Team VA's Wonderings

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Australian Open, brought to you by Kia Motors

OK, as the sponsorship emphasises it's not Wimbledon, BUT it is a grand slam and unlike Wimbledon you can buy tickets as opposed to failing to be drawn out of the ballot. Every year.

A combination of factors-tickets going on sale for different courts on different dates, some complimentary ground passes and a 'I might as well go to as much as I can' attitude means I'm going to 9 days here, although some are just for the night session. In amongst that I'll see both Men's semis (so presumably Federer; maybe Murray) and the ladies final with Nicole-the day before John and I go to Big Day Out. As I'm also going to see the Killers with Helen on Feb 1, it's going to be an eventastic couple of weeks back in Melbourne. There's a good chance this blog's going to resemble sports report for a while. Again.

It says all you need to know about tennis crowds that I passed a one and a half hour queue for 'Garnier World', as I strolled to the Vodafone Arena, where I had a wide choice of seats 10 minutes before play started. Vodafone Arena is equivalent to No 1 court at Wimbledon and it's a nice touch that a lot of the seats (most I think) are available to ground pass holders on a first come first served basis. As they say here, I was first come best dressed.

For the record:
Novak Djokovic bt Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 7-5, 6-1. Funny match, which seemed closer than it was. The Serb won the points that mattered and had the loony fans, who didn't riot today. Drawn to play Federer in round 4, which looks a good match.

Nadia Petrova bt Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2. Awful. Petrova either won or lost the points-she made 17 unforced errors, while Dulko hit 3 winners.

Serena Williams bt Anne Kremer 7-6, 6-2. Tennis in this match was as good as it had been poor in the previous match. A very tight and entertaining first set, which Serena was lucky to win. The crowd absolutely loved Serena.

Spot the ball

Marat Safin bt Dudi Sela 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-0. What a christian name from the Israeli! Simply superb; despite his temper, Safin played some wonderful tennis-he volleys so well, I wonder he hasn't done more at Wimbledon. He made one phenomenal diving volley a la Becker in the fifth. Sela was inspired-he broke Safin when he served for the 2nd and 4th sets and had a run of 6 games, ended by a break of serve, naturally. There were so many service breaks-by set 3, 3, 5, 6 and 3. The quality of the match was superb-as well as the drama, it had the best shots and rallies of the day. The rain came with Sela 2 points from the match-Safin got play suspended to a chorus of boos. So the roof was closed-players didn't even leave the court. Safin resumed with an ace, won the tie break 7-4 and looked the man with the momentum. At 2 sets all, both players had won 136 points. The last set was anti-climatic, but closer than it may look from the score. Sela won 2 points in all 6 games, he just couldn’t win any more. There was no doubt that Safin stepped it up and the rain break did him a huge favour. I watched this game from higher up than the previous 3

But even from there, it was obvious what a massive bear of a man Safin is. And my, how the ladies love him. At the end he personally handed towels to two uber-mentalists with Safin t-shirts and when they hugged him, he was lucky to get out of there alive.

At times it was a little hard to concentrate as this was the day after our Melbourne-Sydney ‘Reunion’, a night which passed off without bloodshed or major incident. I was surprised that most people turned out. The highlight for me was ending up in a club in the casino (two places I would never normally be); I missed you guys, as I felt I was the only one in the club who understood just how funny it was. There was someone breakdancing on the dance floor and a guy on a podium. We got a dodgy band, who opened with a half hour rock medley-summer of 69, enter sandman, jump, I just can't get enough, sweet child, some Robbie rubbish to finish-wish I could remember more of them, as I laughed every other song. I swear the lead singer must have driven his road train to the gig. Very entertaining, tho not to be repeated.

Oh and a Vince Spadea update-the bastard got knocked out. Good. Hope he flies home. Now I'm just waiting for the phone call 'Oh John, Vince is such a bastard (and poor tennis player), I don't know what I was thinking'.

Still waiting....


  • ...and now Melbourne is rocking to the new (to them) novelty sports dancing craze?


    (safin looks like a speck to me in that photo, btw)

    By Blogger swisslet, at 11:02 PM  

  • sorry, I meant to say "minority sports dancing". It may be a novelty to some, but to others it's a way of life. Almost a religion.

    Ah, the ecstasy to be found when successfully pulling off a paired curling move, broom and all.

    oh no, wait. That sounds pervy.

    By Blogger swisslet, at 11:04 PM  

  • Safin's a bit small because that's an overview of the court and I didn't zoom or nuffink. Honestly...

    By Blogger Poll Star, at 10:27 AM  

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