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Fall 2002

Bob Noel Tennis Classic
November 8 - 10, 2002 - Mansfield, TX

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11/8/02 - Win: 6-2, 6-1
This match was played on Friday night after a long work week. I thought for sure I would be toast. But somehow I came out absolutely on fire. I was hitting good serves, my groundstrokes (at least forehand) had decent topspin, and I just played smart tennis. My opponent told me after the match that this was his first tournament, and maybe he didn't play particularly well, but I was definitely in a zone. It sure was nice to get another win in a tournament... I hadn't won since my first tournament in July!
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11/9/02 - Loss: 6-0, 6-2
Hmm, I seem to either win really big or lose really big. There is no gray area! My prize for winning my round-of-16 match on Friday was an 8 AM semifinal showdown the next day with the #1 seed in the tournament. Verily, this guy was much better than me. But I did my best to help him out, too. My serves were truly horrible, as I must have given up at least 10 double faults. Otherwise, my opponent just took advantage of my crappy shots... Plus it didn't help that he was about a foot taller than me, so I just couldn't get a shot out of his reach whenever he'd come up to the net. And the wind was toying with me as well. However, I should not let my shots get high enough to where the wind is a factor. So, a loss, but a good tournament experience overall.

Southlake Adult Levels Open
September 27 - 29, 2002 - Southlake, TX

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9/28/02 - Loss: 6-1, 6-1
This match is so totally forgettable. It was a beautiful day for some good tennis, and I absolutely wasted it! We had to play at 1 pm, so I had an issue with the damn sun being in my eyes while serving at times, and that didn't help. But I should be able to overcome that with other aspects of my game. Not so today. It got really warm while playing, and if I had had any will to win at all, I could have outlasted my 50 year old opponent due to the heat. He looked like he was going to pass out. But I couldn't do anything, so it's another long drive to Southlake so I can act as fodder in the consolation round.
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9/29/02 - Loss: 6-1, 2-6, 10-4 (tie-break)
Nothing worse than an 8 am match in a town 45 minutes away. Especially if you wake up at 7:15! I don't think I've ever woken up and been on the road in as quick a time as I was this morning. I made it about 5 minutes late, but that was OK. They were just glad I showed up, because apparently a lot of players had to withdraw yesterday due to the heat, and they even had paramedics out there. So, we had to play a third-set 10-point super-tiebreak if it had to go to three sets. And it did, surprisingly! You see that I stunk it up as usual in the first set, but my opponent stunk it up just as badly in the second. By the time we got to the tie-break, though, I tightened up and just blew it. But hey, winning a set is a pretty big step for me! Sad, yes, but after getting beaten down repeatedly, I'll take this small measure of success.

Cotton Creek Fall Open
September 21-22, 2002 - Fort Worth, TX

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9/21/02 - Loss: 6-3, 6-1
I know the score again doesn't look great for me, but I feel like I played much better than usual today. I'm not sure if I was actually using anything I've been learning in my lessons, but I felt really loose and not all tight like usual. The nerves were nowhere to be found. But we played at 2 pm, and even though it couldn't have been more than 85 or 90 degrees, I wore down too quickly under the sun. I pride myself on my speed and agility, but I can't maintain them for long because I'm not as fit as I need to be. I will definitely be using the cold months to get back into shape so that I can amaze my opponents by running down every ball.

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9/22/02 - Loss: 6-4, 6-2
Again, my buddy Alan and I had to play each other. That's 2 for 2 in tournaments in which we've both entered. And 2 for 2 in terms of Alan winning. The day was beautiful, a bit windy, but no big deal. However, a major problem this day was the same as the previous. At 2 in the afternoon in late September in north Texas, the sun is at a rotten angle in the sky. That meant that I could not serve at all from one side of the court. Alan was not affected because he's left-handed and therefore faces a different direction when serving. But aside from that whip, I just played sloppy overall. It was the unforced error circus for me again. I sure would like to tell everyone about a win someday instead of boring you with another story about a loss!

September 13-15, 2002 - Grapevine, TX

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9/13/02 - Loss: 6-0, 6-1
The whipping continues. At the end of the match, my opponent told me he thought the score was very deceptive and that it was much closer than it looks. I have to agree. Almost every game I got to at least 30, and we took it to deuce in quite a few games. But I just couldn't close anything out. My serve was disappointing, but at least the double faults were few. Not much else to say here, except for the fact that I still am not allowing myself to play up to my abilities. Too much babying the ball and not punishing it. On to the consolation round... again.

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9/14/02 - Loss: 6-0, 6-2
For some reason lately I have not been able to prevent getting a bagel in the first set. I came out strong in the second set, really pumped up, and started things out 2-2. But you see where it ended. Again my serve failed me, so that will need to be my focus in the week ahead. I don't think I was too soft today like last night, but my form wasn't very good on the groundstrokes. That will cause errors usually every time. You'd think that someone as beaten down as myself would just quit. But my determination is not broken. I will win one of these damned tournaments someday! Although I suppose just winning a set would be considered a great accomplishment these days! :-)
Pictures from the Cotton Creek Fall Open
These are from the first day of the tourny.

First me, in my famous blue shorts.

Here's Alan, fighting for his life.

Me with my high school tennis coach, Nancy, at the Cotton Creek Fall Open. She also does some of these tournaments with her high-school-aged son. He, by the way, could easily whoop my ass in tennis on any day, as he always plays in the open (best) divisions.

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