| Sania Mirza at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Tuesday
Calcutta: It was a day of frantic activity. A day of impatient wait and divided loyalties.
It started with the mystery surrounding the much-awaited arrival of Anastasia Myskina (and Elena Likhovtseva). Since Monday, that was the question doing the rounds: “When is Myskina landing'”
The answers were as numerous as they were varied. The people in the know added to the confusion, perhaps with the honourable intention of shielding her from the public (and media).
The curiosity reached fever-pitch on Tuesday, as till late afternoon, one was not sure whether Myskina had, in fact, landed. If so, when' And where was she at the moment'
“She will play her doubles match in the evening, as scheduled,” was the standard response from the organisers, which was not enough to satiate people’s curiosity. Rather, it whetted the appetite further.
All curiosity was laid to rest when Myskina finally put in an appearance late in the afternoon ' slim and deceptively fragile-looking with a porcelain complexion.
Dressed in a sky blue T-shirt and navy blue shorts she looked surprisingly fresh, considering that she has just played the Fed Cup in Paris over the weekend and travelled half-way round the globe to be in Calcutta by Tuesday.
The likes of Myskina, I guess, is made of sterner stuff than you and I.
She took to the court with doubles partner and countrywoman Likhovtseva and decimated the Bhambri sisters, Ankita and Sanaa, 6-2, 6-0. It looked so effortless and easy. It left all craving for the clash of the titans ' a Sania Mirza vs Myskina final.
The ‘local’ favourite, Sania, went about her daily business, unaffected by all the brouhaha over Myskina' or her, for that matter. She practised at the Indoor in the morning. She signed autographs for fans and gave away free T-shirts in the evening. And practically caused a stampede.
All that while she must have been readying herself mentally for her opening singles match versus Junri Namigata in the evening.
Today the stands overflowed and the demand for tickets sky-rocketed. The atmosphere was festive, the crowd full of enthusiasm, brandishing posters and shouting words of encouragement.
Sania needed no encouragement, though, as with business-like precision she made short work of Namigata 6-2, 6-2. “I like a noisy atmosphere, particularly when the crowd is rooting for you,” she said at the post-match media interaction.
The crowd is only willing to give her all that and more. The day left the audience longing for more. More they will get, and soon, as Myskina plays her first singles (against Edina Gallovits) on Wednesday and Sania takes to the courts in both singles and doubles. A feast for lovers of the game. An impatient wait for tomorrow.