Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:18 AM
Anyone else going to BOTW this week? Post your thoughts here...
Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:18 AM
Anyone else going to BOTW this week? Post your thoughts here...
Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:52 AM
The weakness of the main draw definitely trickled down here - in past years the cutoff for qualifying has been around 300, this year it was closer to 1300. Since the cutoff for the main draw was around 70, this meant that there was quite a range of players in the qualifying rounds. It was definitely educational to see the difference between someone ranked 100 and 1000, but it meant that the draw was as big a factor as skill in deciding who advanced.
I wonder how Theresa Logar and Whitney Deason felt about having to play each other in the first round. On the one hand it was a winable match for both of them, but it has to be a little awkward playing your teammate. Whoever said they didn't think Logar would lose to Deason - obviously neither did Logar, and she was not happy about it. Her game's not bad, but I hate watching her get pissed off any time things aren't going her way.
Jessica Kirkland vs Meilen Tu was also kind of a bummer of a first round match, mostly because either of them would have beat 90% of the other players in qualifying easily. It was pretty easy to see here why Kirkland has had so much more success than most of the other young Americans - she has a good variety of shots including a nice slice backhand, and she seemed pretty together mentally. I thought she and Meilen were pretty evenly matched all the way through - at the beginning I thought Meilen's experience would make the difference but when she started making some unforced errors Kirkland stepped up. It was a pretty good match from both of them - shame they couldn't both advance.
Romana Tedjakusuma has the strangest service toss motion I've ever seen - instead of swinging her arm in an arc in front of her, she pulls it in toward her body and then straight up in the air. Seems to work ok, but it looks really awkward.
Why was Vasilisa Bardina wearing an American flag hat? Not a subtle one, either - it had a blue top covered in white stars and a red and white striped visor.
Alexandra Stevenson really is talented - it's a shame that her career is such a mess. I was half expecting her to retire again when she lost the second set, so good for her for sticking it out. I'd put my money on Shenay, though.
Lindsey Nelson and Meng Yuan were pretty evenly matched, and had similar styles of play. It was a really streaky match - one of them would win a few games in a row and seem to be in command, and then they would get broken and the other would go on a tear. The heat was clearly a factor in this one - Lindsey in particular looked totally miserable, and the trainers spent a bunch of time with both of them. It was actually a pretty high quality match, though. Lindsey is a typical baseline basher who hits a hard, flat ball, and she also moves quite well. She was really consistent today, getting almost everything back and hitting quite a few nice winners, and that ended up being the difference. I like her game and I think she's definitely capable of winning some matches at this level, but unlike Kirkland I'm not sure she has a Plan B to fall back on for those days when she's not hitting the lines quite so consistently.
It was a little bizarre to go from watching that match to watching Brie Whitehead and Diamond Jackson, both of whom could easily have passed for 13 year olds. Jackson hits the ball hard but was wildly inconsistent, especially with her serve. I'm sure some of it was nerves but she's going to have to learn some actual strategy if she wants to make it to the next level - mindless bashing only gets you so far. Whitehead was calmer and did have some nice shots, but nothing that would have troubled almost anyone else I saw play today. The total number of unforced errors in this match had to be staggering - from both players.
Saw quite a few people practicing - Stosur, Dechy, Rubin, Golovin, Craybas, Vaidisova, and some others I didn't recognize. Should be a good week...
Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:56 AM
Sarsmile - you should be given a medal to watch all those matches...it was so freekin' hot out there today. you could definitely tell some of those players didn't want to be out there today.
adding my two cents:
I agree about Tu and Kirkland....bad luck of the draw. it was good to see that there were some people cheering Meilen on.
after watching some of the Whitehead/Jackson match I told someone else that this was absolutely the worst pro match I have ever witnessed. that match was...unwatchable! I had to leave it was so bad. I understand it was hot and they are young and gaining experience, but come on! the double faults/ue's were staggering.
Shenay Perry destroyed Uberoi with her all court game. I could be wrong, but these two may have played each other last year at the qualifying, where Uberoi was victorious.
I stayed til the end of the yelsey match and lost patience...it was too hot so I left. look for some pix I'll try to post really soon.
Jul 23rd, 2006, 07:01 AM
Thanks for the reports!!!
Jul 23rd, 2006, 07:04 AM
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:40 AM
Urklerlay, I figure this only happens once a year, so it's worth toughing it out despite the heat. Today was even worse, though - I saw two ballkids collapse on court to add to the one spectator yesterday. Fortunately it's supposed to start cooling down soon.
I watched most of Bardina vs Kirland, and I'm still impressed with Jessica even though she lost. It was a tight match - could have gone either way. I like the variety in Jessica's game - she even came up to net a few times, and even though she didn't win all of them I like that she's trying. I also liked that her game didn't seem much affected by the score - she'd look frustrated when she made an error, but then refocus and win the next point. Some of the younger players seem to get into these ruts when they're struggling; Jessica always looked (and played) as though she could win the next point, even when she was down. Bardina just made a few less errors, and that was the difference. Jessica looked pretty frustrated afterward; it was definitely a winable match and I think those are always harder to lose. I did see her practicing again later this afternoon, even though she's not playing doubles here. Is she entered in LA or San Diego?
In the battle of the NCAAs, Nelson beat Deason easily. I didn't see much of the Deason/Logar match yesterday, but from what I saw today Deason has Logar's game but not quite as good. She hit a few nice shots, but she didn't move very well and she had no chance against someone who places the ball as well as Lindsey does. Lindsey seemed pretty pumped up for this match - I don't know if there was history between them from NCAAs, or if she was just eager to win quickly and get out of the heat (since she struggled with it yesterday). She was friendly at net afterwords, so I'm guessing the latter. She seemed really happy with the win, too - big grins walking off court and for quite a while afterwards. She watched part of the Perry/Stevenson match (homework for tomorrow, I assume), and was still in a good mood. Seemed like a nice girl. Shenay is the better player, but if she makes too many errors Lindsey could give her some trouble. They have totally different styles of play, so it should be an interesting match. Too bad I have to work...
Speaking of Perry, her match against Stevenson was definitely the match of the day. I love Shenay's game - she hits the ball so cleanly, and she can hit winners out of nowhere from anywhere on the court. It's not often these days that you see a match where both players have one handed backhands - kind of a nice change. They stayed on serve all the way through the first set - Shenay had more chances to break, but it took her until the last game to finally get it. She started making too many errors in the second set, and Stevenson stepped up. The third set was close all the way, until Shenay finally channeled frustration into success and won it on a series of outright winners. Alexandra was obviously still a bit bothered by her shoulder (the trainer came out at one point, and she was rotating it and yelling at it occasionally), but good for her for fighting for this one. If Alexandra ever got it all together she'd be really dangerous, but for now Shenay is just a more complete player and I was happy to see her pull it out. If she had let herself get stuck in a rut of unforced errors like this against a higher ranked player, she would have been in trouble.
The most amusing part of the match was when a ballkid collapsed from heat exhaustion during the second game (that wasn't the amusing part, I promise - I hope the girl is ok). The umpire stopped play and all the linespeople ran over to help, and Shenay and Alexandra were sort of milling around near their chairs trying to figure out what to do. Shenay hit on the idea of grabbing the umbrella that the ballkids held over them during changeovers and trying to go provide shade, except when she opened the umbrella it turned inside out, and she was wandering around middle of the court holding this inside out umbrella over her head, trying to figure out how to fix it. It ended up taking her and two ballkids to get it fixed, by which time the other kid had already been carried off. Meanwhile Alexandra was trying to get ice to bring over (spurred on by Samantha yelling from the stands, of course), except that most of the bags of ice were so melted they were dripping water all over the court.
Jill Craybas was there for part of the third set supporting Shenay.
Why is Brie Whitehead here? According to the WTA website, she's 17, and yesterday was the first time she's won more than a game in 5 matches. She does have some nice shots, but she's just totally outclassed at this level, and being physically small doesn't help. It wasn't just the double bagel - I can't think of a single point she won (I watched the whole second set) in which her opponent didn't make an error. She could barely return her opponent's serve, and her own serve wasn't much better. And these weren't close misses - half of her shots (including serves) were 5+ feet out! She looked totally miserable for most of the match, and when I walked by afterwards she was sitting on a bench with her head in her hands.
Here's a kid who would get a college scholarship easily, and who could probably do fine at this level in a year or two with some more work. But if she spends all her time getting outgunned by the big kids instead of focusing on her own game, she's not even going to have that. I have a feeling that whoever is advising her (parents? coach?) thinks you learn more by playing with the best - I just don't buy it. Go home, turn the power down a notch, and focus on getting some consistency in your shots. If you want to learn how to play against power, hire a hitting partner or play with the boys at the club. If you're spending entire matches trying desperately to hit the hell out of the ball in hopes that it might just once stay in for a winner, something's wrong. It's one thing to try out a pro tournament once - get a taste of what it's like, gauge yourself against some good players, and hang around and watch matches and generally enjoy the experience (which is what I hope Diamond Jackson was doing - I saw her asking for a picture with Shenay today). It's another to keep trying and failing - it has to be humiliating. I really hope she hasn't turned pro already - I honestly feel sorry for this girl, and I'd love to see her playing at a level where she could have a little more success. Ok, end of rant.
Watching Laine vs Yelsey just hammered home the problem with Whitehead to me, because this could easily have been a bagel in either set and it was still definitely a competitive match. Emma Laine is ranked around 60ish, and while she didn't have any particular weapons that stood out to me she was a solid all around player who hit the ball well and didn't make too many errors. Anne never threatened on Emma's serve, and struggled to hold her own - even the games she won were never a sure thing until it was over. That being said, I was more impressed with her than with either Logar or Deason. She played the match really aggressively, and while she made a bunch of unforced errors she also hit a lot of winners, including several on points Emma clearly thought she already had. She served some aces, hit some winners off of service returns (of decent serves), and had a couple of great rallies. No question that Emma was the better player here, but I came away thinking that if Anne keeps working on the consistency and gets some more matches in at this level, she could probably win some of them - and I would feel that way even if she hadn't eeked out those three games. Whitehead, I was left wondering how she had ever managed to win any games.
Doubles - I was surprised when I got home to discover that Panova's team wasn't seeded, because they were clearly the better team in that match. They were actually playing doubles - volleying, passing shots, etc - while their opponents looked like two good singles players who hadn't played much doubles, let alone together.
In the second doubles, Alice Barnes just self-destructed or it might have been a better match. I wonder if she was feeling the pressure - last chance for a wildcard here, and after the disappointment in NCAAs I'm sure she and Yelsey would have loved to win some matches. They're a fun team to watch because they're so comfortable with doubles - they even serve and volley! But Alice coudn't seem to get her serves working, and her other shots weren't much better. Too bad, because Nelson and Fonseca were good and I would have really enjoyed a match with all four playing well.
Anyway, that's probably it for me, but I'd love to hear reports from anyone who goes later in the week.
Jul 24th, 2006, 09:07 AM
Thanx for the report :)
Jul 24th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Jul 25th, 2006, 06:32 AM
Don't worry, Shikha may have lost the match against Perry, but that's tennis. I'm certainly not going to count Shkiha out. She's a great player. In due time she will rise above it all.
While I'm at it, Congratulations to Shikha and Jelena Jankovic for beating the #1 doubles seed.
There are many great players out there, so there will be many more to come.
Jul 26th, 2006, 05:49 AM
I don't have any reports, but you can check out photos at:
Jul 27th, 2006, 05:13 AM
I went to Tuesday and Wednesday day sessions but much of this is going to be stuff I saw on Wednesday.
Before I went to Stanford, I saw Hantuchova and I think her mom sitting at a Starbucks. I actually went into the Starbucks right behind her. :p
Saw a bit of the Zvonareva-Srebotnik match. 1st set was tight but I didn't think Vera was really threatened. Left after the 1st to watch some of the Dechy-Camerin match. Most interesting part of the match took place in the 2nd set when Nathalie was serving for the set. She made a mess of her service game and got broke. After the game, her coach was giving her some encouragement and she replied back to him. I don't speak French but I guess she didn't want to hear it. That kept him quiet for a bit but he decided to encourage her again. I guess she had enough and told him something else and he left shortly afterwards. I didn't see the score until I got home so I was really surprised she got the win.
Then watched all of the Golovin-Sugiyama match. There were some parts of the match where Ai was able to rally with Tatiana but in the rest of the match, Tatiana was in control. She had some good forehand winners and her backhand was solid. Also saw a bit of the Sugiyama-Peschke on Tuesday and the difference basically was the rate of errors for Sugiyama's opponent. Peschke basically hit a bunch of unforced errors to give Ai the 1st set but there wasn't really a time where Tatiana did the same thing in the whole match.
Saw a bit of the Craybus-Perry match and it seemed that Jill was steadier during those parts. Shenay also got into a 3-4 minutes discussion with the chair umpire about a hinderance call that he made. They even called in a supervisor.
I also watched all of the Peer-Stosur match. This was probably the most interesting match. I thought Shahar would have the advantage because of her more solid ground game. But Samantha was pretty much able to match her shot for shot even though the shots from Shahar were consistently struck harder. And the Stosur service games were awesome. I don't know the stats but there weren't many break chances for Peer in the whole match and the quick points really helped Stosur. In the 1st set with Peer serving at 5-6, she basically lost two points by missing overheads. Peer couldn't recover and lost the set. In the 2nd set, it was basically one loose game from Peer but that was enough for Stosur.
Only saw a bit of them but Camerin-Dulko are fun to watch in doubles. Mattek was the steadier and better player in the Mattek-Mirza partnership. Tuesday was almost unbearably hot but it cooled off on Wednesday and there was even a slight breeze. Even Golovin said the conditions were better on Wednesday than earlier in the week when they interviewed her on court after her victory.
Hope this was interesting for some of you!
Jul 27th, 2006, 07:05 AM
Ok, I know I said I was done but I got talked into going back today. Besides, tennis is a lot more appealing when I'm no longer worried about melting onto the seats.
I watched Stosur/Peer first and I pretty much agree with rseto. The first 11 games were about as evenly matched as I've ever seen, although it was kind of an error fest. Sam's serves were great, but she was spraying groundstrokes everywhere. Shahar couldn't seem to buy a first serve, but was hitting pretty solid groundstrokes. Kind of an interesting contrast. Shahar was also really struggling with her service returns. Shahar made one or two errors that gave Sam the late break in the first set - it could easily have gone the other way. Sam picked it up a bit in the second, and seemed much more in control - but it was still just the one break. It was a fun match to watch with some beautiful shots, but both of them need to settle down a notch if they want to win more matches this summer.
Speaking of people who are making too many errors right now - if Jelena was a little steadier, Kim might be on her way to San Diego already. Both of them were alternating beautiful winners with crazy unforced errors, and while Jelena played well Kim lost that first set without much help from her opponent. She did pull it together a bit after that, and combined with some double faults from Jelena that was enough for her to come away with the win, but she is not going to win any slams with the game she played tonight. I'm hoping it was just rustiness from the post-Wimbledon break.
I was secretly hoping that someone would use a challenge tonight so that I could see the system in action for the first time. Jelena must have heard me, because she challenged 4 times :eek: She did win one of them, but most of them seemed a little silly to me - I got the sense she was kind of having fun with it, and some of them were on points that just didn't matter that much. I was actually impressed with the system, though. They showed the replay on the scoreboard so that we could all see it, and zoomed in so the result was clear. Both the players and the umpire seemed clear on what the rules were, and the whole thing took less time than many players used to spend arguing about those types of calls. Since my biggest concern had been that it would be a distraction, I think I'm sold - even with 4 challenges it was definitely more efficient that letting the players yell at the umpire :tape:
The doubles match was actually quite entertaining. Nicole Vaidisova may be a great singles player but she needs some serious work in doubles. She looked awkward and out of position most of the time, and seriously uncomfortable at net. She's got such good reach you'd think she'd be dangerous, but not without some more work apparently. Good for her for playing, though - hopefully this will improve with time. Mo Drake actually held her own, I think. Groenefeld and Peer were very good - they both played really solid net games, and they worked together much better than I would expect from a first time team. Now that they are the top seed left, I think they have a good shot at winning this thing.
Funny Kim moment for the night: after her match they asked her to play a few points with a bear (person in the BOTW mascot costume), and if the bear won someone from the audience would win a stuffed bear. It was supposed to be 2 out of 3 - Kim tanked the first point a little too obviously, won the second, and clearly intended to lose the third - but the drop shot she tried to miss just cleared the net and she won the point. The announcer suggested that they play one more point, which the bear managed to win, and then Kim convinced her that they should do one more so it would be best 3 of 5. They played out an entertaining point, the bear tried to hit a winner, and Kim ran it down and flicked it back. She was trying to make the bear look good by running and then missing her shot, but being Kim her half-hearted return actually landed in and won the point. Kim actually fell to her knees she was laughing so hard, and it looked like she was apologizing to the bear (and presumably to the person who the bear was playing for). And then they told Kim to shake hands with the bear since the match was over and she gave him a big hug (and was still laughing). Very cute, and nice to see her having fun with it.
Jul 27th, 2006, 04:46 PM
You guys have submitted some great reports. here are some photos of the bear vs kim match.
Jul 27th, 2006, 07:32 PM
GREAT report !!!
Jul 29th, 2006, 07:47 AM
Well, I was at the BOW again on Friday afternoon. I don't really have much to say especially since I saw the same matches that were available online.
Golovin and Groenefeld had a tight, if not pretty, match. ALG made quite a few errors in the 1st but I thought she played much cleaner in the 2nd set. That might partially explain the 2nd set going into a tiebreak. But that was a weird set since Tatiana had a long service game that went to about 5 or 6 deuces where both players had chances. Tatiana held serve and the next 4 or 5 games, both players held serve at either love or 15. After that long game, the 2nd set went to a tiebreaker pretty quickly. In the tiebreak, Tatiana went down 4-1 but fought her way back although ALG hit three shots that almost hit the line but missed. (She challenged one of them but lost.) One of those shots was at 5-5 and that seemed to get her down and she double faulted for the match.
I watched the beginning and the end of the Schnyder-Craybas match. The match wasn't bad but I don't remember much about it. :) I thought Craybas had a pretty good match but wasn't able to win the big points that could have extended the match. Or probably Patty stepped up on those points also.
The Vaidisova-Stosur match was the least competitive of the three although it didn't feel like it at the beginning. Stosur even had an early break and led 3-1 I think. But it seemed like Nicole was just warming up. After that, Nicole was pretty consistent in trying to attack Stosur's serve which led to some errors but more winners. And Samantha fared just as badly when a point led to a long rally which usually led to Nicole moving Samantha all around the court and Samantha playing defense behind the baseline. The 2nd set was pretty much the same although Samantha did try to change the game up a bit by coming to the net a little more. That didn't really work and I think the 1st serve percentage of Stosur was getting worse as the match wore on.