Saturday, 26 November 2011

Fall Selection Event, Day 2

So day 2 of the selection event again went pretty much according to the seedings. The quarter finals started in the morning and on the mens side all top 4 seeds advanced. Mike Green (1) beat Francis Guillemette (9) in two easy games. Vincent Gagnon's (2) victory over Lee Connell (7) was more contested but was also a 2 game affair. Kris Odegard (3) needed a tiebreaker to beat Nathaniel Husulak (6) but after 2 close games the tiebreaker was much less competitive as Kris seemed to turn it on and Nate was just a bit off.

My own brotherly battle was also very tight through 2 games, with me (4) allowing James (5) to survive 3 game points and capitalize on his first to take the first game 18-16. I was more aggressive on the serve return in the second game which seemed to swing things to my advantage. I secured a small lead by the middle of the game and held onto it to take the second 15-9. I'm not sure if he was discouraged by the second game, tired, or if something else was going on with Jamie but I tried to come out strong at the beginning of the tiebreaker and he seemed to have no answer. I quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead and after a few changes of serve extended it to 9-1. He then got the serve back and scored his second point of the tiebreaker. Unfortunately that's when things went sideways...

I should preface this next part by saying that I've seen Jamie come back from large deficits in matches before. He's done it not only against me but against many other opponents numerous times in all levels of tournament. In fact, in his round of 16 match against Eric Desrochers (at THIS tournament) he was down 11-1 in the second game before making a roaring comeback to win the game and the match. The reason I point this out should be obvious at this point; I didn't want to face the same fate and was singularly focused on maintaining my level of play and my intensity. I didn't want to let off the gas after having worked for such a big lead. After scoring his second point, I was able to side Jamie out. This led to one of the longer rallies of the match. I left a backhand pass off the back wall and Jamie answered with a pass of his own; a better one. Scrambling, I turned towards the back left corner and pushed off hard as I could, sprinting towards the balls eventual resting place. Unfortunately before I realized what was happening I collided with something that stood in my path towards the retrieval of Jamie's pass; Jamie himself. I've never played contact sports so the sensation was fairly new to me, and it happened so fast that I'm not sure I can accurately describe it. Before I knew it I had bounced back off of him to land squarely on my hind parts a few feet from where I had been running just a fraction of a second before. He, unfortunately, didn't fare so well. As he was in the process of moving out of the way, he didn't have a strong base as I did. He flew backwards and hit the floor sideways, sliding all the way into the back wall. He landed awkwardly on his left hand, which was out to break his fall, and immediately clutched it to his body. I apologized immediately for running into him but the moment the words left my mouth I realized they weren't close to enough...

He of course took an injury timeout to ice and tape his injured wrist before returning to the court. He wasn't the same though, and after an injury like that nobody really is. I finished off the game, winning the match and he immediately went to the hospital to get it checked out. He was left with a fractured radius, which they temporarily casted, and he defaulted out of the tournament. I hope his poor result in this tournament is the only other negative consequence he faces because of me, as I feel badly enough for him already. Even though it was an accident, the repercussions of it cause an intense and deep sense of guilt. I hope Jamie knows how sorry I am that this happened and of course that I never meant to run into him at all, let alone injure him through a collision.

There was one upset on the womens side as Christine Richardson (5) upset Brandi Jacobsen-Prentice (4) in the quarterfinals. This is a great result for Christine as this will be her first semifinal appearance at a selection event and her first tournament victory over Brandi. I'm sure of course, that Brandi is unhappy with the result, but will have a chance at revenge as the draw seedings will be the same at the next selection event in Regina on Feb 3-5.

The semifinals followed later in the day and all went according to the seedings. Jen Saunders (1) beat Christine (5) and Frederique Lambert (2) defeated her elder compatriot Josee Grand-Maitre (3) to make it into the finals. Vincent Gagnon (2) defeated Kris Odegard (3) in a thrilling tiebreaker. Well, the first 2 games were thrilling. The tiebreaker was fairly one-sided which is unfortunate as the match had been hotly contested and of very high quality until that point. The reigning Canadian champ beat me soundly in the other semifinal.

I played fairly well early on in the first game, actually garnering myself a lead at 7-4. Unfortunately that's when the photon cannon started working... Up until that point Mike had hit some good serves but it seemed to instantly increase in both speed and angle. He quickly overtook me and closed out the first game 15-7. More of the same in the beginning of the second spelled the end for me as he jumped out to an early 8-3 lead. While I had several chances over the next group of rallies I couldn't convert and he would build on his lead and eventually close out the game 15-3.

The finals are tomorrow and then more visiting with family before heading to Mexico again for some rest and relaxation! This is definitely a tradition for kicking off the holidays I hope I can keep alive. Until next time.


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