Live from Durban
Hi guys, just got back from the hotel. What a wonderful day of tennis it has been. The tie is level at 1-1 after Natalie Grainden lost, but Amanda recovered from a slow start to win in 3 sets.
Natalie's match, I feel, could have gone her way, but in the end Koukalova's greater experience pulled her through. The Czechs led 2-0, Natalie brought it back to 2-2, held for 3-2, Czechs held for 3-3, Natalie got broke for 3-4, broke back for 4-4, got broke for 4-5, broke back for 5-5, got broke, after leading 30-0, for 5-6, and with three forehands winners and a winning serve on setpoint the 1st set was history. Pretty much the same trend in the 2nd, and the Czechs went up 1-0. I was encouraged by how Natalie tried to change the pace of the game. High loopy forehands, but she can flatten it out as well, good slice. But Koukalova's solid ground strokes coped with all that.
Amanda stepped out and immediately had her opponent at 0-40. But Strycova won 5 straight points to hold. Games went with serve until Styconva broke for 3-1. She held for 4-1. Amanda rallied and brought it back to 3-4. And serving at 30-0 in the next game I thought the tide was turning. NNOOOTTT. A couple of errors and the Czech girl broke for 5-3. I still thought at 30-0 Amanda could pull it off (remember the Zvonereva match when Vera served at 5-3 30-0 and Amanda won the set?). Amanda made it 30-15, but a forehand wide made it 40-15, she n the next point for 40-30, but a service winner from Strycova ensured the set.
I should just add that while I was screaming my lungs out, the rest of the crowd just sat there. I was really irritated, because what is homeground advantage if the home crowds don't pull their players through?
Second set Amanda cut down her errors more, and raced to a 4-1 lead. Strycova held for 2-4, but that would be the last service game she'd hold onto. Gusty play from Amanda really paid off. She was hitting beautiful slices off the backhand,, even a couple of drive volleys. As happens when people start losing matches, the Czechs queried every close call. Amanda was regularly hitting those lines.
Third set Amanda broke for 2-0 and after leading 40-15 on serve next game, she managed to lose the game. Broke for 3-1, held for 4-1, broke for 5-1, got broke for 5-2, and after Strycova made unforced errors whenever she had a chance to go to 3-5, match point came. In the end a backhand long from the Czech player made my screaming efforts worthwhile. By that time the crowd had livened up a bit, and a couple of others where now also shouting some "C'mon Amanda"'s.
After the match went to where press interviews were conducted. Either Amanda was talking very softly, or I'm going deaf, but at times I couldn't hear a thing. Finally they were done, and she posed for 2 pictures with me.
Well, Amanda's next match is at 9:30 tomorrow, so until then it's Good bye from Durban.
Last edited by butch; Jul 19th, 2003 at 06:47 PM.