Friday, 24 May 2013

Nationals: Semifinals

Well after yesterday's drama-filled quarter final match (mine anyway) today was almost a let down. I'll get to that right away, but let's recap the women's results first...

The womens' semis were before the men's and Christine Richardson, looking to make her second national event final of the season, had a great start against 2nd seeded veteran Josee Grand Maitre, winning the first game 15-5. The Quebec native would battle back to win the second 15-10 though and seemed to put Christine off her game as she rode that momentum to a decisive 11-3 victory in the tiebreaker. The second womens' semifinal was much more one-sided, as reigning canadian champion Jennifer Saunders put away former canadian champion Linda Ellerington in straight games 15-4, 15-2.

I was expecting a battle in my match, as by all accounts Nate had played well thus far in the tournament. I was able to take an early lead as Nate seemed to still be tuning his serve in. Fortunately for me he wasn't tuned in yet when he broke the strings on his racquet and the one he replaced it with was not the same model. I thought I had an opportunity to capitalize on this, whether it would actually play different or he just thought it might, it was a change when he wasn't looking for one so I would have the advantage. I extended my lead and while Nate was able to find his serving rhythm near the end of the game, he was only able to close within 4 points and I would take the game 15-10. The second played out very much like the first, with the exception being that Nate scored his points in smaller, separated bunches. I grabbed my lead again early and held on to take the second 15-8, securing my spot in the final. Relieved, I shook Nate's hand and got ready to watch what I thought would be an amazing semifinal between Coby and Mike.

I thought this might have match of the tournament potential, especially since they had faced each other in the Montreal selection event earlier this season and had one extremely tight game. Mike won that contest 15-13, 15-2, taking the second game in decisive fashion on the back of some great serving. It looked as if he might take this match in the same way, serving exceptionally well and keeping Coby completely off balance to take the first game 15-3. Mike didn't serve quite as hot in the second, but Coby appeared nervous and the reigning mens' champion took advantage to open up a lead again. To his credit, Coby kept it close, but at 13-10, Mike looked poised to take the game and the match. It was at this time though, that the veteran showed some signs of nerves, leaving up passes and not capitalizing on Coby's errors like he did earlier. Coby was able to take advantage of this loose play and not only close the gap, but after several changes of serve and a multitude of exciting rallies, take the game! It appeared the young gun would make a match of this yet! But alas it was not to be. Mike refocussed and tightened up not only his serving in the tiebreaker, but also his rally play. He jumped out to a commanding lead and never looked back, taking the tiebreaker 11-2.

So for the second time this season it will come down to me and Mike! With not only the national championship on the line but also the #1 ranking there will be a lot to play for. As always I will try to bring my best game to the court and hope that is enough. I can't wait :)


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