Sunday, October 01, 2006


I watched balls go back and forth for 6 hours and some, at the Kingfisher Airlines tennis open at CCI in Mumbai yesterday (Sep 30). It started at 5 PM with the first singles semi between Berdych and Koubek, went into the second singles semi between Tursunov and Robredo, and ended with the doubles quarters between Paes and Bhupathi finishing at close to 11:30 PM.

Not having EVER watched a tennis match from such close quarters, it was pretty cool to be there. The coolness was dampened a little bit by the first match. It was fairly ill-tempered, with both Berdych and Koubek taking issue with the chair umpire on the line calls. The quality of the play wasn't of the highest order either (honestly, neither was the line calling!), and we were quite happy that it finished as soon as it did!

The second match was a different story altogether. Tursunov played like a man possessed,
playing some scorching groundstrokes, with a forehand that moved faster than the eye could see. Watching him was a little bit like playing Russian roulette with blanks - he threatened to explode at any moment. There was one point where in frustration at a missed forehand, he raised his racket over a linesman's head - luckily, it didn't come down with any velocity or we'd have been short one linesman for sure! And there was enough swearing from the man when nobody could really understand why and in a language that nobody could really understand - I'm guessing Russian, but it could have been Hebrew for all I knew.

But interspersed between all the swearing and general racket antics was some fabulous clean hitting, and Tommy Robredo just had no answers to Tursunov. He did try gamely though in clawing a set back, but Tursunov was just too good for him. The crowd got in behind both players - of course, the only problem was that "C'mon Tommy" made it sound like one was calling out to a favorite pet! :)

By now, in spite of the great tennis, we had been sitting for more than 4 hours and the plastic chairs were having an unpleasant effect on our butts, and we couldn't wait for the Paes-Bhupathi clash to begin. The crowds had swelled up in anticipation of this game, with Bhupathi getting VJ Anusha (I think) and Rahul Bose in his corner, and Leander getting Rhea Pillai in his. In the first set, it looked like Paes-Qureshi would get blown off court in quick time, and we could all go home to a late, but not-too-late dinner. But then, some Indo-Paki vibes happened, including a classic point, where pushed back by a terrific Ancic lob, Qureshi scrambled to the baseline, and responded to Paes' frantic cry of "Oopar maar!" with a fabulous return lob - this was definitely the turning point of the second set, and Paes and Qureshi went on to win it in some style.

But it wasn't to last long - the last set was a washout of the worst variety, Ancic and Bhupathi raising their game ever so slightly to take the match in a canter. In the final analysis, I would think Qureshi was the weak link - he was amateurish at moments and seemed intimidated by both his partner and his opponents. Luckily for us, though, the match finally ended, cos I was hungry enough to eat the tennis ball that came free with the ticket (Yay, freebie!). And we were back home by midnight... in preparation for a busy Sunday!


Blogger Unratiosenatic said...

wow. man, this sounds fun! looks like you're leading the complete yuppie life :)

next stop: the US open.

8:09 PM  
Blogger The Invizible Man said...

that's what v and me were discussing - watching the us open next year! :)

10:37 AM  

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