My Day 1 and 2 at the Oz Open
Very excited to head to the Australian Open, the 25 year in a row.
The crowds are on the brink of outta control these days. Pretty much impossible to slip into MCA & on Monday, it was near impossible to jump into a match on the outsides courts as well. And for good but not really well known players. I guess it is really good that it is so popular.
3 favs, Julia Gorges, Many Minella and Karin Knapp were on today.
I jumped straight in to watch Julia Goerges- who is normally so exciting to watch. In her match against the dour Dushevina, you were waiting for Julia to change gears. It didnít happen. Occasionally, we got a glimpse of brilliance, often followed with a frustrating error. I left after the first set, walking passed an uncomfortable looking Tadde Malek. Her, pretty gross, boyfriend/coach/friend/male companion was literally acting like an octopus whith arms and body all over her. Hope tadde comes back into the top 100 this year!
Literally I couldnít find a set anywhere, which wasnít the be all and end all as there was no one I was desperate to see. Would have liked to see Jones and Plishkova, purely as I hadnít see them but couldnít get in.
I wandered out to see Julian Benneteu- who I really like. He was pretty inspired against Sharapovaís boyf- who didnít seem that excited to be there. Arnaud Clement looked on.
Next door was Reister and a very well supported Rufin. Dustin brown wandered in to support his countryman, got a nod from Serra, who sat next to Mr Chatterbox Di Pasquale. Roux also there. Paire, Mahut and Essyeric watched on as well. Good game, Rufin is defo a player to watch in the future.
I went over to see Cirstea and Vanderweaigh. Not a great match to watch, too many errors from Coco. In fact, when I arrived, I was clearly bad luck for Coc, she literally couldnít keep a ball in. Jan Michael watched on. He didnít seem so impressed. I really am not interested in his sexual orientation but know it is talked about a but I will say he has a lot of very feminine gestures.
I watched Karin next. Having had to wait years to see her back live, I maybe was overly anticipating her strong play. The match was underwhelming to say the least. It is well documented all the injury and health issues Karin has had. Maybe they have taken their toll. She is nowhere near as free flowing or natural as she once was. The match, as the score indicated was very even. Having watched Koehler in qualies, her level of play was again down. Maybe both players were super nervous given the huge opportunity they had in front of them. Koehler, who has a bit of a temper, had a little bit more variety than Karin, which was the reason why she won, and a loss on concentration from Karin in the 3rd set She certainly fought and it was one of those matches were you wanted to walk away because the quality wasnít great but you knew she could have come back and won. She didnít. Sousa came to watch his countrywomen. She was quite verbal. He is very slight in build.
Next door Mandy Minella had started. She has changed her service style, and sponsor. Serve is much more compact. Looks much more stable. It doesnít match the rest of her game which is all armsy and bambi on ice. Hadnít seen little Val. Sort of looks like Kournikova. Like most Russians, very tenacious. She is also very emotional and quite frankly, really annoying. Doubling up and fist pumping over a normal point is pretty over the top. The tie break was really close but mandy is just too loose. The Russian (and mandy losing) was too frustrating so I wandered off.
I really like Giraldo and Harrison, so checked that out on court 8. Having seen Harrison on tv a few times I was surprised how he doesnít hit the ball that hard. Santi is very skinny for his height. He has pin legs. He had this match in his [packet, Harrison missed a lot and got even more tentative and Santi, up an set and a break, started missing himself. Understandably, he realised the choke and got really pissed. Both players well supported from countrymen/woman.
Massive crowd, mostly kiwiís watched Erakovic and Cornet. Watched for a while, Cornet wasnít playing great, and was having the usual emotional chats to her coach in the stands. Fusai also watched on. It, as the score suggests, was really close. Just points here and there. Cornet won the first set as the kiwi got a bit tight.
I went over to watch Rogowska. It was 4-4 maybe in the 3rd. Again, like the score suggests, really close. Solid hitting form the baseline. Both really good at changing direction. Having watched Rogowska against Arvidsson last year and again this match, she mustnít be able to keep this level up (outside Australia??) because both played like top 80 plays, Rogowska certainly had her chances, was 2 points away from victory a few times, either could have won. With 100 points to defend here and I think qrts of KL coming up, this Olivia may have lost her chance to reach top 100.
Was keen to see Giorgi play and also see Steph play again. Giorgi was wearing like a missoni print tight dress. Very night club. Maybe she hadnít been home from the Players party at Breezes?? She played like she had jst got off the party boat. As you would have expect, Steph was very stable and plays the percentages. Camila, all over the shop and literally 2 shots into a rally would go for a winner, mostly ending in error. She must have had some purple patch at Wimby bc she was pretty average today.
Watched some of Janowicz and Bolelli. Simone has such a smooth game. So natural. Where is the Pole is very manufactured and harsh. His serve is massive. When he is on, hard to return. He also gets emotions, which is pretty good to watch too!
Day 2- Does fortune favour the brave?
I was keen to see Torro Flor and Murguza today. Heard a bit about them, both had rapid rises in 2012, so was happy they were on adjorning courts today. Also hanging too see the lovely Sofia Arvidsson!
Again, massive crowds and no chnace to see King/Kirileko, Carla/Sara, Petrova/Date K which, not so sad about.
Was really happy that Becca Marino came back last year and won an $25K ITF. Especially seeing her so disinterested last year againt Arn.
Very sadly, I found her in the same frame of mind, with no tenacity, little interest, it was like she is letting the world go by. No dount, even though I am not a fan, Peng is good. But the Canandian, simply didnít seem interested. Having wathced her 3 years ago on TV vs Venus at the Us Open and then 2 years ago live vs Namigata, it was like a different player. Gone is the intensity, even a little bit prickly in personality. It is such a shame. I hope she can get her mojo back. Talking of lost Mojo, Genie Bouchard watched on.
I really like Tomaz Bellucci too. Not sure where his mind was at though. For a srong, fit guy with a big enough game like he has, and the fact that he wasnít playing a top 10íer, he just shouldnít lose like that.
Disappointed, I saw some of JP Smith, a handly but light weight left vs Sousa, who is very much a carbon copy of SantiGiraldo. Tall, skinny, good looking Latino. He was just too solid for the Aussie, who maybe tried too hard.
Watch out Iveta Benesova. A leopard never changes his spots! Jurgen melzer (and his coach) joined me to see the end of the 1st set of Panova and Peer. Having a things for the Eatsern Euro laides (Myskina, Cibilkova and current wife) I presume he was there for Sasha. The match itself, not so good. Peer, who we know took all that time off, still very very rusty. Sasha, maybe nervous but really a pusher and not you expect for a big srong woman. Anyway, good like iveta with that. Maybe next time, even if your injured, you should come on the trip down, bc ol Jergen doesnít like he can keep it in his pants.
Next was Garcia vs the Hobart Champ. Watched by Parmentier and Amelie, Fusai and Nat Dechyís husband, Garcia played some great tennis. Looks like she is being coached by Gaby Urpi, Flavia (and Paola and many otherís coach). I have no idea why she isnít on the brink of the top 50 rather than trying to re enter the top 150. Maybe the Frenchies will know, has she been injured, something else going on? She has the shots, great physique for tennis, clearly has the ongoing support of the French Federation and has a great coach. Vesnina, clearly is in good form. But. Garcia could/should have taken that 2nd set. At the moment, seems like a waste that she insít ranked at least 100 spots higher than she is.
Talking of unfulfilled talent, not only did court 8 feature Marino, next up was Hercog. In complete contrast, in every way, was her opponent, Lepchenko. Like last year against Goerges, Hercog struck me as a player with enormous potential. She is so natural. Lepchenko, although a lefty, is awkward but desperate and hard working. Lepchenko has used every ounce of her talent and concentrates hard. Herog is easily distracted. I think maybe she hurt her back againbut she desperately needs to work on her mental aspect.
Having not seen Beck, but also read a lot about her and her rise and Junior French Open win, wanted to see Beck. She is little, which I noticed at qualies but has beautiful smooth strokes and a great ability to change direction of the ball. It was an even and fun to watch match against Slava. You forget how big and strong the Russian turned Kazak is. She is really strong. Just a bit inconsistent.. Not sure if Slava will be able to progress much assed her current rank but think Beck has top 30 all over her.
Next up, one of my favs Roby Vinci and Soler-Espinsa. God match to watch. Both women really similarly matched. Soler is dogged but it was Robys variety and ability to be brave at the right time that got her over the line. Soler, to me, is a dark haired look alike to Sabine Lisicki. Having not seen her much before, I must say I became a fan. She is in fila now, not sure if she has been before? Karin Knapp came and watched. I wanted to go have chats and say you made me sadÖ..but I didnít. Mara Santangelo sat in front of me and supported her former Fed Cup team mate. (actually very passionatly) I liked mara but she was always a bit tom boyish and daggy. There was something different about mara. Yes, there was the makeup, (maybe I thought she had been working on Italian TV) but there was more. Hair longer and blonder. Still very tom boyishly dressed, singlet over t shirt and long shorts, Ö.but there was something else. Nose job. Yep Nose Job. Although her nose ws com;peyly in proportion before, it is now petiteÖ.maybe a bit perfect. Whatas, good luck to her. She seems realy really nice as well.
Next door was Torro Flor, up against a Serbian and a Serbian crowd. Torro is so not like a female Spanish player form the past. Tall, blond and strong, she has a forehand very much like Dave ferrer. She also has a temper. She was in a winning position but got distracted, threw her racquet a few times and all of a sudden found herself down 5-2 in the 3rd. She fought back, and like the Knapp match the day before, could have come back, right till the last point, I really like her though. For a tall girl, she needs to improve her serve. Like Dave again, she spins it in when she should be winning a lot of free points. Unlike Dave, she is too slow and is flat footed. She is also a bit hunch like in posture, like Lindsay Davenport. Like Lindsay, she does seem to doubt herself a bit & lacks a bit of variety. I really hope she improved her fitness and serve bc she is defo top 50 potential. I am surprised her best results are on clay. Thought hard court would suit her better. The 2nd and 3rd sets saw a lot of breaks. Whilst both are good returners, both could have served better. Arruabarrena-V came and watched. She was the braver today but didnít win .
Over to the other non Spaniard Spaniard! Like Torro Flor, Murguza is taller than most of the other players form the Iberian peninsula. For those who know the Australian Swimmer, Stephanie Rice, I think Garbine looks a lot like her. Funny enough, a lot of things remind me of other players when I see Garbine. Her initial serving stance reminds me of paola Suarez. He backhand take back reminds me of J-Cap and her initial forehand swing looks like Tax garbin. In regards to style of play over all, she is a really steady baseliner who does everything well, but nothing spectacularly. Very Flavia or Paola. Maybe taller but not as fast. Demeanour very Sofia Arvidsson. Pretty calm. Since I like all these players, I of course love Garbine! I actually thought with the hype and the wildcard into Miami last year that Garbine maybe be better Ė that is harsh- hit harder than she did. She has a big heart though. She was very very brave. And has a steely resolve. Saving 3 match points with cold winners was a thrill to watch. Unlike J Cap and Paola, she didnít feel comfortable coming into the net or show much variety in her serve nor groundies. Had she felt comfortable there, or shown a bit of variety she would have won this match pretty easily. I probably havenít been as unimpressed with a player as much as Rybarikova. Sorry to offend those who like her but I hadnít seen her before and other than a solid serve, which at her height she should be doing more with. She is lanky and like Mandy, has a very armsy action, especially on her forehand. I actually donít think I have seen worse and more pushy player in a long, long long time. Especially in the 3rd set, the start, where she got to 3-0, she did nothing but slice down the middle of the court. Poor Garbine was clearly frustrated and made a lot of misses before regaining her composure. Hence my comment about a more confident player at the net being able to beat her easily. I really am not sure how she has got to the ranking she has got too if that is how she plays day in day out.
For garbine, for her to be able to progress and improve her attacking net play, may need to change coach. Currently she has Alejo Manasidor He is no doubt experienced and been around for while-offf the top o my head he coached maria Sanchez Lorenzo and at a time Parra. I love both those players but neither are known for their volleys. I sat next to him and then a very very very dejected Torro Flor, and her coach. Torro Flor perked up and cheered loudly for her friend later in the match. Silvia Soler also watched. Later they were joined briefly by Llagostera. Arruabarrena-V sat on the other side of the stands. In the end, the brave did win! There was a massive crowd, including a lot of Jewish people who had some from Peer and Weintraub and were waiting for Sela, who was next on court.
In the end the brave won. Rybarikovaís pushes and garbineís inexperience couldnít stop the gorgeous Spaniard!
I had wanted to watch Johansson (luckily I dint) who was on the court nearby but I dint want to leave the match. Amelie, Parmentier and Garcia walked passed together, obviously coming back from supporting Johansson (in vain).
I swung around to see another very close match between Gavrilova and Lauren I love Jesus Davis. Having only seen her once, briefly on tv against Stosur many years ago, I was shocked to see how short Davis is. And also how stocky she is. I remembered her being waif thin, and whilst she is not fat at all, she is very robust. Although I was disappointed Gavrilova beat Genie, as I noticed when she played the Canuck, as pugnacious and tenacious as she is, Gavrilova is a very good sport. She applauds her opponents winners and is a hell of lot for graceful than Lil Lauren. I tell, ya, I am not so sure baby Cheeses would be liking her bad sportsmanship. Like Sharon Fichman, for a player as small as that, she should be quicker. As tenacious as they are, they need to be quicker. Her style reminds me very much of Tatiana Panova. Dour and sour. Too. Her serve is a major major liability. A better player would eat it alive. Iíd be surprised if she can progress any further than were she is now.
Pefect timing too see Sofia on the outside courts on the other side of complex. Hadnít seen or heard much about Kumkhum. With boy short hair, she plays like Morigami. She has a terrible temper, which I will get too. So I have watched and loved and cringed at Sofia for years. Iíve seen great matches like beating bartoli in the first round a few years ok, or even against Stosur in Brisbane or Jovanonski in Moscow. On these days, she is aggressive and moves her opponent around the court. ( a la amy Frazier style) last year against Rogowska, she simply had soppy and couldnít care l Sofia. Didnít concentrate. Although she didnít like the move to court 22, where people could walk passed and she often waited staring for calm, she definitely tried. What I dinít get was her passive counter punching game. She should have won the first set. What was more astounding was her tactic. She continually hit straight back to the testy Thai. The Thai ate up this up and made Sofia move. Whilst Sofiaís mobility has improved, she still isnít the best retriever. When the tables turned, literally once of twice, Soifia won. In one great rally., Sofiua had the Thai on the run, to her credit Luksika retrieved really well but a short volley gave Sofia the point. The nasty Thai had a meltdown. I am not sure why. No call was close. She stared yelling Rodionova style and then hit the side umbrella with her racquet. She also threw her racquet, although she was wining. After setting up match point she carried on about some call. She is nasty pasty. No like. Like Karinís match, you would have thought Sofia could have always come back. Sadly no. No comeback . And as much as I donít like the Thai, she was the braver and won.
Saw a little of Pavs and Tsuerenko in their Brisbane re match. Tsurenkoís face reminds me of Iroda Tulygovoa, who I adored. Pavís- watched by Patrick- just didnít win the big points. OIt was close but she found herself down 4-0. I left and was surprised she pulled it back to 5-5 before losing as she dint have the momentum.
Not that they were my favs but as I didníT want to leave, so I dropped in to see U Rad and Hampton. U Rad, simply a mess. Her awkward forehand was wayward. I know Jamie was injured for most of the 2nd half of last year but I must say I am surprised he hasnít progressed further. She has a pretty solid no fuss game. And although I have seen her 2íce against players having very bad days (Mandy M last year and U Rad this year) she does seem to have Top 50 potential all over her.
Anyway, I had enough after a few games when it was clear U rad couldnít get her game sorted and sadly left the Open for another year.
CanĎt wait for next year and to see MCA and all the other develops finished!
Hope everyone else who went had a great time too!