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2009 Sony Ericsson--Thursday, March 26

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Day 2 Report--Thursday March 26.

I got to the gate at 9:20 for the 9:30 opening. From my rounds the previous day I decided to walk around the practice courts twice before the 10AM match start.

I got to courts 9/10 first, and low and behold there were Venus, Richard and Serena. Richard was working with Venus. I snapped some nice photos of Venus on 9 and then went over to 10 to film Serena. Dokic was also out practicing early. I have some video of Serena and Dokic from these practices.

The first match I went to on Thursday was Li Na vs. Ursula Radwanska on court 7. I only stayed three games, but Li Na was overpowering Radwanska at that point. She was also more consistent from the baseline.

Then went to court 8 where Safina and Pennetta were practicing. This drew a pretty good crowd. I got photos of both and video of Pennetta, who was very animated and exclaiming in Italian, but still smiling and laughing. Flavia always had a smile on her face when I saw her last week. Safina looked more serious.

I then sat in on two games of the match between Chan and Makarova. Chan had won the 1st set but Makarova was up in the second set when I got there. I couldn't tell much about this one because I was focusing on taking photos.

Next I went to sit in on Sprem throttling Erakovic. I was a little surprised at this one, frankly, because K-lina has been anything but consistent, and this was her 3rd match of the week. Her serve and groundies were just too big in this match and she simply overpowered Erakovic.

Back to court 8 where Jelena was practicing before a huge crowd again in between giggling and laughing. I got some really cute photos of JJ here, including the one of her leaning against the fence. I also recorded some video of this practice.

Next it was over to the practice courts beside the food court, and I was in time to catch Sveta and Amelie warming up for their doubles match against Caro and Sorana. This was another big crowd, as you can imagine.

I then hit the jackpot over at the grandstand practice courts, with Caro, Sorana, Sabine Lisicki and Agi Radwanska all practicing. I probably shot around 100 photos there. These pictures of Wozniacki and Cirstea are among the best I took all week, IMO. Caro's hair was flying and I got some really cute pics of Sorana because I was concentrating on fulfilling a request for a "nice face portrait" of Cirstea and shot a lot of her. So I hope that was what you were looking for!

Back to court 9 to see Jie Zheng and Chaky hitting together, and then a short time later, Ana and her legions of fans. It's funny how after awhile you almost begin to sense who's where out on the practice courts. You can look at the crowd swelling around any court and know that "it's Ana!" or "Rafa!" or "Roger!" or "Venus!" Ana was there with Kardon, her new coach, and the rest of her team, and through the multitudes I was able to snap off several dozen nice action shots and a couple minutes of really nice video.

Too, through the day, the anticipation builds because it seems the biggest stars usually come out around the Noon hour to practice or warm up for later matches. Once, rounding a corner I looked up and saw Roger walking right toward me, followed, then swarmed by at least 500 fans, all funnelling through that narrow alley between courts 1 and 2. I swear to God, it looked like the running of the bulls, only without the bulls. Fortunately, I escaped being gored, but a few weren't so lucky.

Rafa, naturally, was inaccessible there in Miami. I mean, his practices must have had a thousand people around them. But you could hear whenever he was en route anywhere--unless there were a lot of "Rafas" walking around...

More practice court shooting, and I was able to find Peng Shuai, Misa Krajicek, Makiri and Patty Schyder.

Late in the day I was still seeking practice sessions, when I rounded the corner at court 10 to find Angel Jimenez in his sombrero and heard Tamira's familiar grunt. Goldmine! I was very impressed with Jimenez and how he was pushing Tamira. She was working very hard--I think this is going to pay off in the long run. Jimenez never stopped talking, chattering, directing her--"turn the racquet, turn the in IN....back back...come IN...good good, again..." He's drilling it into her head so she doesn't have to think so much out on the court, and her shotmaking looks better in matches, more natural. They were working very hard, and Tamira's shirt was soaked.

The only other match I caught on Thursday was Razzano v. Goerges. This was another seesaw battle with lots of breaks and long games and deuces. As I didn't have night session tickets for Thursday, I left the grounds around 7PM.

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