I had an early start today, warming up with Ellen Neumann and then playing singles at 8:30 against Carola Kluzer of Italy. Of course she was the favorite at the Italian Championships…when people rooted for “Carolina”, I just took it as rooting for me!
Carola is a good clay court player, very consistent, nice backhand drop, down the line and angles and a good short crosscourt forehand and down the line and a good backhand drop shot. Fortunately I had a few more shots in my arsenal than she did and finally found my drop shot about six games into the match. It was very cold, windy and overcast (which helped with the shadows) and was hard to get the ball deep enough at the beginning. I won 62 61. Carola didn’t speak any English, which was a bit tricky at times, but Italian sounds quite a lot like Spanish especially the numbers.
I play another Italian, Michelina Valente at 8:30 tomorrow…she beat the #2 seed from Netherlands in three sets today.
When I finished I watched Chris French and another Italian, Francesca Ciardi play their third set which was pretty epic…Francesca won 63, but the set took well over an hour, both players were dropping, lobbing, at net, defending, attacking…Francesca did it just slightly better, but it was a great match.
I scouted Valente and Karen Peeters…watched the first set which was topsy-turvy…Valente was up 4-1, then Peeters had set points at 6-5, lost the tiebreak, won the second set and lost the third 61.
Below: Ellen Neumann/Carolyn; Carola/Carolyn
It was very cold so I went to take a hot shower, pack, lunch etc. I returned to watch Taylor Fritz play but left during the rain delay. I walked to the grocery to get a few things for dinner and then walked to the beach, which was blustery and cold. I found the boardwalk, lined with sun loungers, looking a bit forlorn on the cold afternoon. Despite the cold though people were eating gelato (which did look good I must admit, as did the various pastries shown below.
And that’s a wrap on the city of Alassio for this year. I play again tomorrow at 8:30, and catch my train to Milan at 2pm.