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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Wapelhorst Park - The Wimbledon 2014 Edition

St. Louis has been experiencing some unseasonably cool July weather.   This great weather plus watching Wimbledon which has increased our appetite to play tennis.   Last week we headed to Wapelhorst Park in St. Charles for our fourth match on the west side of the longest tributary in the United States, the Missouri river.

The courts sit in a small corner of a larger park which features a water park and baseball fields.   The courts are in excellent shape with one small exception.   The court is striped with bright yellow pickleball lines which make it very difficult to accurately call serves because the two lines are very close to one another.

If you are not familiar with pickleball get acquainted because it is apparently a craze among seniors.  The Villages in Florida have installed over 100 pickleball courts for their seniors.   Here is a short video on the phenomenon - Introduction to Pickleball.

The courts are lighted but do not have a restroom facility close to them.     As we began to warm up with the X-Balls it was apparent that not much sand was in the surface coating resulting in a fast court with very low bounces.   The match finally began and started out 2-2 from there it went downhill for Scott as Stan began really dialing in his backhand.

Stan hit winners off the backhand of every variety including passing Scott down the line on a serve and volley, cross court and down the line winners.   Accordingly he reeled off the next four games to win the first set 6-2 and Scott's dream of a threepeat began to fade.

However, the second set started out well for Scott as he began focusing on Stan's forehand and hitting lots of winners off of his own forehand.   Scott rolled out to a 3-1 lead.   The fifth game of the set was epic.   Stan served and Scott worked his way to a break point.

On the first break point a 20 shot rally ended with Scott pushing Stan in the forehand corner and coming to the net, as Scott stood stunned, Stan hit a beautiful topspin lob that landed on both lines in Scott's backhand corner.   Both players had multiple chances to win the game and finally Scott won it with two consecutive forehand winners for a 4-1 lead.  Not to be outdone Stan won 8 of the next 9 points to get back to 3-4.   Scott held on though and closed out the set 6-3 on a serve and volley winner.  We spun the racket to decide 10 point tiebreak or full set.  The tiebreaker won.  

Stan reclaimed the momentum by winning six points in a row to get to a 6-0 lead.   Scott stayed focused and fought back to a 6-9 score.  Then he stayed in the match by drop shotting Stan, then lobbing over his head and knowing Stan would retrieve what should have been a winner Scott went to the net and volley it away to get to 7-9.  Alas this was as far as Scott would go as Stan hit an unreturnable serve to finish it.   6-2, 3-6, 1-0 .  This now makes Scott 0 for 4 West of the Missouri River.

Court location is a 10 and court condition would be an 8 primarily because of the pickleball lines which really cause problems calling serves.   Average Score a 9.    An old north county favorite Saullo's Pizza is nearby for an after match meal.  

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