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The Dutch Open 2008 - Part 2

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Part 1 of this blog can be found HERE!

The matches

First up on centre court were Albert Montanes and Jose Acasuso. For Acasuso, ranked as high as 20 in 2006, it was thought to be a chance for revenge as Montanes had beaten him in straight sets just a week ago.

No sooner had the announcer introduced both players than light drizzle started to fall. Montanes, regularly spurred on by his trainer (the guy was sitting next to me) looked sharp and ready to play. Acasuso had given the sky a long, depressed look as he took the court and all of twelve minutes later he was 5-0 down. It’d be great if Montanes could take some of the credit for this, but all he had to do was keep the ball in play. Acasuso was moving slowly, constantly hitting the ball wide or long and looking like he’d prefer to be elsewhere.

After a 45-minute downpour followed by a 45-minute drying of the court that included the use of sponges and mops, the players returned to the court to give us more of the same. If not for the fact that we were all delighted to see any tennis, Acasuso would have been (should have been) booed. I’m not sure what is going on in his head, but the problem doesn’t seem to be physical. Game set and match Montanes: 6-0 6-2

Oscar Hernandez v. Marcel Granollers

Easily the match of the day. Competitive from start to finish and regularly featuring quality rallies between two players with a relatively limited set of skills. That said, they didn’t limit themselves to the baseline for the entire match, with both charging the net on several occasions.

Hernandez never ever stopped running and had a very effective backhand. Lots of topspin and sliced balls went whizzing just over the net at sharp angles, often sending Granollers scurrying all over his half of the court. Granollers, in turn, has a zippy serve and was able to keep the ball in play with some creative shot making, especially during the first set. In the end, Hernandez’ work ethic paid off handsomely as he wore down an increasingly frustrated Granollers: 7-5 6-2.

Marc Gicquel v. Teimuraz Gabashvili

Honestly, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw either player in action and I was tempted to move my ass over the Court 1 to see Steve Darcis play Christophe Rochus. Too lazy to walk that distance, I remained seated and got to see a match that, for one set, exceeded my expectations.

To say that both Gicquel and Gabashvili like to take a swing at the ball is an understatement. Gicquel has a hammer of a serve, regularly topping 125 miles per hour. While Gabashvili can’t match him in that department, the forehands were flying fast and furious, with Gicquel being the far more consistent (read: patient) player.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see shades of Karolina Sprem in Teimuraz’ style of play and facial expressions. Both subscribe to the idea that whacking a ball as hard as you can beats having to think about it’s direction and the maniacal look on their faces could make small children cry. He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t grin. He doesn’t say much, even when things are going wrong.

An injury timeout for a wrist problem doesn’t help Gabashvili much, but he decides to play on. More and more unforced errors creep into his game, unfortunately, enabling Gicquel to race through the second set and head for an early shower. If not for the injury, this could have been a real match. Now, it ends 6-4 6-0.

Frantisek Cermak/Rogier Wassen v. Jose Acasuso/David Marrero

Most of the people who, like me, had taken the chance of getting a relatively cheap semi-VIP seat with a little red pillow to sit on (a blessing), a meet-and-greet with some of the players and a glass of champagne thrown in for good measure decided to skip the latter two and watch tennis instead. It meant that, after everyone had returned from their toilet breaks and candy grabs, a decent number of people were there to watch doubles. Very, very cool indeed. Unfortunately for all of us, Acasuso was back on court.

Cermak, Wassen and Acasuso are all top-100 ranked doubles players. David Marrero is hovering somewhere around the 530 mark. The fact that he and the lethargic Acasuso made it to the semifinals of this tournament can be listed as one of the miracles of 2008, even with the cumulative ranking of their previous opponents probably reaching five digits.

It didn’t take long for Acasuso to rediscover the brilliant form he displayed earlier in the day; if he didn’t hit it wide, he’d hit it long. While Cermak and Wassen were doing the handclaps and tactical discussions, Acasuso and Marrero occupied space on the other end of the court. Okay, fine, they did have the occasional talk and Marrero didn’t seem to mind the fact he had to do most of the hard work, but did they look like a team? Not for a second.

The miracle continuing, Acasuso and Marrero won the first set. At this point Marrero probably couldn’t believe his luck and Acasuso probably couldn’t believe there was a chance he’d have to spend more time in Amersfoort. If he was focused on anything other than the airport, it was probably the blonde girl who cleaned the court between games.

Acasuso and Marrero lost the second set, then made the tiebreak interesting enough for the spectators to give the players a traditional round of “come on” claps. Five points later the Dutch Open had at least one Dutch finalist in Rogier Wassen.

Final score: 3-6 6-1 10-8

Click here for more photos!

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  1. Scotty's Avatar
    great read, Mr. K.
    thanks for sharing. Stay dry!
  2. Pierre1's Avatar
    Very nice, K. You are quite the photographer as well. The picture of the ball girl was a bit Vermeerish. "Girl With the Big Earring"

    Thanks for blogging.
  3. mrjiggyfly2's Avatar
    Nice blog Mr. K. Acasuso really sucks this year. I was thinking about how cool it would be for you to attend all of the tourneys in your country. Too bad you didn't get to see Mr. Huta Galung as Hernandez took care of him rather easily.
  4. oploskoffie's Avatar
    That, Pierre, was actually what I was going for!! She kind of looked like a young Scarlett J. to start with, and the earring just sealed the deal for me. People probably thought I was some kind of perv as I had the camera pointed at her for a long time - she kept looking in the wrong direction