My trip to the Athens $100k: very impressed!
A bit late, I know, but I am on holiday and I have better things to do most days than tap away on a keyboard in an internet cafe.
Anyway, this year, I went to Athens and walking past the Temple of Olympian Zeus, I noticed signs for the $100k ITF event. The next day was semi-finals day and so I popped along as I had two hours to kill before meeting friends and going to the beach and it was right near my hotel.
Very impressed! I have never been to an ITF event but I am sure this is not like a normal one. It had the feel of a WTA event and presumably was staged where the previous WTA event was held. It had all the facilities you would expect of a minor WTA event - a nice programme to buy, cafe, there was a small crowd, staff liveried in Vogue Athens Open t-shirts, and disco music booming at the change of ends.
Saw part of both semis. First match - Lourdes Dominguez-Lino had far too much clay-court craft for Magdalena Rybarikova whose game subsided into error as the Spaniard's clever topspin and dropshots got her into all sorts of trouble. You could tell that the Spaniard was born to clay as her movement was also perfect; she completely neutralised the more powerful Slovakian. Second match featured the classy Sorana Mihaela Cristea (beautiful and hard-hitting, she will definitely be a pin-up once she reaches the top 20, which I can see happening) against the anxious bespectacled Kirsten Flipkens. Obviously this was a much bigger match for the Belgian, who could have re-entered the top 100 by winning this event and seemed very distraught whenever things went a bit wrong; Cristea was just too good.
Recommended if it happens next year.