For Christmas, I received the gift of a day in a Sky Box at the Sony Ericsson Key Biscayne tournamentâ€¦ and what a good day it was! The weather was warm (mid 80â€™s) but overcast, so there was fairly constant cloud cover. And the lineup of tennis was ideal.
Match 1: We got there (two hour drive from Naples) about 11:30 to come in the middle of Andy Murray vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu. Brad Gilbertâ€™s latest pupil was down a set and a break; and saved matched point serving at 3-5 and then at 5-4. He came back to win in three sets. I am not sure whether his tennis is better than his on court behavior is bad: he mops around, yelling at himself and his coach in the stands. The kid does have real talent; and if he didnâ€™t waste his energy on negative emotions, could rise even faster than he is. I am not sure Brad is having fun taking the abuse (but then again, there are a million reasons he will).
Match 2: the showcase match at 1 p.m. on the Stadium court was #1 seeded Maria Sharapova vs. â€˜up and comingâ€™ Serena Williams. Serena really, really looked good. She just crushed the ball and Maria 6-1, 6-1. It is really impressive to see the quality of stokes those young women can put together â€“ especially Serenaâ€™s return of serve. It was that stroke that put extreme pressure on Sharapovaâ€™s serve; and she double faulted eight times in seven service games.
Match 3: Andy Roddick vs. David Ferrer. I was really impressed how well the outmatched Spaniard played: he was able to regularly return Roddickâ€™s serves, which came in consistently in the 130+ mph range. In the end, Andyâ€™s power was too much; but a close match 7-5, 6-3.
Match 4: The highlight of the day was Roger Federer against Guillermo Canas, the Argentinean returning from the 15 month drug suspension, who had just ended Rogerâ€™s 41 match win streak with a surprising straight set upset at Indian Wells.
To prove it was no fluke, Canas came out firing and delighted the highly Latin Miami crowd with a first set tie breaker win. It seemed to me that Roger was hitting the ball much harder than normal (maybe to make a point with Canas); but it ended up hurting him, with 50 (!) unforced errors in the match.
Roger came back to win the second set easily, 6-2; then broke Canas in the first game of the third set. It was now well past 6 p.m. and we were facing another two hour drive home; so when Roger had two break points at 0-2, I said to DeDe: when he breaks Canas again, he wonâ€™t lose a two-break margin and we can go home.
Well in that third game, Roger had FOUR break points that he didnâ€™t convert; but was still up a break, so at 3-2 we decided to start the long drive home. We missed Roger being broken back, the third set going to another tie breaker, and The Fed blowing a critical net shot at 4-5 in the tie breaker for the loss.
But all things considered, I was happy not to have been in the stadium to listen to the roar from the pro-Canas crowd at the end.