Hawaii Open Fills The Void
This whole month I’ve been sitting around watching a lot of Premiership Soccer and reruns of great tennis matches from 2018. So, when I tuned into the Tennis Channel this past weekend, and instead of reruns of great tennis matches I was actually watching decent players go at it at the Hawaii Open, I was very excited.
December usually stinks if you’re a tennis fan. Your only option IS to sit around and watch old matches on the Tennis Channel. In all honesty, I would never be watching a fourth-tier tournament unless it was right around the month of December. For a fourth-tier tournament, it looks like the Hawaii Open did their homework on when they should put the event together. Also, the field was decent given the fact that it isn’t a WTA or ATP sanctioned tournament. On the women’s side you had big names like two time Grand Slam Champion Garbine Muguruza, CoCo Vandeweghe, Elise Mertens, and Eugenie Bouchard. On the men’s side, you had two big stars in Kei Nikishori and Milos Raonic.
Although a small draw on both fields, there were some great matches and two great finals. Eugenie Bouchard continued her strong play into the Hawaii Open, beating Vandeweghe and Muguruza on her way to the final, where she lost to Elise Bertens in a third set tiebreaker 12-10. This match was a thriller, and if it wasn’t for Bertens’ resolve, focus and patience, she would have been blown off the court by Bouchard, who was knocking the hell out of the ball, and was on target most of the afternoon. In the end, Bertens persevered. She is after all a top 15 player, and likely will be hovering around the top 10 all of 2019.
As for Bouchard, she looked focused and impressive. Michael Joyce, the famed coach of Sharapova for five years, has now been courtside for a couple of months, and there is vast improvement in Bouchard’s play. People are excited about the prospect of Bouchard getting back on top, especially sponsors. She is by far the most marketable player not named Serena Williams in the women’s field.
On the men’s side, the expected final of Raonic and Nishikori, also gave us the expected result of Raonic holding serve and losing to the consistent baseliner/counterpuncher in two hard fought tie breakers. Thank you Hawaii Open for filling the void. I’ll be watching next year!