Went to the Rogers Cup yesterday for the final qualifying rounds, but mostly I wanted to see the practice courts. I won’t babble on too much as Charlda
has already done a very nice job covering the event.
Got there at 3:00 pm and went to the practice courts straight away. I was shocked to find that Kim and Daniela were in the nearby court (to the stands) practicing together.
Eventually I got to sit front row, and took some pictures of both. While I was sitting in the stands, some people were asking around about who the girl in the blue is, and the guy sitting beside me answered Daniela Hantuchova, former top-10 (well, top 5 in my books but I may be biased as a fan). I thought she was more well-known
. Anyway, they were both playing well, Daniela was painting the lines, and Kim was hitting with a lot of pace. Eventually they played a practice game in which Daniela raced to a 3-0 lead; Kim was missing a lot of first serves and hitting a lot of balls out. Some guys around me were saying that “Daniela’s owning Kim.” Then Kim seemed to have found her range and came back from 40-15 on Dani’s serve to break her and then held her own service for 2-3, but they stopped playing then. Kim left soon after (got her autograph
), a lot of people wished her “welcome back” when she was signing. Daniela stayed to practice with her coach as the next group hasn’t arrived. Passos was training Daniela on coming into the net. He’d hit two consecutive serves, and Daniela would return the first normally and the second one at the service line. Passos wasn’t a great server
. Anyway, Makarova arrived for the next practice session and Daniela stretched for a bit, signed some autographs (I got one
), and left. On a random note, Daniela uses the Blackberry Tour and flew Delta.
While Daniela and Kim were practicing in the nearby court, Ana and Anabel was practicing in the second court. Ana looked much more tan in person and did not seem like she wanted to be there. Anabel was taped on both knees and didn’t move too well, and often got overpowered by Ana. At one point Medina Garrigues was so frustrated she yelled a couple sentences in Spanish really really loud (probably with profanity involved). Sveta and Vika were practicing in the third court. I couldn’t see too well but they were playing a practice game. There was a lot of emotion out there and the grunts just got louder and louder. Vika was wearing a white top and beige shorts (Adilibria colours), so at first I thought she was Wozniacki, but after some grunts I knew it was Vika. She threw her racquet at one point
, but was nice enough to sign autographs after her practice and left through the front, while Ana and Kuzzy snuck out the back
Later I saw a bit of Chakvetadze and Peer practicing. Both were hitting with a lot of power, but a lot of shots ended up going out. Anna’s coach wasn’t too happy, and they left right after the session ended. I went to the exit to see if Anna was signing autographs but a guy who was already waiting there told me that Anna was crying, so I didn’t bother chasing after her. Poor Chak, she wasn’t playing that bad, from what I saw, she was hitting better than Peer.
Patty arrived soon after on court with her husband/coach (I think) and they were hitting really well with each other. They could actually hit long rallies unlike the other practice sessions. After resting in the shade for a bit, Peer left. While getting her autograph, a guy was standing right beside me with his right shoulder facing Peer, and she though he wanted her to sign his right sleeve. Just as she was about to, he goes “No no, I just want a photo”. Shahar had to apologize
At 5-ish I left to see Kiri practice. Her hitting partner was Hsieh. When I got there, they were practicing net shots and smashes. Kiri couldn’t really feed smashes that well though, they were too far back and Hsieh either netted them or hit them out. Hsieh has a nice touch at net (probably why she’s high on the doubles rankings). However, when it came to baseline rallying, Kiri was ahead by a mile. Whenever Hsieh would hit a softer serve, Kiri would attack it with a blistering return. At one point, Kiri was resting in the corner and Hsieh’s trainer came by to talk to her about how he trains Vika, Kudryatseva and a few others at Del Ray in Florida, and Kiri was just nodding, she didn’t seem interested at all but he just kept rambling on.
Hsieh was signing autographs at one point, and realized that her name had been swapped with Peng’s in the Rogers Cup Magazine by accident, and did not know whether or not to sign beside her photo or her printed name.
Anyway, I waited until the end of the practice session for Kiri’s autograph, and helped a guy take a picture with her. She is even more gorgeous in person. I later learned that Kiri came to practice with her father (is she coached by him?
, and she doesn’t resemble him too much.) She left on a buggy soon after, and I went one court over and saw Cibulkova. She looked very muscular and was outhitting her male hitting partner (not sure if it was her coach).
I also saw bits of Dulko-Niculescu, and U.Radwanska-Safarova, but I have already rambled much more than I wanted to.