Rcquetball Chronicles

Played a new guy thursday. Will call him German.

Very friendly, nice guy, had not played for a while but you could tell he knew what he was doing. Had a nice touch, better than me at kill and pinch shots. Even had a really solid serve. Very unique style, did a lot of three wall shots.

But I was faster and just plain got to more balls. Playing someone as good as he was made me really step up, so my shotmaking improved.

Sadly, we only got 45 - 50 minutes of play in before he ran out of gas. 3 of the four games were competitive as we were tied at 1, 12 and 13. 4th and final game was a squash. Lot of fun, hope to play him again.

Thing about it is...I am pretty confident now when I play someone new. I know my skills are good enough that I am odds on favorite to win most of the games because, while I have never played a really top flight player, I have seen nobody at either club whom I cannot compete with. So that is pretty cool.


Racquetball chronicles

Played jb Sunday. Sometimes those games are frustrating now because a) the pace is slow and b) the games are not long enough.

I pretty much steamrolled him playing half speed.


Tonight played 25 for two hours. Worked on my z serve and fundamentals. He is getting much better but u still have that extra gear.




After not playing for a couple of days, today i played 25.

We talked a bit about how to improve before the game, and I was telling him the proper way to set up for a shot and execute it. he promptly took the advice and we had some stellar games.

Rather, we had stellar games rally-wise, but they simply were not showing up on the scoreboard. The first two games he took 5-4 leads...and ended with 6 or 7 points. But the games were very close, it is just that he could not win more than 1 or 2 rallies in a row, whereas I would win 5 or 6 in a row.

The thing is, we were hitting about the same number of kill shots, I simply was using superior strategy. I was moving him side to side, making him run. I was using ceiling shots to get him out of the middle, and was moving into the middle myself.

The games were similar, I was just a half step better.

He kept getting better. In game 6 he actually took a 10-2 lead. No matter where I hit the ball he got to it, his kill shots and pinch shots were great. It was awesome. I fought and clawed, scoring a couple points here, breaking his serve, scoring one there, then 2 or 3...tying it at 12 and winning 15-13. It was inspiring because we were both playing super well and it was all I could do to win.

Game 7 was a blowout.

Game 8 I had a 10-4 lead and he clawed back to within one at 13-12. We were both running on E but I closed him out.

We went one final game and it was awesome.

He was serving well, hitting everything I hit back, running to the ball, reading my passing was tough to score on him.

he built a 10-2 lead, I fought back to take a 13-12 lead...and he scored the last three to win 15-13. A perfect ending.

It was inspiring watching him improve from game to game. Except one game, even when the score was lopsided the games were close. So much fun. And I am now wiped.


Racquetball Chronicles

I have to admit, when I first started these, I thought it would be much different. I thought I would be talking about flaws in my game, how to improve them, working towards being .500 or better, etc.

Instead, they actually feel pretty repetitive.

Tonight I was at the gym doing weights and playing basketball for 2 full hours before racquetball started. Once it did I was fighting fatigue, but now I have the skills to still do so.

My serve earns me lots of points, I use position and fundamentals to hit tough shots, I use strategy to win points, and I win. And win.

Even on a night like tonight where 25 was playing better than ever...he was getting to ball after ball after ball after ball...and serving better than he ever has before, I still have that extra level. I use more strategy to get to the right position, select the appropriate shot and, when necessary, use bursts of evnergy to win tough, hard-fought points.

Twice he took leads at 13-12. Twice I won 15-13. There were a couple 15-10 games and a couple blowouts. Fun time, great volleys, 8 losses.


Racquetball Chronicles

25 and I met for some noon racquetball.

Started out poorly; it wasn't just that my serve was on and his returns were was his serve was off, my returns were on, and our rallies were tilted heavily in my favor. He scored 8 points in the first three games. Combined.

Games got closer, we had some strategy sessions and suddenly the rallies got intense.

We had some clser games where he hit double digits, including one where he took a 14-13 lead, I tied it, he broke my serve and I broke his back, then finished it with a running forehand rollout, as good a shot as I have hit.

And in the 11th game he played the best I have seen him play.

His serves were crisper and nastier...I was returning most of them, but they were forced, weak returns. And those returns he was putting away. Meanwhile, all but my nastiest, sidewall crotch serves were being returned by him.

Best of all, he was doing to me what i typically do to others. No matter how good a passing shot I hit, he found a way to get to it. He kept his return passes close to the wall and low to the ground. He was playing lights out.

I played very well...and he still won pretty handily, about 15-6.

There were points where it felt like I might never win another rally from him in my life he was playing that well.

Then the next game it was turnabout, as i took a pretty easy 15-6 win of my own and after 2:45 of play we packed it in. Fully 45 minutes longer than I have ever played before. It was pretty awesome. Some incredible rallies, which i always love.

I was doing a better job of being patient...letting the ball drop, transferring my weight, and hitting it. It led to numerous won points from that. Also, my serving was very strong; at one point I served 3 or 4 sidewall crotch serves that were impossible to return.

Very fun, good times.


Racquetball chronicles

Played 7 games against 25 tonight. Won 6. Thing is, the SCORE was close only in two, but the GAMES were close in most.

What I mean is the points were hotly contested. I was working on letting the ball drop, turning, and hitting it low.

As a result my passing shots were low and fast, tough to return...but he kept returning them.

This forced me to make even better shots and the result was the most rollout shots I have hit in quite some time.

Meanwhile, I was also having to strategize better which led to playing a smarter game.

And because he was getting to every ball I had to really move around to get to them myself.

Shot of the night was a running crosscourt backhand rollout winner.

Fun games, 6-1 for the night.


Racquetball Chronicles

For a while it looked like we would be playing some cut throat with 25 and Ta but then 25 could not make it and TA ended up being a bit late...but we got on the court and ready to go.

I prefer one on one anyway...I am more aggressive, feel like I get more exercise, more action, and, because of that, I actually think I play better.

Anyway, the first game was what it almost always winning handily. He usually gets off to a slow start, I think he has beat me once.

Then, game two, I suddenly struggled mightily. I was hitting the walls, thus meaning it was coming back to him at center...mis-hitting his easy, soft lob serves...not getting kill shots down, passing shots on the wall...I could do nothing right.

He won pretty handily, something like 15-6 or 15-8. It was a demolition.

Game three was pretty forgettable for both of us...we would have a good rally, then one of us would hit a poor shot, the other guy would set up well for it...and spike it into the ground or miss it completely.

After three games there just was not much to write home about. Worse, I was only half sweaty. Oh, and that was my 100th singles win of 2012....

Anyway, we talked a bit about how we had split the 6 games prior to that mess, so if things went according to form, he would win game 4.

That did not quite happen...he fell 15 points short of winning. Yep, I skunked him. Thing is, I was not playing WELL...just better than games 1-3. My passing shots stayed on the wall instead of hitting the wall and coming to mid-court. And when I hit them deep, they still drove him to back court.

But most importantly...I HUSTLED. I got to ball after ball after ball after ball. And even though I was not hitting great, he simply could not win two rallies in a row. I  just went after the ball and got it.

Then I did it again...back to back skunks. But this time in addition to hustling, my shots were better. I was stepping back when hitting my kill shots and they were lethal. My passing shots were hard enough to get past him, not hard enough to hit the back wall. And still I was getting to every ball. He might have broken me twice, possibly three way did he break me 4 times.

We went one more just because we did not want the night to end like that.

And suddenly everything was reversed; he jumped out to a 2-0 lead. I had to battle, and battle hard, to tie it at 2. Every rally was a war, every point an epic struggle.

He scored a couple to go up 4-2. We exchanged a couple service breaks. He ran off a few more points...I scored...he scored more...he was up 10-4.

I really wanted to score to make it "five-and-dime" but he got another point. 11-4.

And it was a bit demoralizing...shots that I was putting away earlier were just that quarter inch high, he was controlling the middle, my strong efforts were shots now he was getting to. It felt like I might never score again....

But I broke through for 2 quick ones. He reciprocated and it stood at 13-6.

I went to work. Scored 3, he broke me. I broke him back. Scored 3 to pull within 13-12, he broke me on a demoralizing exchange...I had it all lined up for an easy forehand passing shot, he was behind was in the bag. Until I whiffed.

When I go from having the tie in hand to service out on a completely unforced error on an easy shot it could totally put me away mentally.

And, in fact, slightly winded, I thought about going half speed assuming he would get to 14, then planning to shut him down no matter what. But instead I forced myself to expend the energy, play hard...and sure enough, in a wild exchange I ended up hitting a running backhand corner pinch to break him.

2 hard fought rallies later, I led 14-13.

He then hit a beautiful return. Tied at 14.

He hit almost a perfect serve, low, hard, down the backhand line. I hit an even more wicked return, low, bouncing twice before getting to the front servers line.

A nasty corner serve forced a weak return which I backhanded into the far corner for a successful kill and a 15-14 lead.

Then we had a desperate volley where I moved him side to side until exhaustion led to a mis-hit that

I did learn some things tonight.

1; his lob serve I was returning poorly until I altered my strategy. Instead of trying to end the rally, I properly drove him to the back wall...not with proper ceiling shots, because I hit those poorly. Instead, I aimed to hit a couple feet under the ceiling and have it bounce at mid court close to the wall. This limited his shot selection and led to a lot of shots which allowed me to win the rally.

When I started doing that, he had no offense at all until he started serving low and hard...and those I was returning very well.

2) I really need to work on my passing shot aiming points. I know they should hit half way between me and the wall I want to pass on, but I typically fail to execute.

3) I need to work on the depth of my passing shots as all too frequently they come off the back wall to mid court, giving him too many options.


Racquetball chronicles

25 was feeling better so we went off to play.

Problem is I have been playing and health has kept him unathletic. So big edge to me.

On the bright side we had some spectacular rallies. We also got in 7 games.

In game 2 I jumped out to 7-0 lead. Somehow he came back to take an 8-7 lead...but then I won handily, giving up just one or two points in that game.

The only other game of note: I was up 12-2 when I got lazy and sloppy. He even took a 14-13 lead.

Tough rally I simply would not lose, tied.he broke my serve, I returned the favor and ended it on a moving backhand corner pinch rollout.

Fun games but honestly not competitive...he needs to get his health back, 7-0 on the night


1534 The Racquetball Chronicles

Coming off last night, all the advantages should be mine. I am in better shape, I felt like I had regained my form, and was ready for tonight.

Game one started slow. Very slow. After 20 minutes it was 6-5.

We were both doing the lob serves. On the one hand, it was led to a lot of volleys. On the other hand, it has a very detrimental effect on me.

When I know the serve is going to be a high, slow thing I can pick my nose, tie my shoe, check out the girls on the treadmill and then move into position and blast the ball, I lose focus. I stop getting into position. I stop hustling after balls that are extremely gettable.

Worse, when I am in position and set up, I am still not in rhythm, and as a result I start mis-hitting.

It showed up repeatedly. When I had to run and work to get to a ball I made some great plays...but then a lollipop would come my way and at best I would hit a poor shot, bouncing it off the side wall and into his happy zone...and those were my GOOD shots.

My bad shots were...well, I would set up in position, wait for the ball to drop into my happy zone and...miss it by 3 feet. I mean, I was not within a baseball bat distance of the ball. I cannot figure out what was going on.

The angles were not tough to read, the shots were easy to get to...I just was missing by three and four racket lengths. It is the most bizarre thing i have eve experienced athletically.

Anyway, I was up about 10-9 and he ended up winning about 15-12 or 15-13. That game was low-hanging fruit and I turned it south. Not to take anything away from him...he played better than I did...but I just gave that game away. It should have been an easy win and I lost.

Game two I served legit maybe three or four times, he served legit a couple times, then we went back to the lob serves.

Again the games were poorly played. I was whiffing on easy shot after easy shot. My corner kill shots were so bad they were rebounding to mid court right about waist was like when I was first learning the game.

I would like to say he was moving me around the court and I was just getting a racket on it allowing him to put away point after point. The truth is I was muffing easy shot after easy shot. This was about as poorly as it is possible for me to play.

My passing shots were over hit so badly they came off the back wall all the way to mid court. Barring that, they hit off the side wall and bounced to center court. My corner kills hit the front wall first, then the side wall, resulting in easy shots for him time after time.

The only saving grace is I was getting to everything he hit and he started rushing his shots trying to beat me and mis-hit a fair few shots himself. In a game of who wants it less, I prevailed  about 15-10 or so.

Frustrated, after breaking his serve, I started serving legit. He was returning them, so it was good. And bearing down on the serve improved every part of my game. My passing shots died before the corner, stayed off the walls, and scored. I stopped trying the ineffective pinch shots. I jumped out to a quick lead...and then scored a couple points when he could not return my serve.

Feeling guilty about the "cheap" points I went back to the lob serve.

I kept my intensity for a couple points, but it started to wane. My once huge lead shrunk. Soon it was a real game, but I did close him out about 15-9.

By this time, we had played such long games at such a deliberate pace we only had 15 minutes left.

I quickly broke his serve and, using lob serves, jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

And just like that the switch flipped. I stopped hustling. Shots I could have gotten to I stood and watched. My passing shots went back to being long or off the wall. I repeatedly attempted corner shots that were so bad they bounced off TWO walls and he stood in center court killing them.

Still, we had a couple of great volleys where I got to impossible shots. In a couple of instances I got to three attempted front wall kills in a row, then when he was forced into bad shots set up in short middle court, waiting for the ball to drop to my forehand, shifting my weight properly and...completely missing the ball twice, skipping the ball a half dozen times in those situations. It was ridiculous.

He went up 10-6. Yes, he went on a 10-1 run. 14-7. 15-7.

It was as bad as I have played this entire year. He deserved both wins he got because he hit fewer bad shots than I did and hit more winners in any given game than I did all night.

I still cannot explain why I missed the ball completely so many times. That bothers me. But I will be back. I will be better.

one thing i know is I absolutely must use legit serves to keep my focus.


1533 The Racquetball Chronicles

When TA and I get a chance to play, we pretty much always do. Tonight I was fortunate enough to have an early court time so off we went.

I had a few minutes to practice and worked on keeping my shot low and hitting the proper angles to keep the ball off the wall and thus into mid-court. It would pay off as I hit the ball well all night.

Typically in the first game he exclusively does lob serves. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, we are similarly skilled, though at this point in time I believe I have a few advantages. Well, if I am serving low, hard and nasty and he is lob is seldom going to be a game.

So I determined to engage in lob serves myself.

At first it was a good, solid, competitive game. he actually held a 5-3 lead and I was struggling to score. Then the switch came on.

Suddenly everything was clicking; for a couple weeks, I have been waiting for the ball to drop, then mis-hitting. Tonight the ball would drop and I would put away a winner. Forehand, backhand, ball high, ball low...did not matter. And the game turned into a rout. I was up 14-5 before he scored again. He ended up with 7 or 8, but the game was not close once I started playing well.

Game two he was serving to score but my returns were nails. He could not get much past me. But he was winning rallies as he was hitting winners when they were presented. He took a 2-0 lead, I stormed back to tie it, then took a 6-2 lead...then he scored 8 straight.

I could not do anything. I was returning every serve, but poorly, and he was not missing. I missed a couple serves. I missed a passing shot. he got to a couple of good shots. It was soul-crushing...

Then the switch flipped again. I started using ceiling shots, seizing the middle, hitting kill shots, hitting good passing shots, getting to every shot he hit.

With him playing well I ran off 9 straight points. He took his last lead at 11-10, he tied it at 12, and then I ran off 30 straight points.

That is not a typo. I won the last three points, then skunked him 15-0. It did not matter what he did. If he hit a ceiling shot, I hit one in return until he hit one a little too soft. If he hit a passing shot, I returned the favor. If he hit a kill shot I got to it and hit a better one.

I was hitting sidewall pinches, front wall pinches, passing court awareness, my position, my shot planning, my execution were superior. He could not score, he could not stop me from scoring.

After the 15-0 rout, I jumped out to a 12-0 lead. By this point I was junk ball serving to get rallies because even when he was returning my tough serves I was just taking the return and putting it away. It is as well as I have ever played.

He scored 6 or 8 points, but it was not that close and was never in doubt.

Game 5 was more respectable but still not close...another 12 or 13 point lead. We decided to play one last one.

I jumped out to a 3-0 lead and it was looking grim. Then he stepped it up. He was playing at the top of his game and I was playing well. He built a 6-3 lead. I took an 8-6 lead. He took a 9-8 lead. I took a 10-9 lead. 10-11.

Most of the points by both of us were earned. These were not the cheesy "I set up for a kill shot, have an easy shot and just muff it". The closest to that was my speed and ability to get to ball after ball after ball was making him adjust his play; if I over hit and he had a shot close to the wall, he had a tough choice; if he hit it soft, I was getting to every one and then he was out of position. If he hit it hard, I was running down most of those unless he hit it perfectly. So he mis-hit a lot of those, and when he did not, I it was a no-win situation for him.

This, by the way, is almost exclusively a function of my conditioning. I can run, run, run and am quick enough to cover almost the entire court.

Anyway, we were tied at 14. I broke his serve with about as good a return as I have ever hit. We then had a spectacular rally where both of us thought we had hit winners only to see the other guy return it somehow someway. Finally I hit a beautiful cross-court passing shot that eluded his racket by a quarter inch. 15-14.

Whereas typically this ends the game, he likes to play win by two.

We had a good rally that ended in a hinder.It was probably advantageous to me as I had hit a poor attempt at a corner kill but he felt he had been in my way, then I stumbled into him from my over swing.

The last serve was nasty, he got a great return, I had to plaster it off the back wall. I do not want to say i have mastered a defensive shot there, but I have certainly gotten very good at it. I hit it so hard and at the right angle to force him to the back wall and it comes off soft so he cannot generate power or a kill. He tried a ceiling shot, it was a tough attempt but all he could do.

It bounced moderately high just pass mid-court, I waited, dropped low, timed it, and hit what would have been a great passing shot if it had not bounced twice within 6" of the front wall. Great finish to a great game.


1531 Racquetball Chronicles

2-5 has been sick, but TA stepped into the gap and we got to play about an hour and 45 minutes tonight.

The first game started both well and poorly; well because the game was close, poorly because that is how we were playing. We were both skipping easy shots, muffing easy set-ups...two or three times I commented, "That rally was who wanted it less."

As usually, though, it was my game to lose. He traditionally does a lot of lob serves...well, okay, does lob serves exclusively the first game.

Not that I kill every lob serve..I do not. But when we are playing similarly bad, me getting points off serves and him not turns an otherwise close game into something that looks like a rout, about 15-6 or so.

It was not a game either of us should be proud of, though. A handful of points were earned...most were off the opponent's unforced errors.

Game two he started doing real serves and sure enough, a couple times he reeled off 4 or 5 consecutive points. My return was off and it was a struggle. He scored about 8 points off his serve and at one point was ahead 10-4.

I fought back to make it respectable, but still he won handily 15-8.

It shows how important the serve is. Again I feel neither of us played very well...but he scored off his serve and I did not off mine.

Finally, game 3 was the one we have been looking for.

His serve was ON, but so was my return. My serve was nasty, so was his return.

In fact, both of us returned sidewall pinch serves multiple times each.

I was moving very well both side to side and front to back. I actually got a half dozen kill shots and several successful passing shots. So did he.

And we had several rallies of me trying to blast it past his backhand while he tried to get an opposite wall passing shot while we were both in center court. Numerous times I was able to chase down passing shots and hit such good shots off the back wall they served as solid ceiling shots, changing our positions.

Meanwhile, he was making effective use of the ceiling shot and the passing shot.

He scored first. I scored the next two. He took a 4-2 lead, I reeled off 4 straight to take a 6-4 lead. He returned the favor, going up 8-6. We tied at 8. I took a 10-9 lead. Tied at 10. Every point was a war, every shot important. It was awesome.

Sure, there were a couple service exchanges and points off unforced errors, but the bulk of the points were won off the serve or off hitting winners.

Finally I closed him out about 15-12. It was an excellent, excellent game.

The next game started super bad for me. Suddenly I could not handle his serve. He had 4 points before I got in a return.

We had a couple service exchanges and he still led 4-0.

Then it was like a switch flipped. I was up 10-4, 12-4, was a rout. He scored a couple, but there was no chance I was losing that one.

I have no idea what happened. I went from not able to handle ANY serve to returning everything in such a way I was able to seize advantageous court position and, while my passing shots were still poor, and I was not hitting a lot of good kill shots, I was able to move him around enough that my mediocre passing shots were better because of position.

There was also a slight improvement in them. All night my cross-court passes were coming off the wall too far to center court. This game I kept them down the line. Made all the difference.

Anyway, we were going to play one more to 11.

Again he jumped out to an early lead, but I tied it at 6 and took the lead 7-6. We decided it was such a good game we would go to 15. Big mistake.

Suddenly serves he had returned all night were aces or winners. My poor shots he was hitting winners off were returned poorly enough I was able to get to them...and while he scored a couple late in the game, it was something like 13-6 and then 14-8. He got to I think 10 but it was not that close.

All in all a very fun evening. I need to get back to working on my positioning. I was getting up front, trusting my reflexes, jumping back to position, and hitting EVERYTHING. When he did get one by me at the wall, I generally had time to at least get to it and keep it in play.

I do need to work on my low pass shot and my kill shots...they have regressed markedly. But 3 of the 5 games were great games, lots of fun. It was a good night.


1529 The Racquetball Chronicles

Tonight was playing TA. usually good games; I can serve as strong as I want, he gets to most of them and there are never those strings of 8 or 10 points that are just me controlling the game with my serve.

We missed last week as he was doing some good work and I missed out on this week's competitive racquetball due to a variety of reasons, though I did get in one casual session with a new friend I am trying to teach the game to.

TA was fighting a bronchial infection so the first couple games were very slow. We would take 30 or 40 seconds between some volleys. A methodical pace.

Thing is, when the ball was in play it was an excellent game. Well, sort of...he had not played for two weeks and I had not played for a week. We were both fighting breathing issues, though he was far more than me.

As a result, we were both missing shots. I cannot count how many times a shot would be floating in the air, I would set up in perfect position, wait for it to drop, time my swing perfectly...and spike the ball into the floor instead of hitting the kill shot I set up for.

He was also struggling with his accuracy.

Points were hard to come by. After ten minutes we had dozens of service exchanges...and a point apiece. After 20 minutes it was something like 6-6.

After 30 minutes it was 14-10.

The thing is, I scored 2 or 3 points off my serve, he scored maybe one off his serve, and both of us hit a couple of winners...but MOST if our points were off the opponents errors, and honestly most of them were unforced.

We would be in perfect position and just...mis-hit.

Since we were both doing it the game was competitive.

In the second game it was different. I hit a few more winners and, more importantly, a few fewer unforced errors. And it was unquestionably a stomp, 15-4.

It was not that I was playing was that he was playing awful and I was playing merely sub-standard.

See, I could make a chart of our abilities at this point;

I play my best game, he plays his best game, I win.
I play a strong game, he plays his best game, I win most.
I play a strong game, he plays a strong game, I win slightly more than 50%.
I play an average game, he plays his best game, he wins.
I play an average game, he plays a strong game, he wins slightly more than 50%.
And so forth.

I am so much faster than he is that I get to a vast percentage of the balls. He has slightly better strategy, but at least at this point in time, our strokes are about equal. He has slightly better touch, I have slightly better power, our accuracy is similar, and I have slightly more aggresion. I have a much stronger serve, but he has a stronger return.

The net is, and this is not meant to offend him or to boast, at this point I am pure and simple an overall better player if we both play our best games.

This was a night where game one was both our worst games.

Game two was a sub-standard game for me and his worst game for him.

Game three was a good game for me and a good game for him.

Once again points were at a premium. I think I scored three off my serve and he scored 2 off his. There were still a handful of shots that came from mis-hits, but this time most of them were actually winners hit by the player in question.

I was making a conscious effort to be moving when I hit the ball. For some reason I was off when I got in position and waited for the ball to drop. So now I made a conscious effort to be moving, whether sideways, forward or back.

And my shots improved. I got at least three rollouts off pinch shots. I was moving him around the court, then hitting solid passing shots.

But it was not all me; we had several good battles over the middle. When I was there he would hit a ceiling shot to move me...I would scrape the wall with my return to move him...and whoever first got the ball slightly out of their target zone would see the other player hit a probable winner.

I was feeling it this fast that when he would get an opportunity to get up close to the front wall and try a tap shot, I was there to hit a passing shot and score the rally win. If he blasted it, more often than not I was quick enough to get the racket on the for me.

But he had a few roll-outs of his own as well and some great passing shots.

In the end I came back from down 6-2 to tie it at 6, then take a 10-7 lead only to see him tie it at 10 and again at 11.

I then ran off the last 5 points. I say 5 because at 14-11 I hit an intentionally mediocre serve and he just...missed it. I said, "No way is a game this good ending on that." He returned with a ceiling shot, I brought it down, he hit a ceiling shot slightly short that I waited on, stepped into, and drove a good but not great corner kill he could not get to. A legit winner.

We had now played about an hour and thirty minutes...and only completed 3 games.

We went one more.

His serve was ON. He took a quick 2-0 lead. I tied it. He took a 6-2 lead.6-4. 10-4.

That was the murderous run. I gave up about 5 points on his serve...and 3 of them I should not have. They were good, solid serves, but serves I should have handled. Instead I was outright missing them and I have no explanation.

2 of his serves were was a sidewall pinch that rolled out from the sidewall and the next one bounced twice before the dotted line. Spectacular.

But the real problem was position; his serves were good enough that I was giving him too many easy kill attempts or at best feeding him middle court, forehand. He is too good to do that with and was racking up points.

Worse, my serve had deserted me so I was hitting a lot of second serves. He was moving me, and I could not move him out of position...he was in my beloved forecort center and my passing shots were bouncing off the walls.

This was him having a strong game and me having an average game.

He got up about 14-6 before I made a run, closing to 14-10 with a couple of service changes in there.

He mis-hit three or four balls in that stretch, most of them on his serve.

I meanwhile was mostly scoring on passing shots and outright hustle...he hit a lot of balls he thought were past me that I used my athleticism to gt to...including one where on a dead run I plastered a low, hard passing shot that I had to leap over myself and just about strained my groin.

But in the end, he got the serve back once too often at 14-9. My return was pedestrian and he hit a beautiful corner pinch shot to end the night.

things I learned; rust kills. My shot was off most of the night. Instead of keeping my passing shots down the wall, they were hitting the side wall and bouncing a third of the way into the court. My pinch and kill shots were skipping short. My serve was either short, hitting the side wall, or too high.

I need to work on my fundamentals so a layoff of a week does not impair my game that badly.

On the bright side, three of the four games were very competitive, and that is a lot of fun.