Hello to all of you and welcome back to my reports! Many of you have posted very nice comments about both articles and especially photos in the past few years so I am more than happy to be back again:) Mostly because of the time factor, I did not write anything either in the French Open or the Rogers Cup in Toronto, two events I was lucky enough to see in person this year. However, I did take some photos in Toronto and will include some of my good ones in this article as well as in the bottom. They are from the first 4 days as well as the Player's Sunday Gala at the Toronto Hilton Hotel. I am writing this from my hotel room, it is Sunday night, and I have tickets for the first 6 days of the tournament. So I can only hope there will be good weather and good tennis! Every night i will be posting about my daily comments and also posting some photos I will have taken! Always feel free to ask me about other players or more comments or photos, I'll be glad to see what I can do:)
Now to start off my preview! This year's US Open should be very interesting, is it wide open? Certainly isn't? But something tells me that it could be a time where someone new could emerge, you know the 2005 Maria Sharapova? Maybe not in terms of looks, popularity, etc (although many of the prospects have lots going for them in those aspects) but just through their games. Anna Chakvetadze, Nicole Vaidisova, Sesil Karantantcheva, Ana Ivanovic and so many others could make a big run in this year's US Open!
In this article, I will give a brief review of what I expect from this year's Open as well as just a quick review of matches I expect/hope to see tomorrow (and thus from which you can expect to see photos!).
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_3788.JPGMaria Sharapova has to be the obvious favourite in this quarter, she is by far the top ranked player, and has been in general solid in grand slams, rarely losing to unknowns. But she has a very very tricky first round as she faces the dangerous Eleni Daniilidou, who is able of pulling off pretty big upsets, certainly some tough luck in that draw considering Maria has not played in a while. I doubt that Alicia Molik will be able to have much of an impact, she has incredible talent and had such a great start to her year... but injuries yet again set her back and her return last week was rather unconvincing... So the only person who could come out of this quarter in my opinion outside of Maria is Dinara Safina... she has a game filled with a lot of great shots, she has everything necessary. Problem is that her movement is simply not good enough to play someone like Sharapova who can handle her power. So I think Dinara could go to the quarters IF she does not face Maria...which will not happen so I'm putting Maria in the quarters
Wide open...that's how I'd say this quarter looks like! Sure, there is the defending champ, who is still hanging in the top 5. But Svetlana Kuznetsova has been everything but convincing for a while now... And Nadia Petrova seemed as well to be destined to so many nice things but is not playing great tennis right now. That leaves me with Nicole Vaidisova, a young talented player who is probably not ready for a big run, but she could do some damage and I'll pick her to cause a surprise and advance to the quarters!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_4076.JPGInteresting quarter, there are a few players who've had tough days lately but who can always be somewhat dangerous, Ai Sugiyama and Elena Bovina! And then, the obvious, Kim Clijsters, who is making a very impressive return and who is considered by many one of the big favourites for this event, she could finally get that whole "No slam wins" discussion over with. She could face a challenge by one of the up and coming players, Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic has a very impressive game, she has charisma, that look, she's got everything! But in many ways, her game still needs to be worked on and against an all-around talent like Kim Clijsters, I don't think Ana will be able to take that extra set...so Kim moves on!
Wow... such an interesting quarter!! I have special interest as Maria Kirilenko is playing there, she has yet to break through and this will probably not be the time as well... But given the fact that both Serena and Venus have not played in so long, this could well be a good draw after all. To be realist, it is hard to imagine someone other than those two come out of the quarter. But Serena was clearly injured while in Toronto and Daniela Hantuchova could provide a big challenge for Venus... In the end, I think Venus will come out on top but it won't be easy and some surprises could happen in this part of the draw!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_4041.JPGThe other Belgian, Justine Henin-Hardenne is in the 5th quarter, she did display that she was close to being to back to her good self in Toronto and it should be no problem for her to advance. Sure, Gisela Dulko has been playing well and Mary Pierce is always someone to avoid in grand slam events... but Justine has proved time and again that she is tough to beat in such important events...
Amelie, Amelie, Amelie... Like Kim Clijsters, all eyes are always on her in each grand slam, wondering if she can finally take such a title, she has not been able to do so that far, but who knows, she certainly has the game to do so. She has an interesting quarter but no too many challenges. Myskina (if her shaky game takes her to the 4th round) could be a challenge, and hopefully will, but Amelie's variety will make a big difference...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_4026.JPGCan you say wide open with me? Can you? This quarter is also very interesting, Elena Dementieva is the top ranked player, she could certainly make it to the quarters, of course her serve is a major part of it. Then there's #29 seed Anna Chakvetadze who is playing very well, she has a lot of points to defend here but it could be an interesting tournament for her! Interestingly enough, Anna will face a young prospect up first, Viktoriya Kutuzova! Shinobu Asagoe could always move slowly through the draw... and then Patty Schnyder still has that tough lefty game with so much spins, she will face a possibly tough Conchita Martinez up first but I think Patty still has a shot... However, I'll go with Anna Chakvetadze to move to the quarters here...
The opposite of wide open would be Lindsay Davenport's situation here... She has a quarter with players such as Nathalie Dechy, Anna Smashnova, Karolina Sprem, Tatiana Golovin... What do all of them have in common? They are all playing poor tennis compared to the same time last year... they all have different and for some valid reasons but that's no problem for Lindsay, she'll roll through this one...
Maria Sharapova def Nicole Vaidisova
Kim Clijsters def Venus Williams
Amelie Mauresmo def Justine Henin-Hardenne
Lindsay Davenport def Anna Chakvetadze
Kim Clijsters def Maria Sharapova
Lindsay Davenport def Amelie Mauresmo
Hello again! I am back from Day 1 of the 2005 US Open, it was a great day really, I had such a good time! It's late and everything already seems far now, but I'll try my best to recall the best parts of my day to give you all an idea of how it all went down:)
So I got to Flushing Meadows with my sister pretty early and entered at about 10 into the tennis centre, not much new except for some beautiful fountains, I'll try to take more photos of the whole place later on this week to give an idea to those of you who did not get a chance to go yet! So we enter, and guess what the first court I step into offers me? Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova warming up.. was I dreaming or was this really how my US Open was starting. Apparently it was no illusion, so I started taking a few photos and then headed off to see other courts, I saw among others Dinara Safina and Camille Pin as well as a few others, all getting ready for their big start!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_4865.JPGThen, as 11AM, the official time of the start of the tournament got closer, I headed towards court #14 (if I remember well) where Iveta Benesova was set to play against Jie Zheng! Both players looked very ready but from what I saw of the match (only one match that I saw entirely today, that was Maria Kirilenko's), Iveta was just way too inconsistent. She would be able to play well, lead play, be patient.. but then everything would fall apart only a few minutes later. It wasn't a very high quality match and I was honestly a bit disapointed:((
I then headed towards the Nicole Vaidisova-Kveta Peschke match... It was important for me to see if my prediction of Nicole in the quarters actually was possible:) haha! So anyway, it was strange, Nicole was of course herself, getting annoyed at herself and her shots very easily. But most importantly it would have been easy to think that she was facing this girl ranked #125 in the world or something, it just was no contest. The power factor made a big difference and I was surprised to see that Kveta was not able to work more points in her favor. I would have imagined she would have known Nicole's game good enough to do that (given their time spent together in Fed Cup for example), but no it wasn't the case, Nicole was simply superior...! By the way, funny moment after the match as Nicole kind of went towards the center of the court clapping with her racquet, but then she saw no one was clapping, so she quietly went back to her seat... I felt bad for her!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/Desktop/Photos01/batch/IMG_5030.JPGFollowing seeing parts of those 2 matches, I was also a lot at the Bondarenko-Sugiyama match. Out of the 3, there was no doubt that the highest quality tennis was in this matchup. Both were fighting for every point, Ai looked like she was making very conscious efforts to attack, which I guess was normal since Alona is a pretty good retriever, they had very good rallies, it was very interesting really. They battled for a long time but again, Alona came up short... It seems that the few times I saw her play, she just lacked that extra gear when those crucial points happen, I just felt bad for her... After the match, there was only one security guard, strange no? Ai had not noticed and so while Alona waited, Ai signed tons of autographs, did a tv interview, etc... Needless to say when Ai realised, she felt bad... but look at Alona when Ai appologised, doesn't look too upset does she?:)
After that match, I returned to court #7 to see Ana Ivanovic who was following up on Nicole Vaidisova's match..! It was surprisingly low quality, for some reason, Ana's serve had just not showed up. Credit to her for getting through the match in straight sets, but she knows better than anyone that she'll need improved tennis in her next match! By the way, I also saw some practices during that period, Sania Mirza practiced, as did Scoville Jenkins, etc.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5042.JPGThen, I saw a match between Daniela Hantuchova and Camille Pin, which I anticipated very much. Why? Because I remember not long ago seeing that exact match on that same court, and that was when Daniela was still just starting her comeback, her gaining confidence. And it had been a very tough match, Daniela did not seem to know how to play against Camille Pin, who has defence and pretty much nothing else. But today was a complete other story, Daniela was patient, was able to build points one after another, she was simply way too good for Camille Pin today... Just a very solid performance! And get this, about an hour after her match, Daniela was back on the practice courts!:)
After, I did see some parts of the Camerin vs Safina match, it was a very high intensity match as anyone who has seen Dinara play in person can imagine... Dinara had a lot of trouble with Maria-Elena's game, there were moonshot rallies, just a lot of strange points that usually went to the Italian.. .I guess another learning experience, but it was a tough one for Dinara...!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_4912.JPGI also saw part of the Sania Mirza-Mashona Washington match, it was quite interesting, again Sania Mirza gave so many examples of her great shot making abilities, what is incredible to me is how she still has not really learned how to hit in defensive situations... she still tries way too many very low percentage shots, just not a winning combination. She did come out on top which is a testament to her fighting spirit.. But she clearly has a long way to go to reach her potential, which I guess can be sign as a good thing considering the talent she already has.
I was hoping to see the start of the Ashley Harkleroad match, but unfortunately, the Sania vs Mashona match went to 3 sets, so I headed to court #17 to see Maria Kirilenko's first round match! Maria played very solid tennis today, she always has been one to concentrate throughout the match, but today, I thought she was good at fighting on each point. She really was fighting no matter if it was 40-0 or 0-0... She also went to the net a lot more, especially in the second set, and it worked well for her, it was a very http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5187.JPGentertaining match. Maria was as dominant as I've seen her play and it should certainly be interesting to see how she'll try to play Venus Williams in her second round match on Wednesday.
Following Maria's match, I went to see part of the Vera Douchevina match (it was no contest really), one strange part is that Vera completly ignored all the little kids asking for autographs after the match, not sure if she didn't see them (possible), or didn,t want to sign... Anyway, it was a good thing that her opponent signed for all of the kids.
Then, I went to see Richard Gasquet for a while and then finally went back to court #17 where this time, Poland's Marta Domachowska was in action, she was to face Shahar Peer!
Unfortunately, things did not go so well for Marta, it was a close match but again, in both sets, she dropped her serve at the end of the set, pretty much giving the set away. I really think if she had just played better in those last moments, things could have turned out differently....
Anyway, it was a great day... sorry I can't write more, I've gotta go... I'll be posting more photos, etc soon...
Will see for sure: Golovin vs Ruano-Pascual, Kutuzova vs Chakvetadze, Myskina vs Tanasugarn
Hope to see: Karantantcheva vs Shaughnnessy, Sucha vs Bammer, Dulko vs Foretz, Medina-Guarrigues vs Sprem
Might see: Murray vs Pavel, Ferrero vs Clement, Sanchez-Lorenzo vs Haynes, Monfils vs Djokvic, Mathieu vs Capdeville
Aug 30th, 2005, 04:59 AM
OH PLEASE SEE THE MYSKINA vs TANASUGARN ONE! Want to hear about Tammy!
Aug 30th, 2005, 05:01 AM
I'll be there for sure... Anastasia is a friend of mine and one of my favourite players as well:)
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:50 AM
Please see Meghann & Sesil !!! Pleaaaaase !
Aug 30th, 2005, 08:11 AM
great report! waiting for your next
Do you have photos of Shahar Peer? and can you write a little about how she played, thanks! :)
thats the best picture of svetlana i have ever seen :eek::lick:
Aug 30th, 2005, 12:08 PM
And Kirilenko now wears Adidas? :eek:
Yep I was shocked too!!! You,re the first one to notice it!
Aug 30th, 2005, 12:08 PM
Some of my Rogers Cup pics are up at:
Let me know what you think..I'll put some more up when I get back home and get more time
:eek: :hearts: :hearts:
I lovvvve the pics Pierre, always always soo awesome :yeah:
I'll be awaiting the other batches of pics ;) :p
Aug 30th, 2005, 12:10 PM
:eek: :hearts: :hearts:
I lovvvve the pics Pierre, always always soo awesome :yeah:
I'll be awaiting the other batches of pics ;) :p
Good evening to all of you! It is 1AM now and I'm tired but I just got back from a great day of tennis really and so I'll do my best to try to remember my best moments for this column:)
So my day started off a bit slowly, not too many interesting practices when I arrived this morning, again maybe there were but not that I saw. I finally settled for one that included Maleeva, Weingartner, Gagliardi and Vaidisova, took some photos but not too long after, I headed for Grandstand to see Sesil's opening set against Meghann Shaughnessy. It was a very interesting first set, I was a little surprised to see how well Meghann was playing Sesil. She was basically playing very well serving and also putting a lot of pressure on Sesil's second serve, which caused it too flinch a bit. Then, when rallies did start, she would toss up high balls in the middle of the court, giving Sesil pretty much no alternatives... It was easy to see Sesil's frustration with how the match was going, and hard to blame Meghann. I kept thinking that it was annoying and frustrating but as long as Sesil did not show she could handle and win such matches, such strategies would be of common use. I finally left after the first set, not because I did not think she could turn it around, quite the contrary, but I just had so much else to see. But I did go check back a few times, and Sesil was very impressive after that, she played more patiently, found out better moments to attack and came out with a win in a big battle, a match that could do wonders for her self confidence.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5418.JPGAfter that match, I mostly saw some interesting practices, such as Karolina Sprem who was on the same court as Maria-Sanchez Lorenzo, I also saw Gisela Dulko, Anna Chakvetadze, Nicole Vaidisova, Martina Sucha, Klara Koukalova, Tatiana Golovin, just a lot of good practices... By the way, one funny thing, Tatiana Golovin at one point kind of got on the court while she waited her turn, Renae Stubbs was already hitting, and anyway, when Renae got off the court, she spoke pretty loudly against Golovin waiting on the court and trying to put pressure on them to leave.. thought it was funny. I did also go see some bits of Jelena Jankovic' match, it was nothing special, Jelena was a bit injured but considering how things went, she did not take a time out to go get treated (not sure what she had but she would have needed to go off the court).
Then, I saw some bits of matches by Gael Monfils (4 hour match!!) and Carlos Moya, and then finally came Anastasia Myskina! Anastasia was to face Tamarine Tanasugarn, which I thought would not be a big problem.. The match started with Tammy winning the first two games thanks to inspired play, she was getting all the balls back and for a second there, I doubted my initial instincts... But then, Anastasia started putting a bit more pressure and quite frankly, Tammy was not playing so well, just making so many unforced errors, it was a bit crazy. And so the match did not last very long, Anastasia advanced with a fairly easy win...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5691.JPGThen, I saw some parts of a few matches, Karolina Sprem (again, she was hitting about half of her shots either out or in the net... often in the middle of the net)... her game is so far from where it was about a year ago, it's insane...I also saw Tatiana Golovin, who as she has in the past few weeks, struggled mightly even though she eventually came out on top...I also saw Gisela Dulko, who had lots of support from Argentines especially as well as from boyfriend Tommy Robredo and a few of his family/friends... Gisela was solid, she fought for each point and advanced...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5769.JPGThen came the match I had been waiting for, the matchup between Anna Chakvetadze and Vikotoriya Kutuzova! Unfortunately, the match was played pretty late which made it nearly impossible to have good quality action shots from my camera, so I took a few stills... It was a very entertaining match, the best ladies singles match I saw at this year's Open so far, they just had so many high quality rallies and the intensity was pretty high. When the match started out, I think Anna was playing her game, just solid tennis while Viktoriya was playing pretty safe, trying to see what could work... Without too many problems, Anna was able to roll on and win that set thanks mostly to a good command of the rallies and just making few errors.
But then, in the second set, Kutuzova started playing very agressive tennis, playing with power, angles, and just taking a lot more chances than in the first set... It paid off too since she was able to really take command of the whole match tempo.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5559.JPGThe third set gave us the highest quality of the three, both players were trying to impose their rythm, trying to take commands of points, it was just a great battle. I was very impressed by how Anna was able to follow up more and more points to the net, she just clearly had so many more places to go in her game to try to win the match. It's normal of course, she has the more experience out of the two, but she is still young and it was very impressive to see! And it was interesting because although I know many posters on the board talked about Kutuzova choking, I really don't think it happened tonight. Both players were playing very high quality tennis in the third set and Kutuzova certainly did not slow down... I just think she lacked experience and did not know what exactly to do to counter a few of the things Anna was doing. Being a night match, and having lots of supporters for both players, it really was a high quality match... I'm glad I saw it:)
So that's it for today:) Here's some info about where I'll be tomorrow:)
Will see for sure: Ivanovic vs Vento-Kabchi, Dementieva/Pennetta vs Chakvetadze/Golovin, Vaidisova vs Zheng, Venus Williams vs Kirilenko (if not on center court).
Hope to see: Salerni vs Hantuchova, Douchevina vs Peer, Petrova vs Nakamura
Might see: Morariu/Schnyder vs Koukalova/Safarova, Frazier/Jidkova vs Foretz/Vaidisova, Hopkins/Washington vs Asagoe/Srebotnik, Kuznetsova/Molik vs Linetskaya/Voskoboeva, Medina-Guarrigues/Safina vs Yan/Zheng, Jankovic/Krizan vs Karatantcheva/Dekmeijre, Domachowska/Talaja vs Lee/Peng
Jenny doesn't look particularly pleased in this picture...Is that Mashona? Twins!
Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:37 AM
Does Tatiana Golovin have a tiny tiny stomach and huge hips or something? She really needs to hike up her shorts, and get them in a size smaller or something because the below the hip look just didn't doing it for her. Her low riders make her look sloppy and slouchy.
Good evening once more to all of you:) I am back from a great day of tennis! Today, you will see that I didn't see many matches. For the first 3 days, I had been running around courts, getting photos, and news from many matches that were going on at the same times. But today, there were a few matches that I wanted to see entirely and so I mostly stayed put during those matches!
This morning, not much was going on when we entered, the most interesting practice for me was one of Maria-Elena Camerin and Tatiana Garbin. I also saw a few guys (Thomas Johansson and Jonas Bjorkman) as well as Magdalena Maleeva. I also saw a part of Lindsay Davenport, Ai Sugiyama and Sania Mirza.
After that, I headed to see Gisela Dulko who was playing against Yoon Jeong Cho. Surprisingly to me, there were very few fans for this match...For the first few points, Gisela was actually very much in control, she was dictating play and rolled on to a 4-1 lead pretty easily, things were going really well. As you can see in the photo, Gisela had a pretty big taping on her hamstring. Anyway, once she got at 4-1, apparently Cho decided that she should make Gisela work a lot harder for her points, so she started basically just putting balls deep, playing very safe, when she'd get easier balls, she'd make Gisela run, but no winners really... Unfortunately, Gisela's movement http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6317.JPGdid not seem very good compared to how she can usually move, and so as the match went on, it got more and more difficult as the only points she could win were the ones where she would take the agressor role early on... And so Yoon Jeong slowly but surely took control of the match..it was sad to see but that's what happened.
After that match, I went around a little, saw Agassi practice and then went to court #7, where Anna Chakvetadze was to play Jill Craybas. Funny because I admit some of my predictions for the tournament were way off but today I got this one right. I told the guy next to me this would be very easy for Anna, basically because I felt that there was nothing Jill could do better than Anna... And Anna had more weapons than Jill. It turned out that I was very right, this match was so one-sided it was almost embarassing, probably was in fact. Anna could do pretty much everything, get all balls back, make Jill run, she went to the net a few times, I honestly don't know what Craybas could have done more. Anna played ok, nothing special but she didn't need to. I had been impressed by how http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6385.JPGoffensive she had been against Kutuzova but I guess it's normal she didn't do that much today, it wasn't necessary, she could just stay back and build point after point.
Then, after a few trips to practice courts, I went to see Anastasia Myskina who was to face Amy Frazier... I wasn't sure how this would go for Anastasia because I felt like Amy could probably hit with Anastasia and Nastya still has a lot of work to do to be able to put balls away more easily... So I feared the match a little. But it turned out that everything went very well for her, again she faced an opponent who did not seem at the top of her game. It's not taking anything away of Anastasia, I'm sure she could have played better herself if her opponent had lifted her level, but it didn't happen. Anastasia still looked pretty upset with her play on many occasions, especially midway through the second set, but yeah, she was able to advance to the third round in two pretty quick sets, very well done!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6495.JPGAfter that, a match I had anticipated since seeing a doubles match, which is pretty rare in doubles. But Gisela Dulko and Maria Kirilenko are two of my favourite players, they both enjoy themselves in doubles and are both very good at it. And today, they faced off Iveta Benesova and Yulia Beygelzimer, it was a very interesting match as expected. Maria and Gisela seem to have such great complicity between them and they are both very gifted at the net and on finesse shots, it lasted 3 sets which was a bit of a surprise but they prevailed, it was a great show really!
And finally, after that match, I headed towards court #18 where Anastasia Myskina and Nana Miyagi were facing Roberta Vinci and Silvia Farina-Elia! It was a pretty entertaining match, I was honestly a bit surprised that Anastasia did not seem to be enjoying herself more, since it was doubles, but she was still very much upset at herself. But anyway, it was a good match, there were some good rallies, etc!
And finally for today, I finished my day on grandstand as I went to see Richard Gasquet, a pretty interesting match, surprising to see how a guy ranked outside the top 200 can challenge one of the top guys in the world, it gives a good idea of how much more depth the men's game has right now no?
Speaking of questions, I was wondering today.. it hit me, I've seen many many Chinese players this week, in matches and practices, and one thing stood out, I did not see a single one practicing with a non-Chinese player... Isn't that odd? Isn't practice a very good way to try playing with different players, feel out different styles, practice different shots, etc... Why is that? Could that be part of the reason why their development has been a bit slower than what the Chinese federation is hoping? Just a question...
Anyway, that's it for me for today, here is what awaits tomorrow:) I should be moving around a little more tomorrow:)
Will see for sure: Vaidisova vs Lisjak, Dulko/ Kirilenko vs Chladkova/ Razzano
Hope to see: Clement vs Murray, Dementieva/ Pennetta vs Marrero/ Ant. Serra-Zanetti, Kuznetsova/ Molik vs Birnerova/ Vanc, Kirilenko/ Oliver vs Stosur/ Hanley
Might see: Harkleroad/ Lee-Waters vs Navratilova/ Groenefeld, Vento-Kabchi vs Shahar
Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:35 AM
Please go to see Ash and Lindzee !!! Please !!!!! :bounce:
Sep 2nd, 2005, 11:15 AM
thanks.. Amy :(
I missed your #4 report tough :scratch:
Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:14 PM
Does Tatiana Golovin have a tiny tiny stomach and huge hips or something? She really needs to hike up her shorts, and get them in a size smaller or something because the below the hip look just didn't doing it for her. Her low riders make her look sloppy and slouchy.
I don't see anything wrong with Tatiana...at all!!
Good evening to all of you once again! I am back from a wonderful day at the Open! We escaped rain just barely it seems, it's pretty amazing that after 3 days of dark clouds there still has not been one rain delay! Hopefully tomorrow will not be the start of that:)
So I had a pretty busy day today, although I spent more time on practice courts than previous days! When we arrived, there were not many players on courts because a lot of courts were still wet from rain earlier in the morning. One court that was taken though was one where Ana Ivanovic was next to Tommy Haas, it was something! There were few people around at that time, and it was a great show..! I took a few photos of both players, more of Ana than Tommy;) But it was interesting! After that, I headed off to see what was happening on the other courts, but there wasn't much... I did see and look a bit at Martina Sucha but that was it.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5845.JPGAfter that, I headed towards court #11 to see Nicole Vaidisova who was up against Jie Zheng. Nicole was pretty dominant from the start. From what I've seen, Nicole's main weakness remains her movement and perhaps her serve (2nd in particular). So it becomes very problematic for a player like Jie Zheng, who plays a more defensive style, she was really dominated in the match. I stayed for one set only, but it really was a domination.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5866.JPGAfter that match, I went to see Marta Domachowska practice, she is a player I have followed for over 3 years now, since seeing her in the J&S Cup in Warsaw. She was a lot of fun to watch practice. But it became even more funny after the practice. Seeing that I had a photo to be signed, her coach came up to me and wanted to see the photo, so I showed it to him, it was from the French Open, basically an action shot of Marta. He said it was good, and went to see Marta to ask her to come over, he was laughing, I had no idea why... Then she comes up and says: "Oh nooo..". I was like: "What is it?"... she said... "my face". I was like, well it's an action shot, it's normal no?:) She still was shy about it, her coach was laughing, then Silvia Talaja her doubles partner and hitting partner for that practice came up and Marta was holding the photo but hiding her face... Silvia was like, "I wanna see", to which Marta did not move at all. Finally, Marta gave it back, I showed it to Silvia, who said.. "Well, shows you were concentrated".. anyway, everybody was laughing, it was just funny!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_5946.JPGAfter that, I went to see a bit of Sesil in doubles against Jelena Jankovic, but did not stay for long as I got a text message from my friend Jean-Sebastien telling me to go to court #5, I went and there were Daniela Hantuchova, Tatiana Golovin and Anna Chakvetadze, I took some pretty good photos, it was a good practice! Another funny moment as Daniela kept hitting towards Tatiana, she actually hit Tatiana once, and felt bad about it, but then it happened again.. and later on when Tatiana was at the net just talking, Daniela almost blasted a serve return on Daniela, it was funny really!
Following that, I went to see some more practices, this time Maria Kirilenko (after watching a bit of Kuerten, Moya, Gonzalez and Massu... quite a court hey?), Maria seemed a bit tense, and I guess her match did not go well after all hey?
After that, I headed to see a few matches, first off Ana Ivanovic vs Maria Vento-Kabchi... I thought this match would be fairly easy, Ana has so many more weapons, I just thought this match would go well, and for a while it did. But I think three things in her game made it more tight than expected.. First off, Ana's serve was just not http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6012.JPGconsistent enough, and she needs to take the advantage of her serve to take the offensive. Then, her defensive shots are just not good enough, they are not even mid-court, I know she was trying to make her opponent hit an extra shot, but she does need to work on those. And finally, her transition game is just not there yet. Against a player like Vento-Kabchi, she'd need to be able to regain the offense in rallies, which was not happening. Once she would be on the defence, her only hope was basically for an error from her opponent. And finally, while Maria stayed calm and stuck to her match plan, it seems like Ana was panicking way too much, just early on, for no reason. Even at 5-5, I thought she would calm down but no, she was still so annoyed at herself... So anyway, it was very sad to see her lose, but she has so much space for improvement, it'll come!
After that, I did see a bit of the doubles match between Dementieva/Pennetta and Golovin/Chakvetadze, it was an interesting match, not a very high quality one, but it was fun to watch, just seeing a few stars, and I had not seen Dementieva in person in a while.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6064.JPGThe final singles match I saw was a very high intensity one, between Vera Douchevina and Shahar Peer, those two had such a fight, it was pretty easy to see that they did not like each other much and to be honest, Shahar was not shy at all to demonstrate after points, lift her arms in the air, etc, which I cannot imagine how much Vera must have hated to see. Both players were really giving it all and especially Shahar seemed very tired, but they kept fighting and fighting, Shahar had the clear crowd support, probably in part because her desire was so easy to see, to feel! Anyway, it was a great match really, the best fight I saw at this year's Open, both desires wanted this match so badly... In the end Shahar came out a winner, she gained a lot of fans I'm sure, including myself... well done!
To finish off my day, I went to see some doubles on court #17, the ladies doubles that included Marta Domachowska, Silvia Talaja, Janet Lee and Shuai Peng. It was a very interesting match, pretty tight for most of the match, except for a http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6109.JPGvery one-sided 3rd set... But still, I was able to get a few good photos, and it completed what had been just a very nice day in New York!:) I included one last pic of Marta from that match!
Now as I head to sleep, here is what awaits me for tomorrow:)
Will see for sure: Benesova/ Beygelzimer vs Dulko/ Kirilenko, Chakvetadze vs Craybas, Dulko vs Cho, Myskina vs Frazier
Hope to see: Golovin vs Smashnova, Sucha vs Schnyder, Dementieva vs Diaz-Oliva, Myskina/ Miyagi vs Farina-Elia/ Vinci
Might see: Gasquet vs Galimberti, Kuerten vs Robredo, Hantuchova/ Sugiyama vs Glatch/ King, Hantuchova/ Bhupati vs Sun/ Aspelin
Good night once more everyone! Today, it's a bit strange to put a picture of Elena as the front picture. Why? Because I've usually put a photo that sums a highlight of my day, and today my biggest highlight was watching the 4 hour long Andy Murray match, which I did not take any photos from since I was seated pretty high!
So anyway, the day started very slow, you can feel the difference from one day to the other as the tournament advances and fewer and fewer players are practicing. This afternoon, some of the juniors started popping up here and there, but since I don't know them, it didn't help much:) So anyway, this morning there wasn't much going on, I actually stayed for a while to watch Nicole Vaidisova and Karolina Sprem (yep, she has not left yet!), took a few photos but not that much! And also, this morning for the first time this week, I kind of felt the heat get to me more. So anyway, when matches started, I was at the Kuznetsova/Molik vs Birnerova/Vanc doubles match, and it was awful, honestly. I know Svetlana and Alicia are a very good doubles team, but they need some type of competition right? And it just wasn't the case, they were playing ok, but the quality of the tennis was pretty bad. I left after a set and then headed to court #7 where Elena Dementieva and Flavia Pennetta were playing their second round. Since they were facing Marta Marrero (not very good on hard courts) and Antonella Serra-Zanetti (poor serve), I had figured that even without much talent in doubles, Elena and Flavia would advance just with their raw talent. But actually, I was wrong, they were good. Elena Dementieva was very impressive in particular. Her serve was solid, both first and second, good tosses. And even more surprising, she was very solid at the net, even anticipating on several occasions shots and crossing to intercept those balls, it was very well done really!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6767.JPGAfter that match, I basically wandered around, not seeing many interesting practices really, I then went to see Kirilenko/Dulko against Chladkova/Razzano, it was to me supposed to be fairly easy, Maria and Gisela really have complementary games, and they just have very good complicity! They won the opening set with some nice shots, playing and just being a lot of fun to watch. As you can see in this photo, they were having a lot of fun themselves as well!
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200508/IMG_6806.JPGThen, I headed towards court #10 to see Nicole Vaidisova against Ivana Lisjak. It was the first time I really saw Lisjak play. I thought it was pretty interesting but Nicole was able to take command of most points, which pretty much leaves her in a good position against most players and it was the case today. Even knowing that she is very hard on herself, I was still surprised to see how frustrated Nicole seemed with herself even at the end of the match, probably still thinking about how she almost needed to go 3 sets. But anyway, Nicole did advance and should have a very interesting match up next...!
After Vaidisova's match, I went to see a little more of Kirilenko and Dulko and then headed towards Grandstand to see the Andy Murray vs Arnaud Clement showdown. It was an awesome match, lots of atmosphere, great shot-making, both players were giving their all for 4 strong sets. Unfortunately, Murray suffered from fatigue/cramps in the final set and so there was no battle really, the match still ended up lasting over 4 hours...it was a great show:) But that explains why I have less photos, as I was not seeing any other matches during those 4 hours...!
Anyway, it was a good day, tomorrow is my last day, I should be able to see more different matches:)
Will see for sure: Dementieva vs Chakvetadze, Myskina vs Likhovtseva
Hope to see: Gasquet vs Ljubicic, Dechy vs Golovin, Jankovic vs Pierce, Hantuchova/ Sugiyama vs Frazier/ Jidkova
Might see: Vaidisova/ Knowles vs Stubbs/ Bryan, Douchevina/ Peer vs Raymond/ Stosu
Sep 4th, 2005, 02:53 AM
Hello everyone! Back from my sixth and (unfortunately!) last day at the Open! Pics were tougher to take today because of bright sun and the fact that I was on bigger courts and so not exactly at court height...anyway hopefully you'll like them:) Report will follow shortly!
Hello to all of you, I hope you are all doing well! Today was my sixth and final day at the Open and it was fitting that I saw the best match of my week this morning! So anyway, following a very tiring week, the alarm clock did not get myself and my sister up this morning, so we had to skip breakfast in order to arrive early in Flushing Meadows. It was critical to arrive early simply because today was the first day of the labour day weekend... yes and...? Well, that means, lots and lots of people and it means that for the whole day, getting spots on any courts will prove a challenge, that is even more true on grandstand, the biggest court without any reserved seats.
And so I was kind of lucky because the match I wanted to see on that court was up first. So when I entered the grounds at 10:10, I set to get a good seat there and skipped touring the practice courts. Good decision since I was able to land a first row seat. I was pretty happy to see that I did not have 50 minutes of doing nothing since Patty Schnyder and then Shinobu Asagoe also held some short training sessions on the court.
As many of you know, I had predicted that Anna Chakvetadze would land a spot in the quarterfinals which implied defeating the world #6 and last year's runner up, Elena Dementieva. So there it was, the anticiapted matchup was set. When players arrived, I sensed some kind of respect that I didn't feel right from Anna Chavetadze, or maybe it was more confidence in the eyes of Elena than I would have expected. Anyway, I was no longer so confident of my choice (not that I ever considered it a certainty but anyway). So anyway, the match started and the first set went by so quickly that there had been no time to even understand what happened. You know when you see a score of 6-1, sometimes it does not really represent what happened on the court. That was totally the case here... What? Yeah, it should have been 6-0 and even that score could not have told the story of that set, how one sided the set had been...
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200509/IMG_6913.JPGThink I'm exagerating? Ok, close your eyes, and picture this. You are 18 years old, a rising star on the tour, one who has proved very talented at the US Open and capable of big upsets (including having defeated the world #2 in last year's event). And now, after two easy matches, you have your shot against the world #6. A perfect timing too since that player has been playing pretty poor tennis for weeks now and she seems like the perfect girl to get big bonus points from. Sure, it's not an easy match, but given the circumstances, it should be a pretty tight match and you're excited about playing it... right? Now, wait, what if I told you your opponent will make 8 double faults in her first four service games, sounds too good to be true right? WRONG! Wake up Anna, all of this did happen, and Elena really did make 2 double faults for every service game, but you just lost the first set 6-1...!
What happened? If you have read my previous reports of the US Open this year, you will recall how I talked about how Anna Chakvetadze has 2 styles of play, very different from each other. The first one seems to be the more natural one, she will play steady baseline shots, build points, try to force her opponents into unforced errors or frustrating them. That is what she did in her last match. Then, the second stlye, that she needed in her first round, a more agressive style where she'll actually try to build points, get angles, get herself to the net, etc. It's more risky for sure, but against some players it's necessary... So why did Anna think she could get away with the first style in her match against Elena Dementieva, one of the premiere baseliners in the game? Beats me, but you see what happened. Elena basically had some good practice, she could do anything, make Anna run left, right, left again, and while Anna sent it right back towards her opponent, she got ready to run for the next shot. To say that Anna hit no winners in the first set gives another good idea of how one-sided it was.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200509/IMG_6966.JPGSo after that set, Anna went to plan B right? Wrong again! She started out the same way, and then something happened, in the second game of that set. How do you feel when your opponent holds serve while serving 4 double faults....? Not good I bet. And from that moment on, she switched gears. The calm, reserved Anna started to do what Elena had probably feared from the start, She started attacking Elena, from everywhere, short balls, long balls, spins, moving to the net, some drop shots even, hitting some winners, passing shots, everything seemed to change. The momentum was clearly changing sides and there wasn't much Elena could do about it. Her serve was clearly better in that second set but it didn't change much, Anna was in charge now... To say she was dominating rallies would be exagerating, I don't think many players "dominate" rallies against Elena Dementieva. But she was certainly holding her own and both players were now doing their good share of running. In fact from that game on, it was the best quality of tennis I saw in a ladies game at this year's Open, by pretty far. Anna held on to her solid game as she won the second set. She even took a 3-0 lead in the third set that got everyone thinking about how the whole momentum had switched... but of course Elena was not about to let the match slip away and so she fought and fought, there were long spectacular rallies, it was impressive. Finally, Anna took a 5-4 lead and handed the serve to Elena... That's when Elena's serve finally gave in and pretty much said goodbye for the day. It has long been known that Elena's serve cracks under pressure, well it certainly happened... From that moment on, she was struggling mightly to get 67 miles per hours (107km/h) serves in, and I'm not exagerating. I guess that's when Anna lacked experience of these moments as she was unable to really relax enough and attack the serves, to get Elena to think about it even more. Instead, she would just hit it back so they both could start the rally with an equal shot... nice but not a winner strategy. After many very emotional points and a very high intensity tie-break, Elena fell to her knees to celebrate while her opponent burst into teers after giving it all in a match she'll have nightmares about for a while... You would have thought this was some final... but no, it had just been a very emotional 3rd round match....
After that match, I watched a bit of the Asagoe-Schnyder match, just enough to take some photos and see that Asagoe seemed to have lots of problems handling the Schnyder spins and it would probably not be a very tough match for the Swiss... So I headed to the grounds. You could feel th energy everywhere. Sure, the amount of people helped, but it was about something else, something bigger, the hope that James Blake could knock out #2 seed and French Open champ Rafael Nadal. When I got out of the stadium, the first set was coming to an end, and I heard when it did as a huge roar came out and clapping could be heard everywhere, it gave shivers really. Fans all over were either watching some big screen or listening to the scores on their radios, it was something special. Just to give you an idea, at the Myskina-Likhovtseva match, some fan screamed when Blake won, and everyone clapped, it was something special.
http://www.tennisrulz.com/articles/200509/IMG_7018.JPGSo anyway, back to business, I had arrived at the Myskina-Likhovtseva match, and was ready to watch that match. Just to specify, this match was a huge letdown, the quality of the tennis had nothing to do compared to the Dementieva vs Chakvetadze match. The fact that the crowd was not too much into it and neither player displayed that much intensity probably didn't help much either but anyway. The match started off really well for Anastasia, she was playing well, she was especially good at playing a few shots and then putting the ball away after a few shots, once she got what she was looking for, it was pretty impressive and honestly even Likhovtseva looked a bit stunned. For those who have never seen Elena play, she is pretty simple. She is very steady and will play the same solid tennis all match long. What that meant for Anastasia was that if she kept a similar level of play, she'd move on to the second week. But unfortunately, in the second set, she was not playing as well, she was getting more impatient about her game, she was just pushing for things to happen a little more quickly and it cost her big time. She dropped the second set and with her coach missing (did he change spots? Not sure but he had left his seat during the third set) things did not get better. She was playing sluggish tennis, had a medical trainer for her foot and was just so impatient, she'd try to hit winners from nearly impossible places on the court, just not making smart decisions, it was very discouraging:( She did not seem to really want it that much apart from the fact that she seemed do disgusted with herself. But then at the end of the third set, she seemed to recover and was back playing some better tennis.. But it was a bit late and once you reach the tie-break, it has a lot to do with outside factors other than who is playing well, and so Anastasia finally was defeated by an over-joyed Elena Likhovtseva who must have wondered what got her so lucky today to face such an inconsistent opponent...
After that match, I went to see a bit of the Sugiyama/Hantuchova doubles match then went to grandstand to see the end of Coria and hopefully get good seats for the Pierce/Jankovic match. It was late, so taking good photos was not really possible, but I was hoping to see a good match. And for a good set, there was some high quality tennis, both players were hitting very hard, some good rallies, the first set could have gone both ways but finally went to Mary Pierce. To her credit, her game, especially her return game, is VERY impressive, I think Jelena Jankovic never really adjusted to her serves coming back this quickly...Anyway, at 1-0 Jelena advised the umpire she needed a trainer at the changeover.. the changeover occured at 3-0 and despite trying a few points after, her back injury was too much too handle and she probably knew as well as anyone that she'd not come back from a 6-3, 3-0 deficit with a back problem against such a tough opponent...
To finish my day I went to see some mixed doubles and then headed back home....!
So anyway, I'll publish a final US Open report tomorrow to sum up my week! That's it for now:)