World Team Cup Group 3, Third Round
Sri Lanka vs. Germany, Grass
Monday: A. Mehul d. S. Baune, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Tuesday: B. Benda d. G. Girsh, 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5
Wednesday: H. Arendt/J. Backstadt d. S. Ujjaval/P. Mooljee, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Thursday: A. Mehul d. B. Benda, 7-5, 6-4, 7-5
Friday: G. Girsh d. S. Baune, 6-3, 6-0, 6-3
Sri Lanka defeats Germany, 3-2!!
That ... was more nerve-wracking than I'd bargained for. This was especially true in the Day 2 epic between Girsh and Benda. The German legend has always played better than he ought to be able to on grass -- he's got a good serve of course, but so do lots of players. Girsh had tons of chances to win. Up a minibreak early in fourth-set tiebreak, match points with Benda serving at 4-5 in the fifth, two chances to break back in the final game ... and still lost. 28-19 aces for Benda. Girsh was 1 of 14 on break chances while surrendering just three himself. He was the better player ... but the nearly-32 German pulled another one out of his hat. Girsh also has higher mentality by the way(3.8 to 3.6). Benda had to serve 41 more times. Just one of those days ... days that he's had many of prior to this year. On the other hand ... 371 total points. 372 xp for Girsh. Yeah, I'll take that part.
Thankfully, Mehul had better luck(5 breaks to 2 on 8 chances for each player), providing the key win as we rallied from 2-1 down to take first place in the group. The United States was even more impressive, losing not a single rubber and only four sets during their three group ties. We've got a surprisingly interesting quarterfinal opponent, taking on Sweden on grass. That's Trulsen's best surface, so it could get dicey. If we win that, we'll almost certainly get the USA in a semifinal that would be a de facto final. I like our chances to repeat as world champs but its definitely shaping up to be a rougher journey this time.
Ritwik Dudwadkar ended his latest Tier-4 event in similar fashion. He didn't have any fatigue issues, but lost a pretty close semifinal in singles to a higher-ranked player and also lost at the same stage in doubles.
Coming Up ...
Mehul will play at Monte Carlo in a couple weeks, but we won't see Girsh until Madrid in a month and at least that long off for Dudwadkar as well. Mooljee is a bigger question. He'll have at least two events between now and the French Open but when and where will depend on a lot of variables. Probably a challenger will be first but if the right opportunity in a 250 comes up, he'll enter.