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  • Czech Champ

    Somehow I am the Czech Senior Open Champion in singles and doubles after having played a grand total of five sets, three singles and two doubles. Apparently the thought of playing me made two opponents ill and hurt a third in singles; in doubles Ellen and I played one match and received a default in a second match. It was disappointing to come so far to play so little. The problem in singles was that I played the #2 seed early, and the other three players had played the matches they thought they could win, and forfeited the rest. Doubles in Europe is always difficult to get organized, and players don’t take it seriously. A default in doubles is never a total surprise.

    Today I warmed up with Ellen at 8:30, went to check out which court I’d be playing my match on, and saw the match crossed out. My opponent had withdrawn, but I hadn’t been notified. I watched several matches after that, Andrew Moraghan vs Gerhard Fahlke in men’s 40s (FAhlke, a lefty, won convincingly, with a combination of deep groundstrokes and terrific drop shots); Petro Krueger and Birgitte Hoffmann in women’s 70s (Petro outlasted Hoffmann, winning in three sets after Hoffmann won the first and kept the second close with smart play); Judy Hancy, women’s 70s; Lyn Mortimer vs Encarnacion Gomez (Lyn won 64 75, rallying from 35 down in the second; Encarnacion has improved a lot, she works hard at her game); and then in women’s 50s, Klaartje Van Baarle (Belgium) and Pavia Mrazova (Czech Rep). It was an excellent match, with neither player looking or playing like a 50 year old. Klaartje won the first set pretty handily 63, and led 53 in the second when Pavia rallied, held off a match point at 54 and led 65 before Klaartje leveled and won the tiebreak 73, hitting some critical lines and getting a lucky netted overhead in the breaker.

     

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    After that match I took the bus into Karlovy Vary, an adventure in itself, before doubles. I got on the bus just fine…the problem is that I hadn’t asked anyone where to get off. So when I saw a good view of the city I got off at the aptly named Panorama stop, took some photos and got on another bus to the end. I though the last stop was the center…it was instead the bus depot. I still found the city center and found the city as beautiful as ever. I discovered I could just walk up the hill to where I’d first stopped, at Panorama, after a few false stops. The Karlovy Vary Film festival is this weekend; there was a lot of construction getting the city ready for it, putting up posters, finishing some construction, etc.

     

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    Ellen and I played Encarnacion adn Heide Froystek in doubles and won 60 62, (I had to request new balls for the match; we were given used balls and not even good used balls!) then we received our prizes for winning; porcelain plates and socks and a certificate for doubles; for singles a shirt instead of socks. I was told I had a default in singles tomorrow and we were told we also received a default in doubles..

     

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    That’s it for tennis this trip.


  • Karlovy Vary: First Matches

    Today I played my first round robin matches here in Karlovy Vary. I practiced a fair amount yesterday and a little on Monday too, but hitting and playing on these fast courts (I know, it’s an oxymoron to call red clay courts fast, but they are!) with what are apparently fast balls (Head ATP tour) was quite different from hitting with used balls. To add to the challenge, it rained last night extremely hard and was cold today, 50s or low 60s, so the courts were heavier, making them perfect for dropshotting, but still for some reason fast.

    This tournament is pretty well run. Almost every match has a chair umpire…however all of them are local junior players, some as young as eight. On the one hand they have good, young eyes and can leap in and out of the chair with ease. On the other hand, some lose track of the score (the score cards here only have spots for keeping track of the games played, not the points played) and I saw one teenaged girl who was quite distracted from her job when one of the teenaged boys came by and she stared to flirt with him. All call the score well in English or Czech.

    Today I had to start my tournament by playing Olga Markova from Czech Republic, the #2 seed. I’m not sure why there were any seeds, if the two seeds meet in the first match (second match for Olga).  I won the first two games, and it was deuce in the third, but the chair called game, and I don’t speak Czech and Olga doesn’t speak much English, so it was 2-1. I called the score the rest of the match, lesson learned. Olga was playing well, and very relaxed, hammering returns when she wasn’t hitting perfect drop shots followed by lob volleys, should I manage to reach the ball, serving second serves on the line…she was going for her shots. However, she wasn’t feeling well and was coughing between points. After the first set she retired, and I was a bit lucky to get out of the match so easily. Blow Olga and our chair umpire Hannah.

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    About 45 minutes after we finished it started to sprinkle, then it turned into a hard rain and was cold. There’s a restaurant on site so I was able to go inside and get a hot drink and wait out the bad weather. I had another match not before 2pm on the same court against Andrea Dustmann. Andrea had won a three setter in the morning. I beat Andrea 60 61, but still found myself late on some balls. In the last game, at deuce, Robert, our chair, called  game set and match for me, but we both agreed it was deuce and two points later, I did win the match. Below, Andrea,  our chair, Robert and me after the match.

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    Tomorrow I play Gabriele Seubert who has played three matches here and has lost all three but two went three sets. We also play doubles.

    One of the nice things about international tournaments is that the few Americans in a tournament really bond, common language and nationality. Here there are a few Americans, Mirek Wierzbiki from Florida and John and Mary Hall from Santa Monica. There are also quite a few Aussies and a few Brits and one South African player, Petro Krueger. Below, John, Mirek and me.

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