We (meaning me and polishprodigy) might not umpire on centre court and/or visit the players lounge (YET, at least), but we did have our own share of Canadian Tennis viewing and some dirty looks by umpires.
Saturday August 11th:
Yan vs Ruano-Pascual
The lovely ladies around us were puzzled, and so were we. After sharing Tylenols with our neighbours, me and Paul realised (it did take us few minutes...ok twenty) that Yan WAS actually on court instead of Cravero. We then looked like the great tennis junkies we are and explained to the ladies that Cravero withdrew so Yan, as an alternate, replaced her. Yes we were wrong. And yes they still don't understand.
This match was pretty bad. As usual, Yan was hitting hard and flat on both sides with her two-handed shots. Her serve was really meh, but overall, this match was boring. Barely no winners, only unforced errors. Ruano did attempt to attack with her forehand and also had some pretty nice serves, but she was too shaky and just couldn't keep more than three balls in. Nice job for an alternate. Ruano....stick to doubles *sorry*.
Voskoboeva vs Errani
While Voskoboeva (and her cheater serve) is tall, lanky and we must say awkward looking, Errani is small, muscular and gutsy. We did see only a few points. Errani was better off the ground, and while she was mixing it up, Voskoboeva looked lost after missing either a low slice or a high volley. We left, and Galina ended up winning. Meh, we probably should have stayed.
Camerin vs O'Brien
Paul watched this match. Here is what he had to say: I came to this match and the scoreboard was messed up. Camerin was frustrated with her play, and so she made sloppy errors. Some weird man in the stands was cheering her on, and so she kept looking up to him when she made a mistake (isn't that your job Martijn?). He would shout out "you can do it" and other encouraging words, but he looked weird. Anyway, so O'brien led 4-3 and had a break point for 5-3. But Camerin managed to recover, in part due to O'Brien faultering under pressure and double faulting and making silly errors. The style of play was kinda boring, as both players hit back and forth to one another, waiting for one another's mistakes. They did use angles, but no outright winners. Anyway, Camerin did well, recovering and pulling out the set 6-4. After losing the game at 4-3, O'brien fell apart. She called for the coach after losing the set, but it didn't help, as she lost the second 6-0 (I missed this part). Good win for Camerin though! By the way, some annoying people in the stands who kept asking "What is she saying?" when Camerin would shout in Italian. At one point, Camerin shouted "NYET!" , so these people asked "What did she say? Is she russian? Check the schedule of play, I thought she was Italian!"
Olaru vs Birnerova
We arrived at this match and saw that Olaru was kicking Birnerova's ass as expected...so we left. Birnerova got over her loss by hanging out with a scary and bulky guy....*remembers the guy* Oh Birnerova played awesome
Cravero vs Shulaeva
After seeing Cravero's name up high on the scoreboard, we realised that Cravero was actually now the 25th seed. So then we concluded that Aravane withdrew. And explained it to the women. They seemed puzzled again. And we were wrong again.
Cravero started well, jumping to a 2-0 lead with her more consistent attack game. Katie needed to get in the groove and get rid of the nerves (George was smart to let Katie serve first, expecting nerves, which turned out to be true). Katie fought back, using her inside-out forehand a lot. BTW, the moment she started grunting, she won. Thanks Maria. Until 6-5 for Katie, both were hanging in there, until Cravero played a sucky game, missing a lot of those weird mid-court slices. Katie was hitting pretty hard and taking the ball early, as usual, and George was always on the defensive, and getting frustrated. Shulaeva's confidence kept increasing afterwards, especially after meeting with her coach between sets. We left to get to Val's court (She and her family had been nice to us already during the day), and saw that Katie was down a break. Thank god she managed not to choke the set away and win in the tiebreak. Great effort for her, best win ever, and a chance to qualify.
Tetreault vs Amanmuradova
Ok, Akgul is huge. She is tall....very tall. Also, she prefers NOT to wear a skirt, NOT to wear short ladies socks, but instead BAGGY mens shirts, BAGGY mens shorts, and TALL mens socks (Stacey and Clinton, she should get on What not to Wear). Even better, she needs a stylist. Do they have those in Uzbekistan? However, we can attest, she does modest female attributes, notably those on her chest (probably borrowed some from Iroda).
This match started out quite well, with Valerie hitting hard, and having some break points in the first game. But Akgul was able to hit hard serves and hit some quick points to win the game. Valerie held, and was able to hold strong until 2-2, when Akgul decided to go on a bizzarre winning streak. Here is how it went: Ace. Service Winner. Ace. Ace. On Val's serve: Return winner. Well placed drop shot. Return winner. Nasty slice. So, 12 points later, it was 5-2 Akgul. Woah. Akgul held strong and won the set 6-2. Poor Val, she wasn't doing anything wrong persay, but just was facing the fiery giant of Akgul. Second set: Val came out strong, breaking Akgul. She then held and had a 2-0 lead. We were both encouraged. (At this point, Paul quickly rushed over to let Valerie's parents know that Ekaterina Shulaeva had won her match....the winner played the winner of this match. After initially being scared of his oncoming presence, Val's parents were thankful with his charm). Akgul then decided to go on her winning streak again with the following strategies: Ace. Service Winner. Ace. Ace. Game. On Val's Serve: Drop shot. Hard angled shot. Return winner. Hard angled shot. Game. And what do you know, it is 6-2 6-2.
Cheering incident: Throughout the match, particularly during Akgul's winning streaks, I was vocally cheering on Val in french with such encouraging remarks as "Allez!", "Une bonne premiere Val!" etc. The latter remark got me a stare from the umpire, who continued to give me glares throughout the match. Paul had his nice "cheer-on" of "CLOSE IT!" also known as "FERME LA PARTIE!" (or Fermez la jeux in his words). Poor Val though, towards the end of the match, she was trying to step it up, but was missing by so little. Akgul really played well during her winning streaks. And did we say she was massive?
Dabrowski vs. Wozniacki
As Paul put this, it was the "battle of the Poles....well kind of...the Polish-speaking ex-pats". Wozniacki came on court laughing, chatting with the umpire (the ones sending me nasty looks earlier), smiling, being all cheerful...I guess playing a 15-year-old Canadian WC does that to you.
It was Gab's first time (of many I'm sure) playing at the Rogers Cup. She had a few supporters (which was more than like anyone today). She has a very nice game, very solid first serve, awesome backhand. But she is young and it shows. Wozniacki played a brilliant first set. She would attack anything that was short, and be patient with anything hit with decent pace. Final score: 6-0 in like 15 minutes. Result: Wozniacki asking for her coach
The second set was much better. Gabriela held to start it, even though Woz had her chances. You could feel that she was losing her focus. She held serve, then broke to go up 2-1. Gabriela was playing much better though: great defense, but also very smart attacking style (let's just say that the *I'll-hit-the-ball-as-hard-as-I-can-in-the-fence strategy* of the first wasn't working great). Overall, she gave Woz a run for her money, making it close until 5-3. In that last game, we saw Caro show her experience (I mean she is OLD, like 17!), and win the last game at love. Tough draw for Gab, but overall a nice experience, she needs to work on the mental aspects, cause the shots are definitely there.
Random comment: Best match style-wise (well it might have been cause Akgul was on the same court just before). Gab's white oufit was very nice and classic and Caro looked hot in a purple tank-top and her flared white skirt. Paul would have appreciated it more than I did. (Sadly, he was more interested in a Wendy's Frosty than in this match....He did say that Wozniacki was his favourite player...As Randy H said: He never mentioned that he liked an iced-drink less than his favorite player.)
Fichman vs. Cohen-Aloro
Yeesh. This was an interesting match-up. We must say that we thought Sharon would lose in two sets. But we forgot that it was now the new and improved Sharon (moonball free, ace-full, and some extra body weight (Take that Anna-Lena, it works for her!)). We came in at 4-1 Sharon...At that point, we thought she would choke, especially when she lost her serve at 4-2. Cohen-Aloro can play though. She can hit quite well, especially her backhand when she stepped into it. I think she was the definition of streaky though (though one thing will probably always remain: her bulky T and A *we are talking about thighs and ass here*). She would play great games with awesome winners (and Sharon being 4 meters behind the baseline) and then miss dropshots which didn't reach the net. Sharon's consistency paid off as she won the set 6-3, fist pumped, yelled come on (sadly, no *Make it!* for Paul). The second set was the same story. Cohen Aloro started strong, then had 3 break points only to see Sharon....hit two aces in a row *I can hear the WTFs even from here*. She ended the game on another ace (yes, three aces in one game. Yes, Sharon. Not Akgul. Sharon.) The set was close, we thought Cohen would push it to a third when she led 5-4, but she kinda screwed it up playing one of those bad games. Sharon played solid for the rest of the match, she just was steady. She didn't go for that much, but at least you could feel some weight behind her shots. Overall a great win for her in front of her homecrowd, and it is nice to see her back on court...With her new attitude, her new game, her bending on the knees worshipping some god after her win, and a new twist to her catch phrase: Take it!
See ya tomorrow people....And we will have pictures one day, don't worry!