[personal profile] meobnal
February is that time again for the Rotterdam tennis tournament. Per usual, I was there for the qualifying weekend and the Tuesday during the main draw. Finally got round to sorting out my (crappy) pictures...

Got up bright and early Saturday morning to set off to Ahoy. The main draw this year was ridiculously weak, but they had a nice enough qualies draw and lots of doubles teams.

They made some improvements to the venue: adding standing room around courts 2 and 3 (by taking away some seating at court 1, but that was fine) and having more comfy seats.

Spotting Petzschner and Peya on the practice court coming in:
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I didn't know PP had made the cut yet, so I was pleasantly surprised to see them there.

I settled in at court 1 for Mahut v unknown Dutch WC Griekspoor (ranked #586).

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Some of these low ranked wild cards can be surprisingly good fun to watch. They can have these unorthodox game styles that can just about keep them alive at futures/challenger level, but never quite get them to the tour (so the tour level stays pretty homogeneous (if not boring) baseline rally heavy)

This match had more slice going on than a Dominos pizza franchise :p Fun as it was, Griekspoor was no match for Mahut.

I left court 1 to switch to court 2, passing Huta Galung and Gulbis on the practice courts along the way...
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Lacko was just finishing up losing to Pouille on court 2...

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(hey, at least the guy photographs well ;))

So I could grab a good seat to watch Dodig v Coppejans

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There's always a sizable Belgian crowd at Rotterdam so it was pretty busy. The match wasn't really interesting, though.

The crowd grew even bigger for the next Match: ERV v Gulbis

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We all know how much Gulbis hates *any* movement or *any* sound coming from the crowd, so it was a trying affair.
It's funny that I saw Gulbis in Qualies here 3 years or so ago when he had been on the fringes for a while. Then he went on to make the RG SFs the next year and get into the top10 and now he was back here in Qualies. I can understand how he makes his fans crazy!
This was a nice match and I was in two minds who I wanted to win. Ernie can bring great tennis (and drama) but I also like ERV, who's got the whole French suave thing going ;)

Gulbis ended up getting there in three sets.

I hung around to see Chung practicing for a bit.
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I've heard about Chung around twitter quite a bit but had never seen him. I was surprised to see he was straight into the Main Draw. I had no idea he was ranked high enough. Usually when I see him mentioned he's either touted as the new Nishikori who's gonna open the ATP market in Asia, or as someone who only vultures points on the weak Asian challenger circuit and doesn't deserve the hype.

All I can say from my limited exposure last week was that I liked what I saw. I hope he becomes a thing.

Goffin practicing with Pospisil:

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I had to wait some time before the Doubles qualifying started, so I watched Nestor, Seppi, Bopanna and Mergea practice for a while.

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Oh my, Nestor is *intense*! He never took a break and was needling Seppi about every ball he missed, trying to get into his head even for a practice set (and it worked, cos Seppi was missing a lot)! No wonder he's still on top of the game at his age.

Inglot practicing
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Benneteau practicing with Chardy
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Then it was finally time for the Doubles qualies.

Chung had signed up with Bury and Rosol with Draganja.

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This was only the second match for Draganja since having surgery last year. I have always taken an interest in Draganja and it was good to see him play live. He's gonna need to find a new steady partner for the year.
Chung was very good, especially on the returns, but Bury was awful costing them the match. How teams like this even form is a mystery to me. Why the hell was Bury even around? He wasn't on the entry list.

Anyways, it was very late by this time and leave to get home and sleep.

I got back on Sunday, opening my day with some Istomin on the practicing court
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It will never not be cool to see a male player with a female coach (even when that coach is his mom :p)

Peers practicing
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Gulbis
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Ready for some real action! First up was Dodig v Struff on court 2

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Meh, it was okay. I can't say I'm a big fan of either of these and I know Dodig more for his doubles with Melo than his singles play. Struff might still have been tired from his long three setter with Stakhovsky the day before, so Dodig won pretty easily. Also didn't help that Struff footfaulted 5 times in the match. I don't know if that's a habit of his, but surely at this level of the game that's gotta be fixed.

By this time I had spotted a guy I follow on my tennis twitter in the crowd so I went over to chat and we stayed for Gulbis v Donskoy.

Gulbis was pretty much in control of the match and not too prissy by his standards. He almost made a mess of serving it out, but managed to get himself over the finish line.



They finished up in time so I could catch some of the Doubles Q final round. Draganja and Rosol were playing the two Dutch WCs who had lost in the Singles Q, Griekspoor and Van Rijthoven.

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These guys are barely ranked but had already taken the first set and were up in the second. Luckily Draganja and Rosol managed to turn it around, cos that would have been embarrassing :/
As soon as they broke back in the second set, Griekspoor and Van Rijthoven seemed to lose interest.

That was it for me for the weekend. Back on Tuesday for some Main Draw action.

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meobnal

February 2016

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