First off, my day got off to a horrific start. I took the wrong train (again
) and thought my whole world would collapse because I was stuck out in boondocks Yokohama while Venus and Alicia were duking it out. I was
By the time I got to Ariake, the match would have been an hour old and I was completely shellshocked by then. And guess what happened time I walked into the stadium??? On the bigscreen I saw the last point being played between Lee and Karlovic, so the Venus/Molik match hadn't even started!!! Lucky for me, Lee and Karlovic really played their hearts out and the final score was something like 7/6 6/7 7/6
They did me HUGE favor!!!
So I grabbed a couple snacks and sat down (in my nosebleed seat
) as play began.
A poster on this board said that, "This girl (Alicia) will get up for a Williams." And that's exactly what she did. The first couple of games (and the whole 1st set really) was a slugfest of whacked serves and thumped winners. Alicia started out really good about letting Venus know that she wasn't going to give her the match. Alicia was looking so strong off the forehand side and the backhand was decent. Alicia didn't come to net very much unless she needed to. Her game revolved heavily around her serve and the backhand was her soft spot. What I liked about Molik's play was that she taking her chances and keeping Venus on her heels during the 1st set. We were ooohing and aaaahing at the flat penetrating strokes that Molik was hitting. And when they weren't winners, they were at least moving Venus around.
Now Venus OTOH was red hot herself. I don't remember her hitting many errors, but she wasn't playing pittypatter out there either. This girl was dealing with the harsh blows Molik was dishing out until the right opportunity came to turn the tables. Another great thing was that Venus was flat out coming to net!!! Now that was really awesome to see because I think she threw in that tactic just for this match. I love you Alicia, but you're not the best mover on the tour hun
And with Venus up at net pressing the issue, Molik had her hands full rushing in for drop volleys or dashing crosscourt. Good play by Venus. A bad play by Venus was showing off so much of her 2nd serve (and DFs
) Keep that head up on your serve babe
I'm guessing it's common knowledge that Vee's 2nd serve is a bit questionable because every chance Molik got, she was stepping in and trying to take advantage of the weak 2nd delivers. I took a picture of Molik following through on a forehand while standing in the Deuce court. That was the exact point that Molik CRUSHED a return winner DTL off of one of Vee's 2nd serves. She hit it and the ball travelled so fast, it was insane. Clearly Alicia was mad when she hit it.
So with both ladies neck and neck in the 1st set, a tiebreak ensued. That's when Molik checked out.... I felt so bad for her because Vee ran off with the lead and on the last point, Vee hit a ball so close to the line that Molik thought I was out. Molik lifted it back with a weak backhand moonball expecting the call. Venus then raced to net and put it away like she was late for a nail appointment. The out call never came.
The 2nd set Molik came out firing, but it just wasn't the same. Her backhand just fell apart especially in the very last game. It was dishearting to see from Alicia given the array of laser guided missiles she was firing in the 1st set. But Venus kept putting the pressure one Molik's backhand 'til it folded like a house of cards. In the very last game Molik spewed 2-3 very bad backhands. One flew out the court and near took somebody's head off in a courtside seat and she wiffed another backhand that went straight up in the air. Kind of a deflated ended for Molik, but that's what Venus does. She keeps pouring on the heat until something breaks. Great match to watch though.
After the match, I went and found some shade for a bit. I was totally exhausted because the sun was out in full force. And with the roof open on the Coliseum, I was a BAKED MESS!!! lol. By the time I had recuperated, I learned that the Pin/Razzano match was over and I was upset.... I wanted to see that all Gallic lineup. From the looks of the scoreline, Virginie didn't care how cute Camille is. She said, "Look babe, I'm in it to win it" lol. So I stumbled into the a doubles match being played by Vania, Costano, Yonemura, and Sophie Ferguson. Sophie was really getting her backhands. I didn't know she had a one handed. I wanted to shout, "Go head, wit yo bad self babe." But I restrained myself, just in time for Tursunov/Lopez to take the court. I thought about going back to the Coliseum to watch Hewitt, but I didn't want to hear his incessant "C'mons"
So I stayed with Twiddledee and Twiddledumb lol. It was actually a fairly entertaining match. Based on what posters say, I expected Feliciano to be a total primadonna flipping his hair during changeovers, but he meant business today. This match was (like most ATP matches) all serve and zero rallies. And I'm positive Lopez likes it that way because that's all he's got. A hard serve, a shaky one-hander (that's often sliced), and a whirlwind forehand. Feli was really focused and I think that's what helped him. Dmitry seemed more the rallying type, but Feliciano wasn't having that lol.
On a side note, Tursunov was playing on the court next to the Koukalova/U. Radwanska match and he kept staring at both girls the whole time. Methinks if his thoughts had actions, both girls would be mothers in 9 months
Oh, and Feliciano looks like he's carved out of stone or something
After that, the sun had gone down so it was safe to go back to the
Coliseum. Flavia was putting the make on Mirza, but Sania wasn't going down without a fight. Both ladies were playing fierce deep shots and Mirza kept Flavia on the move. So much so that after the 1st set, Flavia took a meddy timeout to have her lower back worked on. Afterwards, she seemed fairly unencumbered and countinued to counterpunch Sania until the right moment came to put Mirza away. BTW, I didn't take any pics from this match because my batteries died
Both girls played great, but towards the middle of the 2nd set I actually fell asleep...if that tells anything.
Next was the Spadea/Ferrer match and Ferrer started out fierce and ended fierce. Not much to comment on other than, Ferrer is a grinder! He ground up Spadea and spit 'em out....especially in the 1st set. Also, it's annoying hearing Spadea grunt like he's being sodomized by a pool cue...
The last match was the Gasquet/Schuettler match and Rainier through everything, but the kitchen sink at little Richie. Rainier game is comprised of super flat strokes and they penetrated and stay low because he really LEANS on the ball. Amazing shots to see, but Richard wasn't impressed. What Gasquet does is return serve and shuffle 4-5 FT behind the baseline and strap on his running shoes. I don't know if he always plays like that, but it must be tiring. Richard, you aren't playing on clay right now hun
Or maybe it was the depth of Rainier's shots pinning Richard not just to the baseline, but behind it lol. So yeah, Richard did a lot of scrambling and when the opportunity presented itself, he turned the tables. Often Rainier would get impatience and try to bombrush the net and Gasquet would pass him. Rainer also tried Richard's previous opponents technique of trying to pick on Richard's backhand. Richard has good variety with the backhand though. When pressured, he can flatten it out and drive it DTL. But for the most part, Gasquet topspinned Rainer to death lol
Not necessarily moonball, but topspinned
So it was pretty late getting home after that, but I missed rush hour so things went (semi) smoothly!!!
I'm uploading the pics right now and will post them shortly