Down Under Day 3: Sunny side up.


Day 3, and the sun was finally out in full force. Also out in full force were the tournament favourites as they powered their way through Round 2 to give poor ol’ Doots an early finish at work.

Our early morning group briefings in Rod Laver Arena had some silent guests, as Dementieva, Pavlyuchenkova and Kuzzy took turns to practice on the tournament centre court.

Not that they knew it then, in the warm morning light. But by the end of the day, only one of those three remained standing.

 

 

What can you say about Kuzzy when she’s brimming with confidence? She was smooth, her court coverage was sensational. She transitioned well into the court given any slight chance by Pavs, and she crushed the ball with orgasm-inducing pace and angles. Pavs was simply no match for an on song Kuzzy. Not a whole lotta players out there are

Despite all that, the smartest thing the guy next to me could say was “Kuznetsova’s pretty butch, isn’t she? I don’t like her.”

Politely, I told him to fuck off.

 

 

It’s a sign of how well she’s playing that I can’t find much to say about Kim Clijsters’ match. The last two years of WTA wasteland has left a bad taste in my mouth, but even so, I did not expect to enjoy Kim’s comeback so much. I wasn’t a fan the first time round.

But there was much to enjoy. 

Easy power, for starters. Something that Justine Henin, as much as I adore her, will never possess. A “mostly” reliable serve, still prone to bad days, but nothing in the realm of the wonky Ivanovic toss.

One of the best overheads on the women’s tour? FACT.

Most impressively, the ability – a commie’s cliche – to turn defence into offence within a single stroke, couple with speedy court coverage and transition inside the baseline, making Clijsters one of the hardest women on tour to wrongfoot.

With the exception of the first few games in the second set, Clijsters never looked out of control, rushed, or nervy. Just the opposite.

It’s starting to become boringly routine. But even in the topsyturvy world of tennis, no news is good news.

 

 

The same goes for Rafa, who hammered his second round opponent Lacko with little drama. It was my first time watching Rafa live (apart from Hit for Haiti), and the experience was in stark contrast to, say – Roger Federer. 

A live Federer match is hypnotic. You see him slicing backhands patiently, testing the waters with a few forehands here and there. Before you know it, you look up and he’s serving for a 6-3 set, while you’re still not quite sure how and when it all happened.

But it sure looked pretty.

Nadal, on the other hand, shows you exactly how he did it.

Whereas Federer is omnipresent on a tennis court, Nadal’s court present is felt through the sheer physicality of his game, in the way he moves, the way he whips his forehand, his grunts  … Come to think of it, is there anyone as “present” on a tennis court as Rafael Nadal?

Not much more to say on the match itself – Rafa played well. We won’t know how well he’s playing until he faces an opponent of higher caliber.

But like all the tennis greats – Federer, Agassi, Henin and Serena – they have the ability to make you forget the other side of the court momentarily, and just sit back to appreciate what is uniquely them on a tennis court. 

And what’s uniquely Rafa looked formidable.

 

 

As the Day Session drew to an early close, I headed to Grand Slam Oval for the free Kate Miller-Heidke gig. There I met up with fellow blogger and Fedophile Jodi (Tennis from beyond the baseline), who was in town from Canberra for the Open.

We discussed among other things 1) the awesomeness of Kate Miller Heidke, 2) cutiepatootie Andrey Golubev, and 3) the would-be winner of Henin v Dementieva.

 

 

Jodi picked Henin, and I, after seeing Dementieva’s hardcore practice session earlier in the day, went with Demmy. 4 hours later, Justine Henin would continue to make statements on the women’s tour by taking out a red hot Dementieva 75 76 in an epic match.

There would be break-fests, double faults, floods of errors. But there would also be the most ridiculous shot-making and court coverage by both players, and the sort of success rate and dainty hands at the net that had commentators purring.

But back then, sitting under the twilight sun at the “Heineken Beer Garden”, swaying to the ethereal music of Kate Miller Heidke, and singing “Last Day on Earth” with a crowd half-drunk on beer, we didn’t know any of that.

We were just enjoying a little something known as the Happy Slam.

xx doots

 

Tags: , , , , ,

9 responses to “Down Under Day 3: Sunny side up.”

  1. PJ says :

    OMG you were there for Kate Miller Heidke? How did I miss you? You weren’t wearing your hat today, were you? 😛

    Nice wrap for Day 3, except you forgot to mention how boring Cilic/Tomic was. Epic 5-setter it was not, and don’t even try to sugarcoat it, AustralianOpen on Twitter. It’s possibly the worst and most boring match to sit through and I WAS THERE LIVE. Save my soul. It was long rallies back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, BACK and FORTH, then someone overhits or nets.

    I already had my Nadal experience for Day 1; am looking forward to Federer tomorrow. I pray to Tennis Gods and normal Gods that he WILL NOT brain fart tomorrow because my doctors are currently on holiday, not available on speed dial, and I WILL DIE should you decide to let evil twin Ferd play. I hope you read this, Fed.

    • Mia says :

      [It was long rallies back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, BACK and FORTH, then someone overhits or nets.]

      Pretty much summed up the match. The hohum-ness of it reached across the livestream, for crying out loud. The thing was I couldn’t drop it completely as I kept tabs on the match stats — could not accept that Tomic was that close when Cilic had nearly double the winners by the 3rd set.

      By the end of the match, Cilic had 92 — take away the aces (25) and he still had 67, more than double Tomic’s total winners (including aces). And yet, suffering through the match, I wondered how Tomic could be that close.

      Just awful. From this match, I’d say Tomic is the poor man’s MAndy. And that does not bode well for Tennis Australia.

  2. Warwick360 says :

    I’m really glad that justine won, though I do like deme as well. Throughout the match however, I really felt sorry for Deme’s mom…….poor lady couldn’t stop praying until the end……therefore, i really hope that dementieva ends up winning the US Open this year….

  3. FortuneCookie says :

    Just discovered Kate Miller Heidke recently,and I love her! 🙂 The whole entertainment side of the AO with the gigs and everything is really cool,and pretty unique among the slams (apart from maybe USO?)!
    As for the matches,like you said we can’t really judge how well Rafa’s playing until he comes up against a tougher opponent than Lukas Lacko (his name is the most awesome thing about him 😛 )
    I’m picking Kim as the AO winner,and gutted for Elena,shit getting Justine so soon,and she’s been the ‘nearly woman’ for so long with so much talent that she deserves a Slam,she just does…

    • dootsiez says :

      Not a fan of Elena, but I gotta say, from what I saw of her practice session yesterday (in contrast to Kuzzy, who came on after her) her professionalism was just incredible.

      But the woman wasn’t made for grand slam glory. What can you do?

      Kate Miller-Heidke is EVEN BETTER live than she is recorded. Unbelievable. Gigs at the tennis are such a great idea, fab mood down at the “Beer Garden”.

  4. Jack says :

    Was gonna get up for Justine-Lena match but i fail miserably at adjusting to the timezones!!! Plus, I don’t care enough about either player to get up that early.

    Did see the Kuzzy and Kim match. Yay for both!! 🙂 That Kim-Tammy match was really good. And I wouldn’t be suprised if Kuzzy came out the winner from that quarter. Also did you whack a tennis racquet at that guys head for saying that about Kuzzy!!!

    Even though you didn’t mention this match, the Cilic-TomTom match was really boring. That Tomic guy plays yawn-inducing tennis. Plus, he has this swagger about him that I don’t like.

    I’ll take your word doots on how awesome Kate Miller Heidke is. I have no idea who she is so I googled her and on her wiki it says her song “Last Day on Earth” was used on I’m A Celebrity and on a interview with Dannii Monigue over here in the UK. Not an interesting fact but thought I’d share it 😀

  5. Jodi says :

    I am feeling very self-satisfied that I took the gamble on Henin, let me tell you! But I do feel sorry for Lena D. She came in in great form… and is out in the second round. She could have conceivably have made a run to the semis if she was in a different part of the draw (if she and Jankovic had been drawn in different parts of the draw, for example).

    But no. Another Slam of woulda shoulda coulda… AND JUSTINE IS AWESOME.

    It would be both fabulous and tragic if Justine were to win the tournament. Fabulous, because, hello, Justine, but tragic for the WTA… because in two consecutive Slams, their ENTIRE FIELD has been beaten by two Belgians who’ve been off having babies and eating chocolate.

    And ain’t no one cooler than KMH. Fact.

    • Mia says :

      Bummed for Lena — I like her fight — but I heart Justine. Awesome match. Had all the drama — fast and furious exchanges, momentum shifts — without the melodrama (e.g., wayward tosses, helpless glances at player’s box, visible mental distress, etc).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: