Well this is it you guys, my final report! I woke up exta early on Sunday and caught the early train out to Tokyo. Even though I already had a ticket for a nosebleed seat, I was hoping to get there early and get one of the four courtside tickets available. Unfortunately, when I got there there were Japs already lined up from the Coliseum all the way to 3/4 of the tournament grounds. My jaw dropped, but I got in line anyway. After waiting for an hour and a half (and moving less than 50 yards ) I noticed that they opened the gates early and a FLOOD of people were SWARMING into the Coliseum. I was So I abandoned the whole courtside seat hope and high tailed it to center court. When I got in, the seat I chose wasn't half bad actually It was hardly the nosebleed seat I'd imagined although I think I saw God sittin' a couple seats behind me Anyway Bartoli/Nakamura!!!! This match was awesome and a great thriller to watch. In the first set, Aiko RACED to a *5-0 lead and I was like WTF!?!? She played great, moved great, and was on top of things. She did well in tactically hitting behind Marion to get some pretty good winners. A couple times, Aiko would hit a winner and Marion would just stand there lol. Marion wasn't helping the matter either by spraying balls long. Marion came back towards the end, but Aiko closed out the 1st set
In the 2nd set, Aiko was getting a bit tired and her serve deserted her. Marion took the go-for-broke shots out of her game so the rallies became longer which didn't work in Aiko's favor either. As Marion climbed up to a *3-0 lead in the 2nd, I noticed that she slowed down her service motion a bit. Nakamura then cranked it up with some gutsy play to break and get to *1-3. She resumed hitting her groundstrokes with the biting pace that helped her win the 1st set. This carried into the next game so Aiko held serve to close the gap at *2-3. Now it was Marion's turn to up her game. She laid on some strong serves to hold at *4-2. The last point was a good rally with the players scrambling left and right. Again, Marion laid on the pressure with bold returning to break serve and get to *5-2. Marion put a lot of zip on her strokes and was looking really good out there. Bartoli closed out the set with a love game and well placed serves. A couple key notes: Aiko was bending over and doing some leg/back stretching after the first point of this game, also Bartoli was practising her swings behind the baseline after each point throughout the whole match.
Third set!!! Aiko took a restroom break after the end of the 2nd set and immediately doubled faulted when she got back Bartoli hit an awesome, deep backhand DTL winner. Aiko levelled it at 30 all with 2 winners of her own, but Marion was persistent and broke. Bartoli really ran away with the next game and dominated Nakamura by moving her around with her depth and angles. She wore her out. Bartoli then broke to go up *3-0. That game was error-laden on Nakamura's behalf and she seemed really tired. An interesting thing about this game was that Aiko nailed a serve right into the body and Marion was totally immobile. It was a good tactic, shame she couldn't keep it up. Bartoli continued to absolutely STEAMROLL and go up *4-0 and Nakamura showed so grit to finally get on the scoreboard *1-4. Aiko came up with some really good shots to break and lessen the gap to *2-4. In particular, she was working the Bartoli backhand, but Bartoli broke back with some good returns and aggresive play.
Bartoli closed out the match and the match point ended with a smash by Aiko that was ruled out. I thought it caught the outside of the line and so did everyone else, but the ump said, "Game, set, match Bartoli" and Aiko turned around surprised. We were all surprised, but we applauded and that was that. Come to think of it, TOO MANY matches ended in this way. The Morigami match ended like that, the Srichaphan match ended like that. Even Henman was ragging on the linesmen. In summation, the Bartoli/Nakamura match was great!!!! It was a pleasure to see a battle between two two-handers off both sides. Bartoli didn't get to emotional when Nakamura ran up to such a quick lead in the first set and it helped for her. As Aiko began to cool off, Marion began to warm up. Another awesome thing is that Bartoli was really getting low and scooping up Aiko's shots. All too many times, Aiko would blast one over the net and Bartoli just got low and thumped it back.....WITH INTEREST! Marion's movement was great contrary to popular belief and I didn't think she looked half-bad out there. Sure she may be a double-wide, but hardly a brick house (that's reserved for Dellacqua ). If anything, this tournament really made me a fan of such players as Bartoli, Safarova, and Osterloh. And it made me even more fans of Jackson, Shaughnessy, Suarez, and Dulko. And some players were just.........not gonna name any names With that said, I had a blast as this was my first tournament. I was a little sad when I was leaving the gates, but the good times totally overshadow that I took so many pics and have so many memories that I can't wait for next year!!!! Take care ladies and thanks for stopping by!!!!!!