Cincinnati 2016: Impressions from Sunday’s Qualifying Matches

It was great to be back at the Cincinnati Masters event today.  I brought my 7-year-old daughter, and she was amazed with the tennis she saw.  The grounds in Cincinnati are pretty relaxed, and we walked next to or past 5 well known players.  The practice courts are always fun and enlightening as well.

Alize Cornet d. Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 3-6, 6-1

This was a fun match, and it is amazing that either player needed to qualify for the main draw in Cincinnati.  Cirstea’s serve and forehand were bigger than Cornet’s, but that is not to say Cornet’s were weak.  Cornet’s backhand and overall consistency were better than Cirstea’s.  These two engaged in many deuce games and battled through a lot of hard hitting points.  It was quite a duel.  Cornet came back from a break down to win the 1st set. Cirstea came back from a break down twice in the second set before breaking through Cornet’s mental fortitude.  Cornet took a break at the end of the 2nd set to change her outfit and came out to win the first 6 points of the 3rd set.  Cirstea broke serve to pull the set to 1-2.  She had a chance to hold serve for 2 all, but lost her serve at deuce.  The next 2 games were not terribly close, but Cirstea did fight quite hard in the final game of the match.

A few odd things I noticed during this match:

  • 2 microphone technicians laid on the ground during most of the match next to the court’s fence for 2 1/2 sets trying to fix a microphone without really disturbing anyone
  • Cornet only wants balls from the ball kids in one corner of the court when she is serving
  • Cornet is not overly patient with (nice to?) ball kids
  • Cirstea likely should have taken a bathroom break of her own when she was down 1-4 in the 3rd set or even when she broke for 1-2

Observations from Mikhail Youzhny d. Brian Baker 6-3, 6-1

  • Brian Baker has really good instincts at the net
  • Youzhny’s backhand is still nasty.  His slice return burned Baker a few times when Baker attempted to serve and volley.  His topspin delivery also opens various angles that benefit Youzhny.

Observations from Alison Riske d. Ana Konjuh 6-7, 6-2, 6-2

  • Riske is a fighter on court

Observations from the Grounds

  • The facility has changed a great deal over the years, and it looks great.
  • The addition of table tennis in the food court area is a nice diversion for fans.
  • The food choices are varied and solid, but the food is EXPENSIVE.
  • The languages and accents one hears walking around the grounds are a lot of fun.
  • After getting my press credentials, my daughter was worried that taking a cookie from the food offered to the press would be taboo.  I told her take a cookie and enjoy it.  On the elevator she said, “This is one of the best cookies I’ve ever had.”

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