Miami Diary: Monday March 30
Originally published on: 30/03/10 10:47
Play did not get underway until 3pm today thanks to a tropical weather front that saw Crandon Park battered by swirling winds and buckets of rain. So ferocious were the winds (check out Juan Monaco’s hair in the picture for conclusive proof), palm trees bent in all directions and players struggled for a clean strike on the ball. The schedule was amended at just past 2pm to take into account the weather-delayed start, with the action spreading across five courts instead of the originally planned three. The doubles matches were shunted to courts 6 and 7, while Andy Murray’s conqueror Mardy Fish was banished from Stadium Court to Court 1. There was some more court re-shuffling at the end of the day session, with Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka bumped off Stadium Court to Grandstand to allow the night match between Fernando Gonzalez and Juan Monaco to get underway on time. The South American fans were happy about that, and they boisterously drummed up a stadium volume worthy of a football match.
World No.61 Florent Serra gave Roger Federer a stern test – breaking the Swiss three times before losing out in two tie-break sets. The world No.1 took both in routine fashion (3 and 2) and saw the positive side despite being pegged back from one break up in the first set, and two in the second. “Most important is to come through the rounds, you know, so I don’t have a preference how it is done,” he said. “I always like to come out with confidence, that’s for sure. So it’s nice to have won two breakers, because that does not happen every match you play.” Federer – searching for his 17th ATP Masters 1000 tournament victory – did not get on court until 3pm, and spent the rain delay playing cards with friends. He didn’t let on if he had won or not…
Women’s last eight shapes up
The quarter-finals in the top half of the draw will see Yanina Wickmayer take on Marion Bartoli and Venus Williams face the test of the always-consistent Agnieszka Radwanska. Bartoli easily overcame top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-0, but the Russian was nursing an injury to her right shoulder that was “so painful, I almost had stars in my eyes.” Radwanska had a relatively easy passage past Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shedova – dropping just five games – while Venus took three sets to overcome Daniela Hantuchova. Williams’ victory was her tenth in as many meetings with Hantuchova, who’s gutsy display was merited with a set – only the second time she had managed to push the American to a decider. The first, was eight years ago, at the 2002 Australian Open.
Fish defies his place in the ladder
There’s only one unseeded player in the top half of the men’s draw through to the quarter-finals – Mardy Fish, who followed up his scalp of an out of sorts Andy Murray with another significant victory. Currently ranked outside of the world’s top 100, the Florida native delighted his home crowd by sending Feliciano Lopez packing 7-5 6-3. The 28-year-old will face Mikhail Youzhny next after the Russian recovered from a first-set mauling against Stanislas Wawrinka to triumph 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5.
New name for Trophies
The triumphant singles champions at the end of the week will not only pocket a cool $605,000(men)/$700,000 (women), but will also get to lift a newly-named trophy. In deference to Butch Buchholz – founder and chairman of the tournament who steps down after this year’s event – the gongs will be known as the ‘Butch Buchholz Championship Trophy’ from now on.
Scouting for Feds…
After Richard Williams was spotted keeping an eye on Victoria Azarenka’s match yesterday, it was the turn of Rafael Nadal to don the (metaphorical) detective suit today, sitting in the stands to watch Roger Federer. Apparently Federer never watches the Spaniard’s matches, but the World No.1 did admit: “It’s been a lot of fun playing against him and I hope that day is gonna come soon again where we can play.” I wonder if Rafa thought he was actually going to be watching his friend Feliciano Lopez – who was scheduled to be the first match on Stadium Court. Perhaps nobody told him his mate was actually playing on Court 1…