After two and a half hours of non-stop action I walked away with a 6-2 3-6 7-6(4)
win by playing some of the best tennis I have ever played. This match was exhausting and included plenty of spectacular points. It helped I was serving well: 4 aces, plenty of unreturned serves (over 30 I think) and only 1 double fault.
Thanks for the advice guys, here is how various plans played out:
- Slicing didn't work so well as only very low margin driven slices caused him problems. Floating slices essentially lost me the point, whilst low slices would often five me a chance for a put away.
- Angles worked really well. One particular pattern that won me many points. On my first aggressive/neutral shot of a rally I would target his backhand side, leading to a weak cross court shot. I would follow this up with a backhand to the corner of the service box which would run him wide of the court and give me a clear shot at a winner.
- High balls to the backhand worked fairly well, as long as he didn't have time to hit an
inside out forehand, which would usually win him the point (by allowing him to dictate)
- Approaching the net worked well if I could force a high ball. While I was 5/9 on net points, I was 3/4 on smash chances and 2/5 on points where I had to attempt to hit a volley
- The wide Kick-Slice serve on the Deuce side was perfect as I could disguise it as a regular serve down the T, and it resulted in 3 of my 4 aces, as well as plenty of easy put aways.
- Retrieving worked well at tense moments as he was unwilling to commit to big shots, and I could run down most of his shots)
- I passed him often enough at the net that he gave up on that tactic fairly quickly (most of my opponents do, only dedicated net attackers will tend to beat me with that tactic), and my drop shots are too low percentage to force him to the net regularly (I attempted 4 drop shots in the entire match, 2 missed, low slices would sometimes draw him in)
- Mentally I had the edge, he often double faulted in big moments and he didn't noticeably commit to a particular game plan
- My forehand broke down and cost me the second set, as my footwork deteriorated somewhat, however the shot reappeared in the third set when my opponents shots lost a little of their bite.