Today, my opponent was a woman who was maybe 20 years older than me. But despite her slower movement and lack of technical training, she kept it really close, and I was only able to pull away and put some distance between us when I broke for 5-3. Serving to win it, I found myself at deuce again after hitting two double faults. Really annoyed, I told myself to just blast the first serve; fuck whether it goes in or not, just hit it hard.
I ended up serving two aces. That was pretty funny.
She could place the ball pretty well and get the ball over the net more often than not. She was also good at the net; I didn't win a single net point (not that it's surprising though), save for a backhand drop shot that I cheekily threw in because why not? But yeah, the match was basically me ball-bashing, as usual, especially the returns off her really short and pace-less serves. I am not pleased that at least 30% of my shots were not hit on the sweet spot; in fact, the last point of the match was won, by me, by a complete mishit off the backhand return. It was really embarrassing. Before I took the return, I was even thinking if I wanted to prolong the tiebreak, seeing as I was up 6-0 anyway, and it was unlikely to blow six match points, even for me. So much for that. I took a swing at the ball, heard the mishit, and felt this deep sense of mortification when I saw the ball drop into the down-the-line corner.
More random thoughts:
- I always blast my first serve when I'm practising, but I serve so conservatively when I'm playing a match. There's no reason for this. Even if I blast it long, there is the second serve, so it's not like I lose a point. So I have to start serving harder.
- I am getting predictable with the cross-court forehand return from the deuce court. I have to start hitting it down the line to mix it up.
- I may also be getting predictable with the backhand up-the-line return from the deuce court. But I really like this shot so I'll keep doing it, because when I hit it perfectly, it is literally unreturnable.
- I need to stop freezing up when the ball comes to my backhand. There was a particular shot today for which I couldn't get my feet moving and into position because I saw the ball coming to my backhand and I froze mentally, which then translated to me freezing for a split second physically. That was a split second too long. I dumped the ball into the net.
- TOPSPIN DAMMIT TOPSPIN. What's this useless trying to block the ball over the net when I chase a short ball and put the racquet under it? That's not hitting the ball. That's just some shitty move that will result only in the ball hitting nothing but net.
- I need to practise the forehand down-the-line. I hit one today and hit it just wide. I was so disappointed; it would have been a great winner.
- Also, backhand. Have I mentioned this already? I just need it to be a weapon again. I hit some nice cross-court backhands today; made most of them except one that was just wide. So at least there was that.
Lastly, I take this too seriously, but I cannot help being competitve and wanting to win. At the same time, I felt kind of bad for winning against a middle-aged woman. I almost said at the end, 'Sorry for beating you.' That would have been quite patronising, so I'm glad I kept my mouth shut.
My next match is tomorrow evening at 7pm. I'm playing a PhD student so it should be a bit tougher. We will see. I'll try not to put too much pressure on myself to win; unlike academic pressure, it's entirely counter-productive.