I saw on the schedule of play that 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Ting Li of China would play 2002 French Open Semi-Finalist Clarissa Fernandez as the 5th match of the day on Court 12. The match wouldn't start until around 6PM so I figured that I would make the trip to USO yesterday even though I had not planned on it because I could see a match I was interested in without taking time off work. So during the day I monitored the progress of play in that court and both WS matches went 3 sets.
I left the office when the 4th men's match between Pablo Andujar (ESP) and Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) started, thinking that if this was a straight set match, I would get there just in time for the Ting / Clarissa match. Got on the 7 Express Train from NYC that got me there faster than I expected.
Got to the grounds - first thing I saw was Billie Jean's name has not been added yet to the name of the USTA National Tennis Center
Then I hustled to Court 12 only to find that Lu had taken the first set in a tiebreak. I decided to walk around the grounds. On all the courts, Q matches were going on between players I had never heard of. I did see Barbora Strycova - she was cursing at herself and throwing a tantrum
. I walked to the practice courts and saw Ai Sugiyama hitting with Virginie Razzano. They ended shortly and kissed. Ai left first with her Japanese coaches and her mom. Then Virignie left w/ her coach. She was wearing short shorts that showed off her legs and damn she is taller than I expected w/ some fine legs!
I walked around the grounds some more. Was watching American Sam Warburg's qualifying match when a short girl with sunglasses stood next to me. She had a player's badge on so I sneaked a peek at the name and it was "Aravene Rezai" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn she is shorter than I thought in person. She was dressed in long pants and a collared shirt and sunglasses and just taking in the atmoshere her first time at USO, walking around and seeing the Q matches by herself. I also saw Rainer Schuttler walking around the grounds.
I then went back to Court 12. Pablo Andujar (ESP) had taken the 2nd set 63 and it was in a 3rd set. But there was a big development because in the stands, next to Pablo's coach was DINARA SAFINA, in all her hunched back glory, and Raouza Islanova. I grabbed a seat right next to Raouza. So it was me, Raouza, Dinara and Pablo's entourage all together
At first I thought Dinara was Pablo's gf but then I realized that Marat trained in Spain so she probably is friendly w/ the Spanish players. Anyway another Spanish player, Alex Calavatra came and kissed both Dinara and Raouza. During the 3rd set, Dinara was text messaging someone between points and rolled her eyes at the Taiwanese fans when the applauded a DF by Pablo
I think she must have been having a flashback to the Chinese fans at the AO when she played Jie Zheng.
Finally the Ting / Clarissa match came. They wore the same Nike outfit except Ting orange top, white pants and Clarissa pink top, pink pants. They are both really tall. I sat with Coach Yu of the CTA (Ting's coach), who I had met last year. She was in the stands way early during the men's match so I asked her why she was not with Ting in the locker room, discussing strategy. She said they had discussed enough.
The match was pretty exciting. Clarissa has a good lefty serve and forehand, but she spent most of her time being dictated to by Ting, whose groundstrokes were more powerful and who was more willing to approach the net. Clarissa let 62 31 but Ting came back with a series of powerful strokes and well constructed points to take 2nd 64. In the 3rd Ting had BP in the first game and GP in the 2nd but was down 02. She came back to 22 but then fell to 25. She broke Clarissa and held for 45, prompting Clarissa to smash her racket. BTW Clarissa looked like a Chipmuck with her teeth showing most of the time
In the end Clarissa closed it on her 3rd match point when Ting tried a low percentage backhand swing volley. The mainly Chinese crowd was dissapointed and Coach Yu was pissed.
That is all of my report from yesterday. Today I walked thru the Parker Meridian on my way to work again and saw Maria Vento-Kabchi, the first person to ever win a match on Arthur Ashe. She was waiting for a courtesy car. Hope you guys liked the report.