Pollock/Cannon vs. Piantadosi-Lima/Scarbrough
First Serve: 1:02:21
This match turns into every athlete’s worst nightmare and every spectator’s dream. The freeze is so fun to watch, but as an athlete — it sucks. Especially if there are TWO long freezes, as there are in this match.
Austin was Terese and Irene’s first tournament together; they both missed Huntington as Irene was coaching UCLA and Terese was playing at USC. Bri and Pri played together in the Huntington Qualifier and lost a brutal last round match to get in. Both teams are out for blood in this first round of Austin.
Bri and Pri have an impressive first set and win 21-19. Then Irene and Terese look like they’ll do the same and win the second easily when they get set point at 20-19. But Bri and Pri rally back and freeze it for match point up 22-21. Then, the gnarliest freeze ensues, back and forth for 55 serves and over 26-minutes. And to make matters worse (for Bri and Pri, at least), Irene and Terese eek it out. They all have another 15 points to win.
I’ll let you just enjoy this one on your own without any more detail. The whole match is great, but the freeze in the second on, the level of play is massively impressive.
Losing in the freeze as the team with the advantage is heartbreaking. It’s worse in the third, of course, as the match is over and you have no redemption. But losing the second set after having match point and then playing another set is demoralizing and exhausting. I’d love to know the percentage of teams who lose the second set in a long freeze that manage to win the third; I would bet the second-set winners win the match more times than not (see men’s Hawaii final).
Not to mention, Austin in May is brutally hot and humid. For the Californians, it’s our first bout with extreme heat of the season. But Pri and Bri are both Florida residents; maybe that’s why they were able to perform so well as the presumed underdogs. Even though this one is sans commentary on an outer court, I love Pri’s constant dialogue with her partner, herself, and the crowd. Plus, the mics on the ref stand pick up a little more strategy chat between partners which is always fun to dissect.