a great day for me as i got to see all of my faves win their matches.
Patty was first and it was a bad start to the day for her as it was a miserable morning, cloudy, windy and cold, both Patty and Klara were playing in full sweatpants. Patty didnt win a point in her first service game and she was getting totally outplayed, basically overwhelmed by the pace, to 3-1 before Koukalova finally missed a couple of balls to give Patty a little breathing room. To everyone's surprise, right at that point in the match, the sun came out and warmed things up about 15 degrees, the balls started bouncing a bit higher which was favorable for Patty's topspin. Patty wasnt making first serves so when she got a lead at 4-3 it was pretty fortunate for her to be in that position. She played one more bad service game to get broken for 5-4, but from that point on Patty was very solid on the baseline, and quickly drove Klara to desperation tactics, you knew Klara was in trouble when she tried rushing the net against Patty's forehand on clay. Patty's slice backhand was in marvelous form and her 2-handed backhand was also much better than yesterday against Marrero.
From there i hustled over to the club court where Petrova had just won the first set against Kostanic. The games from 1-1 to 4-1 in the 2nd set were all very hard fought but Nadya kept pressing her advantage in power and played some excellent approach shots, volleys and overheads as well. Kostanic didn't want to give up those SF points from last year and she was fighting all the way. Nadya served for the match at 5-2 and had a 40-0 lead but Kostanic just refused to miss a ball and saved all the matchpoints, then won the game.
In the next game on her serve she saved five more match points and Nadya was going bananas, because the match points were so long and exhausting and she couldnt convert any of them. The 8th match point was the most amazing - a 31 shot rally side to side rally that ended when Kostanic dinked a mis-hit slice backhand that landed in front of the service line and just died - Nadya couldnt believe it and she looked the ballkid nearest to her and said "TOWEL" with the only breath she had, and took what seemed like a minute rest. Then she smacked a big forehand to get her ninth match point, and Kostanic doublefaulted into the top of tape to end it - you couldn't really fault her too much after saving 8 match points though.
Lena D's first set went so fast that i missed it while standing in line to buy a chicken sandwich at the concession stand. But in the second set Nuria was playing so impressive clay court tennis and some of the rallies were spectacular. I had never seen Nuria before - she is tiny and cute as a button, maybe only an inch taller than Coetzer. Lena had her thigh strapped but looked like she was moving fine and playing very confidently, hitting her serve with surprising authority with quite a few of them clocking over 110 mph. Although maybe the speed guns are juiced this year because it seems like everybody is serving faster than usual - Patty was up at 112 and Petrova hit 120. Anyway Lena hit some double faults but her serve really looked ok and there were times when she was downright aggressive with it. Including on her match point, she smacked a second serve down the middle as hard as she could, Nuria was waiting for it though and they had a pretty long rally of crosscourt backhands, until Lena saw a ball she liked, stepped in and rifled it down the line for a picture perfect winner and the match, shouting out a lovely yelp of delight.
A Lena vs Patty semifinal would make me just about happy enough to kiss a gorilla - one more match to go for each. The bad news is i have to work tomorrow and it seems i can't get out of it