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TW Staff 03-12-2004 06:25 PM

Tennis Warehouse report from the Pacific Life Open
10:10 a.m.

Indian Wells Pacific Life Open, Friday, March 12 - On a breezy morning, Tommy Haas and Thomas Enqvist start their first round match to an almost empty stadium. It's quite odd to see these former marquee players go to battle with less people watching than you'd get at a match between two local high school tennis teams. Go back two years, and such a match up would have probably taken place in front of a packed house, at night, and most likely deep in the second week.

For those few who made the effort to make it to the stadium early this Friday, they are in for a three-set showdown of excellent shot making.

Early in the first set, both players provide glimpses of their all-court prowess. In the second game, Enqvist starts to relax and move the ball around the court. He puts some pressure on the Haas backhand, and the German's legendary one-hander still looks a bit rusty as he floats the ball up for an easy Enqvist volley winner.

At only 2-2, the players have already traded breaks, setting a trend that would continue for much of the first set. Enqvist, in particular, struggles to string points together in his service games. However, his forehand looks particularly impressive. Anything hit mid-court by Haas is pounced on. Enqvist closes quickly, racquet pulled back to the forehand side. As he moves forward, he keeps the back swing short, level with his right hip. As he closes in on the ball it's the butt cap of the racquet which starts the explosive movement forward. However, the racquet head doesn't hang around for more than an instant. Suddenly, the face of the racquet explodes forward, strings ripping through the ball. The contact is far out in front, the Swede's eyes fixed on the ball. Enqvist's Liquidmetal Prestige continues its forward acceleration, through the ball, and out over his left shoulder. By the time Enqvist has finished his follow through, Haas can do nothing but watch, as this particular point is history.

Enqvist is here looking to recapture his form of previous years. Haas, fresh off a long break from a shoulder injury, is looking for his first Tour win of 2004.

By the sixth game of the opening set, the pattern of one player making a great shot to finish one point, then hitting an unforced error to finish the next fades away and both settle into a more consistent rhythm.

Tennis fans, who are now making their way in after most likely drool over all the goodies inside the Tennis Warehouse tent, are now starting to out number the empty seats.

The match, and the weather, have started to heat up. An atmosphere worthy of these two seasoned pros starts to develop. Both players respond by hitting some spectacular winners.

Haas has now started to find the groove on his backhand.

In contrast to his forehand, which is a flurry of energy, Haas' backhand is smooth and effortless. It seems like Haas has forever to take his Dunlop racquet back, set it for either a slice or topspin drive, and then swing it through the shot. The ball is struck well out in front and the motion of Haas' one-handed topspin backhand is one of everything working in unison. Pace seems to come from nowhere. Every time I watch him hit one I can't help but want to get up out of my seat, head out to the practice courts and rip a couple myself.

Haas closes out the first set at 6-4, and is hitting his first serve with much more pace and confidence than at the start of the match.

At the start of the second set, both players look like they've worked the bugs out of their games.

At every opportunity, Enqvist dominates with his forehand. Even off a strong Haas serve, Enqvist remains aggressive, often taking control of the point early.

Haas has also picked up his game, but it is Enqvist who is doing a better job of stringing points together. As the set progresses Enqvist gets out to a lead, which he holds through some aggressive, all court play.

With a 6-3 score in the second set, Enqvist has leveled the match at one set all. Even more fans spill into the stadium and the excitement grows as the players start the third set.

It's Haas who gets the first break. He is finally starting to look like the stronger player again, moving the ball around with a mixture of spins and angles. His backhand down the line consistently catches Enqvist out of position. Haas is looking stronger on serve and starting to pick up more quick points from service winners.

Just when it looks like Haas will continue to hold serve for the rest of the set, a couple of loose points give Enqvist a break point. Haas serves and the players get into a rally. Again, Enqvist attacks with the forehand, moving in on a short ball to the Haas backhand. Haas pulls his racquet back, sets up and rips through the ball, but on this occasion finds nothing but net. Enqvist is back in the set. A big serve gets Enqvist the first point of the next game, but three loose points follow and it is now Haas who has break points. Ironically, it is the Enqvist forehand, a shot that has served him well throughout, which has starts to unravel at this most crucial part of the match. Another missed forehand give Haas the game and the last break of serve he'll need.

At 5-3, the Haas serve looks impressive, and he closes out the match with an easy hold. Final score Haas defeats Enqvist 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Thirty minutes later Haas is sitting in the press room fielding questions. I ask him what he felt was working especially well for him in this tough match, and that will give him confidence moving into the next round?

Haas responds, "I served a few aces. That was pretty confident. Getting some free points on my service games, for every player that's important. If you don't have that, you're always going to run behind. So, I thought that was a very positive thing I take out of it. Moment-wise, I felt good. Keeping the ball in play, trying to play the big points the right way, overall was pretty satisfying. But definitely, I have to improve much more to get to where I was."

Next up for Haas is number ten seed, Paradorn Srichaphan.

Be sure to stop by the Tennis Warehouse tent and say hi.

sseemiller 03-12-2004 07:41 PM

It was a great day, wasn't it. It was nice to meet Don today.

Anyway, I did a report relating to my Rafael experiences today -- before his match. For anyone who is interested, it is at:

Warning: this is basically a fan report done for the Nadal site. After dinner, I plan to do a match report, talk about my discussion with Jofre tonight, and then discuss more of what I saw around the grounds today, much of it covered very well above by Chris. :)

But I have a few other tidbits I'll be adding. It was great to see Tommy playing well again. Anyway, I'll be posting it on another site, and will add the link for anyone who is interested. Please keep in mind I'm doing these for a Rafael site, but I am posting some other items for Bob Larson Tennis, and will give you some tidbits, as I said.

And good job by TW. Lots of visitors to their tent today, and lots of folks lined up for Bryan Bros autographs today.

Take care.


roundiesee 03-12-2004 11:05 PM

Thanks Chris and Susan; great reports. Do keep it up! BTW Chris, for the benefit of those who can't get to IW (especially those from overseas), what stuff do you guys generally have in the tent for this kind of event? Thanks!

sseemiller 03-13-2004 12:30 AM

Since I've been in the tent, they have sections on all the major racquet types. And they have folks in there stringing the racquets. That's not my forte, of course, but I can tell you they are busy in there.

And they have other items in there, too. I haven't checked them all out yet, though. I was too busy trying to figure out which cute shirts would sell out in the first days of the tourney and making sure I didn't miss out. That happened to me last year. :lol:

Anyway, I got back late from dinner, and I have some other stuff to do. If you want to see my later items on Rafael's match, and my contacts with Jofre Portas, Carlos's coach, you can see them at:

Believe me, this is not stuff all will appreciate it. If you are fans of Spanish players, you may be interested.

I have other stuff I'm doing, but I need to finish it up tomorrow.

Take care.


deflori 03-13-2004 02:18 AM

anyone saw alex corretja,how he play - i only know it was a big fight against ferrer...

TW Staff 03-13-2004 09:03 AM

thanks for responding to the above questions. Hope I get the chance to say howdy later today. I'm usually in either the media room of the tent. Look for the guy in the blue TW hat!

As for the TW tent, we have a selection of racquets, bags, strings, grips, a large selection of instructional books and videos, and mostly what we would refer to as hard goods. Those interested in apparel and shoes, should head over to the Fila tent, which is packed full of cool stuff including special tournament items.

I'll try to get at least two match reports up today and some behind the scenes stuff, too. It all depends on how many racquets need stringing back in the tent!

Chris, TW.

sseemiller 03-13-2004 10:05 AM

Hi, Chris. I'll definitely drop by today. I'm dressed like a ball girl today -- I bought one of those cute shirts. But I doubt they'll be assigning me out to a match on Court 4. :lol:

My friends have all arrived, and we're going to see lots of matches today, and we'll try to do a report later that talks about lots of things -- not just Nadal. :wink:

Not too much gossip yet. Philippoussis is here with his girlfriend, Delta Goodrem, the Aussie singer.

I'm going to try to catch the Robredo/Corretja match today, so I'll see what I can tell you about that. And we'll be here late for the Hewitt and Haas/Paradorn match tonight.

Take care.


deflori 03-13-2004 02:40 PM

hey susan,you saw the match from alex?

PureCarlosMoyaDrive 03-13-2004 10:00 PM

I watched Robredo - Corretja, practically the best one I saw. Don, it was great to meet you there. Susan, where were you set up? I wanted to go meet you, but I just had no clue where to look.

BTW, Robredo vs. Corretja was awesome. Those rallies they have, the absolutely huge shots they can hit, and the spin is insane up close. Susan, if you watched the second set, where were you sitting? I was sitting in one of those canopy benches behind the baseline.

sseemiller 03-13-2004 10:12 PM

I wasn't here, PCMD. I was watching Nadal practice. Timing was not good. I didn't realize you were here, actually. Please e-mail me and I'll give you my cell phone number.

But my friends went to the match and said it was absolutely awful. Tommy didn't seem to be feeling well, shall we say, and the scoreline was a bit lopsided. You saw a different match than they did. :lol: But they left after about a set and a half, and perhaps Tommy perked up a bit by then.

But I did see some other matches, and I will be reporting on them soon. I was impressed with Dent today, in particular.


deflori 03-14-2004 12:18 AM

thx,great to listen..
But was corretja in good form,or played robredo only bad?

Next,Alex will play Henman - i hope he can go on like that!

PureCarlosMoyaDrive 03-14-2004 09:11 AM

Susan I'm actually back home now, I was only there friday and saturday. My coach watched nadal practice, and said he was the real deal, he was really tough. My brother saw the last game of his victory over burgsmueller was it? Said he looked good. I only saw the second set, Corretja was playing rather well, rallying really well, hitting some good winners, doing well at net. But definately robredo was not full form. Still though, close to the end of the second set he was getting back to normal and hitting some awesome shots and rallying rather well.

sseemiller 03-15-2004 01:13 AM

Sorry I didn't get to see you. But I'm hopeful that Robredo is fired up for dubs tomorrow. :wink: At least they are scheduled on a court where the sun is at our backs. Better than today's matches.

nomalt 03-17-2004 04:59 PM

Big Thanks to Tennis Warehouse! While walking around the vendor tents after lunch, we noticed that Justine Henin-Hardenne was going to sign autographs at the TW booth later in the day. That became a "must do" event for the day, but the question was, what would I have her sign? Just so happened, I purchased a tournament t-shirt earlier in the day...that would be perfect!

JHH was right on time, the line moved quickly, and she looked up at me and thanked me after I had complimented her. That moment was definitely one of the highlights of the tournament!!

Thanks TW for making it happen!

nomalt 03-17-2004 05:02 PM

sorry for the html tags and I should have mentioned that the day JHH signed autographs was on Sunday!

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