I have been in London for 3 days now. I have been on court every day for a couple hours. I have hit with Steve Virgona, Kieran Booth & Mathieu Sarlangue.
I am happy with my preparation before I play my second round match against most likely John Lumley. As most you know I Iost to him recently in straights sets at the IRTPA Championships. John actually went on to win the whole tournament which softened the hurt of the loss a little bit
I studied the match I lost to John on YouTube. I wanted to see what he did well and what I was doing wrong. First thing I noticed, was that I qas playing the game in to his hands. He was serving a slow raill road which I would cut volley and he would comfortably pick off as he had plenty of time to get across. Normally my cut volley is so strong that often I am putting the opponents under pressure. Problem with that at Leamington is that nothing cuts of the back wall so I was getting little reward. I needed to let a lot more go to the back wall and force or cut the ball in the corners to not let John get in grove or running in to the corners and picking the balls off which he loves to do as he is very fit and a great retriever. I never usually let balls go to the back wall of i can help it. Watching Rob this year, i noticed he lets a lot of bals get to the back wall and forces or cuts the ball which makes him hard to read. That was the big reason he over came Camden at Queens. I also needed to change my serve up more, I was serving a fast railroad and John was volleying the ball in the corner putting me under pressure. I needed to slow the serve down so I had more time to get across to the forehand corner and play the game at my pace. For the last 3 weeks I have been practicing very hard at letting the ball go to the back wall more which is something new and I needed to get used to seeing how many balls I can actually let go to the back wall. I have hit thousands of high side walls serves these last 3 weeks which can be a very good serve at Queens. I also like this serve as It's hard to generate pace on the volley return of serve and I am also having much better success of getting their return of serve back. Queens Club is also a very hard court to serve a rail road or any serve on.
I feel very confident with my game plan so I am looking forward to playing.
I beat John, 5/6 6/5 6/4 6/2.
My game plan of slowing the match down and and letting the ball go to the back wall more was giving John a lot of trouble. Also my serving was working well. The high side wall serves when they went in were useful as John didn't like to have to generate the pace off the return of serve. Also the demi pk worked well against him if he didnt volley the ball. When he had to let it bounce he wasn't putting much on his cut shots and I was able to pick him off.
I went down 2/5 in the first set. I didnt panic as I still felt my game plan was working, i just needed to cut out the errors. I never got a set point but did take it to duece and we had 3 dueces.
The 2nd set I played well, I did go 5/2 and had a couple of set points which I failed to convert. It didnt matter in the end as I won the set just, 6/5. The 3rd set was tight, I went 3/4 down but played 3 solid games to close out the set. By now I had really slowed the game down as I had started to feel a bit of cramp in my quads, I was drinking pickle juice and salt water and every change of end to try make it go away. It worked as i went 4/0 in the 4th set and I hadn't cramped. John won the next two to make it 2/4. Fortunately I closed the match out for a great win.
I play Rob Fahey in QF today at 3pm UK time. There is a good chance this might not be on time as there are 2 QF matches before me. My game plan against Rob will be similar. I will probably have to mix my serves up more and I will most likely volley return the serve a bit more and hit a few more low drives on the forcing, trying to expose Robs lack of pace.
Rob Fahey beat me last night 6/1 6/1 6/3. He was on fire. It was so hard to find a serve to stop him from hitting dedans. He also served really well. I had chances in the 3rd set but couldn't convert. I got a couple unlucky bounces at important points where the ball hit penthouse and then flush back wall. I should of made it 3all in the 3rd set as I was 40 love up but Rob won the game. When he won the game he gave a big fist pump and a come on. Despite the scoreline looking like it was easy on paper , Rob knew that it wasnt and he could feel I was trying to get the momentum back in my favour. in the end I lost to the World Champion who beat Camden only a few months ago on the same court. Rob chatted to me after and was very complimentary of my game and also gave some good advice on what tactics I should be implementing on court. That is priceless advice from the greatest player of all time.
I am really happy with my result against John & how my tennis is progressing. I am really looking forward to teaming up with Rob for the doubles now.
Rob & I won our QF doubles match. We won on 4 sets.6/5 6/2 2/6 6/1 Which should, on paper of won a lot easier but we both struggled to get out of 1st gear.
I think most of you already know but Rob & I won our doubles 6/3 6/2 5/6 6/2. Its a really good win over a strong pair who beat us in the UK pro doubles final in July.
The first two sets we were solid. Trying to keep things simple and limit the mistakes and it worked as we went 2 sets to love up. The 3rd set we lost a bit of concentration, especially me and made a few too many easy errors. Despite feeling like we were pkaying poorly, we only lost the set 6/5 and were unlucky not to win the set and the match in 3 sets.
In the 4th set we came out with better focus even though we went 2/1 down. We went on to win the next 5 games and thr match. It was alot of fun playing in front of a big Queens crowd & for me prersonally it was some of the best doubles I have played. I am really pleased that in a pressure situation I was able to raise my game rather than buckle under the pressure. This gives me great confidence going in to the doubles final tomorrow, especially with the goat by my side.
The Doubles Final is tomorrow against Chris Chapman & Steve Virgona (world no3 & 4) at 6pm UK time. I am really looking forward to it and I feel a lot more confident in my doubles game after yesterday
Rob & I won the doubles final 6/3 6/5 6/2.
We played solid together but Rob was especially good. Having been in a British Open final before I was less nervous than before. Prince Edward was in the front row watching which always adds a bit extra to the final also.
we won the first set and we were in control of the second with a lead of 5/3. Steve & Chris fought back well and i played a couple of nervy games. We were 30/15 up on the serving side when I played my defense of the dedan ever. The next 2 points I defended around 15 forces for the dedan and we won both points to win the set. This really took the wind out of Chris & Steve's sail as we comfortably won the 3rd set and my first British Open doubles title