For a day when rain was predicted, but did not materialise, there were a number of matches scheduled and played, including one which was the upset of the tournament so far.
The early men’s singles was between Rob Curtis and Joseph Rigal. In his men’s doubles with Dan Dalton against Steve Yoo and David Hirst, Rob and his partner had played well in the second set, with some good serving, but they lost 7-5. However, it looks like Joseph’s pace and increasing consistency were too much for Rob on this occasion, and Joseph took the match 6-0 6-0.
Matt Wasser played Cedric da la Chaise, but couldn’t get any traction in the match. Cedric won 6-0 6-0.
JP Doumeng took on Ed Fitzgerald, the seventh seed. Ed’s considerable height advantage allows him a booming serve, with ground strokes to match, so JP had to force errors somehow. He was able to do this some of the time, but was on the defensive too much to gain the upper hand. In the first set, JP got one game and two in the second set for a 6-1 6-2 victory to Ed.
With matching outfits you might believe that David Hirst and Stephen Cooke were on the same doubles team, but that was not the case in the last singles match.
David beat Paul O’Flynn in the earlier round, has a good hard serve, and is capable of hitting hard ground strokes, though this comes with an increasing error rate. Stephen is the third seed behind Cedric de la Chaise and Marcio Sugui, last year’s Champion. Stephen is tall and has an excellent booming serves to match, giving David less time to react than normal. Stephen’s topspin forehand is formidable, and his backhand is solid.
During the play, David couldn’t match the pace and consistency of Stephen. He could hit the occasional winner. However, when trying to put pressure on Stephen his error rate became too high, but there wasn’t much choice but to try, because Stephen was winning the longer rallies. David picked up a game in the second set, but Stephen won the match 6-0 6-1 and will meet either Logan Mair (his doubles partner and 5th seed) or Peter Farrell on Tuesday in the quarter finals.
In a mixed on court 1, Sally Tornow & Richard Nightingale played Penny Isaacs & Aaron Watkins. Sally is a demon at the net, and Richard has a good serve and plays very consistently. Penny’s ground strokes are rock solid and her repertoire includes accurate lobs and cross court short, semi-drop shots. Nowadays she also ventures to the net at times for volleys, and is very mobile moving forward. Aaron both has strong serves and strokes, and is also fast about the court. But this had disadvantages when he tried to poach a deep ball belonging to Penny, who ensured she took it, but made an error due to the interference.
The strategy of Sally and Richard was to play on Penny wherever possible, but she was equal to the task, with an appropriate shot selection to avoid any cheap points for Sally and Richard. Aaron was able to step in to put the ball away from time to time, but generally left Penny to hit her groundstrokes. Sally and Richard were able to win points but not games….
The most interesting match billing of the day was between Margaux Valarche & Jasper Tresidder and Marjan Denis & Greg Lim, the top seeds and reigning champions.
Margaux has a very solid game, including a variety of angled winners at the net, and has recently supplemented this with consistency and pace of serve. Jasper has always been able to hit the ball hard, but his consistency often used to suffer when he did not pay attention to the tactical aspects of a point. However, his judgement and consistency have improved a lot this season. Jasper and Paul O’Flynn caused a mini upset in the men’s doubles by beating Philip and Marc Reid. Further, you would expect Margaux to be a strong calming influence.
Marjan is a solid all round player with strong serve, and Greg is both consistent and capable of generating pace out of the blue on flat serves and ground strokes. Further, he is tall with a long reach, and uses this to intercept effectively at the net on Marjan’s serve.
The first set was strongly contested with no quarter given. Margaux and Jasper secured an early break, but Greg and Marjan broke back and forced a tie break. Margaux and Jasper obtained a minibreak on Greg’s first service point, but could not hold on to it, and matters reached the “sudden death” region at 7 all. The minibreak and set then went to Margaux and Jasper.
The second set was equally strongly contested. Margaux changed tactics returning Marjan’s serve, making some returns down the line and winning a couple of points down the line when Greg moved over to intercept. Margaux and Jasper won the second set 6-3 on a single break to win the match 7-69-7 6-3 and earn themselves a place in the semis. Jasper’s only exhibition shot was a shot behind the back on the final point, which his side obviously won.
Clearly this is the upset of the tournament so far. Whether it signals a changing of the guard in favour of the youngsters has yet to be determined.