Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - pictures and videos from both finals

Sunday was a beautiful day to conclude this year's BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station, though not quite as cool as Saturday, a nice (if occasional) breeze could be felt during the latter stages of what turned out to  be the longest 3-set match of the year.  There were no breaks of serve and John Isner prevailed over Kevin Anderson 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2).  Here are some pictures and videos (of the end of each set) from the singles and doubles finals on Sunday, July 28:
Anderson serves to Isner up 15-0 in the first game
Anderson launches a second serve at Isner
Anderson prepares to return Isner's serve down the middle

Anderson won the first set over Isner 7-6 (3) - watch the HD video on YouTube here!

Our seats were not bad, right next to the cameraman
Another picture of Anderson preparing to return serve
Isner won the second set 7-6 (2) over Anderson - watch the HD video on YouTube here!

Isner prepares to serve to Anderson (ball at top)
Isner launches a serve at Anderson (ball at top)
As Isner prepares another serve, note his shadow
Isner saved one match point, and then a second, while serving at 5-6 to Anderson in the third.  But Isner won in the third set tiebreaker 7-6 (2) to win the Atlanta title on his fourth try (third final).  Click on the links in the previous sentence to watch the videos on YouTube.

In doubles final, Colin Fleming prepares to serve
Note his unusual pre-serve technique

But alas, the Brits couldn't win it, as Roger-Vasselin and Sijsling won the first set 7-6, and the second 6-3.

Friday, July 26, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - pictures/video of Thursday, July 25

It was another beautiful rain-free day at the tennis tournament; Ryan Harrison and James Blake advanced easily in straight sets against unfamiliar opponents while top seeds John Isner and Kevin Anderson struggled to three set victories.  My trusty scorekeeping partner and I were in the booth for the first two matches on Stadium Court, before the evening slate which included the former UGA star against Harrison's younger brother Christian.  Here are some pictures and video of the day's action:

Harrison leaves the ground to hit a backhand return against Sijsling
Harrison hits a running forehand to set up a miss by his opponent
Sijsling's shot is long, and Harrison wins the point
Harrison shakes hands with his heat wearied opponent
After Harrison won his match 6-4, 6-3, it was James Blake's turn to take the court.
The view was spectacular:
The sponsor's building looms over the Stadium Court
James lets his signature forehand fly
But he wins matches when his backhand is consistent
Blake beat his Russian opponent Donskoy 6-3, 6-2 in plenty of time for the evening's agenda, which included Military Appreciation Night, starting promptly at 7 PM (on schedule for the first time all week). Here was the view over Kennesaw Mountain on my way home last night:
more of God's Glory

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Wednesday, July 24 pix/video

After a rushed day at work, I got to the tennis tourney to find out that I would be the only one scorekeeping until the evening shift; no problem.  However, it did limit my ability to take pictures and video of key moments in each match etc., and I was too worn out to stay for the evening's slate.  Still, I did manage to get some good pictures and video of the goings-on while I was there.  You be the judge.
Warming up on Stadium Court for his later match was James Blake:
It's pretty obvious that he's not too comfortable at the net:
The first match played on Stadium Court was between Lleyton Hewitt and Rhyne Williams, who had a pretty big serve and a powerful forehand, but lacked the mental strength to close out Hewitt in the first set.  It was actually the Australian that earned the first break and served for the set, but later had to come from 2-6 down in the tiebreaker to win it 8-6.  The American seemed impatient, hitting every serve and shot as hard as he could trying to get the seventh point, enabling the more experienced player to win the game.
I then thought that Hewitt would roll in the second, but I was wrong as Williams held tough until late in the second, when the Australian duplicated his effort at the end of his match the day prior, breaking his opponent in the 10th game to earn the set (6-4) and the match.
Hewitt shakes Williams hand at the end of their match
To see both Hewitt's set closing fist pumps to wife Bec, see my Twitter account. The next match on Stadium featured two Americans - Blake and Tim Smyczek - that (surprisingly) had never played before:
Blake earned the first break (above) but needed tiebreakers to win the first and third sets (and the match) from his opponent.  Today's insider picture features my view of the court (and my workstation, from which 'we' score the matches):
The View from the Top

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Tuesday, July 23 w/pictures

The second day of first round tennis matches was a glorious one, until the evening when it started to rain in the second set of the Mardy Fish-Michael Russell match.  Arriving about an hour early from my shift, I had the chance to watch nearly the entire first set on Grandstand between 'Randy' Lu & Kevin King.
Atlanta's relatively clear skyline when I arrived shortly before 3 PM
It was an interesting contrast, not just because Lu is right-handed and King is left-handed, but their styles are different.  Lu hits fairly flat "darts", not unlike James Blake, while King's ball has more loft and topspin.  Having been on tour for a while, Lu - a regular at this tournament - had more consistent groundstrokes throughout their rallies, though (afterward) King told his many fans that it was his opponent's serve to which he had no answer.
Lu is aced by King (to see the ball, look above its shadow on the court)
I posted a couple of pictures yesterday which highlight the strengths of both players:  King's serve, and Lu's groundstrokes.  Lu has an interesting breathing pattern:  he actually exhales before he hits the ball, noticeably without being distracting (unlike some women on the WTA tour;-)
Shortly before Lu would back up his break of King with a hold of his own
Here are a couple of pictures of King finishing his first and second serves to Lu (same point); notice the consistency of his follow-through (and pronation):
King's first serve
King's second serve
After Lu won the first set 6-3, my partner and I needed to get to Stadium Court to score Lleyton Hewitt's match with Édouard Roger-Vasselin.  The men played two identical sets, each holding serve until the 10th game of the set, when the Australian would break the Frenchman to secure the sets (6-4) and the match. Roger-Vasselin did save four match points before losing it. And yes, Lleyton's lovely wife Bec is here; she sits directly across from where he sits on the court. After he won, he turned to her to celebrate with his trademark fist pump.
After the singles, it was time for a doubles match featuring the top seeded pairing of Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Brazil's Marcelo Melo, who'd lost to the Bryan brothers (a no show - due to an injury - at this year's tournament) in the Wimbledon finals. They played the Harrison brothers, and it was evident that their strategy was to pick on the younger and less experienced brother (Christian). Ryan won the doubles final here last year, when he was paired with Matthew Ebden (who is only in the singles draw this year).
After taking the first set 6-3, they ran away with the second set 6-1.  One last item before I go, a real insider look at the Stadium Court:
The view from under the Stadium Court

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - Tuesday start #bbtatlantaopen

Some pics from 1st round match btw King and Lu

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Monday, July 22 with pictures

Because of a conflict at work, I was unable to get to the tennis tournament site until after 3 PM, meaning that I had to split my scorekeeper duties with my partner Lisa; she took the first half of our shift, and I took the second.  As it turns out, I didn't miss much because of another rain delay.  In fact, Robby Ginepri had just taken the first set (6-2) from Kevin King, and was tied 1-1 in the second when the rains came; the match resumed shortly after I took my seat in the booth at 3:30 PM.  Unfortunately, because I had to score all five sets played until the end of the shift, I was unable to take very good pictures (all posted on Twitter) until the evening's exhibition.

It was a frustrating match to watch, especially if you were a Ginepri fan (or Ginepri himself), as the play was punctuated by more unforced errors than winners.  Of course, give credit to King who seemed to be able to retrieve every Ginepri shot, making winners hard to come by.  King evened the match by taking the second 6-4, and then outlasted Ginepri, who was obviously struggling physically only a few games into the third set, stretching and bending between points, and was eventually visited by the trainer just before coming out and trying to hold serve trailing 4-5 in the decider.  Unable to do so, Ginepri lost the set (4-6) and the match to King, who earned his first main draw appearance in an ATP event.

Next up on Stadium Court was the first non-qualifying match, a first round contest between Ryan Harrison and Marinko Matosevic.  It was obvious that the Australian wasn't ready to play as the American raced to a 4-0 by breaking his opponent's first two service games; Harrison took the first set 6-2 with an emphatic service hold of his own, including three 120+ MPH aces right down "Peachtree".

But the second set proved more difficult for the youngster; not only did Matosevic pick up his service game, but his return game enabled him to break Harrison twice to end the second set, taking it by the same margin that he'd lost the first (6-2).  Harrison's frustration was evident when he slammed his racquet to the court early in the third after failing to earn a quick break of serve, however he regrouped and closed out the match by winning the deciding set 6-3.

Because the time was now nearly 7 PM, and the much publicized "Bro Down Showdown" - an exhibition doubles match between tennis-playing brothers featuring the Bryan brothers - was scheduled to begin at that time, a first round doubles match was moved to the Grandstand Court so that the show could begin. Unfortunately, the Bryans had withdrawn over the weekend, but that meant that King - with his Georgia Tech teammate Juan Spir - would get to participate.  They would play a thrilling 10-point tiebreaker against James and Thomas Blake, saving match point trailing 9-10 on the point of the night before succumbing.
James Blake (foreground) with brother Thomas
Then it was Harrison's turn to return to the court with his younger (heartthrob) brother Christian; they were to play Eric with his younger (more famous and accomplished) brother Jack.  The Socks won that one fairly easily, but not before Christian impressed with some blind, backhand over-the-shoulder overhead shots.  So the finals of the "Bro Down" were set:  The Socks vs. the Blakes, and the former prevailed 10-8.
Jack Sock (left) with brother Eric - winners of the Showdown
I didn't stay for the second first round match of the day on Stadium, between two qualifiers, and because I left early, I got to take this beautiful sunset picture on the way home.
Sunset over Kennesaw Mountain

Sunday, July 21, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - 1st day qualifying recap

I got to the BB&T Atlanta Open tennis venue at Atlantic Station a little more than an hour early for my scorekeeper duties yesterday; truth is, I thought my shift started at noon (as it does Monday), but it really started at 1:30 PM.  So, I posted my first picture to this blog shortly after I arrived, even though it was dated as having been posted on Friday.  Not sure how that happened, but I'm learning how to use my new smartphone to update blogger and twitter, so bear with me.
View of Atlanta's Skyline from BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 Stadium Court
In any case, as I usually do, I looked for and located my seating for the finals come Sunday, July 28, so I could see how things will look that day, and took a picture to share with my friend who will be attending with me.
3rd row seating - sweet!
Not bad, eh?  As luck would have it, someone already had the seat yesterday, so I had to wait until a break between sets (when he left) to snatch the photo above.  The new custom stadium looks great; the front two rows (much too pricey for me) have Lexus-branded seat-and-back cushions ... really nice!
Robby Ginepri & Andrew Carter taking warm up serves
Unfortunately, some rain started to fall right after Atlanta's own Robby Ginepri and Andrew Carter finished warming up, but that worked in my favor because - instead of starting my shift in the middle - my partner and I got to do the whole match.  I did the first set, which Ginepri won 6-3, and got to blog an update during the second set, which he won 6-1.

After Ginepri's match, it was time for another Atlantan - that normally receives a bye into the main draw of this tournament - to play:  Donald Young (vs. Romania's Catalin-Ionut Gard).  Again, I scored the first set, which Donald won 6-2, and then tweeted a picture of the lefty serving during the second set, which was interrupted for 4 hours due to the rain.
Kilwins at Atlantic Station ... only thing missing was Butterbeer
However, because we're at Atlantic Station, there is lots to do.  Firstly, we ate the catered meal for volunteers (Sonny's BBQ), then we ventured to Kilwins - which reminded me of Honeydukes in the Harry Potter series - for some chocolate delights!  Yum, yum!

Young's match resumed about 8 PM, and we expected that the rest of the day's scheduled matches would be played.  That meant we'd have two more matches after Young's (he went on to win the second set 6-2), and the prospect of a very late night loomed.  However, we then learned that wildcard Eric Sock's (Jack's older brother) match with Zimbabwe's Takura Happy (I kid you not) would be kept for an earlier-than-originally-scheduled Sunday morning start, which meant that the doubles specialists' match-up between Australia's Matthew Ebden and Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez would be the last match on Stadium Court.
Gonzalez serving to Ebden
Not many fans left for Day 1 of qualifying by 10 PM
By now it was pretty sparse fan-wise at the Stadium Court.  After a slow start, during which he fell behind a break, Ebden (who played here last year) took the first set 6-4 by breaking Gonzalez in the 10th game.  He then went on to win the second more easily (6-1) against his obviously dejected opponent.  Had I not stayed until the end, I would have missed this fireworks display, which appeared to be coming from Piedmont Park.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - Ginepri takes 1st set

Now leads second set 4-1, about to serve up two breaks.  Opponent Andrew Carter a visit from the trainer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 qualifying starts next Saturday, July 20

Just one week until this year's BB&T Atlanta Open begins and men's professional tennis returns to Atlantic Station.  Here is a look at the new stadium construction in time-lapse video:

For the most current view of the stadium, click here.  For individual tickets to this year's event, click here.

Once the tournament begins next Saturday, I'll be posting daily insider updates complete with pictures from the event right here, so check back often.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - new stadium construction details

The new Nussli tennis stadium for the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open has arrived and is being assembled at Atlantic Station for this year's tournament:

All should be completed and ready for the tournament, which runs from Saturday, July 20 (qualifying) through Sunday, July 28 (singles and doubles finals).  Here is a picture of what the assembled stadium should look like:

Here is a close-up view of what the new seating will be (entry portal to the left):

I am very much looking forward to volunteering for a third year in a row, working as a scorekeeper, as well as attending the finals in prime (third row) seating with friends, for the fourth straight year.

Check out the tournament's website (link above) to get your tickets!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 now 4 weeks away

While the Atlantic Station site doesn't look like much as yet, four weeks from today the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open tennis tournament will be underway. Qualifying starts Saturday, July 20 and the finals are Sunday, July 28.
Evidently the new stadium has already been constructed elsewhere, and will be shipped and reassembled (like a big puzzle) for this year's event, bringing an even more professional feel to the tournament.

I can't wait! Get your tickets now at the tournament's official website.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - new seating chart

This year's BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station will have a new seating chart!

Whereas last year's seating featured a pedestrian walkway behind Row F in the "end-zones", the 2013 layout will have two portals for entry and 12 consecutive rows (A-M) for seating. The south end-zone will also features suites, in addition to those on Market Street (from the 2012 layout), and the sponsor (BB&T) suite will be located in the northwest corner. Below is a chart of the new Stadium Court:

Tickets are now available for the July 20-28 event and volunteering opportunities are expected to be posted on the tournament's website by May 5.

Monday, April 1, 2013

CBS Sports pulls an ESPN, and tennis fans lose again

While it's not quite the same as missing the end of a high quality 3-set match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, tennis fans did miss the opportunity to see the end of Andy Murray's third set tiebreaker (and match) victory over David Ferrer in Miami's Sony Open yesterday.

Yes, CBS was obligated to cover a couple of NCAA "March Madness" basketball games on Sunday afternoon. However, their assumption that all tennis fans get "The Tennis Channel" - so you won't mind if we switch channels on you before the decisive tiebreaker - was not just wrong, but arrogant. Yeah, yeah, we all know that there's no comparison - ratings-wise - between tennis and NCAA basketball, especially with two berths to the Final Four (here in Atlanta this year) being decided, but couldn't they have delayed the start of the Michigan-Florida game a minute or two? I'm sure the Gators would have appreciated it, especially since they obviously weren't ready at the scheduled start time. And after all, hasn't the men's final at the U.S. Open been delayed some Sundays in September while the day's first NFL games are finishing?

I know, no one cares except tennis fans, "get a life" and all that ...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Never underestimate the value of a familiar doubles pairing (2)!

I first wrote on this subject over 20 months ago, and it's as true now as it has always been. At the time, I was about to start my only season (to date) of men's doubles in the Ultimate Tennis flex league , and my ALTA partner and I - who'd gone 4-1 during the spring season - went on to win our division so decisively that they wouldn't let us play in the playoffs.

Last Friday night, as the USTA League's spring mixed season began, I got to play with a favorite partner of mine. Except for an ALTA match here and there, we haven't been able to play mixed doubles together since the fall of 2011 (when my USTA rating got bumped up half a level). But since we are now playing COMBO 7.5 instead of regular 7.0, we are an eligible pairing once again. Good thing too since I think we only ever lost one USTA match together, and that was in the State of Georgia tournament's Round of 16.

As I was relating Friday night's win to a fellow teammate, our pairing is like "hand in glove", and we won 3 and 3. There was a point in the match where we were down 2-3 love-40 in the second set, but then didn't lose another game. It's funny because - looking about our preferred game 'styles', e.g. on paper - we're not a natural pairing. Each of us prefers to play back - she is a great lobber while I prefer to rip forehands - but we are both tall and adequate at the net, all court players if you will. But we've played - and won - enough matches together that we BELIEVE we will win, and each have enough confidence that our partner will come through with a winning shot at the right time, such that we've lost very few matches. In fact, earlier this year in ALTA, we won a match at A-8 , line 2 together - against the team that would win our division - even though we hadn't been paired in over a year (except in practice).

So, I'll say it again - especially for team captains, you can't overestimate the value of a tried-and-truth doubles pairing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our ALTA mixed seasons are over; USTA starts March 15

This winter's ALTA season was especially cold, and an untimely rain-out may have kept us out of the regular mixed doubles playoffs. Our senior mixed team ran into unbelievable competition - given the level - and my season puttered to a close with more lows than highs. But I'm looking forward to playing for the very first time in Atlanta's COMBO league at the 7.5 level.

My last match in regular mixed was a week ago Sunday and I was paired with my former partner at line 2 even though I'd played twice at line 5 (one win, one loss) and once at line 4 (a loss). Our captain was doing her best to position our team's lines against a familiar opponent in order to win 3, and remain in contention for the playoffs. Fortunately for me - feeling like a sacrificial lamb going into the day - our opponent's captain did the exact same thing and my partner and I found ourselves in a winnable match. In fact, the way it played out, the pressure was on for us to win our line. Fortunately, my former partner has really stepped up her game in the past year or more (since we last played together), winning two Ultimate Tennis singles titles and taking her ladies' ALTA teams to two City Championships. So, all I had to do was not screw up our chances.

We won the first set in a tiebreaker (7 points to 5) and were doing fine in the second until I lost my serve after going up 40-love. After dropping the second set 3-6, I served the first game of the third set, again getting up 40-love before finding ourselves at deuce, but we prevailed. Then, serving at 3-1 and again getting to 40-love, we had to fend off a break point before finally winning - after several deuce games - to all but wrap up the match with a 4-1 lead followed by a break for 5-1. We won the match and were ahead in two other matches before the rains came, which broke our team's rhythm. We then lost the two makeup matches which left us with a slim chance to make the playoffs going into the final weekend yesterday.

This past Saturday I played my last senior mixed match and it was against a familiar opponent (and the first place team). Unfortunately, my best recent partner and I continued to struggle. After going undefeated in our ALTA matches last year and winning our first this year, we lost our third straight match to end the season on a down note. Both teams - senior and regular mixed - finished in fourth place.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Glad that January's ALTA is finally over!

Personally, my ALTA record in January is abysmal, at least these last couple of years. Last winter wasn't so bad - I was 3-3 with 6 different partners - but this year I went 1-3 with 3 different partners. All matches were mixed or senior mixed doubles.

On the plus side, after a January 28 loss last year, I went on a winning streak that lasted into the summer senior men's season. So perhaps this year will progress similarly, who knows?

Yesterday's regular mixed match was somewhat demoralizing in that our first place team lost four out of five lines to the third place team. My partner and I played a man that had parked in our neighborhood's handicap space, needed a knee brace and could barely move. However, he was a high A player such that he could get to any ball close to him and rip it for a winner. After dumping the first set at love, we rallied from behind throughout the second before losing it 5-7. I think that we could have won the match if we'd gotten the set to a tiebreaker because we'd finally figured out how to construct winning points. Oh well.

The good news is that our team is still a point ahead of the team that beat us and there are still three weeks to play, so a lot can happen. Our senior mixed team also suffered an anticipated crushing defeat on Saturday as well - losing 3 of 4 lines - so the weekend wasn't a positive one as far as winning doubles matches. Both were home losses, which somewhat compounds the disappointment. But again, we're not completely out of that division yet either, and still have a chance to make a run for the playoffs.

Wish us luck!

Friday, January 25, 2013

ESPN still hasn't learned how to cover tennis - Australian Open

I ranted about this last year when ESPN2 allocated only 2 hours 30 minutes to the men's semifinal matches at the Australian Open, so I won't retype the same diatribe, but apparently the programming "geniuses" at the channels still don't know - or worse, don't care - about tennis fans.

This year I didn't make the same mistake - e.g. trusting ESPN's allocated time while setting my DVR - and added an extra 90 minutes to the recording. Still, it cut off at 3-0 in the fifth set of Andy Murray's 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 win over Roger Federer, but fortunately there wasn't a momentum shift in the decider, and I didn't miss the Swiss Maestro's great comeback at the end of the fourth set! Of course, I did miss ALL of Novak Djokovic's 3 set win over David Ferrer the night before because those "geniuses" switched it from ESPN2 to ESPN (and, being out of town, I wasn't able to change my DVR).

My sympathies to those that have yet to learn that ESPN "doesn't know tennis".

Monday, January 14, 2013

Second ALTA weekend much like the first, B-5 tougher than A-8?

For the second straight weekend, our B-5 Senior mixed team split lines with our opponent while our A-8 regular mixed team won all 5 lines without dropping a set. This is curious because - with few exceptions - both teams are comprised of the same players, though the lineups have been different. Of course, it could just be the schedule, but B-5 Seniors seems more competitive than it was last winter.

Unfortunately, my results were somewhat the same as well. On Saturday, my regular mixed doubles partner and I (playing Seniors for the first time together) lost our first ALTA match in 5 attempts (dating back to last winter) just like last Saturday, only at a different line with a different partner; I didn't play on Sunday.

Last year - except for January 28, with an unfamiliar partner - I was undefeated in Saturday matches. My Senior men's doubles partner and I won our 4 matches, my regular mixed doubles partner and I won 2 Saturday playoff matches, and were on our way to winning in the City Finals before our line 4 team clinched the title, then I was undefeated in 4 matches with 2 different partners during the spring men's season and again with 2 partners over 3 matches during last summer's mixed season. However, this year, I'm 0-2 on Saturday after having two 4 match winning streaks (with two different partners) snapped.

I guess my team should be happy that I'll be unavailable to play this Saturday;-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

New tennis year, two new league seasons - a personal update

Saturday I played my first ALTA match since July 27, 2012 and - while my senior mixed men's doubles partner and I lost for the first time in 5 matches (dating back to last winter's season) - it was great to finally be competing again. Sunday was even better as my regular mixed doubles partner and I renewed our successes and extended our ALTA 3 match winning streak from last winter's regular mixed season (the captain of our summer team never paired us!) by winning our match 6-2, 6-2.

Regular readers of these neglected pages know that I played on five ALTA teams in 2012, all of which won their division (and the one I captained won the city); yes, I was blessed with great teammates! But I chose to sit out last fall - for the first time since I started playing ALTA in 2000 - and was injured after playing just two USTA mixed doubles matches that season, so I've had a long road back to playing league tennis again.

Fortunately, our regular mixed doubles captain arranged a seven week series of drills/lessons which started right after I'd had a four week stretch of resting my previously pulled groin muscle and was ready to start playing again. Probably because I wasn't back to 100% mobility - and court coverage has been one of my primary assets as a player - I started swinging my racquet really hard when I could get to the ball during our drills, which I actually believe has improved my game as I've gotten back to full strength. Additionally, our coach - who dubbed me "Lendl" during one practice - encouraged me to follow my strong forehands into the net to finish the point, so I added a new skill that's sure to pay dividends during these and future seasons.

Oh, btw, our senior mixed team split matches with a very competitive opponent on Saturday while our regular mixed team "took 5" yesterday.  Glory to God!