i attended the final round of qualies and also attended the day and night sessions on both tuesday and wednesday. i'm not going to give a play by play of the matches because i didn't memorize any of them and well, just can't be bothered to go into that much detail anyway...but i will give some general observations of some of the matches and some other fun stuff that went on while i was there. so here goes...
final day of qualies
sromova d. govortsova:
i already talked a little about this match in another thread, but i'll give a recap here. olga is obviously a big hitter and was connecting in the first set and half and really overpowering sromova. hana basically spit the ball back and sliced quite a bit and olga began overhitting and making tons of errors. experience really won it for hana...were this match to take place again a year from now, a more experienced olga would blow hana off the court in straights
the strange thing about this match is that hana actually had two separate fans in the crowd, both of whom were weird and obnoxious! when i first heard the occasional cheer, i assumed it was people just wanting a third set...but when the cheers became louder and more frequent, i totally did a double take, thinking how could hana have fans in san diego. one of the fans was a large, round man wearing a bright orange shirt and matching orange socks. he kept moving back and forth to each side every few games to be nearest hana...
the second fan was a man with his three kids. he kept yelling things out like, "come on hana baby!" (baby?) and "finish her off!"
olga was clearly annoyed with both of them (as was i) and even complained to the chair umpire at one point, but he was like "what can i do..."
so my friends and i are perusing the practice courts when we happen upon none other than marion and dr. bartoli! of course, no one else was hitting with marion because as we know, no one likes her on tour
marion's dad had a box on court containing various props and implements for marion to use during practice. featured most prominently in this day's practice was a large lead pipe! yes, a pipe. marion was doing strange foot work drills with it by holding it in her left hand and swinging it at an imaginary ball while taking tiny, little steps. once i had seen the pipe come out, i couldn't bear stick around any longer to see what her dad was going to pull out next from his bag of tricks!
there's really noting else to note from the qualies i saw and the only thing that stands out from tuesday's matches is the complete mess that is olga poutchkova!
shaughnessy d. poutchkova:
what can one say about poor ogla these days! for starters, her serve is a disaster! she'll spin in a 65 mph first serve and then follow with a 99 mph second serve. she's almost dementieva-esque, in that she'll toss in a slow, short in the box serve, but then follow it up with tremendous groundstrokes. but at other times, she'll actually come up with a big serve, but then botch the next easy shot.
midway through the second set, during the change over, she was slumped over with her head burried in the towel crying. and when i say crying, she was visibly sobbing as her shoulders were moving up and down...very sad to see...
hantuchova d. azarenka:
i've seen a couple matches of azarenka now and she seems to be a bit of a slow starter, or at least, she has been this week. first set was close and really only decided by a couple points here and there. second set, vika came out on fire! she was completely overpowering daniela, which is what she should have been doing all along. daniela was often popping up balls and floating them back because she couldn't handle the pace. vika was also exposing daniela's almost unreal lack of mobility...in a way it's an achievement that daniela is able to move as slow as she does on court.
third set began where the second set left off with vika running daniela ragged and completely outhitting her. vika got the early break, but then completely lost the plot. she began making tons of errors...but also credit to daniela, who did pick up her game a notch or two in the final set.
general obversations: daniela continually taking longer than the time allotted between points gets really tedious...she also completely refuses to play at the server's pace. vika was ready to serve numerous times only to find daniela with her back turned, fumbling with her strings. also, am i the only one who finds daniela a bit of a prima donna and just a tad bitchy on court? (don't get me wrong, i wish more players were complete bitches on court because it's fun!)
there were a couple times when hawk eye was used and the point went against daniela...most players see the screen and move on, but not our daniela. unfortunately, san diego doesn't have a large screen to show the reviewed call, so the players often walk up to the little screen just under the chair umpire to see for themselves. daniela would not only look at the screen, but go back and stare at it, further delaying the game as if she still didn't believe the call. meanwhile, we have vika standing, ready to serve, waiting for daniela to remove her hands from her hips and get back on court to receive.
ok, now that we're done with the minor leagues of bitchiness, we move on to what i'm sure everyone's waiting for and that is the total and utter bitch that is rodionova! (oddly enough, vika finds herself the brunt of it once again...)
chakvetadze/azarenka d. vanc/rodionova:
so, singles matches had ended and my friends and i review the schedule to see if there are any doubles worth seeing, when i spot rodionova's name. i was hoping she'd be up to her usual antics (and she did not disappoint!) but thought even if she wasn't, i'd like to see anna and vika again. so we quickly head over to the side court and get there as the warm up was underway. as we sat there discussing some of rodionova's blowups, little did i know, things would get as crazy as they did and that my friends and i would actually be involved!
drama erupted almost immediately! while anna was serving to vanc, rodionova was shuffling her feet back and forth, making that squeeking noise shoes make on a hard court. anna complained to the umpire and immitated what rodionova was doing, which was hilarious to see!
now rodionova is serving to anna, and while mid way through the serve, vika starts purposely shuffling her feet, making that squeeking noise. my friends and i lost it and started laughing, which caused vika and anna to start laughing in the middle of the point (vika and anna still won it)!
vanc and rodionova go the umpire to complain, and while they're complaining, i call out, "go anna!" and anna and vika look over and start laughing again and anna does a little fist pump!
needless to say, rodionova was not amused and we seriously thought she was going to launch a ball at us!
instead, she takes her anger out on anna! she launched at least 6 or 7 balls directly at anna, hitting her about 3 times! one hit anna on the arm, which had to hurt, but anna just laughed each time she got nailed. the most flagrant attack came when rodionova was serving to vika and instead of serving into the box, she aimed directly at anna up at net, who got hit in the legs as she tried to move out of the way of the ball! again, anna just laughed, which irritated rodionova even more!
throughout the match, anna would mock rodionova by pumping her fist in an exaggerated manner and yelling "come on!" once she even did that lleyton hewitt thing, pointing her hand back at her face! total comedy. rodionova was seething!
then rodionova gets a bad call that the umpire wouldn't overrule, which i thought was totally gonna push her over the edge! she yells out, "what is going on?! are you (the umpire) just here to call the score or are you going to actually officiate?! they (anna and vika) get to do whatever they want, and you can't even watch the lines! what the hell?!" of course, this outburst had anna, vika and my friends and i laughing again.
anna and vika end up winning 6-4 6-4 and we're eagerly anticipating the exchange at net. the players are about to exchange hand shakes, when vanc pulls her hand away, takes off her sunglasses and begins lecturing anna and vika, while rodionova stands there staring at them. the reprimand ends and the players walk back to their chairs when rodionova stops and begins yelling at anna (it's times like this when i wish i spoke russian). well, anna wasn't having it! she starts yelling back and unfortunately, it didn't get physical
but for a moment there, it looked like it could...
good times. i've never been to such an entertaining and interactive doubles match in my life!
hope you guys enjoyed the report...it turned out longer than i expected...