At the start of the match Marion Bartoli reminded me a bit of Rafael Nadal. I’m serious. Both wear clothing that could be described as neon, both have deep tans and both have some serious obsessive pre-match rituals.
After drinking her water, toweling herself off, sucking down some energy gel, putting water onto a towel and drinking more water, Bartoli suddenly leapt out of the chair, sneakers squeaking, and shadow hit forehands and backhands so quickly the little holes in her Prince racquet started to whistle.
Vera, on the other side, put her visor down low and walked to her side.
That, in a nutshell, personified the first set.
Two things made me chuckle during Bartoli’s 6-2 victory. First, Bartoli just about emasculated a male line judge with a service fault; Vera apologized to him. Second, leading 4-0, Bartoli suddenly did this crazy ghost serve/leap. Not to be outdone, Vera did a ghost racquet smash.
Second set both women hit out: I mean, they went for the shots and hit a bunch of them out. Vera suddenly started connecting on her shots and the put aways she was missing in the first set suddenly landed in. It actually got very boring and Vera took it, 6-3.
Third set we got to see a very tired Bartoli. Probably fatigue from playing so much tennis (Miami is Bartoli’s eight tournament this year). Bartoli called for a trainer, Vera talked to her coach and ended up putting away the exhausted looking Bartoli 6-2.