective on grass, and the enforced move to the hard courts reduced his chances considerably. Cedric was not playing that well at the start of the second week, but his game has improved steadily since then and the hard court surface plays to his strengths.
Marcio struggled to make an impression on Cedric. Even when under pressure from good shots from Marcio, he was typically able to manufacture a shot landing a foot or less inside the corner of the court for a winner beyond the reach of Marcio. Beyond that, Cedric made very few mistakes, and won the match 6-0 6-1. Clearly he timed himself to peak exactly right.
Ladies’ single final
It was a shame that Mihika Joshi had to withdraw from her semi-final match with the top seed and title holder Andra Marinescu. However, Andra still had to beat the second seed, Marjan Denis in the final to retain the title. The umpire was Greg Lim.
It was clear at the start of this match that Marjan was a little nervous of accelerating too fast on the court surface while it was potentially still slippery. As the match progressed the court dried and Marjan was happy to run for everything. However, with her usual topspin power games, Andra was still able to hit balls out of reach. Let’s just say that, since first entering the singles in 2018, Andra hasn’t yet dropped a game, and the result in the final didn’t change that.
Men’s doubles final
For a change, this was contested between the third and fourth seeds, Stephen Cooke and Tom Tapper and Greg Lim and Tim Simpson respectively, and umpired by Ed Fitzgerald. It was expected to be a tight match, and indeed it so proved. Greg has particularly pacy shots on a hard court where the consistent bounce allows him to line up the shot. Tim is particularly strong on the volley, including both serve and volley and crossing to intercept. Meanwhile, at least based on this match, Stephen and Tom seem to have a good general all-round game with a low error rate. The switch in surface favoured them.
There were both breaks and break backs in both sets. In the first, the set reached 5 all before Tim was broken and Tom held to win the set 7-5. The second set reached 6 all, requiring a set tie break. Here the higher consistency of Stephen and Tom enabled them to win the tie break 7-3 for a 7-5 7-67-3 victory.
Ladies’ doubles final
The 2019 final was played between two pairs which included one leftie each. Jane Boyle(leftie) and Barbara Thomas were the second seeds, up against Marjan Denis and Sue Ehr (leftie), the top seeds. Marjan and Sue Ehr were well warmed up from the previous, contiguous semi-final match against Lesley South and Emily, and, the grass courts being unplayable, there was no spare court to allow Jane and Barbara to warm up beforehand, so there was an extended knock up. Sue can sometimes get nervous, but in this match she showed no signs of it. Marjan and Sue broke more than once to take the first set 6-2, and then romped away with the second set 6-1 for a 6-2 6-1 victory.
Finals day tea, prize giving and evening barbecue
After the mens’ doubles final, the grand finals day tea was declared open.
In the absence of any celebrities this year, Sultan Gangji presented the trophies himself, one of which had to be polished first.
Here are the winners (on the left) and the runners up (on the right)
The evening barbecue was enjoyed by everyone attending.
Many thanks to all those helping with the running of the tournament (Sultan and Marjan), the Gourmet dinners (Julia, Jill, Lesley, Moira, Marjan, Rachael, Lara), and all the players who have provided such great entertainment during the tournament.
This was my twentieth set of tournament reports, having put together the web site in plenty of time for the 2000 tournament. A few years ago James McKenzie converted it to WordPress, to allow non-technical people to post articles, which has reduced the time required to make posts. I look forward to entertaining you all, or at least informing you all, again next year.
All the original photos used in the tournament reports, and many more that weren’t, can be found in this link. The cropped photos actually used have a prefix “whdraw19..”.
Please text Sultan if you will be coming to the BBQ on Saturday evening and have not put your name on the list in the clubhouse.
A delicious fish pie dinner, much-heralded by the forty attendees, was cooked by Rachael Gangji. Lara made wonderful pavlovas and cheese cakes to supplement it. Many thanks to Rachael and all the other Gourmet dinner chefs for an excellent Gourmet week!
On court 1 it was fourth versus first seed – Logan Mair versus Cedric de la Chaise. Logan executed well in his semi-final match to reach the final, but to beat Cedric would be altogether another step up. Although Cedric had not played that well so far in the tournment, with all the matches behind him, he was starting to get his eye in. Logan’s first step would have been to get the majority of first serves in, but Logan struggled with the first serve in this particular match. This gave Cedric the opportunity to get on top with a service return, and, more often than not, to win the point. In fact, Cedric is also capable of hitting return winners into the corners off a first serve too. Although Logan won some fine points, the balance of power was with Cedric, whether Logan was at the net or on the baseline. Cedric won the match 6-2 6-1.
On centre court, it was third versus second seed with Richard Keep hoping to upset Marcio Sugui. Richard is a leftie and it was noticeable after his semi-final match that his left elbow was sore, perhaps from the number of matches which needed to be played during the tournament period. It was bad news for Richard, as he relies on a heavy forehand and serve to compete well. Marcio is also a leftie and has a worldwide singles rating in the 700s in the over 40 group, through playing in a number of open ITF tournaments. More than one admiring lady has commented that he does not necessarily look that old.
Marcio is fit and match tight from tournament play. Richard did his best, but, even fully fit, would not have been favourite to win. Without his two major weapons fully functioning, the result was never seriously in doubt and Marcio won the match 6-3 6-1.
Interesting fact – the average age of the men’s semi-finalists is 46 – Logan 50, Cedric 49, Richard 43, Marcio 42. The youngsters have put up a good showing in the doubles this year – the finalists are the third and fourth seeds. But when will the new guard be ready to take over in the singles?
Mixed doubles final
This was held between Greg Lim and Marjan Denis, top seeds and reigning champions, and Marcio Sugui and Andra Marinescu. Retired professional umpire James McKenzie was officiating. Greg and Marjan are an established partnership and play well together. But Andra and Marcio play a lot of competitive tennis, though not as a pair. Andra played solidly. Both Greg and Marjan found Marcio’s leftie swinging serve into the ad-court service box too difficult to handle. In the first set Marjan was returning in the ad court. Although she often got her racket to Marcio’s serve on the backhand, she found huge difficulty in anticipating the degree of swing and directing her return into court. In the second set, Greg and Marjan swapped courts, presumably to avoid the problem with Marcio’s serve, but Greg fared no better that I could see. In the end, Marcio and Andra were just too strong, and won the match 6-3 6-3.
There is one further match to play before the finals. Emily has agreed to play with Lesley South in the ladies’ doubles, and they face Marjan Denis and Sue Ehr in the semi-final at 6 pm today (Friday).
Moira Duncan provided a delicious lamb tagine for around 30 people, plus fruit and cream for dessert, and plenty of starters, including a truly giant bag of lentil crisps!
On court 1, one of the mens’ doubles semi finals consisted of Stephen Cooke and Tom Tapper (fourth seeds) against Cedric de la Chaise and Logan Mair (top seeds). In 2018, Cedric and Lajos Szucs were champions, but Lajos has returned to Hungary. Meanwhile, Stephen and Tom were finalists in the most recent Globe tournament, and have played matches for the West Heath second team this year. So it was second team versus first.
It was a good match to watch, with a lot of fast reflexes required for volleys and other shots from both sides. Tom and Stephen played an aggressive game and were just a little more match tight than the top seeds who made slightly more mistakes. This led to a 6-3 6-4 victory for Stephen and Tom. This was a surprise to a number of the spectators further away from court 1 and who had been following the other mens’ doubles semi on centre court.
On the centre court, the other mens’ doubles semi final saw Greg Lim and Tim Simpson challenge Sultan Gangji and Richard Keep. This was also a very entertaining match. Tim was everywhere at the net, and Greg mostly played solidly. Despite Richard’s swinging left serve, Sultan and Richard were often struggling to hold serve, and often couldn’t execute when winners were available to hit. Rachael was providing very partisan spectator support for Sultan, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Tim and Greg won 6-4 6-4.
The result of all this is that the seedings in the mens’ doubles were completely upset. Instead of the normal final featuring the first and second seeds, it will now consist of the third versus the fourth seeds.
Another seeding issue has come to light in the ladies’ doubles. In the 2018 tournament, Lesley South and Sally Tornow beat Jane Boyle and Barbara Thomas (then third seeds) in the first round. This year the draw was much smaller. And Jane and Barbara were second seeds, whereas Lesley and Sally were unseeded – and not as indicated by the 2018 results! This has been drawn to the attention of the seeding committee…..
The first match of the evening was a ladies’ singles semi-final between Julia Abbot and Marjan Denis, the second seed. Julia does not play as much as Marjan, which would be difficult, as she seems to spend most of her time on the tennis court. Nevertheless she is mobile, with a reasonable tactical nous, has a good volley and doesn’t make huge numbers of unforced errors. And she acquitted herself well in this match. Marjan won the first set 6-3, but Julia held it together until 5 all in the second, putting some pressure on Marjan, who was expected to win. Although Marjan can get nervous at such points, she was able to take the next couple of games to win the set 7-5 and take the match 6-3 7-5.
The first of the mixed doubles semi-finals then started on centre court between Barbara Thomas and Sultan Gangji (fourth seeds) and Marjan Denis and Greg Lim (top seeds and holders). Marjan and Greg are an experienced partnership, playing many matches together outside West Heath. Barbara and Sultan are less so. Nevertheless, Barbara and Sultan broke the holders more than once, and got into good positions in more than one game, but felt the pressure when the opportunity was there and could not convert. Marjan and Greg won the match 6-3 6-3.
The other mixed semi-final consisted of Ana and Tim Simpson (third seeds) and Andra Marinescu and Marcio Sugui. The match got bumped off court 1 before it started, having to cede the court in favour of the resumption of the last men’s quarter final, by order of the tournament referee. This was not a popular decision with the players. They decided to start the match on court 3, drainage system dips and all, rather than wait or go for a hard court. Thus the eager spectators had a menu of three matches to watch. Ana played very well, often passing Andra and Marcio down the line. Tim did his best, but Andra and Marcio set out to make it difficult for the challengers, and mainly succeeded. They took the first set 6-3, and the second 6-2 for a 6-3 6-2 victory.
The most fascinating match of the evening was the resumption of the mens’s single quarter finals between Andreas Siebold and Logan Mair. The first set was concluded in increasing gloom on Monday night. At 5 all, the tournament referee insisted they finish the first set instead of giving up for bad light. The players held their serve for 6 all, and Andreas took the tie-break 7-3. And at that point they were allowed to give up.
Andreas is very tall, and has a booming serve to match and is capable of directing it to either corner without giving away which, in advance. Logan pronounced that, at well over 120 mph, and was the heaviest serve he has ever played against. The general feeling was that, with height, comes increased distance from the ground, and increased difficulty in getting down to the low shots. However, Cedric de la Chaise commented that he would prefer to play Logan rather than Andreas in the semis, because, if you lose your serve to Andreas, you may have no chance to break back. Logan claims a 112 mph serve, and has good hands, enabling him to place balls back over the net without time to play a full stroke. The consensus was that, with the one set lead, Andreas would win if he could maintain his serve. Not least because Logan now had to win two sets, whereas Andreas required only one.
Logan had well warmed up on court 3 by the time Andreas arrived. When play resumed, Andreas, perhaps, with just the knock up, less up, made more errors than the previous evening, and Logan capitalised big time to take the set 6-0. In the final set, Andreas started well, breaking Logan’s first service game to reach a 3-1 lead and holding his own service games easily with no obvious problems. Logan played to get Andreas’ booming serve back into play wherever possible and played to Andreas’ backhand with low shots. He also used topspin lobs when Andreas came in, though also executing one excellent cross court pass which dropped just in. It was very close, but Logan managed to execute sufficiently to break back to 4 all. Logan then broke once more to take the set and the match 6-73-7 6-0 6-4. The match was played in a good spirit, and both players were clearly in the zone.
A tasty moussaka (laced with some additional ingredients such as cinnamon) was provided by Julia Abbot. Jill Elek provided the dessert of Golders Green cherries and creme caramel.
There were seven matches played this evening, including one that was not completed.
At 4:30 pm the first match on court was a ladies’ doubles semi final in which Moira Duncan and Julia Abbot played Barbara Thomas and Jane Boyle, the second seeds. Everyone was a little tense to start with, ut the score reached 3 all. At this point Barbara and Jane started to play a little better, and Moira and Julia a little worse, resulting in Barbara and Jane taking the first set 6-3. In the second set the seeds played better and won it 6-1 for a 6-3 6-1 victory.
Joseph Rigal and Richard Keep, the third seed, went on court for their men’s singles quarter final just after the ladies’ doubles started. The first game started around 5 pm, was very hard fought and set the tone for the rest of the first set. It lasted 15 minutes. In fact, Bruce Rigal, Joseph’s father, set off from Richmond after the match had started, and arrived in plenty of time to watch the conclusion. The first set lasted an hour. Joseph has a heavy serve and ground strokes powerful enough to create winners on serve. Richard did his best to slow the rallies down, relying on superior consistency to win the important points. In the end, Richard took it 6-4. The second set was similarly lengthy, but Richard had more of an edge, taking it 6-1 for a 6-4 6-1 win.
Having beaten Bruce Rigal, Howard Kingston was looking forward to his match with Cedric de la Chaise, the reigning champion. Howard served well, but was often on the defensive, and missed some winners. Cedric wasn’t playing particularly well, putting a number of balls out of court, but always had an edge. Further he knew that, if he won, he would be playing a follow on men’s single match against Tim Simpson, so was trying to conserve energy. Howard mostly held his serve in the first set, but Cedric was able to take it 6-3. Howard held his serve in the first game of the second set which was otherwise less even. Cedric won it 6-1, winning the match 6-3 6-1.
In his second match on court 1, Cedric de la Chaise had to cope with the booming serves, good volleys and heavy ground strokes of Tim Simpson. Tim won a number of points with his power. He also played a (witnessed) hot dog shot with the ball behind him into the open court to win one point, where Cedric had already given up, assuming his shot was an outright winner. But Cedric always had things under control with consistency and placement, and won the match 6-2 6-2.
After the Joseph Rigal / Richard Keep marathon match finished late on centre court, Greg Lim, the seventh seed, played Marcio Sugui the second seed. Greg has flat strokes with pace generated more with a slap than an extended take back. He played Cedric de la Chaise in the 2017 final, having dispatched Graeme Pearson with a super performance in the semis. Marcio is a leftie with a heavy top spin forehand and a heavy sliced serve hit with pace which aced Greg more than once. Further, Marcio has been playing in open over 40 tournaments and has achieved a world ranking of 900 (?), which is quite and achievement. Marcio did not have this match all his way, as Greg was well able to hit hard flat serves and direct any weak to the court corners to put Marcio under pressure and win the point. But, although able to hit winners by depriving Marcio of time, Greg’s unforced error rate was higher than Marcio’s, and, inevitably, Marcio broke him several times. Greg broke Marcio on at least one occasion, but it wasn’t enough to deprive Marcio of a 6-3 6-3 victory.
Due to the busy match schedule, the men’s doubles involving Howard Kingston (warmed up by his match with Cedric de la Chaise) and Eugene Belin vs Sultan Ganghi and Richard Keep (second seeds) elected to play on a bumpy court 3 rather than the a hard court. With the permission of the losers, I can report that Sultan and Richard are claiming a record of winning the first sixteen point of the match for a 4-0 lead. However, Howard and Eugene managed to win one game before the seeds took the first set 6-1. The second set was a similarly rapid affair which the seeds won 6-0 to take the match 6-1 6-0. It was over before most people realised it was a tournament match.
The last action of the day was a thrilling match up between Andreas Siebold, the sixth seed, and Logan Mair, the fourth seed. I don’t know how tall Andreas actually is, but it must be over 2m. He has a serve, to match, in excess of 110 mph, with which to ace you either side. But Logan is no slouch either, with a fast service action which had Andreas consistently returning into the net in at least one game. Logan also has this annoying habit of being able to retrieve balls bouncing behind him, as well as good half volley technique and the ability to generate power off not very much. Both players seem to go for the lines, occasionally making it difficult to determine whether the ball was in or out. As frequently occurs on a dusty West Heath grass court baseline, it is often no problem to determine exactly where the ball lands, but determining the precise line boundary is another matter!
After exchange of a few breaks, the set reached 5 all in descending gloom, whereupon the two protagonists asked for a deferral. A hard-hearted tournament referee turned down this appeal, and the set ended with a tie break. Andreas won this, so is one set up for the resumption one evening this week.
There were plenty of matches today, and the occasional dark cloud yielded no more than a few droplets. Thanks to Jane for a couple of fine teas on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
The noon singles match was Stan Vasiliev against the third seed, Richard Keep. Stan had previously sought advice as to how to approach the match, and the general response had been to take 20% of pace off, to go for placement, and to keep his cool. Stan and Richard weren’t around later to tell us exactly what happened, but Stan held Richard to 6 all in the first set, which Richard then took on a 7-4 tie break. However, Stan fared less well in the second set, losing it 6-1 for a 7-67-4 6-1 victory to Richard.
The 2 pm doubles match featured James Low and Steve Yoo versus the third seeds Tim Simpson and Greg Lim. It looked very much as if James and Steve were at a disadvantage on the somewhat unfamiliar grass surface, and their error rate was much higher than the seeds, who won the first set 6-0. James and Steve picked up somewhat in the second set, but could still only hold half their service games, giving a 6-0 6-2 victory to Tim and Greg. There were a few comments afterwards that the match would have been altogether different, had it been played on the hard courts.
After a suitable break, Tim Simpson went back on to centre court for the mixed, where he and his partner, Ana were the third seeds against Lesley South and James McKenzie. It soon became clear that James’ paternal responsibilities had rightly taken priority over his tennis so far this season, and he looked decidedly rusty in the first set, which the seeds took 6-1. However, this “warm-up” prepared James to play closer to his standard in the second set, and Lesley got her eye in more with some of her impossible angled shots to play some fine points. The set was more of a struggle for the seeds, although they eventually got a service break and went on to win it 6-4 for a 6-1 6-4 victory.
Meanwhile, in the parallel mixed on court 1, Julia Abbot and Geoff Isaacs played Andra Marinescu and Marcio Sugui (second seeds). Julia and Geoff struggled against Marcio’s leftie serve and topspin strokes, and Andra’s pace, though Julia, as ever, ran around to retrieve shots and both played some fine strokes. Andra and Marcio won 6-1 6-1.
In another mixed doubles match, Soo Teng Lee and Fred Davidson took on Barbara Thomas and Sultan Gangji, the fourth seeds. Soo Teng played some fine serves and shots, and Fred also hit some good serves and groundstrokes. But the pair weren’t as match tight as the regular first team players, and could not hold serve sufficiently well. Sultan went for placement and occasionally had the opposition running around all over the court. The seeds won 6-0 6-1.
The evening wrapped up with a men’s doubles between James McKenzie and Ed Fitzgerald and top seeds Cedric de la Chaise and Logan Mair. Cedric won the event last year with Lajos Szucs, who has since returned to Hungary. The challengers won some good points with fine strokes and tactics. But it must be discouraging to play against Cedric’s retrieving and brilliant returns off what looked like lost causes, and Logan’s ability get the ball over the net on the half volley and the occasional ball that was behind him. James and Ed did their best, but Cedric and Logan took the match 6-1 6-0.
And lastly, there’s no truth in the rumour that the women in the club have decided to standardise on white tops and blue skirts. Also see Soo Teng in her match photo above.
As we come to the “business end” of the tournament, congratulations are due to the seeding committee (Sultan). At this point, with almost all matches up to date, only one seed has been eliminated from an event by an unseeded player. The seeds only start to meet each other in the second week as the hors d’oevre to the Gourmet Dinners which start Monday.
In the mixed, Moira Duncan and Julia Abbot beat Anna Ganev and Beatrice Larre
Also in the singles James Martin played Tim Simpson the eighth seeds. Tim won the first set 6-4, but the second set reached 6 all for a tie break. This was also very tight up to 5 all, but Tim won it and took the match 6-4 7-67-5
The big disappointment was the expected 5 pm Saturday match on the court booking sheet between Sultan Gangji & Barbara Thomas and Soo Teng Lee & Fred Davidson. A few of us had stayed at the club anticipating being thoroughly entertained by this.
Barbara arrived at the club just after 4 pm, and proceeded to warm up in a social set of doubles. But by 4:55 pm none of the others had arrived. On asking Barbara why none of the others had arrived, it emerged that the scrawl on the court booking sheet was wrong, and the match was always due to be played on the Sunday. In fact I must have actually entered the correct time into the online draw, but didn’t think to check this as the assumption is always that the court booking sheet is correct.
In the men’s doubles, Steve Yoo and James Low beat Gideon Stone and Geoff Isaacs 6-2 6-0. Perhaps a pair to watch this year.
Also, Stan Vasiliev and Joseph Rigal beat Walter and Philip Reid (probably the pair with the widest wingspan on the volley), 6-0 6-3. However, Stan and Joseph went on to lose 6-1 6-3 to Tom Tapper and Stephen Cooke.
In the men’s singles, Joseph Rigal and Geoff Isaacs had a very competitive match. Geoff had rather surprised the seeding committee and a few others by beating Ed Fitzgerald in an early match in the first round, though reports were that Ed was playing below his normal level. Joseph has a heavy serve nowadays (when it goes in) and groundstrokes. Geoff is more a consistency player, though considerably older than Joseph. The first set went 6-4 to Joseph, and the second set was even tighter as it must have reached 5 all before Goeff took the next two games for a 7-5 set. But Geoff had shot his bolt – perhaps stamina waned in the third set, because Joseph won it 6-1 for a 6-4 5-7 6-1 victory.
Jasper Tressider took on Greg Lim, the seventh seed. Jasper has some great shots and serve, but is not exactly Mr Consistent. One big aim of Jasper is to perfect the hotdog and catching the ball on the racket – essential tennis skills much neglected by the rest of the club. Two years ago Greg beat Graeme Pearson, a former champion, in the semis in a thrilling three setter 7-68-6 3-6 6-3, but lost to Cedric de la Chaise in the final. Greg’s flat strokes allow him to generate a lot of pace, often leaving the opponent with less time than he needs to get to, and play, a stroke. Jasper started well by breaking Greg in the first game, taking a 3-1 lead. But Greg pulled it back with some effort, and Jasper did not play as well once the lead had gone, losing the first set 6-3. Jasper also took 3 games in the second set for a 6-3 6-3 victory to Greg. Hopefully Jasper will become more consistent over time, in which case some of the lower seeds had better watch out.
On Thursday evening, James Low beat Philip Reid 6-2 7-5. It looks like Philip was able to put together a more determined game in the second set, but could not prevail.
On Sunday there were a few singles matches played.
Mihika Joshi beat Anna Ganev in the ladies’ singles.
In the men’s singles Eugene Belin beat David Cohen 6-1 6-0.
The battle of the Jameses in the men’s singles must have been pretty prolonged and intense. James Martin won the first set 6-3, but James McKenzie came roaring back to take the second set 6-4. The decider reached 5 all before James Martin took the last two games for a 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory. It seemed that every other game went to deuce and the rallies were long when J Martin was dominating and shorter when J McKenzie made it into the net for a volley or two. It was a hard fought match, played in good spirits.
In the mixed, Fred Davidson and Soo Teng Lee played Bruce Rigal and Moira Duncan. Fred is tall, and his wingspan makes it difficult to hit the ball around him or over him at the net. Further, his height gives him a decent serve. Soo Teng has some good strokes. Moira didn’t get her passing shots going. Fred and Soo Teng took the match 6-4 6-3.
In the singles, Bruce Rigal was beaten 1-6 1-6 by Howard Kingston, an enthusiastic new member!
In a singles clash between two new members, Steve Yoo beat Pushmeet Kohli 6-0 6-2.
Paul O’Flynn and Joseph Rigal played a singles match that was closer. Joseph won 6-3 6-4.
Also in the singles, Fred Davidson took on Stan Vasiliev. Stan’s power game must have taken a bit of getting used to and Fred won only 1 game in each set for a 6-1 6-1 victory to Stan.
The evening entertainment started with a mixed match between Joseph Rigal and Jane Boyle and the third seeds, Tim Simpson and Ana. Apparently Tim and Ana played very solidly in the first set, which the seeds took 6-2, and their opponents were expecting similar punishment in the second.
However, the second set turned out to be a much more even affair. A lot of service breaks were exchanged. When he wasn’t serving or returning (generally pretty well), Tim often raced from one side of the net to the other, sometimes intercepting perfectly, and sometimes allowing Joseph or Jane clear shots down the line. Ana played some strong volleys and groundstrokes, and Jane generally played strokes awkward for the opponents to return. Joseph hit some good serves and groundstrokes. There were also a number of misses, in the end leading to 6-6 to prepare the way for a set tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Jane and Joseph struggled at first, conceding a 0-5 lead before they got going. They pulled it back to 2-6 but the minibreak discrepancy proved too much, and Tim and Ana took the match 6-2 7-67-2.
With only a slight overlap, the later show was a singles between Matt Wasser and Greg Lim, the seventh seed. Greg mainly uses flat, pacy serves and strokes, which Matt returned as best he could, often with slice and awkward placement, forcing some errors from Greg. But when Greg was able to stretch Matt, his placement suffered a bit, and Greg was often able to hit a winner. Greg won 6-1 6-2.
Lesley South and James McKenzie beat Anna Ganev and Eugene Belin 6-2 6-2.
In the men’s singles, the third seed, Ed Fitzgerald played Geoff Isaacs. According to reports, Ed didn’t play very well, and Geoff took full advantage to win 6-4 6-4.
Results of other matches will be posted as soon as someone lets me know what they were!
The 2019 tournament draw can be found HERE.
1. The Tournament officially begins on FRIDAY 12th JULY and the FINALS will be played on SATURDAY 27th JULY. If rain prevents play, the FINALS will be played on SUNDAY 28th JULY. The Draw will be up by TUESDAY 9th JULY to allow competitors to arrange matches during the week. First round matches must be played before or on SUNDAY 14th JULY.
2. A chart of available court times is drawn up and competitors are asked to book the courts they intend to play on.
3. The players whose name appears in the top half of the bracket are initially responsible for challenging their opponents.
4. The tournament is to be played on all the courts, apart from the semi-finals and the Finals, which will be played on grass, unless the weather does not permit. In the event of disagreement between the opponents on the surface to be chosen, this will be decided by the spin of the racket.
5. New Balls will be provided for the FINALS.
6. All rounds are to be played within the scheduled time indicated at the top of each draw sheet in order to allow smooth progress. Extensions will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with permission from the joint Referees.
7. All matches will be the best of 3 Tie-Break Sets except the DOUBLES EVENTS which will have the 3rd set as a MATCH TIE-BREAK (i.e. Champions T/B with a Team reaching 10 points with a margin of 2). The rules of the Tiebreak are displayed.
8. All matches must be continuous and appeal for bad light will be considered after 9.00pm.
9. Please give your Entry Fees £3/£5 to Moira or Marjan.
10. Competitors are expected to volunteer to be lines persons on Finals day.
11. The Mixed Doubles Final will be scheduled for Thursday 25th July?
12. The schedule for the 2nd week is fixed with Gourmet Dinners each evening.
13. The Joint Referees are Marjan and Sultan whose decisions will remain final.
Finals Day was a little cooler than of late. Although the rain held off and the courts were dry, there was a gusting wind which changed direction frequently, to add variety to the only occasional bad West Heath bounce.
Men’s singles final
This year the men’s singles final was contested by Marcio Sugui, the third seed, and Cedric de la Chaise, the top seed and 2017 champion, who had previously won the men’s singles nine times. The chair umpire was Kevin Ryan. Marcio has a good variety of serves, including a leftie slice and a flat serve, and some useful topspin shots off both wings. Cedric is very consistent with good groundstrokes (mainly topspin) and serve, but one of his significant strengths is a combination of anticipation, speed about court, and the ability to hit with good placement even when stretched. This makes it very difficult to win points off him by hitting topspin winners. Further, Cedric does play some singles at the Cumberland, whereas Marcio rarely does.
Marcio kicked off and both players held their first two service games. On his third game, Marcio was 40-0 up, but could not convert it to a game, as Cedric chipped away point by point. From Marcio’s viewpoint this was a real problem, as he hit shots which would have been winners against anyone else, but Cedric typically could chase them down and place a winner to earn the point. Not only this, but Marcio was starting to tire, while Cedric was just warming up. Possibly this might be the doing of Paul, Cedric’s personal trainer at the Cumberland. The net of all this was that, although Marcio stayed competitive in the points, tried his hardest and won points, he could not make them add up to games, and Cedric won 6-2 6-0 to emerge as the Champion.
Sultan Gangji had been rather hoping that Marcio would win. According to Sultan, this was because he thought Cedric, Mark Stapleton and Sultan himself were all on 9 singles tournament wins prior to the match. However, a closer examination of the Champions table showed that Mark won in 93, 96-99, 01-03, 10 and 12, for a total of ten, whereas Sultan had won in 76, 78-81, 83-84, 87 and 90 for a total of nine. Cedric is now also on ten with 04-09, 11, 15 and 17-18. No-one else has more than seven. Thus Sultan’s tally has moved from second, jointly with Cedric and behind Mark, to third on his own, behind Mark and Cedric jointly. Perhaps Sultan’s PhD in chemistry doesn’t necessarily imply an ability to add up accurately. And maybe someone should tell Mark of the threat to his West Heath record to see if he feels compelled to try to restore his advantage in 2019.
Ladies singles final
Elena Valarche, the second seed and 2017 champion, played Andra Marinescu, the third seed, to vie for the title under the watchful eye of Greg Lim. Elena has the capability of mixing it up, but prefers to do her playing from the net if at all possible. Andra has excellent technique and can hit the ball with accuracy and pace. Although she played for the West Heath Ladies I team for a few seasons, this year she has stepped up to play for Cumberland Ladies II, while still playing in matches for West Heath over winter.
Elena did her best to hit deep, flat approach shots and come in, but Andra usually had plenty of time to line up her shot and pass Elena on the side of Andra’s choosing. Sultan had a small bet with me on whether Elena would get a game, and Elena gave him hope a few times by getting 30-0 or 0-30 up, but struggled to convert, often with Andra winnng the next four points outright. Sultan lost his bet, Andra won the match 6-0 6-0, Antoine had to purchase 12 bottles of Rose (see Thursday’s tournament report), and Andra won the tournament without dropping a single game in three matches.
Men’s doubles final
This was contested between third seeds, Greg Lim & Marcio Sugui and Cedric de la Chaise & Lajos Szucs, and umpired by James McKenzie. Lajos used to be a tennis coach, and is Mr Consistency, though he does not have as powerful strokes as Cedric. Also he is not as fast around court, not that this is saying very much, as few are. The first set was well contested and very entertaining, though Greg seemed to think he did not play well. Cedric and Lajos had the edge to take it 6-4. In the second set Marcio and Greg put up a good fight. When at the net, Cedric took to feinting towards the middle of the net to cast doubt in the opponents’ minds as to whether he would try to intercept or not. On the deuce side Greg put at least one past him down the line, but on the ad side Marcio preferred to always go crosscourt, even though Cedric left himself exposed and the pass down the line would have been on Marcio’s leftie forehand. Cedric and Lajos won the second set 6-3. and thus the title 6-4 6-3.
Perhaps one day someone will find a way to get Cedric to smile in the photo when he wins!
Ladies doubles final
Andra Marinescu & Ana, the second seeds, played Elena Valarche & Marjan Denis, the top seeds and 2017 champions under the watchful eye of the umpire Barbara Thomas. Although Elena and Marjan both played well, Ana and Andra were too strong. Ana and Andra won the title 6-2 6-1.
Finals Day tea, prizegiving and BBQ
The sumpuous 2018 spread stretched over the full length of two tables. By the end of the afternoon most of it had gone too.
In the evening there was the traditional West Heath Finals Day BBQ.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the tournament this year, particularly to Sultan and Marjan, the referees.
Here’s a link to all the West Heath 2018 tournament pictures on my Dropbox.