I took most of the weekend off of training, and feel much more energized today. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I was pretty shot mentally and physically (especially Friday and Saturday), so recovery was certainly in order. Although I was a little fatigued on Thursday, I pulled it together, because I got a last minute spot in the US Open!
I woke up Thursday morning to find an email from the PSA office offering me (and the rest of the reserve list) two last minute entries into the US Open qualifying draw in Philadelphia. Given that Philly is only a bus/train ride away, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I taught my lessons and clinics in the morning, and then caught a mid-afternoon Megabus.
Match vs Misaki Kobayashi
I arrived around 5 pm, in good time for my 7 pm match against the Japanese #1, Misaki Kobayashi. Although I’ve never competed against Misaki, I’ve seen her play several times, and had a rough game plan in mind. From what I remembered of previous tournaments, Misaki had a deadly boast, and does well with angles. Going in, I planned to attack to the back of the court with straight length, to try to limit Misaki’s options.
Unfortunately, a game plan is only as good as its execution. I wasn’t quite able to find my range until the third game, where I managed to get the lead and even a game ball, but was unable to close it out. The entire game I felt as though my spacing was off, and never got my full confidence in order to attack short or take the ball early. Most of my shots to the back were slightly defensive, which allowed Misaki to step in and put pressure on me. Although I came close in the third, I ended up going down 3-0.
I think the outcome of the match was partly mental, and partly physical. Physically, I didn’t feel confident hitting the ball, which certainly affected my tactics. Furthermore, Misaki did a very good job of taking the ball in short on the backhand side, and with the 17″ tin, those shots can be virtually un-gettable.
Despite the fact that this was a last minute match, I was stoked to be given the opportunity to play in such a big tournament. Although geographically close, it is a different atmosphere competing at these World Series events, and gaining that kind of experience is invaluable.
Next Up: Carol Weymuller in Brooklyn, NY
My next tournament is a 50k in Brooklyn next week. The qualification draw will be released a day or two before the tournament, so I don’t know who I play yet, but I do know that it will be tough. Until then, I’ve got about a week to train up, rest up, and get ready!