I just wanted to vent. Last night I had a big league match. I was undefeated, my opponent was undefeated. For the most, part, the winner would win the league, unless we were upset in our final match by players we handle easily. We have a history of incredibly close matches. I've lost to him twice: 7-6 (8), 3-6, 3-6, and 6-7 (6) 6-3, 4-6. So, clearly, he can beat me. I didn't expect to win, but I've been playing very well, and certainly believed that I could win. I played superbly in the first set, winning 6-3, everything was working - I served great, was patient, but aggressive, passing shots were working, and I was emotionally in control. He only got close to breaking my serve once. Second set, I was still playing great, though he picked it up a bit. I had break chances early, which he fended off with some great serves and great play. I finally broke to go 4-3, and then held serve in a multiple-deuce game to go up 5-3. I got to 30-all on his serve, but again, he put together some good points to close the gap to 4-5. I served for the match. First point I hit the tape on an aggressive forehand. Then I hit a backhand winner. Then, I double faulted going for a second serve. He played a great point to get to 40-15. I hit a service winner. And, then I played a well constructed point, but hit the top of the tape on an inside-out forehand. He broke me. But, I regrouped and played a decent next game, but he held. Then I lost my serve AGAIN in a tight multiple-deuce game - I hit some bad shots, hit some great shots (fending off break points), he played some great shots, but the choke was on. I lost that game. Set lost, 7-5. I always pride myself on being able to stay in a match, even when things get bad. I reason that even if I lost 7-5 and blew a lead, clearly I'm good enough to play with this guy, so I should be able to rebound. And, rebound I did. The opening game of the third set was about 5 deuces, and I broke serve. I held to go up 2-0. And, then in a 2-deuce game, I broke again. Then I held again in a tight game. I was up 4-0. The next three games, I made a couple of stupid errors, but nothing that really got me that mad. He played great in holding, breaking, and holding again to close the gap to 4-3. Next game was tense and again, multiple deuces, but I held to go up 5-3. He played well to hold to close to 5-4. So, I had to serve for it again. I actually wan't that nervous, but my legs were gone and even though I wanted to go for big serves, they weren't going in, so I was concentrating on spinning in my first serve, deep. First point, he hits a huge return, has me on the run and knocks off my passing shot at the net. The next point, I have the upperhand and have him the run and am ready to end the point by driving a backhand down the line (one of my best shots), but I hit the top of the net, 0-30. I get it back to 30-30 with some good play, including an incredible backhand passing shot, but proceed to lose the next two points, one on an great shot by him, and the other on a weak shot by me that enabled him to take control. I had lost my serve for a second time serving for the match. 5-5. I got to 30-30 on his next service game with some great passing shots. Now, I'm exhausted and he knows it. He's approaching inside-out and I'm reaching more for the passing shot than I was earlier in the match. He wins the game and is up 6-5. I honestly thought I could still win in a tiebreak. I wasn't nervous, just frustrated. I played okay in final service game, but all of my great shots, includig another wicked backhand cross-court pass happened when i was behind 0-15, 15-30. He was getting all my servces back now,and the match ended unceremoniously with him coming in off another inside out forehand and stretching me wide. I got to it, but had to reach, and all I could do is try to knife a slice, but he was waiting for it and knocked it off. I had lost. 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I served for the match TWICE at 5-4 in the second and third sets, and was up 4-0 in the third. (I edited that from earlier. I was up 5-3 in each set, but served for it at 5-4, not 5-3 (as I had previously wrote), not that it matters). I have no problem admitting the choke, though I don't think it's the worst choke ever. I played some really great tennis when I was losing 4 consecutive games at the end of each set. It's not like I completely lost it. But, I DID make some costly errors at bad times, so the choke label is appropriate. The closing of the gap from 4-0 to 4-3 in the third doesn't bother me at all - he played great. But, everything else is a nightmare. Thank God I didn't actually have any match points or else I'd be crying right now. This loss will stay with me for a LONG time. I've played tennis for a long time and seen it all. I've been on the other end of these types of matches and I've won matches like these where I lose a lead, but then win anyway. But, he's a nemesis of mine. His game style is tricky for me and the matchup is difficult for me. I was playing great and had confidence before the match. I had never beat him. And to go through all that and lose is devastating. I can't get it out of my head, so I'm venting to TW.