My Monday daytime schedule was a bit of a washout. I arrived in time to catch the return of Mardy Fish, looking to be in good form here (where he has been a tournament fan favorite in the past). As I’ve noted in the past, I’m a fan of his somewhat philosophical approach to taking only one ball at a time when serving. He feels no need to hang onto an extra – in case he misses the first attempt – which places him firmly in the moment in hand. There a degree of satisfaction in his game that matches this approach.
I dashed over to the Grandstand, my absolute favorite court to watch matches from, because it has a tight intimacy that tricks you into feeling like you’re on the court. And the first match, between Ivo Karlovic (CRO) and Gilles Simno (FRA), played right into this sensation. Karlovic is a big server, who unlike John Isner (the big booming top American), in person gives the appearance of being a much leaner, and somewhat more graceful figure. He seems unhurried on court; not surprising for a guy who can cover great lengths in a step and a half. The speed of his serve is a truly deceptive thing, offering only a brief flash of movement for his opponent. Let’s just say 141 mph goes past in the blink of an eye.
Even with the inevitable rain delay, Karlovic handled his business with workmanlike efficiency (35 aces will do that for you). The rain and the lightning (which created a slow approaching natural light show) generated lots of discussion about concerns for the status of the schedule throughout the week. A forecast of storms is called for through Thursday, meaning we could find ourselves with Monday play for the first time in awhile.
Tuesday action breezing along with clock-ilke precision. American (and newly-minted tournament winner) Sloane Stephens owned Center Court, dominating Carla Suarez-Navarro (ESP). I embraced the heightened expectations of the match-up between Isner and fellow American Sam Querrey, but a nagging leg injury and Isner-esque serving from Querrey made for a blink and you miss it outcome. Isner has been a real mainstay in Cincinnati the last few years. He’s likely going to take advantage of the early exit to get in better shape for the US Open. So it looks like Querrey might have usurped his place in the hearts of fans. He needs a win to back it up though!