A trial by fire

On a very hot and humid day, I spent over 2 hours on a tennis court scraping and fighting to survive to the Quarter Finals of this Local Junior Tennis Tournament. There were times where I thought the soles of my tennis shoes were going to melt to the surface of the court because it was so hot.

When we started the match at 10 in the morning it was already in the upper 80’s and with the humidity it felt well into the 90’s, and, as the match progressed, it just got hotter and hotter. As I stated, the match lasted over 2 hours. Me and my opponent were both dragging at the end of the match.

The first set was quite the struggle for me. I started off losing my serve and having my back up against the wall right from the beginning; not a good way to start the match at all. I attempted everything I could to break her back, but she was a player similar to myself, in that she got just about everything I hit to her back. Needless to say it was quite frustrating. I then lost my serve again and eventually lost the set 6-2.

As I sat on the side of the court wondering what I would do differently in the next set, I thought to myself that since, she is the same type of player as me, I may need to get her out of that rhythm and try and hit with as much pace as I possibly could and shorten the rallies.

The second set went much better; there were zero breaks of serve and the set went to a tie break which I ended up narrowly winning 7-5. At this point of the match, I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and I am pretty sure so was my opponent. I am not sure how many water bottles I had drank up to that point, but it must have been a lot and been a big contributor to the bathroom break I needed between the 2nd and 3rd set. My opponent also took a bathroom break as well.

I kept the same game plan as I had used in the second set for the third set. The match continued to go back and forth as this girl was probably one of the quickest players I had ever played in my life, and I consider myself pretty quick. I finally got my chance to break her serve when I hit a backhand return down the line off of one of her 1st serves that actually surprised me that put me up 30-40 in the game. I then attacked the next points 2nd serve and won the point to break her serve. I went onto win the 3rd set and the match 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. The really weird thing about this match is if you look at the score, she won a total of 16 games and I won 15; I ended up winning the match. Pretty crazy how this tennis game works out sometimes. The match however was extremely close and she was an awesome opponent; I am extremely proud of myself for winning the match and defeating a girl who is one year older than me.

After the match, I stuck around for a bit to see who I would play tomorrow and it is none other than the #1 seeded player in the draw. From the looks of the QF’s, I am the youngest player left in the draw. Along with one of my friends who also trains at this tennis club and is the same age as me, but she is a few weeks older than me. There is also one 17 year old girl and five 18 year old girls remaining in the draw including the girl I will be playing tomorrow.

Also, the girl I will be playing tomorrow leads the tournament with 22 Aces. Seeing her at the Ice Breaker the other day she stands several inches taller than me and obviously must hit the ball with a lot of pace. I will have to go into the match and hopefully be able to do what I always do and change the pace and move her all over the court. Regardless, it is going to be a learning experience for me and I am going to have a blast trying to upset the #1 seeded player.