July 7th, 2017

Charah coffee

Played two matches this afternoon. Won them both.

I played two mini-league matches today back-to-back (okay, with a 40-minute break in between)...and won them both.

The first one was against Allessandra, whom I beat 9-2 the last time. I suppose my first mistake was expecting an easy match because it turned out to be a bit of a dogfight. I was up 3-0, then couldn't hold serve, and she was suddenly serving these bombs which I couldn't return. For some reason, I was playing rather conservatively, aiming just to keep the ball in play and making a conscious effort not to hit too hard. I was afraid of over-hitting and hitting the ball long like I have been doing lately.

Then, halfway through, my string broke. It was a really shitty break too; it broke at the top of the racquet when I shanked a forehand return. After that, I sleepwalked through a game, missed a totally easy sitter of a forehand (by 'miss' I mean I didn't even get my racquet on the ball), let the fact of using my spare racquet, which was my main racquet until I found that too much tension in the strings had been lost and it didn't feel good hitting withi it anymore, get to my head. This was when she was serving at 3-all, I believe.

I proceeded to lose my service game. Pissed off, I redeemed myself by breaking straight back. I managed to hold for 5-all, and then the tiebreak was in play.

I somehow managed to win it 7-2. Ha, ha, ha. I was happy to have won on a forehand winner, though it wasn't hit as cleanly as I should have. She was at the net and the ball sat up nicely and I whacked it cross-court. I'm glad I didn't play that point conservatively.

I don't even remember most of the shots I played save for that matchpoint and a random backhand winner. I was definitely relieved to win this one; I really didn't want to lose. Interestingly, I made a conscious effort this time to not display my frustration, i.e. don't yell out, don't swear, don't display negative body language. I thought maybe this would help me focus.

It didn't. I was raging inside when I lost my winning position. I wanted to kill myself when I hit this gorgeous forehand down the line, chased her weak reply to the net, and fucking hit the forehand volley way wide. At some point, I started missing half my shots. I was so, so pissed off at myself that I couldn't pretend to be calm, and I think I dropped my racquet to the ground out of anger.

So perhaps what's actually important is to keep calm inside, get rid of the rage, just forget the bad point that I just played and focus on the new one. I will try that when I play Olga for the fourth time tomorrow morning.

Anyway, so that was the first match. The second match was so easy; I won it 8-3. I played against a new opponent, a middle-aged woman named Diana. After three games, all of which I won, she said that she didn't expect to play anyone so good when she put herself in the bottom of the league.

I mean, I don't want to brag, and there's really nothing to brag about, but...I don't know why I keep getting stuck in the last division. Allessandra's improved loads since the first time we played and she should move up one division, but everyone else in the division doesn't play as well as I do, and there's even a really old woman in the division (I swear, she's like 70. I don't know how the hell I'm gonna play her). I was basically feasting on Diana's serves for the first 6 games. All the serves were weak and I bashed my returns; at least 75% of my returns were winners, and I'm not even a good returner.

So it was an easy match. I played with a lot of confidence, hit the ball hard and aggressively, much unlike how conservative I was in the first one. Her shots were mostly paceless and gave me a lot of time to set up properly, which was why most of my shots were finding their mark. However, I got broken twice: when serving to close out the victory 6-0, and when serving to go up 9-1. It was 8-2 when we played the tiebreak...and quite shockingly, I nearly lost it 7-0. I ended up losing it 7-1.

It was a good thing that I started off really strong and assuredly, because I turned into a total clown towards the end. The tiebreak was an embarrassment. All of a sudden, I started missing everything, couldn't get to my backhand on time, kept hitting it wide. I don't even know why. Tennis is weird in this way.

I played two serve-and-volley points. I completely missed the volley on the first, then decided to try again because why not? I didn't volley though, but put away the weak and short return with a backhand. I also had the good sense to let a weak lob bounce before hitting it away for a forehand winner instead of attempting to take it out of the air. Considering I don't have an overhead, that would have probably resulted in an error.

I honestly felt a bit bad for demolishing my opponent. The score was 5-0 and I was thinking, I feel kind of bad. But then, I switched on my competitive mode and thought, well too bad, I want the points and I want to win, so I'm just going to continue the demolition job. I need to sharpen this killer instinct a little bit more, I think.

All in all, it was a good tennis afternoon. I am now on a 3-game winning streak. I have won 9 of my last 10 matches. This is great. I love winning. Maybe I should just stay in the last division; it seems like it's the only way I can win consistently. Ha, ha.