I got to the site really early today. I parked in my usual place today and had a nice time chatting with the parking lot attendant. She’s the same one every year. She’s French Canadian and she and her husband work down in Palm Springs in the winter and then in Alberta, Canada during the summer. She’s very nice and we’ve had fun over the years.
Oh, and guess what? They took down the bleachers that were by the practice court where you could sit and watch the practices! I don’t get it.
I walked around the practice courts looking for familiar faces, but seeing few. It was nice just hanging out. There was a black guy who was coaching a black girl I didn’t recognize. He was talking to a foreign looking white girl who appeared to be a player even though she wasn’t dressed out. He was saying: Those are the matches you’ve got to find a way to win. That’s why it’s called a break through. You have to do it. The girl smiled tentatively and she and the man she was with walked away. I exchanged a few words with the guy. I wish I knew who he is. I’ll look for him later in the tournament. He seemed like a really good guy. I saw Clement
running around the grassy area doing that skip thing where he pulls his knee up really high like about every fifth step, and I saw Maria K
stretching and skipping rope. I saw Gags
running around the grassy area too. Her coach was really pushing her and demonstrated how he wanted her to run the sideways steps. Kiefer
was practicing too with someone I didn’t know. Suarez
was practicing too. I also saw Dokic
(more about her later) She was practicing on Court Five. She looked ok. She’s nice and slim but she still has her little jelly belly pouching out.
So the first match. I wanted to see Galina Voskoboeva and Laura Pous Tio.
Galina Voskoboeva is very tall and built like a volleyball player. Thin and long. Laura Pous Tio is short and compact with heavy thighs and a thick torso. She was over matched. Galina went out to a 5-0 lead and I left to watch Mariana Diaz-Oliva
play Maureen Drake
. It was a pretty close match and Drake was playing fairly well. It was so funny to see Drake because she used to be the original rock and roll rebel with weird hair and bizarre clothing. Now she looks like she’s a thirty-five year old mother of two who plays club tennis. Anyway, she was doing well, but she started losing her temper and yelling at herself even when she was winning points. She was terrorizing the little ball girl…. Not that she was doing anything absolutely awful, but she wasn’t happy with the ball girl… she wasn’t happy with anything.. but you could see the ball girl was nearly frozen with fear. When it looked like Mariana had the thing pretty much wrapped up, I left to sneak a look at Camille Pin. After that I watched part of the Kirilenko match. It wasn’t very exciting. Maria didn’t come to the net much, but really she didn’t have to do much because Kelly McCain wasn’t very good.
So, another turn around the practice courts.
JIAT AND NICKI ALERT
A lot of people were gathered around one of the main practice courts so I went to see who it was. Next door with pretty no body watching was Tammy Tanasugarn.
There wasn’t anyone visible on the court everyone was gathered around so I walked on around the corner and there was MARAT!!
(time for Jiat and Nicki to jump around
) He looked like he was having a good time and was smiling. He still has the beard thing going on. He was with some thin shorter guy I didn’t recognize.
Back to Stadium 2 to watch Jelena Dokic
She actually looked pretty good at the beginning of the match. She got an early break and Salerni was missing a lot of shots. Then Jelena inexplicably lost her serve. She had been occasionally double faulting yesterday and today…. But in the eighth game she hit 5 faults in a row and was broken. I could see the wheels had come off for some reason and didn’t want to stick around to see the train wreck. Anyway, I had told Avocadoe I would look out for [b]Shikha Uberoi, so I went over to court four, which mercifully was beginning to be in the shade… although it didn’t reach me for another 45 minutes.
This was the match of the day!!! Ekaterina Bychkova and Shikha Uberoi
Ranked 146 and 147. It had everything. All court play… volleys… nerve wracking long long rallies usually ending either with a winner or a forced error… bathroom breaks… trainer being called… and VOMITING!! What more could you ask for?
The first set was great. Even though the score was one sided, there were many deuce games and lots of exciting play. Uberoi went to the net whenever she could get in. She played very aggressively and hit very hard. Bychkova had great length to her balls but was getting eaten up by Uberoi’s net play and aggression. Bychkova deserves the name.
She screams. She rants. She talks to the backstop to calm herself. She was near tears a few times in the match. After losing the first set, Bychkova took a bathroom break.
Man, I don’t know what they have in those bathrooms, but it seems to work like a charm. The second set featured several breaks of serve and lots of deuce games and rallies that seemed to never end and were hard to watch just because of the sheer tension. At least all of us thought the match was tension filled, but… little did we know what tension was at that point. Shika got an early break and we all thought she was on her way to winning, but no. Bychkova broke back and then broke again. It was all over in that set for Shika.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s lost a set? You got it. She goes to the bathroom, and Shika is no exception. She hied herself off to the magic room. Both girls seemed a little tired at the end of the second set. Shika had lost some pop on her serve and had double faulted too.
The third set: Oh my gosh. I wasn’t taking notes and I may remember this all wrong. Shika looked fresh. She was up on her serve (oh did I mention that Shika had a bad bad habit of getting behind in her service games?) And she looked ready to hold… I think this would have put her up a break, but Bychkova broke her. All even. Then it was back and forth, back and forth. Both girls were aiming for the lines. Uberoi was rushing the net on deep approach shots to the corner. Sometimes she made it. Sometimes she couldn’t put the volley away even after three times, and Bychkova would save the point with some sort of miraculous determination. The crowd was really appreciating both players. Bychkova was fighting like a tigress. She would scream and yell and be nearly overcome with emotion, but a little chat with the back fence would put her right again, and she would come out and win the next point with brilliant play.
Finally, Uberoi broke. She was serving for the match. But her bad habit got her in trouble. Soon she was down 0-40. Could she save it? It seemed impossible. BUT she fought off three break points. She pulled it to deuce. And then match point! But Bychkova saved it. Desperately determined she would not give in. And she rallied to break Uberoi. Uberoi was nearly on her knees grabbing at her thigh. Bychkova looked wobbly legged.
Oh yeah. I forgot that Uberoi complained about line calls quite a bit. Not in a bitchy way, but still she complained, AND she took TONS of time between points. She got a time violation, and still took time. In that game where she was broken she found a new way to gain extra time. She called the ball girl from the net out to wipe up the court…. Like way in the back of the baseline…. Way way back. Then she did it again too, although this time it was inside the lines.
So the break back. But where is the trainer and where is the vomiting, you ask? Ah… the drama. The announcement is made right after Bychkova broke back. The trainer has been called. Which player… the crowd buzzed. The consensus was Bychkova had called for the trainer. Not to be outdone, Uberoi has a ball kid bring her an icepack, which she puts on her shoulder. The trainer comes. She finds one icepack and is looking for another, but of course, Uberoi has that one. The trainer improvises. She put the ice pack somewhat mysteriously between Bychkova’s legs underneath her skirt. Then massaged Bychkova’s thighs. We are watching intently. Suddenly there is movement at Uberoi’s chair. What??? Liquid hits the court. The woman next to me said. She’s throwing up.
Sure enough there is Uberoi at the trash can that is right behind Bychkova’s chair trying to get the cover off. A man from the crowd helps her. She puts her head in the trash can. She stays like that for a long time. She finally comes up looking refreshed.
The trainer finishes and leaves. Uberoi is explaining to the umpire that she just threw up, but she is looking good. We are all thinking she probably feels a lot better now that she threw up. Sure enough she does look like she feels good. She gets up on Bychkova’s serve. Bychkova gets it to deuce. There are more crazy long rallies. Uberoi has AD. Uberoi wins the point. The crowd sits stupidly silent as Uberoi throws up her hands in relieved victory celebration. We can’t believe it is actually over. Finally the crowd stands to give the young women the applause they deserve. People are happy for Uberoi but sad for Bychkova. Tennis is very cruel.
It was a dazzling match. It took over 2 ½ hours and was entertaining every single moment.