BRITISH JUNIOR OPEN – DAY 3
Posted on January 13, 2014
The matches today promised to be more successful, with the 1st match nerves out of the system and some good discussion the previous night with coaches Mark and Fabrice schooling Kevin and Dries in coping with pressure, expectation and getting the the best out of yourself in these difficult matches. The organisation for the morning was a bit problematical, with Dries playing at 1030 in one club, and Kevin playing at another, an hour earlier. Luckily, it all worked out and both coaches could be present for both Kevin and Dries’ matches.
The 1st match of the day was Kevin v Stephen Hearst (IRE). Kevin was more than up to the task in this match, leading 10-7 in BOTH of the 1st 2 games. The reason for this was pretty simple…he changed his game, started to focus on the END of the game instead of the ‘here and now’ of playing the rallies. Up until Kevin had game balls, he was applying the pressure, forcing errors from his opponent with good length and width, peppered with some nice drops and flicks at the right moments. Unforced errors, open court shots and generally choking under pressure was the order of the day. So, after losing the 1st two games 10-12, 12-14…Kevin was mentally shot and the last game ended quickly, 3-11 for his opponent, and the match 0-3.
Next match on was Dries v Simao Neves (POR). The coaches were not fooled into overconfidence by his technique as, the day before, Dries’ opponent was also not so technically sound. Rather, we waited for the match to begin! Dries seemed a lot more relaxed and composed this morning, hitting his lengths and crosses more precisely, starting the rallies well. It was clear from the beginning that Dries was the stringer of the two. The match was pretty much one-way traffic and Dries was a very happy winner, 3-0 (11-9, 11-2, 11-6).
Kevin was up next against Andreas Bo (NOR), representing Norway. Kevin had improved in each match, his length and width was getting better and he was starting to realise that he can play as well as the other boys his age that he’d been admiring the last few days.
Kevin’s short game was ‘on’…and he realised that with more pressure and restriction on his opponent , that he got more chances to play to the front. Kevin won 3-0, but not before a ‘match ball wobble’ in the 3rd game, which he eventually won 13-11 (11-6, 11-5, 13-11).
3/1 – 1800
Dries had a tough match in the evening v James Musto (ENG). The players were a good match. Both very determined and basic games that were pretty even. Dries lost the 1st with a few unforced errors (9-11), but came back strongly in the 2nd to take it 11-6. The 3rd and 4th followed similar patterns, both hitting everything to the back and fearful of making an error. Dries was encouraged to play the working boast, to use all 4 corners, but he was also aware of the need to keep the ball above the tin. HE fought to the end, but eventually went down 1-3 (9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 8-11). A great experience and a good performance for Dries.
A successful day with highs and lows…stay tuned for Day 4!!!