Saturday was a very busy day at Indian Wells – the sold out day session, the overflow parking situation and the epic bathroom lines were just the start of it. It felt like the entire population of Tennis Landia was trying to get inside Stadium 2 to watch Andy Murray/Ross Hutchins vs. James Blake/Andy Roddick (the Americans won in two sets.)
If martians happened to be hovering over the Coachella Valley this afternoon they’d report back to their home planet: “There’s this game that involves four players on a rectangular court hitting a little yellow ball. The humans are crazy for it!”
They’d all be scratching their triangular noggins after doing some research back at the mothership: “There must be a glitch in our human database. It says here that doubles is dead!”
I only caught the final few points of the 7-5 7-6 (7-5) match, standing on tippy toe on the stairs leading up to the bleachers. I felt a lot better when I saw this:
Gotta love democracy in action.
Instead of Roddick/Blake we watched the third set of Mario Ancic vs. Julien Benneteau. I haven’t seen Ancic in years, and it was really nice seeing him back on the court. He wasn’t exactly rushing the net, but his volleys are still superb and the serve and movement not too shabby. (It was also fun to hum the Super Mario theme song, including the sounds for coins and going down into the pipes while he was playing. Various references to Karate Kid “wax on, wax off!” were also appropriate, given his resemblance to Ralph Macchio. My apologies to the people seated in front of me.)
Mario raised his hands over his head and roared when he finally won the match, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. He should enjoy the feeling while he can – he gets Rafa next.
Nadal beat Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday. But everyone was more interested in Rafa’s take on the Hit for Haiti match the previous evening – did he think Pete and Andre were going to kill each other, or what? Nadal’s sly response:
“I was very happy I didn’t understand nothing. I didn’t feel any tension. That’s what I can say.” (via LATimes)
Roger Federer, of course, can’t plead ignorance when it comes to the English language. Let’s hope he beats Victor Hanescu (not a cakewalk!) on Sunday so reporters can ask for his take on the H4H II kerfuffle. I think they’ll be asking:
“Sampras was said to be pissed, Agassi was said to be put off. Roger Federer was said to be none too pleased either.” (via tennisreporters.net)
The big upset of the day was in the main stadium (where I rarely venture, preferring to see the players closer to human size). No. 1 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Carla Suarez Navarro: 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, in the second round.
“The tennis ball is perfect. I am not perfect,“ Kuznetsova explained in her press conference (via AP) She also Twittered like mad afterwards. Here’s just a small selection:
Just to clear things up:
Don’t you wish Sveta and Kolya had a talk show together? Davydenko beat Ernests Gulbis in his second round match on Saturday. I heard him marvel in his on court interview about the huge crowd that had gathered on Stadium 2 to watch him play. No offense to Kolya the Magnificent, but I think some of the crowd was waiting to see the Roddick/Blake doubles match that was next up on the court.
Ana Ivanovic suffered another one of those increasingly-minor-but-still-upsetting-upsets against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia (who?) Given Ana’s run to last year’s Indian Wells final, this second round loss means that she’ll fall out of the top 50. Ouch.
In other upsets, Marin Cilic lost 7-6(1), 6-0 (!) to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and two-time Indian Wells champ, Daniela Hantuchova, lost to Roberta Vinci.
Novak Djokovic had a dicey match, himself, but managed to pull out a 6-1, 0-6, 6-2 win over Mardy Fish in the Saturday evening session. I was going to give him a hard time about yet another wonky scoreline, but given the level of opponent and his Davis Cup effort in Serbia last weekend, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
I admit we didn’t make it to the practice courts like we wanted to. (We took it easy on Saturday – Sunday we’ll be back in full flight, I promise!) The big news was the appearance of Maria Sharapova’s steady, LA Laker Sasha Vujacic, on the practice court. Here’s a shot from the LATimes:
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
In other practice court news, I heard from a buddy that Roger Federer practiced at the La Quinta resort on Saturday, instead of on site. Rafa warmed up for his match in front of a throng of adoring fans. @JamesLaRosa tweeted that a girl was crying courtside, Beatles style. Understandable in any language.
Click here for more on Saturday’s results.