Tennis: A day at the Open



One of the highlights on the sporting calendar is the Australian Open, so it was with excited anticipation that we left our damp and soggy seaside shack for a visit to the Big Smoke and the tennis. I normally go on day one, but this year for no good reason I decided day two with my usual Ground Pass, would fill the bill.


This is my sixth Open and the first I haven’t used the bike as transport. The Good Wife suggested that seeing it’s a very long day, and that the weather was going to be hot and sticky, it might be better for my health if I caught public transport, and of course she was right.


Once in Melbourne Park, I selected a seat in Showcourt 3 and then watched Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open seeding 8, World ranking 8) on another court practising her trade. She had this young Englishman by name Andrew, serving at her non-stop for about ten minutes, then rallying to her forehand, then backhand for another ten. I got tired just watching. Andrew looked a bit worse for wear at the end of it too.Then I repaired to my chosen seat on Court 3 for the Alize Cornet (France AOS 19  WR19) take on Zhang Shuai (China  unseeded, WR 63)  The Chinese woman lacked the consistency to stay with her opponent. She was taller and hit the ball very hard and they had some fantastic rallies, but Cornet aided by a couple of French lads who arrived mid game with French flag, bagette, beret, a paint palette and loud voices, won easily 6-3 6-2.


Next on 3 was Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova (AOS 11 WR10) taking on Kirstin Flipkins (Belgium unseeded, WR 51) Cibulkova had the unfortunate habit of shouting “sheet” or something very similar whenever she hit the ball. I saw her practising on Court 3 earlier in the day and she was much quieter. The Belgian started off like a house on fire, she hit crisp winners from all areas of the court and seemed to have the Slovakian’s measure. She won the first set 6-3 and I was convinced she had the match won but, as the game went on, roles were reversed and Cibulkova won the second 6-3 mainly through being more consistent and chasing everything down. The last set was a one horse race, whether the Belgian lacked fitness or interest is a mute point, but she only won one game as the Slovakian took control, winning 3-6 6-3 6-1.


The hot and muggy conditions had set in by the time David Ferrer (Spain AOS 9 WR10) jumped and skipped onto the court to play Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil unseeded WR 65)  Ballucci very much taller than his Spanish opponent with an arrogant air about him. And did he hit the ball!  Many of his serves were around the 200kph mark and his returns seemed about the same. Ferrer has been around for some time but had a lot of trouble handling this Brazilian Giant, so much so that he lost the first set in tie-breaker. As the game went on Ferrer seemed to crowd  Bellucci, not giving him space to play his shots and stopping his frightening power and speed.  When the Brazilian was serving his “cannon balls”, Ferrer would move toward the service line and half volley. Ferrer has been around a few years and he pulled out some tricks from his tennis bag to beat the Brazilian in four. 6-7 6-2 6-0 6-3. I reckon Bellucci could be a big name player in the next couple of years. Watch out for that name.

Weather-wise, things were getting worse when Benjamin Becker (Germany unseeded, WR 41), came out to play Julien Benneteau (France AOS 25 WR 25). Is this Becker any relation to Boom Boom?  At this stage, I decided I needed a change of scenery, so as these two started to belt the ball at each other I took off to watch Jerzy Janswicz (Poland unseeded, WR 44)  playing Hiroki Moruja (Japan unseeded, WR 146). The Pole was supported by a large group of vocal fans and looked at this early stage that he was in control. On an adjacent court Sergly Stakhovsky (Ukraine unseeded WR 71) was battling Dusan Lajovic (Serbia unseeded WR 68). Not only did these two have to battle each other they had to put up with a huge amount of noise from the other court, something I’m sure they have put up with before. I reckon I was standing next to the Ukrainian’s father, he was pacing around and looked very agitated as the match proceeded, mumbling encouragement to Serge. I didn’t stay for these games to finish, but next day checked out the results and Sergly  won a hard battle in five sets,and Jerzy was obviously too good in three.


Back at Court 3 Becker and Benneteau had  won a set each 7-5 and the score was 1-1 in the third.  It was about 7.30 and I had been at the tennis for about nine hours.  The weather was still muggy, time to call it quits and catch the trams home. Next morning I checked the score, Becker won 7-5  5-7  6-2  6-3.

Leave a Comment