My US Open Qualifying Week Reports - UPDATED after Wednesday!!!!! [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

My US Open Qualifying Week Reports - UPDATED after Wednesday!!!!!

Leo
08-24-2008, 06:49 AM
I spent Tuesday - Friday at Flushing watching the qualie matches and practice sessions. Going back again tomorrow for one last day. I just finished writing my extensive recaps on WTAW. Now I am tired and heading to bed soon. But I will sum up my experiences here with a few key highlights/bullet points. If you want to read my full reports (written more about the women because it's for WTAW), go here: http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=354387 Hopefully I can get pictures up soon.

1. Ran into Darren Cahill (acting as hitting partner for Guccione). He predicted Novak Djokovic to win the 2008 US Open. He has a pretty decent track record.

2. Andy Murray is amazingly amazingly nice to fans. He signs for absolutely everyone who asks for it. Apparently traumatized by being turned down by Andre Agassi as a young fan, but wow! I'm so impressed.

3. Fat Dave is fat and never signs.

4. Got pictures with John Carlos Ferrero, Misha Youzhny (twice), Guillermo Canas, Nikolay Davydenko Robin Soderling (huge), John Isner (huger), Thomas Johansson (my eyes closed, ugly pic of me), Bjorn Phau (my eyes closed, ugly pic of me), and lots of women including Ana Ivanovic and Sveta Kuznetsova.

5. Safin has been in super crabby pissy moody mode all week, breaking racquets over his knees, hitting balls out of the stadium, getting laughed at by Berdych, and leaving practices early out of frustration. He got brutally thumped by Mathieu who was cracking return winners left and right. Marat was barely moving for the ball or trying against Mathieu.

6. Youzhny is practicing terribly. Pretty sure he lost in a practice set to Lopez, even though Lopez was missing tons of first serves and being an annoying bitchy moody diva like Marat and throwing his racquet after just a couple points. Youzhny also tied in a practice set against Berdych and they played a tiebreak to end it, not sure who came out on top.

7. Kiefer beat Berdych in a practice set. No surprise there. Berdych joked with fans about his poor form; they asked how he was doing and he admitted, "Not great recently, actually." At least his girlfriend just won a tournament. Yay.

8. On Wednesday, the practice line-up was Djokovic then Federer then Nadal all in a row (with Del Potro squeezed in between Fed and Rafa).

9. By far the three players who create the biggest commotion and craziest mob scenes here are (in order): 1. Nadal, 2. Federer, 3. Djokovic. The Willies and Roddick are trailing behind, even in New York.

10. Saw Federer practice technique skills extensively. For about twenty minutes straight he worked on the same drill: running forehand out wide, followed by forehand approach from middle of the court, followed by backhand volley. He was misfiring and netting tons of forehands in practice. Crabby and throwing water bottles at his chair, muttering to himself, looked "rattled."

11. Nadal was also a bit crabby during his practice session on Wednesday vs. Lopez and muttered to himself a lot.

12. Djokovic barely hit at all on Wednesday. He spent most of his 45 minutes on the court stretching and playing 2-on-2 mini-tennis soccer (soccer in the service boxes with a tennis ball). This was just a few hours after he opened the NY stock exchange down in Wall Street. Apparently Nole is staying in New Jersey for the second straight year... but where in NJ? He supposedly hates staying in Manhattan.

13. Friendliest and smiliest and most obliging players? Ferrero, Murray, Canas, Santoro, Kohlschreiber, Youzhny, Ivanovic, Kuznetsova, Dementieva all come to mind. Who is not? Safina, Lopez, Nalbandian, Jankovic. Yuck!

14. Sveta and Ana get along well and are really chattty. Meanwhile, Dinara and Ana don't even acknowledge each other.

15. Nikolay Davydenko must not get along with the other Russians at all. They never speak to each other. Davydenko only practices with his little nephew, Phillip Davydenko, a pretty good junior player. Also sround him are his coach/bro Eduoard and Rudolph, the dude who throws him balls and sometimes hits with him. Davydenko also seems crabby and off his game, muttering to himself constantly during practice = the theme of this week with the men.

16. The Frenchies are a very tight group. Lots of practice sessions involving Monfils, Gasquet, and Tsonga together. Also Santoro and Simon together.

17. Apparently Gasquet does have a boyfriend. His boyfriend is very attractive. They've been seen together a lot.

THE END

Horatio Caine
08-24-2008, 07:09 AM
Nice report there, thanks! :lol: :D

Safin and Federer... :help:

Yeah those Frenchies always seem to be in the same group...you didn't see Simon with them?

Lalo and Mathieu are the two biggest burros you could have the misfortune to meet, imo. :(

Leo
08-24-2008, 07:14 AM
Nice report there, thanks! :lol: :D

Safin and Federer... :help:

Yeah those Frenchies always seem to be in the same group...you didn't see Simon with them?

Lalo and Mathieu are the two biggest burros you could have the misfortune to meet, imo. :(

Didn't see Simon with Gasquet and the "younger" crew, just with Santoro.

MaggieMay
08-24-2008, 07:16 AM
he said Simon (practicing w/ Santoro)


oh WOW! the 3 biggest attractions are Nadal, Fed, and Djoko!?!?!??! Who would have thunk it!?!?!?!?:worship:


the rest of the report was actually pretty good though:hatoff:

Horatio Caine
08-24-2008, 07:17 AM
Yep, sorry, my bad.

Still yet to properly wake up. :yawn: :o

Leo
08-24-2008, 07:18 AM
he said Simon (practicing w/ Santoro)


oh WOW! the 3 biggest attractions are Nadal, Fed, and Djoko!?!?!??! Who would have thunk it!?!?!?!?:worship:


the rest of the report was actually pretty good though:hatoff:

Don't be an ass.

Mrs. B
08-24-2008, 07:20 AM
Thanks, Leo! :hug:

waiting for your pics. ;)

CyBorg
08-24-2008, 08:03 AM
Much appreciated. This is why I love MTF - threads like this.

I'm a bit surprised to read what I'm reading here about Safina and Jankovich. They're both nice girls, most of the time.

CooCooCachoo
08-24-2008, 08:06 AM
Thanks Leo :D

Can you shed some light on the qualies matches though? I know most people are more interested in the MD players practising, but I'd like to know a bit about the quality of the matches, who impressed/disappointed you, any tidbits etc.?

gambit84
08-24-2008, 08:22 AM
3. Fat Dave is fat and never signs.



THE END

expected but it makes me sad :sobbing:


btw great report :yeah:

Truc
08-24-2008, 09:10 AM
Didn't see Simon with Gasquet and the "younger" crew, just with Santoro.Simon's best friends on the tour are Tsonga and Monfils, I'm pretty sure he's closer to the "younger crew" than to Santoro.
Gasquet-Tsonga-Monfils are very good friends indeed. It's pretty rare they're all together at a tournament since either Monfils or Tsonga always has to withdraw, so no surprise to see them a lot together there.

You're not the first one being impressed by how nice Murray was on that day, I've read that a few times already, here (http://rantmaker.blogspot.com/2008/08/us-open-reporting-live-for-your.html) for example.

Thanks for the report!

JolánGagó
08-24-2008, 09:19 AM
Excelent stuff, thanx for sharing.

Grenouille
08-24-2008, 09:28 AM
Thanks ! Will u post any pics ?

jitterbug
08-24-2008, 10:37 AM
Nice read :)

yarina
08-24-2008, 11:36 AM
Nice read, thanks a lot! Please respect the working people :) - e.g. Dinara - It's very hard for them to concentrate with all the fans roaming around the courts, it must be very distracting, so I suppose that's why some of them are not so friendly towards the autograph requesters...it's true that some manage to do both - train and spend time with the fans, but not all of them are multi-tasking :), says me who is: 1. workaholic herself and 2. supports Dinara (obviously)

JolánGagó
08-24-2008, 11:59 AM
Nice read, thanks a lot! Please respect the working people :) - e.g. Dinara - It's very hard for them to concentrate with all the fans roaming around the courts, it must be very distracting, so I suppose that's why some of them are not so friendly towards the autograph requesters...it's true that some manage to do both - train and spend time with the fans, but not all of them are multi-tasking :), says me who is: 1. workaholic herself and 2. supports Dinara (obviously)

Well, a smile costs nothing and while they're working it is us, the fans, who pay them.

yarina
08-24-2008, 12:34 PM
Well, a smile costs nothing and while they're working it is us, the fans, who pay them.

I thought fans pay to see them playing, not smiling and signing autographs 24/7 :). Plus, many of the fans who come to see players practicing pay nothing and can be really disturbing - at least that was my experience.

jitterbug
08-24-2008, 12:55 PM
Jankovic has her days :lol: First time I watched her practice at the AO, she got the security man to tell the crowd that "Miss Jankovic wishes not to be bothered by autograph requests today," or something like that. The next time I saw her she was all chatty with everyone, signing things and taking photos :)

mariyella80
08-24-2008, 02:17 PM
I beg to differ on the comments made towards safin and janokvic......safin always signs and acknowlegdes people even when he's NOT really in the mood....saturday while federerm, nadal, and djokovic where doing the interviews on the outside lawns....safin was coming from practice and couldnt get through obviously so he had to take a long route around to a different entrance and managed to kinda sneak through with fans missing him ....but I didnt, infact he ended up bumping into me from behind (hahah) i was in shock and simpy acknowledged him by his name and then some folks near me started to get excited asking for autographs and causing commotion......so his cover was blown but he told those who wanted an autograph to hurry up and keep up with him cause he wasnt stopping......damn HE LOOKED HOT......and in jelena's case, she ALWAYS acknowledges fans and even states some kind of apology when she cant stop to sign.....I totally AGREE with you when it comes to lopez he's a snob but very good looking...those highlights in his hair making him look VERY GAY,......

mariyella80
08-24-2008, 02:27 PM
I really think its timing with most players for autographs cause I have been at flushing meadows all week and didnt experience a negative when asking for autographs...I saw fat dave sign alot last year and he signed even more yesterday so I DONT SEE the issue.....the consistent ones for me are SAFIN, VERDASCO, JANKOVIC, NADAL....but with the nadal people just LOOOSE their minds, infact he wanted to sign alot yesterday and it was security that got nervous and started literally pulling him away he tried to reach back again and they PULLED him away....the americans are lame, they get nervous when they here the noise.....and they during his interview on the lawn some kids where screaming like they were about to die, i just started laughing, he looked like he was getting uncomfortable with it and uncle toni's facial expression was priceless hahah...

neenah
08-24-2008, 03:52 PM
Interesting read, thanks for posting. :)

I think it depends on the day for a lot of people. I was there on Tuesday and when Safina left the practice courts she didn't sign, but she was in now way rude at all, she simply didn't walk up to the people who wanted autographs. I don't expect everyone to want to do that every time. :shrug:

And as far as her brother is concerned, he seemed a little irritated during his practice later that same day but he did stop to sign and a fan asked for him to sign a ball and he made the effort to stop and get another ball. So, you know, I think they just do what they feel up to, which is acceptable :lol:

neenah
08-24-2008, 04:23 PM
Davydenko still practicing with Philip? I saw them playing together at the USO last year on two different days. It must be great practice, playing with a top 10 player on some sort of a regular basis, even if it's only this time every year.

RagingLamb
08-24-2008, 04:53 PM
thanks for posting.

is it true that Djokovic doesn't like staying in Manhattan? I would have thought the opposite.

yarina
08-24-2008, 07:25 PM
:lol: Thanks for the report.

Interesting that so many of the guys were crabby (they must be on the same cycle ;)).

It's a grand slam starting on Monday, so their stress levels must be high...especially for those with high expectations - so, yeah, we should cut them some slack :p

safin always signs and acknowlegdes people even when he's NOT really in the mood......damn HE LOOKED HOT...I totally AGREE with you when it comes to lopez he's a snob but very good looking...those highlights in his hair making him look VERY GAY,......

I cannot agree more with this:

I met Safin at Queen's this year and he tried to get rid of us, but couldn't :). After he finished practice, he just stayed on court for half an hour more, chatting and hoping we would leave...but we didn't :) At some point I was so annoyed with him - why is he not coming here to sign, can't he see we wait for him? - then I realized he does not owe us anything, so I was annoyed with myself - look at me, 26 years of age and 15-year old brain, waiting for half an hour for a signature? Then I calmed down and waited until he came off court and got my autograph and mumbled something to him there - 15-year old brain became 1 year old when he stood tall next to me - he can be very intimidating and is absolutely gorgeous (in my safinette opinion at least :p ).

I saw Lopez twice, and on both occassions he looked arrogant and just ignored everyone - however, I am tempted to try and understand him: us fans must be really annoying for them - we come before important tournaments, they are trying to concentrate and must be stressed as well...after all, they are only human and can cope more or less fine with the pressure we add.

Herdwick
08-24-2008, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the write-up - much appreciated.

Geo
08-24-2008, 08:12 PM
Leo! :) thanks for the report :) Very informative.

helen10
08-24-2008, 08:24 PM
I beg to differ on the comments made towards safin and janokvic......safin always signs and acknowlegdes people even when he's NOT really in the mood....saturday while federerm, nadal, and djokovic where doing the interviews on the outside lawns....safin was coming from practice and couldnt get through obviously so he had to take a long route around to a different entrance and managed to kinda sneak through with fans missing him ....but I didnt, infact he ended up bumping into me from behind (hahah) i was in shock and simpy acknowledged him by his name and then some folks near me started to get excited asking for autographs and causing commotion......so his cover was blown but he told those who wanted an autograph to hurry up and keep up with him cause he wasnt stopping......damn HE LOOKED HOT......and in jelena's case, she ALWAYS acknowledges fans and even states some kind of apology when she cant stop to sign.....I totally AGREE with you when it comes to lopez he's a snob but very good looking...those highlights in his hair making him look VERY GAY,......

I think the comments made were about Dinara Safina, not Marat Safin.

With Dinara, she's had a great season so far and I would think she's probably still getting used to the fact that her name is now getting so much better known now due to her own performances rather than that of her brother's. Can't be easy being constantly surrounded by people asking for something...
All credit to Andy Murray, I've heard that he's so obliging to the fans on numerous previous occasions....
Great report, Leo - thanks!

star
08-24-2008, 09:48 PM
Leo - Thanks very much to going to the trouble to write a report for all of us. Very thoughtful. :hatoff:

mariyella80
08-25-2008, 12:14 AM
I THINK dinara is very very shy.....to me it always seems that she's running away and yes when she practices she's very INTENSE, with the mother not to far away saying things in russian hahaha.....so I guess when she's done she just WANTS to get out of there...I dont mind personally but on a serious note if you're an AMERICAN player at and AMERICAN grand slam at least acknowledge your fans ....WAVE if you dont want to sign....NOTE TO SERENA AND VENUS WILLIAMS.....they're just WEIRD....and along comes Mr. Williams greeting and chatting with everyone even those who ARE NOT interested in who he is.....

adee-gee
08-25-2008, 12:34 AM
2. Andy Murray is amazingly amazingly nice to fans. He signs for absolutely everyone who asks for it. Apparently traumatized by being turned down by Andre Agassi as a young fan, but wow! I'm so impressed.
Seconded.
9. By far the three players who create the biggest commotion and craziest mob scenes here are (in order): 1. Nadal, 2. Federer, 3. Djokovic. The Willies and Roddick are trailing behind, even in New York.
I haven't actually seen Roddick once, but I agree with the order. The women in general seem to be attracting a lot less interest.
11. Nadal was also a bit crabby during his practice session on Wednesday vs. Lopez and muttered to himself a lot.
Yep, he's not been practicing particularly well :lol:
13. Friendliest and smiliest and most obliging players? Ferrero, Murray, Canas, Santoro, Kohlschreiber, Youzhny, Ivanovic, Kuznetsova, Dementieva all come to mind. Who is not? Safina, Lopez, Nalbandian, Jankovic. Yuck!
Did you speak to Cornet at all? She's at the top of my 'friendly' list, and it's not just because I like her.

I'd add Almagro to the least friendly as well :scared:

cobalt60
08-25-2008, 12:40 AM
Thanks Leo for the report and Adam- come on give up the dirt;) :lol:

l_mac
08-25-2008, 12:40 AM
Adam :worship:

~Maya~
08-25-2008, 01:02 AM
Thanks Leo. Very nice

camnation
08-25-2008, 01:24 AM
17. Apparently Gasquet does have a boyfriend. His boyfriend is very attractive. They've been seen together a lot.
I'm sorry, am I missing something? No one has asked about this? Are you joking, Leo? I would like to know. :)

JolánGagó
08-25-2008, 01:52 AM
I'm sorry, am I missing something? No one has asked about this? Are you joking, Leo? I would like to know. :)


Bullshit, we were informed in great detail about Richy's nocturnal adventures with girls. It was a first hand report.

CooCooCachoo
08-25-2008, 05:08 AM
Seconded.

I haven't actually seen Roddick once, but I agree with the order. The women in general seem to be attracting a lot less interest.

Yep, he's not been practicing particularly well :lol:

Did you speak to Cornet at all? She's at the top of my 'friendly' list, and it's not just because I like her.

I'd add Almagro to the least friendly as well :scared:

Are you stalking Alizé again :rolls:

Leo
08-27-2008, 05:11 AM
Sunday – Practice Day

Like Friday, the stars were out, and they were everywhere! I saw such a variety of players, so many people who didn’t get to New York until the weekend. Started out on Grandstand with Szavay, Cibulkova, and Koukalova sharing a court. Then wandered the grounds because EVERY court was in use for practice since no qualie matches were left to play. The only thing on my mind was LINDSAY, and sure enough I found her on the very quiet and obscure Court 4 at 10:45 AM. Everyone was freaking out over Venus on P1, so that few fans actually noticed Lindsay hitting on 4. I couldn’t believe it! Prime opportunity for an autograph, very little competition. She was there with Justin Gimelstob as well as Adam Peterson, and Justin was closely overseeing her service motion. Lindsay’s court was taken over by Gasquet and Simon, and there were about 10 of us calling for Lindsay to sign before she left. Of course I got out my special picture that I had printed and told her she was such a hero. She was very humble and laughed and said, “Awww, thanks.” She signed for me first and told me she would use my pen for a second but would make sure to give it back. And she certainly did! Haha. Got a great picture of her looking into my camera as she was returning the pen, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask for a picture with her. Just didn’t want to push my luck or ruin the moment. As she left, I called out to her one last time and told her something cheesy along the lines of, “We love you Lindsay. You got it!” But that pretty much made my Open right there, and I felt satisfied. Everything afterwards was just icing on the cake. And there was lots of icing!

My friend and I saw Patty and we got a picture with her, taken by Rainer Hoffman. We laughed as Patty did her sprints before practice and Rainer sat on the bleachers, waiting and smoking. He looked tired and hungover. Must have been partying the night before. Saw Anne Keothavong again, another lovely Brit. Which reminds me that I forgot to mention how I watched the end of Elena Baltacha’s final qualifying match on Friday. She fought so well but was in pain and grimacing for several several games. Coin has proven to be one tricky opponent, and now she’s into the 2nd round. Elena had one point in the tiebreak (I believe at 3-4) that she constructed beautifully until she completely overhit the easy putaway off her backhand side. That pretty much sealed the deal right there.

Back to Sunday, I watched a Moya vs. Gonzalez hitting session on Grandstand. Ran into Elena Likhovtseva around the grounds and just said hi! She laughed and say “Hey” back. Talked to Akgul Amanmuradova a bit but neglected to tell her that we’re facebook friends. Who knows, maybe she recognized me. :p Watched more practice courts like Vinci/Kanepi/Domachowska together, Safin/Canas, and Blake with his coach/hitting partner. Blake seemed to relaxed, hitting his forehand well and smiling a lot. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him as I watched, considering all the Gonzo bullshit at the Olympics. Gonzo, you cheater!

I returned to the Frenchies’ court where Gasquet and Simon were scrambling and playing long points, mostly from behind the baseline. No sign of Richard’s supposed boyfriend (although I do believe my sources who told me the rumor ;)). Afterwards, Richie signed my picture of him that I printed out from this year’s Open. I also wanted Gilles, but I didn’t really have anything else for him to sign, so I had him sign the same Richie picture. Lol. I felt bad. He looked at it and paused for a minute, and I apologized that I only had a picture of Gasquet. But he laughed and said it was okay, and was a total sweetheart.

Also on Sunday I watched some Ivanovic, and then Del Potro vs. Monaco (two good looking South American guys with their shirts off, hitting the ball well). It was the first time I saw Juan up close and damn, what groundstrokes. I also got a better look at him on Monday against Canas, a match that Guille told us would be very close and fun (and it was).

While Sunday morning is packed, Sunday evening becomes very quiet and very dead around the grounds (apparently that is annual tradition, which is logical). We watched from the practice court/President Gate’s entrance as players left in their Lexuses to go back to their hotels and rest up before the first day. We saw Elena Dementieva with mom and boyfriend. Jelena Jankovic with her mom. Verdasco. And others. Not many left practicing, but Nikolay Davydenko was at it again with his usual team (brother Eduoard, nephew Phillip, and that guy Rudolph) on P1, hitting away and trying to get his groundies to click. Murray and Monfils played on one of the stadiums against each other, and Coco Vandeweghe got one of the stadiums as well, to get ready for Jankovic. Max Mirnyi was involved in a practice doubles match on a side court. To end the day, with seemingly no players left on the ground at dusk, a few of us chatted as we watched Rossana de los Rios (not Neffa anymore?) hit on P5 against her little daughter! Immediately I saw the little girl around age 10 and knew who it was. And then it was confirmed by a player’s guest who knows them personally. She has very red hair too, redder than her mother’s.

Monday – Day 1

Okay, so this was quite an interesting day. A sudden and surprising turn of events had me sitting on a bench at 10:20 – 10:45 in the morning right where the players enter in their tinted-window Lexuses! Basically I was trying my best not to freak out as players including Serena, Nadal (and Uncle Tony), Hantuchova, Nalbandian, Andreev, Gasquet, Benneteau, Pin, Gonzalez, Vesnina, and millions others pulled up right in front of me. I did my best to look vacant or occupied, pretending to text friends on my cell phones as I really was spying on the players and getting a feel for what they look like and how they act in the morning! I had the urge to wish Camille Pin a happy birthday (the 25th is her bday) but I resisted. You know, I played it cool. As they enter with friends, family, and tennis bags, the players are greeted by yellow-shirted US Open officials telling them, “Welcome to the US Open. Excellence is our policy” or something along those lines. Ollie Rochus has a conversation with one US Open employee about traffic on one of the highways, I forget which one. To be honest though, security was a little too lax in that area. And I say that because we all remember the incident of the psycho fan who stabbed Monica. I showed my photo ID to security before entering the area that includes player registration, player will call, and player entrance to Ashe, but there honestly were not enough security present to protect the players as they exited their shuttles and cars. Also, it was sad seeing a low ranked player like Jamea Jackson (who had been practicing on the courts outside the grounds) show up in golf cart shuttle when others get Lexus services, haha.

Women’s Singles Match: Rezai vs. Muhammad, Court 11

I knew this would be an interesting match-up. Asia Muhammad is the teenage wildcard who the USTA is heavily backing along with girls like Coco. Rezai won the toss and elected to receive. On the very first point of the match, Asia hit a wild forehand well long. We could tell she was clearly nervous, as is natural for one’s first US Open main draw match. But she started to settle down and we could see that she has a big first serve. I remember Asia hitting an ace during that first game. The problem is that her first serve percentage for the entire match was too low, and her second delivery is far from consistent. Some of her second serves had impressive depth and kick, but then some of them were so well long it was like she was missing a first serve! I don’t remember the progression of games anymore, but it went from 1-1 to 4-1 Rezai pretty quickly. Rezai is aggression all the time and hits the ball with pace much more consistently than Muhammad, who likes to mix in some backhand moonballs and tries to construct points before going for winners. I remember being impressed by Asia’s power on the first or second point of Aravane’s first service game, but as the match wore on it was clear that most of the points were dictated by the Frenchwoman. Unfortunately for Aravane, she hit a really bad streak in the beginning of the second set and I’m pretty sure she got down 0-3 and then 2-4. She was definitely getting broken much more than in the first set. During that bad patch, she looked to her coach/brother a lot and seemed to panic, losing faith in her shots. But she got it back together in time and really turned up the heat to finish the match in straight sets. I was in awe of some of those winners, my lord!

I was also in awe of some of Asia’s retrievals! I was most impressed by the young American’s athleticism. There was one point in the first set that had Asia pinned behind the baseline but stretching and skidding to chip/block back as many balls as possible. Another point late in the second was similar, but even more extreme. Asia was running back and forth from side to side and net to baseline and kept sending up unbelievable defensive lobs. She worked her way back into the point, drove a backhand approach to get on the offense, but then messed up the easy swinging volley! Disappointing end, but easily one of the best points I saw all day.

End result – Rezai def. Muhammad 6-2, 6-4. Also should mention that we spotted Darren Cahill at this match, I suppose checking out the American prospect. I think she could definitely be good, and this was a valuable learning experience. She will be helped out by growing more, and by fixing that wild second serve, and certainly needs more match experience because she looked quite nervous in the beginning. But she can play both defense and offense, and she’s not just a young mechanical brainless ball basher, which is positive. Meanwhile, Aravane was really sweet and friendly after the match. I hope she can beat Bammer in the next round.

Men’s Singles Match: Simon vs. Granollers, Court 10

When I got to this one, Gilles Simon was already up two sets to love. His opponent was a complete mystery to me. I guess I’ve seen the name before, but had no idea what he looked like or how he played beforehand. I still don’t have a great grasp of his game since I only stayed at the match for a handful of games. I was hoping Gilles could close it out in straights, but he seemed a bit tense and/or tired. Unlike qualifying week, this Monday was extremely humid. And when I got to Court 10, the sun was also beating down very strong. Simon was putting on his usual display of incredible defense, and winning many points by scrambling and forcing errors or by hitting passing shot winners. But he looked tired because he was netting many groundstrokes too and not hitting through his shots enough. I told the two people sitting to my left that this was the guy who beat Fed in Toronto, and they couldn’t believe it looking at his size and watching some of his meek errors. I left the match after Granollers pulled out the third set, but later saw that Simon won in four. End result – Simon def. Granolllers 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Women’s Singles Match: Davenport vs. Wozniak, Ashe

I was able to sneak into Arthur Ashe Stadium thanks to a very very kind friend and watch the second set of Big LD. I’m guessing most of you caught pieces of this match on TV, so I won’t say much. Lindsay’s serve was disappointing. Like in the Rezai/Muhammad match, it seemed like double faults were contagious between Davenport and Wozniak. I was pleased to see Lindsay play well during her return games and moving much better than at Wimbledon where she was hobbling. If her knee stays healthy, I see a decent run during the next week for Davenport (maybe evening a QF meeting with Jankovic?). I got a little choked up for her during the on-court interview. Unbelievable that I got to see her again winning a match at the US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium, even in her 30s and even after retirement and even as a momma. Loved the bit during the interview with USA Network when she said Jagger was quite a handful and that he takes after his dad in that regard. The crowd ate it up. I left Ashe just as Nadal and my boy Bjorn Phau were getting on the court. Part of me wanted to stay, especially because I watched Bjorn give it his all in qualies to make it to the main draw, but I was so high up in the 200s (seats) and it didn’t seem worth it. Knew Bjorn could challenge Nadal with his speed and explosiveness, and I’m happy that he did push him for 3 amazing hours, but there was also the fear that Nadal would be in scary form and steamroll him – so I left. Anyway, end result – Davenport def. Wozniak 6-4, 6-2.

Men’s Singles Match: Wawrinka vs. Bolelli, Court 4

Got to this match after Stan secured the first set tiebreak. Beautiful to watch two guys with one-handed backhands. I was doing my best to cheer for Simone, and he had his usual Italian flashes of brilliance. I noticed that throughout the match, both guys served about 80% of the time to the backhand side. I only took note of that because I was sitting on the side of the court where a forehand return would lend itself to a better picture for me. :rolleyes: But I thought that was a strange choice tactically, especially for Bolelli because Stan’s backhand is so solid. In fact, compared to the Italian, Wawrinka plays with much more security, control, and consistency. Bolelli just kept blowing break point chances, like a key Stan service game in the middle of the second set when Stan was up a break, and another long Stan service game in the third set. It had the feel of one of those matches that could have gone 5 and been a really long battle if Bolelli just capitalized on a few more important points. But Waw deserved it, the better player. Lots of fun points throughout. Bolelli only slammed his racquet into the court once, and he has that kind of focus where he looks down at the court between points and mutters to himself. Meanwhile, Stan looked up and was combing the crowd (for hotties?) it seemed like after every return point. End result – Wawrinka def. Bolelli 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3.

Men’s Singles Match: Troicki vs. Ball, Court 11

I thought it was strange they put this match on Court 11, one of the bigger courts that does have camera coverage. It was going on simultaneously as Kohlschreiber, Troicki’s second round opponent, crushed Horna in straights. Ball is a BIG guy, a wildcard from Australia. Predictably, Cahill was scouting out this match as well and studying Ball’s game. Predictably, the tall Ball has a huge serve. It was a pretty even serving battle until Viktor (who has such an interesting and lunge-y service motion) was suddenly down 5*-6, 15-40! But he hung on and won the tiebreak comfortably. I left the match after the competitive first set, but it was entirely one-sided after that. End result – Troicki def. Ball 7-6(3), 6-0, 6-1. Ouch!

Women’s Singles Match: Chakvetadze vs. Makarova, Armstrong

Another strange and awesome turn of events, and I found myself watching this match from Chakvetadze’s box! Right next to the court. The very first few games were scratchy tennis from both. Chaky hit a lot of errors but hung on for an early lead, 2-1. But then it got severely one-sided as Makarova went away. Anna started to show her improved form (playing like she did in New Haven) and was dictating all the baseline rallies, while Makarova looked like a useless junior player who wouldn’t even survive qualies. Honestly, my friend and I, who were sitting right behind Chaky’s dad/coach, thought it was in the bag after the first set. Seemed like it was going to be such a straight-forward win, and we took it for granted and started planning on how to get Anna’s autograph. We were saying how we thought Makarova would put up a better fight…

Then Chaky hit a concentration lapse at the start of the second. She played loose and let errors creep into her game. But when you expect a top player to get it back together and reel their game in, it just wasn’t happening. She started looking over to her dad much more often with panicked expressions. Other family/friends showed up to support Anna during the second set, one of whom was a young blonde girl. Suddenly Anna was serving down 2*-5, and that’s when it got interesting. She saved some set points and started to majorly pump herself up. She was shouting at herself and doing the intense fist pumps, reminiscent of that classic Fed Cup match against Israel! Unfortunately she couldn’t string together multiple winners. It seemed like she was on her way to building momentum, but then she could miss a backhand or hit another error. It was a double fault that finally did her in and lost her the second set 2-6, after an hour of total play.

After the second set, Chaky’s dad moved over a few seats to his left to get a view right on the baseline. Anna consistently looks to her dad to ask him whether or not to challenge. I thought it was pretty funny when, in the second set, Anna actually looked to her pops for help on a ball called out on the far side baseline, but he was sitting so far away from it and so low to the court that it was ridiculous she would expect him to know! He just put up his hands and shrugged and shook his idea, no idea.

Chakvetadze came out for the third set and immediately started playing uneasy tennis again. The more she struggled with her games and with her emotions, the more confident Makarova became. Makarova, who had a pretty loud cheering section up at the top of the stadium chanting, looked like a nobody at the start of the match but had now settled down and was swinging much more freely off both backhand and forehand sides. Her groundstroke depth improved greatly, and Chakvetadze was feeling the pressure. Also, Makarova is a lefty and on the ad-side she was nailing some really fantastic serves out wide (taking advantage of the natural lefty direction). I was sitting in that corner on the ad-side and watched as some of those wide lefty serves got by Chaky and bounced right near me – in one case, right where I was sitting in the stands. But I still felt like it was Anna’s match to win or lose. I forget the sequencing of games, but I think it was near the middle of the set when Makarova got her break advantage. We all tried to pump up Chaky and get her feeling confident, but she kept alternating between fist pumps and worried looks depending on the result of a point. During changeovers and certain points near the end of the match, it looked like Chaky was fighting back tears.

I got super annoyed by some drunk dude near the top of the stadium who yelled out for Makarova to challenge one call (and she did, but I forget the result), but he continued to be loud and obnoxious for the rest of the match – also, at the same time, there was so much noise coming from Arthur Ashe stadium with the little girl doing her sound check for the opening ceremony and then loud fans/vacuums going. Ugh, I don’t know how any player can concentrate with all that friggin’ noise at the US Open. Don’t get me started on that terrible jazz and tropical music they had during the morning.

Most of the 3rd is a blur to now, but suddenly Makarova was serving for the match at 5-3. Anna hung in there and kept fighting. She saved some match points, and Makarova was clearly feeling the nerves going for the biggest win of her career. There was at least one double fault in that game. The match had that feeling that if Anna could break back, she could storm all the way back and win 7-5 in the 3rd. But she blew a few opportunities of her own and just kept letting Makarova push her back behind the baseline. No more free swinging away like in the first set. Immediately after the match ended in favor of Makarova, Papa Chak took off. Anna left the court pretty quickly as well, and I felt so bad for her. I was so close to her along the sidelines, and cheering for her heavily, and it seemed in the bag after the first half hour. How quickly a match can change when you don’t maintain your focus or your winning strategy! End result – Makarova def. Chakvetadze 1-6, 6-2, 6-3

Men’s Singles Match: Lopez vs. Melzer, Court 7

I got here in time for the middle of the 5th set, with Melzer up a break at 5*-2. Luckily there was not much of a line to get into the court. I couldn’t believe it! It was that lovely time of evening at the US Open with the sun setting and the lights coming on. I was near the top of the seats and had a great view of the court as well as the sky and World’s Fair in the distance.

There was one point during this match that was seriously the best point I’ve ever seen live! Melzer was scrambling and running back to retrieve lobs, and drop shots, and lobs, back and forth all over. Lopez finally won the point from a net position, and the crowd erupted. Lopez motioned to the fans to stand up, and we all did, of course. It was a ROAR of applause. Lopez was obviously ready to go much more quickly than Melzer, who did most of the running. Feli wanted to serve, but Jurgen was still bent over panting, and then going over to his towel. The 5-setter on my court was running parallel to a 5-setter between Rochus and de Heart on 6, and it seemed like the crowds on 6 and 7 were battling it out for who could be louder and more into it. I believe Melzer closed it out comfortably in the final game, and of course Diva Lopez was throwing his racquet and storming out of there quickly.

Men’s Singles Match: Del Potro vs. Canas, Armstrong

My friend and I randomly ran into a couple guys from our school on the grounds, and then the four of us travelled together to Armstrong. There were so many matches still going on everywhere! When we were standing around by the fountains by Ashe, Del Potro was comfortably ahead 4-1. Considering recent form of both, we thought this would be an entertaining match but certainly a comfortable victory for JMDP. Which is why we were shocked to see Del Potro down in the first set by the time we actually got seats inside the stadium.

From the other thread, I wrote:
“This match featured the best rallies of the US Open so far. Such crisp hitting with Del Potro totally on offense and Canas totally on defense.

At first, during JMDP's bad patch of lost games, he was playing terribly. He wasn't holding up in any of the long rallies. He was impatient and overhitting everything, bailing out of points with stupid attempted winners down the line and stupid, poorly executed dropshots. But he started to pull his game back together down 0-3* in the 2nd set, and played pretty brilliantly for the remainder of the match. He had patches of winners that were so so gorgeous. I've never seen much of Del Potro in the past, not even at all this summer on TV during his win streak, so I was surprised that he could sustain that kind of hitting for several points and several games. Reminiscent of Berdych but better.

He really really rocked in that 2nd set tiebreak. Canas hit about 2 double faults but Del Potro was in charge of that tiebreak completely. And then he had a lapse in concentration and got down an early break in the 3rd, but his game woke up again and the winners returned. He played the 4th set very smart, knowing that Canas was struggling physically and starting to cramp, and he didn't overreact or overplay. Just very confidently strolled into the 2nd round. I see a very deep run her from Juan... watch out, Rafa.

And just to add, Canas IS indeed a very bad matchup for Juan's game. We have to take that into consideration. But right now DP has the confidence and experience to pull out those kind of matches. I'm sure he was also feeling pressure not to lose considering his hot streak this summer and the fact that people are really beginning to talk about him.

He absolutely crushed a racquet down 0-3* in the 2nd and got a warning for racquet abuse, but after that point was very controlled with his game and his temper. I was totally impressed.” After the 3rd set, my friend and I predicted that Del Potro was gonna run away with the 4th with a score 6-1. And he did. End result – Del Potro def. Canas 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-4, 6-1

So I finally left the Open around 11 PM on a very chilly night (I was cold and exhausted), and eventually got home about 3 hours later after some terrible public transportation.

I’m going back again tomorrow though! Sorry if this was a dull read, I wrote it with no energy and now I must go to bed. Hopefully there’s a little substance in there.

Leo
08-27-2008, 05:12 AM
And yes, I did run into Alize and got a picture with her. She is so sweet and I love her game.

CooCooCachoo
08-27-2008, 06:37 AM
Thanks again :hatoff:

mariyella80
08-27-2008, 03:51 PM
HAAHAHAHAH @ the jamea jackson comment a golf cart HILAROUS.....I was at the lopez match on monday, and remember the motioning, albert costa looked like he wanted to just die, with the mistakes lopez was making....carlos costa was standing next to me and he too look frustrated with feliz's play and with the germans cheering melzer on within earshot hahha.... I watched del potro and canas .....AWESOME match great groundstrokes like you mentioned, and it was too bad for canas that he 'hurt' his quad or did he 'get tired' heheheh.....tuesday was good too.....got to talk to verdasco before his match at the practice courts and take pics and we had EYE CONTACT during his match hahha ...kinda like an acknowledgement that i showed up hahha....Safin's match was a relief to say the least, but couldnt believe how much women's tennis matches were scheduled yesterday it was kinda of annoying hehehe.....hope to be back thrusday and sat if SAFIN AND VERDASCO do well.....OFCOURSE i got good pics of RAFA AND FEDERER although it was total mayhem :)

Leo
08-29-2008, 04:08 AM
Wednesday – Day 3 – I scribbled some notes throughout the day during matches so that I could be more precise in my accounts (otherwise, my memory fails me)

Men’s Singles: Almagro vs. Dancevic, Court 6

Got into the grounds around 10:45. Ran into Bud Collins for the second time – first time he was decked out in pink pants with a funny print, pink shoes, and pin striped socks. Today’s outfit was ORANGE. Haha. I took a picture and then got my mini tv from the AmEx kiosk, which is fantastic. It’s a personal tv screen that you can wear around your neck and use to watch all the camera courts and stay up to date on live scores. It’s free if you are an American Express cardmember, as long as you return it by the end of the day. I did it Monday as well. But then I asked the woman, how much is the charge if you forget to return it by the end of the day (because they do swipe your card)? And she says, three fifty. So I’m like, “Oh, $3.50? That’s not bad at all.” And she laughs and shakes her head and winks at me like I’m 10 years old, “No, $350.” Holy shit! What as astronomical number. I made sure not to forget to return that damn thing, haha!

So this matchup was pretty exciting, and my second of the tournament that I got to watch live between two one-handed backhand men. They introduced the two players and of course Frank got the huge applause. I happened to be sitting near some older Canadians from Ottawa. A bit to my left I noticed Frank’s girlfriend and coach. I was surprised by Dancevic’s returning to start the match – it’s typically known to be terrible. However, in his first four return games against Almagro, he went breakpoint, breakpoint, 30-30, deuce. He was a tad unlucky not to break in any of those four close games, but it was mostly because of Almagro’s big serving on key points and Frank not being able to get the return into play. Frank had been serving very comfortably, using his forehand well and serving and volleying effectively… until 3*-4, 30-0. Almagro smacked a forehand return winner, then Frank missed a tough low backhand volley wide, then a tremendous backhand crosscourt return from the Spaniard that passed the approaching Canadian, and it was break point. Frank blew it under pressure and hit a routine rally backhand wide (into the doubles alley), and then Almagro finally had his first easy hold of the set to win it 6-3: he hit four consecutive aces! Damn. But it was a 6-3 set that was much closer than the score revealed.

Almagro was just getting into the zone on serve, as he held at love in his first service game of the second as well. I knew he could pop it on serve, but I was surprised to see him do it so consistently. Frank began struggling with the serve and volley more and more. He wasn’t getting into the net fast enough, so Almagro’s low returns were winning points. Dancevic also had many more unforced errors in the second set than in the first, especially netted forehands. Almagro broke for 2*-1, and then Dancevic had a chance in the very next game when Almagro went from 40-0 (having won 11 service points in a row) to deuce. But no break. The rest of the set was routine. Of course though, Almagro was being his usual personality and bitching about line calls left and right, trying to intimidate the umpire, and chatting away with his coach in the corner in Spanish. Some random fan called out, “No illegal coaching, bro!” He was not the only player I saw do it throughout the week, of course, and the umpires are usually way too meek and pathetic to give justified warnings to the players who break the rules. I also got pissed at Almagro when there was a close line call on a Dancevic serve, and he motioned with his hands to the umpires that it was about 4 inches out. Lol, yeah right. So I left this match after 2 sets, and end result: Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

Men’s Singles: Davydenko vs. Sela, Armstrong

This match was pretty well televised so I won’t go into too much detail. By the time I got over there, it was at the end of the second set. Davydenko was in his usual efficient Grand Slam form and Sela was hopeless if he thought he could last in baseline rallies against the dominator. By far the most memorable moment of the match was Nikolay’s crazy whiff on an overhead! The same thing had happened with Chakvetadze last week in New Haven. Lol, how embarrassing. I actually got a picture (from a distance) of it happening, thinking I would have a shot of Davydenko crushing an overhead winner, not missing one entirely! End result: Davydenko 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Men’s Doubles: Damm/Vizner vs. Chardy/Simon, Court 14

By Wednesday at the Open, the doubles draws are in full flight featuring tons of awesome matchups! This one between the seeded veteran Czech team (and favorites) versus the younger, cuter French guys (of course my choice for applause). I got to this match near the end of the first set. One of the funniest moments of the day – there were a pair of low-flying birds who flew down onto the court and didn’t want to leave! Everyone started laughing and the players and ballboys didn’t know what to do. Gilles Simon smiled and did his best to shoo them away, and one of them did fly over the trees and off the court. But the second was more pesky. He faked like he was gonna leave, but then he came back down onto the court. Damm (the more emotive of the Czechs) start hopping up and down and getting close to the poor thing, and finally it followed its friend and let the tennis re-commence.

Off the bat, I was so impressed by the serving and reflexes of Chardy! It was my first time seeing the 21 year old play – the guy who upset Nalby and Tursunov before losing to Almagro in the 16s of Paris, and the guy who loves to beat up on Frederico Gil in GS first rounds. His skill at the net seemed to surprise the Czechs. It was Chardy who was playing as the star of the court, and he pretty much single-handedly got the Frenchmen a 4-1 lead in the first set tiebreak. Simon then netted a makeable forehand pass and it was 4-3, Frenchies still with the lead and minibreak. 2 unreturned bombs from Chardy and they had triple set point at 6-3. Then the Czechs won an entertaining rally at net, by Chardy sealed the set with the perfect lob winner – just beautiful, well-in, perfect height. The French used the lob play a lot during this match because D/V are quite short for tennis players.

Second set, and the Frenchmen continued holding the momentum at first. In one point, both Gilles and Jeremy had beneficial netcords. But some sloppy play out of nowhere cost them a break, and they were down 1-3. Then they broke back immediately thanks to Simon’s backhand. Later in the set, there was a typical US Open annoyance – Elena Dementieva’s match (which was being televised on the big screens near the fountains) starting coming through the speakers near Court 14, and really loudly! So everyone in the area, including players and fans, could hear Elena’s iconic grunting without actually seeing her match! This lasted for about a minute before being corrected, thank god.

In my notes, I wrote down “netcord point at 4-4, 30-30” and “overhead point,” but I sadly don’t remember what those comments mean. :lol: I told you, my memory goes, even if it was a classic point. Even as the set got late, I noticed Gilles and Jeremy laughing a lot with each other while the Czechs were much more serious – natural considering this IS the US Open for Damm and Vizner while the Frenchies are predominantly singles players (although I do think they could be a great team in the future for French Davis Cup, they seem to gel well and have different pros and cons to balance each other). It was Chardy who was serving at 4*-5 when the break occurred, I believe. Either he or Gilles missed a forehand in the net for 15-40. And then a Chardy overhead was somehow amazingly retrieved and smacked back crosscourt for a winner, past Simon at net and right on the line. The Frenchmen were shocked, and so was the crowd because no one applauded for a while, even when the Czechs began to celebrate the set win. Gilles walked over and looked at the mark, approved, and smiled and applauded Damm. To a third set!

The Czechs broke for 4-2 in the final set with a double fault and backhand pass, but then the Frenchies broke back at love with great play! Then at 4-5, it was Chardy serving again. He netted a tough low pick up. Then Gilles slapped at a forehand volley that should have been an easy putaway, he over-hit it completely. Terrible technique, and the worst volley I saw in the entire match from any of the four men. Then Vizner smacked an awesome forehand return winner on the line, and it was very quickly 0-40, triple match point. Felt like there was no way back into it. Chardy/Simon saved two mps, but then a great rally finished the match. Damm kept smacking hard, offensive groundies from mid-court at Gilles, trying to get him to miss, and Gilles kept responding well until finally netting a volley. Terrific match, end result: Damm/Vizner def. Chardy/Simon 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4.

Women’s Doubles: Cornet/Bacsinszky vs. Cibulkova/Razzano, Court 15

Ooooh, dramatic women’s doubles! I had to just walk over one court. Good friends Alize and Tamira were already ahead 4-1, I think two breaks (as if a break means anything in most women’s doubles). I was especially curious to see this one because Cornet used to date Monfils, and Cibulkova currently does. ;) Huh. The points were really fun, featuring a lot of all-court action, lobs, scrambling, everything. Immediately I was impressed by Bac’s strong returning and really solid backhand. That looks like her most confident groundstroke of the two, and I like her technique on it and her willingness to attack.

These two dumb older men behind me were being obnoxious and saying, “oh blah blah blah we could beat them, they don’t even know how to volley, where is the serve and volley?” (paraphrasing ;)) And then the very next point was one of the best points of the match with big groundies and volleys from the women. Nice to see the old fuddies proved wrong. After the point they were like, “okay, so maybe I can’t hit a backhand like them, but I know how to serve and volley!” Psssssh. After the first set, the gal pal team seemed totally confident and like they might walk away with the match in an hour or less.

Throughout this match, the returning was aggressive, especially from Cornet, Bac, and Cibulkova. Returners would attack and move forward into net, or even stay back and be on top of the point. That’s mostly because everyone’s serving was terrible. Just weak, short second serves and lots of double faults. The quality hit a lull in the second set, and I also became distracted because I was watching Ashe through my AmEx mini tv and cheering for Jankobitch to go down, haha! How exciting, poor Arvidsson almost did it.

Cib/Raz led 5-3 and then it was 5-5 and then they closed out the set 7-5. In the last game of the second set, Cornet blew an easy backhand volley on break point by not putting it away – it clipped the net, went over, sat up, and then Cib/Raz took over and saved the break. There were some terrific reflex points at the end of the set, and some sweet forehand volleying from Cibulkova, very hard and solid (and she and Razzano looked to be hitting terrible volleys in the beginning of the match). Cornet was laughing and smiling with her friend throughout the match but she is still super competitive. Many times she screamed at herself after a bad miss or dumb strategic play – oh boy did she want to win. I was also surprised that she screams “Vamos,” but then I heard it today on TV as well when she played Mattek. There were also lots of body shots by both teams, which lead me to believe that there is no love lost between the girls.

In the third set, Bac was broken at 3-3, and then Cornet again at 3-5. On the last point, Dominika was attacking with the forehand groundies, Cornet finally threw up a weak/high reply, and Razzano picked it off at net and put it in the open court. Cornet and Bac left the court pretty quickly. Meanwhile, Razzano and Cibulkova hung around chatting and laughing, signing for fans, being so sweet and thanking fans who congratulated them on a great comeback. And it was! They were so out of it in the first set, that a comeback didn’t seem possible. But that is the nature of women’s tennis, and matches can turn wildly and unpredictably (i.e. Chakvetadze vs. Makarova). End result: Cibulkova/Razzano def. Cornet/Bacsinszky 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Men’s Doubles: Fyrstenberg/Matkowski def. Andreev/Zverev, Court 14

Now to support my Russkies in dubs against another favored, seeded, veteran team! And Igor and Mischa broke first for 3-1! Zverev is a lefty with a big serve and good volley technique, perfect for doubles. He’s also another good looking Russian. Andreev was serving for the set at 5*-3, 15-30 and spanked two of his ridiculous forehands (the former while flying back behind the baseline, and the latter a sweet passing shot winner). I tell you, Igor is the best player to watch for action photographs, cuz he’s always flying. Then a service winner and they owned the set 6-3. Possible upset???

In the second set, more forehand passing shot sweetness from Igor, with the crowd oohing and aahing every time. He even nailed a sweet and rare backhand winner. The Russians broke again early in the second for 2*-1, and the favored #8 seeded team from Poland began to look really nervous and anxious. Then an amazing point, one of the best I’ve ever seen, in the 3-1 game that featured an Igor lob, forehand, and volley exchange. The Russians got a little lucky with an ace call going their way on their serve at 3-2 up (?). But Igor missed a forehand and it was 30-30, then Matkowski blew an easy overhead that could have made it break point. Matkowski got fired up and threw his racquet and got a warning from the ump either for verbal abuse or racquet abuse. But the Russians broke again in a long game and served out the impressively easy upset win, 6-3, 6-2.

Afterwards I got an autograph from Igor and asked when he was playing his next singles match. He was really conversational and told me he didn’t know yet, either “tomorrow or Friday.” It’s actually going to be Friday against Chardy, and that is one of my highlighted must-see matches of the day when I’m at the Open. :) A few Russian male fans also asked for pictures with Mischa, and they were both super friendly as they left the court. Igor has always been friendly, from my experiences.

Women’s Singles: Rezai vs. Bammer, Court 13

There was a quite a crowded match one court over. I was keeping up with the score from earshot, and was pleased Aravane made the second set closer and stayed on serve the whole way through after getting blown out 6-1 in the first. This match featured looooong rallies. I noticed Aravane was alternating between hard, flat shots and higher topspin balls. She didn’t do that against Asia Muhammad in her first round win, so I figure that was because of this particular opponent. Bammer, who I’ve seen very little of, is so solid and consistent and usually gets great depth off her topspin lefty forehand. She was making Rezai’s life difficult by getting lots of balls high to the Frenchwoman’s backhand – it takes so much energy to hit so many hard backhands from that high above your shoulder.

Right as I started watching the match, Bammer broke for 6-1, 5*-3. But that’s when Rezai proved she has guts and fight, and she broke back with some stunning hitting. She seemed to pick up the pace in that game. After getting the break, she really pumped herself up. Lots of allezs and comeons. There was a loud little French cheering section supporting her from the bleachers. At 4*-5, 30-15, she nailed a crosscourt forehand winner set up by the serve. She held, but then more errors and it was 6-5* Bammer. Serving to stay in the match, Aravane hit an error on a low forehand. Then missed a high backhand, and it was 30-30. A beautiful backhand winner crosscourt off a high ball for 40-30, but three consecutive errors from Rezai (netted bh, long fh, and long fh) and the match was over. Bammer actually walked off the court first with her beautiful blonde daughter, who must be 6 or 7! It was adorable. The crowd loved it and gave her huge applause. I took some really sweet pictures of the mother and daughter walking off the court. She stopped to sign, but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask for her autograph since I was cheering for her opponent, although I did congratulate her on a well-played match and she thanked me. Meanwhile, Aravane looked disappointed but was still nice enough to smile and sign for some young girls with those big tennis balls. This week made me a big fan or Rezai!!!! She rocks. End result: Bammer def. Rezai 6-1, 7-5.

Men’s Singles: Cilic vs. Benneteau, Court 4

I got into this one with Cilic leading 5-2 in the 5th, so it was just about over. Cilic, I saw from the scoreboards, had lost an overtime tiebreak in the fourth set but impressively pulled it back together and didn’t crumble. Cilic started Benneteau’s service game at 5-2 with a screaming forehand crosscourt winner. And then Julien took an injury timeout after the first point of the game – come on, dude, you couldn’t have done that at the changeover a second ago? It’s one of my pet peeves when players do that in the middle of the game. Not only that, but he used a pair of medical timeouts so it took an entire ten minutes! WTF? Marin tried to stay warm by lightly jogging up and down the court a few times. When they finally resumed play, it was another backhand winner down the line, then a forehand in the net from the Frenchmen, and 0-40 triple mp. An attempted backhand return dtl winner from Cilic just missed, and then a medium length rally with Benneteau dumping a fh in the bottom of the net was the last point of the match. Got Cilic’s signature at the end, but the big guy is quiet and doesn’t talk much. Anyway, end result: Cilic def. 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-2

Women’s Singles: Bartoli vs. Ruano Pascual, Court 13

Before I got over to this one, I noticed John McEnroe hitting on the practice courts with a little guy about 10 who is Ryan Harrison’s brother. Ryan is a top American junior. Watch out for these Harrison brothers in the future! It’s so funny though because their faces are exactly the same, and they have the same blah mushroom haircut, so the little Harrison just looks like a miniature version of the bigger Harrison.

I got pissed off at the court monitor who was barely letting any fans into the court between changeovers. I swear, only 30 seconds passed before he chained the entrance again and said “Alright, no more.” And I was the next person in, so naturally I almost pushed him over to get in. I seriously pushed a little. :lol: And then I asked him, “WTF? The players are still sitting, there’s plenty of time left, I can’t believe this, etc. etc.” and he opened it up for ten more people. He told me not to give him attitude. And then guess what? The jerk’s cell phone went off pretty loudly during the middle of a point. Ha!

So I got in with Ruano Pascual serving at 4*-5, having just been up a break at 4*-3. I noticed immediately watching her in person that Marion goes to the towel ALL THE TIME. I guess I forgot. It’s funny, she definitely sweats more than other women on the tour. This match also had some really long and beautiful points. Bartoli fought through a long deuce game and pulled out the set with a forced error off of VRP’s forehand. VRP, by the way, is so buff and fit, and you can really see the tone of her body in person. What biceps! That fitness is why she is still able to play and win at the age of 35.

This match had some of the best rallies I saw all day and was a fun contrast in styles. VRP was mixing it up and coming to net, slicing and chipping backhands and then hitting high topspin forehands. She often tried to draw Marion to net with a short slice and then pass her, which was effective because Bartoli always feels awkward at net.

But Marion’s hitting is beautiful to watch in person!!! I was really amazed by her form, and her fitness is so improved from earlier this year. She looked pretty trim to me! But then again, the camera adds 10 pounds. And I noticed Kuznetsova looked a lot trimmer and less thick in person as well as Bartoli. But I think Marion has definitely put it the time to lose some weight and get in better shape. She was absolutely ripping balls that were well above her shoulders, and I can’t imagine doing that with two hands on both sides. She also was bending low to hit the slice shots, so kudos to her.

During the 2-3 game, Bartoli drew VRP to net and rocketed a pass. Then a backhand swinging volley winner for 0-30, a VRP ufe for 15-40, and a genius drop shot/lob combo from Bartoli to break and take a 4-2 lead. What touch from Marion, who knew?! I also noticed that I was sitting next to someone in Bartoli’s camp. It wasn’t her dad, who was sitting directly across the court from us, but he looked a lot like the dad. So perhaps Bartoli’s brother, or uncle? I wouldn’t know. But he was taking notes on the match and being very vocal, as well as taking some pics with his fancy cam when she got close to the win.

VRP actually got a coaching violation near the end of the match, the first I’ve seen all tournament. The umpire said in Spanish, “Yes, I speak and can understand Spanish.” :lol: During that brief moment when Ruano was arguing with the ump, Marion was still trying to stay warm and active by doing a hilarious practice serve and bouncing on her toes some more. She’s always swinging something. Hey, whatever works. Ruano Pascual had a 15-40 chance, but blew it with some forced and unforced errors, and Bartoli had 5-2. In the final game, Marion hit a winner for 30-30; but when she could have put it away at net, she kept hitting groundies. She hates to volley! After the match I got Bartoli’s sig and wished her “bonne chance” – forgetting that her next opponent will be my favorite of all time, Miss LD. Should be a very exciting and competitive match because Marion is in good form and hitting the ball well! Edge to Lindsay, but could be very close tomorrow night. Hopefully Linds won’t doublefault too frequently.

After Bartoli, I actually got lucky and watched Davenport and Roddick from inside Ashe, up in the boondocks. But it was a beautiful night and nighttime is the best time at the Open. :) Another great day and I’ll be back tomorrow for Friday’s action. It’s nice going non-consecutive days so you have days in between to rest and recover. :p

savesthedizzle
08-29-2008, 04:15 AM
Rumor is that Domi isn't with Monfils anymore, at least I read that somewhere on WTAW, which I hesitate to use as a reliable source...

But regardless, did you see how cold the handshake was between Alize and Domi at the net :rolls:

But yeah Benneteau's time out was bogus, one point after a changeover :rolleyes: I was there for most of that match.

Leo
08-29-2008, 04:18 AM
I heard from my source who's usually pretty reliable that Monfils and Cibulk are still together, but who knows. I think Gael is so funny looking, which is why I'm surprised either pretty girl would be interested in him. But you know, Alize and Dominika are supposed to still be "friends," but it's tricky after Monfils. ;)

savesthedizzle
08-29-2008, 04:22 AM
I heard from my source who's usually pretty reliable that Monfils and Cibulk are still together, but who knows. I think Gael is so funny looking, which is why I'm surprised either pretty girl would be interested in him. But you know, Alize and Dominika are supposed to still be "friends," but it's tricky after Monfils. ;)

Ahhh :)

I kind of hope they are still together :) I wasn't a fan of the couple until Domi put up some cute pics of them on her Facebook and now I've been won over :lol:

Leo
08-29-2008, 04:24 AM
Oh, I have to friend her! Are you friends with the "real" Gasquet? I heard that's where the pics are of him and his bf together in Times square and such.

savesthedizzle
08-29-2008, 04:25 AM
Oh, I have to friend her! Are you friends with the "real" Gasquet? I heard that's where the pics are of him and his bf together in Times square and such.

No, I'm only friends with Bozoljac, Troicki and Domi :rolls:

savesthedizzle
08-29-2008, 04:28 AM
Oh btw, do you know anything about the possibility of Alize now dating Cilic :p

I heard reports of her attending his matches in New Haven ;) :angel:

And I think they would be cute too :inlove:

Leo
08-29-2008, 04:32 AM
Really? That's interesting news. But I think Cilic is sort of strange looking too. What's with these short girls going for ridiculously tall guys? Height mismatches.

P.S. I'm friends with Akgul Amanmuradova and some other random WTA players. :p

CooCooCachoo
08-29-2008, 05:07 AM
Thanks for the comments on Jérémy :D Good to read he impressed you ;) I haven't been impressed with him in his doubles matches, but it's true that he's often smiling a lot :D He's a great guy :worship:

Truc
08-29-2008, 07:35 AM
Rumor is that Domi isn't with Monfils anymore, at least I read that somewhere on WTAW, which I hesitate to use as a reliable source...It's not just a rumour, Monfils was already dating somebody else in Nottingham, there have been plenty of pics of him with his other gf (but he changed again), he talked about it in interviews, etc.
L'Equipe is a reliable source and they wrote that again after his first round match.

Thanks a lot for the report, Leo, and especially about the doubles Chardy-Simon!
I'm nicely surprised, Simon was plain horrible in doubles when I saw him.

savesthedizzle
08-29-2008, 11:47 AM
It's not just a rumour, Monfils was already dating somebody else in Nottingham, there have been plenty of pics of him with his other gf (but he changed again), he talked about it in interviews, etc.
L'Equipe is a reliable source and they wrote that again after his first round match.

Thanks a lot for the report, Leo, and especially about the doubles Chardy-Simon!
I'm nicely surprised, Simon was plain horrible in doubles when I saw him.

I thought so :) Thanks.

Leo
08-30-2008, 06:18 AM
It's not just a rumour, Monfils was already dating somebody else in Nottingham, there have been plenty of pics of him with his other gf (but he changed again), he talked about it in interviews, etc.
L'Equipe is a reliable source and they wrote that again after his first round match.

Thanks a lot for the report, Leo, and especially about the doubles Chardy-Simon!
I'm nicely surprised, Simon was plain horrible in doubles when I saw him.

Well I still wouldn't say Gilles was brilliant, haha. He was the weakest player on the court. But overall it was a good doubles match from the French pair, obviously considering they almost upset a top seeded team who today won 6-0, 6-0. :)

My reports from today will come soon, but probably won't be very detailed. I didn't take many notes today, just relaxed and enjoyed probably my last day of tennis. I am totally burnt out and can use a break from live tennis now, haha. It's nice to cheer from home sometimes too!