Melbourne, Australia, Australia
Monday night was the first night of the Australian Open, which was perfect timing considering I needed to get my mind of the Patriots blunder of a game that morning. We headed down to Melbourne Park a little earlier than we had to so we could have a look around and familiarize ourselves with the complex we would be spending the next two weeks in. It is a huge place with over twenty courts, included two arenas with retractable roofs.
Since we were there for about 6pm and our first match in the Rod Laver Arena didn’t start till 7pm, we went into Show Court 3 to watch Wawrrinka annihilate his first round competition. We only stuck around for about 30 minutes of that before heading to our actual seats in the Arena. The first match we saw was Wickmayer vs Groth. This match wasn’t a huge highlight because Wickmayer was the only one of the two seeded and she was 21st. The only reason this was on in the Rod Laver was that Jarmila Groth is a home town Aussie, so most of the crowd was behind her. Unfortunately, it didn’t help and she lost in three sets to Wickmayer. The second match we got to see had a bit more star power in the world’s number three, Novak Djokovic taking on the unseeded Granollers from France. I’m not a fan of Djokovic so I was rooting for the Frenchman, but I was let down pretty quickly as Djokovic took him down in straight sets as well. Ah well, for the first night, we had a good showing.
Tuesday night we went down and filed straight into the Rod Laver Arena to see our scheduled matches, since there weren’t any amazing matched on the show courts that we wanted to get into. The first match we were scheduled to see looked great on paper, world number three Kim Clijsters against former number one Dinara Safina. Unfortunately for Safina (and all of us who had to watch it), she has lost her touch and went down 6-0, 6-0. The only good thing about that was it got us on to our next match very quickly, David Nalbandian against another home town Aussie, Lleyton Hewitt. There had been some bad blood between the two of them a few years back, so we were hoping it would come to fisticuffs, but it didn’t. We also thought we would get to see an Aussie win on their own court, but that didn’t happen either as Nalbandian took it in the fifth set 9-7. It was a thrilling five set match though, so at least we got our money’s worth.
Wednesdey night started out with another Australian getting beat on her home court as Jelena Dokic went down to Strykova in straight sets. Not many people in the arena were there to see the women play though as the world number two (and I mean that in more ways than one…) Roger Federer was coming in to play Gilles Simon from France. It looked like it wasn’t going to be a contest when Federer took the first two sets 6-2, 6-2, but then Frenchy woke up! Simon ended up winning the next two sets 6-4, 6-4, but then couldn’t keep it up in the fifth and lost 6-3. Unlucky, I can’t stand Federer so I was cheering on Simon from the start, but to no avail.
Thursday night was definitely the most exciting night for me. Lisa had gone to Melbourne Park early to meet a friend, so I was on my own for the night. I had a ticket for the Rod Laver Arena again, but I was much more interested in the match going on outside on a show court instead. So instead of going to watch two matches that I didn’t care about at all, I waited in line for 35 minutes to get in to the Margaret Court Arena to see Illya Marchenko take on Scotland’s own Andy Murray! I couldn’t believe I was able to get in there, but it was well worth the wait. The support Andy had behind his was unbelievable! It seemed like all you could see were kilts and Saltire flags painted on people’s faces. It was a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to see Andy go through to the third round winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. I really hope I get to see him again, but who knows. It all depends on the scheduling, let’s hope the put him in the Hisense Arena during the day sometime over the next four days, because that’s where I’m going to be. Fingers crossed…