After some surprisingly good matches in the latter half of the first round on Wednesday, the second round matches I saw on Thursday August 21 proved to be something of a disappointment.
After getting "dessert ices" the days prior, I fortified myself with a tangerine ice from the Lemon Ice King of Corona. Since it is fruit-flavored, much more healthy I am sure.
I decided to choose the 2nd round match of Tobias Kamke to start the day, and my German rooting interest beat Samuel Groth of Australia rather routinely, 6-4 7-5 on Court #10. Much as I like the endzone seating on Courts #10, 11 and 13, I am beginning to wish the seats weren't a darker blue. For a science experiment, sit in those seats on a sunny summer day. Put your hand on the lighter colored metal that is used for the flooring and everything else except for the top of the seats. Feel the extreme heat difference. No matter what the metal will bake a bit on a hot summer day, and maybe it won't make a difference if all the seats are full of people so no sun shines down, but lighter shades please, lighter shades. What if blacktop weren't black, and if dark red wasn't the most common brick color?
Over to court #7, Hugo Armando US vs Gianluca Naso Italy. Why? Because it was about to start, and I have to watch something. I know I don't want to watch Armando, whose name has adorned the qualifying draw for years. He is in fact 30, and he peaked at #100 in 2001. Naso is 21, though, and ranked 231. Armando has the home field advantage and wins the first set 6-4 but Naso wins in three sets taking the second 7-5 and then the third in a tie-break 7-6 (7-4). It's not bad tennis. Naso does blow a chance to serve for the first set but shows some grit in coming back to take the match. But it's not great tennis either. I wouldn't avoid Naso, but I wouldn't seek him out.
Then it's off to court 12. Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic, one of the journeyman players, 29 years old who peaked three years ago at #60 in the rankings. A lesser version of Gilles Muller. He is playing Ricardo Hocevar, the Brazilian who beat the beautifully named Chase Buchanan on Tuesday. This is a well-contested match that goes to Hernych but not without a fight, 6-3 6-7 (5-7) and 6-4. But it's not like Hernych is exciting, nor like Hocevar is so exciting in defeat that I'll expect great things from him. Next door on Court 11, I'm listening to the scores in the background as Tuesday's boy wonder Michael Yani is playing another Czech journeyman Tomas Zib, who must have had a bitter rivalry in 2005 with Hernych when Hernych peaked at #60 and Zib at #51. Zib is 32 years old, and he's facing no magic from Michael Yani today. I'm able to watch the last game or so after the end of the Court #12 match, and it's no fun really. Yani was making every shot he hit two days ago but today the final game of his defeat ends with him making four unforced errors to go very very quietly.
I notice that I've stumbled across the literary aisle. I am reading the New Yorker. There's a tennis player taking a break and reading a German language edition of a Forgotten Realms novel. Someone else is immersed in The Ambler Something by Robert Ludlum, another person in Max Barry. Maybe it's the trees between court 11 and 12 that make it an oasis for following other literary pursuits besides the tennis.
I then turn back to court 12 and get so bored watching Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France play Rik De Voest of South Africa that I decide anything else will be better and head to court 14 to watch Lukas Lacko of Slovakia playing Flavio Cipolla of Italy. Cipolla is very short for tennis these days, only 5'8", 25, peak ranking of 110, while Lacko is 20 and 213. The match goes to the Italian, 2-6 6-4 6-1. Again, nothing memorable. On the next court over, Paul Capdeville, a Chilean journeyman (25, peak ranking #99), starts out against the Spaniard Daniel Munoz de la Nava, who won against the American protege Ryan Harrison the day before. I'm able to watch the final games of Capdeville's victory, the second set in a tie-break.
I guess it's my day for watching Czech tennis, since I next watch Jan Minar beat Victor Estrella of the Dominican Republic, 3-6 6-2 6-2 on Court #13. I then watch the final set of a match between Thierry Ascione of France, another journeyman (27, peak at 81) against a 20 year old Croatian Franco Skugor, who at 20 is just starting his journey into pro tennis. I am rooting for the young gun in the first set tie-break, but he does not win, and then he disappears 6-1 in the 2nd set.
Seeing the younger player win that match would have brightened a day full of too much tennis from too many journeymen with too little excitement, but it isn't to be. I'll add Skugor to my list of players to watch for next year, maybe.
I go the road less taken on the way home, heading along Corona Ave. to Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst. I haven't been to Bahar, an Afghan restaurant in a while, a long long while, and decide to give it a try again. I wouldn't get my appetizer again, but the veggie combo of okra, spinach and eggplant I get for my main course is quite tasty, and the mango lassi a little better than the Jackson Diner version from the night before.
- The Brillig Blogger
- A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.