Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If You Hear Us, Clap Your Hands!

Okay, I admit it. I was SUCH a tennis patriot last night. I cheered my lungs out for the Aussies - hell, you probably heard me if you were watching! The atmosphere in Rod Laver Arena was electric! But more on that later. Let us start at the beginning.
I got there just before play began, and got myself a pretty decent seat on Show Court 2 to watch a bit of Cilic and Tipsarevic. One thing I had not considered in choosing this match to begin my day's viewing is that Cilic is Croatian and Tipsarevic is Serbian, and both groups of fans are very, very vocal in Australia, so there was a whoooole lot of shouting! I didn't understand most of it, not understanding either Croatian or Serbian, but it made the whole thing feel like a footy match, and it put the crowd into the match from the start - it really created a great atmosphere! Seriously, it was akin to the endless chants of 'MAR-COS - BAGH-DA-TIS!' that floated out of that same court in the afternoon. And it was a good match as well - I only watched the first set, which Cilic won, but there were some great shots made and good fun for everyone.
I had a bit of a wander round the back courts to see if anyone interesting was practicing, but I had determined not to spend my whole day waiting for Fedot again, so when I determined that no one especially interesting was, I went back to Margaret Court Arena and settled in for a good couple of hours - and it was lucky I went when I did, because the whole place got packed out very, very quickly! As it was, being alone, I got a pretty decent seat - right at the top, with an excellent view of the whole court. I watched the second set of Petrova/Mirza, which was good fun, but I was really there for the next match - Safin/Garcia-Lopez.
And when the big man came out, let me tell you, the cheers were massive. There were about three lonely Spanish fans chanting 'G - G - L! G -G - L!' and everyone else was roaring for Safin. (There were a lot of women in the audience... go figure. The queues to get into the stadium were over an hour long at one point, and the match was only an hour and a half - Marat has a whooole lot of fans in Australia! And I don't know whether the crowd lifted him or if he was just having a good day, but he played beautifully - very clean tennis, by his often erratic standards. I watched the whole match and I enjoyed every second. I'm so sad he comes up against Federer next - and sad that I don't have arena tickets for Friday night, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be then...
When Safin finished I went for another wander round the back... just to check if anyone was out. (Not that Federer would have been out - he was about to play. But someone else might have been there.) I caught a bit of Nieminen hitting up then sat down at Court 19 and watched a bit of Tommy Robredo pummelling Viktor Troicki into the ground. That one was almost painful to watch because Troicki was so upset with himself and playing so badly, so I left and went back round the front - just to discover that the Roger match in Rod Laver Arena was about to begin!
I had a lovely hour-and-a-half, sitting on the grass in Garden Square, watching the match on the big screen. Federer played beautifully and you could hear the cheers wafting out from the stadium. Also, I was in some Channel 7 footage of Garden Square. That made me glad. It wasn't as hot yesterday (probably only 32 or 33 degrees compared to the 37ish 38ish the days before) and so it was very pleasant - almost like a picnic, sans food and company. (Otherwise exactly the same.)
I went offsite to eat, then came back at about 6, to find a huge crowd glued to the big screen watching Lu/Nalbandian, with not a seat to spare, so I wandered round and caught the last two games of Bolelli/Fish and the second set of Santoro/Kohlschreiber, which was a totally excellent match which I would have watched more of, but the main event was starting in the arena!
I didn't know how the crowd was going to react to Jelena Dokic, and I don't think she did either, but they got behind her 110%. There were some folks holding up a 'Welcome Back Jelena!' banner and I think that pretty much says it all. The crowd were cheering and chanting like anything - me included. The amount of times that the 'AUSSIE FANS IN THE STANDS, IF YOU HEAR US, CLAP YOUR HANDS!' cheer went round was obscene - and it was such a great match as well. When Jelena finally pulled it out deep in the third, the whole crowd rose as one and just screamed and screamed and screamed. She started crying - and I confess I shed a tear as well. It was such a great moment.
And then when Tomic came out, the crowd didn't lose any momentum! There were innumerable 'AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE, OI OI OI!' chants as well as a whole host of others... it was like being at the cricket, seriously. And what a match Tomic played - especially that first set. He may not have won the match, but he sure won the hearts of the crowd. He served notice, I think - the a-Tomic bomb is here to stay!
Today's Results
Australian Open
Men's Draw
Roger Federer def. Evgeny Korolev, 6-2 6-2 6-1
Novak Djokovic def. Jeremy Chardy, 7-5 6-1 6-3
Gilles Muller def. Bernard Tomic, 3-6 6-1 6-4 6-2
Andy Roddick def. Xavier Malisse, 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-1) 6-2
Yen-Hsun Lu def. David Nalbandian, 6-4 5-7 4-6 6-4 6-2
Juan Martin del Potro def. Florian Mayer, 6-1 7-5 6-2
Marat Safin def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-5 6-2 6-2
Marcos Baghdatis def. Robin Soderling, 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
Marin Cilic def. Janko Tipsarevic, 6-2 6-3 406 6-3
David Ferrer def. Dominik Hrbaty, 6-2 6-2 6-1
Stanislas Wawrinka def. Brydan Klein, 6-3 6-4 6-4
Fabrice Santoro def. Philipp Kohlschreiber, 5-7 7-5 3-6 7-5 6-3
Mardy Fish def. Simone Bolelli, 6-4 6-1 7-5
Tomas Berdych def. Brian Dabul, 6-1 6-1 6-3
Amer Delic def. Paul-Henri Mathieu, 1-6 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 9-7
Tommy Robredo def. Viktor Troicki, 6-1 6-3 6-0
Women's Draw
Jelena Jankovic def. Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4 7-5
Dinara Safina def. Ekaterina Makarova, 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-0
Ana Ivanovic def. Alberta Brianti, 6-3 6-2
Vera Zvonareva def. Edina Gallovits, 6-0 6-0
Nadia Petrova def. Sania Mirza, 6-3 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki def. Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-3 6-3
Alizé Cornet def. Andrea Petkovic, 6-1 6-0
Marion Bartoli def. Tsvetana Pironkova, 7-5 6-2
Jelena Dokic def. Anna Chakvetadze, 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3
Daniela Hantuchova def. Mathilde Johansson, 6-3 4-6 6-3
Kaia Kanepi def. Patricia Mayr, 6-3 6-1
Ai Sugiyama def. Nathalie Dechy, 1-6 6-1 6-3
Alisa Kleybanova def. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, 6-1 3-6 6-2
Sara Errani def. Monica Niculescu, 6-2 6-3
Lucie Safarova def. Marina Erakovic, 6-1 3-6 9-7
Galina Voskoboeva def. Karin Knapp, 6-4 6-1


James Li said...

I just saw a picture of Jessica Moore, the Australian prodigy. She is hot! If you see her, can you get me an autograph/phone number/date?

Naf said...

You are soooo lucky! I'm sure I've told you that I'm desperate to visit Australia one day!
I just watched Carsten Ball play doubles, and of course, I thought of you. He ain't bad!!!