Saturday was a busy day at the Western and Southern Open–not just because there was so much tennis to see, but so many people there to see it. It Crowds gathered to see practices and qualification matches, and every court had non-stop tennis action.
It was a weird day weather-wise, periods of ominous storm clouds suddenly replaced with blaring sun and heat…back to clouds and oppressive humidity. Fernando Verdasco practiced during one of the sunny periods, and he ditched his shirt, much to the delight of many.
One of the things that surprised me about Nando is that he seems a lot more boyish in person. His muscular physique has presence on film, but he’s got a smaller frame than you’d expect. He had a serious workout on Saturday, as you can see by the heart monitor hes got strapped on.
Donna Vekic had a qualies match against the queen of the junk forehand, Monica Niculescu. Donna was not a fan of that FH, and her serve went AWOL too often, but she still found great shots of her own to smile over.
Ernests Gulbis was scheduled to hit with Jerzy Janowicz, but when the time came, he was on the court with Dominic Thiem.
It’s not Ernie if you don’t have the flying forehand. Which, by the way, makes it tough to take pics of him from the opposite side–his arm is always in front of his face, even on the follow-through.
The coach put them through some intense drills, and Ernie was left feeling a bit exhausted. Though he and Dommy were back on the practice courts later in the day again.
Jack Sock practiced with Fabio Fognini…we’ll have some pics of the Italian Mr. Casual later on this week.
Taylor Townsend dueled with Ali Riske on Center Court. It was quite a fight, with a lot of long games, but Taylor just had that bit more firepower that nabbed her the win.
From Ali to Alizé…
Thanasi Kokkinakis practiced with a crabby Nick Kyrgios, who later withdrew from the tournament. I’ll let you decide on this outfit for yourself.
We also saw Maria Sharapova working hard, though I practically had to climb a tree to get a look at her crowded practice session, which had spectators watching from adjoining courts as well.
Just loved this little diva moment:
Stay tuned, many, many more pics to come!