Thanks to Star from menstennisforums
I wasted all morning with the computer guy, and my computer still has the same problem tonight, even though it appeared to be fixed this morning.
Long story short: I missed getting to the site first thing in the morning, and I felt a bit rushed and discombobulated all the rest of the day. I never felt I was in sync with the matches etc.
First the bad news, and for those of you who love the outer courts it really kind of sucks. First, they have abolished the BEST seats on the outer courts. The south bleachers at Court 4 where you could get some shade by sitting up against the back wall during mid-day and also stand up on the changeovers and catch some of the match on Court 5 --- They are GONE! They’ve put up some bleachers on the east side of Court four and gotten some extra seats on Court 4 like that. BUT there are NO bleachers on Court 5 at all. NONE. Also there aren’t any bleachers at all on courts 7 and 8. That’s going to be a total mess once the men’s qualies get started. I don’t know where everyone is going to be. Some volunteer told me that they have eliminated a THOUSAND seats from the outer courts.
Also the really great seats at the north and south ends of Stadium 2 are GONE. Now you can’t get a seat right behind the back stop. There’s a gap. Stadium 3 on the south side has the same sort of set up as it used to…. Sort of… but there are fewer seats there too and the entry into the bleachers there too. It’s really kind of sad because year after year, the outer courts are getting to be a little less fun.
As for the tennis: The best match I saw all day was Kirilenko vs. Pisnik. It was extremely entertaining until Pisnik had to retire.
Tina (and where has she been for so long?) was mixing it up with a lot of one-handed backhand slices, and Maria was making a concerted effort to come into the net as much as she could. The third game of the match was a portent of things to come. It went about 8 deuces. The rest of the set was equally as entertaining. This pattern happened about 7 or 8 times during the first set: Maria comes to the net; Tina hits a crafty lob; Maria races back to the base line and gets the ball in play; Tina hits a drop shot; Maria can’t get there in time. Great stuff. Or Tina comes to the net and sticks a volley, or gets passed. Tina had great disguise on her drop shot and Maria didn’t get to a single one until the second set.
Maria managed to break at 5 all, but Tina broke right back, Tiebreak. Wooo… It seems it will be close, but no. It’s not close. Tina races out to a 6-1 lead. Maria gets it back to 6-4, but Tina closes it out. Of course, only one thing can happen at that point. You guessed it! Maria takes a bathroom break.
The first set took more than an hour. The second set where Maria managed to win 6-3 also took about an hour. There were so many games with multiple deuces. Tina was fighting like a mad woman the whole match. She was scrambling and huffing and puffing, but managing to get to impossible balls and putting them away for winners too! Oh, and by the way, she is wearing her hair in dreadlocks. Yes, dreadlocks. Bleached blond dreadlocks. Her girlfriend was sitting right behind us and was talking to her the whole time in Slovenian, and sometimes Tina would look up at her and talk to her too. We would get to see her beautiful blue green eyes then.
But sadly, Tina had to retire in the third set because of a neck problem. By that time she was two breaks down. I was impressed with both girls. (except for the bathroom break thingy) Maria was intent on coming into the net. She’s a graceful player, but so very small, I don’t see how her game can stand up against the big girls.
Also I saw some of Dokic. She looks very slender and fit although her thigh was strapped. She looked quite intense on the court. Not happy, but not unhappy. Just very serious. She played a sloppy first set with a lot of errors and deservedly lost. She tightened up her game in the second set.
I finally saw Beygelzimer in person. I have doubts about her just based on her appearance. She had practically no calf muscles. Her lower legs are extremely thin. I’ve never seen a top player (man or woman) who didn’t have well developed calves. Even the girls who are quite slender and fragile looking have these terrific thighs and calves.
I was really disappointed because I wanted to see Shikha Uberoi. I went to Court 3. Antoinella was there waiting… patiently and then more impatiently, and then the other player arrived. I thought to myself…. Hmmmm Uberoi looks a lot different in person. She’s not nearly as deeply tan as I thought she would be. Her face is particularly fair. And…. Well, I just saw her that one time…. So maybe I forgot what she looks like. Ha! It was Alves! I didn’t’ realize it until the umpire introduced her. They never even changed the scoreboard for the first three games. Alves, I now know, is a lefty. For a while I thought Uberoi was a lefty.
Ok… For sightings. I saw KIM!!
She looked slimmer to me. She also looks a bit more mature in the face ( or maybe it is just my imagination) She walked right by me. So we are just a few feet apart. She didn’t say hi or anything.
Someone I know who has membership in the tennis club there said she walked into the club last week and saw Kim, and almost went up to her and started talking because she felt she knew her….. but was surprised to see her there so unexpectedly. But she limited herself to saying: “It’s nice to see you back,” to which Kim replied, “Thank you.”
Oh, and these people told me that they had to resurface some of the courts three times!!! THREE times! Think of the expense. Normally they resurface starting around November/December and are finished sometime in January/February. But this time the weather was so very very wet (12” of rain in Palm Springs since the beginning of the year when they haven’t had a total of 12” of rain for a whole 5 year period before that) anyway… so wet that the sand under the concrete slab of the courts got wet and activated the alkaline acid in the sand which ate through the concrete in places and caused bubbles in the surfaces of some of the courts. Later a tournament official who was sitting with Pisnik’s girlfriend confirmed this account. He said they were getting very nervous. But the expense must have been enormous.
Ok… back to sightings…. Labadze… somebody I thought was Ivan L., but wasn’t. Elena DementedServe. Mauresmo. Oh…. And Mary Pierce standing all by herself in front of the credentialing trailer reading some announcements (at least I think that’s what she was doing… if not, she has an unnatural interest in the sides of trailers) Lots of players I couldn’t identify. And also there is a picture of some gorgeous boy wiping off the sweat from his brow on the Fila tent…. REALLY big picture. I don’t know who it is, but he is beautiful.
Oh, and I saw Wayne Arthurs! I thought: How did you get here so damn fast? But it was definitely him. He must have hopped on a plane immediately after the tie.
I got to the site really early today. I parked in my usual place today and had a nice time chatting with the parking lot attendant. She’s the same one every year. She’s French Canadian and she and her husband work down in Palm Springs in the winter and then in Alberta, Canada during the summer. She’s very nice and we’ve had fun over the years.
Oh, and guess what? They took down the bleachers that were by the practice court where you could sit and watch the practices! I don’t get it.
I walked around the practice courts looking for familiar faces, but seeing few. It was nice just hanging out. There was a black guy who was coaching a black girl I didn’t recognize. He was talking to a foreign looking white girl who appeared to be a player even though she wasn’t dressed out. He was saying: Those are the matches you’ve got to find a way to win. That’s why it’s called a break through. You have to do it. The girl smiled tentatively and she and the man she was with walked away. I exchanged a few words with the guy. I wish I knew who he is. I’ll look for him later in the tournament. He seemed like a really good guy. I saw Clement
running around the grassy area doing that skip thing where he pulls his knee up really high like about every fifth step, and I saw Maria K
stretching and skipping rope. I saw Gags
running around the grassy area too. Her coach was really pushing her and demonstrated how he wanted her to run the sideways steps. Kiefer
was practicing too with someone I didn’t know. Suarez
was practicing too. I also saw Dokic
(more about her later) She was practicing on Court Five. She looked ok. She’s nice and slim but she still has her little jelly belly pouching out.
So the first match. I wanted to see Galina Voskoboeva and Laura Pous Tio.
Galina Voskoboeva is very tall and built like a volleyball player. Thin and long. Laura Pous Tio is short and compact with heavy thighs and a thick torso. She was over matched. Galina went out to a 5-0 lead and I left to watch Mariana Diaz-Oliva
play Maureen Drake
. It was a pretty close match and Drake was playing fairly well. It was so funny to see Drake because she used to be the original rock and roll rebel with weird hair and bizarre clothing. Now she looks like she’s a thirty-five year old mother of two who plays club tennis. Anyway, she was doing well, but she started losing her temper and yelling at herself even when she was winning points. She was terrorizing the little ball girl…. Not that she was doing anything absolutely awful, but she wasn’t happy with the ball girl… she wasn’t happy with anything.. but you could see the ball girl was nearly frozen with fear. When it looked like Mariana had the thing pretty much wrapped up, I left to sneak a look at Camille Pin. After that I watched part of the Kirilenko match. It wasn’t very exciting. Maria didn’t come to the net much, but really she didn’t have to do much because Kelly McCain wasn’t very good.
So, another turn around the practice courts.
JIAT AND NICKI ALERT
A lot of people were gathered around one of the main practice courts so I went to see who it was. Next door with pretty no body watching was Tammy Tanasugarn.
There wasn’t anyone visible on the court everyone was gathered around so I walked on around the corner and there was MARAT!!
(time for Jiat and Nicki to jump around
) He looked like he was having a good time and was smiling. He still has the beard thing going on. He was with some thin shorter guy I didn’t recognize.
Back to Stadium 2 to watch Jelena Dokic
She actually looked pretty good at the beginning of the match. She got an early break and Salerni was missing a lot of shots. Then Jelena inexplicably lost her serve. She had been occasionally double faulting yesterday and today…. But in the eighth game she hit 5 faults in a row and was broken. I could see the wheels had come off for some reason and didn’t want to stick around to see the train wreck. Anyway, I had told Avocadoe I would look out for [b]Shikha Uberoi, so I went over to court four, which mercifully was beginning to be in the shade… although it didn’t reach me for another 45 minutes.
This was the match of the day!!! Ekaterina Bychkova and Shikha Uberoi
Ranked 146 and 147. It had everything. All court play… volleys… nerve wracking long long rallies usually ending either with a winner or a forced error… bathroom breaks… trainer being called… and VOMITING!! What more could you ask for?
The first set was great. Even though the score was one sided, there were many deuce games and lots of exciting play. Uberoi went to the net whenever she could get in. She played very aggressively and hit very hard. Bychkova had great length to her balls but was getting eaten up by Uberoi’s net play and aggression. Bychkova deserves the name.
She screams. She rants. She talks to the backstop to calm herself. She was near tears a few times in the match. After losing the first set, Bychkova took a bathroom break.
Man, I don’t know what they have in those bathrooms, but it seems to work like a charm. The second set featured several breaks of serve and lots of deuce games and rallies that seemed to never end and were hard to watch just because of the sheer tension. At least all of us thought the match was tension filled, but… little did we know what tension was at that point. Shika got an early break and we all thought she was on her way to winning, but no. Bychkova broke back and then broke again. It was all over in that set for Shika.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s lost a set? You got it. She goes to the bathroom, and Shika is no exception. She hied herself off to the magic room. Both girls seemed a little tired at the end of the second set. Shika had lost some pop on her serve and had double faulted too.
The third set: Oh my gosh. I wasn’t taking notes and I may remember this all wrong. Shika looked fresh. She was up on her serve (oh did I mention that Shika had a bad bad habit of getting behind in her service games?) And she looked ready to hold… I think this would have put her up a break, but Bychkova broke her. All even. Then it was back and forth, back and forth. Both girls were aiming for the lines. Uberoi was rushing the net on deep approach shots to the corner. Sometimes she made it. Sometimes she couldn’t put the volley away even after three times, and Bychkova would save the point with some sort of miraculous determination. The crowd was really appreciating both players. Bychkova was fighting like a tigress. She would scream and yell and be nearly overcome with emotion, but a little chat with the back fence would put her right again, and she would come out and win the next point with brilliant play.
Finally, Uberoi broke. She was serving for the match. But her bad habit got her in trouble. Soon she was down 0-40. Could she save it? It seemed impossible. BUT she fought off three break points. She pulled it to deuce. And then match point! But Bychkova saved it. Desperately determined she would not give in. And she rallied to break Uberoi. Uberoi was nearly on her knees grabbing at her thigh. Bychkova looked wobbly legged.
Oh yeah. I forgot that Uberoi complained about line calls quite a bit. Not in a bitchy way, but still she complained, AND she took TONS of time between points. She got a time violation, and still took time. In that game where she was broken she found a new way to gain extra time. She called the ball girl from the net out to wipe up the court…. Like way in the back of the baseline…. Way way back. Then she did it again too, although this time it was inside the lines.
So the break back. But where is the trainer and where is the vomiting, you ask? Ah… the drama. The announcement is made right after Bychkova broke back. The trainer has been called. Which player… the crowd buzzed. The consensus was Bychkova had called for the trainer. Not to be outdone, Uberoi has a ball kid bring her an icepack, which she puts on her shoulder. The trainer comes. She finds one icepack and is looking for another, but of course, Uberoi has that one. The trainer improvises. She put the ice pack somewhat mysteriously between Bychkova’s legs underneath her skirt. Then massaged Bychkova’s thighs. We are watching intently. Suddenly there is movement at Uberoi’s chair. What??? Liquid hits the court. The woman next to me said. She’s throwing up.
Sure enough there is Uberoi at the trash can that is right behind Bychkova’s chair trying to get the cover off. A man from the crowd helps her. She puts her head in the trash can. She stays like that for a long time. She finally comes up looking refreshed.
The trainer finishes and leaves. Uberoi is explaining to the umpire that she just threw up, but she is looking good. We are all thinking she probably feels a lot better now that she threw up. Sure enough she does look like she feels good. She gets up on Bychkova’s serve. Bychkova gets it to deuce. There are more crazy long rallies. Uberoi has AD. Uberoi wins the point. The crowd sits stupidly silent as Uberoi throws up her hands in relieved victory celebration. We can’t believe it is actually over. Finally the crowd stands to give the young women the applause they deserve. People are happy for Uberoi but sad for Bychkova. Tennis is very cruel.
It was a dazzling match. It took over 2 ½ hours and was entertaining every single moment.