Today’s singles match vs. Carlos Behar was again played on center court. What luck! Carlos was able to get an early break, which set the tone for the first set. Mike was always battling from behind. Even when he broke back with a top spin lob winner to get back on serve, Mike’s service holds were a bit tougher games than Carlos’s.
This Colombian player, a seasoned representative for his country’s team has a solid game with lots of weapons. He got Mike with several drop shots, and with Mike serving at 3-4, he got broke again. Darn it! Carlos serving for the set at 5-3, Mike had a break chance that didn’t work out, and Carlos takes the set 6-3.
Second set started off again with Mike getting broken early…his first service game, in fact. This is followed by Carlos holding, and Mike holding. Carlos serves at 2-1 and this game changes things dramatically for the set. Carlos missed some critical serves, even double faulting once. He misses a drop shot at 30-30 for a break chance, this one doesn’t work out either, deuce. Carlos hits a down the line passing shot, Ad-in. Mike hits a blistering cross court passing shot winner, DEUCE. Now, for the point of the day…Carlos drop shots Mike, who runs for it, followed by the lob, Mike gets to it and throws up a monster sky lob, Carlos drops him again, Mike dashes back to the net for the short ball, and reataliates with a drop shot of his own, catching Carlos spectating at the baseline. WINNER. And now we are back on serve. This game definitely takes Carlos out his rhythm and he doesn’t hold serve the rest of this set. Mike wins 6-2 for the split. Onto the third set.
I’m thinking after that last momentum shift that Mike has the edge going into the third…that being said, I know he is tired and sore from all the matches he has subjected his 55 year old body to these past weeks. There has been a lot of icing, a lot of Sombra, Valtoran, and ibuprofen. Fingers crossed!
Mike starts the 3rd set by getting broken again. I’m thinking, well, this happened in the last set, and he turned it around…it will happen again. I am especially encouraged when Carlos begins talking to himself in Spanish after missing returns into the net. He is making a few more mistakes and missing a lot of first serves. There are many aspects of their games that are similar, back hand volley cross court from beyond the service line, back hand slice approach shots, lobs and drop shots. Yep…that’s Mike’s game for sure.
They get back on serve 2-2. Mike serving. Long rallies, you can see the increased determination in both players as they battle it out. 30-30, and the longest rally of the match, Mike just misses wide for a break chance. He saves it to make it deuce #1. Mike hits a shot that just clips the baseline and causes Carlos to ask his group if it was good. Si. Ad-In. Oh no…double fault! Deuce #2. Mike puts one away from the service line with an overhead winner. Ad In. Hits one into the net…shoot. Deuce #3. Drop shot winner, Ad In. Passing shot winner by Carlos, Deuce #4. Mike running for a drop shot, slips and doesn’t completely recover…gets the ball back, but barely as Carlos comes in to deflect the resulted weak shot to the open court, ad-out. Dang it Carlos gets the break, he shouts, Vamos!! His group cheers wildly.
There are a couple more holds on each side, to bring it to Carlos serving for the match at 5-4. More of the same…cross court pass, drop shot, 40-30, match point. Sigh. Game set match for Carlos. What a great effort – but in the end it was not meant to be. Time to have lunch, shower and get ready for doubles. They meet the #1 seeds that are made up of each of their singles victories from yesterday. Should be a great match!
Paul French, of Great Britain, is the #1 seed in both singles and doubles. Danny beat him in a tough 3 setter yesterday, and his doubles partner, Alan Rasmussen, of Denmark, is the 10th seed and lost to Mike yesterday. It would appear that those matches took their toll on either their mental game, their physical game, or more likely both. Neither player brought their precision game to the doubles that they displayed in the singles. They were making a lot of unforced errors, and when hitting long or wide, it was not by a small margin. The first set was completed in 30 minutes, with only one hold by Paul French. 6-1. USA.
Second set was a bit closer, as they turned up the volume and began making fewer mistakes, they were able to hold 3 times and get a break on Danny’s serve. At 5-4, Danny serves for the match. He has some nerves as he lost his previous serve, and I’m sure yesterday’s singles, where he was serving for that match at 5-2 and got broke multiple times, bringing the match to 7-5 for his ultimate win, was still fresh as well. Anyway, back to the present match, Danny does not disappoint, he has a strong service game, setting up some great down the middle winners for Mike after the weak return of serve. 40-15, double match point. Misses one into the net. 40-30, long rally ensues…the last shot hit by Alan goes just wide. Game Set Match. Now here’s the funny part…Danny does not know it’s over. Later when we were chatting about the match, he told me that with so much tennis one can get not just physically fatigued, but mentally as well. He had lost track of the score, (which might have been a good thing!) and when he saw Mike’s outstretched hand, he thought, “is he congratulating me on holding serve?” but then he turned to see everyone coming to the net and he realized they had won the match. Go USA!
Tomorrow Danny takes on Carlos, who beat Mike today, and they play the Australians, Gary Thoroughgood and Andrew Rae, the #3 seeds. Wish them luck!