After a long summer of training I was ready to start my season with two events in Melbourne, Australia. It was a big risk price wise to fly down and play two events there but I wanted to have some tournament matches before playing the Nash Cup and Women’s World Team Trials in September.
In my first tournament, the Victorian Open, I played Jasmine Chan (AUS) in the first round of qualifying and won 3-0. It was a relief to win my first match and get rid of all of my nerves. In the second round of qualifying, I settled down and beat Sachika Ingale (IND) in three straight games to reach the main draw! My first round match was a tough one. I played against Mayar Hany (EGY). I was extremely disappointed with the first two games of the match because I had an extremely slow start and was distracted by outside factors. Luckily, I managed to relax and regain control and start playing my game in the next two games. While I ended up losing the match 3-1, I was happy with my ability to turn the game around and refocus.
A highlight from the Victorian Open was driving to the club in a limo! My billets were hosting me and five other players. Since they lived far from the club and there weren’t enough car seats for players, our billet contacted his friend who owns a limo company. He cut us a deal and let us show up for our matches in style!
In the days following the Victorian Open, I trained at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre and tried to adjust to the 17″ tin. This was only the second time I had played with a lower tin and it definitely was a change! I had to move quicker to the front, to better pick the times to attack short, and hit tighter length. In my first round of qualifying I played Lakeesha Rarere (AUS) in three straight games. Later that day I would play my second round of qualifying against Amanada Landers-Murphy (NZL). The day before I had played a practice match against her and knew that she had great shots and ball control and that she would be hard to beat. In our match, I surprised myself when I quickly gained a 2-0 lead. I felt quick, smooth and focused. However, the match was far from over. The third game was close, but she pulled it out in extra points. Again, the fourth game was close but I lost. I had started to play more conservatively and hitting length instead of moving the ball around the court. In the fifth game I returned to my original game plan and attacked the ball short. My game plan worked and I won the fifth game 11-4. The following day I would play Mayar Hany in the first round of the main draw. The rallies were longer and closer in this match, but I didn’t feel as great as I did in the last two games of our first match. She won 3-0.
A highlight from the Australian Open was watching Nicol David beat up on two Australian men’s players in exhibition matches. She is a great player and it was really cool to see how she prepared for matches and presents herself on court.