ATP Newport Blog: Fish Fried, Players Cut Loose
by Staff | July 10th, 2008, 9:48 am
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By Jill Neuharth

For yet another day the weather cooperated in Newport. I am making a big deal of it because it was originally forecast to rain and thunder shower this week. New England doesn’t exactly have the best weather at any time so I am counting my blessings. It was a bit chillier today than yesterday and the wind has not died down at all. Overall, still a great day for tennis.
Speaking of great days it was certainly one for the Indians in the event. Prakash Amritraj made it to the second quarterfinal of his career; the first one being at this event last year. He gives part of the credit to having his Dad Vijay here for support and the rest to the wind. After playing two matches in it yesterday, it was a “piece of cake.” Despite his loss to Amritraj, Jesse Levine was in high spirits this evening as he headed off to dinner at his favorite restaurant in Newport, the Black Pearl. When asked what he recommended from the menu at one of the most highly awarded seafood establishments in Rhode Island, “the hamburger, or maybe steak.”

Igor Kunitsyn must have been on a cake walk as well considering he dispatched countryman Mikhail Ledovskikh 6-1, 6-1 in only 50 minutes. Ivan Navarro took a bit longer to take care of Rik De Voest. Perhaps Rik is still a bit stunned by the jump shots taken at him in his doubles match yesterday. In the longest match of the day, Frank Dancevic battled it out with a surprisingly well behaved Brendan Evans. Maybe Brendan should have acted out a bit like in his previous two matches which he won. No worries, Brendan seems to still be in high spirits, He just headed off to dinner with Levine in a shirt that is an exact replica of one my dad wore in 1975. All he needs now is Vince Spadea’s hair do to complete the look. Frank was not the only Dancevic on the court today. His rather fetching younger sister in a very tiny tennis outfit went out to hit with his coach in the afternoon. She soon acquired an audience but not for her game.

In doubles, the team of Kevin Anderson and James Cerretani advanced to the quarterfinals over Kristian Pless and Benjamin Becker. Recent Wimbledon quarterfinalists Peya and Petzschner have now become semifinalists at Newport with their win over Joseph Sirianni and Simon Stadler. This is their 4th ATP quarterfinal of the year and the two seem likely to continue their success.

They say that the top seed at this tournament is cursed to never win the title. Number one seed Mardy Fish, a Minnesota native, albeit one who moved to Florida when he was four, is apparently a huge Minnesota twins fan. He threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park last night. Not so smart Mardy, why invoke a second curse to add to the one you already have working against you? One ATP staffer commented that the top seed next year should offer to pay an appearance fee to someone with a higher rank. I can just about see that breaking the curse when the paid player actually wins. Nonetheless, this was a stellar day for curse beneficiary qualifier Rohan Bopanna. While beating Fish in the first set, fellow Indians, the Amritraj father and son were busy sending text messages of support. Who the messages were being sent to, I have no clue? It appears their help worked as Bopanna only needed two tiebreak sets for his Fish fry.

Most of the losers and even a few of the winners were out on the town last night to, uh, celebrate? The outdoor patio of the Black Pearl appeared to be the meeting choice of several guys including Fish. The party didn’t stop there; it continued into the wee hours or at least to 1am when the bars close. The boys, now sans Fish, moved it over to the Landing, a Newport hot spot for the younger set. After seeing these guys so serious on the court all week, it was nice to see them go out and have some fun.

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