It was an epic match the one that took place just a few weeks ago in the lovely town of Koper/Capodistria in Slovenia, two tennisforumers faced eachother for the first time and the tension was clearly showed by the first rallies on the hard courts of the tennis club.
The first set started with Flareon trying to be be aggressive and taking control of the rallies from the first balls by serving big and returning flat everytime he was given a chance. Mitten Kitten on the other side of the net tried a more defensive strategy, trying to be consistent and working the point from behind the baseline until he had a chance to step in.
The very first games saw a tentative Flareon, who struggled to find the pace from the pretty slow HC of Slovenia, made even slower by the massive sun and heat. Mitten Kitten on the other hand looked rock solid, served pretty well and didn't let much chances to Flareon to enter the match, since his defense looked wall-like and his slices were often forcing Flareon to step back from his assaults.
In a very short lapse of time Mitten Kitten found himself 5-1* up and Flareon really needed to ask more to his serve in order to make the set longer. On *5-2, MK had faced not a single break-point, but the knoweledge of that seemed not enough to wear the pressure off and he immediately got broken with a smash from Flareon(the fourth of the rally), this time too far to be reached.
On 5-3* MK knew he couldn't rely on his serve to close out the set and decided to get more aggressive on return. On the very first point a winning return from FH DTL added pressure on Flareon's serve, who hit a DF and then couldn't close an easy volley ending up passed by a FH slice CC hit on the run from MK...*15-40, a chopped return out of a big first serve bounced too low and Flareon's miss ended the first set, 6-3 Mitten Kitten.
The second set started with a more solid Flareon, whose number of UE suddenly stopped growing, which forced MK to do something more than running in order to make points...for both players serve worked in a sort of russian roulette, where good turns were followed by epic disasters and in the end DF were a much bigger number than aces.
MK's serve seemed the one to work the less in the biginning of the 2nd set though, and he fast found himself trailing in the score 4-2* and break points down. Unexpectedly he could hit a couple of smart slice serves which opened up the court for the FH winners and after saving the break points and having hold, he could catch the break given at the biginning of the set and go back to 4-4*.
Flareon didn't let this bring him down and with the help of a couple of great returns of serve he could re-gain a break of lead and serve for the 2nd set after the court's change.
MK knew he couldn't just wait for Flareon to selfdistruct then, all the momentum was on the British side of the net and he needed something to make this change. Finding a little more courage on the BH side foreced the Briton to step back and playing with the slices scored a couple of points by forcing his errors.
Broke back and unable to hurt much MK's serve in a very short time Flareon from serving for the set, was now serving to avoid the showers. MK clearly thought it was going to be easy by then and that mentally Flareon would collapse, but it wasn't so and Flareon proudly served better and the wild defence of the Italian didn't hurt his nerves, so that after the solid hold to make the tie-break happen, the British started promptly the tie-break by getting a solid lead on 4-1.
MK tried a reaction but it was too late and not even a running passing show to get to 5-4 could hurt Flareon's mentality by then, who stepped in and closed the tie-break 7 points to 4.
The third set saw both players being mentally and most of all physically worn-out and you could tell that by their serving, which went from seesawing to disastrous once the set started. MK was broken in the very first game after having been 40-0 up, with 2 DF's and after that he couldn't make a single point on his serve in next game either. Flareon's service games were lasting a little longer, but in the end, after 8 games it was all tied up.
Suddenly MK could find some sort of left energies and after having saved a BP with an ace, he could close the game with an inside-out FH winner after a very tiring rally.
His attempt to snatch the win failed without having any chance to break, since Flareon suddenly served harder and more accurately, but quite the same happened in the evelenth game, when MK could hold for a 6-5* lead.
The last game of the match was very intense and both the players found every last inch of energy left in their bodies in order to win this one. Once again MK was the one running more, but in the end it was thanks to a winner of the Italian that he could finally have a chance to close out.
It was a brutal rally, ended with a FH passing shot that finally gave MK the win after almost 3 hours.
But revenge was in the end, not longer after that...to be continued.