Before dragging myself home from a very long hot day at the tournament, I stopped by Statler Foods…. A downscale grocery store in the valley. There are nicer stores… Ralphs… Jensens… even Vons… But anyway it was handy and all I wanted was a bottle of wine. So, I’m stumbling out of the store with my purchase and nearly run right into a vaguely familiar woman carrying a child and speaking German. (something about grandma)
It was STEFFI GRAF! There she was with her head in the air walking in her stiff little gait, her hair pulled back into a severe pony tail and her tiny hips poured into some very tight fitting probably size zero jeans. A nanny was pushing Jaden in a cart and speaking English to him. They went out to the parking lot where they were parked near to me and packed everything into a modest looking silver van. But in Statlers of all places. It was sort of surreal. I realized that’s how she must conduct herself. She just puts her head in the air and pretends like nobody recognizes her. Like the town isn’t filled with tennis nuts right now.
But back to this morning. Practice courts! Everything was filled. Everybody is here. It’s the day before the men’s tournament starts and the second day of play for the women. The place is cracking. For those of you who haven’t been there, just to the west of the practice courts is a large grassy area that is flat at the north end and then gently slopes to the east and south. There aren’t any signs, but it is understood this is a players area. Seldom do the fans intrude here. Today it was simply crammed full of stars. It seemed everyone was either on the practice courts or on this grassy knoll. I saw Philippoussis and his sweetie/fiancée/whatever. She is very tiny, very pouty, and very sleek. Daddy Poo was there too. They were standing right beside us on the sidewalk at the edge of the grass. If we turned one way, there were all the players running around or kicking soccer balls or doing drills or walking to the practice courts.
When I turned the other way there was Lleyton practicing with Roger Rasheed and on the court right beside his were Gael Monfils, Calleri, T. Johansson, and Mario Ancic, who wasn’t happy with his serve. While Lleyton was practicing, Kim walked down the slope with her mom and the auburned haired lady I saw yesterday. She took up the practice court just down hill from and behind Lleyton’s where she was practicing with Sharapova. On the farthest practice court to the east were Mauresmo, Safina, Dementieva, and Bovina…. All hitting together. I guess the Russians decided to let Amelie join their party.
Karantancheva and Weingartner may have looked to have had a great first set from the score, but in reality it was truly dreadful. Neither could hold serve. I think all set long each held serve once. Weingartner served for the set, but from the rest of the set it seemed a sure thing that she would be broken. The tiebreak. Sesil got the best of Weingartner and took the set. Then Sesil got the hang of holding serve, but sadly, Weingartner did not. It was 3-0 for Sesil when I got fed up with the whole mess and left for greener matches.
When I first got to the stadium and stored my stuff under my seat…. Another reason I love this tournament. I can’t think of many places where you would feel comfortable doing that. But that’s what me and my seat mates do all the time. We leave our stuff there and then go out to the outer courts and come back into the stadium and maybe there are people sitting in our seats and maybe there aren’t but either way it’s ok.
So,….. Did I mention it was bloody hot today… making me even more pissed off about the shady seats being removed. Even though it was hotter last year, at least the shady seats were available. I peeked in on Strycova and Voskoboeva and Bedanova and Bodarenko, and then went back to the stadium to eat some lunch and got a bit of the Arthurs match. Nothing was too exciting to me but maybe that was because of the heat. I heard the Voskoboeva match got really good. I got there at the end of the second set which Voskoboeva won at love. They invoked the heat rule and the players took a ten minute break. I didn’t wait around, but heard from my seat mate that Kirkland came back to win the third in a tiebreak. He said it was a good match. I really respect him because he knows a lot about tennis and organizes a national amateur tennis tournament every year. I give him tips about tennis gossip because he doesn’t follow the game that way, and he gives me tips about technique etc.
I went inside the Stadium just to get in some shade and not so much to watch Haynes and Santangelo although Avo put in a request for that match. It was a so so affair. Not too exciting. Neither played great tennis, but the last two games were pretty good. Haynes showed some speed and some tenaciousness. Haynes made so many errors it was annoying, but she tightened up her game at the end. Santangelo is a very tall blond woman…. Looking more like a member of the ova brigade than an Italian.
So then it was time for Vaidisova and Washington. BOOM Vaidisova came out and hit like three aces/service winners. But Washington wasn’t overawed. She hung in there and the match was close throughout the first set. It wasn’t gripping tennis, but it was interesting to see Vaidisova… and excuse me, but is she really only 15 years old? My goodness. She is tall and very well developed. Her legs are long but well muscled… More along the lines of Venus’s legs than Bovina’s. She must be at least 6’1 or 2.
Washington got broken fairly early in the second set after losing the tiebreak in the first. She looked a little down. Then she called for the trainer late in the set. I packed it in at that point and heard on the loudspeaker that Vaidisova won. No surprise.
I went over to see a bit of Phau and also wanted to catch the Uberoi match as well as some of Daniela’s doubles match.
Uberoi looked nervous at the beginning of the match. Her dad was on hand sitting on the steps just like he did on Tuesday. He calls her Shiks. As in… “Good serve, Shiks!” etc.
Anyway, Shiks got down in her serve, which if you remember I told you she had a bad habit of doing. She did manage to break right back, but then she had a hard time with Morigami because Morigami has a wicked little serve down the T that acted as a nice leveler. Fortunately for Shiks, Morigami’s serve went down hill toward the end of the set and Uberoi was able to break for the set. She also came back from 1-4 in the second to win the match. Shows good fight back, but she needs to break that habit of getting behind.
I left to go see Daniela because she’s my very favorite female player. Like I was saying to Avo earlier, I really feel like I haven’t seen Daniela for a long time. I’ve just gotten brief glimpses and then it wasn’t like the Daniela I had first gotten to know at IW when she was playing the qualies. But tonight it was GREAT. She looked fabulous. She seems to be gleaming with health. Her partner was Schiavione who is a miracle of a woman. She is built low to the ground and scoots around like some sort of water bug on steroids. She was fantastic. It was a wonderful match. Also I like Gisela Dulko who was playing opposite with Vento Kabchi.
Fashion Report: Cause I know this is really the most important thing. Sesil had on a rather unflattering brown and beige outfit. It was brown on the sides and beige in the front. I suppose this was meant to be slimming and not merely dowdy. When I saw her warming up first thing in the morning she looked far better in a pink t-shirt and aqua shorts. She was practicing with Chanda Rubin who mysteriously I see on the practice courts constantly but isn’t playing here. I’m so confused.
Weingartner had on a really cute Fila outfit with a red top and a white skirt with red trim. She looked really nice in it. She has a trim little figure.
On and I love the way Sesil is built for tennis. A trim torso but nice well muscled thighs and calves.
Mashona was wearing one of those Nike outfits in the yellow yellow green. I really don’t know what to call that color. A mesh skirt and the matching mesh top. Vaidisova was very sleek in a fabulous sleeveless Lotto outfit. All white with turquoise piping. It had darling little tucks in the back of the top giving nice detail to an otherwise rather severe outfit. It was skin tight and I can think of few bodies that could wear that outfit as well as the one Vaidisova currently owns.
Uberoi was wearing all white too. A baby tee and a skirt. Same problems as Tuesday though. She pulled up on the skirt and pulled down on the tee.
Daniela looked darling in little tiny very dark turquoise shorts with a white band around the top of the shorts. She wore a very pale aqua T back top.
Gisela looked sexily demure in a white skirt (tight of course) and a black sleeveless top with white piping around the armholes and a white collar framing a deep V neckline set off by a white plaque running down from the collar. Gisela always looks great.