Salzburg Open 2013 – Day 3

Final day of the consolation: semifinal: Laisacher (AUT). Known for his strong, loopy spins from his forehand. Hence, I focused on using my forehand crosses to his rather weak backhand. Despite being humiliated by some of his seemingly easy, but kick-type serves, it worked out alright to start with. 6-3.
In the second set, I served worse, and he started moving faster, meaning he could turn around to reach his forehand more often. My accuracy in returning his high attacks on my backhand just weren’t there. I was down 1-5, when thoughts on the potential deciding super-tiebreak (to ten, replacing a third set, in this heat), started emerging. Luckily, I managed to fight those thoughts off, as I didn’t think he played that well. I made it easy for him. So, by simply getting the serves across and moving furiously (returning to the back after each stroke, as one should), I turned it around. Six straight games! A nice win, with some added confidence boost, 6-3, 7-5!

The final against Wallner (AUT), was tricky. Moved better then in our bout last year, and managed to defend and attack really great in some rallies. Sadly not at decisive points, but at 15-40 och deuce, quite often.
Lost 2-6, 3-6. A good experience however, this last game day in Austria, with two major lessons to learn:
1) I need power and more accurate placement in my serves, unless I want to lose to many of the average players. Stop giving away free points, even whole games, by making lay-ups or double faults.
2) I need a defense for high loops to my backhand. The odd slice is great if I’m relaxed, but the top-spins are too often still too flat, causing the ball to drift away off court. This goes for many of my returns after serves as well. Start to think about a way to get around to a forehand spin? There should be enough time to move around and change positions…
As friendly Antony Cotterill (world no. 9) put it (or something similar):
”Move outwards/away after your shots, to avoid chasing the ball from deep inside the court like you orten do (by turning inwards). Create time for yourself by getting back to the middle beyond the baseline. From there, you can instead attack the ball”. Simple!

A third thing to work on, is for sure the low but effective, attacking backhand slice, as mastered by so many on the tour…

Result wise, and game-plan wise (sadly not ranking point wise, though), one of the best tournaments yet, is over. A set win over Tatschl (AUT), A well-earned semi in doubles, a great tactical and mental comeback. The occassional great game(s), once I kept doing what I’m capable of, and not over-complicating things (not reducing my own margins of error).

Danke schön, Salzburg.
All for now, over & out!


Salzburg Open 2013 – Day 2

I got to meet H. Pramendorfer (AUT), after all, sadly not for the 78 points as last year, but in the first round of the consolation. A comfortable 6-0, 6-0 win. Focused on placing my chair to ease my shots (as I should in all games, but now I could stay more relaxed. A nice ”practice round” with some actually rather killer nice returns, on cross forehands, looped backhands and focused net attacks (!). Relaxation is key..!
The double against first seeds Cotterill (GBR)/Raffaele (ITA) proved way too hard, as suspected. We did win some nice rallies though, where we could finish off with topspins placed between them or with returns on the outside. One point in particular will stay with me, where Jance attacked, and I saved lopped high returns twice at the far back. Sadly when we switched and I went for a short ball, I put it in the net..:-(
1-6, 1-6. A fun game though, despite more missed returns than in yesterday’s doubles.
A promising second round consolation game awaits tomorrow, against Laisacher (AUT), (‘never played him though..)
All for now, over & out!

Salzburg Open 2013 – Day 1

I was hoping for an easy draw since I had quite a few ranking points to defend from here last year (beat H. Pramendorfer (AUT) 0 and 0). Sadly that was not be. Instead I was up against the friendly local Peter Tatschl (AUT), for the third time in little over two months actually.
The game was delayed as there was qualifying rond needed to complete the quite big draw.

I had my hopes up since I was 3-0 up and played a tiebreak last we met on clay (in Prostejov, CZE), although not playing my best.
I did move better than in France (which was an awful display of erroneous moves or lack thereof, and stressed out shots). However, I didn’t swing/top my backhand properly, so I shot many of the foreseen lay-always of Peter’s outside the baseline (not that far though).
The second set was better as I realized that loose balls make him go for a killer, often overdoing them, out or in the net, especially in this scorching heat (+35 C).
I won that set. A first against Peter. He did play rather poorly though (or perhaps that me making him do that? :-)).
In the third Set, I sadly couldn’t keep my errors down, missing to many backhand returns and trying to and the lose balls that was returns after focused forehand. Focus on the balls is still in need of improvement, as are my serves (gosh, 5-6 double faults in the first three games alone, and a crucial number of them in the third set. Needs to go for them more. Loose ones are lost points..)
2-6, 6-3, 3-6.
It’s horrible to notice a potentially even opponent playing poorly, and still realizing that your losing.
I don’t want that happening ever again! 😉
Filen dank, Peter!

In the doubles, my and my great friend Sébastien Jance teamed up for the first time against Donskoy (RUS), and the quad bad-boy Sappino (FRA). Sappino is very friendly off-court, but, if a game is tight, he always tries to convince the umpire of a decision in his favour.
Last year, me and Tatschl lost to these guys but now, Jance and were consistent and kept our strategy to be aware of Sappino’s short and spinning serves/returns, and to switch places a lot so that they couldn’t play on my supposedly (;-)) bad backhand.. It worked. We stayed focused, had a blast, and won 6-2, 7-5. We let them in too close in the second set, but managed to play focused to wrap it up. One of my most enjoyable games ever!

All for now, over & out!