Warm temperatures and sunny skies greeted qualifiers on day two of the 2014 Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic presented by Revolution Technologies. I think that covers just about everyone involved in the sponsorship this year, but if I left anyone out today, I’ll try and remember to plug you tomorrow.
Early matches today were a mixture of everything. Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri routined Serbian Tamara Curovic 6-1 6-1, then decided she hadn’t had enough of a workout and decided to go for a run in one of the neighboring housing subdivisions across the canal from Kiwi Club’s Stadium Court.
Natalie Pluskota had a somewhat tighter contest against Lena Litvak, but prevailed in two, 7-5 6-4, on court 4, while Samantha Crawford and Jan Abaza fought hammer and tong over on Stadium Court, in a good three setter that, while not always of the highest quality, provided its share of good tennis. Sam took a close opening set 6-3, but after being broken early in set two, her game went seriously askew, and Jan seized the opportunity, finding a second wind and taking it to Crawford in the rallies, which was impressive to see. Whether Sam got tired, Jan found a weakness, or Crawford simply was going through a string of awful points, almost nothing she hit for about fifteen minutes found its way over the net, and Abaza rather quickly ran out a string of points that won her the second set.
Both girls began to hit increasingly flatter and harder shots, particularly after Abaza won the second set, and that may have ultimately helped Samantha regain her footing in this match, as she broke Abaza for 2-1, confirmed at 3-1 and secured her lead with a second break at 4-1 to take the lead she would not relinquish. Jan acquitted herself well in this one, even throughout the third set, but Crawford was simply too much in the end, with her lethal forehand and big serve, and Samantha prevailed 6-3 2-6 6-2.
As Alexandra Stevenson took the court for her second round qualifying match against Naomi Totka, she not so subtly hinted to the chair umpire that the chairs should be moved across the court because, even though he had pointed out that they were in the shade at that time (about 12:15 PM local time), “we’re about to lose the shade….” When the umpire agreed to move the chairs if it got too sunny, she seemed appeased, and took off her warmup for the start of the match. Was it gamesmanship, or just a case of the ‘ol Stevenson charm at work?
Would have liked to stay for this one, but that was the unfortunate end of my short day today at Kiwi Club. Adieu for today.
Photos from Monday: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28300821@N05/sets/72157644396061641/
See you tomorrow as Main Draw play starts from the 2014 Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic!