Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Day 5 of 18: Up and down day, but the weather was fine

Another great day of tennis in the books!

It was an up and down day for me. First the fire alarm went off at 7 a.m. at my hotel for what turned out to be a false alarm.

I went to the Citi Open but my blisters were really bothering me. I watched the men's doubles match on court 5 between Jean-Jullien Rojer and Horia Tecau against Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares (won by Rojer and Tecau in a supertiebreak)and then decided to leave for the day. From 24 matches yesterday to one today, but at least I was there and saw a match!

I thought it would rain (which luckily it didn't) and figured I'd better rest my body. I'm already starting to feel recharged and ready to go.

I did get to see matches from my hotel and it was a great day of tennis. I loved the Lauren Davis win over Sofia Kenin. Lauren is definitely my favorite to root for the rest of the way!

I was also happy to see Anna Kalinskaya get a win over Monica Puig.

On the men's side, Nick Kyrgios was great in his win over Gilles Simon as was Felix Auger Aliassime in his victory over Reilly Opelka!

Of course, Andy and Jamie Murray's win over Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in doubles was one of the top matches of the day!

Tomorrow should be another great one! Caty McNally against Christina McHale should be a great way to start the day on stadium court. That will be followed by Marin Cilic against Auger Aliassime in what could be the match of the day.

Kyle Edmund against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kicks off the action on John Harris Court ion what should be a great match.

I can't wait for another great day of tennis!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Day 4 of 18: Success in watching every match, including some great doubles

Day 4 at the Citi Open was awesome again!

I saw at least a little bit of every match - all 24 of them! My feet are now paying the price as I have two blisters. Oh well, the price you pay for watching great tennis!

For me the highlight of the day was watching some great doubles on Court 5. Court 5 was nothing but doubles matches and one of the best parts about it is - how close you are to the court and the players. I like to sit in the front row and you are actually on the court - 10-12 feet from the players while they're playing. It is awesome. The doubles itself was great too and it's great to see Mark Ein making it more of a priority in the tourney.

My fave match of the day overall was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's 3-set win over No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov.

There were definitely some upsets as both top-seeded Sloane Stephens (2-set loss to Rebecca Peterson) and second-seeded Madison Keys (2-set loss to Hailey Baptiste) were knocked out.

Keep an eye out for young American Catherine McNally. I was impressed with her game in a rout over Lin Zhu.

Of course, Cocomania came to an end in singles (she's still in doubles with McNally). Coco Gauff lost to Zarina Diyas. There will be much better days ahead for Coco.

I am loving the new Market Square(concessions area) more and more! Such a great addition to the tourney.

Tomorrow's schedule looks great (except for the rain in the forecast). Lots of doubles and men's matches scheduled. Only 4 women's singles matches.

The highlight of stadium court will be Andy Murray playing with his brother,Jamie, in doubles against Nicolas Mahut and Edoua Roger-Vasselin.

Five great matches on John Harris Court, all men's singles. Riley Opelka against Felix Auger-Aliassime should be great.

On grandstand court, Lauren Davis against Sofia Kenin should be a great women's match. Coco and McNally also play against Yu-Chieh Hsieh and Xiaodi You in women's doubles quarterfinals. The Bryan brothers also play in men's doubles against Treat Huey and Denis Kudla.

I can't wait for another great day!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Day 3: Some Russian drama and a whole lot of great matches

I'll try to keep this somewhat short because it's late and I'm tired.

Day 3 of the Citi Open was awesome!

My day did not start out well. First the Metro lot was full in Vienna so I decided to drive in and park at the tourney. Despite some heavy Beltway traffic I made it there 40 minutes before the gates opened, which meant standing around.

Once the tennis started there was drama everywhere. Lots of 3-setters to start the day. My favorite match of the day was Christina McHale's 3-set thriller over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (just call her Pavs).

At one point during the match Pavs double-faulted and I put my hands together twice and yelled at Pavs (who I was rooting for) to 'Come on' (which I say a lot while watching tennis). A Russian woman behind me said I was rude and disrespectful for clapping after a double-fault and that she was going to tell the umpire to have me thrown out! LOL! I tried to explain to the woman that I was cheering for Pavs but she said it didn't matter.

The Russian woman then began ripping on McHale over the next few games and saying she was ugly and she has told her son to never marry a woman that looks like that. Yes, I'm the one that's rude and disrespectful. LOL. Only tennis (and maybe soccer) can give you these kind of interactions and it's why I love the sport. There's so many people from so many countries that love it and the fans are so passionate!

Later on I was almost run over by Madison Keys because she was not looking at where she was going (she was looking at her cell phone)! LOL!

The tourney had its first rain delay (a short one) even though there was only a 10 percent chance of rain.

Cocomania was alive and well as Coco Gauff played doubles on the grandstand court (a packed crowd of course).

I saw parts of 17 of the 22 matches. I wanted to see all of them but that's way it goes sometimes.

The stadium court were a little lackluster, but the outside courts are always the place to be early in the tourney. The stadium matches will pick up as the week goes on.

I did try Market Square (the new concession area) and I now love it. The prices are still a little high, but the service is quick and there's plenty of room for people to sit, eat and even watch the tennis on TV. It's a very nice area and a great addition to the tournament.

The main ice cream stand dropped their prices from $10 to 5 (for a small) and it was pretty good!

Tomorrow I am trying out the taco place in Market Square. It is Taco Tuesday right?

Now here's a little look at some of the best matches tomorrow.

The stadium court matches will be OK. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays Karen Khachanov in the 7 p.m. match and that should be good. Nick Kyrgios then plays Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (former U.Va. NCAA champion). This match could be closer than you might think.

Coco will dominate John Harris Court. Her match with Zarina Diyas (who she just beat in doubles) is the third one up on that court and that place will be packed. That court is probably the place to be tomorrow as there are some other potentially really good matches there.

The grandstand court is all women's matches. Kiki Mladenovic against Shelby Rogers (second match of the day) should be a good one. The fourth match of the day features Madison Keys, the second seed.

Court 4 has some really good matches as well. Jack Sock plays Jordan Thompson in the second match there. Sock is coming back from injury and this is his second tourney back. Then in the fourth match Andrey Rublev plays Bernie Tomic, which means the match will probably be quick and maybe a little entertaining. Who knows what Bernie might do?

Court 5 is all doubles matches, including Genie Bouchard and Sofia Kenin playing together in the third match and Sock playing with Leander Paes in the fourth match against Alex De Minaur and John Peers.

All in all it was a great day and I can't wait to see what happens in Day 4. Let's keep this thing going!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Day 2 of 18 days of pro tennis: Coco is great again and a guide to the matches to watch Monday

Another day of tennis in the books!

Day 2 at the Citi Open was great! Cocomania continued and she won again. Coco played much better and there was another great crowd. It was almost a sellout -- for qualifying!

I did check out the new concessions area -- way too expensive. $14 for a burger - I don't think so. Everything in the place was at least $13 - like $13 for tacos. Not happening. I'll stick with my $7 hot dogs - way too much for hot dogs but at least it's $14.

Tomorrow the tournament really begins - with first round matches. There's 22 matches total with 18 singles and 4 doubles matches.

Play begins at 1, better than the usual 2, but I'd still like to see this tourney get with the program and make it 11 like every other tournament out there not named Wimbledon.

There's still 5 matches on some of the courts so play will go on late.

Here's my thoughts on what some of the best matches to go see will be.

There's only 4 matches on stadium court, starting at 2 p.m. The last two are definitely the best two. First at 7 p.m it will be Nick Krygios and Stefanos Tsitsipas against recent Wimbledon champs Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. This match should at least be entertaining. Hopefully, Nick and Stefanos won't take swings at each other. But whenever Nick is playing you never know what might happen.

The final match of the day on stadium court is between two of my faves Genie Bouchard and Lauren Davis. This will be tough for me to watch since it will be hard to root for anybody. It should be a competitive match.

On the John Harris Court, where there are no women's matches (what's up with that?) the best match of the day is the fourth one. It's between Matthew Ebden and Tim Smyczek. Every year Smyczek has done well here (by his standards) and he is a crowd favorite. This could be the most entertaining match of the day.

On the grandstand court, where it's all women's matches, Jennifer Brady against Sofia Kenin, the fourth match up, should be the best one (are we seeing a trend here?). I think Kenin could win this tourney but Brady is always fiesty.

Coco Gauff is also playing doubles in the third match on that court with Catherine McNally against Hayley Carter and Maegan Manasse. This shouldn't be very competitive but if you want to see Coco again here is your chance.

Court 4 has five matches, the first one features up and coming Iga Swiatek. Another youngster who could do really well in the future. She plays Ons Jabeur. In the final match on that court, Donald Young is playing Hubert Hurkacz. DY seems to always play well here. This should be a good match.

Court 5 has 3 matches and 2 of them are doubles. The second match features two pretty good doubles teams. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury play Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. If you like doubles - this should be one to see.

Here's my picks for the singles matches:

Kudla d. Paul in 3

Tsonga d. Schnur in 2

Davis d. Bouchard in 3

Karlovic d. Fratangelo in 3

Copil d. Torpegaard in 2

Bublik d. Klahn in 3

Smyczek d. Ebden in 3

Jaziri d. Polmans in 2

Pavs d. McHale in 3

Tsurenko d. Wang in 2

Kenin d. Brady in 3

Siniakova d. Pegula in 2

Swiatek d. Jabeur in 2

Harris d. Berankis in 3

Mannarino d. Ivashka in 2

Kalinskaya d. Hibino in 2

Hurkacz d. Young in 3

Blinkova d. Gracheva in 2

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Day 1 of 18 on the tennis trip of a lifetime: Coco dominates the day!

Day 1 of 18 days of pro tennis is in the books!

It was a good day! The highlight tennis-wise was seeing Coco Gauff and maybe more importantly Coco-mania! On the court Coco looked OK. I think she could have played better and she will have a tougher opponent tournament so she needs to pick it up if she's going to win this tournament like I predicted.

It was the biggest crowd I've ever seen for qualifying. As I was getting ready to go into the new main-concession stand area (which I didn't know existed until after I ate) new Citi Open owner Mark Ein was walking outside with some people and said 'this is crazy.' It indeed was.

The main reason is was so crazy was Coco-mania. Everyone wanted to see the future superstar and now that I've seen her I can tell you she's got some real weapons and athleticism. She definitely has a chance to be special. The stadium court was about 70 percent full -for a qualifying match, which is more than it is for many matches during the week.

All in all, I like the upgrades Ein has made. There seems to be more places for people to go and chill and trust me with this heat that is much needed. Tomorrow I hope to check out the new main concessions area and we'll see how good and expensive the food is.

There is a Jubilee Ice Cream stand selling ice cream for $10! There is also another stand where you can get a Hagen-Dazs bar for $5. Which do you think I went too? I have to admit I am tempted to see what the $10 ice cream taste like, Gold I would hope!

I actually have a good seat right under the press box (naturally), but the problem with having a shaded seat is everyone wants to take it. I'm not worried about sitting in my assigned seat, especially this early in the tourney, but if I get too hot I know where I'm going!

There should be some OK qualifying matches tomorrow but once again Coco will dominate the day! Starting with tomorrow's blog I will take a closer look at some of the top matches coming the next day and make some picks. I can already see I'm going to have a tough time deciding which matches to go to this week. Of course that will get much tougher when I go to Cincy in a few weeks! Decisions, decisions - it's a tough life but someone has to do it!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trip of a lifetime: D.C. to Cincinnati

For the next 3 weeks I will be taking the trip of a lifetime.

It's something I've always wanted to do. I will be going to pro tennis tournaments in D.C. and Cincinnati for the full weeks, including qualifying. I've went to these two tournaments before in the same year but not for all 9 days. I will be there from first ball to last ball and in the coming weeks I will write about my journey in this blog.

To me there is nothing better than sitting in the sun all day watching tennis matches, it is the most relaxing thing in the world and it's fun. It will also be mentally challenging as the heat can get to you after a while.

This year's tournaments should be great. D.C.'s Citi Open may be the best one yet. New American star Coco Gauff will be there tomorrow and Sunday, including playing an exhibition match on Sunday on the stadium court. She will likely not be playing in the tournament just practicing. Still Coco-mania will be running wild for a couple of days as everyone wants to see her practice. Andy Murray will be there playing doubles with his brother, Jamie, as Andy tries to come back from injury.

In singles, there will be plenty of good players in D.C. in both the men's and women's tourneys. Nick Krygios always keeps things interesting and will be playing doubles with the top seed in singles - Stefanos Tsitsipas. The top two women in the tourney are Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, which would be a great final if the seeds held to form.

Cincinnati's Western and Southern Open, which is from Aug. 10-18, is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. All the top players will be there. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be making their first appearances since their epic Wimbledon final. Could there be a repeat of that in the Cincy final? I sure hope so. This will be my last time getting to watch Fed play and maybe my last time seeing Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who I've actually never seen play. It should be a great time.

I'm very excited for the trip and if you're interested you can follow along by looking at my blogs (I will have one each day)as well as checking out my pictures on Twitter and Instagram at TKJ737.

Today is already moving too slow. Tomorrow needs to hurry up and get here. Let's get this party started!

I'm back again!

I'm back!

Since I got back into blogging last year, I've tried many different things - from lots of blogs to no blogs. It was either too much or not enough. Finally I've made the decision to go with just one blog, which will have a little bit of everything in it. I will still have some tennis, but mostly focusing on my favorite teams - Yankees, Cowboys, Celtics, Duke and Ohio State! I also plan to pick NFL and college games on here each week.

For the next couple of weeks I will have mostly blogs about my two upcoming big tennis trips. So if you don't like tennis just ignore it. Football season will soon be here and that will be a big focus once it starts.

I do this mostly for myself because I just love to write and if someone else enjoys it that's great too!

Have a good day!