Match 6: Al Warwick def Sophie Dobinson 7-5, 6-2
The clueless will scoff and the arrogant will dismiss this fixture. We all know that momentum plays a huge part in tennis at all levels. Sometimes you find yourself ‘in the zone’ from the warm-up, other times you never really hit your stride.
My fiancée Sophie who has had the misfortune of learning her tennis trade solely from my teachings is – on her day – a competent and capable striker of the ball. Look no further than a chilly doubles contest earlier this year for evidence of the matches where her blend of precise sliced groundies and aggressive moves forward become unplayable for even the most celebrated opponents.
But she’ll be the first to admit that such form doesn’t really remain for long during our singles matches, especially on the green stuff where my sub-conscious slicing causes her all sorts of problems.
Back on the hard-stuff last week, Sophie simply hit the sweet spot with every shot. True, I lacked both any motivation and concentration but there would’ve been little anyone could’ve done against fizzing passes down the line and a couple of lobs that Mike Drain would’ve been proud of.
Trying to force the issue, I continued to blast a lot of shots long, which hardly helped, soon it was 2-5 and my opponent found herself with a couple of set points.
Did nerves finally take hold?
Perhaps, but I did up my game when it mattered, but things were in the balance for a lot of that 8th game.
A familiar scenario would envelope Sophie’s once bulletproof gameplan. As she crumbled and my game returned the set was soon reversed to a 7-5 scoreline.
Deflated – Sophie never again hit that form and although she recovered well to avoid a likely bagel, the match was soon over.
Still, if nothing else Miss Dobinson proved to herself again that the talent lies within, a little more belief and some hydration may allow for a different outcome next time.