We headed to the Straus Stadium at UCLA double-time.
Competing in the finals were Sam Querrey (red shirt) and Carston Ball (white shirt).
Querrey was ranked 32 (sixth-seeded American), had posted back-to-back runner-up showings, and was winless in three ATP Tour finals this season. Carsten Ball was the plucky underdog and the first qualifier to reach the final in L.A. tournament history.
The final, featuring Santa Monica resident Querrey and Newport Beach resident Ball, was the first all-Southern Californian title match since 1984. There were lots of supporting fans in attendance.
Sam, in particular, had quite the exuberant cheering section. The shirtless Samurai banged on a bongo drum, did chants, and at one point fired a t-shirt canon into the stands. Way to turn a refined event into Happy Gilmore, guys. lol There were a few calls of "C. Ball!" or assorted Ball chants, but the Samurai were fierce.
It was scorching hot. Folks in the stands just sweated it out. Some had fans, some carried umbrellas, most wore hats... ugh. Here's an interesting fact about me: not a fan of the sun. I hate the sensation of it beating down on me, hate the glare, hate my skin and head getting hot, hate the sweating, hate tanning, hate getting dehydrated, hate, hate, hate.
Many people chose to abandon their seats and hang out in the shade. Can't blame them one bit.
And if I didn't need any more reasons to hate the sun, one poor woman had a pretty bad case of sunstroke and needed medical attention.
Here's another fact about me: I find watching sports a tad bit boring. If it weren't for the hot dogs and garlic fries, I would never go to a Dodger game. There are no garlic fries in tennis, which is a damn shame.
I amused myself by checking out the photographers.
The line judges and ball kids just looked miserable, but that could have just been my attribution of misery. I always thought it would be cool to be a ball kid - they have tryouts and everything.
C. Ball lost steam at the beginning of the third set. He threw his racket down and everything.
After trading breaks of serve early in the opening set, Querrey broke to go up 5-4 and forced Ball to concede a set for the first time in the qualifier’s eight matches this past week at the LA Tennis Open. Ball leveled the contest as he won the final two games of the second set, but he would be limited to just one game the remainder of the match.With the 'Samurai' providing support from the stands, Querrey capitalized on two of his four break point chances in the final set and dropped just three points on serve to secure the win in one hour and 28 minutes. In doing so, he became the 16th different American in the Open Era to win the Los Angeles title and the first since Andre Agassi won his fourth event title in 2005.
Together with his runner-up showings at the grass-court event in Newport on July 12 (l. to Ram) and hard-court stop in Indianapolis last Sunday, Querrey has compiled a 13-2 record over the past month. With a 32-18 season record, he has already surpassed last year’s mark of 28 match wins. He entered the Los Angeles tournament ranked a career-high No. 32, and is projected to move to No. 29 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings with Sunday’s victory.
C. Ball doing his loser interview.
C. Ball hit some autographed tennis balls to the folks in the stands. Apparently one of the balls had $1000 inside it.
The winner, Samurai Sam. Dude got $100,000 and a BMW. Not a bad day at the office indeed.