Delpo Wins a Match and the Crowd; Kanepi Comes Back; Lopez Squared Prevail; Babos/Hlavackova Erase Deficit; Is Gauff the Future

Monday at the Open is the last day grounds passes are held but I got full value despite arriving mid-afternoon. It was a beautiful day to watch or play tennis.

I first went to see Coco Gauff, someone born in 2004 (let that one sink in) play doubles in the juniors, since I was told she was very good. She is very good but she still has a lot to learn about playing doubles. But her serve and groundies are really impressive for a 13 year old! She played doubles with Abigail Forbes who had nice feel around the net, helping Gauff hold serve but the duo lost to the 7th seeds from Russia. Coco is the first player, Abigail has on the white top, the Russians are high fiving.

 

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I decided to see Kai Kanepi from Estonia who is 32 and coming back from a two year injury/illness hiatus. She took on Daria Kasatkina from Russia who took out Ostapenko (the French Open champion) on Saturday. They were just starting the second set when I arrived, Kanepi having won the first 64. Kanepi went out to a 41 lead before Daria fought back to 43 and 54. It was getting windier (see flags below) and  Kanepi seemed to get a bit nervous but at deuce at 43 she hit two monster forehands and was the more aggressive by far. Kasatkina mixed in the loops and slices that befuddled Ostapenko, who is also 20; Kanepi wasn’t rattled by the change ups and kept going for her shots. She was delighted to win and advance to the quarters, as a qualifier!

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This guy decided it was casual Monday even though he was in the front row. Judging by his sunburn he should have put on a shirt with sleeves earlier.

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Delpotro and Thiem were to play on the Grandstand just after the Bryan brothers finished a doubles, but figuring it would be SRO, I headed over to Court 17 to watch some doubles. I got to the court at 5-6 in the third in a match between Babos (Hungary)/Hlavackova (Czech Rep) vs Niculescu (Romania) and Hsieh (Taiwan). Niculescu/Hsieh led 4-0 in the third and 6-5 and 5-2 in the tiebreak…and Babos/Hlavackova won and fell to the ground in delight.

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So that was exciting. The doubles match between Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez of Spain against Martin/Chardy from France was close but somehow not super exciting, too many good serves and missed returns. However Feliciano had some great moves at net and killer inside in forehands down the line. They won in two tight sets.

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So I was then going to go watch some junior doubles, wanting to see how Sebastian Korda, Peter Korda’s son, played but was seduced by the thought of seeing some of the Delpo match which seemed to be nearly over, with Thiem leading 52 in the 4th and by 2 sets to 1. I wandered in just as Delpo tied the set at 5-5 and actually found a seat without a lot of trouble. There were three layers of spectators standing, watching above the seating area, so I got lucky. The atmosphere was amazing. So many people chanting for Delpo, Ole, Ole, Ole, Delpo! Delpo had been feeling ill with the flu and lost the first two sets quickly and won the third just as quickly before the match got exciting. It felt a lot like a Davis Cup match played in Argentina, though there were plenty of cheers for Thiem too. Thiem had a couple of match points in the 4th set, and fought off a lot of break points in the 5th. However, at Delpo win seemed inevitable after Thiem failed to convert on his match points and that was the case. Thiem pummels the ball…but Delpo absorbed it on his backhand side and returned it with interest on his forehand side.  

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