Oct. 6, 2008
Former Georgia Tech standout Kristi Miller will share her experiences on and off the court from Spain as she begins her professional tennis career on the women’s circuit. Miller is competing in various 10K and 25K tournaments throughout the country.
Wow, it’s hard to believe in one week I will be heading back home. Last week went by really quickly. That could be because I played seven matches in eight days, or the fact that four of them were three sets, or that I was on the court all day long! I lost yesterday in the finals of the $10,000 tournament in Les Franqueses del Valles, a smaller city about an hour from Barcelona. I had to come through qualifying, so that’s the reason I played so many matches! Considering how poorly I played in the first round main draw match but survived, I felt pretty good about my result of getting to the finals. I also had an extremely tough match in the semifinals and I was very happy with how mentally tough I stayed and how I have continued to feel good physically despite the number of matches I have played. Before yesterday, I had only been in one other singles final in a $10,000, and that was three years ago in Evansville, Indiana. I wasn’t too overly nervous for the finals, and I thought I controlled my emotions well to take the first set 6-4. I had some trouble in the second when we changed balls, as I felt like my shots were beginning to fly long for the first time. I regrouped in the third and was really outplaying her. I had one chance to go up 4-1 in the third, but ended up losing that game. I got up 5-3 in the third, but a little bit of nerves and also not enough first serves gave my opponent the opportunity to put pressure on me that game. We played an extremely long game at 5-5 and I won my serve in the longest game of the match. I had 30-30 on her serve in the next game, but missed one small opportunity in that game.
I ended up losing in the closest possible way you can in the finals, 7-6 in the third. I made a bad error on the first point of the tiebreak and just never calmed back down enough internally to play the type of tennis I am capable of in pressure situations. The tiebreaker went by entirely too fast and while she played overly conservatively, I played overly aggressively and it didn’t work out for me yesterday. I was extremely disappointed, as I had had an amazing tournament and was so close to my first tournament win in singles, but overall I am also happy with how I handled myself on the court and with the way I competed. There were a lot of people watching and I felt like I controlled my emotions well and enjoyed myself (up until the third set tiebreak). Next time I will just try to relax a little more in that moment and play within myself.
Now, I am once again staying at Viet Ha Ngo’s parents house. They came to watch me in the final and then I drove back to Barcelona with them. Tomorrow I start play in my last tournament over here, a $10,000 in Barcelona on red clay. It will be somewhat difficult to make the switch so quickly. I didn’t realize until today that this tournament started one day earlier than usual, and so I wouldn’t be able to take a day off and rest and start on Wednesday. So this afternoon, I will head over to the courts and practice on the clay to get ready for my singles match. I am also playing doubles with my friend Lucia Sainz, who used to play tennis for Fresno State. We are already in the semifinals (as only six teams signed up again), so we probably won’t play doubles until Thursday.
Today, I am just trying to rest and regroup mentally to start fresh for my tournament tomorrow. I have learned a lot on this trip and look forward to playing again on the red clay one more time before coming home. I will let you know how the tournament goes, and then I will be heading back to the United States!