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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Prague Report

Hi guys,
Sorry for not getting around to this sooner, but I was at the Prague event from Saturday-Tuesday and I will go again starting tomorrow (Thursday).

I can't remember everything that I saw- I posted reports on the women's event in WTA World- but I will try to give some sort of a report on the men's side.

Sunday: unfortunately, I didn't have my friend's digital camera until Tuesday, as Sunday saw Adam Chadaj play a tough, tight match which he barely lost.
I saw Portas take on a LL from Portugal who was speaking in Spanish to Galo Blanco's coach (at least, the tournament says it was a Portuguese LL- does anyone have info on that guy???). Portas really is the Dropshot Dragon when he gets in a groove. He relies on his big serve and forehand to do the job, and they did it well to advance to the second round of qualifying.

Corretja was playing a local Czech guy who as scared out of his mind to be in this position. Still, Alex was hitting way too short and lost more games than he should have. When I returned to watch the end of the match, he was in better form, but I had a bad feeling about his chance's if he was going to keep being so defensive and hitting his shots INSIDE the service line. Some Czech woman said in English "Thank you" to Alex as he left the court.

It was fun watching Galo Blanco play- he is in great shape and has a total claycourt game.

I only saw the last few points of Tsonga, but he looked really angry to be going out.

Squillari was as I remembered him off of tv- big lefty forehand, a dirtballer.

MONDAY: Corretja watching Galo play, but I ran to see Monfils practice with Benneteau. Gael is so cool to watch- he is funny (if you speak French) and has the energy and jumping ability of an NBA player. At one point he and Julien took turns standing with their backs to the court as the other tried to hit serves at each other's butts! Julien would have gotten hit once but sort of moved "t'as bouge, t'as bouge!" Gael told him. Gael then got hit in the leg. A good number of Czech people came to see him practice, as in a case of "it's sad but true" the Czech people are not used to black people (one of the biggest turnoffs for me, that Czech people are racist).

I had arrived a few hours after the start and missed Alex's match, so I was stunned to look at the drawsheet and see that he lost. Well, stunned is not the right word- saddened is probably better. I knew from his level of play that Corretja was not doing enough but I was hoping he would improve as the week went on.

I went back to see the end of the Blanco match- I stood less than a meter behind Corretja so that I could eavesdrop on his conversation with Galo's coach. The third set went to maybe 9-7 in the tiebreak, so I had a good half hour of listening to Corretja and Blanco's coach chat... mostly just comments on the match and shouting encouragement to Galito- "no pasa nada, vamos!", etc. Corretja is just such a nice guy, he is truly relaxed and should share the sportsmanship award name with Edberg.

Florent Serra was fun to watch- solid strokes, good athlete, can mix it up well. Portas seemed like a giant compared to him.

TUESDAY: I couldn't quite figure out what was wrong with Baghdatis- I badly wanted him to win but he just didn't have a good day, even holding his right wrist (if I remember correctly) at a few points as if something was wrong. Dick Norman didn't seem as tall as his height is- maybe because he doesn't have a very wide body?? I didn't get to see Ulihrach since he was out, so Serra filled in and took advantage by beating Mahut, who looked less aggressive than I remembered him from Newport last summer.

Dupuis didn't even try against Minar. In the second game of the match, he yelled in French that he hasn't been able to hit his forehand for a month.

Vliegen was clearly superior to Vejmelka, so he will play Norman in a battle of Belgians. Monfils crushed Kosler, he doesn't have the best technique but he can take strange positions and shots and change them to his advantage. I only saw the warmup for Wessels/Lojda but was surprised that Lojda won- he was decent in practice the day before, but he wasn't anything amazing.

Baghdatis and Sela were fun to watch in doubles- Peer watched their match on Monday and cheered them on. Sela has tough returns and a nice one-handed backhand.

The only other match I saw bits of was Hernych/Portas. The crowd is so unanimated here, they just don't emote at all, but they were firmly behind Hernych. It was a tough match but in the end I imagine Portas' backhand broke down (I didn't get to see the 3rd set).

I'm sorry this report isn't that entertaining- I am actually quite tired after 4 days of watching all of the matches in strange, windy weather. I plan on going to the event Thursday-Sunday, so I will try to get more written then.

Ciao!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 07:12 PM
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Re: Prague Report

Thanks! enjoy your day tomorrow too
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 07:30 PM
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Re: Prague Report

thanks for the report.

LOL Gael and Julien

Come Back Tournament: HAMBURG.

Allez!
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