New Haven Register Blogs: Pilots' Blog: Calm before the storm

Pilots' Blog

Our bloggers check in with the latest news and views from the 2008 Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Calm before the storm

The play begins in a little more than 24 hours in the tournament but if history counts for anything, this could be a busy day for Pilot Pen tournament officials are the final movement in the playing fields takes shape.

The early news has Robin Haase out of the men's main draw and Sania Mirza withdrawing from the women's field. Jiri Vanek moves into the men's field while Daniela Hantuchova, who entered the tournament Wednesday, is officially into the women's field.

Neither withdrawal was a surprise as both players have been dealing with injuries for months. Haase is out pulling out of the U.S. Open. His withdrawal from New Haven moves Americans Donald Young and John Isner to No. 2 and 3 on the alternate list behind Chris Guccione. Isner and Alejandro Falla, who are still alive in the Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C., are in contention for the two Special Exempt spots in the main draw. The SE was set up to reward players on a roll so if a player is still alive in the main draw of a current event while they were entered in the qualifying of the next tournament, they can receive a special exempt. With the Pilot Pen men's qualifying set to begin on Saturday, Isner and Falla could be alive as of Saturday with wins in the quarterfinals tomorrow. It should be interesting.

Other things to watch today will be what happens with the players still competing in the Olympics. Jurgen Melzer is the only players committed to New Haven who is still alive in the men's Olympics singles draw while Arnaud Clement, Igor Andreev and Chris Guccione (No. 1 on the alternate list) are still in the doubles draw. Sybille Bammer (third on the women's alternate list) is alive in singles while Flavia Pennetta and Sam Stosur remain in the doubles draw. Will they want fly for 18-20 hours, get to New Haven and play? We shall see. (UPDATED AT 10:30 A.M.): Bammer and Stosur both lost their matches.

Although he will not be defending his Pilot Pen title, former Fairfield resident James Blake delivered the biggest win of his career with a straight-set win over No. 1 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals today. It is Blake's first win against Federer and puts him into the semis against either Fernando Gonzalez or Paul-Henri Mathieu. Blake is 2-0 all-time against Mathieu while he is 3-5 versus Gonzalez with the star from Chile having won the last five meetings. However, Blake was 0-8 against Federer before Thursday.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

© 2008 Journal Register Company. All Rights Reserved.