Up against the Great Wall of China
Once again good morning from the kingdom of Dubai!
Here we are on day 5 of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. Today we face Na Li from China. My title could not be fitter for the task that she represents for Shahar today.
She is a tough competitor, confident, and very difficult to beat like the one she
beat today…both of them a true wall with the difference that the Danish never
built a wall as the Chinese did, and I think that says something about their
character and origin.
There is really only one way to bring a wall down and that is little by little which is exactly what Shahar will need to today in her match. The tactic I have prepared for her comes from a tactic that I put together for a another player of mine that beat Na Li a couple of years back. She has obviously improved since then, however the revised version can still be knocked down if the tactic is implemented persistently and consistently throughout the match. So will be easy? Far from it…but we have been here this week already three times and three times we have come through so lets see what God holds for us today.
I will write more after the match as I am now on my way to the warm up court where I will meet Shahar and all her “friends” for what promises to be another fun, hot, and tense day in the kingdom of Dubai…speak later.
And the wall came tumbling down! Before I speak about the match I have to tell you that for the first time I had to stop a warming up session to let the dogs on court…..they came in to smell for strange things…don’t worry I have not been going to the toilet on court. They had their sniff, though they looked more
interested in playing with the tennis balls, and then left.
After the warm-up we headed to our locker were we spent the next hour and fifteen minutes talking about the match and the tactic we thought would work best.
Shahar came out of the blocks again very quickly and imposed herself breaking the first game and holding serve. The match then moved along until 4-3 when Na Li broke Shahar back. The key to the set came at 5-5 when Shahar returned very well and took her chance 40-30 up and hit a clean backhand winner from Na Li’s second serve. This set her up very well to serve it out, and serve it out she did. She closed the set with two great sets including an ace on set point.
Shahar asked me to come into the court to talk a few things over and in the mean time Na Li called the trainer on court. The match was stopped for about 8 minutes. The player then returned on court but by then Shahar was on her way. She raced to a 3-0 lead and began to serve the fourth game but by then Na Li claimed that her back was hurting her too much to continue.
Obviously I hope that her injury is nothing serious and that she recovers in time for the next tournament. She is a very nice girl and so is her husband. For us of course would have been nice to finish the match, however I am confident that they in which Shahar was playing would have been good enough to beat the number 10
player in the world today.
After the match Shahar cooled down and then I stretched her. As I was leaving her locker, that sounds pretty good hey “Her Locker”, the press was arriving for a conference. Mmm… actually just one journalist so it was more like a chat…
Tomorrow we have either Venus or Pavlyuchenkova. I will be coming along tonight to watch their match to see what we can do tomorrow to hopefully beat the winner and continue this dream run we are having.
Have a profitable day!