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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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tennis, Anyone, Day 1

& to close...
Romboli lost the second set 6-1 as well. Odd thing is, I think the match was closer than the score line in this case. It's just that Romboli was making a lot of errors, some inexplicable and some because Jaziri was hitting a very low ball a lot of times that wasn't easy to pick up and get back over net going the other way, but fewer errors it at least would have been a much tighter match.
After that, I watched another American who, Blake Strode, playing against a Serb, Nikola Ciric, in the last act of the second set. I chose this match over another men's match that was midway through because Court 13 has elevated endzone seating that gives a great view of the match, and I'd gone through the day without seeing anything on one of those three courts. Strode won, 6-3 and then in a tiebreak. I'm not surprised Stode is still struggling through the qualies in his mid-20s, however.
Looking at the far court, he seemed awfully spindly for a tennis player. When he came to the near court, I could see that the thigh muscles weren't that much smaller if any than everyone else you see with pro tennis player physique, but the ankles are like toothpicks. One of them was taped up. I doubt he can hold up to the rigors of the tour without really strengthening the ankles quite a bit.
No more men's matches, I watched half a set of one women's match, could have watched more of another final match still going at 8:55, but decided I'd push off. Once upon a time bookstores were open to 11PM, now the B&N in Forest Hills is one of many that don't stay open that late, and if I was going to get over to it and then enjoy an Unos dinner in Forest Hills, couldn't stay. This was probably a good call. Checking the score now I see that the match which hadn't yet finished set #2 went into a 3rd set, which went 72 minutes. So, yes, I would have been at the tennis center til after 10pm and gotten a medal for staying the entire day, but I think the viewing experience would have been torturous.

7:38 PM
Next door on court 6 we had just in its first game Fernando Romboli of Brazil against Tunisian Malik Jaziri, so that's where I am now. Both players seem solid and energetic, but after losing the first set 6-1 Romboli has gone to regroup on a bathroom break.

7:35 PM
The match of the day for me was 4th up on Court 8, featuring Jerzy Janowicz from Poland, the #18 seed and a player I'd watched and enjoyed last year. Very young, good serve, decent ground strokes, not yet fully formed but you think can grow into a better game. He didn't qualify last year but came close, he's had a few main draw matches over the year since.   I roamed the grounds and kept an eye on the women's match preceding on the court, glad it didn't go to a third set.  
Well, his opponent was a Dutchman, Matwe Middelkoop, and by the end of the match my allegiances had shifted.
Janowicz played one abysmal game in the first set, double faulting at least twice, and lost the set 6-3. 
The second set was hard fought, tight, went to a close tiebreak that Janowicz pulled out 7-5. 
But over the two sets I wasn't seeing any spark, any sign he was doing anything better this year than last. Which isn't what you want to see in a player this young.  Middelkoop wasn't playing great, but he was playing a solid, calm, controlled game, good and relaxed court presence and no mistakes. 
Janowicz went down a break early in the third set and the outcome seemed clear. Hadn't had even a break point against Middelkoop that I could recall. Janowicz knew it. He started gently dropping his racket three times on a trip down the baseline. 
Final score 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-2 Middelkoop. 
Maybe just a bad day at the office for Janowicz, tennis players can have the match of their lives and they can have the anti-match. But I have to entertain the prospect that Janowicz may be a journeyman in training instead of a rising young star. Neither player, I think, does well against a Richard Berankis or an Evgeny Donskoy no matter how close the rankings of the day might look. 

5:48 PM
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos has just taken the next seat over from me watching on Court 8!

4:45 PM
Gael Monfils doing pushups after a practice session on Grandstand.

4:20 PM
2nd set was a tad more competitive than the first, Ebden won 6-3 with ine break, but not as competitive seeming as that score might suggest. Hanging out at Court 6now, watching the highly regarded Lithuanian and #12 seed Richard Berankis closing out Spaniard Guillermo Alcaide. I came in start of second set, first went to Berankis 6-2, and the 2nd set may be the same. I was right on the Fratangelo match, 2nd set was also a 6-2 win for Wolmarans.

3:35 PM
Ebden match is a demolition derby, he gave Lemke a bagel (6-0) in the first set. Not much fun to watch, thou you can tell Ebden is good hard to tell how good when so little opposition on offer.

3:30 PM
So it wasn't kids shaking the stands. I didn't notice so much but the Richmond earthquake was felt at the tennis center. Begemann won a pointing to the Ebden match, Ebden up a break in first set.

3:10 PM
Wolmarans won first set 6-2, up a break in second. As a rule I watch full matches but have left that behind to see #14 seed from Australia, Matthew Ebden, playing James Lemke, another Aussie. While I wait for that on Court 15 taking a quick look in on Court 14 where Michael Venus from New Zealand is probably about to lose to Andre Begemann from Germany. Did I watch Begemann last year? As to Fratangelo, he isn't bad but Wolmarans is simply better, at net and on serve and I felt pretty safe leaving Court 7 that no miracles were in store.

2:15 PM
The match on Court 12 ended 6-2 Jouan in a game where all the points were decided on unforced errors, I.e., people making mistakes instead of great shots. Matsukevich had four of those errors to get broken. Basically, not very good tennis. Match time around an hour or so, Da Silva would beat either. Delic on Court 7 is around 30, now plays as a Bosnian instead of an American. His opponent from Russia is the 24th seed and in his very early 20s. Final set was a bust, Delic's game collapsed leading him to a ball abuse warning and I believe a point penalty for racket abuse. I was rooting for Donskoy, shall we say, hard to judge his game when his opponent's was going so far south. The first set was won by Delic in a tiebreak with at least four breaks of serve along the way. Final score 6-7 6-4 6-2. I am staying at court 7 to watch another young American, Bjorn Fratangelo, against Fritz Wolmarans from South Africa.

1:45 pm
settling in for final set of Amer Delic (US) and Evgeny Donskoy (Russia).

1:10 Matsukevich complaining to chair ump, likely since there is now even louder work being done by the "Chase Center" sign atop the nearby indoor tennis center.

12:55 PM
Jouan has the first set 6-2, but in a way I feel Matsukevich has been dictating the play with his errors, and that if he plays tighter it is still anyone's match. Court 12 is adjacent to the new small show court and there is a man two feet away drilling in concrete to make for a convivial tennis playing atmosphere. When I arrived at this court I was next to Jack Sock, an up and coming US player with a wild card into the main draw.

12:40 PM
I am on Cort 12 now, watching Russian Denis Matsukevich against Romain Jouan from France. Chose this because it was still in the first game when I was looking for a new match, so counts as a full. Jouan is up an early break 3-0 in first set.

Da Silva won in a tight 8-6 2nd set tiebreak. Good match.

Next page in the paper of man next to me is a USTASHI Line Evaluation Form. Isn't "evaluate" more a synonym for "rate" than for "help?". First set tonDa Silva 6-4. On serve in second, Da Silva just came to net, now 2-2 in 2nd set.

11:36 AM
Da Silva to serve for set. Man next to me in stands making notes tells me he isn't rating the lines people, he is "helping" them. I must remember that nice euphemism.

11:25 AM
The US Open is allowing iPads, so I can blog during the tennis day!

Though I niw live a mile further from the Tennis Center, Google Maps found me the quickest route to the Lemon Ice King of Corona, which makes up for it. Large vanilla chip.

On the grounds, a small new show court is now where courts 17 and 18 once were. The video boards on the grounds are working from day one instead of being tested, which will make it easier to check matches in progress as the day progresses. Armstrong and the Grandstand are open for people to watch practices from day one as wel.

I am on Court 6, watching the #5 men's seed Rogerio Dutra Da Silva from Brazil against Clement Raix, from France. Raix just double faulted to go down a break on the first set. I like that he is coming into net now and again However, in the early going Da Silva is clearly the better player and serving quite quite well, maybe even half a dozen aces in the first six games.

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