Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tennis 2012: Le Club, Week 6 (Team Noonimoto)

At #1 doubles, I recognized one of our opponents from a match last year: Linda was tall, aggressive, and confident — and strong in the warmup. Her partner, Pam, was consistent and had terrific touch volleys.

On Court 7, we fought to take the first set, 6-2. The score did not reflect how competitive they were.

Down 2-4 in the second, Patrice and I tried not to get frustrated. "I was here on Friday, down 2-4," I said. "We can get the next four games." We had accomplished such things in the past.

But they toughed it out, started hitting more winners, and took the set 6-3.

During the break, Nooni and I strategized. In the first set, she had mentioned our maturity as an advantage. Totally! Staying calm and poised would help us. We talked about being resilient between points — something that our pro Jayson had drilled us on. It is hard to play a long point and then refocus for the next one and the one after that.

And I had practiced this when I played singles with Sandy on Sunday. Sandy is one of those players who forces you to play your best, and I needed every advantage I could get. Thank you for preparing me for this match.

Linda and Pam were up 3-2.

Here's where some of the details get fuzzy. I do remember seeing rows of people standing at the windows. I recognized Glenna's patterned tennis skirt when I went to retrieve a ball. But I couldn't look at her. I didn't want to lose focus. And how could she help me telepathically?

I do remember this: We tied, then were up 6-5. Then they won the next game.

Bummer. We couldn't close out the set when we had the chance. But we had to move past that, because we were still in the match.

This was my first tiebreak of the season. And it had been over a month since Nooni and I played together. Good thing we've played so many tiebreaks (and she had played one earlier this season at 8.0 mixed, and won).

Linda and Pam were tough. Changing servers and sides so often, it was hard to get into a rhythm. We were down 5-6. Match point.

Patrice served — and won — the next two points. How's that for poise and resilience between points? 7-6.

Time to switch sides again. I exhaled. I have to remember to breathe during really competitive moments.

Patrice returned serve. I don't remember how we won the point, just that we did.

6-2, 3-6, 7-6. A comeback.

After any given match, you can say, "That could've gone the other way." It's rare to have those nights where you dominate or get killed. Most matches become wars of attrition, where you just try to grind it out and chip away at your opponent. Tonight was one of those nights.

A satisfying win for the maturing Noonimoto.


Jim Fontanini said...

Way to go ladies! Congratulations on a hard fought match!

I like your quote in paragraph #3.
"We can get the next 4 games".
Planning your wins is ALWAYS a good sign of confidence.
Reminds me of someone else's comment during a match.
(hint: last Friday night)

Keep the streak going!


Naomi said...

Jim, thanks for the props. Dare I ask, is planning your wins a sign of confidence or arrogance? And am I smart enough to recognize the difference? (That is rhetorical, by the way.)

Jim Fontanini said...

Absolutely confidence! It's only arrogance if you plan your wins and then don't succeed.
I'll be honest, planning the next 4 games is a little aggresive but I like.

Naomi said...

If the tortoise and the hare played mixed doubles, I suspect this is what it would be like. Maybe you should nap during matches to let me catch up?