Q: Have You EVER Seen A Point Like This? A: No!
Joran Vliegen has seen it happen in practice, but never in an actual match.
Competing in the doubles semi-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Heilbronn, Germany, with Sander Gille, the Belgian pulled off a magical act of improvisation. Facing eventual finalists Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, Vliegen hit one of the rarest shots in tennis, bringing the crowd at the Neckarcup to their feet.
The 24-year-old's fast hands were on full display, as a Mies stab volley struck the net twice before Vliegen's quick instincts took over. As the ball - laden with backspin - hit the net on his side of the court, he incredibly carved it cross-court before it could bounce twice. Vliegen hit a terrific short angle to keep the point alive, all with the presence of mind to avoid scraping the net with his racquet.
"I didn’t really think about it, I just wanted to get the ball back over the net," Vliegen said. "I've never seen this before in an actual match, but it often happens in those mini tennis games you play with four people. I guess playing those finally paid off! Honestly, after watching it again I thought the point was over when the ball hit the net on my side. I didn’t know about the rule, but I definitely learned something that day!"
And the point wasn't over! Krawietz sprinted to retrieve Vliegen's shot, scooping the ball over the net with the smallest of margins. The German's winner was just as stunning as the improbable shot that preceded it. Krawietz and Mies would win the point and the match 6-1, 7-6(6), before finishing runner-up in Sunday's championship.