Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Palm Springs & The Pacific Life Open

Laura and I just got back from the desert city of Palm Springs - Rancho Mirage to be exact. It's a long way to go for warm weather but we had good reason - The Pacific Life Open tennis tournament. Outside of the Grand Slams, the PLO is one of the largest tournaments in the world featuring both the top men's and women's players. This was our second trip to the area for the tournament.

As is always the case with Laura, her travels proved interesting. She was coming from Boston and had a lay-over in Las Vegas. They almost cancelled her connecting flight because they were painting the runway in Palm Springs! Luckily the plane left about 30 minutes early and landed before the painting started.
We stayed at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa. The picture above is from our balcony and the one below is of Shoomer assuming her standard vacationing position.

During our trip I was able to play tennis several times at the nearby Mission Hills Country Club. Wow, what a nice place!

We had tickets for the Men's Quarterfinal and Women's Semifinal matches on Friday, the Men's Semis on Saturday and the Men's and Women's Finals on Sunday. We purchased tickets off of eBay and they were fantastic. The tickets also included a free parking pass for one of the close in lots and free tournament program vouchers! For the Palm Springs uninitiated, I have one bit of advice - wear sunscreen. Luckily we were prepared after a quick visit to Walgreen's.

We saw some great matches including Marty Fish's three set win over David Nalbandian from Argentina and then his dismantling of the Greatest of All Time (GOAT ), Roger Federer.

We also saw Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets. On the women's side, we saw a lackluster performance by Maria Sharapova against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Sharapova lost in three, but honestly she was not on her game as her shoulder is giving her problems again.

In the finals we saw Kuznetsova play Anna Ivanovic (sorry, pause to stop drooling). We also saw Kuzey play in last year's final where she lost to Daniella Hantuchova (drooling again). Anna took it to her in straight sets. Although Anna played well, the Serbian fans were really roughty and disrupted the match multiple times. During match point between Kuzey's first and second serves someone yelled out causing a delay in play. I'm surprised she didn't double fault, but she did throw in a 68 mph duck that Anna crushed to win the match.

On the Men's side we saw an inspired, but obviously tired, Marty Fish take on the future world's number one, Novak Djokovic (aka the Joker). The partisan crowd was really behind Fish, but he couldn't buy a first serve. The first set went quickly. In the second, Marty raised his game and took the set.

I think the guy behind us was a TV writer trying out new material. He consistently yelled out one liners in support of Fish that got huge pops from the crowd. Just a sampling from what I recall:

"Come on Marty, don't let him reel you in!"
"Come on Marty, the big Fish always breaks the line!"

Of course there was also the obnoxious fan who would yell out "Go Fish!" every time Marty would miss a first serve. I think this was in reference to the card game Go Fish which kind of made it funny although still very rude. There was also a lady in the box behind us with a fishing rod complete with fake fish. Not sure if this was suppose to inspire Marty or not. Although Marty put on a great effort he ran out of gas in the third and evaporated into the desert air. That being said, this was a good showing for him - not to mention that he's engaged to a "briefcase" model from Deal or No Deal (I seem to recall that she's briefcase number two). All in all it was a great trip and a wonderful tournament. :o-

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