Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm a Loser, Baby, So Why Don't You Kill Me?

I lost my 3.0 match as well. Like I said, playing the number 1 seed in the 3.5 level had given me a little hope for a little bit of success in level 3.0 because the first guy just beat me with consistency. He had a really weak serve and no really hard shots, but he knew where to put the ball and didn't make mistakes. He was a good player, not a powerful one. I felt like I could keep up with him even though I don't think I'd beat him even on a good day.

The thing was is that I played horribly that first match. I got nervous. I pulled out of my strokes too soon. I couldn't get a first serve in to save my life. It wasn't until I made myself slow down and give up on a decent serve that I started pushing Jose (the first guy) a little bit. When I played my second match, I was actually playing pretty good. I was getting in most of my first serves to the point that my opponent actually said I had a good serve. I was hitting good shots, and I still got my butt handed to me. The guy just overpowered me. I had to step back a few feet from the baseline to have a chance at returning his serve and even then he'd get a few by me. He also had a really strong and fairly consistent forehand that I usually got to, but he'd eventually get the ball past me. I ended up losing 6-0, 6-4. Those four games in the second set? The other guy's serve fell apart after four games into the second set. I actually won four of the last six games. The only problem was that he won 10 straight games before I had a chance to pick up my first.

Honestly, I know this guy was just better than I was. I know how to play doubles (Jose said he could tell I played doubles because my net shots were so good), but with singles I'm kind of just guessing. I try to move my guy around by working the corners and throwing in a drop shot occasionally (I won several points on drop shots yesterday in both matches), but honestly, I don't know singles strategy.

I didn't talk to any of the other players about this match, but K and Courtney did and they said a couple of guys said my 3.0 opponent shouldn't have been playing 3.0. Like I said, he was less consistent than Jose, but you wouldn't call him inconsistent and he actually hit the ball with much more force. That means I still don't know where I should be playing. I got owned by the 3.5 guy, but in a way that I didn't feel out of my league. Maybe I'm actually a middle of the pack 3.5. If my 3.0 opponent was too good for 3.0, maybe I'm actually a good 3.0. I have no idea. I'm going to keep working at it, though.

I also found out that I prefer clay over hard courts. After playing my first match on the clay, I didn't even notice my legs. I was tired, but my legs felt better than they ever had after practice on hard courts. My second match was on a hard court (they started using that court to make up for the first round running a little long) and the bottoms of my feet were aching and my knees were sore. Also, if I'd asked to wait for a clay court to open up, some of the other guy's power advantage would have been neutralized. He still would have beaten me, but it would have been closer.

I play again on hard courts on May 29, but after that, I think I'm going to seek out the clay court tournaments.


Hank Gay said...

I'm glad it was fun. When can I start calling you a clay-court specialist?

Courtney said...

Even though that second guy was playing 3.0 unnecessarily, it's not like he totally kicked your ass. You held your own. Maybe on clay, the outcome would have been different.

Jacob said...

Courtney, he actually didn't win the 3.0 tournament, so there was a guy there better than he, but after looking at the results for all of the matches played, I actually was closer than about half the guys. If I had been matched up against any but 3 or 4 of those guys, I may have actually won.

Hank: When I actually win a match.