Kalamazoo Sunday match

Hey loyal blog followers (Brazil and Germany- please who it is! I’m sorry that I forgot your name, but are you the woman I met on the plane from Frankfurt to Nice? πŸ˜‰ ),

—> Thom insisted that I write the blog entry today, in order to reflect on my thoughts about the match πŸ™‚

Today was a pretty unusual day haha. To start off, we knew who I was playing more than 2 days in advance, which is something you would never see in ITF.
To add, Francis is a big name player, having reached a high of #2 ITF, won countless tournaments, and played in an ATP 500 event at just 16. Obviously, the hype before the match was something I don’t typically experience: a lot of people talked to me and Thom simply because I was playing the top-ranked American.
[Also something not often covered (no pun intended) is the live coverage feature of playing on a Kzoo show court… Hopefully we’ll be able to snag a recording of the match, a luxury we didn’t have last year ….]
—> So, with all of these things in mind, we were set for a big match, against a big opponent, with his big image, in front of a big crowd. !

Needless to say, I felt a bit overwhelmed, and at times,
out of sorts. The rhythm that Francis imposed on me, combined with the formalities of playing in Kzoo, and having a TV crew and chair umpire, ALSO mixed with a fickle crowd, made the experience pretty momentous. I felt a bit like I didn’t belong, while Francis was right in his comfort zone.

Thom conceded the fact that my court presence was not strong today, and that despite my big stature, I had the passiveness of a mouse. This is also something that separates the top ITF players from the rest; when you play them, you don’t just play them, but also their image and who they’ve beaten in the past. Definitely something for me to add to my repertoire. πŸ˜‰

It was a very good match for me because I can see now why Francis is at the top and what he does to stay there. He’s extremely mentally strong and obviously physically gifted, but he also has this disconcerting presence that he fools you and the umpire with right up until he hits you with a huge wide serve to save break point. πŸ™‚

I think it was pretty good too that I didn’t necessarily throw the towel in after being down in a few situations. Once I was down 0-40 on my serve and held, and down 2 match points (15-40) at 1-5 in the second, i held serve again. In and of itself, not calling it quits down 4-1 and 5-1 also speaks volumes, as does continuing to play his service games tight up until the very end.

We live another day… Tomorrow’s match vs. Alexander Knight (FL) is scheduled at the very deserted WMU (in comparison to Stowe, of course… Haha). It should be fun!

Talk to you guys later

~Sasha, aka Leb

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