Hello everyone and welcome to my first 2004 US Open report! Many of you have probably read my reports in the past years and once again I am lucky enough to be able to go to the Open this year. I am plan on going to the first six days of the tournament and will write here about my impressions on some matches, practices, I'll also be posting some photos that I'll have taken, so hopefully you will enjoy the ride. As I have said, out of the various tourmaments I have seen in my life, the US Open is clearly my favourite for so many reasons!
As I am about to leave towards New York, this first article will be a tournament preview giving impressions on the players involved, those I want to see (expect photos of those) as well what I expect from the upcoming 2 weeks. I will not talk about the ATP today though, but will be seeing some matches and reporting about them here.
Ok, so I will start by going quarter by quarter:)
First Quarter: After seeing the Olympic games, we have to respect Justine's preparation, she came back in a very impressive way and I think she'll do very well in this tournament. Two matches against qualifiers to start off her tournament will certainly help her take it a little easier and save herself for the second week. I will for sure try to go see the first round match between Maria Kirilenko and Elena Likhovtseva. I like Maria a lot, like her game, but I did see Elena play in Montreal against players like Myskina and she was playing very smart tennis, very patient. It should be a good test for Maria. Although, to her advantage, she is fairly consistent and patient. She will have a lot of points to defend though in this tournament, hopefully she can live well with the extra pressure. The bottom part of this quarter is pretty weak, even Nadia Petrova, who has been playing average tennis (compared to past results) in 2004 should be able to move on fairly easily, but I don't think she'll be able to do much damage against Justine...
Prediction: Justine def Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-2
Second Quarter: This section has a few more floaters in my opinion. Kuznetsova and Sharapova have been good and bad in 2004, really depends on when, they haven't been consistent enough to think this will be easy. But usually, both are able to pick up their games in bigger tournaments. Amy Frazier is a tricky player as well, a third round against Svetlana could prove tricky as Amy has been able to cause a few upsets in 2004... The first round match between Mary Pierce and Emilie Loit should be a good one in my opinion (provided Loit is in good physical shape). Pierce has been playing much improved tennis but she has a risky ball and a first round opponent like Emilie Loit will certainly be an interesting test. If ever Loit advances, she will certainly be someone Maria would not like to face..I saw their match in New York last year and it was so sad to watch, she didn't really know what to do against such a consistent, high percentage shot player. Sure, Maria has improved and learned a lot in 2004, but she is still vulnerable to upsets such as these until she learns how to use more variety against players with such a style...
Prediction: Maria Sharapova def Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Third Quarter: Well, no draw is easy but...Anastasia Myskina must be able to smile a little when she looks at her draw. A third round against Daniilidou could be tough but I don't really expect Daniilidou to make it there...On the other side, Paola Suarez has been very good in 2004, using her experience very well, I don't really see what could stop her from a third round match against Anastasia...but still she'd have no chance...
Fourth Quarter: Wow... 4 players to watch out for here. Elena Bovina, who has played solid in New Haven this week, could meet the red-hot Lindsay Davenport in the third round, while although unlikely, a matchup between Venus Williams and Mashona Washington could draw lots of interest. And without a doubt, no fourth round could challenge a match between Venus and Lindsay! Some say Lindsay peaked too soon, I think Lindsay knows all too well what she is doing and will make a solid run here!
Prediction: Lindsay Davenport def Venus Williams 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Fifth Quarter: Is this the time? No one can doubt Karolina Sprem's huge potential, she has a tough tricky draw here, I will certainly be watching her as much as possible. She has a possible third round encounter against Sugiyama (first round vs Kostanic is not a given either), she defeated Sugiyama in Montreal but lost in the Olympics, hopefully she learned from that loss and will take revenge here, she could then face Jennifer Capriati, which would be a good matchup for her since Capriati would be the heavy favourite. By who? Well pretty much everyone who just knows Jennifer's name and has no idea who K-Lina is. But we know better, Capriati could pull it off but she has been playing poorly in 2004 and I can't imagine her confidence level being very high (although she does always pick things up in New York).
Prediction: Karolina Sprem def Jennifer Capriati 7-6, 7-5
Sixth Quarter: Serena...will she playing, or won't she? She certainly has some interesting prospects in her quarter with Benesova (very interesting player, been solid this week although is not a challenger for 2nd week action in New York), Hantuchova (been improving steadily for a few months now both in terms of her game and her confidence), Schnyder (always tricky), Golovin (solid game, has improved a lot, but I question her belief in winning against top players) and Alicia Molik who has been on fire lately...
Prediction: Serena Williams def Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-2
Seventh Quarter: Hmmm well lots of questions here... Who is Elena Dementieva? The girl who made it to the French Open final with solid ground shots that compensated well for her serve? Or is she the ever-growing shaky Russian who's serve has taken her down the spiral (where Hantuchova has been and Dokic still is)... who knows right? But losing 6-1, 6-1 to Bovina today in New Haven has to be some kind of sign right?:( I think Dechy is a contender, I would really really like to see Jelena Dokic get things back in hand although to be honest to myself, I have to consider that more something I hope for than something I think will happen. But out of them, I think the best player is Vera Zvonareva, she impressed me very much in Montreal and seems on the verge of something great. She is capable of controlled agression and while her emotions still get in the way, it's nothing like it was a few years ago..
Prediction: Vera Zvonareva def Nathalie Dechy 6-4, 6-4
Eight Quarter: Amelie... she is capable of such great things, and such disapointments. Although she did prove in Wimbledon that maybe fluking was only a thing that happened in Paris, we still have to consider her an outsider to really win this title. However, no problems really in her first few matches, I don't think anyone can actually even test her...
Justine Henin-Hardenne def Maria Sharapova
Lindsay Davenport def Anastasia Myskina
Karolina Sprem def Serena Williams
Vera Zvonareva def Amelie Mauresmo
Hmmm a few things... I don't think Maria just hitting hard will be enough against Justine, this would be a great match though, two great fighters, I'd probably be pulling for Maria but I don't really see her game good enough right now to beat the world #1.
Lindsay has been playing awesome and her easy win against Anastasia this summer would certainly give her some kind of edge. Also, the way Lindsay is playing right now, Anastasia does not have much to hurt her, Lindsay has the advantage of having a big serve and a powerful return game...
What a match this would be, a revenge of the Venus-Karolina match.. I don't think Serena has played enough to be able to hit with consistency and power the way she would need to. Plus, Karolina is a great fighter and she'd be very pumped up for this match.
Tough one for me to call, I saw them play in Montreal, Vera should have won the first set, she was dominating, playing well, dictating, etc. But then something went wrong and Vera just lost it, I have confidence this time she'd keep her composure and win it, she does need to win the opening set though...
Justine Henin-Hardenne def Lindsay Davenport
Vera Zvonareva def Karolina Sprem
Tough call, I think this would be a huge battle and although Justine was injured for such a long time, I think her hard work for months and the fact Lindsay played so much would come into play, Justine has always been good because mentally, I don't think anyone is better right now, she never thinks she can lost.. coming back from 1-5 in Athens against Myskina was one example, but just one of many... Lindsay can get down on herself and I think she'll have trouble accepting this loss...
Vera...I think at this point she would realise what a huge opportunity she has in this tournament and while Karolina is a great player, she still has some weaknesses that a player like Vera, if well coached (she'd have a day off to prepare for this one), could take advantage of.
Vera Zvonareva def Justine Henin-Hardenne!!!
Tough one, I guess most people will laugh off this one, but I think if a Russian can keep up the tendancy, it will be Vera. She has a solid game and I think her huge desire if well controlled will help her win a first big title, a win that could also put her in the top 5 (if all the rest happens..what are the odds on all this?:)).
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:16 AM
I'm looking forward to your reports! Thank you
Aug 28th, 2004, 02:26 PM
No way! Molik will make the finals :D
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:25 PM
Funny how there are 8 quarters in your draw :lol:
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:35 PM
"Benesova (very interesting player, been solid this week although is not a challenger for 2nd week action in New York)"
Iveta will be in third round :bounce:
Aug 28th, 2004, 03:37 PM
Once again people rub off Chanda :rolleyes:
Aug 28th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Funny how there are 8 quarters in your draw :lol:
haha! :lol: :smash: :haha: :haha:
Aug 28th, 2004, 06:06 PM
Stick to reality, guyz!!!
Aug 30th, 2004, 04:32 AM
Hey guys...a first photo of Maria (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/sharapova01.jpg) ...well actually it isn't but they had this in Niketown (which I saw today)... in case it's of interest to anyone:) Many more photos and my report will be up in about 24 hours, I'm excited:)
Aug 31st, 2004, 06:14 AM
Well I'm writing my report right now, just to get started, here are two photos:
Hello and welcome to my third report:) By the way, you can see next of this one of my best photos I think for today:) Maria Kirilenko in action! So today, I arrived in Flushing Meadows at about 9:40, there really were not that many people, I guess the rain predictions were part of the reason. So anyway, I did not see that many practices of interest. It had rained earlier in the morning so some courts were still wet and besides Alina Jidkova, who I watched until she left, I did get a chance to wish her good luck and more importantly ask her if she'd be in Quebec city, she said she was pretty sure she would be:)
So not too long after, I headed towards court #6, where I was anxious to see Maria Kirilenko. Although I know she is still young, I had been impressed by her progress when I saw her play last year and was curious to see what she still needed to work on to get that "breakthrough" performance. I thought playing Likhovtseva would provide a good test given her level of play on the hard courts this summer. The match started off in a bit of a strange manner with Likhovtseva hitting a few bad serves, and a few unforced errors. Still, Maria was playing well, it is just amazing the variety she has and just her instincts, she came to the net a few times, etc. I think Likhovtseva although she surely knew Maria's game well, still anticipated to be the more consistent player, which wasn't the case, Maria was more than able to hit with her and although it was pretty tight, Maria came through. I must add though that, at the end of the first set as well as later on during the match, Elena made a few unfamiliar errors, just some unforced errors on some shots that seemed really harmless. Anyway, Maria was able to lift up the level of her game in key moments and it was good to see her play so well. If I had one thing in that first set to say, I remember Maria's 2003 US Open, she had probems once she was put on the defence in points, especially against Mauresmo. I didn't see anything to suggest she had improved much on that point. I guess against Likhovtseva it would be harder to see, but still I think it would be to her advantage to take more initiatives, like play a little more with angles, in order to be able to try some other things like going to the net. But again, it was one match and it was maybe the plan, so I'll be scouting the next one:)
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01kirilenko03b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01kirilenko03.jpg)The second set was strange, Maria went down 2-0 very early, she wasn't hitting as great but somehow it just seemed as though she had lost momentum after the first set momentum she had gained... But then Likhovtseva made an error similar to the one Dechy made yesterday, she gave 2-3 straight easy points to Maria, which helped to turn things around. Funny thing happened when at 1-3, Maria held her serve to 2-3 and then asked for the trainer.. she was treated for shoulder problems, so the delay was quite important, having the trainer come to court #6, evaluate Maria and then the treatment. As she was about to leave, Elena asked the trainer to come and treat her as well. When Maria saw that, she asked a ballboy to hit with her, he said yes and I guess everyone thought that was funny, so she pulled out a racquet, handed it to him and headed on the court... Thing is, the guy surely had not played much tennis in his life and couldn't really hit the ball over the net or in the court..!!! Imagine how everyone laughed, obviously not at him, I mean it's not his fault, but it was funny:) So finally she changed ideas and decided to hit some serves instead, he triehttp://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01kirilenko04b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01kirilenko04.jpg)d to return them unsuccessfully. The cameraman next to me suggested playing with the guy would give her confidence since she seemed so much better:) I laughed at the idea, but after she won the following 4 games and thus took the match, I didn't have much to say did I?:) And as you can see on this photo, Maria was very very happy to win the match:) She now advances to a match against Lisa Raymond, which should be very interesting, I hope it'll be on a small court:) I'll be there anyway:) So congrats to Maria, she played well, Elena didn't but I still think Maria could have taken the match, she played well enough to play, and I can't wait to see if she can do the same on Thursday.
I did not take too many photos after that, as I headed to Louis Armstrong for most of the day (too high to take good photos). I first saw the end of Henman-Karlovic, it was really an awesome match, great atmosphere, most fans were cheering for Tim, as was I, and he won! I'm usually pretty happy when one-dimensional players lose:) Anyway, I'll skip to Anastasia's match. It was a strange one I thought. From the moment she came on the court, she seemed in a hurry. I swear, it was as if she had an appointment in the afternoon, at the start of the match she started playing even before the umpire finished introducing the match, she was running after balls between points, getting up quickly between changeovers, etc, etc. She also was trying more winners than usually, just going for more and seeming to care about finishing quickly more than anything. I had never seen her act this way, I guess it was more good than bad, clearly, she had assumed she would win this match from the start, and she did, I guess some more confidence in her game is good. I was very surprised Cervanova played into the game though, she was following Myskina's pace and playing very fast. The match lasted 42 minutes, Myskina looked like the only player upset at her game, strange thing but yeah, that is what happened. So anyway, good performance by Nastya, she was solid in a 6-1, 6-0 win, I guess she has a few more "easier" matches so hopefully she can stay focused and be ready when she'll be challenged:)
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01ruanopascual01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/01ruanopascual01.jpg)After that match, I mostly walked around courts, watched some parts of a few matches, including Virginia Ruano-Pascual (see photo here), as well as a few others, nothing really incredible and i was quite tired from that crazy Monday! I finally left the stadium at around 6PM, to watch evening action on tv while a very busy day awaits tomorrow, a day where I'Ll be taking lots of photos of so many players, I am a bit sad to miss Molik-Hantuchova that will be played on centre court but the rest should be awesome, it will be a very long but very fun day!
Sep 1st, 2004, 05:25 AM
so who do you like tomorrow to advance russianfan? thanks for the pics
Sep 1st, 2004, 01:16 PM
so who do you like tomorrow to advance russianfan? thanks for the pics
Well in singles, among matches I'll see and favourites I am pretty confident for Golovin and Vera... I didn't see Patty play so no idea what to think of Iveta's chances...Douchevina and Bartoli should be good, I think Bartoli will win this one but again, have not seen Douchevina in one year (she had disapointed me last year)... Hantuchova vs Molik should be a tough one, very interesting... I don't know, I mean I think this will be a very interesting day!! Any requests? You have a few minutes:)
Hello!!! Well it's 11:45PM! It really seems like this week I will not be going to bed early after all, not that I'm complaining though:) I'm having a great week really! Wednesday, I expected another big day of tennis for me with lots of players I wanted to see in action. I was probably going to stay away from the big courts which sadly meant I would miss some interesting matches like Vera Z (but I was confident, I mean she is going to win the whole thing isn't she?!).
I got to the site at about 9:45AM and entered shortly after, again for some reason, not too many interesting practices were being held at the time, I went to watch Taylor Dent for a while, he was hitting serves so I was practicing my "take serving photos" skills, was kind of tough with him but hey:) I then headed to other courts, most notable player I saw was Gagliardi I guess, took a few photos and shortly after went towards court #6 where Iveta Benesova was playing. I was curious as to how she would be able to handle all those spins from Patty Schnyder, another player I like as well. The match went by very strangey, Iveta had a slow start but then came back and even got a 4-2 lead, at that point, I was honestly feeling pretty confident about her chances, but for some reason, everything changed at that point. I'm not sure what exactly happened but I think for sure Schnyder stopped taking chances and relied on a few things. First of all, Benesova's 2nd serve was a very apparent http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03schnyder01c.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03schnyder01.jpg)weakness, Patty hit many winners off of the serve and really did not seem to have any problems getting to it and hitting solid returns. Also, for some reason, Iveta's movement seemed deficient today. The number of times she got wrong-footed was a bit astonishing, I didn't know what wass going on, she was pretty upset at herself but I mean, I don't know, I didn't think Patty's shots could really explain why this was happening all the time. And thirdly, during rallies, Patty was putting lots of top spin thus getting her shots comfortably over the net while her opponent was hitting more flat and thus in the long run, she was missing more shots. So unfortunately, I guess Iveta did not have her A game and it seems as though after all Patty's game was not a good match. The second set, compared to the first one was very easy for Patty, her opponent was frustrated and hitting lots of errors because of it... I guess Iveta will know some things to work on as she continues her great improvement this year!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03pennetta01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03pennetta01.jpg)After the match, which wasn't that long, I headed towards court #10 but it was just too crowded for the Dulko-Sugiyama match so I went to #17 to watch Grande and Pennetta play doubles... Honestly, I still don't understand why Denisa Chladkova keeps her haircut so short, anyway, I guess it's besides the subject but I felt I had to talk about it! Anyway, so that doubles match was pretty interesting, some nice shot-making, and Flavia Pennetta was having a lot of fun on the court, which is always a lot of fun to watch. There were many Italians who were watching the match as well!
Then, I went walking around the courts, looking for what to do while Sebastien Grosjean continued his match (Golovin was to follow on #13), and suddenly I saw a very interesting practice court:) On that court, there was Magdalena Maleeva, Nathalie Dechy, Maria Kirilenko and Vera Douchevina! I had so many things to look at once, was trying to take lots of photos and was also trying to see what they were doing. It was kind of funny because Maria and Vera clearly were the least experience. While it didn't happen once (from what I saw) for Maggie and Nathalie, on several occasions, Maria or Vera http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03kirilenko01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03kirilenko01.jpg)sent the ball on the side of the court of Vera and Nathalie, which they were appologizing for every time, it was quite funny to be honest:) Maria had a cute shirt as you can see in the photo here.
Finally, as their practice ended, I went to get myself some pizza (9$US for those interested), and went to get my seat for Tatiana's match against Akiko Morigami. I think that was a very interesting match, it was much closer than the score would let you think. Both players seemed very good at building the points and then once they got the ball they wanted, they could hit the http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03golovin01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03golovin01.jpg)winner. I was impressed by Tatiana's fighting, she was not only fighting Morigami but also herself on many occasions as she was clearly very upset with her first serve for example. But she always stayed focused, tried to be on the offensive and keep the control of the match. It was much harder resistance than I had expected for sure. But Tatiana was hanging in there, doing her best to keep control of the match and I guess hoping to see at one point Akiko lose her rythm. And at the start of the second set that is exactly what happened, with Tatiana still controlling most of the rallies and making her opponent run a lot, she saw Morigami seem a little more tired and start to make some unforced errors. When Tatiana was finally able to consolidate a break, the match was pretty much over, I mean it was 2-1 I think but Morigami started missing shots by much bigger ranges and just honestly was not in there anymore, Tatiana was feeling it and I think she made a few mistakes in that regard. I mean, when your opponent is making mistakes all over and beating herself, why would you want to go to the net? That is what she did, Morigami hit a great passing shot and it gave her life for a few minutes.. luckily for Tatiana, that burst of energy did not last too long!!!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03sharapovar01m.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03sharapovar01.jpg)I finally left the match midway just minutes before it ended because I wanted to get myself a good place for Maria Sharapova's mixed doubles match and wow, good thing I did. I got there 30 minutes in advance and it was already filling up! With 10 minutes to go, you could say court #4 was filled up! And when I heard a voice behind me: "How come it's so crowded here, is someone going to be playing?", I looked back thinking "uhhh.. what the.. ", but then saw a big smile, it was Maria's dad, Yuri, he was with Max's dad, and they were looking for some places, but none were left!!! They were 2, and coach Robert Landsorp and her agent joined in moments later..! So finally we squeezed in, Yuri was behind me with Robert while her agent was next to me and Max's dad a little bit to my left, honestly, I can say her dad is a very nice, down to earth guy, he made lots of jokes, talked with people around him, it was great really! He told me pretty much that Maria was playing mixed doubles instead of doubles because "she has a good chance of getting very far with Max", and I do agree with that statement:) Her agent also talked about upcoming tournaments for her, etc.. anyway, it was interesting. Back to tennis though, Maria and Max played solid tennis, the two others certainly were a bit intidimated or "unfocused" at the start of the match because of the large crowd, but it was a very entertaining match. Maria and Max won, which made pretty much everyone happy, I got lots of photos, as did hundreds of others, and we all had fun. Yuri seemed to like Maria playing mixed doubles because of two things, obviously playing doubles will improve her game, especially net game but also, he liked to see her smile and thus relax during the match, something he seemed to think (I agree), she's been having problems with since Wimbledon with all the attention and expectations on her...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03benesova02b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03benesova02.jpg)After Maria's match, I saw mostly two matches, a little doubles from Iveta Benesova and Eva Birnerova, they played against two young Americans who honestly were not playing that great. But some problems on serve for Birnerova helped them stay in the game and even get some set points, I was happy to see the two Czeck players prevail in the end though. They do make an interesting pair to watch.
But most of the end of my day was spent on court #4, watching Vera Douchevina and Marion Bartoli. I like both players a lot and was not sure who to root for so I went with just hoping for a good match.. Well the first set was pretty tight, Marion had some problems with a leg but the rallies were of good quality but I just didn't sense any spark in Vera, any intensity that would have showed me how much she wanted to win... Marion won the first set but her phycial situation was deteriorating, she had to see a trainer, got the other leg taped as well and was clearly in more and more pain as the match went on.. I then started to root for Vera as I saw http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03douchevina01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03douchevina01.jpg)some sparks, even a few fists in the air, she was really trying. She seemed to have decided she would simply try to make it as painful for Marion to continue as possible, ok maybe that sounds harsh but you know what I mean. She played longer rallies, trying to make Marion run as much as possible from side to side, bringing her to the net, hitting lobs, etc.
Marion was in more and more pain and when it was 2-2, she had a setback that saw her lose the following 4 games... Vera must have been pretty confident. Then, the third set started, at that point, I saw no way Marion could hang in there, or could she? The first game lasted for at least 5 minutes, or so it seemed, they were having these huge rallies, with Bartoli seemingly suffering more and more, but Douchevina was playing smart, sticking to her game, she did go down an early break and even went down 2-1 with a break but even at that point, it seemed obvious Vera would win, how could she not, how could Marion even play with this much pain... But as points were going on, I guess we all kept thinking, what if she does do it, what if she can take this through and win the match, it seemed impossible but every shot made that reality a little closer... But then, http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03bartoli01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/03bartoli01.jpg)what everyone had expected by then happened, Marion's body started to give in, she was not able to run from side to side anymore, she had to force things, go to the net, Vera was keeping her calm and I was pretty happy for her, she slowly but surely advanced with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win, that was great wasn't it? She had played smart, patient tennis and was in her first ever grand slam 3rd round. Or was it really that great? Moments after the match, Marion barely reached her chair and started crying, I guess we all knew how painful keeping up had been and I had not really thought about how much it would hurt to see it had been in vain, I guess she had worked hard for this US Open and to see it come to an end because of an injury like this was just killing her, I guess the photo here explains it better than I ever could... The few of us left in the stands were without words as she stayed there for a few minutes and then started to try to walk off the court, it was a sad moment... Sport can be so cruel sometimes...
So anyway, after that moment, I headed to Grandstand, saw the end of the Bryan brothers doubles and headed back to my hotel room, with another big day awaiting tomorrow:)
Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:44 AM
thx for reports !
Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:44 AM
Thanks for the report :)
Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:06 PM
OMG! Thanks you so much
Do you think Iveta/Birnevora can beats Navratilova/Raymond :)
Sep 2nd, 2004, 01:07 PM
OMG! Thanks you so much
Do you think Iveta/Birnevora can beats Navratilova/Raymond :)
They'll need to play so much better than yesterday!!!
Sep 2nd, 2004, 04:25 PM
Pierre mon frere, I hope Little Masha gives us another good performance today. I look forward to your report on her match against Lisa Raymond. Raymond is a tough matchup for Maria because she plays well against young and inexperienced players. Raymond routined Tatiana Golovin in the fourth round of this years Australian Open. Golovin was lost playing against the slices and net charging tactics of Raymond. I hope Kirilenko is prepared for Raymond's game.
Hello!! Well today was a tough day for me, I was mostly there to watch 3 players, two of them lost and the other one needed 3 sets, but at least she prevailed! So anyway, back to square one, my arrival on the grounds in Flushing Meadows. It was 10AM and once I got in I once again did a tour of all the courts, did not see much interesting. I finally settled for a court with the two Serra-Zanetti sisters, Pennetta and Camerin, I stayed there for a few minutes and then went walking around the grounds. As I was walking, I was steered towards the American Express booth where Nick Bolitieri was talking about several things on the US Open radio. It is incredible how:
-this guy seems to have trained almost all top players at one point or another
-he certainly knows about how successful his academy is and is not too shy about bragging about it! Anyway, it was interesting!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04bovina01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04bovina01.jpg)After that, I headed towards court #9 if I remember well, where I watched the battle between Elena Bovina and Maria-Elena Camerin. I did not really now what to expect but once I saw Elena start hitting, I understood how she had won New Haven, she seems to have improved a lot since I saw her about a year ago, she moves much better, is a bit more consistent, and seems to be much more consistent with her first serve, which obviously has became a big weapon for her. So even before the match started I had no idea how Camerin would be able to hang in there, she is more suited for clay and I thought she would be unable to hit with Bovina on ground stroke rallies. When the match started, after a little bit of a slow start, Elena did just that, she was dominating from every point of view possible, hitting hard. I mean Camerin did adapt better than I thought but still the pace was very high and she was not going to come out a winner in such a match. I was already thinking that Bovina would certainly give Lindsay a good test in the third round.
But for some reason, Elena then started having problems with her backhand, made a few more errors, you could sense that things were turning around, suddenly she seemed to be stuck in her footings a lot more, miss a few more serves, etc, etc. Eventually, Bovina did hit a few shots to regain the momentum and win the match but Elena showed she was not quite ready yet, she does have the game but give 4-5 loose games like that to Davenport and you are in big trouble...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04myskina01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04myskina01.jpg)After the match, I mostly walked around the grounds, saw Jidkova practice, watched a bit of Farina-Elia vs Srebotnik and just walked around before heading to Louis Armstrong where Myskina was to play against Anna Chakvetadze, a girl I had never seen play and had never heard about before this tournament. It was a strange match, I got the feeling that during the whole match, Anastasia was too tight, she was hitting some shots but not letting them flow enough, so she was not playing safe tennis (like Anna was), but not hitting winners either, she was quite plainly hitting unforced errors. I have to say that Anna was very impressive, she made so little unforced errors and was a very good retriever, she had a pretty weak second serve but since Anastasia seemed unable to really go for winners, she was ok, and would just get in the rallies. I'm not sure why Anastasia did not really switch to a plan B at some point, perhaps at the start of the second set or maybe just midway through. I would have liked to see Anastasia start to play really safe to see what her opponent would do, if she would go for some winners, hit unforced errors, or something. Or Anastasia could have tried to be a little more agressive in her returns especially, it's not normal that she only broke her opponent once considering the fairly weak serve Anna had. But no, Anastasia kept playing at the same pace and things continued to go downwards for her...Anastasia did not even seem as upset as she has been as of late in less-critical situations. So basically I'm not sure what happened, she withdrew from doubles later, no idea if that was related to an injury or just wanting to go back home as soon as possible, I'll try to find out....
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04rochus01c.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04rochus01b.jpg)As I left that court, I was pretty much in shock about what had just happened...I went to court #10 to see the end of the Rochus vs Starace, it was a very exciting match, especially fun to see 3 Belgian fans create by themselves an incredible atmosphere for Rochus, I bet they had a part to do in his comeback to win the match!!!
Then, the match between Maria Kirilenko and Lisa Raymond, a match I had been anxiously awaiting as I was really hoping Maria would be able to pull this one off. Masha came on to the court with a confident look and throughout that first set, she looked really solid, she was hitting mostly from the baseline, getting Raymond to hit some errors. Throughout the match, including that first set, Masha seemed to have a lot of problems getting her returns in the court, not sure why honestly, Raymond has a good serve but still Maria needed to get more of those back.
So anyway, in the first set, both players pretty much took care of their services except for Lisa dropping hers at the end of the set, a set won by Kirilenko 6-4. As she had done in her previous match, Maria started the second set a bit slowly and dropped down an early break and she had to fight all set long to come back, which she finally did. In that second set, Maria had gone more to the net and seemed a bit more agressive with her groundstrokes, which I was very impressed with, it was one of the things I think she needs to do more in her matches. At 4-4, I don't know if this was a turning point, but Lisa Raymond http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04kirilenko01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/04kirilenko01.jpg)went to complain to the umpire about Maria taking too much time between points. Anyone who has seen Maria play knows what she is talking about. She does take a lot of time and it's true that Lisa had seemed upset about it for the whole match, but why did she choose that moment to go talk to the umpire, in my opinion, it was strategy, she knew it would make Maria think about something else... I was pretty upset about it..Add to that the fact that it seemed pretty obvious that Lisa was getting lots of coaching from the sidelines, I mean did Maria need all of this in addition to her opponent? Anyway, from that point on, everything started to go downwards (for those wondering, yes Maria seemed to take less time during points even though the unpire had not said anything to Maria about it, despite Lisa's demands). Who knows, maybe it didn't change anything, maybe it did, I guess we won't know. But one thing that is for sure is that after the set ended, Lisa was certainly on a high.
After coming back from changing clothes, Maria did not seem like herself, she hit a few double faults, and went down 3-0 pretty fast. Then, she broke Lisa to pull to 1-3 and then they played what seemed like a 10 minute in which Maria had so many chances to pull back to 2-3, she had so mant occasions but let them slip one by one and when Lisa got a break chance, she delivrered...sadly, Lisa then had eveything she needed, she delivered a few big serves and went on to post a 6-2 third set win:(
After the match, I headed to Louis Armstrong where Sharapova had just won the first set 6-0, I saw the rest of the match, I'd say in general Maria played much much better than in her first match but still, some things really need to be worked on in my opinion. I see no point in trying to hit so hard when she is clearly in a defensive position for example, I think I heard she had said she now understood she didn't always need to hit hard on every shot, she might know it but she's not doing it yet... But anyway, Jankovic was clearly not able (except for the second set), to do much against Maria and while the second set was pretty tight, I think Maria was a bit unlucky and not opportunistic but she went on to win fairly easily in the third (6-1)...
After trying to (and succeeding for a few minutes) to get a seat to watch Hantuchova in mixed doubles, I finally headed back to my room, a big day awaits tomorrow although not only tennis, I'll be off to watch the Yankees tomorrow night:)))
So anyway, that's it for now!
By the way, I had some requests for more photos and some other players, please be patient, I'll answer your replies and post more pics once I get home:)))
Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:33 AM
Thank you :)
Sep 3rd, 2004, 02:45 PM
Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:33 PM
Who do you like to advance today FRIDAY Russianfan?
Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:52 PM
who is the girl in red in the first pic of report #5
Sep 4th, 2004, 04:20 AM
who is the girl in red in the first pic of report #5
that's Maria-Elena Camerin, from Italy, very nice and cute:)
Sep 4th, 2004, 04:21 AM
Who do you like to advance today FRIDAY Russianfan?
Sorry, saw the post too late, in today's review I'll post some impression on tomorrow's matches:p
Today was a pretty interesting day, i wasn't sure at first what to expect but yeah, it was good:) I started off my day on grandstand to watch the match between Jelena Kostanic and Ai Sugiyama, I expected a pretty close match and maybe an upset but I don't think anyone could be more wrong than I was!
From the start of the match, especially in the first set, Ai Sugiyama was just so much better than her opponent, she was playing terrific in my opinion. She was hitting her groundstrokes very deep, getting some angles, coming to the net, moving very well, she seemed to know where Kostanic would hit even before the Croatian girl had thought about it. I think in that first set i remember one point where Sugiyama had a problem getting to a ball, so you get the picture right? The second set was a bit closer thanks to more patience, a few more mistakes http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05kostanic01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05kostanic01.jpg)and some bad line calls, but still it was more of the same. The points Kostanic would manage to win were points she had worked very hard to get, hitting balls from one part of the court to another and putting a lot of pressure on Sugiyama, but there was no way she could play every point in such a way, few could in fact....The way she was playing, I would probably bet on her against Capriati...Kostanic was of course upset but hopfully for her http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05benesova01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05benesova01.jpg)she knew she just played against someone who was "in the zone", I think Kostanic could have done a few things better, but nothing she would have done would have changed the end result, at least in my opinion.
After the match, I had some time to kill as I was hoping the Zvonareva match would be soon, I headed towards smaller courts, I missed the Benesova practice by a few minutes it seems, too bad:(
I then headed to court #17, ,where Petra Mandula was to play mixed doubles against Lisa Raymond and Mahesh Bhupati, I just saw the start of the set, but it was pretty clear what would happen, I don't think Raymond and Bhupati could have ever lost this match, even if I probably was wishing for that to happen:) But really that team was just superior on ever possible level!!!
After a few minutes, I headed to court #10 where there was a doubles match http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05zheng01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05zheng01.jpg)between Zheng, Yan and Tanasugarn and Huber on the other side. It was a very entertaining match after all and although I was pretty tired and almost falling asleep, I had a pretty good time at that match. I don't know much about Yan but she has some interesting shots, and looks pretty young, no idea how she is in singles but I think China might have another hope for its future:)
The end result of that match was a win by Huber and Tanasugarn, I guess the crowd was excited and it had been a good match but we all felt bad for the two chinese girls, they seemed to have tried everything they could but in the end they came up short...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05zvonareva01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05zvonareva01.jpg)Following that match on court #10 was Vera against Fabiola Zuluaga.. for the entire match, I was surrounded by Columbians who had came to cheer on their favourite, so it's safe to say I heard no English spoken during that match:)
So anyway, Vera played a very average match I'd say, I mean I consider that this match should have been fairly easy in the sense that Zuluaga is not the type of player who really wins much against top 10 players and also, on a hard court, there was nothing to make me think this would be too difficult. But Vera had I would say an under-average day, she was ok in the rallies, but her returns were not agressive enough and her serving was just not so good, she hit several double faults and was not getting first serves in on key points. However, I was impressed, I mean of course she did break down on several occasions, we are talking about Vera here... But even while crying between points (which was odd as she was leading), she did continue to play and fight as best she could in order to do what the top players do, win with their B game. Zuluaga played well, I don't know how much better she could have played, I have not seen her play often enough to judge on that but I would say that she certainly gave it a good effort and tried to be as agressive as possible during rallies, which worked well on many occasions. So overall, it was nice to see Vera smile so much after the match, I think she knew what her fans knew, she had escaped a game against the #23 seed without playing close to her best tennis, and if her best tennis is to come, then it better be in the second week in than in the first:)
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05hantuchova01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05hantuchova01.jpg)After that match, I headed to Louis-Armstrong to see the end of the Hantuchova-Schnyder match, they had just finished the second set. It was a pretty strange set the third one, low quality tennis, with lots of unforced errors, you could sense that Hantuchova was the better player, she was controlling points so well, hitting the shots she was trying and getting ahead in points, but then, each time she had occasions to pull away from Schnyder, she would make errors. Especially on her serve, where she served several double faults on key points, match points or points to go up late in the third set. It was really heartbreaking to watch her struggle so much to close out a match that really was hers to lose, and she did:( I might also add that Daniela seemed to have lots of problems to concentrate because of the noisy grandstand court just next to Louis Armstrong (Ferrero was playing his 5th set).
Schnyder though was playing ok and fighting harder or at least showing more http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05schnyder01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/05schnyder01.jpg)determination than she usually does, she was very happy to win the match obviously after such a long battle....
But still, Daniela continues to make great progress and hopefully she knows how well she was playing, she needs to get more of those matches so she can regain the mental edge, but she's on pace to a great recovery and who knows if by this time next year she'll be back in the top 10, it would certainly be great for her fans (myself included) and for tennis!
I intend on trying to see:
JHH vs Raymond (expect JHH to prevail, hope so too)
Kuznetsova vs Frazier (again, Svetlana should prevail!)..
Benesova & Birnerova vs Raymond and Navratilova (I guess Raymond and Navrat will win this, should be a fun match though).
Dementieva & Sugiyama vs Svensson & Tu: I have not seen ElenaD yet this week and look forward to a fun match and a win:)
Hantuchova & Safina vs Ruano-Pascual & Suarez: Depending on schedule I might see this, shjould be a good match although the top players will surely prevail..
Srichaparn vs Hrbaty: Court 11? Wow, this should be good!
All for now, I'm heading to bed, came back later because of Yankees match, I had a blast though:)
Sep 4th, 2004, 10:33 AM
RussianFan - thanks for the reports - what was the man shouting during Dani's match. We could hear it over the court microphones. Something about a shirt? It was really loud, and the umpire called in the security about it.
Sep 4th, 2004, 01:11 PM
Thanks again for the report and pics of Iveta, her match in doubles could be very fun and who knows :)
Sep 4th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Russian fan: Could you say something about Hrbaty vs Paradorn when you see it, even though its mens tennis? I so wish I could see that match! Cant believe its on Court 11 while nobodies like Sargsian and Mathieu are playing on Grandstand :rolleyes:
Sep 5th, 2004, 05:46 AM
I'll probably wait till tomorrow from Montreal to post my last report, but it was an awesome match.. Paradorn vs Hrbaty was very good, Iveta almost won in doubles and Sargsian and Mathieu (I also was wondering why they were on grandstand but not anymore) was perhaps the best match I've ever seen live..anyway, my report will follow soon:)
Oh and I got lots of Daniela pics today from practice and her doubles match:)
First of all, sorry to everyone for being late on this report, my last day at the Open Saturday was an awesome one, but I was just exhausted when I got home, past midnight and went to bed but anyway, here it is:)
I wasn't really sure what to expect on Saturday, I was not interested in seeing that many matches and also with the labour weekend, there would surely be big crowds which means having a tougher time to get seats on courts where I would want to see some matches, like for example the Benesova match in doubles since it was against Navratilova and Raymond.
I started my day by heading to court #11 where a match between Paradorn Srichaparn and Dominik Hrbaty seemed like an interesting one. I was surprised this match had been put on such a "small" court since it was in my mind a very good match, and also since Srichaparn usually has a lot of supporters, who are also pretty loud, usually a recipe for grandstand, I looked at the schedule and wondered how they could instead put Sargsian and Mathieu..well I guess that's why I'm not making the calls, as you will read later, the other way around would have been a big mistake.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06paradorn01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06paradorn01.jpg)So at around 11AM, maybe 10 minutes earlier, I headed to the court, most seats were full but still, I was able to manage a 2nd row standing place, which was good enough, I would be able to take some photos from there. But shortly after the match started lots of people arrived and it was pretty much exhausting just to be there:) Imagine standing up, with people all around you, not pushing you but let's say giving you little space in order to be as close as possible from the action, which is understandable but it does get pretty hot when the hot hot sun is shining on all of us!
Anyway, the match started, I expected Paradorn to do well in this match but expected a long one. I had not seen Hrbaty play in a couple of years and in my mind he still was a clay court specialist who I had seen struggle on hard courts. But to my surprise, Hrbaty was very solid, he would be able to get prettty much every ball back, or so it seems. And while both players were holding on to their serves pretty easily most of the time, Paradorn lost his serve in both sets while serving at 4-5, certainly not the best timing to lose your serve isn't it? Actually, after the first set I was about to leave, not because the match wasn't interesting but just because after all my spot wasn't so great. But then, the guy in front of me left and a front row spot for this match convinced me to stay! Paradorn had most of the crowd on his side and it was really a close match but I think Srichaparn was just not putting enough pressure on his opponent, so he wasn't really gaining the advantage in their points. And in the end, Hrbaty was just too solid and played very well on big points. I finally left after two sets once I was also pretty confident about the result.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06hantuchova01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06hantuchova01.jpg)As soon as I got off that court, I noticed Daniela Hantuchova and Dinara Safina were practicing on court just next to court #11! They were having fun and mostly just hitting serves and returning, getting ready for their doubles match that was scheduled for a bit later on. I took a few photos, watched them hit and then headed to walk around, I watched some matches on the screen, like the thriller on Louis Armstrong and also Sharapova's singles match. I guess lots of you saw Maria's match on tv so I won't comment too much but I really think she just didn't have the experience she needed to win that match. I really think her shots were good enough but a few things just made the difference. First of all, I think Mary got way too many easy points on her serve. Some were obviously just good serves and that's normal but I also didn't like seeing Maria just hand back some returns where Mary expected them, Pierce would just finish off the point. So I guess that made a huge difference. And also, I think Maria gave just a few too many easy points, either by lack of concentration or just not being prepared for those, or surprised. But I mean, she was close and Pierce is playing well these days so I don't see anything dramatic in such a loss, Maria has lots to learn and I still think she is a top 10 player, but not top 5 yet, and she needs to work on such things to get to that next level.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06anna01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06anna01.jpg)I also went to see how Anna Chakvetadze would be playing against Eleni Daniilidou. I also thought that while probably few people knew about Anna, I guess after such an upset Eleni would have gotten some good scouting so I was interested in seeing how she would play against Anna. Well in my Myskina match report I remember saying Anastasia should have either gone more agressivly and put more pressure or play very safe, while she was a little in the middle. And Daniilidou took the second option, she was just playing very patient tennis, moving Anna from side to side and it worked very well. Anna was very consistent when she was on balance but had a lot more problems when she was on the run and I guess Daniilidou had the right game plan. I did enjoy watching that match, I think it was easy to see how much desire to win both players had and it made it that much more interesting, especially since match of Eleni I had seen in the past, she did not seem to care that much about the outcome, while I certainly expect it wasn't the case, it was nice to see her being more expressive.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06hantuchova02b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06hantuchova02.jpg)Anyway, I then headed to see how the match between Pavel and Popp was going along as Daniela would play doubles after and it was just taking so much time but after a while it finally got to the doubles match, a very intertesting one I must say. I mean Ruano-Pascual and Suarez have a very interesting style of play in doubles and it was nice to see them matched up against Hantuchova and Safina who do not have as much doubles experience but I think the match was fairly close. Probably serving was a bit of a factor, both players hit a few double faults while Suarez and Ruano-Pascual were a lot more consistent. Virginia in particular impressed me a lot with her serving, I've never seen her serve like that in singles.
It was good to see Safina and Hantuchova smile during the match as well, I mean they had some more frustrating moments as well but usually in singles I think both players would probably benefit from being a little more relaxed on the court and doubles can maybe help in that matter.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06suarez01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06suarez01.jpg)But I guess overall the best and most deserving team won, I didi enjoy the match a lot:) It was nice to see how Suarez and Ruano-Pascual can play well and be so coordinated, I can imagine it's tough for two players, just match up and play against a team that knows each other so well and has some strategies that help them because of that.
After that match, I headed immediatly towards grandstand mostly because I wanted to see Iveta Benesova and have a good place but the men's match http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06sarg01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06sarg01.jpg)with Sargsian was interesting since he had played that famous 5 hours match in the previous round. Well I won't go into too many details but this was without any doubt the best singles match I have ever seen in my life, there was so much atmosphere, and just think about it. From 5-4 in the fifth set, the match lasted 45 more minutes, which just unbeleivable really, both guys were giving everything they had, both guys had support from hundreds of http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06time01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06time01.jpg)fans encouraging between every point, both guys saw the crowd jump to their feets on numerous occasions after awesome points, it really was something to see. I can't even explain how much I enjoyed but let's say the complete evening was the perfect way to end my 2004 US Open! So anyway, Sargsian won the 4hr:38min battle, I think anyone watching the match would surely have enjoyed it as much as I did. The stadium was filled up for most of the match, I know some of you guys watched the match on TV but seeing a five hour match when you are there live is quite an experience...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06benesova01b.jpg (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/usopen04/06benesova01.jpg)So anyway, after that thrilling experience, it was time for some doubles, I didn't expect Benesova and Birnerova to put much of a match against Raymond and Navratilova and it didn't start out so well, Eva was having lots of problems with her serve and ground strokes, she was just not playing well. Iveta was serving much better, won her first 5 service games in fact and while Eva was strugglling on serve, so was Navratilova. Even though they had lost the first set, I continued to do what I had done since the start, be one of 3 people to encourage her (with my brother and their coach being the others), they were playing much better and even rallied to win the second set:) In the end, they came up short, they were close and for a moment there I thought they would pull it through, Raymond and Navratilova were a bit in panic...
So, this 2004 US Open ended for me, it was a great one and among the 5 weeks I have spent here, probably my favourite one, for so many reasons:) I hope you enjoyed reading my reports, I did my best to give you an impression of what it was like to be right there near the courts. I had so much fun, it was pretty exhausting in most part because of the very hot and sunny days but that's what made it so great as well I guess! So thanks so much to everyone for the comments and suggestions, I'd love to hear feedback for my next tournament:)
Sep 7th, 2004, 05:18 AM
Thanks, Pierre, for the reports. Glad you had a great time!
Sep 7th, 2004, 09:29 AM
thanks a lot for the reports!!! i enjoyed reading it...very informative ;) :)
Sep 7th, 2004, 10:37 PM
Thanks for all the report :worship: :worship:
Sep 8th, 2004, 01:47 AM
Thanks for the reports!
Sep 8th, 2004, 04:37 AM
Wiggly my friend, you'll be happy when I post my photos, I have so many good ones of Iveta:) Should be this weekend, I have about 1400 photos from the Open in total...
Sep 10th, 2004, 04:38 PM
Thanks for all the reports. :)
Sep 13th, 2004, 05:43 AM
Well thanks for all the awesome comments, I'm glad those hours writing these reports were worth it:)