Today’s pic brings us Varvara Lepchenko in action. The American player, who emigrated from Uzbekistan as a child and officially became an American citizen in 2011, is exhilarating to watch in person. I liked that this photo captured her intense movement–with the flying ponytail, the fluttering skirt over the tensed muscles in her strong, dancing legs, and the sharp angles of her arms on the powerful backhand follow-through.
This picture came from her battle with Timea Babos in Cincinnati 2012, and J.D. and I consider it one of the best matches of the tournament. It was played on Court 9, a sunken mini-stadium that offers seating so close to the action it can be scary. We found ourselves sitting directly in the path of Babos’ wide serve into the deuce court, and our hearts raced every time that ball bounded towards us and was belted out of the air before our eyes with the heavy thrust of Varvara’s racquet.
The two ladies pushed each other hard, racing corner to corner, bolting up to the net, smashing shots with blinding pace down the lines. Though we were sorry Varvara lost, with Babos taking the match 7-6(4), 6-4, we couldn’t complain about witnessing such a heart-pounding, vigorous contest from such a stellar vantage point.
How close to the action were we? After the match, J.D. glanced down at his shirt, let out a surprised chuckle, and plucked a bit of yellow tennis ball fuzz from his polo.
Yeah, that close.
PHOTO: c2012 Valerie David at TennisInsideOut.com