Western & Southern Open – Day 1 Notes

In the morning, as I walked in the facility, Eugénie Bouchard was practicing on court 15 and Andy Murray was hitting with Alexander Zverev, the young German sensation of the post-Wimbledon clay-court season, on court 16. The two courts are located next to each other. There were as many spectators watching Bouchard as there were watching Murray. It’s one of those moments where a player’s stardom is confirmed. If as many tennis fans are interested in seeing Bouchard practice as Murray, Bouchard has indeed reached the “hot shot” status that her t-shirt displayed:
Bouchard

However that was nothing compared to Djokovic and Murray’s practice session yesterday on that same court, while the second-round qualifying matches were in action. There were clearly more people watching them practice than any other match that was taking place the grounds. Notice the fans on the top row of the Grandstand court, looking over to watch the two stars (and Boris Becker, standing on the left of the picture, next to Djokovic):
Djokovic Wawrinka Practice

Next to Djokovic accompanied by Becker + 1, Wawrinka looked a little lonely:
Sad Wawrinka

Yet and still, Federer proved once again that even in practice he remains the biggest draw at the age of 33. The crowd filled the side of the Court 15, and the top row of the Grandstand, similar to the Djokovic-Wawrinka practice the day before, except much more packed and “squeezed.” On top of everything else, Federer was not even practicing with another top 10 player, but with the ex-touring pro Vince Spadea:
Federer practice

Speaking of attendance and spectators… Considering how many empty stands we see in the beginning of the first day session of any tournament, the attendance at the Center Court for the first match of the day session between Tommy Robredo and Jack Sock exceeded my expectations:
attendance

Heather Watson of England accumulated some valuable points in Montreal, coming from the qualifying and reaching third round in the main draw. She did qualify again for the main draw here over the weekend, but suffered a heart-breaking loss this afternoon against Shuai Zhang of China – 6/3 4/6 7/5. Watson (below) saved two match points at 5-4 in the third set and managed to break Zhang’s serve, only to get her serve broken again and lose.
Watson

Following Watson and Zhang, Nicolas Mahut (FR) and Marinko Matosevic (AUS) squared off on Court 3. Matosevic broke Mahut on the first game of the match, and that would be the only break of the match as Matosevic won 6/4 7/6. Both players showed some terrific shot-making skills (photo below – Mahut making an athletic backhand volley winner) and there was plenty of fireworks and entertainment.
Mahut

Matosevic complained about line calls (in most cases, he was right), Mahut complained about Matosevic taking too much time between points while the latter was complaining and talking to his corner (in this case, Mahut was right), yet the referee gave the first time violation warning to Mahut which aggravated the tension further. In fact, the referee seemed to lose control of the match at different times, at one point calling the score not realizing that the line judge called it out, then trying to convince Matosevic that he heard the call and overruled it. Naturally, that argument went nowhere with Matosevic who frequently asked to his corner “Why is every call against me?” and to the referee or to the sky “What is going on?”
Matosevic

The worst moment came when Matosevic served an ace on match point, at 6-4 in the tiebreaker, had his arms in the air, only to hear the referee call the ball out. Matosevic said “Come on” loudly to the referee once and looked for help to Mahut who wanted no part of this discussion. At the end, Matosevic went back and served a second serve and Mahut missed the return which gave the Australian the match. As soon as the ball sailed out, Matosevic yelled, as loud as he can, a couple of expletives that start with the letter “f” toward the referee, walked to the net, shook Mahut’s hand, and left the court without shaking the referee’s hand. It should be interesting to see if Matosevic gets a fine or not.

WTA All-Access promotion took place today with seven of the top 8 seeds in the tournament coming and talking to the media and being around the fans by one of the entries to the stadium court. Agnieska Radwanska could not be there since she is on her way from Montréal to Cincinnati today. But the other seven players interacted with fans and had a great time. Here is a photo from Jelena Jankovic’s session:
IMG_20140811_132404

Then came rain, for about an hour. It stopped around 6:45 PM and the “rain recovery crew” went to work:
SAM_2671

Once matches restarted, I figured that since I started the day by watching the 32-year-old and in-great-shape Tommy Robredo earn his first round victory, I should finish it by watching another 32-year-old and in-great-shape, Flavia Pennetta, earn her victory.
Pennetta

Until next update…

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