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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 ITF RSF Day 3

Had to first sleep off a headache. Of course birded San Dieguito river again after the matches were concluded.

So, again birded from 6am-ish: this time explored Rios Ave. exit of San Elijo, and glad I did!
Put-off this bird rich area, and dunno why I did lol(could be almost a year, last time was during this event, last year. Back then I was an ignorant newbie, just taking pics of whatever birds I found lol. Now, I guess I'm 'a tad' more knowledgeable!).

San Elijo has 7 miles of trails! Even this entrance has 3 separate entries: was tempted to try 2 eastwards ones, but decided to tackle the westernmost one, which leads to Nature Center loop, not quite(end is the river, and right north of it is NC loop).

Quite productive! Spotted about 30 species after 2 hrs(by 8 am I was famished!). Highlights were 3 rails!! Quite hard to find those secretive birds, well Ridgway's Rail at Bolsa Chica walkbridge is quite easy to locate(hence it's a MUST see hotspot for birders. It just wanders around unconcerned just beneath us! The advantage of walkbridge), but it's usually very hard to find.

The same species at Upper Newport Bay boardwalk(north part at the Center, not the more familiar east part) was also found easily in the open, but it was quite far from us birders at the field in high tide(again, scope required). And, in both instances, there was only one: so imagine my absolute delight when I spotted 3!

To my further delight, the 3rd one was a Virginia's Rail, methinks!! A first for me! Darker and a bit smaller than the two Ridgway's I spotted earlier. Luckily obtained a photo before it skulked into the dense bushes. Tried to flush it to hear its call for confirmation, but it was silent.

Methinks it was low tide: or was it just dry. Lots of shorebirds, including my first for the year, that plump Semipalmated Plover! Plumper than Western Sandpiper, and bigger too. About 20 of them were foraging with the Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Dowitchers and such. Willets too.

Great and Snowy Egrets were further afield, and ducks foraged unconcerned nearby, American Wigeons and Northern Pintails. Savannah Sparrows were around as well(heavily lined Belding's subspecies methinks, a local specialty), along with White-crowned Sparrows.

Western and Least sandpaper foraged side by side for good comparison, at an isolated small pond. Leg(not technically leg, more like feet, but for convenience's sake) color is the clincher, Western's black and Least's, yellow. But those could be submerged in water lol, and could be hard to tell from afar, and in various sunlights.  Other helpful hints are more darker mantle for Least, West's bigger size including longer drooping bill.

Oh forgot to add Green-winged Teals, one of the first birds I spotted there. About 12 of them. They're one of the smallest ducks, which is a helpful clue.

Couldn't bird much at San Dieguito due to fading light, about 30 minutes. Highlights were  Kildeer and a couple of Blue-winged Teals, plus 5 Black-bellied Plovers.

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Now, on to secondary importance :p

Score by Meelis from TF

Peter Lucassen again! He later helped Zoe practice. And he was earlier seen chatting with the Changs?

And, was that Kaitlyn Ray?? Thought she was back at Arkansas, her home lol. Then why didn't she watch Robin play. She watched Graham match or something: she and Robin did chat with each other after the match.

Coach Rinaldi later 'made an appearance' and watched Kenin.

Qualifying Round
 (15)Claire Liu (USA) d. Brynn Boren (USA) 75 63

Boren is an aggressive and flat hitter, and that might've helped her doing well here. Liu just commits too many errors. Maybe it's because of her ultra aggressive style, or that her hand-eye coordination is not that good. Still she's winning.  Her condition maybe is not too good, she always frowns whenever she passes me by..haha.

Hope her and Mateas meet each other at ISC or EB, I do think Liu stands alone among her classmates, but Mateas has gotten better(she lost to Coppoc moonballing not too long ago at the National).

Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. (14)Alexandra Stevenson (USA) 26 64 61

Didn't watch much but understandable. Alex's mobility could be a problem, but her hitting ability is without doubt, top notch. Showed good variety as well, in fact both did.

(16)Michaela Gordon (USA) d. (3)Lou Brouleau (FRA) 63 61

Michaela in best condition? Even attempted variety at times. Surprisingly easy win.

(13)Alexa Graham (USA) d. (4)Francoise Abanda (CAN) 36 76(5) 76(0)

Abanda was the bigger hitter, but her errors didn't help. And Alexa hustled well. Attacked aggressively too. Serve wasn't bad either, methinks.

Carson Branstine (USA) d. Ena Shibahara (USA) 64 64

Couldn't watch much, too bad, but by now I've seen them aplenty, so..

And dunno why but I was told not to watch from the baseline. Yesterday everybody did, so don't understand. Thought it improved from last year, but back to par in viewing experience I guess lol. They even later pulled down the tarps.
So instead of watching comfortably in the shade, you have to watch standing between the courts(well of course you can watch at the opposite side, which does provide some shade). So after being told, didn't bother to watch this match again, from the middle of the 2nd.

Anyway, maybe Car's firepower was too much. Ena fumbled some net approaches maybe due to it. And Car probably won the serve and serve return battle as well: served well as usual, and mercilessly attacked Ena's serve, effectively. Still pretty tight, since Ena herself is an excellent hitter and mover.

Luisa Stefani (BRA) d. (6)Quirine Lemoine (NED) 61 64

Coach Nilsson 'abandoned' Luisa!! Haha maybe he was preparing for the Eastern trip back at Pepperdine. QL's firepower is formidable, but she's simply too erratic. Unstable serve didn't help either. Louisa withstood her aggression well, moved well, and served well as usual. Fantastic variety as well. Once made a fabulous volley winner after nailing a sharp in and out. As I said, she's one of the best players in the league(Div. I).

Megan McCray (USA) d. (9)Taylor Townsend (USA) 60 36 62

Shocker? But Megan was aggressive and it bore fruit, controlled quite a lot of points. TT's fh was vulnerable, faltered under pressure, or that her mobility was a bit suspect(but I just think Megan attacked well. TT moves well for her size, always did). MP was Megan's excellent lob winner against TT's fluid net approach.

Maria Mateas (USA) d. Lorraine M. Guillermo (USA) 64 63

Points were long what with both hitting and moving well, but M was just a bit better. M served well, too.

Kristie Ahn (USA) d. (wc)Lauren Embree (USA) 64 60

Hardly any errors in this much. That spelt much trouble for Embree since Ahn was the bigger hitter. The points were long what with both moving well, but eventually Ahn's firepower prevailed. Embree's variety wasn't working too well, methinks. Both served decently methinks.

 (wc)Hanna Chang (USA) d. Grace Min (USA) 62 64

Couldn't watch much, but Chang like McCray played well and aggressively. Maybe she lessened her usual errors? Min wasn't quite dominating, as one would expect. Ahn watched and rooted for the fellow Korean lol.

(7)Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) d. Robin Anderson (USA) 75 61

Same here, couldn't watch much. Don't think Robin played that bad, served well as usual. Just that Alla's drives were too good. Great angles and such, which Robin couldn't quite reach.

(JE)Sofia Kenin (USA) d. (8)Hiroko Kuwata (JPN) 62 75

Saw Kuwata for the first time? and my impression was 'beatable' (by Kenin).  As I said Kenin has no problem handling pace, and since K didn't hit as big as Kylie McKenzie, so...

Kenin really is an efficient player. Doesn't exert too much while hitting. Always fluid, and redirects pace well. You really want to watch her match from the baseline, since that way you can watch her producing width more easily.

Less wear and tear on her body, so could have a long career, methinks(well some might object that Radwanska's 'efficient' tennis in fact lacks power and have to move much, etc...whatever haha).

(1)Muhammad/Townsend (USA/USA) d. Facey/Facey (USA/USA) 60 61

Overheads galore especially by TT.

De Vroome/Sanchez-Quintanar (NED/ESP) d. (wc)Bektas/Lee (USA/USA) 64 64

Funnily the Michigan duo always trailed early then caught up lol, in both sets, from 2-5 to 4-5 methinks.
Nice to see those play again, as Emina was especially the nemesis of KK/Sabs lol. As usual played well, excellent volleys and such.

Bellis/Cako (USA/USA) d. (4)Loeb/Weinhold (USA/USA) 61 64

Cici's volleys seemed a bit unstable. Don't think L/W played that bad. Think Cako played rather well.

(3)Pegula/Zhao (USA/CAN) d. (Q)Dolehide/Shibahara (USA/USA) 64 62

I blame the palm tree which obstructs the view of this crt4 from my 'eyrie' seat lol. Unfortunately this match was supposed to play at crt6 after the Kenin match, but since the matches at that crt were long, was played early at crt4 after TT/Asia won, to my dismay.

 My priority was to watch those former Michigan players and CSQ at crt2, and my eyrie seat does also afford the view of crt1 as well, so really there was no other choice. I'll probably see those future Bruins soon anyway, so..

So only could watch the last 2 games or something lol. Pretty intense, but the winners were just a bit better.

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