Well that month of fitness has really paid off for me. I'm getting better by the day, and recently purchased my own stringing machine
Today I had an epic 5 set match vs. a guy who had beaten me 6-1 in the 4th the last time we played a best of 5 match.
It was about 2h45.
My serve was really crappy in the first set. I broke him the first game, then hit 4 straight double faults to give it back to him. The rest of that set I was fucking pissed. I was hitting double faults like Coria, I must have had at least 10 in that set alone. He took the set 6-2.
At the beginning of the 2nd, I told myself to just forget the first. It was a new match now. First point.
The 2nd was a tussle. My serve was getting better, not hitting many double faults, but lots of 2nd serves he was attacking. I had to play some solid defense and hit some wicked passing shots just to hold serve. I broke to go up 4-2, before he broke me right back. Then I broke again and served it out.
At this point, it was definitely a new match.
The time of the day was changing from day to night, and as darkness crept over the court, the court lights came on. The in-between time, though, I let the inconsistent light affect me too much. I played too aggressively in reduced visibility, and he went up 5-0!
That changeover, I was just like fuck it. I was already focused on the 4th set. But I relaxed and my game just began to start clicking on all levels. My serve wasn't missing, I must have hit about 70% first serves from then to the end of the match. I began playing more aggressively, hitting my forehand deeper and moving him around. I hit maybe 3 double faults from then to the end of the match, and my backhand, both the slice and 2hander were gaining consistency.
I came back to 5-4, with him serving for it one last time. I had the momentum in the match.
When he served at 5-4, I had 15-40, but he got it back to deuce. We switched ads back and forth, and I recall on 2 occasions, I had the break point for 5 all in the 3rd, got a second serve, moved inside the baseline, ran around it....only to strike it right into the net
He would eventually hold and take the 3rd set 6-4.
That night was the first night of the semester's recreational tennis league which my partner was also a part of. He played this really cute girl and finished her off pretty quickly 6-0 (I will refrain from making a sex joke here) and we got our match on in the 4th.
It was a nice 15 min break for me, and I got my shit together. I kept warm, and mentally got ready for the 4th, which was another dog fight. We were both played exceptional stuff, perfect strategy, lots of winners coming from all over. Drop shots, lobs, overhead smashes, an ace or two, a return of serve winner or two, and flying forehand winners.
I was serving at 4-2. Now, this is a notorious time for me to get broken. I can't tell you how many times I've been broken at 4-2
It was about a 10 deuce game, but I think it was the defining game in the match. I don't think I missed a first serve that whole game, but he was returning deep and solid for a neutral rally position. I was jerking him around with my heavy forehand, my approach shots were deep, but my net close still needs work. He was hitting some nice passing shots, many on the line off both sides. Something I need to improve on.
Around the 4th deuce of that game, my legs began to feel like jello. My body was slightly muscle numb and it felt pretty good
He had break points on most of the deuces and I was constantly having to save break points, about half on 2nd serves. My first ad was the 10th and I took advantage. He crushed my 2nd serve and moved in and I barely got my racquet on it over the net. His volley wasn't the best, allowing me to scramble into my forehand corner to flick a half-volley winner down the line
After I held, he asked what the score was, and I told him 5-2 with a grin on my face and he was like "Fuck!"
We exchanged holds to set up a 5th set. I went to go fill up my water bottle and when I came back to the court, I told him:
"Somebody said that when you're in a 5th set, it isn't even about the tennis anymore. It's all about guts, glory, and what you're really made of. It's about who wants it more."
I went up 2-0 to start the 5th. I thought he looked just about done physically. He was going for big forehand winners from neutral positions and missing badly into the fence on the fly on some of them. I was playing very consistent and wasn't making many errors, like a righty Nadal to be honest.
He served at 0-2 and I had many break points. He was talking about a bagel (as he had the set before when he was up 5-0), but I wasn't falling for it.
He ended up holding, but my double faultitis from the 1st set comes in at the worst time possible. 3 double faults and a forehand into the net has him break me at love for 2 all...
I could have lost it now, especially since what was left of the body high I had from the 4th set was definitely all gone after that shitty game. The 2 all game was another epic eventually won by me. After that I knew it was about over. He was physically toasted and had probably gone through the same mental and emotion rollercoaster I had.
I held at 15 to get to 4-2, broke him to love, and then served it out to 30 to seal it 6-2 in the 5th. The best part? 100% first serves, one ace, plenty of forehand approach shot winners, even a backhand volley winner
I hit a Sampras-like overheard smash to set up match point, which was a long, tough rally. I hit a short backhand slice and he comes into the net. My slice was pretty good, and his approach wasn't the best. Even though I was dead tired, I was able to get over to my forehand and hit a decent lob over his head and closed the net. He was able to get to it and hit a screamer right at me. My forehand volley landed right in his strike zone (
), but he missed a return lob long.
Such a huge match win
He'd beaten me a few times in a row before tonight.
And we both have practice tomorrow
I'll be dead tired and aching when I wake up tomorrow morning, but for right now, I'm on top of the world