Sorry about the technical delay in getting the post up yesterday. WordPress ate half of what I wrote and the X-ers held it until I was able to get to a computer. Thanks for your patience.
Yesterday’s matches were punctuated by the 2 hour rain delay that made the temperature drop 20 degrees and made the excitement rise accordingly. We rolled in and went over to the Mardy Fish – Andrea Stoppini match, opting to pass over the Lleyton Hewitt – Denis Gremelmayr pummeling when we saw that Hewitt was up 4-1 in the first set. Thomas Blake was sitting with Mardy’s coach Scott Humphries on one side of the court, while his agent John Tobias, Roddick’s agent Ken Meyerson, and some other white boy agent from SFX sat on our side talking the whole time. I give them credit though: every once in a while they would look up when there was a lull in the conversation to say, “C’mon Mardy.” Sports agents and conversational lull is an obvious contradiction of terms, so there wasn’t exactly a big supply of support going on. Fish also seemed to be rattled by a group of suburban women who were cheering for the Italian, and kept shooting them looks. The Fish prevailed in putting a stop to Stoppini, the Jan-Michael Gambill-Andre Agassi killer, 6-3, 6-1.
We stuck around to see a little bit of Andy Murray – Feliciano Lopez, while keeping an eye on Wesley Moodie – Kenneth Carlsen on the next court over. Brad Gilbert was clad in black once again, and sitting in the top row of the bleachers, looking like a giant smirking chimp. Near the beginning of the Murray-Feli match is when I really started to think it was going to rain, but no one was minding the lack of sun beating down on us for the first time all week, so all was good so far. We stuck around for the first two change-overs. Feli was holding, and laying down some beautiful slicing backhanders and playing a nice all-court game, but we knew it was probably the domicile of Murray in the end. Ah, Feli….
We got over to the Marat Safin – James Blake match around 7:20pm and I totally knew it was going to rain. You could feel it. Sure enough, about ten minutes later, at 3-all, 30-40 on Safin’s serve, they moved them out. Everyone was thinking that it was going to pass since it started out as a light drizzle, but soon it was completely coming down. Then it stopped and everyone came back in and wiped off their seats. They pulled out the giant roller squeegees, fired up the blowers, and completely cleaned the court off. A few minutes later the rain started again, and we all ran for cover. Charlie Brotman came over the PA and said that it was only supposed to keep up for ten minutes and everyone cheered.
Play got underway again at 9:30pm, and I don’t think many people left the event — not with a show like that going on. Marat immediately lost his service point with James capitalizing on the break, but Marat came back and took the next game. In the first set tiebreaker James blasted a forehand wide for the 8-6 loss.
Everyone was hopeful that Blake would come back and we’d get a third set, but he was spraying shots all over the court and never seemed to find his rhythm in the second. The crowd was enjoying the drama and the punching from the baseline game, save for the one crazy volleying point which ended when James slipped in a beautiful pass. In the tiebreak, Marat won the first three points, then recovered from a double on match point to slip a shot off the net, past a frozen Blake who was just inside the baseline, for the 7-5 win.
All in all, another match that had the goods to be a great final. In fact, we’re hoping the final is that good.
We hung out a little bit to see the first 3 games of Jan-Michael Gabill play Tim Henman, but it was going on 11:30pm in a pretty deserted stadium. Jan-Mike dropped his service in the third game, and we bailed out.
Today’s quarters will obviously decide a few things, with the right side of the draw still pretty much up for grabs. I’m feeling pretty good about a Murray-Tursunov semi, though an all-Brit semi would be really very cool and nice for the Gilbert PR machine. The inevitable Hewitt-Safin former Number 1′s semi will be a cool match too, and no doubt eclipse the final.
The forecast is mixed, with some calling for the chance of thunder showers again, but we’ll see how that goes. I should mention that it apparently didn’t seem to rain in Dupont Circle last night even though it was pouring about 3 miles away up at the event. Weird, huh? Fortunately the humidity has dropped appreciably, and the weekend weather is supposed to be lovely.
Now to today’s questions:
Q: which quarterfinal will you try to watch tomorrow?
A: That’s a pretty easy one since all the men’s action takes place on Stadium court. Check out the schedule here. The only difficulty comes at 7pm. I think we’ll try and go back and forth, but I wouldn’t mind spending some quality time watching Dmitry Tursunov and Tim Henman duke it out. For anyone who’s going up this afternoon, bear in mind that Tamarine Tanasugarn and Camille Pin are on Court 2 at 1pm. That should be a terrific match too.
Q: Lynn, I am also dying to hear your rundown of Blake-Safin, but what I’d really like is for you to elaborate on LaLo’s My Little Pony hair ornamentation. I’m hoping you got pictures!
A: Yo federated! I have some pictures, but I need to up them still. The past couple of days have been very busy. Plus, what with the Getty and AP dudes doing such a great job in court coverage and the humidity turning everyone’s pictures to mist, I’m almost reluctant. Anyway, to your question: What Feli is wearing is really interesting. It’s actually two separate elastics that wrap across his head to keep his hair in place. I’ve actually never seen this before and I was dubious that it would work, but it seems to be doing the job.
For the record, I’m much more taken with this photo.
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