- Ito v Teixeira
: poor performance by Maxime who failed to ever enter t he match. His serve was particularly erratic – more than usually – and from the baseline, he was too weak to survive Ito’s exhausting and frustrating dead balls. Ito is one of these typical Asian players who rely on the sheer power of the opponent to counterpunch. Moreover, he’s good at mixing up the pace, slicing everything back – even on the forehand side. Teixeira was afterwards hanging around with what I think is his boyfriend – rumours of Teixeira being gay were high, confirmed by gaydar. Ito was supported by Soeda who was mistakenly called « Kei, an autograph please ! » : he didn’t appreciate...
- Bopanna v Rochette
: mugfest here. Rochette is, for some of you who are interested in women’s tennis, the equivalent of Anastasia Rodionova. Bitching from beginning to end : he was late on the court, and was called first by walkie-talkie by the chair umpire, then on the loudspeaker by the referee. He then complained about the balls being dead, about his opponent not throwing the balls correctly during the overhead session during the warm up. He then found any opportunity to challenge the linescalls. He went for a « I wonder what you’re doing up there on that high chair when you don’t even announce the score properly » to a poor young blonde chair umpire. Congratulated by his coach, Rochette found no better answer than « Against a doubles specialist winning this way is more than ‘winning ugly’ » : classy ! Bopanna did a good job at driving Rochette nuts, making loads of dropshot/lob combo. Bopanna had a few arguments with the unexperienced chair umpire as well. She, at some point, announced « Avantage Bopanna » when it actually was « Avantage Rochette », to which Rohan answered « You said it, that’s too late to cancel this call ». The referee was asked to come on court to resolve the problem. Ugly match in general but fun bitchy atmosphere.
- Bemelmans v Ouanna
: this match also had its part of bitchfest, with some horrendous linecalls against Ruben. Ruben was by far the best on the court but eventually lost in straight sets in what was a tight match. Ouanna saved his life here with his big serve ; from the baseline, he’s just awful. The fun quote was that sentence yelled by Bemelmans : « Oh yeah, I forgot we are in France here, so the linespersons are French too. Too bad I’m playing one of their countrymen. »
- Jouan v Bourgue
: Romain was nervous in the early stages, going a break down right away. But from then on, he was out of reach for Bourgue who has nothing special but a big serve : his groundstrokes are more than average and he cannot hit a backhand.
- Mertens v Devilder
: I’ve been quite impressed by Mertens. He hits the ball very cleanly and effortlessly, his serve is one of the most fluid strokes I’ve ever seen. He lacks pure power but moves very well and is very good at turning defense into attack. Devilder was no real contest and survived thanks to his tricky game full of slice and netplay.
- Rochette v Chiudinelli
: Rochette was as bitchy as yesterday – and late again : Chiudinelli waited for him for 10 minutes, and, as a revenge I guess, took a bathroom break when Rochette finally approached the net. Rochette was not a contestor from the baseline. I’ve been impressed by Chiudinelli’s overall game, very solid, good variety too, good hands at the net. Rochette received a warning for coaching, to which he became nuts, of course : he then received a warning for ball abuse, which gave a free point to Chiudinelli on a break point. Nicely done ! Chiudinelli had a team of loud supporters, which was the only sign of life from the asleep crowd, and he was glad about it in the end and went off court shirtless.
- De Voest v Balleret
: Balleret is one of these old journeymen. He is no longer in shape I have to say. He just fights for his own sake on each and every point as if his life depended on each shot. I’ve been disappointed by Rik’s performance on t he court, but offered us a good share of laugh when facing the blonde chair umpire I’ve already told you about. The sentence went like this : « Come on, blondie, open your eyes. Can you do more than sitting your ass on that high chair ? You can’t speak English, right ? *looking at his coach* She won’t bother giving me a warning I guess ». Rik’s backhand was absolutely nowhere to be found : he tried to hit throughout the first set, and it was costly in the end and lost the tie-break. He turned to a slice backhand in the second and that made a hell of a difference. The final set was a tight encounter, with many great rallies. Rik played better and better but Balleret was firy and offered a few good points too. I don’t see Rik defeating Bautista today if he plays as he did today, but on another hand, Bautista had two very long matches, so 50/50.
- Jouan v Sidorenko
: convincing performance by Jouan who dominated the match by far. He failed to post a more convincing scoreline because he tends to always overshot and clown the big points. Sidorenko was his usual self : absent-minded, yawning in the middle of the tie-break...What a motivated young boy !
- Mertens v Goffin
: I’m definitely a fan of Mertens’s groundstrokes. His attitude is the negative point, he never seems to bother and just rushes to play, not taking a lot of time between the points. Goffin was too solid for him though : his baseline game is very well established and he just overpowered Mertens in the end. Kristof Vliegen is the coach of Mertens and Bemelmans. Goffin threw him a couple of death stares, so maybe a few problems in the Belgian team.
Tomorrow, I won’t be able to stay at the night session, so it’s just gonna be the three matches on the center court – Jouan v Olivetti, De Voest v Bautista-Agut, Ljubicic v Serra.