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Carolina Blouin Playing for the U.S. Suzanne Lenglen Cup

Estonia Wins Only One Game In Three Matches

Carolina Blouin

The day started early for us again. I was up at 5:50 to prep myself to play singles. Patricia needed a day off so I was happy (and must confess a little nervous) to play the first match of the final day to qualify for the semifinals.
 
Estonia was seeded No. 6 in the tournament, so we thought they might be a good team. But I believe their No. 1 player was injured and the matches were fairly easy. I beat Inga Polonski 6-0, 6-0 but we did have a few good points and games. I complimented her serve and we were polite and courteous to each other during and after the match, so she seemed to enjoy the morning.
 
Sophie then played Kristina Grunberg and also won 6-0, 6-0. Their match went faster than mine and they also had some fun points. Then Sophie and Mary finished the doubles 6-1, 6-0, almost a perfect score, three matches losing only one game.
 
One of the highlights of the day was a Turkish maintenance man that became our "friend." We gave him a nice USTA pin and medallion luggage tag as a gift and he brought us bananas, extra water, towels, etc. His name was Mehmet and he spoke Turkish to us as if we understood anything he said. We were kind to him and he spoiled us!
 
After the matches we went back to AliBey and watched some of the USA teams play their matches. I enjoyed watching Mario Tavares and Jeff Tarango beat on Latvia in the deciding doubles match after each team had won one singles match. They make tennis look so easy and effortless.
 
After lunch, I went back to cheer on the Women's 45s team that was playing a deciding doubles match as well. Then a New Zealand man who plays in the 50s team invited me to play some games as he wanted to practice more after a bad loss to France. We had fun hitting but he was in no luck because I also beat him in the end ... nothing like beating a man in a Muslim country. But he took it with grace and thanked me for our one hour practice.
 
After being here almost a week, I still hadn't had a chance to walk by the beach, so I decided to go. I took my shoes off and walked a little over the dark sand and little rocks. I was searching for shellsbut there was none. Then I heard someone screaming, like: "Hey, you, I know you" in Turkish. I turned and saw the maintenance guy Mehmet so happy to see me that I started laughing. He introduced me to another couple of people (this was my Turkish moment for sure) and one of them said he was a referee. I told him we are playing against France tomorrow and that last year we lost to them in the semis. I asked if there was a controversy, if he would rule in our favor. Of course he said yes. (This is obviously a joke because referees are fair...but you never know.) I told the girls at dinner that now not only the maintenance people will be cheering for us, but also the referee, so I feel pretty good...
 
We have a chance of getting a metal in the next couple of days. Now that we advanced to the semifinals, competition gets serious and brutal. Remember from my first blog that Sophie is French and the French girls criticized her for playing for the US, even though she is an American as well. I know Sophie is pumped about tomorrow, this is her first Senior World Cup and she worked hard to be here. But I do hope she enjoys herself, as well as the rest of the team, because when we have fun, "work" becomes leisure.
 

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