Tuesday, September 16, 2008

best served smokin

Day 19 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I may be mid-forties, but last night I played tennis like I was twenty again.

Geez if felt good to win our match, but it wasn’t all aces and winners. We actually dropped the first set 6-2 and things were looking grim.

I remember having a quite talk with my inner self before the second set began and I dug deep. I knew I could play tennis so much better than that first set indicated.

And it was then that I began to serve like the Paul of old. One ace and three more great serves later and we were up (first time and finally) in a set at 1-0.

The next game I played even better putting away two volleys and keeping my ground stokes deep and hard. We broke them to lead 2-0.

Something happened in game three. Call it a blip. We lost our serve (not mine) and now we were only up 2-1 with no break.

Now to our opponents credit, they also had some smoking serves and we were quickly back on track at 2-2.

A short while later, after another inner pep talk, I came back out with guns blazing and my serve absolutely RAWKED!. Yah, I’m boasting - but hell it felt good to rocket them in, even the second serve. I hit a couple of forehand volleys like the fist of god as well . . . We were looking in much better form and now in the lead at 3-2.

Next game was another struggle, but we didn’t put away the key points. We did have two break points though, but they slipped away from us. We lost this game but it was evident we were playing much, much better. We were now at at 3-3.

Perhaps the most crucial game of the set was game 7. My partner was serving (not hard serves but in) and I pulled up my socks. I hit a fantastic overhead smash (I missed a cuople in the first set). A few points later and we were poised to win. Another great volley from my partner and we were up 4-3.

Now their best server was up. After a titanic battle (and a very long game) we broke his serve and you could almost see the steam coming out of his ears. We were now up 5-3 on my serve.

Yeah baby - I could feel the adrenalin pumping and the tension on the other side of the court. I reveled in it.

And oh it felt good. My serve did not let me down in the least. Another ace to start, plus four more great spinners (we did lose one point along the way) and we took the set handily 6-3.

Now, it was off to the tie-breaker. It’s what you do in league tennis (our league anyhow) if you split sets.

We had the momentum and my serve just wouldn’t quit. Long story short, we smoked them off the court 7-2 in the tie-breaker. I also hit two of my best shots all night. At the net they volleyed a very hard wide shot to my right. I sprinted over like a fire engine and scooped the ball back down the line for a spectacular winner. They could only look in awe. I was a bit surprised myself, but so pumped I just took it as a shot I knew I could make. One other I recall. A speed ball wide to my forehand volley again which I cut with precision and angled sharply back and out of there reach cross court.

Sweet victory after a shaky start. It felt great. I almost felt like I was twenty years younger. Best set and tie-breaker I've played in years.

And the icing on the evening’s cake - we won our Quarter finals match. It was very close. We tied in points, but won because we had two more games over our competition 53-51. A very hard fought and well deserved win for our team.

Next week it’s on to the semi finals - and the number one team in the league.

There will be lots of inner tennis pep rallies this week I'm sure.

I seem to be getting back in shape and form and am glad now I signed up for winter tennis starting next month so I don’t deteriorate before next summer.

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