Been wanting to write about this match for a couple of days now, as I saw the whole thing in person.
It was played on court 7 late in the day on Friday, and was interrupted by about a three hour rain delay. A good sized crowd turned out for it, most of which was in Tamira's corner, and I think she had several friends and maybe some family there too. One couple sitting next to me sounded as if they knew her or were some sort of extended family, though for most of the match they she was Halep.
A guy sitting a few rows in front of me kept yelling "C'mon, Tamira!" after every point or every other point, so by the time of the rain delay, she must of gotten sick of her name, lol.
As for the match, Mimi started off pretty slowly, as has sort of become a pattern for her, and lost her opening serve game. She looked pretty ragged on serve and made some loose swings resulting in several errors that gave Halep a pretty easy time of it in the first set. By contrast, after a bathroom break, Tamira looked a lot better in the second set, right from the start, and stayed on top of her serve games pretty well. She fought very hard, buoyed by the crowd support, and mentally was more into the match by that point. You could definitely see that her fire was going, especially at the end of the second set, when she clenched her fist alot, exchanged glances with Andrei Pavel, and looked quite determined. By contrast, it was all Simona could do to keep up with Tamira in the rallies, where Mimi's shots were deeper and more punishing and kept Simona moving around beautifully. She hit some gorgeous backhand winners in these games too.
In the third set, Tamira jumped out to an early lead and it looked like she had things going her way, but an early break disappeared and Halep passed her up just before the rain started. At 3-all and then 3-4 there were a couple of momentary suspensions when Mimi sat down, veteran that she is, but when they tried to resume the second time, at 3-4 30-40, the rain came harder, the court was lost, the players sent off, and we got a report that a heavy shower was about to move across Key Biscayne.
Went to get dinner, and after the rain shower, the ball kids and ground crew were out drying the courts, and by roughly 8 or so we were ready to go. Tamira lost that serve game, but spurred on by our cheers she fought hard to break and hold for 5-all, and it looked for all the world that we were going to a breaker. But it was not meant to be. Simona held serve and Mimi was broken for the win, at 7-5 in the third. It was a tough loss, but she fought well right to the end.
I took lots of photos, which are on my Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/2830082...7633068034278/
, and several videos of this match which will be uploaded to my Youtube account in the coming days.