Kimber Bennett, reporting for duty as your 2013 SAP Open eyes & ears. I’m a wee bit jetlagged and didn’t arrive in San Jose until early afternoon, so I intend to keep this report short but sweet – just like me.
Michael Russell d. Donald Young – 6/3, 7/5
I’ll admit it: though I love to see an “old guy” (34) rocking the tennis court, I was really hoping Donald would pull out the win and get down to business regarding realizing his potential. Today was not the day. But he very graciously granted a short press conference, where he talked about trying to just put the disappointment in his 2012 behind him and moving on. He hopes to start getting some wins under his belt and building his confidence, which was obviously lacking today.
Michael Russell played a solid game, one worthy of a 17-year tour veteran. I asked him to name his “young players to watch” and he, too, kept it short but sweet: Milos Raonic (gunning for his SAP Open three-peat), Grigor “Baby Fed” Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison. He also mentioned Bernard Tomic, who is a talent, but…hey, supply your own punchline.
Steve Johnson d. Ivo Karlovic 6/7 (2), 6/4, 7/6 (6)
A hard-fought battle throughout. Both players were serving so hard & fast, all this vertically challenged gal could liken it to is watching someone fling bombs from a treehouse. They made me realize just how wimpy is my all-time best serve speed of 77 mph. This match came down to the wire, and I would not’ve called it either way, but the American wild card earned this one.
John Isner d. Vasek Pospisil 7/6 (3), 2/6, 6/3
Speaking of Americans still in it to win it, kudos to John Isner, who enjoyed an excellent 1st, suffered through a shaky 2nd, then dug in for the 3rd as Pospisil lost momentum. My bombs/treehouses analogy applies here, too. Isner showed up to his press conference with ice on his right knee – just an ordinary preventive measure, says he. He joked about getting crammed into economy seating for a plane trip; sounded like torture to little miss 5’4” here, who endured the cheap seats for several hours today and was feeling the effects. (He prefers the window seat, because if he sits on the aisle he gets rammed with the cart.}
And thus ended my day – I wasn’t able to stick it out long enough to watch the Haas Levine match, but I can tell you that Haas took it in 2 sets, 6/3, 6/1.