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!