Archive for April, 2011

Queens semi final

Due to scheduling mistake, the 7.0 mixed doubles played at City View. The Metro Local League Coordinator warned us that:

PLEASE NOTE: This is a private club and they do not allow food deliveries or meals (chinese food, pizza) to be brought into their facility. If you team chooses to bring snacks (i.e fruit, crackers/cheese) please make sure you clean up when you are done and the club is left clean and neat.

So we got some kielbasa and durian.. ok .. joking aside .. we starved to death.

Eight players (out of 10) showed up for work. My team is famous for handsome guys, beautiful gals and awesome couples: I have 3 pairs of love birds on my team, and I haven’t heard any bathroom argument, yet.

We faced Vogt/Kende. Our first doubles was leading 5-1 in the first set but ended up losing it 7-5. Wah was really mad and lost first game in the second set … However they came back to win the second set at 6-1 and took command of the super tiebreak. More pix on FB.

The league (forgot his name .. Steve?) man’s calling out matches for the semis. We were able to sit on Court 3 watching our First and the Second pairs play.

The other semi was Kim vs Rowe/Bailey. Kim won and would face us in the final.

1st 5-7, 6-1, 10-6
2nd 6-2, 6-4
3rd 6-7, 3-6

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Winning the Queens Final

We played the Final immediately after the semis, 30 minutes rest between the matches. We have to recycle five players. Few pix on FB

The roving Emp as usual, asked where do we all live and he deemed my partner Ricky lived the farthest hence we got to call the coin toss. I called it head and the head it was. Ricky opted to serve. Mr. Across-the-Net returned it down the line and won the first point. He would hit few more down the line shots (ok, more than half a dozen!) and won every single one of them. The other captain would come to clean the lines during the change over, thanks cap!

I was dreaming or brain dead. I hope non of my kids is reading this, I opened my first game with a double fault.

Everything looked rosy and encouraging .. .. not!

Ricky played really well and carried the match, that included me. After we won the first set at 6-3, Mr. Across-the-Net questioned the score at change over. He asked Ricky whom did he last serve. By then, my brain was long dead so I didn’t remember. I thought the girl was the first one to call it set. I merely followed her indication and retreated to the chair.

The second set was really competitive. I was serving at 6-5 but couldn’t close the match. In the ensuing tiebreak we jumped to a handsome 5:0 lead.  Then it became 5:1, then 6:3.  We change end.  (USTA uses Coman rotation in the tiebreak, which players switch court at 1, 5, 9, etc.)  Ricky served. The Emp was on court.  One of the opponents sent a down the alley shot that was sailing toward the line.  I scrambled to the corner, out of breath, barely got there in time to hit a cross court.  He gave it a hard chase but then called it out.

I really don’t like close calls. We all play to win and want to win it fair and square. However those close calls often put that to test: I work hard for the point, give it all I have, often panting like a cow hence my judgment in a blink moment might not be at it best. Extending courtesy and fairness is good sportsmanship but I also want to reward myself and my effort. Isn’t it a familiar situation, as is in life, when and where we were presented with thorny situations?

I was actually relieved because it was HIS call, not mine.

However the Empire who stood at the net put his left hand down to signal it was good after I looked at him for a confirmation.

I was really relieved not being the one to make the controversial decision, and of course at the win too. If the Emp weren’t on court, we’d continuously played at 6-4 and who knows the out come of the set and the match. If it were my call, and I called it IN, I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much because in my mind as well in everyone else’s was the nagging question: was the point that decided the match IN or OUT?

We all have to live with the decision we made in life and its consequences.

We won 7-3 and shocked hands at the net. The club was empty when the time we finished our final, only the two teams. I didn’t know what to say to the opposing captain when we walked by each other on the court, incidentally on different side of the net. So there was no word exchanged.

After the semis, there were more players around and I got few congratulations gestures. Michael was there too (unfortunately his team lost), we chatted briefly after the semis. I still remembering him came to me after the conclusion of the match the year before to congratulate me.

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Lou’s first dinner

Louis got elected to be the president of CatsNY, few board members George, Jonathan, Power, John, etc each contributed $1k for seeding. This is his first dinner at Mellie’s, with 3 tables at $40 pp. The dishes were pretty good compare to other times. More pix on FB and piwigo

The court jesters entertainers Tony, Mark and Jeff, etc., multi-talented group of players.

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CatsNY and ACS

The tourney was scheduled on Saturday April 25 but due to inclement weather, the CatsNY was able to postpone to Sunday 4/26 from 10 out door courts to 10 indoor courts. We were informed on 4/22. NTC has only 12 indoor courts and I was really surprised that the CatsNY could do in such short period of time.

I teamed up with Dick, two loses and one win. It’s 8 games per set no ad. Lum and Wah took the trophy. Congratulations.

Mingder Chang was on hand.

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Seeing doubles?

  1. You don’t need a big serve
  2. You do need a good spin serve
  3. You don’t need topspin groundstrokes
  4. You do need a sliced backhand and forehand
  5. You don’t need a smash
  6. You do need a variable overhead

Paul Gold

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that people fail in their quest to play great doubles is that they have the wrong shots.
There are certain shots I often see people trying to hit when they play doubles that are just not the best shots they could play.
And maybe worse still, they spend a whole load of time (and money) trying to improve those shots.
If your only objective is to play winning doubles, then here are three shots you need to put time into developing and improving versus some shots you don’t need the extra time to improve.

  • You don’t need a big serve

The biggest problem with the big fast serve is this: It reduces the time you have to get ready for the return.
Players on the receiving end of your serve also get the chance to block or tee off at the ball, using the pace you’ve given them and often without having to move their feet. They retain their court position and are ready to play another shot if they need to.
Yes, if you are playing a pair of a much lesser standard and you already have a big flat serve, then great. But if you don’t already have full command over a big serve, then concentrate on the opposite option.

  • You do need a good spin serve

A good spin serve does everything a hard flat serve can’t. It gives you more time to get in to the net or ready for the next shot (hopefully a volley).
It doesn’t give the returner as much pace to work with, and if it’s a good slice or kick, it will force them to move.
If it’s good enough, then a weak return is always the result of a player forced to move their feet when off balance and will bring your partner in to play — more often than not, to poach. It also opens up more gaps on the court for you to exploit (as your opponents have to move to get the ball).
If you watched Roger Federer win the Gold medal at the last Olympics, you would have seen him serving for placement not power most of the time.

  • You don’t need topspin groundstrokes

This is a funny one because this is a shot you definitely need for singles.
But for doubles, the concept of hitting high looping shots from the back of the court is a no-no. Here’s why: Shots traveling deep to the back of the court with topspin become a nice easy volley either for the opposite net player, who can poach it, or for the oncoming volleyer.
If you possess a sharply dipping topspin shot that you can angle or put at the feet of the opposition, then you are OK. But if all you have is the singles-like groundstroke, then you are in trouble.
Also, if you can’t get the ball to dip at the feet of an oncoming player you will only be presenting them with a volley or mid-court ball that they can hit on the rise and make life difficult for you.
You also need to consider whether the extreme grips often used for topspin groundstrokes may give you a problem when and if you need to change grips when coming to the net to volley or half volley.

  • You do need a sliced backhand and forehand

Having a sliced shot on both wings (especially the backhand) will prove invaluable. You can play a slice without rotating your upper body, which does several great things for you.
It means you can deal with a fast oncoming ball in less time (no rotation needed). You can also play it while moving forward (again no rotation needed), so getting to the net quicker becomes easier.
And you can get the ball down low to the feet of the opposition much easier, making things much more difficult for your opponent.
I have seen Nadal — who has great topspin shots — returning and playing with slice in doubles much more than when he plays singles.
It will also help the “feel” on your volleys as it is played pretty much in the same way.
My doubles partner and I have played many practice sessions only using sliced forehands and backhands and the associated volleys. You would be surprised at how successful we were with that tactic.

  • You don’t need a smash

This freaks many people out. They get used to coming to the net and up goes the lob.
They go for the smash and it comes back, maybe over their heads. They smash again (a bit harder) and the same thing happens or they miss.
It shouldn’t take you long to realize that many of the people that frequently lob are, in fact, very good at returning the flat smash. They do it because they are good at it and because they know people will just try to hit the ball harder — and often miss.
It’s the same principle as not needing a hard, flat serve. The returners of the smash often don’t move much and use the pace you give them to give you an even higher, deeper ball to smash again.
You’ve got to be really good to win this game.

  • You do need a variable overhead

I make the distinction between the two for the following reason: The smash is a shot that says it all. An overhead implies that you do several different things with a ball that is hit overhead.
When you are faced with a lob and your opponents are at the baseline waiting for your smash, what you need is a sliced or angled overhead landing around the service line.
Not only is that nearly impossible to pick up from behind the baseline, it also means that if they do go for it they are on the move (control is then difficult) and they also leave massive gaps on the court.
It really is just a matter of solid tennis strategy, intelligent play and knowing what to do — not trying too hard.
I was lucky enough to be given this useful info by someone else and it transformed my tennis doubles game.
Hopefully this will do the same for you.

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My friends Jim and Mary ..

I kid you not, I’m definitely budding around with Jim Courier and Mary Joe Fernandez: they wrote to me again. What’s more? They even sent me a nice looking certificate which I will definitely frame and hang on the wall.

Can you image that?

Ok, it’s a lousy day here in New York, rain and more rain .. few cups of tea and glasses of wine didn’t lift my mood .. but lord, I wish they send less and do more..

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Is chess a sport?

Regardless, this vanity plate is cute .. CHEQM8 .. checkmate

near Georgetown on April 20, 2011

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Queens stats

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I haven’t played with James in a couple of years, at least. Surprisingly we found each other on the same court last week. He’s the most fluid and poetic strokes I don’t see often. It’s very relaxing to play against him, I could actually line up my shots and do well in our many long long rallies. He seemed to impressed with my progress, and let me serve first. I took that as a compliment. We dished out a bagel easily to a hard hitter who never had a chance.
Now, talking about winning, I’ve been trying to score a victory with David over Dan and Sean .. 3 matches later I’m only able to reach few tie breaks ..
Got to work harder.

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The last match

Someone questioned me if I’m still under warranty and suggested to take up bumper to bumper insurance plan, when I complained my legs and arms hurt after my back and shoulders. Don’t know I own those body parts .. till they all acting up.
Our last match of the regular season was scheduled at 8pm. Guess my brain was hurting too bec I had 8:30 in mind. When I limped onto the the court, it’s 8:10. I was just too bit heavy for my partner to carry, lost 4 and 3.
Good news is .. Pumpkin scored her team’s first goal and won 7:6; Golfer would score a goal too late that evening on ice too. Darn it, why didn’t I bring home a win??
Once again, we made the playoffs, which will take place at NTC on April 30 that weekend. The two divisions have similar scores, guess more competitive matches ahead. Mark your calendar and come to cheer us up!

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