By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre, Jr.
After three grueling hours of Masters 40+ singles tennis action, the gold medal winner had been crowned. Torgun Smith defeated his opponent, Wendell Roden, after rallying through 28 games in three sets – 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
It was an odd situation for Smith and Roden as both were not only finalists for the gold medal game in the singles tournament, but were also teammates in the gold medal match for the doubles tournament which they were scheduled to play right after. Although some may believe that constructing a game plan for this special type of situation can be nerve racking – should I save my energy for the next game? Should I give it my all? Should I give my opponent/teammate easy shots? Should I give him a few games? Smith and Roden both decided to give the game as much energy as he could with good sportsmanship—and without cramping.
“My game plan was to not think about [the doubles game]. After the first set went so long and was so grueling, I knew Wendell was going to still come on strong and not lay down. So I knew we were in for that long fight,” stated Smith on his mentally challenging game plan.
“I gave it everything I had. I think I played well. But in the beginning my legs gave out, from then I just couldn’t catch up, I was too far back,” stated Roden after the long and grueling game.
Smith was off to a fast start grabbing an early 4-0 lead in the first set. It seemed as if it were going to be the same throughout, but Roden managed to get his legs under him to end game five with an ace to put his first point on the board. After Roden won the next two games off well-placed shots, Smith was able to take game nine after ending a double-deuce to put himself at set point. But Roden was not going to go down without a fight as he brought the set to deuce at five apiece after forcing Smith to commit numerous errors. Both players duked it out in game 10 but Smith was able to take the 6-5 lead after ending a 16-hit rally. Roden was unable to force the tiebreaker, giving Smith the 7-5 first set win.
After allowing Roden to deuce the set from a 4-0 deficit, Smith stated that, “I played his game a little bit, getting into long rallies, and that’s not how I like to play.”
After almost being swept in the first set, Roden was able to catch his second breath and swept the first game, 40-love. This forced Smith to not only change his shirt, but also his socks, shoes and towel. After using the second game to get his rhythm back into his fresh battle armor, Smith won game three to put the score at 2-1. However, Roden put Smith’s quickness to the test as he used good placement on his shots to send Smith running back and forth throughout game four. Smith was able to return a few, but it was not enough to take the lead giving Roden the win with the score at 3-1.
The following two games were definitely the last situations both players wanted to be in as game five ended after an intensifying six-deuce, and game six ended in half as much deuces as the fifth. Roden was able to win both games to take the commanding 6-1 second set win and force the match into a third.
After a ten-minute rest period the third set began and after a few minutes of play, it was relevant that fatigue began to kick in for both competitors. Smith managed to jump on to 4-0 lead as a variety of Roden’s returns landed either in the net or out of bounds. However, Smith’s quickness was put to the test once again as Roden sent him sprinting back and forth throughout the next three games. Roden brought the score to 4-3 and continued his technique as it proved to be working. But Smith did not give up, sprinting and even jumping to each of Roden’s shots to take game eight. Game nine was just the same and the precision of Roden’s well-placed shots eventually brought Smith down to one knee after a hard dive for a return. Although Smith seemed to be completely drained, he managed to sweep Roden for the 40-0 win to take the game, set, and match, along with the first ever gold medal in the 40+ singles tennis tournament of the Guam Masters Games.
“After the ten-minute break [following the second set] I felt like my legs went out again. It felt like I had a little bit of adrenaline momentum, and then I lost it [during the break]. It kind of came back, but it just wasn’t enough,” stated Roden on his performance.
“I’m very happy to beat Wendell. I’ve always had good matches with him over the many years.” stated Smith on the win.
And although the two competitors only had a 30-minute grace period to prepare for their following doubles game, they still managed to pull off the win defeating Jojo Alcantara and Joven Acosta in two sets, 6-3, 6-1.
In other matches:
Men’s 30 Single – GOLD
Jay Cruz def. Khay Sung 6-1, 6-4
Men’s 50 Singles – Bronze
Ernie Galito def. Jeff Bristol
Men’s 50 Doubles – Bronze
Sam Lai/David Lai def. Albert Cayanan/Jeff Bristol
Men’s 60 Doubles – Bronze
Richard Leon/Jan Rudolph def. Rick Ninete/ Monty May 0-6, 6-1, 6-2
Men’s 60 Doubles – GOLD
Juan Nenete/Clem Grapa def. Rick Estella Young Min Jee 7-5, 6-2
Guam Masters Games Baseball Tournament (40+)
Wednesday 9/12 Game Recaps
Team Yamaha 18, Tamuning Twins 3
Team Yamaha (3-0) stayed unbeaten and improved to 3-0 in the Guam Masters Games with a convincing 18-3 win over the Tamuning Twins (1-1) Wednesday afternoon at Leo Palace Baseball Stadium.
Team Yamaha pounded out 21 hits with Keith Hatting pacing the offense going 4 for 4 with two homeruns, three runs and four RBI’s. Hattig belted a long homer to left in the 4th inning and added an inside the park homerun in a 10 run 7th inning for Team Yamaha. Russell Maratita also added an inside the park homerun in the 7th inning. Maratita also picked up the save closing out the last four innings allowing no runs and striking out two. Team Yamaha starter James George threw three innings allowing one earned run in picking up the win.
Bank of Guam A’s 13, Saipan Masters 3
Bank of Guam A’s matched up with the Saipan Masters in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The A’s came out swinging the bats and used a 10 run second inning to take the Saipan team out of their game early. A’s Shawn Earl, Dan Poicague and Rick Cordero had two hits apiece in the 2nd inning. Troy Anderson ended the game with the 10 run mercy rule with a long double to left to give the A’s their first win of the tournament. Pat Fejerang went all five innings allowing one earned run and striking out two to pick up the win for the A’s. Saipan Masters falls to 0-2 in the Guam Masters Games with one or two big innings by their opponent costing them in each game. Saipan takes on the Tamuning Twins in the 4pm game on Thursday.
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