All pictures and videos used in this year’s tournament reports, including the uncropped originals, plus a few more, are available from this Dropbox folder link.
On a day, which started off threateningly sunny and hot, the temperature never made play unbearable, and conditions were pretty good for tennis, with the possible exception that it was a bit windy with the wind blowing down the grass courts towards the club house. The decent weather was just as well, because seven matches were played today, nominally one starting on each hour – three men’s doubles, two mixed doubles, one ladies’ doubles and one men’s singles!! This completely cleared the backlog of matches, leading to ideal scheduling for the second week. See the “Second week matches” post above. One of the matches was a real hum dinger too….
The first match was a men’s doubles between Andrei Cristescu & Peter Davies, and Logan Mair & Stephen Cooke, the second seeds, both men’s first team players. The situation was complicated a little by Logan’s ankle sprain, after turning his ankle the day before when on the third or fourth set of a friendly “round robin” men’s doubles game. His mobility was clearly restricted, but Stephen was well capable of running round him in most situations. Although Andrei and Peter are well capable of consistence of hitting against mid court medium paced balls, Logan and Stephen were not delivering many of those, and the challenger error rate was thus much higher than normal. This manifested itself in the five balls which ended up in the adjoining gardens due to mishits. Though two were recovered early on, and Sultan supplied an extra nearly similar ball, by the end of the match, there were only two balls available.
Andrei and Peter couldn’t get any traction on their serves. On Logan’s first service game, Peter was able to despatch two of Logan’s wide forehand topspin serves for side line winners hitting the fence by the path to get a couple of break points, but Logan knew what was going on and cut out that option. The challengers got to deuce one or two more times, but that was their lot. The pace of Logan and Stephen prevented them from hitting their normal shots, and Logan and Stephen won 6-0 6-0.
The next match was on court 1 and was a mixed between Penny Isaacs & Aaron Watkins, and Elena Valarche & Stephen Cooke. Penny is mobile and very consistent on the ground strokes, while Aaron is well capable of hitting winners, but did not feel he was playing to his full potential in the match. Some of the spectators also thought he was too gentlemanly in being reluctant to hit the ball near Elena with pace to increase the chance of winners. Elena stationed herself at the net as far as possible, and relied on Stephen to chase balls all over the court, which he generally returned with interest. Stephen also is too tall to lob easily, which doesn’t help.
Penny and Aaron hit a few winners, Penny performing a curtsy to acknowledge the applause of the enthusiastic crowd after one of them, though there was inevitably more clapping for the more numerous winners of Elena and Stephen. The result was a 6-1 6-1 victory to Elena and Stephen.
Jumping lessons are available from Elena.
Next was a men’s doubles on court 2 between Jasper Tresidder & Paul O’Flynn taking on Cedric de la Chaise & Will Maslen, third seeds. Jasper and Paul can hit the ball very hard indeed, but often this intent is accompanied by a high error rate. In their first round victory against the Reid brothers, both had played controlled, consistent tennis to ensure the victory.
Will and Cedric started slowly. In particular, during the first few games, Cedric made a lot of errors, leaving the challengers 3-1 up with break points for a 4-1 lead. However, Cedric and Will started to get their eye in, and the challengers started to feel the pressure, resulting in more mistakes and the additional break did not occur. After that, although they were still able to win points, Jasper and Paul could not retain enough consistency to get the points to add up to games. The net result was a 6-3 6-0 victory to Cedric and Will.
The ladies’ doubles match on court 3 was between Jane Boyle & Eloise Wedgwood, and the fourth seeds Ros Norkett & Marjan Denis. Eloise has certainly improved since last year, while the other three are very experienced campaigners. Jane and Eloise played some good tennis, but their serves were always under pressure, and the other shots didn’t always go in, while Ros and Marjan were more consistent when it mattered the most. Ros and Marjan won 6-3 6-2.
On court 2, Peter Farrell took on Logan Mair, the fifth seed in the men’s singles. When he played me (Peter Davies) Peter played very consistently and produced a lot of good first serves. However, he felt under a lot more pressure playing Logan, who can whack the ball quite hard to make it difficult to time a shot against him. The pressure of this ensured that Peter did not get anything like the first serve percentage against Logan that he got against me. However, he was still prepared to chase down every ball, and battle for each point to the end, though his accuracy again suffered due to pressure not to give Logan any easy balls from which to hit winners. In the event, this being his second match of the day, since turning over his ankle the previous day, Logan was not as mobile as he usually is, so Peter won points and games in each set by sticking at it. Logan won 6-2 6-2.
The penultimate match was a men’s doubles on court 3 which turned into a real nail biter. Steve Yoo & David Hirst took on last year’s champions and top seeds, Sultan Gangji & Greg Lim. Both Steve and David have good serves and decent strokes, though not maybe the consistency of Sultan and Greg.
Steve and David both served well in the first set, and managed to break and hold on to win it 6-4, against the odds. In the second set, Steve and David seemed to make more errors, but they still broke and held early on to get ahead 3-0. But at this point, Sultan and Greg dug in and fought harder for their crown. This succeeded to the extent of winning the next 6 games to take the set 6-3, preparing the way for a Champions Tie Break [first to 10].
In this, one minibreak each was exchanged to take the score to 3 all, and again one minibreak was achieved to take the score to 8 all, but thereafter, Sultan and Greg took the next two points to take the match 4-6 6-3 [10-8]. The only real difference seemed to be the higher level of experience of Sultan and Greg in such positions, with the challengers not getting first serves in when it counted the most.
The last match of the day was a mixed doubles between Joseph Rigal & Jane Boyle, playing the third seeds Posy Frederick & Logan Mair. Joseph had played like a demon at the net in his men’s doubles with Alex Vallmajor against Gideon Stone and Geoff Isaacs, and we were all expecting a similar performance in the mixed. However, it was Jane’s second match of the day, and she has won titles in six separate decades, as has Sultan (parse these statements carefully). Meanwhile, for his third match of the day, Logan still had a swollen ankle, and Posy is a very consistent player, playing in the ladies’ first team.
In the event, Logan was accurate enough to keep the ball away from Joseph when he was at the net, and he couldn’t have the impact necessary, either on his serve or elsewhere. Posy supported Logan well. Jane played a good supporting role, but missed a few leftie shots down the line which we all expected her to get.
The challengers made more of a game of it in the second set, but couldn’t find enough winners to win the set. Posy and Logan won the match 6-1 6-3.