Two things to know about the Canadian Open:
1. It's in one of the ugliest, most dangerous parts in the city.
2. Monday sucks.
Again, I arrived for just around 10 and noticed already Sugiyama was practising on court. She really is teensy, and bubbly, and gives it her all with each shot. Her game is fine, but it's definitely not her natural ball hiting skills that win it for her- it's the way it comes all together in her matches. And she was yet another player who has amazingly solid volleys, and in the practise she hit as many as how many people were watching her. (Let's just say it was empty) The best part about her is that she's unbelievably friendly. To her hitting partner (who I though kick have been a brother) evry time she hit the ball into the net she'd either put on a sincere smile and raise her hand, or more often, she would put up and even more contagious smile and shout "Sorry!"
The court right beside them, I found a lot more interesting. I think Kostanic can be misunderstood. She's very shy, reserved, if you want to be friendly. She's a stuck up bitch who dislikes people is the easier assumption. Jelena practised with my favourite Jelena- Jankovic. I notice that when players hit together it's always a lot more competitive than with their coaches trying to prove that they ain't no Kournikova. Jankovic was trying to pin the ball, but the second she hit the ball anywhere in the middle, Kostanic would punish her and hit a short angle on the opposite side. Jelena was lucky she is a great mover who hits well on the run. All I can say is that maybe Linetskaya should do this drill...
I walked over to the Grandstand to watch the doubles...qualifying. Mostly because I really haven't seen any doubles in roughly a year, and the women's "start at the baseline, if you feel tired run to the net and see if you can finish it from there, or maybe lob, or hit a groundstroke" have much longer exchanges than the men's "charge the net, like the baseline has cooties". First off Serra Zanetti was pissed right from the start. Not only is Adriana the much weaker of the two ladies (does it help she's older too?), in this much they called her "Antonella". Unlike the Uberoi's, these two sisters rarely practise together, and don't talk to eachother when walking off court. So after the chair said that (it's not his fault, it was written in the order of play), she walks up, and says "I am Adriana, Antonella is my sister (gives dirty look) (turns her head) (Foretz chuckles) (sits down)". Boy did these two ladies really stink in doubles. Adriana either hit a ball right into the net, or a drill into the court. Stephanie made many errors too, but her game was much quieter and more consistent. Valerie, a Canadian who I managed to talk to later and told me she was playing Jr. Canadian Open and Jr. US Open, played a really loose match. The Canadians signed like crazy after the match, and then walked off realizing they had no more matches this tournament.
Then I watched practise again and saw Voskoboeva and Vesnina practising. I remembering hearing about Elena from one of the Italian clay courts pushing Flavia to a tiebreak. She's a great player that reminds me of a teddy bear with her big eyes that make you just want to hug her. Voskoboeva reminds me of a horse- because she's got the height of a Safina and her serve makes me think if she'll gallop off the court. They both laughed at the way I said Elena, but didn't understand because my Russian is as good as my mandarin
If me watching doubles qualifying wasn't enough, I watched Vinci play one of the worst matches of her career. She had the shots, a great slice (though at times it was borderline too "cutesy") an alright forehand, horrible approach shots, and nice volleys (if she hit the off nice approach shot). To make it worse, I had yet to see her practise on a court here, and looked really weak. It was scary to think this same player beat Myskina...and made the semifinals of a tournament. Granville was just hitting the ball nice and deep, CONSISTENTLY, having some pace, but rarely going for the shot to win it all. Right after the match, Laura was beyond happy. She was signing for everyone, talking about where she was from (Chicago) and then I asked her "You made the final last year in Vancouver, can you make it 2 in Canada with Toronto?" She laughed, and said "It might be a little harder" Then she apologized to me over and over again for borrowing my pen, and I said it was ok, she gave me her towel (signed of course) and threw to a little boy her wristband. Really friendly player.
Then I knew something was going on on an outer court. Rows of 5 people were watching someone practise. I crossed my fingers and hoped Davenport got lost on her trip to New Haven, or mayve Dementieva after sucking ass in Montreal wanted to make another semifinal (like she did 2 years ago in Toronto, taking a set from Henin-Hardenne), but it was the Queen Herself- Serena Williams. Serena was cool to look at, but it was the Richard Williams on the other side of the court who was so much more interesting. *insert British accent* And the dog looked absolutely stunning in a pink leash. Her game could be characterized in one word: rusty. She wasn't hitting with much pop or power or placement, and those three P's are a bitch if you don't follow them. Supposedly, afterwards she requested that the dog have Evian water (5.00
I watched bits and pieces of Safarova and Anabel, and again Lucie made it to the court this time without the hand cramps. Safarova has the same game each time, hit the ball very hard, paint a line, be an error-whore for some time, and then depending on how long she's been giving out her error services, she'll win or lose. Medina Garrigues, isn't only a clay courter, she can hit the ball with lots of pace (though she was mostly using Lucie's power) and hit the ball either down-the-line or notch a great crosscourt winner. The biggest problem with watching Safarova, is that points are rarely long with her- winner or error by the 3rd ball (if you got that far). Plus her movement is not smooth, it tends to be really clunky like she's falling over to get the ball instead of gliding like Anabel - the again it could be that Nike dress which really made me realize, why be an error whore when you can just be a whore itself. Lucie made droves of errors by the end of it, but I see her being a top 16 seed by the time she comes to Toronto again.
By this time it was about mid afternoon and who pops her head but, Flavia Pennetta! She's beyond friendly as well, and she's amazingly good looking. She was hitting with Conchita, who is much nicer than people say. SHe was ignoring people when she was busy talking to Patricia Tarabini (by this time Pennetta was all smiles talking to a reporter who earlier needed me to show him who she is) and people called her name even when she got up but didn't listen. Then she moved farther down and signed autographs for about 3 minutes and after I congratulated her for winning Pattaya she was all smiles. But did I say that Flavia is gorgeous. But in a girl next door way. Camerin is the kind that you see in a club and think, "I wanna tap that ass". Vaidisova is the kind that looks at you, then realizes your 10 inches shorter than her and walks away (of course with daddy beside her).
The Chinese girls were practising together (Zheng and Li) and it surprised me how very good they play. I like Zheng's game more because she can rip the ball too, but she puts top spin so that it is still a very safe shot. She also shoots like a rocket with her motion, because she is so petite. Li is obviously much older, looks a little more serious, still friendly, but at first when she saw all the people wanting autographs she looked like "wow, why are you all hear. Sugiyama is on Court 4" SHe signed and ran over to her entourage after having a massage on her legs. She said she will be defending Guangzhou, though she mayve have misheard me ask her did you win Guangzhou or do you like Guangzhou? Though, her serve is much nicer than Zheng's. Zheng practises a lot more on her return, while Li focuses on the serve itself. Both phenominal players.
Bartoli beat Kirilenko after she retired from the match. Where does she go 10 minutes later you ask? To practise with the speed demon herself, Nicoletta Pratt. Marion now hits the ball and hoops her arms around her neck and the racquet of her head. Against Serena's 100 mph groundstrokes, she'll be struggling to waste that much energy and time on her strokes and yet still get the ball back over the net. She can still get a lot of pace off the ball, but it was funny- those who have their dads as their coach hate to listen to them or shut them up. Her dad kept telling her something, and each time she gave the universal look of "dad not in front of my friends". I like Pratt and she smiled after I told her I loved watching her play Venus at Wimbledon. She'll be playing Hew Haven next week. Lucky bitches.
Martina practised. It's more interesting to hear the people ask who she is than follow what she's actually doing. SHe makes the odd joke, but it was more after the match. People were crowding around her trying for her autograph and when she finally left, the security guards were very tight and stood on the back of her cart. Bad idea. Then the car began to drive. The weight of the two men pushed the back of the cart down, forcing the back metal thing to drag causing sparks and the front of the car up in mid air (including Martina) Suddenly the security got off and the cart came back in the air. Everyone was scared for a second, but Martina wasn't. SHe patted beside her seat to signal the guards to sit beside her, rather than kill her. SHe laughed it off and then drove into Centre Court.
The Centre Court night match really sucked. Tati scared me with how miserably bad her warm up was. Balls far out, volleys far out, missed overheads, inability to keep the ball in play. Poor Sprem, earlier she waited 2 minutes with a woman dieing to get a picture of her, but the camera wasn't working. She waited even laughed, and grew so much more respect for this struggling sophomore. The first set was serve- error, or serve- return - error, or fi you were lucky serve- return - return - error. It was painful to watch, and after a rally of 5 balls the tennis shit heads clapped like Nadal was playing Agassi. When I came back, the match had gotten better, but there were still an awful number of errors. To Golovin's credit, a player like Sprem who hits the ball hard and flat, with lots of errors and winners is hard to beat or even get into a groove with. To Sprem's credit, Montreal's points have already come off.