Today's report (final round qualies)
Can I just say that Darwin is *hot*. Even at 9am it's pretty disgusting. I do not envy the players.
Azra Hadzic def. Tyra Calderwood 6-3 6-2
There are some things about Tyra's game I really liked. She can hit some good serves and was one of the few girls I saw who could hit a few aces. She comes to the net and volleys nicely. Unfortunately, while she slices well, her topspin groundstrokes aren't strong and don't have much on them. Azra on the other hand, I think is quite powerful. But I don't think she liked not being given any pace. Tyra actually went up 3-1 in the first (I think) but then Azra got it together and won pretty easily. There were a few rallies there where Tyra did nothing but slice - forehand and backhand - and forced a few errors
Wasn't enough though. Azra didn't look terribly impressive today but didn't get much from Tyra.
Minikoshi (JPN) v. Karis Ryan
I don't actually know who won this, but I'm guessing Minikoshi. Ryan looked like she was playing well though and matched Minikoshi's power groundstrokes. Quietly impressed.
Viktorija Rajicic def. Dani Scivetti 6-0 6-3
Easy scoreline but it was reasonably close. Viktorija didn't look terribly impressive and was a bit moody today. There were a lot of close games and I thought Dani played pretty well. She is fairly powerful and has a very nice down the line backhand. In the 2nd set, I think Dani was up 3-2. She was serving at 3-3 Deuce when she got hit mid-rally with a ball from the next court. So she stopped playing but the umpire didn't see anything except Rajicic hitting a winner off the next shot and didn't call a let. Dani was understandably very annoyed. Viktorija can hit the ball hard but from what I saw today, will need to start playing better.
Stephanie Bengson def. Wing-Yau Venise Chan (HKG) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Oh my god what a marathon! So many long rallies. So many deuce games. And it was sooo bloody hot! Chan just rallied and rallied and rallied and Stephanie had to make all the plays. She dropped serve early in the first and I think Chan served for it at 5-3. Stephanie broke back but unfortunately dropped serve in the next game to lose the set. You could tell she was right in with a chance though.
In the second, I think Stephanie went out to a 4-1 lead. I was really impressed. She handled the long rallies and Chan's consistency well. She can also turn up her 1st serve and hit it really quite hard. She also finished off quite a few points at the net which was great to see. She wobbled and lost serve at 4-1 but still finished of the set. With so many break points/long rallies/deuce games etc they definitely needed their 10min heat break. (In the previous men's match on that court one of the guys kept throwing up because of the heat!)
In the final set, Stephanie got a break and I think was serving at 4-3. She wobbled again and dropped serve, only to break back immediately and close it out. It was a really impressive hard fought win. Well done to her. She looks like a solid versatile and powerful player. Will be interesting to see how she develops.
Apart from that, I saw Storm Sanders v. Julia Moriarty from afar (Julia with her Irish-colours wristband!). They were both slogging it out and I think Storm may have been just ahead but I'm not sure. Both players looked strong to me.
Also left while Panoho was playing Cannizzaro. I think Panoho won the first and was doing it pretty easy.
I'm already impressed with the standard and these are only the qualifiers!
Looking forward to seeing some of the MD matches
Also seen: Nicole Pratt. Also, Sinead Disaya's YouTube video called "The Ultimate Fit Girl" and was made for a Lorna Jane competition: http://youtu.be/MAACL1UAMGM