Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Treating Anna's back
Saturday and Sunday report
Brie Whitehead vs Amina Rakhim
Judging by Brieís scores, I was expecting the worst from this girl. Itís not that she canít hit the ball, but this is clearly not her level. She should be playing $10Kís qualifying and sheíd struggle to win a match there. Brie is a very tiny girl, you can tell by her body that she hasnít done much sports. Her serve is ok, although very inconsistent, as her whole game . Second serve is shaky and can lead to double faults, but itís not the worst Iíve seen today. Her forehand is her better shot and a couple of times she managed to have Amina on the run with some good forehands, but after 4 or 5 shots you know sheís about to miss, usually with her backhand. I just saw the first set and Brie went to deuce in the second game but most of the other games she almost didnít win a point. Sheís slow, clearly doesnít move well on clay. I was sitting next to Brieís mother who was there supporting her. Brieís attitude is not that good, she knows that sheís not at that level and she gets frustrated for not doing better, so I donít understand why she plays these tournaments. I canít say a lot from Amina as she didnít have to do much to win.
Catarina Ferreira vs Youlia Fedossova
I arrived in the second game and was happy that Catarina had already won the first game, I could never imagine that she would win the match, but as the match went on, I became more and more confident that she would do it. Catarina is very short, just a bit taller than Nuria Llagostera Vives and she plays the same style. A lot of top spin on the forehand and backhand, very quick around the court and gets every single ball back. She was a wall today. Iíve seen her here the last 3 years, and each year you can see how she has improved. Today, she handled Youliaís power perfectly and led the French to complete madness. Youlia plays power tennis, her first serve is a bomb, although she had a very low percentage today, but second serve is just . Itís a lot slower than Brieís serve and I think that says it all. Catarina attacked it all the time and won a lot of points there. Youlia was really pissed, because she was attacking all the time and Catarina getting back everything, very deep, with the points usually finishing with Youliaís stupid errors. Catarina wasnít ashamed to moonball when she had to and that pissed Youlia even more . Youlia missed a lot of easy balls and she pretty much tanked the last games.
Laura Pous Tio vs Zsofia Gubacsi
These two players were very even, but I thought Zsofiaís awesome backhand would make the difference. It didnít because Zsofia made a lot of errors. And Laura, aggressive when she had to, but always very consistent, won naturally. I watched this match next to Brie Whitehead. She was there watching with her mom and taking notes. I desperately tried to see what she was writing but couldnít do so
Julia Kalabina vs Kristina Barrois
I saw the first set of this match and it was just awful. It was like a contest of who would miss more. Unfortunately it was Kristina, who was looking really unfocused. Julia really isnít anything special, so Iím not surprised that Kristina turned things around.
Katia Rodrigues vs Ekaterina Makarova
This match was awful as well. Katia missed a lot and Ekaterina didnít have to do much to win. Makarova has a different style from the other Russian girls. Although sheís a big girl, she doesnít rely on power to win, but on her consistency and accuracy. She didnít play very well today, but it was enough to win. She will have to get better for the next round though.
Catarina Ferreira vs Amina Rakhim
This was the main match why I was here, so I was a bit disappointed with the result. Catarina was more aggressive than on Saturday, which also resulted in more errors. Both players are pretty consistent; donít miss a lot, so there were some very long and intense rallies. Amina was better on the shorter balls and finished the points easier. She has really good skills at the net, only missed a volley in the entire match and Iím sure that she made more than 15. As I said, Catarina made more errors today and I think it cost her the match. She had her chances in the second set and played a very bad game on her serve to lose the match. Amina looked good, very consistent, a complete player I would say and I think sheíll keep climbing the ranks.
Laura Pous Tio vs Justine Ozga
I saw the end of this match. Justine is a good player, hits hard, goes for the lines, she hit some impressive winners. Her problem is consistency, but the talent is there, she hit some good drop shots as well. Laura was playing as she normally does; I was surprised to see her choke in the end, hitting a lot of errors very unlike her. In one of the match points she missed a volley which all she had to do was stand there and hold her racket . She somehow closed it in the end.
Arantxa Parra Santonja vs Kristina Barrois
This was a fun match which had everything: moonballing, slices, net play, drop shots, hard hitting, a lot of variety from both players. The quality wasnít outstanding, but it was a good match. Kristina, with some help from Arantxa took the lead and was winning 64 51 with Parra looking out of the match. The Spaniard didnít give up and started hitting every shot into Kristinaís backhand, also making her move to that side, something that she doesnít do as well. It worked as the German started to miss more and started to get furious with herself for not closing out the match. Arantxa was a bit lucky on some balls that hit the lines, especially on match point, but you have to give her credit for attacking. In the third set Kristina received assistance for blisters on her foot I think. Arantxa wasnít making as many errors and was the most aggressive of the two, which was the key, I think, for her win. In the end she choked to close out the match, but her big serve got her out of trouble, finishing with two aces. A lot of players watched this match: Flavia Pennetta, Virginia Ruano Pascual, Nuria Llagostera Vives, Lourdes Dominguez Lino, Laura Pous Tio, Frederica Piedade and our dear Brie Whitehead, although in different moments.
Neha Uberoi vs Barbora Strycova Zahlavova
I watched just a couple of games of this match. Neha was attacking and Barbora returning everything. I have to say Barbora looks much fitter than last year; sheís thinner and very quick around the court. Neha looks a good player with powerful shots; I think she can go higher in the ranks.
Nika Ozegovic vs Sara Errani
I had never seen both players so I wanted to see this match. Sara is a typical clay court player with a topspin forehand and a weaker backhand which is most of the times a moonball. She has no weapons, but sometimes can hit a couple of winners with her forehand. Her first serve looks like a second serve, itís pretty weak. I sat behind Nikaís coach who was always supporting her, saying ďajmo NikaĒ. Nika has a good serve, good groundstrokes, she can attack from both sides, the problem is consistency. Still, sheís quite patient and didnít mind to be in moonball battles with Sara. She also had a strange tendency to moonball her backhand . This match was always in Nikaís hands, she either made the winners or the errors. Sara with her kind of play canít do much and I think she misses too much for a retriever.
This was probably the last day I went, as I have a lot of work to do now, and canít delay it anymore. But if I go another day, thereíll be another report . Pics probably only in the weekend