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Neptune Open Singles 2009

Nov 24, 2009
From the Blackberry of Oli 'Chopper' Harris and the Zeiss PHOTOS by Tim Edwards below

In 4 sets of thrilling tennis last night Rob Fahey triumphed in what must go down as one of his toughest encounters to date. The final score was 5/6, 6/5, 6/3 and 6/4.
The final of the Neptune British Open was poised nicely before the game, with Steve Virgona having quietly gone about getting to the final whilst hype and drama surrounding the other entrants ensued around him. An expectant crowd also knew that a back injury was keeping Rob from full fitness and that getting through this week has been nothing short of extraordinary.
The first set showed intent of what was to follow. In the second game, Fahey served a railroad that clipped the back penthouse and bounced straight into the winning gallery. Cue delirious scenes amongst the spectators. Steve showed his tactical awareness throughout the set, choosing to switch on his backhand return and use the forehand as often as possible. This gave him more options and forced Rob to persist with the railroad serve, which he was not executing perfectly. Steve's focus and determination was there for all to see, and a superb display of finishing and athleticism saw him narrowly take the first set 6-5.
The second set saw Steve take retrieving to a new level, making seemingly impossible gets in the corners as Rob moved him from side to side. Rob's errors went down in number but Steve will rue the fact he had a point to take the set. An incredible rally denied him when from the service end Rob climbed to another level of play in an absorbing rally which climaxed in a rocket of a volley into the winning gallery. Rob clinched the set 6-5 shortly after, and had he not..... Might Steve have been too far ahead? Would Rob's back have been OK for 3 more sets? We shall never need to know.
The 3rd set went to Rob 6-3, and dedans forces of unerring accuracy were the order of the day. His volley returns were really finding their groove, and Steve was powerless to prevent them, although he did his best to try mix up the serve. Rob was still clearly struggling with some of the balls in the corners, his movement looking a little stiff at times. He made up for this in accuracy however, and loose shots from Steve were either punished into the grill or cut hard to a length.
The crowd were willing Steve to find the ammunition to take the match to a 5th set and at one point it looked likely. Steve started to use the force more, and changed the side of the dedans he aimed for, throwing Rob's movement again. In the end though, and by a matter of a few points only, the most successful player of all time picked up his 40th title. Tough on Virgona, who can take great heart from his performance, good for Rob who will look forward to trying to get one up on Steve again in the doubles final this evening!
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