Two weeks ago Eric Butorac almost pulled off the biggest doubles win of his career. At Delray Beach Bruno Soares from Brazil and Eric took the first set 6-1 from the Bryan brothers, but ended up losing 12-10 in a third set super breaker. This semifinal match could not have been any closer. Two people who watched told me that Eric was the dominant player on the court. That's not bad when you realize that two of players are currently the top doubles team in the world. Way to go, Booty!
Following is the most recent blog from Eric. I thought you might enjoy his insights.
Hello everyone -
Had an interesting 3 weeks after my trip down under, with some good wins coupled with some real narrow defeats. Looking back, it was a successful trip with some exciting and fun matches to say the least. Since this trip was all in the states, I don't quite have the same exciting travel stories, but here's a recap of what went down.
I returned to San Jose for the third time with fond memories as it was the site of my first ATP title back in 2007. This year I was teaming up with Ashley Fisher again and in the first round we drew Lipsky/Martin, which I think marks the 100th time I've played them in the past 3 years. They were defending champs this year and I assume feeling some of the same pressure that I was last year. Ash and I played fantastic tennis to beat them 6-4, 7-5.
Our 2nd round was against some much bigger names as we took on Tommy Haas and Radek Stepanek. We came out on fire to take the first set, but Haas really hit his stride in the 2nd and they beat us up well in the super-breaker 10-6.
I started a two week partnership with Brazilian Bruno Soares. We played James Blake and Bobby Renyolds in the first round. Things were going along nice and smoothly until I was serving for the set at 5-4, 30all. I hit a great first serve on the center line, that James somehow got a racket on and hit a backhand stretch lob that was heading for the ceiling. It got within inches and didn't quite touch on the way up. As it hit its peak it was headed for the large heating and air conditioning until suspended a few feet from the ceiling. It somehow found the small gap between the two and popped out the other side. I went frantically chasing after it at this point. Of course, it dropped square on the baseline. I was able to hit a bounce overhead off it, but James stepped up and hit a backhand winner off it. He claims it was the "luckiest shot of his life." Although that didn't help much as we lost the next 3 games and the set in about 2.5 minutes.
A second break of serve in the 2nd set for us sent us into the superbreaker, where we exchanged match points before losing 11-9. A heartbreaker...but still one of the more exciting matches I've played to this day. One of my favorite parts of the match was coming out of the showers to console my friend Kyle Anderson (who made the trip down to watch) as he seemed more of an emotional wreck than I was. Tough to feel too bad when you have that kind of support.
With a couple days to kill we had time to soak up Memphis, playing shuffleboard vs Team Brazil at the Fox and Hound, ate some good BBQ ribs at Rendez-vouc and even convinced Bruno to practice outside one day when the temp hit 70 degrees. He fought hard on that one saying, "Man, you don't understand, I'm from Brazil, we don't play in this kind of weather!"
Week 2 with Bruno and things were clicking even more. We started out with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Koubek-Gremelmayer. This one could have been a little closer if not for the chair over-rule in our favor on a deuce point at 3-4. Last summer this exact umpire had some trouble with a ride to the airport and I was able to help arrange a ride for him. I figure he was just trying to pay me back for that one.
In the quarterfinals, we snuck out a 10-8 superbreaker win over Jarrko Nieminen and Rohan Bopanna. I battled some serious sickness in this one and Bruno hit a huge return just in time to save us and send us into the next round.
Against the Bryan's in the semifinals we came out on absolute fire. After starting the match with a quick hold, we broke Bob, which is a huge accomplishment as he is one of the biggest servers in the game. We stayed on track after that ran off a 5-0 start before closing out the set 6-1.
Even though it was a great start, I knew we were far from the finish line. We dropped the 2nd set, not playing all that badly. Then, after hitting a return winner to start the breaker, the serving wheels fell off. I double faulted twice in a row and once again later in the breaker. Luckily Bruno and I were playing lights out tennis in all other aspects. We saved 3 match points, both hitting returns up their lines and I saved one with a tough low volley. I thought maybe we were going to steal this one in the end, but Bruno caught some of my double faulting issues and tossed in one of his own to end it. It was a tough ending to a match where we played very well. I was disappointed with the tie-breaker, but looking back it feels good to know that I can play with the top team in the world and still almost win a super-breaker while giving away four free points.
After Delray, I had 2 weeks off, one spent in Boston relaxing and training with the Harvard team. The other week I spent in Minnesota training with Duss and getting down to Gustavus twice.
On Saturday we had a nice little event for Coach Steve Wilkinson. It was the main reason for me coming home for this 2 week period and was at a great time. About 40 alumni dating from his first year to present made it down to St. Peter for the matches on Saturday. We had dinner at Whisky River and shared stories all night long. Wilk has been such a huge influence on my life and the main reason that I am able to sit and write these notes from the tour. He changed how I approach the game of tennis and after my parents has been my biggest support system while on the tour. The amazing part was being able to sit in a room with so many people who have all also had their lives so changed by him.
I'm off for a quick 4 week circuit of tournaments, then home for some training before the real clay court season begins....not defending any points again this year!
Sunrise Challengers w/Bobby Reynolds
Jersey Challenger w/Travis Rettenmaier
St. Brieuc Challenger w/Travis Rettenmaier
Casablanca tour event w/Thomas Bellucci
That's the latest. - Booty