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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bridgeway Park - The Battle in Bridgeton

After what seemed like 10 straight days of rain, we finally received a break in the weather so Scott and Stan took a midday break from Central Realty and ReMax Select to head to Bridgeway Park in Bridgeton for their first match in over a month.  Bridgeton is a St. Louis community with a long history, but grew to be a significant suburban city in the last 40 years.  Bridgeton was first platted in 1794 as part of a Spanish Land Grant to Robert Owen, a utopian socialist.

Its location was on the primary road between St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri.   The population waned over time and in 1950 was only 276.  As suburbanization began, the population exploded with over 8,000 single family homes being built in the 1960's.   It is during this period that Bridgeway park was built.  The park is difficult to find as it is located in the middle of a neighborhood.  It is really a nice and quiet park with bathrooms, ball field, volleyball, tennis courts and a shelter/bbq area.  The courts have seen better days and are missing most of the surface on the outer edges.  One court was playable while the other was not.

Stan is physically in the best shape of his life completing an 11 mile Tough Mudder 6 days prior to the match.   Scott knew this was going to be tough and selected his lower tension racquet to give him a little more firepower since he knew outrunning the Bulgarian was not an option.

Both players held serve until 3 all with Scott winning 12 of his first 13 service points.   Stan's serves were a little tougher for him but he managed to hold on by striking winners repeatedly to Scott's forehand side.   On Scott's next serve he went down 0-40 but managed to come back and win to go up 4-3.  Scott was doing a great job mixing up his serves and keeping Stan a little off balance, but Stan held and then a 4-4 Scott was derailed when Stan ripped an inside out forehand winner off a serve up the middle to break Scott.   Stan held his serve easily and the first set was in the bag, 6-4 Stan over Scott.

The second set started out all Scott as he went up 3-0 with great defense turning Stan's winners into defensive lobs.    Scott extended the lead to 4-2 and then Stan went on a tear winning 3 games in a row to go up 5-4 and put himself in position for a two set victory.    After losing a 25 stroke rally, Scott held his serve on the next point by hitting  a delicate lob over Stan's head for a winner.   Scott then followed that up with another perfect lob on Stan's serve to break him and finally held his own serve by hitting 4 volleys in a row at the net culminating with a drop volley that the speedy Bulgarian could not quite get his racket on.   Second set to Scott at 7-5.

At this point, it was decided to play a full third set to decide the match rather than the traditional tie breaker.   Stan started out by breaking Scott to go up 2-1, but Scott broke back with a vicious down the line return of Stan's serve.    Scott; now playing with confidence, won the next three games to get to a 5-2 lead.   Stan held for 5-3 punctuated with the only ace of the match and then probably the best game of the match was played.   Scott went up 40-0 with some good serving.  With the match on the line Stan played two amazing points.  The first was a point where Scott had Stan running from corner to corner with heavy forehand balls that Stan somehow kept getting back.   After about 10 balls, Scott tried to rip a ball down the line over the high part of the net which ended with the ball on Scott's side of the net.   The next point, Scott came to the net volleyed three times and finally caught Stan going the wrong way but Stan somehow reached back and flicked a lob over Scott's head into the backhand corner for a winner.   Scott decided to go for it on his next serve and went up the "T" to Stan's forehand.   Stan pushed his return about 6 inches wide and the match belonged to Scott.   4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Location is a 10 as this is a quiet secluded place to play but court conditions at this point are only a 4 for a combined rating of 6.  A great nearby place to eat after you play here is the India Palace which has a great lunch buffet and an awesome view of Lambert Airport.   A nearby tourist attraction is North County's most haunted house, the Payne-Gentry House.  Thanks for reading!

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