Gauteng Open, 2014 – Day 2

Gauteng_14_cons_serveSince I lost to Wags yesterday, I was up for consolation. I played a friendly lefty called Danny from South Africa.
I planned to play onto his backhand. However, although his aim was a bit weak on his backhands, he was very good at blocking my sliced down-the-line forehands. Even my forehand topspins he very often looped back high and deep, unexpectedly.
I felt very confident at first, during the long rallies we had. My serves were consistent, as were my deep returns. However, I a tried a little too often to create an opportunity rather than waiting for it. I didn’t move back enough relaxing, but rather I wanted to push the ball to the sides, resulting in me attacking at rather difficult shots too close me, letting the wind get the better of me.
We had tight games all through the match, but I failed to capitalize, as I lost many games even being up 0-40. Why was that, one wonders..? My guess is not feeling confident enough on each single point, although trying to focus on point-for-point. I moved in too soon, taking away time from myself, both shot- and wheelchair-movement-wise… I need to work even further on this, back home. My trust in myself, and playing with more people in wheelchairs. I need to be confident in that getting the ball back is an opportunity to create something, not a threat (as I now seem to believe unconsciously).
I eventually lost 3-6, 2-6, despite some really nice plays on my part (including a far-corner forehand save, turned into a cross-court loop winner, and a few forehand slice down-the-line winners I should be proud of…)
The game left a bad taste in my mouth though, knowing I didn’t adapt my game plan when needed (utilizing his attempts to top even low forehands cross-court), nor did I hunt for every ball like life depended ufon it, (which you should).

In doubles I played with Steven Kekai (RSA). It was a nice new experience, but the opposition didn’t leave much for us, being on our level. We had a few really nice rallies, but lost fair and square to the greats Sithole (RSA)/Burdekin (GBR), 0-6,0-6. Need to work on returning those high loops on my backhand…

Live and learn… Daily practice and learning from top level games remain, awaiting the Super series event next week.

This week’s learnings summarized: Stay calm. Practice consistency and placements with follow-through. Keep pushing those stable serves.
All for now, over & out, from probably the best tournament of my experience.


Gauteng Open, 2014 – Day 1

The definition of a tough draw… Up against world no. 1 David Wagner..
Well, these things happen now and again to everyone, being the rules of the game. You just have to accept it, try to learn from it, and enjoy the opportunity to play with the best.
I focused on returning deep, and the long follow-throughs. I actually think I played really well, despite the ”double bagle”, as Americans put it: 0-6, 0-6.
Focusing on each point, I had winners looping onto his backhand, spinning forehand-crosses inside the serves-line, and the odd forehand slice returning a low winner cross court. The best point was however in the fourth game in the second set. I was down 40-15. I returned using a topspin backhand cross-court, and pushed the returning forehand deep cross-court, onto his backhand. He returned a nice save. A topspin cross, with power.
As I’ve been tought, I leaned into the low ball on my forehand, and pushed a nice spin with follow-through down the line… A winner to remember, my best (strategic) game point ever! On the world no. 1 to boot!!! 🙂
The practice on strategic game play with Patrik and Niclas has really started to pay off! Thanks coaches!!
Over & out!