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

First Day Victory Over Poland

Carolina Blouin

The day started at 7 for us meeting at the restaurant for breakfast. After a quick bite of scrambled eggs with ham, bread and orange juice, we ran to the bus stop in front of the hotel.
Our first match against Poland was taking place three hotels down the road and the shuttle was leaving at 7:30 a.m. There was a line of players waiting, and as to expect, all women. If any matches had to be sent to another site, it would be women, not men, because it is understood, though not said, that we are a slightly inferior category in this beautiful Muslim country.
The mini bus was full and only Patricia got in. Me, Mary and Sophie had to wait for the next one, we were told, until Sophie spotted a hotel supervisor getting on his car and she guessed right that he was also headed to the other hotel. She knocked on his window and he let her in. Then he looked at me and Mary and said, "Only one more" because of the car seat installed in the rear seat. I told Mary to go ahead but I really wanted to say that I didn't mind seating on a car seat ... I've done it before, even as an adult, but I let it go and waited patiently for the next mini bus. It took some 10 minutes more for the van to return. Patricia then told me it was because the gates to the courts were closed and the driver had to jump the fence to unlock the door before letting the first group out.
The new location has 10 courts and they are in better shape than the ones at AliBey, or at least we thought. The red clay in this area feels more like red dirt, but these courts were groomed better. So we did our 20 minutes warm up that the officials gave us then sneaked in another court for some extra time until we were told to leave. Each player was given a half gallon water bottle, if we wanted more, we would need to pay ($4 dollars for each extra bottle). There is something to be said about charging foreigners that much for water when the only safe source of drinking water is a bottle. But we let it go as we were near the ocean and the weather was a fantastic 63 degrees and blue skies without a cloud.
Patricia started the first match of the tournament and played flawlessly. It took her an hour to beat the No. 2 Polish player 6-1, 6-0. Then Sophie played the No. 1 player, who had solid strokes and moved well, and won 6-1, 6-4. Finally Mary and I played doubles and won our match 6-1, 6-0.
It was a nice start and we had a good lunch together around 1:30 p.m. The matches started at 9, so it was a full morning of playing and cheering.
Good day everyone and talk to you tomorrow!

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