It's back to the warm weather here in Barcelona ... Yay!! We flew in mid-afternoon and were surprised how empty the airport was until we realized it was Sunday. Figuring out the subway system was a bit challenging but now, having used it every day, we think it is terrific. We have been traveling everywhere on a 5 day unlimited pass for the subway, buses and trams which only cost about $35. After checking into the tournament hotel, which is 10 minutes walk from the courts, we took the subway "downtown" to enjoyed our first Tapas dinner.
Matches started on Monday with both of us scheduled to play singles. Unfortunately for Mas, he got a walk over, so no warm-up match for him before having to play the #2 seed on Tuesday. Sue's match should have been easy but lack of play over the past two weeks caused a loss of concentration after winning the first set 6-1 resulting in a struggle to win the second set 6-4. Her opponent was a woman from South Africa/UK who has lived in Barcelona for many years. That evening we had a barbecue dinner at the club in a very nice outdoor setting. It was almost elegant dining with table cloths, real silverware and cloth napkins. The Reial Club de Polo de Barcelona (where the matches are played) has a polo field, housing for dozens of horses, three pools, several hockey and football (soccer) fields as well as 38 red clay courts maintained by a crew that thinks their life depends on each court being perfect … and they are! Playing at night presents no problem as the lights are among the best under which we have ever played.
We soon determined that matches start at 6pm affording us time for a little sightseeing and catching up on our emails during the day. This schedule allowed us to easily fall into the Barcelona routine ... getting up "late", breakfast around 10, siesta from 2 to 4 in the afternoon (almost all businesses except those in the tourist areas close down), dinner around 9pm and going to bed about midnight or later. We have found it interesting that as the week progresses, more and more people at the hotel are getting into the same routine. Monday and Tuesday mornings, when we went for breakfast about 10, the dining room was half empty. Yesterday and today, it has been packed!
Sue's second round match was against a french lady who won the tournament last year and who spoke neither Spanish nor English making communication especially difficult. There was a multi-lingual score dispute which Sue lost but, being somewhat angry after that, she managed to come-back from being 2-5 down in that first set to winning it in a tiebreak. For the remainder of the match, Sue subsequently loudly called out the score for every point in French and won the second set easily 6-2. Mas didn’t fair as well against his second seeded french opponent (who at least did speak a little English). Mas lost 6-2, 6-3 and felt that the two weeks off had not helped his game especially since his opponent had already played 55 matches this season and was tournament tough! He was very gracious in his victory insisting that he buy Mas a beer afterward. We’ve found all the people here to be very friendly and interesting.
Much more to write about and tell about Barcelona in general (with pictures) but we’re off to the shops and a late lunch … our match tonight is scheduled for 10:30pm! It sounds horrible but we’re really starting to like it!!
Mas Kimball has been a pro at Farm Neck since 2006. He & his wife, Sue, have traveled throughout the United States and internationally ... mostly to play tennis.
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