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Double Szavision?

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After much debate, my partner and I decided to dress in Federerian all-black for our second match. I had no black shoes or sweat socks, so my high black dress socks looked a little odd going into my all-white tennis shoes.

We (I Feel Prettier) got to the courts before our opponents (The Aces), and hit around a little. When our opponents arrived, I realized that I recognized the girl on their team from last season. She was on the team that won it all, who I was happy to have seen won, as I had really disliked the team who finished as runners up.

The other team warmed up for a long time, even after we were glaring and such. By the time they decided they were done, there wasn’t any time for me and my opponent to warm each other up at all, meaning that I never got to hit with him or see his serve at all before the match began.

I won the racquet spin, and elected to serve. My serve is not something I would ever call a weapon, but I win more games serving than I do returning.

The first serve I hit was immediately returned for a forehand winner up the line. He hit the ball with a lot of topspin, something which I’m sad to say really isn’t in my arsenal to speak of. His next return missed the line by inches. A few very short rallies later (ending in his winners or his errors), we were at no-ad deuce, a point which I happily won by pushing a winner past him from midcourt.

Even though I was up 1-0, I could tell I was in trouble. I was grasping to straws even with the lead, and I knew that in order for me to win, he would have to play much much worse than he was. I always try to stay positive on the court, to the point of being delusional, but I knew that something was going to have to give for me to have a shot at the match.

He held serve at love, which wasn’t a surprise. His serves kicked up about six feet off the ground by the time they reached me, meaning that most all of my returns were awkward block backs from behind the baseline.

Somehow, I managed to hold serve at deuce again. I was able to push my serve out wide and keep it low and incredibly slow, which was tough for him to do a lot with.

After that, it was all him. He held easily, then broke easily, then held easily, then broke easily. Chasing down a deep forehand of his while trailing 2-4, I ran into the fence behind the court. Hard. I had completely misjudged how far behind the baseline I was, and hit the fence face/knee first, and fell over. Luckily the fence was made of rubbery chain link rather than metal, so I was left writhing with giggles rather than pain.

He then held to take the first set 6-2, a score line which probably makes it sound closer than it was.

For whatever reason, I expected things to change at the beginning of the next set. I had played the beginning of the first set well, so why shouldn’t I do the same at the beginning of the second set?

But nothing really changed. My opponent continued to dominate, rarely losing more than a point on both his serve and my serve.

But no matter how bleak it seemed, I was still trying to fight. I was chasing down as many balls as I could, hanging in points as best I could. I was trying to mix up my shots even more than usual, trying to give him short backhands, backhand volleys, or whatever else I hadn’t seen him do.

Trailing 3-0, I saw that my partner was shaking hands with her opponent in the other singles match of our tie. I figured that there was no way she had been able to beat a defending champion in the time it took me to play eleven games. When she made it over to my court as I served at 0-4, she told me that she had lost 6-0, 6-1.

Hearing that she had lost more quickly and more lopsidedly than I was going to was oddly relaxing to me. Soon after I heard that, I started realizing that since pushing the ball had resulted in the loss of ten straight games, I might want to try actually swinging at the ball. I hit a forehand winner on the next point that no one (myself included) saw coming, and smiled. I tend to be pretty Jankovician on the court, smiling to myself even when I’m losing badly.

Despite hitting a winner, I lost the game (if only one nice point was enough), to go down 0-5.

He kick served his way to 40-15, giving him two match points, and putting me on the verge of getting a nice steamy bagel for the first time in a long time. I managed to hit another cross-court winner to get to 40-30, and an awkward lob that he thought was going to fall out landed on the line to bring me to deuce, which was still match point. I then floated him an intentionally awkwardly heighted shot that he hit as an overhead that sailed into the fence, giving me my first break of the match. If only he had read this first. Happy, I did a very ridiculous, Hewitty “Come On!” to my partner, then started giggling as I got ready to serve.

Winning that game put me at 1-5, and I was reminded of a match that had happened on the other side of the world earlier that day, in which Agnes Szavay had come back from down a set and 1-5 to beat Jelena Jankovic in the Beijing final. If Agnes can do it, surely I can too, I thought.

I was now playing much better tennis, and getting lucky, which never hurts. I hit two more lobs that he let land on the line behind him, leaving him in disbelief. The girl from the other team was watching from the side of the court I was now on, and she was laughing with a friend, apparently at my playing style, which I admit really is pretty ridiculous looking. I play a pretty bipolar game in terms of serving and ground strokes, going back and forth between cracking shots about as hard as I can and pushing them very short in the box.

I held at 15, following up a first serve that was around 55 MPH with a forehand winner.
Since it was 5-2, we changed sides again. Getting to change sides after he was serving for the match at 5-0 felt awesome, and I was really happy to have extended my time on court after having lost ten straight games.

Feeling like all the momentum was with me, I was somewhat caught off guard when he held serve to end the match. It felt oddly abrupt.

As me and my opponent walked to the referee’s table to report our final score, I asked him if his teammate was the girl from last year’s winning team.

“Um, yeah,” he said. “Actually, all of us were on the winning team last year.”

So I lost to the defending champ 6-2, 6-2. I can certainly live with that.

Now we face a dilemma. My partner knows the people we are playing against next week in our final regular season match. They are apparently not very good at all. If we beat them, we move into the “A” Bracket of the playoffs, against teams who went 3-0 or 2-1. If we lose, we play in the “B” Bracket against teams who went 1-2 or 0-3.

We know that we don’t have any realistic shot of winning the “A” Bracket. So will we throw the tie? Probably not, but you’ll just have to wait for the next entry to find out.

I Feel Prettier: 1-1
oohsalmon's singles record: 1-1

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Updated 10-03-2007 at 07:41 PM by oohsalmon



  1. beaujarkko's Avatar
    Wouldn't it have been nice to draw me instead? By the way, I honestly and definitely want to play again. Slightly off-topic... Salmon beat me in tennis this past weekend 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. It was fun, even though I lost. I'd deign say the match actually was as close as the scoreline (except for the second set where I don't remember when three games, lol).

    Btw, congrats on the four games against the defending champs!
  2. rabbit's Avatar
    You have such a great writing was really enjoyable and funny to read!

    I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. When I walked out on the court, I imagined myself as Roger...and then I lost, dammit!!