So, I went to down to Eastbourne on both Friday and Saturday...here's what happened.
We arrived in the city at around 10:15, and quickly booked into our hotel and left our cases there. The hotel was literally just across the road from the tennis - very convenient.
The first sight when I walked in was a huge poster of Lindsay
Anyway, we walked around the grounds for a while before play began. Almost immediately I walked straight past Maria Kirilenko
, who'd finished her practice session and seemed in a bit of a rush, so I didn't stop to ask for an autograph. We watched Amelie Mauresmo
practice for a while, with Loic keeping a watchful eye, and also saw Nadia Petrova
on the adjacent court. She was being fed a lot of slice BHs in preparation for the match.
Match #1: Henin def Bartoli 6-1 6-3
Justine started off pretty well, hitting several nice BH winners and serving strongly. Marion, on the other hand, seemed a bit nervous and as a result was error-strewn. She couldn't hurt Justine with her groundstrokes, which were dropping a little short at times.
Justine's level fell in the second though; she made noticeably more errors, particularly off the FH. Marion had a chance midway through at 3-2 (15-30 on Justine's serve), but Justine picked it up there, and once Bartoli missed a sitter at 3-3 to give away the break it was all over. Match point showcased Marion's volleying 'skills'
Match #2: Mauresmo def Petrova 6-4 ret.
This match started off quite promisingly, with both players hitting a number of winners. Nadia played a sloppy game at 2-3 to hand Amelie the advantage. Amelie served horrendously at *5-3 however, throwing in 3 double faults, including one on break point. It all ended very quickly; Nadia's first serve collapsed in the last game, Mauresmo took the set on a net cord, and suddenly Nadia retired. At the time it seemed a bit surprising, but in retrospect we knew that she had a niggling injury. I also saw her sitting down with her coach earlier in the morning and flexing her arm.
Match #3: Molik def Morigami 4-6 6-3 [10-8]
This was the final of the 'Strawberry Tea Cup'.
It took place on Court 1, and we were much closer to the players than on Centre. I haven't been to a tennis tournament before, so seeing how low over the net and how hard the pros hit was something I only truly realised these few days. It was a hotly contested match, but Alicia Molik's
serve proved to be the difference. She was quite emotional in victory; fell to her knees, kissed the court, etc. I was very happy for her. Akiko Morigami
played her part - I loved how low she got to each shot. Both players gave me autographs
The trophy was in the shape of a tea cup, and filled with strawberries and cream
, which Alicia shared out with the ball girls.
Match #4: Peschke/Stubbs def Black/Huber 6-3 2-6 7-6
We missed the first set of this match, which turned out to be pretty entertaining. Cara and Liezel were completely on top in the second set; both were volleying very well. There were plenty of crowd-pleasing rallies, with all four showing off their skills. I'd say that Rennae won it for her and Kveta though - she served to a good standard near the end and imposed herself at the net.
Match #5: Raymond/Stosur def Likhovtseva/Kirilenko 6-2 6-0
Lisa and Sam were in a totally different class to the Russians, who never looked like posing a serious challenge. Kirilenko hit the top of the net a lot with her groundstrokes. Raymond and Stosur played okay, but it was difficult to judge how well they played as they weren't tested at all.
- I'm sure I heard Elena Dementieva
practicing during the Mauresmo-Petrova match. Whenever the court went quiet, I could hear Elena's distinctive grunt in the background
- The on-court announcer kept pronouncing 'Amelie' as 'Emily'
- After the Molik-Morigami match, I walked past Court 3 or 4 and saw Malena Gordo (ARG) beat Laura Slater (GBR) [both juniors who I hadn't heard of] 10-8 in a champions tiebreak. Laura promptly broke into tears after the handshake
- Caroline Wozniacki
had to retire after losing the first set to Madison Brengle
in the girls' final. I didn't see it, so I hope everything's okay with her.
- There was no rain, which was a bit of a shock considering the dreary forecast. In fact I managed to get a nice tan
I'm sure I've left out some things - if you want to ask anything, feel free to do so.