It was a late start today due to excessive consumption of alcohol at the player’s party last night.
Once I arrived at the stadium I headed straight for the media seating and got there to watch Milos take the 1st set 6-1. The 2nd set started in what I presume to be a similar way to the first, Milos getting a break of serve. Zhang looked really out of his depth out there but to give him his due he kept at it, he was still playing and trying to win points. He was rewarded with another game at 1-4 much to the delight of the crowd. No further problems for Milos, though he did need 5 match points and the match was wrapped up 6-1 6-1.
I went to start writing this report and on my was back to the seating I got distracted by lunch in the Café. I am a vegetarian and usually struggle abroad to find anything to eat but not here, no, here they serve 3 main dishes each day and one will be vegetarian. Today I had spinach and ricotta cannelloni and boiled potatoes.
I made it to the tennis at 4-4 with both players on their game and a certainly more competitive match than the first. Mikhail was the first to take advantage with a vital break of serve towards the end of the set and he held on to take the 1st set 6-4.
The 2nd set was very similar in terms of level of play, both comfortably holding serve until game 6 when Dolgopolov was able to nudge ahead 4-2. It was at this point I had to leave as Rafa was holding a press conference at 14.00 that was being held in another part of the stadium so off I went.
And would you believe it, HE WAS EARLY!! They had brought forward the start time so when I got there it was already underway. Rafa answered questions regarding the support he received from the Spanish football team, they all watched his French Open Final against Djokovic on Monday. He thanked the team for their support and in turn wished them all the best for their defense of the Euro Title they won in 2008. Last nights party was talked about and how much he likes the parties and get out with his team. Today he plays a Doubles match with Granollers and he talked about how he needs time to make the transition from clay to grass and that the Doubles match is a good way for him to prepare for the Singles tournament which gets underway for him tomorrow. During Rafa’s stay in Paris his watch was stolen from his hotel room (did the same thing not happen when he played Toronto in 2010?) The watch has been recovered and Rafa in no way blames the hotel (I believe he stays at the Mecure hotel in the 8th Arrondissment) and will stay there again the next time he is in Paris.
Back to the match on Centre and it was now 1 set all and still looking like the match could go either way. In the end the match went the way of Youzhny who won in 3, 6-3 3-6 6-3. I headed back to the media centre to type up my report so far and sort out my photos. It was then time to go back up the stairs (3 flights up a spiral staircase) and watch Berdych v Troicki.
Impressive play today from Tomas. Viktor’s frustration grew with every game won by Berdych and as the match went on you could see only one winner. Viktor did manage to steady the ship briefly in the 2nd set but it did not last and a final break of his serve was enough for Tomas to record a straight sets win.
He will now play the winner of the next match on court which was Stebe v Stepanek. As with yesterday I was once again very impressed with Radek’s volleying technique, it was very pleasing to the eye. To his credit Stebe played some good points too but Radek was just that little bit better when it counted and he won 6-4 6-4.
The main event of the day was next with Rafa taking to the court in Halle for the first time since 2005. This was his Doubles match alongside fellow Spaniard Granollers against Troicki & Mertinak and after a bit of a dodgy start they took the match on the tiebreak 10-8. That means more Rafa for me this week.