Friday night at the 2016 Memphis Open
The Featured Match on the daily draw sheet handed to fans entering the racquet club was Kei Nishikori vs. Mikhail Kukushkin. Nishikori had won their previous four meetings, and would prevail in this one as well, hitting shots that had the Kazakhstani player standing with his hands on hips, shaking his head at the ball he hadn’t expected to come back over the net.
Kukushkin did get the better of Nishikori now and then, reeling him in for some errors at the net, and the crowd applauded his winners as well as Kei’s. Find more pictures here.
On Grandstand, the final match of the day was the doubles quarterfinal between a Dutch team (Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop) and an American pair (Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey). The match featured balls regularly sailing into the stands and sometimes over them; I fished out one ball that landed under the hallway tarp while I was walking around to the far bleachers.
It wasn’t the best day at the office for any of the players — at one point, Johnson scolded himself with “Come on, son!” and Querrey bellowed “GEEZ!” after hitting a return long.
Middelkopp hit the floor at one point with his hands to his face — I didn’t see what attacked him, but it was painful enough to halt play for a couple of minutes. He was able to finish the match, though, and I could hear fans saying things like “I’m in awe of you guys — I don’t know how you do it” to him as players and crowd collectively made their way out of the court:
I made my way back to Stadium, to the second set of the doubles quarterfinal between Eric Butorac (United States) and Scott Lipsky (United States)…
vs. Fabrice Martin (France) …
and Oliver Marach (Austria).
and balls painting the lines of the alleys…
and Martin and Marach would commit their fair share of errors (after one bad miss, Martin uttered a disgusted “oh la la la la la laaaaa”), but in the end, it would be the European team throwing autographed balls to the fans still in the stands: