It was “Ladies’ Day” at the Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic Thursday, and, as usual, turnout was insanely high to see the tournament’s second round matches played on the green clay at Kiwi Club in Indian Harbour Beach. Parking traditionally has been a nightmare here, and on Ladies’ Day the problem is infinitely exacerbated. All I can say is, kudos to the poor overworked valets for their work yesterday in shoehorning cars into the parking lots like sardines in a tin can.
Yulia Putinseva made rather short work of Maria Sanchez in straight sets, 6-3 6-4, as the American’s temper starting getting the best of her as she consistently dumped her serve in set two.
Now I don’t really think it was him, but there was a coach from Mouratoglou Academy (actually two) sitting in front of me at the match between Yulia Putinseva and Maria Sanchez match who was a doppleganger for Patrick Mouratoglou. The reason I say ‘coach’ is that it sounded like he may have been discreetly coaching Putinseva during the second set, in French, though perhaps he was simply urging her on. Maybe he was a relative of Patrick Mouratoglou but the resemblance was uncanny. Or maybe it was Patrick. Just kind of odd seeing a Mouratoglou coach–two, in fact–at our little ITF here in Indian Harbour Beach.
Canada’s Heidi El Tabakh rolled into the quarterfinals with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Dia Evtimova of Bulgaria that included early breaks in both sets. Good serving and strong baseline play by El Tabakh closed out her comprehensive victory.
Jan Abaza sat next to me for awhile during the El Tabakh-Evtimova match, and I learned a lot about her from all of the people inundating her with questions. For instance, I always wondered about her heritage, and I now know that she was born in the former Soviet Union, and that one of her parents is from Chechnya. I couldn’t hear where the other was from, but it was a different former Soviet republic. Her name, apparently, is from Arabic. She can speak Russian in addition to English. She must have come to the US at an early age because she said “it’s always just been easier to say ‘U.S.'”
Michelle Larcher de Brito was noticeably quieter than I’ve ever seen her before. So much so, in fact, that I hardly recognized her. Then again, it was the first game, and she was winning, so….
Scores from Thursday women’s singles second round:
(1)Marina Erakovic (NZL) def. (Q)Ulrikke Eikeri (NOR) 63 62
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Nicole Gibbs (USA) 64 61
(SE)Taylor Townsend (USA) def. Sofiya Kovalets (UKR) 43 ret.
(8)Allie Kiick (USA) def. (wc)Sanaz Marand (USA) 64 63
Heidi El Tabakh (CAN) def. (Q)Dia Evtimova (BUL) 62 63
Julia Boserup (USA) def. (4)Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) 76(4) 63
(7)Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) def. Maria Sanchez (USA) 63 64
(2)Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) def. Melanie Klaffner (AUT) 63 63
Women’s doubles first round:
(1)Falconi/Sanchez (USA/USA) def. Kontaveit/Kremen (EST/BLR) 63 63
Abaza/Marand (USA/USA) def. (4)Melichar/Pluskota (USA/USA) 63 46 10-5
Hsu/Kostova (USA/BUL) def. Cako/Peers (USA/AUS) 63 36 10-4
(wc)Kuhlman/Porter (USA/USA) def. (wc)Belaya/Woodson (USA/USA) 61 61
Women’s doubles quarterfinal:
(1)Falconi/Sanchez (USA/USA) def. Lao/Wong (USA/USA) 62 61
Abaza/Marand (USA/USA) def. Hsu/Kostova (USA/BUL) 26 75 10-8
Photos from Thursday: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28300821@N05/sets/72157644421369736/
See you Friday, if the rain holds off!