I headed down to the Shark Tank this evening for the second night of the last ever SAP Open Tennis tournament in San Jose. I was concerned about being late, but apparently the day session had run very long, so even though I was about 45 minutes late, they were only just introducing the players for the first match.
My seat — for which I have tickets clear through to the final — is here, in Section 102, Row 23. It's almost exactly over the net, and has a great view. Here the Bryan brothers (in orange) are warming up against Steve Johnson and Jack Sock. Johnson and Sock battled hard and took the Bryans the distance in both sets, but the Bryans managed to win 7-6, 7-6, without having to go to a "super tie-break" as is used in all but the grand slam doubles matches these days.
Then it was time for the singles match: 24th-ranked, 5th-seeded Fernando Verdasco versus Tom Symczek, ranked 103 and in the tournament as a qualifier (that is, he's scored one of the four slots (out of 28 total) allocated to those who came up through the qualifying tournament). I'd been paying attention to the SAP Open Twitter feed and when they said to Tweet your seat location for an upgrade, I did so. At the end of the first set, one of the staff came over and handed me tickets to seats in Row 1. I headed down front, but play was ready to start again, so, not wanting to be one of those people who holds up play, I plopped myself down in the first open seat. During the next changeover, I headed the rest of the way down. The usher had me sit in even better seats (closer to the center) rather than having to escort me down to the end of the row.
Now this is a seat! I snapped a couple of photos, but didn't do any more fiddling with my phone, because when you're sitting here, you had better pay attention, lest an errant shot put a tennis ball into your head at 200 kph!
From the way he reacted, I assume that the fellow who was sitting next to me was in Symczek's camp. He certainly was getting excited as Symczek closed in on an upset.
Verdasco seemed to be trying hard, but Symczek was on fire, making shots and getting lucky a couple of times — I saw a serve hit the line and go careening off randomly, for instance — and the underdog will find himself in the Top 100 next Monday, as he defeated Verdasco 6-3, 6-3.
That's a great start to my tennis week. The only problem is getting enough sleep to do this and also get my Day Jobbe done.