Friday, July 31, 2009

Playing B...

B is a fellow teacher, which means, like me, she has some time to play during the day for two months. A few summers ago, we started meeting up regularly to play, and she never lost to me...until last summer. B is super fast...almost deceivingly so...so while you're sitting there admiring your winner, she runs it down, gets it back, and you're so flustered that you make a mistake! She is also capable of putting the ball away herself, but most of the time, because she is so consistent, she doesn't need to.

We've already played once this summer, when I was in some severe back pain, and somehow I squeaked out a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win. B is really good at hitting a high, deep looper, and when I loop it back, she'll take my looper off of the bounce and hit a short, flat, low shot that I can barely get to. The first time we played, because of my back, I didn't even *try* to get to them.

We played again today, and even though I was moving better and playing better, I lost! GRRR! I lost 1-6, 6-7. Predictably, it took me an entire set to warm up. I also switched racquets (and thus, strings) for the second set. I think I may be due for restringing. Using cheap PSGD is great on the pocketbook, but I'm starting to wonder if it loses tension too quickly. I launched a lot of stuff way out of the court today. Yikes! Still trying to 'fix' the serve. When I get it right, it is great. The problem is...I only get it right maybe 30 percent of the time!!!

I also play a higher risk game than B, and I'm wondering if I should be doing that at this point...instead, maybe I should be working on becoming more consistent myself. Yeah, I have great put-aways, but if I can't keep the ball in play long enough to get that put away shot, then I don't get to win many points with it. As usual, I'm pretty sure the problem lies with my feet as well as my head. Must get the feet in position, and musts keep head down through the shot. Even B could see me pop out of my shots sometimes.

We're playing again Tuesday morning! I'm trying to not worry too much about winning/losing, and instead work on the things that I need work on...my weaknesses. So, before we play, I will try to come up with 3 weaknesses that will be my focus for that match, and stick to working on them during the match no matter what the score!

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Tomorrow is full of tennis! First clinic, then meeting up with some TWMAC folks to hit, and then heading to the Asian festival all nice and sweaty and gross! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Also...

Funniest moment of hitting tonight...JRK and his new best friend say hello to the camera!

video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Friends don't let friends...play each other in singles!

Today, in preparation for playing singles at districts this weekend, one of the other singles players on my team (S) and I met up to play a practice match.

On paper, she should win. She has a far better record than me, and has taken some scalps along the way (KZ being one of them). She, I suppose, could be classified as a 'pusher', though I don't like the negative connotations that go with that label. To me, consistency is gold, and something that I still consistently...lack. Like me, she is a teacher, only her medium is PE, and she can run everything down, return it into the court, and do it for hours. Her only weaknesses is that she doesn't hit with much pace (this could also be a strength at 3.5 since generating our own pace while keeping the ball in the court always proves to be a singular challenge), she has a weak serve (see 'no pace'), and she will not hit winners...on purpose. Her short dinks sometimes end up being winners, but I'm not sure if she means for them to end up that way or not. And lastly, she is quite uncomfortable at net, so bringing her up on purpose is a good strategy (if you can execute it!).

So, again, since I was denied my chance to play 'the diamond' and practice coming in, I was excited to try it out today.

It was a tight first set, with S edging me out 6-4. I was having trouble, like I usually do, returning her soft serve...I kept launching it out. I also wasn't coming up enough...when I did, I usually won the part. I still don't always pick the right time to do it, but that's why we're practicing, right?

Second set, I noticed some patterns in her baseline play (notably that she always tries to pass me cross court from her backhand), she really didn't like if I got some slice on my serve, and I was able to come in A LOT more, which put pressure on her. She tried coming in herself, but made errors and then gave up on it. I was also more patient, I think, and waited for my moments to hit a winner, and my most successful shot was my FH down the line. On returns, since they were so soft and slow, I set up like a regular groundstroke to hit them, and focused on placement and setting up the point rather than trying to hit a winner. Ironically enough, lots of times this resulted in a winner!

We still played long games, but this time I seemed to have the edge, and I took the second set 6-2. Like during regular league play, we don't play a full 3rd set at districts...instead we do the 'champion's 10 point tiebreak', so that is what we did today. After a few long rallies, I raced out to an 8-1 lead. Again, I showed that I get too lazy and/or sloppy when I'm ahead, and it wasn't until it was 8-6 that I finally won the next two points and won the match.

I'm not too 'gloaty', though, since I know I play better (and more relaxed) when it doesn't 'count' for anything. She was peeved, though, I could tell. She is a very friendly, though competitive person, and I think she expected me to hit enough errors that she would win easily. I can't blame her...that is my M.O. But maybe, just maybe...I'm starting to change that.

Tomorrow is packing and clinic at night. Maybe some light workout in the morning. Thursday we head down (possibly without our own captain, as S told me that the rumor is she decided to play with another team of her's that is also headed down to districts. Not. Cool. IMO. I don't care how shorthanded *they* are...she's *our* captain!!!).

I hope to remember to take the camera so I will have some pictures to go along with match write ups from districts!

I'm excited, because I played well and I executed a game plan! When I lost the first set, I adjusted instead of just doing the same thing over and over again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Decided...

I'll keep it here, and talk about what I want, whether or not it has to do with tennis or not. Not that anyone is reading, so I suppose almost no chance of complaints! Excellent!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Resurrection?

So, summer break is here, and I'm giving thought to posting and writing again. However, I am not sure if I want to just stick to tennis or also branch out into the training articles and methods I've been researching as well as life in general. Basically, I'm going to write about whatever I want and feel like...but I can not decide whether or not to do it here or create a new blog. I know you are on the edge of your seats, waiting to find out...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

No Reston Open

Oh, also came to a decision not to play the Reston Open and play for my DC team again. I already paid for that ass whooping.

I'll concentrate more on the NTRP tournaments that happen later on.

WTL, match #1

Things I learned today while captaining my first DC match:
*leaving early is good
*always check with the opposing team for defaults before handing your line-up in at the desk
*don't play like a 2.5!!!

So, today started off really great. Needless to say, after 3 13 and 1/2 hour workdays, I was pretty exhausted last night and went to bed at 10:30pm. I woke up feeling pretty good nice and early. I puttered around a bit, then got ready for the match. My plan was to go out and hit against a wall before heading to the site.

However, when I got to the car, I noticed that the tennis balls my co-captain had given me were all hard court balls, and none of the were clay court balls (we were scheduled on the clay today). I wasn't sure if this was going to be a problem or not, but since it was so early, I decided to run to Sports Authority, pick up some clay court balls, then head to the site and warm up on the wall there.

And that ended up being a good plan for several reason. First, I also got to pick up a new tank to be embroidered with my indoor team's name. I got a bra, too, but I'm not going to have that embroidered. And, it gave me a large head start on match time so that the 45 minutes I spent in traffic on the f*cking bridge didn't actually make me late, just not insanely early.

And, what a surprise to walk into the bubble to go to the ladies room, and as I walk out I thought I heard someone say 'Hey Topaz'. I looked back for a moment, but I wasn't sure I heard correctly. I went back in later to put on my ankle brace and sure enough, fellow TTWMACer Zapvor was manning the desk!!! Sorry about blowing you off the first time Zappy!

Ok, this is where things get tricky. We were about 10 minutes to match time, and 2 women were stuck on the bridge. They were supposed to be on #2 and #3 dubs. So, just in case they didn't make it in time, I did a last minute switch so I would have a full court at #2, and if we had to default, it would be on #3. Then I handed in the line-up. Then I checked with the opposing captain to give her the court assignments (as we were home team), and found out that they were defaulting #2 singles.

I begged, I pleaded, but there was no way to get that line-up back and put my #2 singles in for #3 dubs. Damm*t!!!

It ended up being ok, though, as everyone made it just in the nick of time, and the running they did to get there from their cars made for a nice warmup.

Now, my partner and I, who I LOVE playing with, were on court #1 doubles. We had a tight, tight first set, came back from 1-4 down to win it 7-5. We were both playing very tight, but I was doing okay. I had a rough time serving, as my toss was right in the sun, but no doubles. And eventually, the sun moved, and I was ok.

However.

The second set was quite possibly the worst set of tennis that I have EVER played in my life. I am NOT exaggerating here. I think I should have at least tried playing lefthanded. We were down 0-5, with me serving, when somehow I managed to hit a few winners. We were locked in a tight game at 1-5 when we ran out of time. We lost on games.

I almost want to laugh, because seriously...I was playing *that bad*. Horrible. Part of me is thinking 'well, at least you got that out of your system', but there is a tiny part that is really, really worried.

It is all in my head, too. I'm well aware that I'm a basketcase. I'm working on it. But it was so scary to suddenly just not have *anything* working. I'm so embarrassed, and I feel I need to buy my partner a car in order to make up for my horrible playing. She was tight, too, but she didn't go away for a whole set like I did. UGH!

I have to give a big shout out to Alice, though...for calling and helping me put my head on straight! Alice, it means more than you! You rock!

So, the good news is that #1 dubs was the only court we lost, and all my other players had a really easy time of it. Ok, next time, I'm on court #3!!!!!!!!

Fed Cup: USA vs. Czech Republic

The US is in action today, led by Betthanie Mattek-Sands. The rest of the squad includes doubles specialist Liezel Huber, with youngsters Melanie Oudin (the heroine of the first round tie earlier this year) and Alexa Glatch.

They are facing the Czech Republic: Iveta Benesova, Petr Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, and their own doubles specialist in Kveta Peschke.

They are playing on indoor hard courts, which is good for the US gals, but was more likely chosed to highlight the hard hitting of the Czech squad. The Czech squad also features three lefties in Benesova, Kvitova and Safarova.

I think this has the potential to have some really great matches. The Czechs have more experienced players by far, but I wouldn't count out the US gals. Should be fun to watch.

First singles tie is underway with Mattek-Sands vs. Kvitova (kTour vs. kTour!). Then Glatch will be making her debut against Benesova.

Tomorrows singles are scheduled as Kvitova vs. Glatch and Mattek-Sands vs. Benesova with the doubles featuring Benesova/Peschke vs. Huber/Mattek-Sands. Depending on today's results, though, I think this has the potential to change a lot.

Mattek-Sands looks like she's in great shape...best I've ever seen her.

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The other tie is Russia vs. Italy, and Italy is already up 1-0 when Pennetta pretty easily beat Anna Chakvetadze 4 and 0. Wonder if Tarpischev will regret not putting current women's #1 Dinara Safina on the squad?

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More details at FedCup