What a day! What matches Sashka has played & won!
…Hmmm, well, actually there are a lot of things for the team (not for Sashka – she is definitely a hero of the day!) NOT to be proud of.
First of well, her fitness & conditioning is a “trouble zone”. She has at least 5-7 kg overweight. She lacks “continouos power”. Her diet is still unregulated.
Please do not advice us to “find a good nutritionist”. We anyway do not have extra money for that :). But some books or tutorials will be greatly welcomed – we are doing this stuff by ourselves now (me & Sashka), reading, learning & implementing.
But you know what? With all these conditioning problems, Sashka has NOT lost any 3-sets match in this season (she played 3 of them to date).
So we started the day very early from checking out the previous Airbnb room. It was a terrible experience! With all our bags, around 7 a.m., we reached a small bakery located near the subway station to have a breakfast.
Then 20 more minutes by walk (actually we spent at least one hour daily walking here – good fitness for both), and we are in the main tennis club of Hamburg!
Sashka spent 30 minites for on-court warm up with Inga Komleva, a girl from Russia who currently lives and practices in Croatia. Inga is a reliable partner, and she is always ready to help whether she is still in a tournament or not.
Then Sashka got a short break and…
…was played against a girl from the Netherlands. It was a left-handed player with quite an agressive game styling, good forehand, but a weak backhand and no (special) serve. Sashka’s task was “to load” an opponent backhand side and go offensive as soon as possible.
The reality occured to be a bit more problematic, as Sashka struggled to process the very special left-handed spin of the opponent. Sashka made unforced errors, one after one. Fortunately, she managed to win the 1st set 6:4.
In the beginning of the second set, the problems arisen further, as Sashka started to be more & more defensive. She aimed just to “reach” the victory, not really to win it.
The solution came unexpectedly… from outside the court, when Sashka lost 2:4! Three Russian-speaking girls arrived and started to support the Dutch player in “specially Russian” way – by trying to disturb the opponent (Sashka in our case). They shouted in Russian “Molodets! Davai esche! (Good girl! Give one more!)” for Sashka unforced errors, applauded on her double faults etc. Note that the Dutch girl does not speak or understand Russian!
Why it is “Russian way”? Cause I never seen something like that from junior players of other countries except Russia.
Though we never played in Latin America or Africa, may be it is also a common thing there :). But definitely not in Europe.
The result turned to be 100% opposite – Sashka’s got angry, returned to active play and finally won 7:5.
By the way, the Dutch girl approached Sashka after the match and excused for her Russian friends behavior!
But the real drama appeared during the second match of the day (quali final). Our opponent was a 16-years old German girl, a smart player with a good footwork, a quite fast first serve and ability to put the ball deep to the targeted zone. Sashka’s preferences were speed & power – the girl was good enough for this tournament, but she never played on speeds top junior players used to.
…Sashka led easily 4:0 in the first set, with no visible chances for the opponent. She served fast, returned deep, hunted for short balls and punished the opponent with the cross or free zone shot. But then… the “tennis gas” in her tanks went off!!! On 4:2 Sashka showed me than she can’t breath; may be she could call for a doctor, but she opted not to. Sashka tried to save the set… but she was slower & slower, more defensive & more defensive. She got some chances on tie-break, but the output was logic – she lost the set.
I can’t say that the second set was much better. I would say that Sashka won it by her experience. Yes, she got completely defensive, passive and even “anti-tennis” – but that was the only way for her at those circumstances. She kept the ball deep and high, then spinned it, then sliced it, waiting for a mistake of a DEFINITELY short ball to finish the point. It was not a good tennis to watch, though it brought the necessary result: 6:2.
Ant then the third set came… Ohhhhhh!!! Sashka was losing all the time: 1:2, 2:4, 4:5 and 0:30!!!
But then something happened on 4:5 and 0:30! It was not a “second breath” but a kind of adrenaline injection or something like that! Just like it was a first point of the very first match on the tournament. Sashka started to run fast, hit the ball with the excellent power and clear technics same time, with very good timing and correct direction. She turned the situation to 6:5 and 40:15 in just a couple of minutes. Nobody, including me, did not understand what happened!
Then she slowed a little bit on the match points, so two unforced errors & deuce arrived. But then one more good winner and a final DROP SHOT – and here is a win, very hard, but fully deserved.
After the match
Sashka was completely empty, but satisfied with the outcome. We spent some time in the club for stretching and speaking with people, but quite fast went to our new room. It is shared again, but the hosts seemed to be very friendly.
Sashka is on BYE, so she is free today. We made some laundry, and now will go to the centre of city for some relaxing walk. In the afternoon we will return to the club to make some fitness practice, then tennis training, then attend a physio.
Write again soon! Thank you for staying with us!
P.S. Greetings from Starbucks Hamburg :)! Internet sucks here, but coffee & bakery is very good!