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  • Vihaan Reddy

The Best Summer I've Ever Had (So Far)

The summer of 2019 was probably the best summer I’ve ever had. I broke through from a rank of around 300 nationally and 35 in NorCal at the beginning of the June to a place in the Top 10 in NorCal and Top 150 nationally by the beginning of August. In that span, I also qualified for the Clay Court National Championships, got 6th place at a closed sectionals, and played my first zonals.

The first “breakthrough” in the summer of ’19 was the sectional in Stockton, where I got 6th place. While I was preparing hard for my first match with my dad against a seed, someone told us that he withdrew, so I was already in the round of 32. In the round of 32, I faced a big-hitter and someone that I never beat before. My dad asked if I win, who would probably be my opponent and I said Daniel Wu, a lefty who I lost to at the same sectionals last year. “So then you can get revenge for both of the matches,” my dad said. I replied yes nervously.

I was sure that I would never get through the round of 16 if I got through the round of 32. I got through the round of 32 surprisingly easily. In the round of 16, there were so many long rallies, but eventually I prevailed 7-5, 6-3. My dad claims that he counted three rallies that spanned longer than 100 shots, but I’m not sure if that’s entirely true.

In the quarters, I faced the number two seed, Arnav Bhandari. The first set was close, and I grew in confidence as I lost it 7-5. In the second, I was getting beat up by the heat and I gave it up easily 6-1. But, still, I was beaming in confidence and pride. In the QF consolation, I played Nadaul Cheam, who is steady and hits heavy. I got through him easier than I thought I could, 6-4, 6-1. In the 5/6 place playoffs, I faced Arin Pallegar. I was disappointed with the loss after the match because I was up 3-1 in the first set and I lost it 6-3, and in the second set, I was up 3-0, and I lost it 6-3 as well.

I think the fact that I was in a summer camp in Lu’s Tennis Academy might have played a role in that summer, but I’m not sure. What I do know for sure is that I had a lot of fun there with a lot of my friends there. In the beginning of July, I played the Clay Court National Championships, and disappointingly, I won only one match, and I struggled a lot to win that as well.

At the end of July, I played zonals and all the players (or most) stayed at the El Conquistador, a beautiful hotel with a pool and a waterslide and other attractions. I shared a room and a car with Krutik Vijay, who was also on my team and stayed at my house to attend the camp. I won my first match against Dean Saez 6-0, 6-1. My second match against Wesley Lu I won with the same score. My third match was a lot trickier because I faced a guy with a higher UTR than me. He had a set point at 5-3, and I hit a high ball square on the baseline, and he left the ball but then told me that it was in. I eventually won the set 7-6. The second set was a lot more straight-forward, as I won it 6-1. In my fourth match, I played a guy with a lower UTR than me and I lost the first two games of the match, but then I won the next 12 to prevail 6-2, 6-0.

In my last match, I played a big guy with a higher UTR than me, and I lost the first set 6-2 in 15-20 minutes. I won the next set 6-3, and we went to a third set tiebreaker. I was up 9-6 in the tiebreaker and he was at the net. I hit a passing shot and it was one inch from the sideline. He called it out, and the ref agreed. I lost the next point on his serve. At 9-8, he hit a shot that touched the net and came on my side. We continued the rally and I went on to lose the point. After the match, my friend Hudson, also from NorCal said that he jumped because he thought my opponent hit his ball in the net. However, I did have one more match point at 10-9, but I lost that one as well. He converted on his second match point. My team finished in 6th place out of 12 places and we won 3 out of 5 team matches.

My 2019 summer was my best one yet and now you can easily understand why. I reached my first QF at an L3, and qualified for my first L1 and zonals. In addition to that, my ranking improved a lot in just two months.

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