Wow – my final day here at the SAP Open, and what do I do but miss the 1st match of the day: Sam Querrey/Jack Sock v Scott Lipsky/Rajeev Ram. Grrrr. But Lady Luck gave me a bit of a break – who do I run into coming out of the players’ lounge but Sam Querrey, looking a little hangdog after a 6/3, 6/2 loss. So I get the chance for a couple of sentences, including a question about how his elbow’s doing. He says, “Great. It’s 100%” and gives me a Sammy smile.
Next up is Ryan Harrison v Dimitar Kutrovsky; Kut hits double-handed both FH & BH, and it’s not as awkward-looking as I thought it would be. It does limit his reach a bit, but that smallish man does a great job of scrambling – which is exactly what he had to do to try to keep up with Harrison, who was serving well and kept his focus in the 2nd set this time, taking the match 6/1, 6/4 in a little over an hour. I got in several questions during the presser – I have to say I’m very impressed with Ryan’s composure off-court as well as on. He’s very at ease with the press, almost to the point that pressers feel like friendly conversations. (Y’all know how I like to yappity-yap – this is a plus for me.)
I didn’t get to see as much of the Milos Raonic v Kevin Anderson match as I’d hoped, but I shouldn’t be greedy. This match was a little closer than I think many tennis insiders were expecting, with Raonic prevailing 7/5, 7/6. Both players have those long legs and pretty incredible wingspans – standing next to either of them made me feel like an Oompa-Loompa – and interesting accents. (I’m a sucker for just about any accent that differs from my nasally Kansas twang.) Milos had the tweaked knee strapped just below the kneecap, but he said in his presser he wasn’t having any trouble with it and that he was moving the way he wanted. I didn’t catch him raiding the candy jar again – and trust me, I was keeping an eye on all sources of empty calories.
Now……. about Andy Roddick v Denis Istomin. Istomin was on, moving and serving well and making some pretty sweet crosscourt shots – Roddick was not. He came out with braces on both ankles and seemed pretty unsettled and…..cranky. Not a surprise, given the circumstances. I initially thought he was moving around the court fairly well, but after a few games, it was obvious my opinion was more about hopeful thinking than reality. The right ankle injury hampered his service motion and lateral movement, and was a factor in making any Istomin drop shots doubly effective. Roddick’s frustration boiled over briefly, with him slamming a ball into the unused seating section of the arena and earning a racquet abuse warning. Yeah, that went over well.
Istomin’s game was just too strong for a hobbled Roddick and he won in 2 sets, 6/2, 6/4. Both players held pressers (I kept my lip zipped for Roddick’s presser – not gonna go there), where we learned that Andy hadn’t practiced the day before, trying to take it easy on the ankle, and had only practiced lightly on game day. ‘Tis my opinion he did all he could to stay in the match and honor his commitment to the tournament, his sponsors and his fans – nothing but respect from this tennis freak.
The Roddick & Istomin pressers, coupled with fatigue, kept me from seeing much of Julien Benneteau v Steve Darcis, but I can tell you that it took Benneteau 3 sets to prevail, 3/6, 6/1, 6/2.
I’m all packed & ready to head home to harass my family and enjoy a little sleep coma. Thanks for sharing my first tennis media adventure with me – it was great to see several young US tennis pros gaining incredible match experience and seasoning – and for letting me live-tweet you into a stupor.