Yesterday was a first, in that I stayed at the tennis for about 12 hours…10:30am to almost 10:30pm
Lots of tennis…Im off again for day two very soon, so I wrote half of this last night and the other half this morning.
I’ll talk about each match I saw, in as accurate order as possible.
Sania Mirza d Cindy Watson 3-6 6-3 6-0
This was my first port of call, to see the exciting young Indian who has pretty much become my favourite player alongside Daniilidou in the last few months. It’s been 3 years since I last saw her (at AO juniors 2002), so it was great to get the chance again. Sania doesn’t have the best record at WTA events (she’s only played a handful) and I had a feeling she would go down in this match against the experienced Watson. That was pretty much confirmed after Cindy walked the first set 6-3. Solid play from Cindy, she’s not a powerful girl by any stretch just extremely consistent and solid from the back of the court. Sania on the other hand was still playing like a junior, hitting some great winners (her forehand is her obvious weapon) and then flunking with some awful errors. With Cindy up a set and a break I thought it was pretty much over. I came back and was shocked to see Sania up 4-0 in the final set! As an Aussie it was a bit sad to see the veteran go down without a fight but I was very happy Sania hung on for the win. She rolled the final set without so much as a whimper from a hapless Cindy. Well done Sania
She should give Petra Mandula a bit of a match on Wednesday. She’s a good mover, just a little impatient and goes for too much on occasion. She’ll cut this down in time, and it’s only a matter of time before we see her in the top 100.
Elena Baltacha d Katarina Srebotnik 5-7 6-4 6-4
“Twat!!”…with this immortal word, I knew I was home. Was walking along my merry way eating my icy pole, when I heard Elena about 2 courts away utter these magic words. I was drawn. We are kindred spirits
She was trailing in the first set and had just lost serve I believe…anyway, this match was great. Some great hitting, big serves from both, and watched by an appreciative court 10 crowd full of supportive Brits and Aussies for Baltacha. Elena seems to give her all on every single point she plays…chases every ball, grunts like her life depends on it, and can smack a winner from any position. I really hope her illness is under control, because she could progress much further up the rankings if she plays at this level for the rest of the year. Srebotnik played well and I was impressed with her serve, but she was just outgunned today. Elena won the match with a great winner down the line, fell to her knees and let out a shriek, much to the crowds delight. Baltacha has a great chance to beat Cohen-Aloro in the next round…she certainly will have some support, so hope she takes advantage!!!
Fabiola Zuluaga d Selima Sfar 6-3 7-5
Yawn. Just caught a couple games and that was enough. I love Fabi, she’s a great player but this match was just flat, and butt ugly. Fabi was in complete control and Im surprised the second set was that tight…she is a class or three above Selima and should have finished her off easier. Selima has little power, a finesse game, that was pretty much redundant today.
Alina Jidkova d Virginia Ruano-Pascual 4-6 6-1 6-4
I don’t believe that Alina Jidkova is 28. She looks 14. I’m convinced she is 14. Anyway, I can’t remember any redeeming qualities about this match…probably because there weren’t any. Just your usual, pleasant enough first round affair between two girls that probably wouldn’t progress much further, whoever won. Alina has nice enough strokes, but nothing that will really hurt the top girls..Vivi was just her usual bouncy mane of hair…slicing and dicing, but to no avail. Gone.
Sophie Ferguson d Nuria Llagostera Vives 2-6 7-6(6) 6-4
Nuria is a mighty midget, so very very small. So small. Sophie is a fairly tall, lean and leggy blonde…with quite a beautiful game to watch. Very frustrating in that she doesn’t move all that well for someone with a nice physique and let a lot of balls go. Nuria was hitting lots of winners and really seems comfortable on Rebound Ace. Unfortunately for her, she served about 20 double faults
Two on match point. I saw most of the first set and bits of the second. I thought she was going to wrap it up when serving for it at 6-2 5-4 (here, I went to join a friend at the Mary Pierce match…er, big mistake that was)….I return to find that she had saved 4 match points to win the second set 7-6 (8-6) and then leading 4-2 in the 3rd. After a few false starts, she closed it out 6-4. This match was topsy turvy and the quality shifted from good, to poor to very good, to shit…so it was up and down. There were however some absolutely great rallies…Sophie has a beautiful single handed backhand…a decent forehand, and Nuria herself can hit a good ball. Lots of long rallies were exchanged and it was a pleasure to watch as they were struck beautifully. Sophie will get crushed by Petrova in the next round. Her only hope is if Nadia succumbs to the heat as I think it will be a hot one on Wednesday
Anyway, great win from the 18 year old…should push her up to about 230!
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro d Mary Pierce 6-2 6-2
She shouldn’t have turned up. Obviously not ready. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. UGH
Stephanie just needed to keep the ball in play and it was obvious she was going to romp it in. Stephanie is a decent hitter of the ball though…good solid one handed backhand. Mary seems to be in much better shape than the last time I saw her here 2 years ago, when she was just simply fat, and had the speed of a three legged dog. She didn’t seem flustered at all today with the loss…I think she knew the outcome of the match when she stepped off the plane.
Silvia Farina-Elia d Julia Schruff 6-3 6-4
Just a routine comfortable win for the super consistent Silvia. Gotta hand it to Silvs….32 and still producing some world class tennis. Schruff is a good hitter of the ball…thin, blond and medium height…just your run of the mill baseliner though so I don’t expect many big things from Ms.Schruff.
Marion Bartoli d Claudine Schaul 6-1 6-3
Only saw a little bit of the beginning when Marion was up like 3-0 or something. She seemed in control and Claudine’s head really wasn’t there today. I do have to comment on Marion’s outfit though and that’s the only reason I’m including this match in the reports. A white outfit, with rainbow coloured patterns on the top and on the skirt. She was the patron saint of Mardi Gras.
Evgenia Linetskaya d Lubomira Kurhajcova 6-4 6-1
Hands up who pictured Linetskaya to be an a)tall leggy blond Russian or b)short blond Russian? I did. Well, she is a stocky, olive skinned brunette, and is a little powerhouse. Would probably benefit from getting into a little better shape (I wouldn’t exactly call her fat), but at the moment it’s not doing her any harm. Totally dominated Lubomira….Evgenia hits very hard and was always in control. Quite an impressive player and certainly one to watch. Nice dominating win.
Na Li d Laura Granville 6-2 4-6 6-2
Saw Na practicing in the morning, so here was my chance to finally see her in match play. A big hitter of the ball, nice DEEP penetrating groundstrokes and even though she lost the second set I was quite confident she would walk away with the win as she just seemed like the stronger player. Laura did play some good tennis, matched Li from the back many times, but just fell short when it counted. Was quite upset with herself was Laura…sobbing into a towel at 2-4 down, final set, after she slipped to get a ball and lost the game. Li wasn’t all that impressive today, it’s clear she can play better, but she did what she had to do. She will definitely need to step it up to beat Asagoe, but it’s clear when you watch her that she is a high level player that has the ability to trouble the big girls on a good day. Li had a strong Chinese support group….fans, media and entourage…that were very vocal, and quite annoying as I was in the thick of it
Very happy to see Li get through.
Marta Domachowska d Ting Li 6-1 3-6 6-0
I only saw bits of the first set and it seemed that Ting and her gorgeous dyke do were simply no match for Marta’s power game. Marta hits very hard and has quite a big serve. As she showed in qualies though, Ting is a fighter, so kudos to her for grabbing the second set. Er, sorry bout the last one though love. I do like Ting…she is a solid player and hits very well, as do all the Chinese girls.
Vera Zvonareva d Nannan Liu 6-4 6-2
Vera needs a good slap. Or a good shag. Somebody needs to get out there and tell her that she cant win every fucking point that is played. You will make mistakes darling, it’s a given. She is petulant in this way, and her behaviour is quite childish, but I find her strangely intriguing. She really wants to be perfect and she really wants to win. It’s great to observe her behaviour though…you share the pain as she serves 3 consecutive double faults, and then admire how she can hit a winner from THAT position soon after. I don’t think Vera will quite get there (she may prove me wrong, I mean who am I? lol) but her wayward passion does get her out of some tight spots. Liu is a decent lefty, hits a good ball but was obviously a few rungs below Vera’s level. Vera does look fit and should do OK here, but I think if I ever saw her crack a smile…well, don’t think that’s going to happen so we’ll just leave it there shall we.
Maria Sharapova d Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3 6-1
Total blow out. I saw this from start to finish, watched the 4th set of the mens match (Lopez-Garcia v Moya) before this which was quite ace, and the crowd was a decent size on Vodafone. Sesil wasn’t given much of a chance to show us what she was capable of. She did come up with a few great shots that wowed the crowd, but it was all Maria. She was quite impressive today and looks to be hitting some good form at the right time. Always in control, the result never in doubt…a few lapses of concentration here and there, but smooth sailing for a solid, impressive win in a fairly lackluster match. Psycho Dad was there in all his irritating glory, FYI.
Nadia Petrova d Virginie Razzano.6-1 6-2
Total blow out, part deux. Only saw a bit of this, but Nadia blitzed it. Very strong, very powerful, and completely dominating. Virginie, the poor dear, had no chance. Nadia will bitch slap Sophie Ferguson to the high heavens on Wednesday but it will be a great experience for the young Aussie…let’s just see how Nadia copes with Wednesday’s apparent heat
Today was nice and pleasant, weather wise.
Ana Ivanovic d Iveta Benesova 3-6 7-6 6-1
Ana was striking in a nice aqua blue number…and Iveta was looking great in something that was supposed to be a skirt, but looked more like a tea towel, it was so short. A loud Serb crowd cheering on Ana, I only saw the closing stages of the match, from 2-0 in the final set. Not sure if Iveta blew a big lead or any MP’s in the second set, but she looked dejected and beaten from the get go in that third set. Ana got on top of her and dictated play and ran away with it. The set was a little tougher than the scoreline of 6-1, but Ana looked to be in complete control. Quite impressive, without the wow factor though. She does hit hard and seems to be consistently good from the back, aggressive when she needs to be, but she does need to step it up if she is to stay in contention…in fairness she’s played a LOT of tennis the last 10 days or so, and given that reason I think today’s effort was outstanding.
Lindsay Lee-Waters d Zsofia Gubacsi 6-3 7-5
One of the later matches to finish. Lindsay shrieks/grunts with the best of them, God bless her. Zsofia did well to stay with her, but just couldn’t really match Lindsay from the back. This result was always going to be on powerful Lindsay’s racket, and she won as expected. I don’t think she’ll be much of a threat against Sharapova next up, and I can see her getting beat at her own game.
Maria Kirilenko d Aniko Kapros 5-7 6-2 6-4
Another late finisher was this match. Maria is a real cutie pie (from a distance, looks like Sharapova, but up close she is much better looking), with a solid backcourt game. Hits the ball quite hard and has a decent serve. She’s ranked about 110 I think and hasn’t had many remarkable results lately, but she’s a good enough talent that does seem to belong in the top 100. I do see her breaking the top 50 at some stage but I can’t see her as being a force in the game….just doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct or major sting in her game. There were some nice hard hitting rallies in this match though. Aniko strikes the ball well and hits fairly hard, and her serve has improved! No longer a powder puff there is actually some bite on it now
Aniko does need to improve her conditioning though…her thighs are quite, well, Rita Kut-Kis like (read; fat), and she doesn’t look like one of the fittest girls on tour…she’s got the talent, but I don’t think she really has the desire or the hunger. Saw some of the first and second sets but missed the last set, and I’m pleased Kirilenko won…they did seem fairly even, so it was on anyone’s racket. Lina Krasnoroutskaya and Vera Douchevina were watching this match. Lina is looking just
I also have to say Lina was looking very happy, which is great to see.
Dinara Safina d Jie Zheng 7-5 3-6 6-4
Another late one. Finished after 8pm. This was a pretty fiery affair…Dinara wearing an interesting bumblebee yellow coloured outfit. She’s very tall for her age (18?) and is fairly powerful but she was certainly being matched by feisty cutesy Zheng. I just want to pinch Zheng’s cheeks she is so adorable
Zheng has beautiful groundies…a great swinging forehand, gets a lot of pace on it (similar to Na Li), and also a fairly decent backhand. There were some great great rallies in this match, I really enjoyed it. Saw most of the last set after I watched a bit of Mauresmo v Stosur on big screen in the garden enclosure, with my hot dog and beer. Dinara was getting quite flustered with Zheng and Zheng’s supporters…no love lost between these two, as Dinara was getting a bit pissed off when Jie was questioning a few balls. I really wanted Jie to win this as she’s just a real pleasure to watch…a little dynamo! Anyway, not to be. Dinara was just too good in the end. Overall, a good match I thought. Some interesting gossip follows; a friend (fellow poster Mon's Boy) told me that during the match Dinara was making some rude signs toward the Chinese supporters, and following the match refused a few Chinese autograph seekers with the response ‘I don’t sign for Chinese’
I decided to stick around and rejoined a couple other friends at the Tommy Haas v Xavier Malisse match on Margaret Court Arena which finished after 9pm…Tommy in complete control, great win by him.
We then went to show court 3 as Nicolas Kiefer and Olivier Rochus were about to start a 5th set. Rochus won it 6-3 in the 5th and it was a pretty entertaining match that finished just after 10pm…Kiefer all fired up and what not
We spent most of the match perving at Kiefer’s nice legs and tight butt
, and were actually quite vocal in our observations that a few stuffy old souls moved seats
A few chants were played out in the match, and they sounded remarkably like ‘Sa-ba-ti-ni’, so me and le friend just starting chanting Sabatini’s name in unison and for the rest of the match shouted ‘Go Gaby’ to Kiefer. Sadly, Gaby lost to Arantxa (well, we had to give Rochus a nick name to). Great play from little Olivier.
I'm off again for Day 2, so I'll update accordingly in due time. Having a day off on Wednesday but I'll be back on Thursday most likely...