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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Tower Park - The Flogging in Florissant? Battle of Boxing Day?

The day after Christmas 2014 in St. Louis was a great one for tennis.   The forecast was sunny with a high of 48 degrees.  The court we selected was Tower Park in historic Florissant, Missouri.  Florissant is one of the oldest communities in the St. Louis area and was founded in the 1700's as a French settlement.   The courts are in a great location at the intersection of New Florissant and Washington.

The courts are literally surrounded by food options with Delish Cheesecake which is located in the historic train station building attached to the courts, Fritz's Frozen Custard and Old Town Donuts across the street.   Restrooms are available but were locked during our match.   In order to add a little variety, a call was placed to our friend Mark Zolman who is a 4.0 rated USPTA certified teaching professional.

We weren't sure if Mark was coming, so we prepared to start without him.   Stan showed up to the courts wearing a bright red "Stan the Man" shirt which is a phrase that started in St. Louis with Stan Musial but has now extended to tennis great and Australian Open Champion Stan Wawrinka.

The courts are covered with an astro turf and sand combination.  They are generally in good shape with a couple of repaired areas and some areas with large sand accumulations.   The bounce was consistent. We noticed in warm up that the turf proved very favorable for slice shots as the bounces were very unpredictable.  It was time to see if Stan was really "The Man"

The match began with Stan winning the toss and electing to have Scott serve.  This was effective as Stan promptly broke Scott easily.  Stan's service game was a little tougher with a few deuces but he held and continued to roll.  Stan was not missing many shots and just completely dismantled Scott shackling him with a bagel.  6-0.  

At the end of the set, Mark Zolman appeared and after a quick warm up went after Stan.  Mark has a big forehand and big serve.  Stan continued his ways by breaking Mark and holding his serve for a 2-0 lead.  Mark began to fight back holding serve and pushing Stan around the court.  At one point, Mark missed an overhead but was able to run back and retrieve the ball on the bounce and win the point.  Stan shrugged that off and finished out with a 6-3 victory.

Scott then played Mark while Stan went to take pictures of his nearby listing.  Mark started out serving and his very first serve hit a repaired service line bouncing the ball 10 feet over Scott's head for an ace.  Mark held his serve easily as Scott had trouble adjusting to the big spin Mark puts on his serve.

Scott held his game after several deuces finally coming in to hit a serve and volley winner to finish the game.  In the third game, Scott thought he hit a cross court winner only to have Mark blister a forehand winner cross court.  Mark was playing tough and won the set 6-3.

Stan had vanished so Scott and Mark decided to play another set.   This time Scott kept the ball away from Mark's dangerous forehand and was able to keep the ball deeper.  That resulted in a 6-3 win for Scott.

At this point, Stan returned and was 2-0 against Mark and Scott with Scott and Mark each with 1-2 records.  It was decided, Stan was going to have to play two more sets to prove he was really "Stan the Man".  By now the 48 degree forecast has been surpassed and the temperature had risen to a balmy 61 degrees.

Stan played his second match against Mark by starting off sluggishly.  Mark went up 3-0 only to have Stan fight back to 3-2.   Mark held to go up 4-2 and they remained on serve with Mark pulling out a 6-4 victory.

This left Stan with one match to play against Scott who he had bageled earlier.  If he beat Scott, he would own the day with a 3-1 record.   Scott did not want that to happen.  Stan started out this time by serving first.  This time Scott broke - no bagel this time.    Stan broke back the next game with a couple of clever backhand slice balls that stayed low and slid out of the court.  Back and forth until the score was 5-3 Stan with Stan serving.  Stan held his first match point in this game but Scott was able to save for a  5-4 score.  Scott served needing a win to stay in the match and went down 40-Love.  On the next point, Scott hit a down the line winner to stay alive.  The next one was an inside out forehand winner that kissed off the line.

Still with one match point to go, Scott approached the net and Stan let loose a topspin lob..... it looked like game over but the wind pushed Stan's lob barely out.  Scott was then able to win the game and was back in the match. 5-5 Stan served and faced a barrage of forehands from Scott allowing Scott to go up 6-5 with the match on his racket.   The first serve of the game hit the seam and bounced off Stan's racket over the fence.  A lucky break for Scott.  The second point, Scott hit a hard forehand getting Stan to net a return.  Finally Scott worked his way to match point 40-15.  The final point was a good one with Stan retrieving a hard forehand hitting it to Scott's backhand allowing Scott to hit behind Stan with a sideways spinning sliced backhand for the win.   Everybody won Scott, Stan and Mark each playing 4 sets and each going 2-2.

We took the opportunity afterwards to join the regulars at Old Town doughnuts for coffee and donuts!  Court location is a 9 ( only drawback is traffic noise) and condition is a 7 for a rating of 8.

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