President Graeme Bradfield writes –
Well folks its getting towards the business end of the men’s draw and Monday’s play saw the expected two top seeds get through without dropping a set.
Filippelli v. Happell
First up was Frank Filippelli and Mike Happell. Mike is clearly the world’s best masters player but that means he is also the oldest in this competition. At this level the body starts to groan after long matches and so it was here. After a torrid first set, where Frank and he chased down everything, with Frank winning 6/3, the second set became a grind, with Frank admitting later he was determined to keep the ball in play and not let Happell put anything away. It worked. He not only took the second 6/2 but Mike ended up with a very sore glute and retired to save himself for the doubles today and headed off for a massage from the masseur oracle Paul Lofts !
Fahey v Fowler
Second up was the World Champ against the seemingly impassable long reach of Andy Fowler. That was not going to be a problem though, when you don’t try to go past him, just hit the ball so tightly that he can do nothing but hit it back with nothing on it. And the pattern is repeated until Fowler gets frustrated and is ready to try anything. A couple of times it worked, like during the comeback from 5/2 in the first set only to end with a suddenly determined 11th game from Fahey that showed he was under no real pressure regardless of the score ! The next two sets followed the same pattern with no comeback this time from Fowler and the scoreline showing 6/1 6/2
Virgona v. Richardson
The third match showed the toll taken on Richardson from his long match with Brett Macfarlane the night before. Richardson was probably lamenting that Mac had not taken his chance in the fourth and saved him from facing up to a fit and ruthless Virgona. And so it was that Virgona left no ball unreturned, steered clear of the fantastic Richardson volley and gave another triple bagel to his hapless opponent, 0,0,0.
K. Booth v. Chapman
The final match was the one the locals all turned out to see, not the least being Ron Booth (who must have a very good tennis gene lurking somewhere) to see the local hero Kieran Booth now based at RMTC in Melbourne take on the Hampton Court based Aussie, Chris Chapman. Chapman, moving like a panther and smoking most balls in his path, seemed on his way to repeat the number he did on Kieran’s brother the day before. A faultless display of low passes and stunning drives that saw him take the first set 6/1. But Kieran remembered he was on home soil, and dug in for the long haul with the support of the locals. He took the next set quickly 6/2 with Chapman somewhat surprised that the balls were now being scrambled back any way that Kieran could and then followed up with his signature main wall dedans forces and cut volley returns. Chapman recovered ground in the third set after the game became more even but still lost it 6/3. The fourth then became a classic with both super fit players retrieving seemingly impossible forces and long cross court rallies. Kieran seemed to have it in the bag at 4/2 only to see Chappie capitalise on a few errors to peg it back to 4/4. But then it was Chapman’s turn to fall in a hole. When he tried on three consecutive returns to go down the line, and found the top of the net each time, the frustration told on his face and resolve, as the final set fell to Booth 6/4.