Taylor Townsend

Sara Errani:

Sara Errani

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Lucie Safarova:

Lucie Safarova

Jurgen Melzer:

Jurgen Melzer

Kimiko Date:

Kimiko Date-Krumm

Taylor Townsend:

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

Flavia Pennetta:

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Elina Svitolina:

Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina

Martina Hingis:

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

Photo credit: Peg

More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat
Proximity
Interviews and Press Conferences
The Mixed Zone
Stars and Flowers
Players at practice

Novak Djokovic at practice, Cincinnati Open

Over the weekend, I’ve been learning just how close the courts are to each other. Many practice sessions take place at the same time as live matches, and it’s not uncommon to overhear the line calls for another match (or more) while anywhere (even on Grandstand or in the stadium). The concerts in the food court area take place at the same time as the matches, and that sometimes adds to the confusion: on Saturday, at the start of Townsend v. Riske, which was on Center Court, I at first assumed that a DJ was sleeping on the job when the chair umpire called out, “Thank you, music, thank you” — and, like the umpire, belatedly realized a minute or so later that we were hearing the performers from outside the arena, rather than a recording being piped through its system. (As Andy Murray noted during his Sunday afternoon press conference, however, players can adjust to noise if it’s a consistent presence — it’s sudden changes [such as people yelling out of turn] that they find disruptive.)

Center Court can at times seem quite close not only to the other courts, but to the rest of Mason. If one has binoculars on hand (or, in my case, the zoom lens on my camera), and is sitting in an upper row, it’s possible to sneak glimpses at the activity on other courts. During the Melzer vs. Hewitt match, I could discern part of the Court 3 scoreboard (Lepchenko v. Tatishvili), some of the players practicing on Courts 7 and 8, and a roller-coaster looping around its loops over at Kings Island:

kings island roller coaster

When I arrived at Lindner Family Tennis Center Sunday morning, around 10:45 a.m., I walked into a lesson on star power. There was scant interest in the players practicing on Court 16 …

sparse crowd for BoJo

… but the stands for Court 15 were already packed.

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By the time Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka entered the court (around 11:07 a.m.), fans were crowded along every available inch of the Grandstand’s top rail, standing on its back bleacher, and lined up along the rail of the vodka patio as well:

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(I felt rather sorry for Ebden and Tomic, the players actually competing on Grandstand, as there were arguably more people watching the practice than their match. The crowd eventually thinned out, as Novak and Stan practiced for two hours [with at least one shirt change for Stan], but the situation was problematic for the ushers — it was impossible for them to stop so many people from walking down and around during points and other non-changeover instances, though they gamely tried.)

By the time Tomic and Ebden shook hands, Court 16 had amassed a sizable audience as well. The fans at the top of Grandstand could alternate between watching Jelena Jankovic (also in at least two outfits) and Nole and Stan:

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At Cincy, a player such as Benoit Paire can slip into a match with little fuss (in this case, to watch Adrian Mannarino abuse his racquet in the course of beating Marcos Giron):

Benoit Paire and his partner

Later that day, he was practicing with Somdev Devvarman

1139

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… adjacent to a court with onlookers all along its far fence:

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The fences see a fair amount of crowding. Saturday morning, I was delighted to see Kimiko Date-Krumm among the many players assigned to Court 11 ((that’s Heather Watson looking on, and I think it’s Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on her left):

Kimiko Date-Krumm

It can all easily get overwhelming, though. The Date-Krumm practice, for instance, was just a few feet away from the Ormaechea vs. Hercog match on Court 10. For a while, I couldn’t resist walking back and forth between the two:

Polona Hercog

Sometimes, though, it’s just smart to take a break:

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More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat

Biggest upset of the tournament so far: Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani loses to Carla Suarez Navarro. Surprising? No. Does anyone really care? No.
But the biggest suprise of the day is 42 yr old Kimiko Date’s win over 12th seed Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-0!

Serena, Azarenka, Wozniacki, Murray and Federer advance to the second round.

Third and final day of the first round today.

Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal cruise into second round.
– Andy Roddick survives five set scare: the 6th seed came within two points of defeat against Jarko Nieminen, but he
prevailed after a intense battle 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. It was Roddick’s first match on clay this season.

– Upset of the day: Kimiko Date Krumm defeats Dinara Safina 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
What an embarrassing defeat for two time finalist Dinara Safina who lost to 39 years old Kimiko Date Krumm.
Safina lead by one set and 2 breaks, and then 4-1 in the third set, but she self imploded and offered the match to the japanese veteran. It was Date’s first Grand Slam victory since the 1996 US Open.
Other seeds upsets: Sam Querrey (18), Juan Monaco(26)

– Frenchman of the day: Gianni Mina
The young Frenchman offered some resistance to Rafael Nadal but was overpowered 2-6, 2-6, 2-6.

Gianni Mina

– Stat of the day: 7
After 7 first round exits Frenchman Nicolas Mahut finally won a match at Roland Garros. He defeated Mischa Zverev in 3 straight sets.

– Quote of the day: Rafael Nadal

“I think I played bad, but I won anyway, without problems, so that’s always important and positive thing. But I can do a lot better next round.”