Day 3 – USA vs. Russia,
The World Championships this year are being played on red clay, here in Turkey. I’m sure most you all are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of playing on clay, however I will review just a few of the key components, paraphrased from Wikipedia.
Clay courts are considered "slow", because the balls bounce relatively high and more slowly, the ball sometimes just appearing to hang in midair, making it more difficult for a player to hit an un-returnable shot. Points are generally longer as there are fewer winners. Therefore, clay courts generally favor baseliners who are consistent and have a strong defensive game. The general strategy is to play a few to several feet behind the baseline, in a semi-circle pattern.
Today’s singles matches were a bit opposite, even down to the set scores. Second singles started off strong, then had a few momentum shifts in the second set, where there were more service breaks than holds for both players. This match was filled with many long baseline rallies…the surface makes it difficult to end a point from the baseline unless you are relying on your opponent missing. There were many rallies that lasted 20 shots or more. Both athletes displayed a high level of fitness just to stay in these points.
It was also quite damp, a light rain falling off and on, which made the balls increasingly heavy and more difficult to hit as we inched toward the end of the match. All that being said, Bill Moss resolutely held off his Russian opponent, 6-0, 6-4.
Number one singles, began quite differently. My opponent came on strong out of the gate, breaking my service game right away. His weapons included blistering forehands and a booming serve. When we were scoping out this team yesterday, I noted that this player would be difficult to beat if he was consistent with his first serve. The pressure definitely mounted early, but began to ease a bit by the middle of the first set. I found my groove, gained confidence and got to the net more. This is an unconventional approach to clay, and worked in unnerving my opponent. I got steadier as he lost his momentum and while down at 1-3, I rallied to win 11 of the next 12 games and take the match 6-4, 6-0.
On to the doubles! Today’s doubles was played by Ken White and Tom Schlach. They proved to be a formidable team, with lots of varied play. There were some fierce net battles, lots of lobs, laden in top spin, and of course you can’t go wrong with the “down the middle winner.” There were more than a few of those on both sides of the net. It was an entertaining match to be sure, with Ken’s huge serve, especially effective when combined with Tom’s poach for the 1-2 punch. They closed out our match with a sweep, 3-0 for USA, at 6-1, 6-1. Tomorrow’s match we meet the Czech Republic at 9am.
The photos are all by Brenda.