Open Gaz de France
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Another tennis post. I spent all day yesterday inside a tennis court, watching the quarterfinals for the Paris Open Gaz tournament. The semi-final match-ups were as follows: Patty Schnyder vs. Elena Dementieva; Tatiana Golovin vs. Nadia Petrova; Mary Pierce vs. Emilie Loit; Amelie Mauresmo vs. Dinara Safina.
We got there for the end of the first match, which Schnyder won handily. It was amazing to see Dementieva up close since one never really imagines how muscular these girls really are. Dementieva's legs were a lot more muscular than I imagined and she had such an athletic style of walking... They really are like Amazon women.
Golovin was pretty in her little Lacoste dress, and really pushed back the feisty temperamental Petrova. Petrova could probably be in the top five if she didn't auto-destruct everytime she plays a bad point. The girl certainly has a gorgeous top-spin forehand.
Mary's game, up close and in real, is a lot more powerful than on television. She catches the balls early and tends to slam them from corner to corner. Though she was aggressive and powerful, I would have to say the most impressive thing about Mary is her new-found love of the game. She laughs, she smiles... she's a joy to watch and such a competitor. Really... lovely.
The crowd as Amelie came out.
Of course everyone was really waiting for the new Australian Open Champion, Amelie Mauresmo.
Australian Open Champion 2006
Amelie Mauresmo is certainly looking very calm and relaxed. We called her the concrete wall because she seems to get everything back. Her shot-making and baseline control, the consistent depth in her baseline shots is very very remarkable, make her a bit the Ivan Lendl/Thomas Muster of her generation. However, nice to see a player that happy and confident, especially after so many years of unease and nerves. The tournament looks like it hers for the taking.
Tickets for this tournament, from Thursday to Sunday, were sold out in advance, which I guess is no small testament to the type of appreciation Mauresmo's Aussie win generated.