A number of matches were played today, not to mention a couple of walkovers (see draw).
An early match played was the men’s singles between Nicholas Sweeting and Marcio Sugui, the top seed and last year’s champion. There haven’t been any reports on this match. But, much as expected, Marcio won it 6-1 6-0. A couple of first team players felt Nic had done well to get a game off Marcio because they also struggle to do this when playing him at singles!
This evening was mainly a mixed doubles session, with one mixed match on each of the three courts.
On court 1, Susan Grossman & Matias Piazza took on Elena Valarche & Stephen Cooke, the fourth seeds, who won in 2020, but did not enter in 2021. Susan hit some good shots, including one or two awkward lobs over Elena’s head. Matias had to do most of the ball chasing and executed this pretty well, not making a lot of errors. But Stephen is very tall, with long legs carrying him fast around the court. So he was able to reach most of the shots into any part of the court not occupied by Elena, including any drop shots from Susan and Matias, and generally return the ball out of reach of the opponents. Meanwhile, as expected, Elena got to the net as much as possible to put away anything that came close enough. Elena and Stephen won 6-1 6-0 and await their next opponents to emerge from the first round match.
On court 3, Moira Duncan & Bruce Rigal played Margaux Valarche & Jasper Tresidder. Although Bruce had only just returned from Canada, there was no obvious trace of jet lag, and both he and Moira were playing as well as they think they can. Margaux was serving well, and also keeping Jasper in order on court, so he didn’t execute his first hot dog until the last game of the match. The pair of youngsters not only have good anticipation, but also are very fast about the court.
Moira and Bruce found it very difficult to hit the ball anywhere where Margaux and Jasper could not get to it, whereas the reverse just wasn’t true. The best way to put it is that Moira and Bruce won points, but not games.
On court 2, and last to finish were Eloise Wedgwood & Charles Rubinstein vs Jane Boyle and Joseph Rigal. Compared to her 150 mile cycle ride to warm up properly before last year’s mixed doubles match, Eloise was very restrained, but has been playing early morning as much as possible subject to availability of partners prepared to play at that hour. Charles is wily and experienced. After the match, both seemed to think their partners were playing better than them! Jane was solid, and Joseph is gradually adding consistency to his power game.
In the first set, Jane’s consistency and Joseph’s pace generally put them on top, though Charles was able to win points off Jane’s serve to the deuce court with some fine angled cross-court returns out of reach, and Eloise did not make many unforced errors. Jane and Joseph won the set 6-2. According to Charles, Eloise and Charles made a tactical error in switching sides for the second set, which nullified some of the potential winners from their side. Jane and Joseph thus won the second set 6-0 and the match 6-2 6-0.
Meanwhile, Leo Colle and Alex Vallmajor decided to play their men’s singles on hard court 4, a move which I felt favoured the more consistent Alex, the sixth seed, who plays regularly for the second team. Although Alex did make mistakes, Leo was not able to capitalise on them in the first set, which Alex took 6-0.
In the second set, Leo won his first service game, but Alex’s placement seemed to be the more accurate, and he went on to win the rest of the games for a 6-1 6-0 victory.