Ok, so here is Day 2 of Polishprodigy and Charlda's travels at the Rogers Cup.
(ALT) Jozami (ARG) vs. Klepac (SLO)
Charlda only saw a bit of this match and was impressed with Klepac's play from Wimbledon, and saw that she kept her great form of serving well and hitting hard. With Jozami missing way too much, Klepac was able to win easily.
(ALT) Kuryanovich (BLR) vs. Gagliardi (SUI)
Saw a bit of this match, not really a big deal. We were curious to see who got the ALT, and realized it was Irina. She didn't have the weapons to even compete with Gagliardi, so we left.
(8) Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Sromova (CZE)
Saw all of this match, and have some nice pics too. Sromova had a hard time keeping some shots in play, particularly on key points, as she missed mid-court shots at the backcourt or vollies at the net. Wozniacki wasn't really going for her shots persay, she didn't really strike too many winners, but she was hitting some angles and waiting for the Sromova error. Wozniacki doesn't have too much of a powerful game, but has a nice serve and a really good backhand. So, first set, Wozniacki went up 5-2, faultered a little, and won 6-3. Sromova plays interestingly, much like Randy H
, with a "pancake forehand". In the early second set, she rolled over her ankle and received medical treatment (I believe at 6-3 2-1). Good news was that she continued and it didn't seem to bother her too much. Wozniacki sometimes had a hard time putting balls away at times, and engaged in longer rallies and points and games in the second set, but ultimately was able to get Sromova to fess up an error. Wozniacki did have more winners in the second set. Final score 6-3 6-3 for the Polish Dane, who I must say is very good looking.
(9) Rodionova (RUS) vs. Czink (HUN)
Saw all of this match, although it was shortened. Czink had troubles with her serves, while Rodionova was hitting some service winners and aces in her games. Rodionova started off extremely well, eventually jumping out to a 5-2 lead through forcing Czink to make errors and through strong play with winners and hard serves. Rodionova also had a strong cheer from some people in the crowd, so I made sure to shout a "GO MELINDA!" and "YES!" after Czink hit some good shots. Czink made a comeback at the end of the first, breaking and holding for 4-5. However, Rodionova was able to regroup and win the set with some powerful points and some sloppy errors from Czink. Interesting note: Czink called for her coach at the end of the set. Second set, Czink started off strong, and was having chances to break Rodionova. At the start of the set, Czink called for a trainer to help with what appeared to be a wrist problem. All of a sudden, at 6-4 2-1, Czink got the trainer and had all sorts of testing done on her. She had her ear checked, her vital signs checked (heart pulse etc), and her wrists, and ultimately retired. One of the reasons I went to this match was to see if Rodionova and Czink would get bitchy. Well Rodionova did contest a few calls with the umpire and stare at certain calls and lines for like 30 seconds, but both players were generally calm and collected. Nothing like the stories we have heard before. No fans felt threatened, and Rodionova appreciated the non-Russian fans shouting out Russian sayings (well they didn't look Russian anyway). Such cheer ons as "NASTYA!" and Russian sayings which one spectator behind me called "unga bunga" were certainly appreciated and acknowledged by the Russian.
(12) Olaru (ROU) vs. (16) Pin (FRA)
Olaru had looked so impressive in her first round match, so I was looking forward to this match, especially against probably the best counter-puncher around (well maybe not the best, but the most adorable). Olaru started off great, leading 4-1, hitting winners off both sides (her backhand is incredible). Her returns were also perfect on Pin's always-on-the-forehand-and-slow serves. A lot more errors from Olaru led to Pin getting back on serve at 4-3 (Pin was also hitting much deeper and changing the direction quite weel). At 4-3, in what was probably the turning point of the match, Olaru had like 5 break points, only to see her miss easy balls and Pin holding for 4-4. After holding easily, we thought Olary would win the set, only to see Pin become fiesty, run every single ball down, and show how crafty she can get with volleys, lobs and drop shots and even saved a set point. She even broke to lead 6-5, had a set point, only to see Olaru do a return winner off a weak first serve. Olaru ended up breaking with impressive hard hitting...We expected Olaru to cruise in the tiebreak...we were wrong again. Pin started to attack really well: she would change the direction of the ball perfectly, hit deep in the corners, and move forward, finishing it up perfectly at the net. She led 6-4. Olaru then saved another 2 set points (i started thinking about how Camille can't close out matches). To my delight (I was probably the only one for Camille, though I like Olaru a lot) Camille ended up winning 7-6(6).
Funny fact: Late in the set (around 5-5) a group of geese flew over the court. I mean there was like 25 of them, all grouped. It was very pretty to see them fly this way, and both players looked up. Olaru's face didn't change much, but Pin just looked so happy and radiant and loved the moment. Then, she came back to reality: one lovely goose had, hum, dropped the results of digestion right on the service line in front of her. Olaru was ready to serve and no one noticed until Pin yelled *Let*, totally laughing. She said to the umpire: *Couldn't that be slippery?*. The umpire looked down, chuckled, and asked a not-so-interested ballboy to take a towel and clean it off. He did, to the crowd's delight (and probably his own disgust) and play could continue. See, you can try to stop the Pin train, but even geese shit can't do it!
The second set was similar to the end of the first: Olaru missing easy balls (about everything really), and Pin just being the usual self. She was so happy of her win, smiling, laughing and being congratulated by her countrywomen (Foretz and Johansson). I took a picture with her, she seemed incredibly happy, and the picture is adorable. I mean it had to be: both the people in it are.
Random practice matches:
Tu vs Jackson: First of all, I had no idea that Tu spoke perfect French. Her coach was always talking to her in French and she would answer like it was usual. Randy H reminded me that Tu shared a coach with Anne Kremer for a long time, and I recognized him. Jamea was with her usual very-tall american coach (always with Shenay, Laura, etc). She was hitting decently well, but just couldn't string good points together. She looked in shape though, which is the most important thing, but her game is still very rusty.
Dubois vs Brianti: Ok I hadn't talked about my Ninou yet, but I can't hold it anymore. Steph is coming off a great string of results on the challenger circuit, and I was wondering what suddenly turned her year around. She herself had told to her parents: You'll see, I'm not the same player anymore. And guess what? She isn't. There is some spark in her game, just like she used to, but even better. She was hitting SOOOOO deep on every shot. Her serve improved A LOT. So far this week-end, she had played a few practice matches. First one against Klepac ended up 4-0, then Poutchkova 3-0 and today, Brianti 6-0. The best thing about all of this? She seems to be enjoying herself again
Happy Steph = Happy me = Great results. Funny fact: At one point in a close game, Steph hit a great shot to get the ad. I yelled: Come on Steph, she laughed cause it was practice. I said: Well I have to practice too. Everyone around started laughing. I love her entourage really.
Fichman vs practice partner: Sharon was hitting incredibly well. She can hit her shots so hard, it was just crazy at times. Peng was practicing beside her and looked like she was wondering who that girl was. Overall, she played awesome, looked relaxed. I KNOW that if she can use the offense I saw there during her matches, she could do very well on tour. Being defensive seems to be her security blanket, but she needs real bad to get out of the comfort zone, which she seems to be doing now that she is back. Hopefully it works out for her.
It started raining quite bad a like 2, so all matches were delayed. After waiting for a while, we decided to come back home (with my unfulfilled dreams). I randomly went on a picture streak in the middle of the day: Jesse offered to take pics of me with players, and it got a little overboard. I must say it looked like I loved the Frenchies today. BTW, hopefully Jesse is a better linesman than photographer: he actually took a video of me and Shahar, where we see us smiling for the picture, then her face like: Ok, is it done?, then the camera looking at the floor and us being confused.
Tomorrow, start of the main draw
I already have my Number One Fan shirt ready for Steph's match. Pathetic? A little