I played this guy- http://www.itftennis.com/procircuit/...erid=100150701
Gabonese GOAT Anouar Jakhoukh.
Racially he was a bit lighter than me, I was expecting someone darker, honestly, since he was from Gabon. Then again I thought about the finances and politics of tennis and I realized I should have known why he was lighter.
Regardless, I was able to scout a small bit of the finish of his last match, a few points that I took out. We took the court for the warmup, the weather was partly cloudy, but not rainy, very light wind, it was 530 or so PM when we took the court, so the conditions were good for a high quality match.
He wins the racquet spin and chooses to return. I held 1-0. When he served, he whizzes 3 serves by me for 40-0, and then I was able to get a racquet on the last one before he held to love, 1-1.
“Anybody can serve like that for one game,” I say to myself. “Can he do it the whole match?”
I focus on holding my own serve. I do well in that game and I see that I am the aggressor in the rallies. He also attempted 2 drop shots in the game. This would be a theme the entire match. I hold for 2-1.
When he served at 1-2, I had a break point. He serves wide to the backhand, I slice, he serve and volleyed and hits into the open court. Deuce. Damn. I win the deuce point and now I have another break point. This time I decide, that if he serves into my backhand again, I am going to step up and rip it. Again he served to the backhand, and I stepped in and rip it. Maybe it wasn’t a good enough rip, or maybe his initial serve was too good or his volley was too good, but his volley landed just out of my reach in the open court after I ran it down. Fuck.
Again I win the deuce point, and again I get a break point. This time I take a step wide into the alley to cover the backhand, so that if he serves again to the backhand, I will be in good position to hit a hard drive return. He ends up serving to the open forehand court, and my return is good, but not great. He then hits the winner back to my backhand side, out of my reach and right in the corner.
He ends up to hold, 2-2. “He just came up with some good shots, man” I say to myself “It’s 2 all, this has just begun”.
The double faultitis kicks in, and it was on the first point of the game. I was sticking too much to the theory of hitting only to the backhand. And on the deuce side, as a right handed player, that gives a very small margin of error. I should have served more into the forehand. Not only to change it up but to give myself more margin, and to open up the court on the deuce side.
I begin the game at 2-2 with a double. 0-15, this immediately puts more pressure on me for the entire game. The first point is always so huge. In the rallies, I am clearly better, the more aggressive player. But his serve is better, and he realizes I am bossing him in the rallies. So he begins to try to drop shot. He missed a few, and as the match wore on, I tracked down and hit several winners from the droppers. But still he used it. More to throw me off than anything, and it worked. He was tricky. He breaks me for 3-2, and holds for 4-2. He then breaks me again for 5-2.
“Just stay in the moment, and keep fighting” I say to myself.
The next game, I just lose consciousness and turn into an animal. I track down his drop shots and really explode into my shots with everything and hit some winners and break.
“Fucking vamos man!” I say out loud. “Stay in this!”
At 3-5, I served very well and held with aggressive play. I am unleashing out there vamoosing loudly, exclaiming as I force the play and win. I hold for 4-5 as he is talking to himself in English, French, Spanish, and another language I didn’t know.
“Good, now he’s talking to himself” I think.
“Break him again!”
And break him I do. Suddenly it is 5-5! As I serve at 5-5, the heat is rising, and the crowd is like 8-10. We are the first court in front of the desk, so the latent crowd is like 20.
At 5-5, I serve 40-30. Another epic rally, and I go down the line with the forehand. It lands right on the line and I rush in to close the point.
“Out” he calls.
“No, no, no, no WAY that was out, that was RIGHT ON THE LINE” I yell.
“It’s out” he says.
“I swear to God, Krishna, Buddha, all of them, that ball was right in” I say, loudly, but not a yell.
“I don’t see a mark” he says
“Because it was on the line! A ball on the line won’t leave a mark on the clay if it is RIGHT on the line!!” I yell, but not too loudly. I knew to walk this line. I tried not to drop a fuck or a nigga, the 2nd more difficult to hold back.
“It is either one of these two marks,” he says, pointing to 2 marks, much further back in the court than my ball landed.
“No, no, no, it was further up the court,” I say, crossing the net and pointing out a ball that landed on the line further up the court. I knew that wasn’t my shot, but I was being just as ridiculous as he was, with his ‘It was one of these two’ nonsense.
“I returned it way out here” he says, gesturing that he was wide, wide of the doubles alley.
“That was the point!” I said. “I was coming in to knock off the easy volley for the winner!” I yell.
“It is either my point or we replay it” I say. He wants deuce.
“You think I’m fucking kidding?” I say, so the crowd could not hear, but he could.
“Ok, ok, we play it over, 40-30” he concedes.
I turn around, satisfied, partially. I am steamin’ at this dude. Tryna pull that bullshit with me. I hit an ace out wide, on both lines, and he doesn’t move, waiting for a 2nd serve.
“Are you serious?” I say, walking forward, unable to BELIEVE the audacity of this guy
“Did I say anything?” he says, walking to the bench, covering for himself at the last second. I hold for 6-5.
The next game he led 40-0, now he is yelling, the intensity is rising. I claw back to deuce. Now I am yelling. We are both yelling. At deuce, we have an epic rally. Both get pulled to the net, then lobbed over, reset the point. I end up lunging for a backhand and throw up another lob. He rushes back, gets under it, and hits, I have to admit, a ridiculously tough shot from that position. He was a righty player pulled by a lob high over their backhand side. But the lob was very high, and 3/4 court deep, and he was able to get into position with a regular overhead. But still he takes it from his own backhand corner BACK DOWN THE LINE and lands it right in the corner, just out of my reach. The perfect shot.
He hits a big serve on the line to hold, and now a tiebreak. At 0-0, I hit a double fault. 1-0, he hits the big serve into my backhand, I attempt to crack it, it hits the net. At 2-0, he hits the slice wide and aces me. At 0-3, I hit a big serve, no return in play, 1-3. At 1-3, I hit another double fault. At 4-1, he serves another ace on both lines out wide. Unbelievable, I think.
5-1, he serves, we have a rally, he attacks and my backhand slice lands in the net. At 1-6, I serve, we have a good rally and I win it. At 2-6, I serve, we have another good rally, but he goes to attempt another drop shot and I begin to move forward, noticing it. But he noticed me moving perhaps too forward. He changes from a drop shot to a deep slice and I am very off balance to try to attempt a diving backhand save in no man’s land and I was unable to get it back over the net. Set, 7-6(2).