After winning against Luciano on Oct 4, i assumed the number 1 rank in the ladder. Since then i have beaten Carl, Wayne and Carl again tonight making it 4 weeks in a row at #1. However i no longer attach any significance to the #1 rank. I am interested in becoming one of the top player at the outdoor circuits and in order to do that i need to focus on good execution and good offense. Most players in the ladder generally are defense oriented players and if one is patient and play defense with occasional offense, it isnt that hard to win against them and stay at #1. However in the outdoor circuits when we play top ranked players, they generate plenty of offense and cant just win with defense alone. My focus this winter is improve my offense while staying consistent.
Last week it was Wayne and it was a tough match. Wayne always plays me tough and i guess our games match up well against each other. We held at 1-1 and then I played from behind most of the set to catch him at 4-4 all along breaking each other's serve. At 4-4 i broke him and held serve to make it 6-4. After winning first set, i jumped on an early break and held and soon was serving at match point at 5-3. It is already past 10 pm cutoff but my opponent wanted to continue.I had a tough line call (i believe the serve clipped the service line and skidded off ) as my first serve was called out. However i threw in a cotton puffy second serve and he punished it and then on i lost the plot and eventually the set at 5-7. At this time we are way past our 10pm cut off. Technically if we stopped then , i would have won the match because of # of games won. Nevertheless my opponent still wanted to continue. With clock around 10:30 Pm or so, i really didnt want to play another set (as it would be way past 11 pm and unfair for the rep working the front desk). We ultimately agreed to play 'first to 3 games win the match'. He held serve easily and very quickly had break points on my serve. My serve was off all night but came through suddenly with Three clutch serves and suddenly it became 1-1. I broke his serve some what easily and went up 2-1. The last game was a tough one with several intriguing rallies but i prevailed to win 3-1. There arent any silver bullets in this match. It is lot of work and some lucky breaks in the end (to be fair, it shouldnt have come this far as i was leading 5-2 and just needed to win 1 of the 3 games and i couldnt).
Tonight's match with Carl was a bit anti climatic as compared to our match two weeks ago. That match was a tight encounter where i won 6-3,6-3. I had to pick my spots and hit serves into them and took chances on short balls to win that match. Carl was playing very tough that night and a couple points here and there would have changed the match's complexion. Compared to that tonight's match is a simple one. For one, my serve was on and didnt face a break point until late in the second set (actually serving for the match) . Compounding this ,Carl's game was off the mark and he made some uncharacteristic errors. In the begining of both sets, it would appear like he would blow me away and take the set but both times i survived the mini storm by playing some offense myself . In the end, it was a comfortable 6-2,6-2 win for me.
Jack played again (only for second time this indoor season) and it looks like he might drop from the Top4 group . This year we only have 12 spots and the way the format works is #1 vs #2 ; #3 vs #4 ; #5,6,7,8 (called as Top4) ; #9,10,11,12 (Called as Bottom4). He indicated that he won only 8 games tonight. Unless there are Substitution scenarios (which we dont have in his group) , 8 games isnt enough to keep one's spot.
It is surprising for me considering that yesterday (Sunday) Jack beat me 7-6 in a friendly outdoor match. While the conditions may be different, we both played for win and i lost the tie breaker. Given that warm up, i assumed Jack would handle his group and move up. His group doesnt have players that would pose him match up problems (on the other hand, he can pose night marish problems for some of the players).
Historically Jack makes his run to the top towards Thanks Giving and Christmas time. He hasnt played much lately and will need a couple more sessions to get his game grooved. I would pick him to move to the top in 4 weeks time (assuming he gets to play)
I am considering taking some time off from Gym. I am putting in a lot of cardio work at the Gym and i might have hurt myself in that process---my right shin hurts and feels numb after work outs. No doubt that fitness played a huge part in some of my results but i am thinking i can take a break and come back to Gym with renewed energy.