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Meltdown of the Week


Finding Roger Federer Meltdown footage on YouTube is like finding a seat on the Number 4 Lexington Avenue subway at 9:30 in the morning. [Non-New Yorkers, take note: it's rare.] The Greatest of All Time usually deals with blown shots by dragging his middle finger across his forehead and tucking his hair behind his ear. Not this time. This was a semi-final match with Novak Djokovic at the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Djokovic just broke Fed in the third and deciding set and was up 15-0 when the Greatest of All Time took his eyes off a routine approach shot that could have evened the score. Federer went through lots of racquets when he was playing the junior circuit; wonder if he felt a little wave of nostalgia upon banging this one hard into the court.

On the Sideline

Miracle of Easter: We Beat Singh/Thompson!

My husband and I thought we were offering ourselves up like lambs to the slaughter for the Easter feast when we agreed to square off against Worthy Opponents Surinder Singh and Tam Thompson at the Prospect Park Tennis Center.  Singh is undefeated for the indoor season, and Thompson is a tough customer on the doubles court. She's got the game and the guts to serve and volley, Haters.

It may look like a tennis ball, but it's really a hand grenade when Tam Thompson volleys it at you."You can thank us later," we were thinking to ourselves as we made our intention to play together known to Tam and Surinder.

But here's an Easter miracle: We beat them in a tiebreak.

We got out to an early lead, breaking Tam in the second game.  But I was equally wobbly with my serve.  I was netting balls serving into the deuce court, and those that I got in were sitting ducks for Tam's shotgun cross court forehand.  She also outfoxed Mark at net several times, hitting a passing shot on her return down the line.

They broke back, knotting the set at 2-2.  Of course, Surinder held.  Lights out on his serve.  I'm glad to say I got some returns in play by stepping back, giving myself more time, and just blocking the ball.  I was even able to get the ball back deep enough to draw a weak reply from the startled Singh.  "What's this?  A serve coming back at me? You cannot be serious."  

But then Hubby had to go and ruin a perfectly good winnable point by botching several put-aways shots.  I never would have done that.  I'd have made those shots! 

Yeah, well, I was all hat(e) and no cattle on that front.  When I was at net, I found myself out of position many times and getting passed like an Amish buggy on a highway.   I notice I often plant my legs in a wide stance and that prevents me from moving nimbly in reaction to balls at net.  It also keeps me from stepping to the ball.  I find myself with one leg glued to the court and the other sliding out sideways in a deep lunge.  There's no power there, no control.  Just a lot of inappropriate yoga moves at the service line.

The service pattern continued.  We broke Tam.  They broke me.  Finally, serving at 5-5, I held, hitting some serves down the middle to Tam's backhand.  It took me most of the set to start hitting that spot in the box, but hey, better late than never.

Surinder's inevitable service hold took us into a tiebreak which we won, 7-3.  Don't ask me how.  I don't remember. But I WILL be savoring this uncommon win against the unstoppable Singh-Thompson combo like a black licorice jellybean in my Easter basket.

Year to date:

Me: 1

Tam Thompson/Surinder Singh: 2,352.

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