Yes, the TT tournament at office starts tonight . Sabhtarsha and I are the organizers and its a bloody frustrating task to keep reminding teams about their matches. The schedule has already started changing and we haven't even played a match yet. I wonder how Vivek did everything alone during the last edition of the tournament. Well done mate ... !!
The teams are more evenly (read sportingly) distributed this time. The draw was fun. Sabhtarsha and I are in the same team along with Sandip and Prabhash. Its not a bad team and at least "I" am expecting that we will perform better than the last edition. Our first of 8 matches takes place tomorrow against the DreamKillers. Well ... I hope I don't dream ... Cheers ... !!
Update : Feb 3, 2009
DreamKillers didn't show up. So we had to reschedule our match. We played the Paddlers and won 3-0. A job well done by all of us. There will be sterner tests ahead. We have to defeat at least one of Top Most 5, Warriors, Orange and DreamKillers if we are to entertain any thoughts of reaching the Semis ... our next match is tomorrow against The Rookies.
Update : Feb 6, 2009
We have upset the DreamKillers. Thats the news of the day. Yes we did it. We had 2 matches. We defeated the The Rookies in the first match 3-0. The 2nd was against the DreamKillers. We lost the first singles but won the doubles to tie it up at 1-1 going into the deciding singles that was to be played by me. It was tense. I was extremely nervous to be honest since the result was going to be the result of the series. I lost the 1st set 11-5 and was down 4-1 in the 2nd set. But I am glad I got my game back on track. Gopi was more than a formidable opponent. I came through the 2nd set 11-7. I kept the momentum going in the 3rd and was up 7-3. Some silly errors cost me and it was back at 7-7. But I held my nerve to win 11-8 and cause an upset. We now have 3 wins out of 3 and lead the table with 6 points but we have also played one additional match as compared to the other teams. But it feels good like almost getting out of jail. Keep going The Blues ... Cheers to Prabhash, Sabhtarsha and Sandip ... !!
Update : Feb 9, 2009
We have caused another sort of an upset. We have now gone on and defeated The Warriors. We have almost made it sure that we will be in the semis by defeating The Warriors. I played the first singles and won against Nishant. The first set was quite good. I won 11-4. I opened the 2nd set with a 4-0 deficit. But I played on and went onto win the 2nd set 11-7 and thereby the match. We won our doubles too with Sabhtarsha and Sandip defeating Abhijeet and Avdhoot. I pity Prabhash. He always has to play the difficult singles match. He lost to Jaswinder but put up a brave fight. But well played guys. We have won 4 out of 4 and lead the table with 8 points. One more win and we are certain to play the semis. We have another match coming up tomorrow against Nine with one of the defending champs in their ranks. Come on guys ... lets seal it tomorrow itself ... Cheers ... !!
Update : Feb 11, 2009
We are almost through to the semis. We defeated Nine today. It was a tough match. The tables turned this time around. Till now, our doubles and my singles were comparatively easier matches or atleast we made them look easier while Prabhash always had to play the tough singles. But we were facing the heat against Nine. I played the first singles against the defending champ Vineet. I was happy with the first set. I competed well but still fell short and lost the first set 11-8. But I completely lost the plot in the 2nd and lost 11-4. Vineet plays at such a different level. He is just an amazing player. Period. We were down 0-1. The doubles team had not lost a set so far in th tournament. We were left shell shocked when they lost the first set 11-8 against a weaker team. The 2nd set was also very tight but we managed to win it 11-8. But the 3rd set was quite convincing. We won that 11-3. So it was 1-1 going into the deciding singles. Prabhash had to play the difficult singles every time so far but this time I had already played against their best player. So Prabhash stuck to the basics and won in straight sets in the final game. So we win 2-1. 5 wins out of 5. Pretty impressive but plenty of food for thought for me and our doubles. Nice wake up call just before the business end of the tournament. Well played The Blues. Lets get as many wins as possible before the semis. Cheers ... !!
Update : Feb 17, 2009
We played after a long time and I think it showed. We were playing against a comparatively weak team. We were lucky to come out with a 2-1 result in our favor. Prabhash won the first singles and we were up 1-0. But the crowd got behind our opponents in the doubles. We started well. We won the first set 11-2 but somehow the crowd pressure got to us and we lost the next 2 sets and the match. It was 1-1. For the second time I had to play the deciding singles. Hasmukh is an efficient player and I was just praying that he didnt bring his A-game to the table. I started shakily. I lost a couple of service points. But I closed out the set well and won 11-7. I was down throughout the 2nd set until 8-8. I went up 9-8 but Hasmukh brought it back to 9-9. He held set point at 10-9 but I forced Deuce. Finally, I closed out the set 12-10 and won the match. Its extremely difficult to play if the crowd is against you. But I am glad we won. We need to assume that the crowd will be against us if we are to play better in such circumstances. The confidence has taken a bit of a hit. But I am sure we will bounce back. Our next match is against Orange. We could have played better but well done guys anyway. Cheers ... !!
Update : Feb 18, 2009
You dream of such days ... such occasions ... such an atmosphere. We defeated Orange 3-0. That does not tell the story though. This was always going to be a tough one for both teams. I played the opening singles this time around. I was pitted against arguably the best player at office ... Samir ... happens to be our VP. I was completely out of sorts in the 1st set. Lost 4-11. I started badly in the 2nd too. I was down 4-8. I dont know what happened after that though. I started playing OK from there on. I brought it back to 8-8. Then it was 10-10. Then 11-11. Then 12-12 and finally 13-13. I missed 3 smashes which could have won me the set. Then I buckled down and stopped with smashes. I won the next point to make it 14-13. The last point will remain with me for the rest of my life. I was too far back and Samir hit the ball towards my backhand. I played the slice. Till now I was hitting to Samir's backhand and he was surprised to see my shot go to his forehand. But the spin in the ball took it further away and he couldnt reach it. I won the set 15-13. Man I couldnt believe it. I had won a set against the best player at AirTight. I carried the momentum in the 3rd. I couldnt believe how well I was playing. I was up 7-3. But made lots of silly mistakes. It as 7-7 soon. Then 8-8 and then 9-9. I made it 10-9 and held match point on my serve. I dished out a different serve from my previous serves and Samir blobbed it back at a decent height and close to the net. The adrenaline rush just took over. I crashed down on the ball and after a long time connected on my smash. I won man. 11-9 in the 3rd. Fantastic. Samir was gracious in defeat. We then went on and won the doubles in 3 sets too after losing the first set. Sabhtarsha and Sandip were amazing in the last 2 sets. It was great to win 2 matches after being down 1 set in both of them. Prabhash made it a convincing 3-0 scoreline by winning 11-2, 11-4 in the last match. This has been a great show of character from us after yesterday. Well done guys ... this deserves a separate post ... Cheers to The Blues ... !!
Update : Feb 24, 2009
Are we on a roll or what? We played our final match against Top Most 5. Both of us had won 7 out of 7 matches. This was the last league match for both of us. It was billed as the "Clash of the Toppers" and it lived up to all the hype that was generated at office throughout the day. The winner of this clash was going to be the top seed in the semis and end up playing the 4th placed team. Such was the anticipation among the employees that the TT arena was jam packed much before the match started. The atmosphere was electric. We decided to change our combination for this match. Prabhash and Sandip were to play the singles while Sabhtarsha and I would play Doubles. We decided on this keeping in mind that our opponents didnt have a weak player in their ranks. All 4 were good players. For us, Sandip is kind of a weak link but he has also progressed wonderfully through the tournament. Prabhash opened the series with his singles against Rahul. It was a great match. Prabhash lost a tight first set at 9-11. He showed remarkable resilience and fought back to win the 2nd sett 11-7. The deciding set was neck and neck till 6-6. Then Prabhash took over. He closed it out in a hurry and won 11-8 and with that we took a 1-0 lead. Defeating the favorites was enough to pump us up. The Doubles was next. Prabhash had given us enough confidence to assert ourselves on the match. Sabhtarsha and I were pitted against the 2 Vijays and we knew it would be a slugfest. And what a match it turned out to be. We started scratchily but picked up our game midway through the 1st set. It was tight. 9-9. We held set point at 10-9 but somehow we lost rhythm and folded up 10-12 in the 1st set. Down 1 set, we knew we had to pick up the pieces. We build a good lead in the 2nd set. We were up 6-2. But again we lost rhythm and allowed them to come back. It was 9-9 again followed by 10-10 and then 11-11. We missed some great opportunities to finish the 2nd set. But we still didnt lose focus and played well to win the 2nd set 13-11. Alright. 1 set all and the crowd were driving us into a frenzy. It was a pleasure to be playing amidst such an environment. We build a good lead again in the 3rd set. It was 7-3. Then a service point which looked Good was called Wrong by our opponents and after much debate we decided to replay the point. It looked Good to me but we decided to accept the decision. But I think we kept thinking about it. It was 7-7 very soon and it was back to being a tight match. But Sabhtarsha and I were continuously cheering each other up and we finished the game on a high ... winning 11-8. What a seesaw of a match. We had won both matches after being down 1 set. Remarkable. We had already won the rubber now. Sandip faced up against one of the best players in office ... Pushkar. He made a fist of it though Pushkar was going easy. Sandip lost the first set 2-11. He was down in the 2nd too ... but miraculously won the 2nd set 11-9 due to some poor errors from Pushkar. But Pushkar went on to win the final set 11-6. But, we won the match 2-1 and with that we become the top seeds in the semis. It was a brilliant performance from us. Top Most 5 are still the favorites to win the tournament but we have given them a more than noteworthy wake up call. Well played guys ... this was also the first match in which all 3 matches went to 3 sets ... the match lived upto its billing ... we play the DreamKillers in the semis on Thursday ... Cheers to The Blues ... !!
Update : Feb 26, 2009
And then there are days that you wish never happen in your life. After defeating every team in the tournament and being top seeds in the semis, we lost. Yeah, its painful to even write that. To be fair, our opponents did the basics right and we just couldnt get over the pressure. I played the opening singles against Atul. I played bad to be honest but he was just too good. Hats off. I lost the first 2 sets 8-21 and 11-21. The scores pretty much sum up his dominance. I tried to make a comeback in the 3rd. I won that 21-11. I was gaining on confidence. The 4th set was tight. We were even till 10-10. Then he played some good points and I played some bad ones. He went up 19-12. Still I tried to fight and made it 19-18. But then 2 silly silly silly errors later, we were down 0-1. I thought I should have competed better in the 4th set but it was that kind of a day. Our Doubles were immediately under the pump. Nothing was going our way. Our opponents were just too good. We lost the Doubles in straight sets. Prabhash won the last singles in straight sets but we eventually lost 1-2. Kudos to the DreamKillers. Yeah, they definitely killed our dreams ... :) ... but its been a great experience for us. We defeated every team in the tournament in the league phase and if we speak purely of progress ... then in the last edition we were placed 10th out of 11 teams ... and this time we are in the top 4 ... so thats pretty damn good ... plus we have a chance tomorrow to be 3rd in the match up between the losing semi-finalists ... I doubt if the motivation is the same but we will try and be 3rd at least ... well played The Blues ... it was a pleasure being a team mate of the The Blues ... Cheers ... !!
Update : March 2, 2009
We managed to finish 3rd but the fizz had pretty much gone from our game. The semi final loss was a jolt but it feels good that we are atleast placed 3rd. We played The Warriors in the 3rd place playoff match. Prabhash won the first singles for us in a 4 setter against Nishant. Prabhash lost the 1st set but came back strongly to win the next 3 sets. We played the next singles. Sandip lost against Jaswinder in straight sets. It was 1-1 and the Doubles to go. Sabhtarsha and I played against Abhijeet and Avdhoot. We lost the 1st set 19-21 but came back strongly to win the next 3 21-13, 21-17, 21-12. It felt good. Top Most 5 went on to win the tournament by defeating the DreamKillers. But it was such an amazing match. Both the singles were 5 setters while the Doubles was a 4 setter. In the end, they won 2-1. A memorable end to an amazing tournament. We played well as a team and we were the only team to defeat all other teams. No other team achieved that. Even Top Most 5 lost to us in the league phase. But we lost in the semis after being top seeds to a worth opponent. We learnt lots of lessons and I am sure we will be stronger in the next edition. Sabhtarsha and I (being the organizers) decided to award great performances in the tournament. There were 7 awards.
Best singles player - Atul
Best Doubles team - Vijay Gaji and Vijay Vachhane (Sabhtarsha and Sandip lost out)
Best singles match - Atul vs Pushkar in the Final. The score was ... hold your breath ... 13-21, 21-11, 21-23, 21-13, 22-20 in favor of Atul
Best Double match - Vijay Gaji/Vijay Vachhane vs Ashish/Shashank. The score was 9-11,13-11,13-11 in favor of Ashish/Shashank (Sabhtarsha and I vs Vijay G/Vijay V lost out)
Most improved player - Gopi (Nominees were Gopi, Sabhtarsha, Sandip and myself. 3 out of the 4 nominess were from our team but the award still went to the 4th nominee :))
Most Spirited Player - Raj
Dream team : Vineet, Pushkar, Atul, Samir and Prabhash
Cheers to The Blues ... !!