Sunday, July 27
Today I got there a tad late, but we walked in and watched Savchuk
play Larcher de Brito
. I don't think Michelle's grunt is quite as bad as people say... I found Sharapova's more unnerving. I actually like her grunt! It's cute. Her game is really good too! She has all the shots, except maybe the net (while I was there, she didn't ever go up). Olga had trouble with the serve today, it wasn't quite going in like she would've liked, and I think that hurt her confidence in the long run. But she made a lot of nice shots, a few good approaches to the net, which was nice to see. She mixed it up, but it wasn't good enough to overcome Larcher de Brito. A good prospect for the future, Michelle is, I was super impressed!
I left after a set, to go wander around and see what was going on. A bunch of people camped out to see a player, so I went around to see quickly and saw Dementieva
and assumed it was for her. But Ivanovic
was there, and it was more for her! But she had to go to a press conference and didn't sign one autograph. Then everyone left. And Dementieva came out to about 15 people (versus the 100 that were there). It was disappointing because she is top 5, but still, I was glad because it upped my chances of getting a picture! Unfortunately she left before I could get someone to take our picture.
She is absolutely stunning, Elena
and Jill Craybas
were practicing together. Aiko has such beautiful technique! I really enjoy her two-handed strokes. And Jill was super impressive! She hits a lot harder than I had imagined. She's really got game, it's a wonder to me she hasn't done better for herself. Her serve is quite stronger (at least relatively to Aiko's) than I had thought too. They had fun and played a practice match (which is rare among the women) which was fun to watch. I stayed there quite a while. Craybas left to go practice with someone else (I forget who, I didn't follow) There was quite a crowd around, because Vaidisova, Sharapova and Kuznetsova
were all practicing beside. But a lot of people were watching their practice match, it was good quality. Aiko can really smack the ball, and Jill too.
Aiko was so cute! I had been waiting to try and get a picture with her. And it turned out quite a nice picture, but I only figured out after I was on the wrong mode all the time I had taken pictures and it looks smudgy
Disappointing because she looks so cute!
Oh well I still like it
She's very personable, she signed for a little kid after
I ventured over to see Shahar Peer
hit with Tamira Paszek
but couldn't really watch them. They seemed to be playing points but I can't tell. They were taking a break and Tamira was standing all alone in a corner, and there was no one watching on her side of the court! So I went up to her with Mag behind me, and said hello, can I take a picture with you? She said sure, and put her arm around me :O I put my arm around her neck and I think it was a nice picture, but I can't tell, I haven't seen it yet!! But she's so cute, I am so excited for her match against Fran! It should be great. She hits a nice clean ball!!
We went over to see Black
. It was a good match, they were both playing well - like yesterday, Cara was slicing the backhand, changing the pace, coming into the net, making some very nice fine volleys. Olga seemed to be playing well, but then she lost the set and called for the trainer. She apparently had trouble seeing, maybe dizzy? It was a very weird end to the match, to be honest, and it's unfortunate it ended like that! But I am very glad for Cara, she deserved to win that set.
I went to see Vania King
hit with an Unknown blonde. I figured it was Kudryavtseva, because they're good friends and play doubles together, but it really did not resemble her at all. I'm not sure who it was to be honest, she was tall and slim. Normally it's indicated on a board in front of the court who's there, but it wasn't updated - actually, today, that was a real problem. It's a shame it wasn't, because they're not really highlighting their players, if you know what I mean. If it was indicated, people wouldn't remember, but at least it's there... no indication just gives no chance to get these players known. Huber
was practicing on the far court, she looks like a nice woman
I went back to Banque Nationale court to watch Ayumi Morita
(who was nice enough to sign for me this morning between stretches!!) play Varvara Lepchenko
. I knew this would be a highlight match for the quallies, and boy did it deliver! Ayumi hits the ball so flat, hard, and close to the net - she reminds me of Bartoli, but not only because of the two-handed-on-both-sides business. Varvara was still playing her amazing tennis from yesterday. Until 4-3 in the first set, it was even, and very nice tennis - the crowd was into it - but then Ayumi hit 7 unforced errors and gave Varvara the first set. I'm not even exaggerating, all into the net. Mentally, it wasn't impressive from Ayumi :S
The second set was very closely contested again, and so many nice rallies! Ayumi winning it 7-5 made me think the third set would be super tight, but Ayumi got what she felt was a bad call during the first point of the match (a ball on the baseline she didn't even hit, sure it was out) And she got rattled by that, I think. She let it slip away when she got two breaks down. But she kept fighting, unfortunately it was too late, too tight a margin to keep it going down 5-0. But the crowd was really into this match, cheering very loudly, lot of clapping, and they really seemed to take to Ayumi's hard-hitting flat game. They even went "oooh" several times when she would smack it right into a corner, thinking it would go out, but it would stay in. I really, enjoyed this match - it wins the honor of "match of the day" by far!
What really impressed me from Ayumi wasn't her game, but her maturity. After the match, she signed for a handful of kids before tailing off in the cart:
Varvara was fed up with the crowd, I think. They weren't cheering her on as much as Ayumi. But eh, she played well, she should be glad to be in the MD
I then went to see Stevenson
. This woman was talking to me and I couldn't focus much, but Rolle played a super clean first set. Alex let it get away from her, I think. Then she called the trainer at the end of the second and managed to turn it around, but by then I left to go see Sharapova practice. Again, she comes out and a FLOOD of people are there. It's insane, I've never seen so many, not even for Navratilova or Federer. She signed a bit, but didn't get to me. But that's alright, I didn't expect that at all with such a flood of people..!!!
When I walked back around, I saw Sugiyama
from the corner of my eye. I was overjoyed! The court next to her had Zvonareva
and they seemed to be the only practices going on, so many people were clustered in the small corridor separating the two courts. When Vera was done training, she sat down and ate fruit. An apple. A peach. to the core! And people were getting fed up of waiting, some even left
which I found absolutely hilarious. When she got out, it was madness, but not Sharapova-level. But still madness! Everyone wanted to get an autograph. I managed to get a picture but she got confused what camera to look into
But it's still a not-so-bad picture:
She's really tall! And quite a nice woman.
Meanwhile, I watched Sugiyama play. She was hitting that ball a lot harder than I remember
and it was really nice to see. People were like "Who's that? She's hitting really well" The other guy was out of breath, I think! I went picture-crazy
and was really enjoying the practice. She did some volleys, and once they were both at the net and she missed a shot and she had a huge smile on her face as she hit the ball twice into the net. It was so funny, though, because you knew she wasn't angry, but it looked like she was having a fit.
She's always so good-humored in her practice, and jokes around a lot, it's really fun to watch her. After she was finished, a lot of people wanted autographs, and I had trouble finding someone to take the picture. She was on her way to leave when I shouted "Ai, Ai, you're like my hero, please take a picture with me?" And she turned around and smiled and said sure. But I was leaning against the fence, and I wasn't really comfortable - not to mention NERVOUS - and the picture turned out so-so. I think I'm going to go back and tell her "Can we try it again?" But it's unfortunate, because she's so cute on it,
We high-tailed outta there, because it was going to rain. But intend to return tomorrow, energized!
It was so much fun!!!