I'm enjoying this journal. How 'bout some video?
Le me get this pet peeve out of the way, then I'll comment on your post: when reporting your own score, you always list your score first. Your scoreline should read: 3-6, 4-6, 6-4 (extra set). The moment I saw the score I assumed you won the match in straights, then lost the extra set.
If you're reporting a match and it's not you, or it's specifically listed as NameA vs. NameB, then you align the scores respective to the order of the names. Okay, now that's out of my system ...
We all know what it's like for the serve to break down: it's horrible
. I've been playing all of my matches on my second serve for two weeks now. My 1st serve--a weapon, and a key component of my game--effing left me! It's frustrating ... I assume you're using a kicker for the 2nd serve (even though the patty-cake reference scares me a little bit). When the first serve is broken, badly, you're likely not to get it back right away, maybe not even for the rest of the match. Just hit your kicker for the 1st and 2nd serve. Whatever you do, don't pull back on the second serve. Decrease your swing speed too much, and the kicker flies long, or doesn't get enough forward momentum and dives into the net.
Let's talk about your approach shot.
Why do you feel the FH DTL approach is risky? It's probably the most common and effective approach shot. He really only has a few options, assuming it's a good enough shot to force a BH reply.
- CC BH Pass -- At the 4.0 level, this is potentially one of the hardest shots to hit with reliable consistency. You're not going to pass someone with a BH slice, so you better have a moderate pace, well placed, TS BH CC. A low quality CC BH Pass will be easy pickings for someone with a halfway decent BH Volley.
- BH Lob -- sounds to me like he favors this shot and you were doing well to break it down. Good work.
- BH DTL Pass -- Since you're approaching DTL, in theory, you're already covering the line, leaving a tiny hole for the "too good" winner. He hits this shot, and anything short of too good gives you a FH Volley CC to the open court.
But if you hit a CC approach to the backhand (inside out FH or CC BH), this leaves the easier shot, the DTL Pass, wide open. If you rush to cover DTL, you'll likely not get there in time and have two holes: DTL and CC. Not good!
I'm generalizing. If facing a lefty, this all changes (to some degree), or if your'e facing an opponent who has yet to develop a reliable TS BH shot.
Or maybe I misunderstood you and you're saying: hitting the DTL approach is more risky than hitting a CC rally ball
. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.