Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Western and Southern Open, Day 2

[Composed 8/20/2021]

We started our second day of the Western and Southern Open by settling a long standing question: where's the best place to sit in a small stadium when watching tennis? Too close and part of the court may have an obstructed view; too far and you've missed out on the opportunity to get close to the action.

The answer: it depends if you're Me or Shira. If you're me, you want to sit as close as possible on either end. Ideally, close enough to hear the players chatter, and perhaps get hit by an errant bead of sweat or two. If you're Shira, you want to be on the upper edge of the stadium. Being higher up, you'll have a nice view of all the action and you typically have plenty of space to spread out and you may just be in the shade.

As a compromise, we started our first match of the day in our preferred spots. This was a doubles match where Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos took on Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie. It was fun being in the first row, snapping pics and Shira who was in top row, savored the tiniest bit of shade from the scoreboard. It was a win-win.

The theme of today seems to be: who can surivive the heat? After the first match, I moved up to sit next to Shira who's sliver of shade was now the most sought after location in Grandstand. While I love sitting close to the action, even I appreciated the relief from the sun.

Our second match of the day was between Kerber and Kvitova. While the first set started with some powerful rallies, Kvitova appears to have succumbed to the conditions. At one point, she fled the stadium in a hurry, probably to find a bathroom for who knows what purpose. Ultimately, she retired almost certainly due to the heat.

Moving from Grandstand to the main stadium, up next was Medvedev vs Carreno Busta. Without the shade, we found the heat pretty much soul crushing. Out of desperation, I tried leaning into the sun hoodie I was wearing. I put up the hood on and wore my large sun hat over it. To my surprise, the setup got warm, but was much more bearable than just having the sun beat down on me. I know that's how a sun hoodie is supposed to work, but I guess I didn't actually think it would be as effective as it was.

Do you know who wasn't bothered by the heat? Medvedev. He clobbered Pablo Carreno Busta in less than an hour. It was like a warm-up match for him. You don't have to feel too badly for Carreno Busta, he just beat Medvedev in the Olympics, so it's all good.

Next up we watched Stosur and Zhang take on Melichar and Schuurs. The match was entertaining, with Stosur and Zhang taking it in 3 sets. But that wouldn't be Stosur and Zhang's most impressive accomplishment of the day. That would come later, in a match we'd only catch the last few points of against Anna Blinkova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Blinkova / Sasnovich were ahead 6-4, 5-1 -- ready to serve out the last game, before Stosur and Zhang finally made a move. They came back to win the set and as we watched on our way out of the grounds, the match. Two matches, and one epic comeback in a day. Now that's impressive.

We closed out the evening with a night match between Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime. Tsitsipas looked like he was going to cruise to a relatively easy win, when Felix managed to save two match points. The match went three sets, and Tsitsipas was ultimately the victor. If anything, it showed how resiliant Tsitsipas can be.

There's no doubt that Medvedev and Tsitsipas are playing top tier tennis.

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