Mike played a 6’3" powerhouse today. He was a hard hitter, and seeded 10th. Mike said going into the match that it would be "even steven." They put the match on center court, which was nice, as the viewing is not great on many of the courts, so it was fun to have stadium seating for this one. Mike wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about this development as I was. Ha.
The first set was very tight, with an early break for Alan Rasmussen of Denmark. Mike was able to break back a couple games later and they both held the rest of the first set, bringing it to a tie-break. Mike was down 4-1 in the tiebreak and I started to get nervous. They had very long rallies from the baseline on a couple of critical tie-break points, but Mike got just one more shot back than his opponent and took the first set 7-6 (5).
The second set was a bit easier than the first, as his opponent’s frustration at losing the first set seemed to get into his head and he began making more unforced errors than before. Second set lasted half as long as the first, and Mike advances, 7-6, 6-3. Tomorrow he takes on the #4 seed, and Colombian Team player, Carlos Behar.
Dan Waldman, Mike’s doubles partner had a tough 3 setter against the #1 seed, Paul French of Great Britain. There were definitely momentum shifts, one more notable one when he was serving in the 3rd set for the match at 5-2. He got broke and ended up having to play several more games, but ultimately was victorious. 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
The #2 seed, Mark Vines was defeated by an unseeded player from Spain, Javier Molina Ramos, 6-4, 6-2. Quite an upset!
Doubles went quickly. Mike and Danny played a solid match against their French and German opponents. Michel Galey and Florian Ebner. They only gave up one game to these lively players…which does not reflect the level of play they displayed. They were good all around clay courters with good footwork and teamwork. There were lots of long, interesting rallies that you thought should have been over but they got another shot back. They were also very nice off the court, as you’ll be able to tell by their photo. The court was not conducive for photographs during the match, due to the chain link fence.
Tomorrow, Mike and Dan take on the doubles pairing that is comprised of both their singles matches today, also the #2 seed. Should be an exciting match!
On a side note, I included a cute picture of a group of Turkish students, on a field trip, watching a match on center court later in the day. Take note of the boys in the front row…probably not going to grow up to be tennis players, just a hunch.
Evening plans included the black and white gala, which we were previously unaware of, so it was white/black/gray for us. But basically a repeat of our team event where they dressed up all the chairs and tables in lots of white linen, gave out red carnations to the ladies (I later gave mine to an appreciative and adorable 2 year old girl…gosh I miss the kids at our school!!!) and served yummy cocktails made with lots of fresh fruit, which I again, felt obligated to eat. Kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit, apple…was really delicious. The desserts, again, were insane. For you foodies out there…I know you’re waiting for the food edition. I’ve got all the photos, just not where to start, exactly, as there are so many dishes! I’ll pare it down (no pun intended) in the next couple of days. Hope life is fantastic back home!