Tennis Prose




Mar/11

22

Opening Monday Scoops At The Sony Ericsson Open

DY wins as Gasquet and Grosjean look on.

Compared to the last year or two, Donald Young is most certainly looking like a different player now. After shocking Andy Murray last week in Indian Wells, Young dropped the opening set to Arnaud Clement in the first round of qualifying at the Sony Ericsson Open. But DY fought back to level it with a perfectly executed serve and volley on set point. DY rolled with the momentum to start the third set and broke the veteran Frenchman, who took an injury time out after the second set. DY held and broke Clement again to go up 3-0. Young is totally tuned in, playing with more fire now, and exhorting himself with “come on” after many winning points. Also impressive is how DY earned a lot of cheap points with aces and service winners. I like how he is very consistent from the baseline off both wings, mixing up the depth and speed and spins of his shots. DY also attacks the net more frequently now – he converted just about every volley I saw him try.
Young served for the match – with Richard Gasquet and Sebastien Grosjean over his left shoulder at the baseline, supporting their compatriot. Clement refused to give in by saving three match points however, DY kept his cool during Clement’s last stand and finally closed it out. Mom and pop looked very pleased with this performance from their talented and rising son. Young meets Frank “The Tank” Dancevic for a slot in the main draw.

It’s nice to see Larri Passos back on the scene, working with ATP #29 Thomas Bellucci of Brazil. The big lefty was getting the better of #10 Jurgen “George” Melzer in an afternoon practice session on the stadium court.

Muscular like a boxer, Andy Roddick, sans shirt, and Ryan Harrison also worked together on stadium, with the veteran playing a big brotherly role to the 18-year-old up & comer. A-Rod dispenses many advices too young Harrison on the court, including a volley tip. Roddick observed a flaw and counseled Rhino that he was stepping properly on his volley but also wanted him to add “some kind of follow through, there has to be some kind of follow through.” Once they started playing the set, it appeared to be all Roddick as Harrison, at one point, tossed his racquet at his bench. Roddick and Harrison elected to sit and chat and joke together on one bench during breaks, rather than sit apart.

Maria Sharapova had two workouts, on a practice court and on stadium, both times hitting with Cecil Mamiit, who also attended Bollettieri Academy for many years, as of course, did Maria.

Mikhail Youzhny also had two hitting sessions.

Grigor Dimitrov put away pesky Rik De Voest 6-4 7-6. Bulgarian Dimitrov, who has not made an impact yet on the ATP tour this year, has lifted his ranking back up to the top 150 with successes on the Challenger circuit. Dimitrov struggled with the veteran South African but eventually pulled through, showing flashes of brilliance, big serving and power baseline consistency. It’s just a matter of time for Dimitrov.

Janko Tipsarevic, ATP # 45, and Michael Llodra, # 27, staged a shirtless rematch of the Serbia vs. France Davis Cup final on the first practice court, with Llodra in charge, for the most part. Tipsarevic rifled his racquet into the backscreen after one of many misfires against the perpetually attacking French lefthander. Both elected to not wear shirts in the afternoon sun.

Many surprise faces on the scene, including Thomas Johansson, Karim Alami, Brenda Schultz, and Nicolas Escude. I also saw Peng Shuai, Daniela Hantuchova, Aravane Rezai, DY, out and about and around the grounds.

Olivier Rochus is still getting the job done on the ATP circuit. The diminutive Belgian defeated Italy’s Flavio Cipolla in straight sets, playing with a strikingly feverish intensity. It was interesting to watch Rochus, as he makes some kind of grunt or roar on every swing of his Prince racquet. The timings of those sounds also varies, sometimes it’s at contact, sometimes it’s slightly before or after contact. Watch Rochus play if you can, he has as much intensity and passion for tennis as just about anyone.

# 74 Richard Berankis, playing as solid as ever, looked impressive as he defeated Igor Andreev, # 96, in a night practice.

8 comments

  • Sakhi · March 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Scoop–thanks for the update from Miami. I have a quick question–While at IW, I noticed several players practicing with college tennis players (from UCLA, for example, where I am located), and wanted to know how that comes about. I know that UCLA has a pretty high-ranked tennis team so their players make the cut, but who’s who in Miami on the college circuit is unknown to me. And what’s the wisdom in bringing on young kids and not pros? I know Federer did that most days when he was practicing at IW.

    also, can someone do a bio-thing on Sania Mirza please? She’s making a steady comeback both in doubles and singles, and has had a quite a controversial life thus far.

    Ta

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    One of the college players from Lynn University was hitting with a WTA player yesterday. And Murray today was playing with someone that none of us could name, presumably he was a college player. Donald Young was hitting with Greg Oulette but not sure if he is in college or if he turned pro. Most of the top college players can hit with pros. I was talking with Murphy Jensen today and he said he’s been playing with Gavin Rossdale for ten years and he is a 4.5-5.0 and MJ said he can hit with “anyone.” But when it comes to playing points and games, it’s a different rhythm, different thing. He said Rossdale is a really good hitter, he has recently started to play sets with pros and even hits with Federer. Rossdale really really loves the game and plays for 2-3 hours every day. But my point is these college players are very very good, there are so many excellent players out there and they are good enough to hit with the best in the world. Regarding Mirza – I did a Biofile with her about four years ago, you might be able to google it. Mirza was out on court today practicing next to the Radwanskas but I couldn’t tell who her hitting partner was.

  • Andrew Miller · March 23, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Dancevic has a great game – I know it sounds awkward to read that, but it’s true. I watched him play 2001 in DC against Soderling and beat Soderling, and at the time I thought he was pretty darn clever. Before Raonic came on the scene, Dancevic was someone Canada could be proud of (or at least not embarrased to have!). Young has his work cut out and will have to take it to Dancevic for the spot in the draw.

    I love Sania Mirza but the girl has no consistency. She hits the hardest ball on tour.

  • Sakhi · March 23, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Thanks Scoop, will look for the Mirza profile. And yes, she’s utterly inconsistent but I think is getting better. For example, her service motion has vastly improved and she appears to have found a backhand again.
    And your update on college players does help. I live in Los Angeles and play at the Vermont Canyon Courts in Griffith Park where Jensen and Rossdale often play. We actually had them hit next to us (these are public courts, mind you!) and I was impressed with Rossdale’s ability to play too. Of course, my partner and I pretended not to notice them (as that would have been too vulgar!). All this to say, keep the updates coming.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    WHat a great match it was with Dancevic and Young. I went out late in the third and DY had two MPs at 4-5 but Frank came up with some big stuff and held on. DY ended up winning in 7-5. I really like what DY is showing, he attacks, he is making his volleys, playing smart tennis, and showing a lot of controlled fire. Realy liking how DY is playing now, he has clearly become a better player. But he has to come out and play a third day in a row in the fifth match on court two against Istomin. Dancevic looked really good on the court, I like his game too. He took the loss well, gave DY a pat on the chest, very classy. SIgned some stuff for kids, tHen walked off with a coach and they walked together down a path, presumably discussing what went wrong. Frank looked really good though, tough to see him lose, playing so well.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Very interesting, I will tell Murphy this. Maybe I should do a short feature with Murphy about playing with Rossdale, it was interesting to hear the little he told me yesterday. He said Rossdale actually beat him one set 6-4. I will try to find out the college player who was doing so well with Murray yesterday.

  • Sakhi · March 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    That would be great. I miss Murphy’s silly travel show on Tennis Channel too–What happened to that? WE saw them play a few years ago on the upper courts at Vermont Canyon–but I have been told they do play in public courts all over the city.

    As for DY, I hope you’re right. At least for Johnny Mac’s sake–he bet on this kid’s future a very long time ago.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Yes I miss the presence of Murphy on TTC also, I guess they might have replaced him with Mayleen Ramey and Darlene Dotzenrod. Muprhy was here doing video interviews with players at the WTA all access session yesterday, hopefully they will end up on TTC. I also liked him as a TV commentator. Really like Luke’s TV work also. Sakhi if you are interested, there is also a feature I did last year in the archives of this site called “Gavin Rossdale on tennis” I think you will find this interesting.

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