It wasn't what we were expecting--chilly, windy weather with multiple rain delays. The rhythm of the first day was a frustrating one, but having two courts that could be covered helped hold back some of the frustration. The weather probably left the biggest impression on me, but there were some other issues that gave me plenty to think about:
Maria Sharapova just wasn't ready to compete. It didn't help her that Maria Kirilenko played the match of her life and kept her head about her. Sharapova continued to have trouble with her serve, she was not that fast on the court, and she was repeatedly dominated by her opponent.
It was Sharapova's press conference, however, that left me with the most troubling impression. Usually, her press conferences are composed of a combination of eye-rolling barbs and dreadful cliches. And while I was glad to see and hear something a bit different, I was also somewhat spooked by Sharapova's demeanor. Thoughts of the iconic Hitchcock "icy blonde" intruded while I watched the Russia superstar contain herself so rigidly, and with such a minimum of affect, that I wondered just how tightly wound she really was. It was as though a pod person were taking Sharapova's place among the reporters: She looked like Maria, she sounded like Maria, but she appeared to have stolen the very essence of Maria.
Yanina Wickmayer appeared to have finally let herself feel all of her feelings. She apparently played terribly, but still managed to win. The Belgian has been through a lot, almost getting banned for two years, not getting a wild card, and then forced to go through qualifying. She has to be mentally tired, and one wonders if she can recover.
Watching Valerie Tetreault was a highlight of the evening. I had never seen her play before, and--while she appeared stunned by the occasion in the first set of her match against idol Kim Clijsters--in the second set, she put on a lovely display of tennis.
I wish I had gotten to see Justine Henin play Kirsten Flipkens.
Pam Shriver really needs to get away from the subject of Wickmayer (she was going on and on last night) and find something else to talk about. I do agree with her that the chair umpire in the Maria-Maria match set a poor example by allowing both players to take as long as they wanted to prepare for their serves. Can't chair umpires enforce the most basic of rules?