While "the pros" were sitting in the shaded media seats watching Masha warm up from 100 yards away for her semifinal clash with Petko, I was sweating it out on Court 1 watching Petko warm up from up close. Why in the world would this amateur skip watching Masha to go see Petko? Because I trudged out to the practice courts yesterday, you know, the day after Masha endured a rough ankle sprain, to see her gingerly test out her ankle under the damn hot sun. I don't recall seeing "the pros" at that practice session. I clearly don't know the rules.
Had they been at that practice session, they would have seen a concerned Team Sharapova whispering about the ankle, applying tape, pulling off tape, pointing, prodding, etc.
The ankle was definitely an issue and at least to this ignorant tennis fan, kind of a big story coming into this afternoon's match. We all know Masha can go through sketchy bouts of play and she really had to rely on her fight to get past an on-fire Dulgheru on Tuesday night. But we also know she can bounce back from a match like that and play lights out. But if she's physically hampered? The likelihood of a win over Petko, who is riding high on confidence and playing really well, takes a hit.
The good news is that it looked like Masha came into the practice session with the ankle practically immobilized with two tape jobs, one on top of the other. About 30 minutes into the session she went to the corner and removed one layer of tape. So hopefully that means it wasn't as bad as they were suspecting.
Of course, while Masha was fiddling with her ankle, Petko was on the next court over serving balls at Petar's ass:
"New motivation for body serve," Petar said. We'll see how that works out.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)