Maria Sanchez is scheduled for two matches tomorrow up in Michigan: the last day match on Stadium Court (playing doubles with Irina Falconi) and the second match on Court 3 vs. qualifier Maria Fernandez Alves (who is playing against Sanchez/Falconi, with Samantha Murray). (Order Of Play posted at http://www.dowcorningtennisclassic.com/wednesday.html
.) Admission to the day matches is free.
The matches on Stadium Court are being livestreamed via the tournament site (http://www.dowcorningtennisclassic.com/
). I watched parts of Mallory Burdette vs. Stephanie Foretz Gacon, and Taylor Townsend/Samantha Crawford vs. Coco Vandeweghe and Jill Craybas. The commentators seemed especially impressed by Taylor Townsend (they employed the phrase "unbelievable pickup" multiple times), but they had good things to say about all the players in the doubles match, and spent a fair amount of time explaining how rankings work and how life on the challenger circuit is not
cushy for these women (including how air travel is expensive, since they cannot book tickets far enough in advance for cheap rates, and how Midland helps out by providing home hospitality for most of the players). While I knew much of this already, it was really nice to hear the commentators talking about the players actually on the court and about the match in question (those of you who followed me on Twitter during the Australian Open may have heard me rant at and about Jeff Tarango and other sinners...); it struck me as a good introduction for people who haven't looked at how the system works, and even those with a vague idea of it. (A close friend watches tennis only during the Slams, and talking to him is a useful perspective check to me, since he was asking me questions about WCs, and others have asked about SEs, PRs, LLs, etc. -- it's useful to be reminded that normal people don't
keep tabs on this stuff. )
Also, Douglas Robson's story about the tournament is a nice read. I especially liked this part:
The tournament's long track record means Woody can recall some of the big names when they were small names.
He says seven-time major winner Henin of Belgium quietly read in the players' lounge between matches, and China's Li Na blew through the final in less than an hour when she won in 2002.
Sharapova's arrival at 15 also sticks out. Flashy marketing materials preceded the Florida-trained Russian, who has gone on to win four majors, including Wimbledon at 17.
"She was already sensationalized," Woody says.
Sharapova had a cold and lost in the first round but sent Woody an apologetic post card thanking him for making her feel so welcome.
"That's when you go, 'Wow, pretty classy person,' " he says.