The match schedule for Saturday consisted of two sessions, with the afternoon session beginning at 2 p.m. At “The MO,” which opened at noon, fans examined Robin Soderling‘s tennis balls…
sipped smoothies, played ping-pong, and danced to live music — sometimes all at the same time…
and watched the goings-on in Rotterdam and Buenos Aires:
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.
Peg is reporting from the Memphis Open this weekend. Enjoy her first recap:
I first visited the Racquet Club of Memphis six years ago, as a volunteer for what was then a co-ed tournament (ATP 500 / WTA International). I was lucky enough to be assigned practice court duties; highlights included running after balls during a Berdych-Lu practice match and taking in how intense both Sharapova and Roddick were in their hitting sessions. In 2012, I attended several matches with friends and returned for the finals on my own.
The women’s tournament has moved to Rio, the men’s tournament is now a 250, and the title sponsor is now Servicemaster. Some other things have changed since I was last here. For example, there used to be parking spots for returning champions to the right of the club’s entrance:
Now, there are different levels of VIP parking inside the gates:
The champagne theme extends to courtside tables behind the chair umpire.
Balls still fly into the stands (and occasionally sail over them) regularly both on Grandstand and on Stadium, and sometimes a flute or bottle gets knocked over.
I spent a few days in Paris last week for the BNP Paribas Masters, the ninth and final Masters 1000 event of the season. Novak Djokovic captured the title, dispatching Andy Murray 6-2 6-4 in the final. Enjoy my pictures and recaps of day 1 to day 4.
An entertaining doubles match to finish this first morning session: the experienced team of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek face the pair of Lucas Pouille and Fabrice Martin. I must admit I had never heard of Martin before today, but he was quite impressive at the net, and the French pair win the first set 6-3. The veteran Stepanek is on fire in the second set, and the Czechs level at one set all. Martin hurts himself during the match tiebreak, and Berdych and Stepanek win 3-6 6-0 10-4.
I’m in Paris until Thursday for the BNP Paribas Masters (aka Bercy Masters). There’s usually plenty at stake in the ninth and final Masters 1000 event of the year: the race for world number one ranking or the battle for a place in the season-ending London finals. But this year, the eight players who have secured their spots are already known: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori.
I have however big expectations for this tournament:
– I’m eager to see the “new” Bercy arena: the POPB that hosts the Bercy Masters has been completely renovated (read more about the modernization project)
– I didn’t manage to get tickets for the Davis Cup final, so I would like to see the clash between Andy Murray and David Goffin in the third round. I also would like to see Rafa Nadal and Kei Nishikori.
My first impressions about the renovated arena: everything looks so … grey: the court, the seats, the hallway. It’s quite depressing! The food is expensive, as usual: €8 for a pizza slice, €4 for a 50cl Coke bottle! If you plan to attend the Bercy Masters next year, bring your own food. There’s also a bakery just in front of the arena where you can buy good sandwiches. On the plus side: free wifi is now available in the arena, and the seats are much more comfortable!