Tia’s Vegas Smash hoping to kill the Beat
GB No 1 Tia Norton is facing the most important weekend yet of her campaign in the debut US Professional Padel League.
Tia and her Las Vegas Smash team mates know that a victory over Los Angeles Beat will secure them a place in the semi-finals as the PPL gets set for an epic finals weekend in just seven days’ time.
With unbeaten leaders Miami Padel Club – which included the awesome Marta Marrero – already guaranteed a place in the semis, four other teams including ‘The Smash’ and tomorrow’s opponents from Los Angeles, are battling it out to make the knock-out stages.
Speaking exclusively to The Bandeja, Tia said: “Palila (her partner) and I will play Jordi Lugan and an Argentinian international Daniela Banchero. We know it is going to be a tough match as they will be determined to get their side off to a winning start just as much as we are.
“Miami are the only undefeated team and there are four of us tying in second place with three wins and two losses – ourselves, Arkansas, Cancun, and San Diego. Arkansas and San Diego we have both beaten them and are above them, so if we beat Los Angeles we are in the last four. To be in this position is great. At the end of the day every team is here to win and we have put ourselves in a very good position and now just need to get the job done.”
Tia has not featured in any of the mixed doubles matches, which are the third rubber to be played if the overall tie is level at 1-1 after the ladies and men’s doubles. She revealed why: “It has been Palila my partner who has played in the mixed and that is partly as she always plays on the right and in the mixed the females always tend to play on the right.
“Then ‘Guga’ (Pablo Amora) the guy who plays in the mixed has limited English and my Spanish isn’t the greatest, so there is a small communication barrier. But they play exceptionally well together so it wouldn’t be a wise move to break them up.”
Looking back at last week’s double header with Miami and San Diego, Tia admitted it was a weekend of conflicting emotions: “There wasn’t a lot in it and a lot of golden point games and we definitely felt like we were in the match (v Marrero & Cortina). We took the second set but they were quicker out the blocks in the third and Marta has so much experience and that made the difference when it mattered most but I’m hoping there will be another opportunity to play against Marta if all goes to plan!
“Against San Diego it wasn’t my best day of padel and it took about six match points to actually get the job done and I felt like I missed every match ball! So Sunday was more of a mental battle than anything and it felt like I was fighting against myself. That said we got the win we needed and won the tie overall and that is all that matters.”
For Tia almost every minute has most been a prisoner to preparation, training and match-time. There has, however, been time away from the court as she revealed: “I’ve managed to make some time for shopping, which is quite important, and there was quite an expensive purchase on a pair of Jordans made! We also went to Island of Adventure. I love a bit of an adrenaline rush so that was good. It is good to have time away from the court as it has been pretty full on but I’ve loved every minute of it.” 🎾