Congrats to Allan Bledstein, our 2013 Gold Division Singles Champion. He played a hard-fought match with defending champ, Carlos Dunkerly on Saturday to capture the title 6-3, 6-1. If you see him around the club, clap him on the back and ask if he’ll give you any tips on playing great singles! Now that you’ve heard the ending, here’s how the whole day transpired.
We began promptly at 9am with check-in by all participants. This singles tournament was a round robin format, completed by playing 10-point tiebreakers with sudden death at 9-9. The players immediately felt the pressure as two or three bad misses in a tiebreaker can put you in a hole. There were upsets from the get-go and some predictable outcomes. Carlos Dunkerly, last year’s winner, swept through the round robin format with an unblemished record of 7-0 against all comers. For second place, there was a three-way tie between Arnaud Dunoyer, Allan Bledstein, and Marvin Benson, all with outstanding records of 5-2. During the festivities, Allan had notched a win over Marvin, Arnaud had notched a win over Allan, and Marvin had a win over Arnaud, so the head-to-head match-ups were also jumbled beyond recognition. What to do, but have a three-way playoff with these fine players competing in a 5-point tiebreaker to break the tie.
Allan immediately recorded a win over Arnaud, 5-2. Since Allan had the win, Marv would play Allan, and if Allan should win, then he would advance to challenge Carlos for 2013 Mcc Singles Champion. Allan and Marv started the tiebreaker all tied at 2-2, then Allan hit some excellent forehand drives into Marv’s backhand corner and drew a couple errors before serving out the tiebreaker to advance to the finals.
In the finals, the small, but boisterous crowd munched on chips and burgers as Mike Skolnik sat in the umpire’s chair to call the match. Two out of three sets with a ten-point breaker to decide the third set. As the match began, it was evident that Allan had a plan of attack: ATTACK! Allan hit aggressive forehands into the open court and especially went after Carlos’ backhand side. Carlos had trouble finding his rhythm from the start and Allan went up an early break at 2-0.
Allan continued to attack, taking floaters out of the air and hitting deft drop shot half-volleys when Carlos used his heavy topspin to make the ball dive at Allan’s feet. Allan held on to his break to 5-3 in the first and served out the game by forcing another backhand error as he approached the net.
The second set began and Carlos looked determined to shift momentum his way, however, Allan held his nerve. Sticking to his offensive strategy, Allan continued to drive balls into Carlos’ left side as he remained very steady. Allan came to the net less often, but his groundstrokes were extremely consistent. The solid play earned him a large lead at 5-1. Carlos made a last push, but Allan again came up with a forehand into the deuce court that Carlos could not track down as he took the match 6-3, 6-1.
Thanks to all the players, Margaret, Jacek, the custodial staff, the restaurant for providing the grill, and the tennis committee for their assistance with ideas such as keeping our tournaments to one day affairs to increase participation and free up courts so that the members can still play social tennis on Sundays when we have tournaments. Please keep an eye out for Gene’s emails detailing upcoming events like the Calcutta auction on Friday Oct. 11th and the Calcutta Tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Venice on Oct. 12th. Our annual Palm Desert trip is Nov. 1-3, call Gene at ext. 326 to sign up today.