Hi guys, sorry for the lateness!
Was too tired to post anything yesterday and been very busy the past couple of days. Also the cable for connecting my digital camera with PC went missing until yesterday!
I went to see the final day of the DC playoff on Sunday.
It was a brutally hot day, at 33 degrees C! We do have scorching days in Septe
mber, but not as often and long as this year... (And turned out it was probably the last hot day this year because the temperature dropped from Monday and today we have a typhoon ravaging central Japan.
I got a reserved seat on the third row on courtside...very close from the cour
t. But it was on the sunny side (I usually buy seats in the shade but this tim
e I was too late to get one). I put on a lot of sun cream, but it was still to
o hot that it was almost painful. So after the first three games I moved up to
an unreserved seat in the shade.
I think the temperature on court must have been well over 40 degrees, 50 degrees even. Maybe because of that Kei started the match in a rather languish manner. His shots didn't have bites and he looked to be in "do-we-really-have-to-play-in-this-heat?" mode.
By contrast, Vishnu Vardhan, who is ranked #453 and stepped in to replace injured Devvarman, played very well from the start. He mostly plays futures and challengers in India and other Asian countries, so this was his first match on an international level (albeit still in Asia). He's 24 and I think he will move up the rankings quickly if he can play at that level more often. His biggest weapon is his serve and he's not afraid to come forward too.
The set was very close until 5-5, and Kei broke the opponent's game with a superb BH dtl winner.
From the second set, Kei started moving more agilely, and his winner count grew rapidly, while Vardhan's UEs started increasing...it became more and more like a match between a top 60 player and a top 500 player as it should be. Kei broke Vardhan's game with an Air Kei (I don't like to use the term very often but I think Kei went for it on that point.
), and by the time the third set started, he sprinted to the position from his chair.
As expected he tightened up when he had first two MPs on Vardhan's serve and then at 40-0 when serving for the match. At 40-30, however, he won the match with an ace, then he raised his arms high.
After the match the team Japan went into a celebration mode. The four players in the team held a large Japanese flag and walked around the court. And then all the members, from the captain and coaches to players and ex-players, made a bow and then waved hands to all four sides of the crowd.
Soeda and Bopanna played the dead rubber later, but Bopanna called a trainer to receive treatment on his foot (I think), and he quit when leading 5-4* on serve.
One thing I noticed watching Kei's and Vardhan's match was a possible influence on them by the USO final between Djokovic and Rafa. It seemed to me they were chasing after evey ball, even the ones they probably wouldn't have tried to retrieve before. It made the match all the more exciting although I hope they won't injure themselves by trying to do the impossible if you know what I mean!
Anyway it's been a great three days of tennis for Japan. India had a tough luck with both Devvarman and Paes getting injured. Hope they will be back in the Wolrd Group too so that there will be atleast two countries from Asia in the elite group of tennis.
Will post pics when I get home. (I'm stuck at office because many train services are being suspended or overcrowded in Tokyo because of the damn typhoon that passed near here a few hours ago.