The following video segment is a montage from the DVD of the day's play.
The bold and the beautiful showed up to have their games videotaped. Well, maybe not the beautiful--just those bold enough to exhibit themselves before the unflinching eye of the camera. (Boy is my racquet prep on my backhand ugly!)
Gameplay started off with Harvir matching up against Aaron. Harvir was coming back to the courts after a cold-induced layoff (probably excessive training for his Punjabi dance competition). He received an excellent scouting report (if I do say so), but despite his graceful running around the court, he wasn't able to apply much pressure to Aaron, who did a good job of setting his feet and shooting for bottom board. It wasn't clear whether Harvir was favoring his arm a bit (he had previously commented that it is easy for his elbow to get irritated if he tries to hit with much power). One of their two games is on the DVD.
Jesse showed up eager to play, so once Matt got the camera going on the Harvir/Aaron match, they went at it. Jesse has improved in covering the court, but most of his shots are focused on returning the ball to the front wall, rather than aiming for a specific location. He's also been adjusting pretty well to returning faster drive serves (to his forehand); backhand's coming up--better start practicing!
Matt and Aaron played a rematch of last week's challenge match, again going to tiebreaker. Aaron apparently wasn't intimidated by the camera lens, as the cameras were rolling as he made his comeback from a 9-14 deficit to take the first game. His freshly-strung racquet was giving him a decent pop on the ball, but probably not quite as strong as last week's. Matt was kicking himself, and wanted to blame his goggles (he didn't have his prescription goggles with him, so he used a scuffed-up pair of non-prescription eyeguards: the ball looks big today!). Matt did figure out how to overcome this handicap: get the serve and keep serving up aces. In the second game he ran up a 9-0 lead before Aaron could get on the board. More of the same in the tiebreaker, although Aaron was playing better then. Aaron was all over pretty much any serve to his forehand, but was slow jumping on the backhand serves. To take advantage of this, it was important for Matt to sacrifice power and to focus on placement--by slowing down and relaxing his serve, he got a bit more control to aim the ball for the corner, and the lower power kept the serve from setting up off the back wall. It will be interesting to see what adjustments each of these players makes after they watch the video (assuming Aaron's copy isn't somehow "accidentally" lost).
The evening wrapped up with a late game between Matt and Jesse, followed by a cool-down shuffle-step sprints...
The camera is planning to be out again this Wednesday!
This table ranks players by ladder points earned for this night.
|Start Rank||Start Pts||Player||Earned Points||Offense|
(*) Rank - the club rank at the start of play.
(*) Start Pts - the number of ladder points at the start of play.
(*) Earned Points - the number of ladder points earned this evening.
(*) Offense - Total points scored in games this evening
|Player A||Player B||Winner||Upset?||Score||Earned Points|
|Matt||Aaron||Matt||--||11-6||(tiebreaker) ==> Matt(+4) Aaron(+1)|
Upset - a (++) indicates that the lower-ranked player won