Calcutta: The press and the photographers were at the venue well before scheduled time. Waiting expectantly. The event: A visit by the players, Anastasia Myskina included, to the Mother House on Friday morning.
The expectations were belied, as it was a complete no-show by the players. Some of them were exhausted. (Of course, the Myskina/Likhovtseva and Chin Wei Chan/Su Wei Hsieh doubles match continued till 12.35 am Friday. Hence the pull-out is justified). For others, the timing clashed with their practice schedule.
The players have promised to go back, individually, at times suitable to them. Later, on their behalf, WTA officials presented gift hampers to children of the Shishu Bhavan.
A treat for school children. The organisers of the tournament are offering them a chance to watch the semi-finals and finals, absolutely free. Children, 15 years and under, will get a special opportunity to witness these matches on Saturday and Sunday. Entry will be provided on the basis of their school identity cards and tennis academy badges.
Mania still on
Sania Mirza lost in the second round of singles to Melinda Czink, dealing a big blow to city’s hopes of seeing her lift the trophy. But if you think her popularity has dipped, think again. It may have caused a fall in the demand for tickets and attendance at the stadium. But the massive crowd and minor stampede at the Sony-Ericsson counter where Sania signed autographs, did a lucky draw and gave away a few T-shirts, bore testimony to the fact that there is no change in her popularity graph.
Later, Sania did a round of practise at the Indoor, with younger sister playing ball girl. Sania Mirza and partner Virginia Ruano Pascual have made it to the doubles semi-finals.