The crowd disperses now, the set completed. The 2nd set crowd was only like 2-3 people.
He carries momentum and holds for 1-0 and breaks me for 2-0, 2 double faults in the game.
Admittedly I did have the tiniest of let downs after losing that 1st set. I had expended so much energy in the end of the first, after losing it, it was tough to get myself going again for the 2nd. At least at the start.
I break him back for 1-2, to get back on serve, energy returning and fighting ensued.
“Fucking vamos man!” I yell, chasing down the dropper for the winner to take the break point.
But again at 1-2, I open with a double fault, and then a nervous easy putaway forehand I make 99% of the time I miss and it is suddenly 0-30. I fight and get back to 30-30 before another double fault.
“Ai yai yai” I say after that double. I refocused, and he ends up winning a good rally at 30-40, breaking me for 3-1. But again I fight like a dog and break back again for 3-2!
And this time I held for 3-3, evening the set. Fuckin’ right.
The 3-3 game was crucial there. I had some chances, some tough rallies, a shot here or there one inch this way or the other and I could have broken that game, but he holds at 30 for 4-3.
At 3-4, I begin with a double. I end up to 15-30, then 15-40. I save one break point, but miss a first serve and put in an easy 2nd serve that he attacks and eventually closes the point at the net for 5-3.
At 5-3, he serves for the match and again I believe I can break back. I just did it twice, why not. He gets up 40-0, I save 2 match points, but at 40-30, he hits an ace out wide, on both lines, for the win. I walk up, give the bro-clasp modern handshake (where I gave the traditional handshake in the opening round), and tell him what a great battle, a war.
“Thanks man,” he says. “I’m sorry about that ball over there,” he says, pointing to the hotly contested ball mark from late in the first set.
“Hey you know we are all competitive,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. “We both want to win.”
“I mean, I just wasn’t sure, you know?” he says.
“It’s all good man” I say.
“Thanks” he says, and he exhales, as if some weight was off his shoulders.
We talk a bit after the match, he is actually training down at Guillermo Canas’ academy down in Aventura. I had played there before and even saw ol’ Willy Canas in Delray back in February. He looks very happy, but also very round. Happy is more important I think.
So that was that. I walked back, reported the score, shook the tourney director’s hand, and went to stretch, hydrate, recover. I caught the end of the Italy-England match and headed home.
god damn you have been reading too much lately, over dramatizing some prettyyyyyyyyyyyy simple stuff