This is Nungambakkam Stadium, in the middle of Chennai. It's the home of the Chennai Open ATP Tournament.
This is a major league tennis tournament, one of the first of the year. It's a men's tournament, and almost all the participants are in the top 100 in the world.
Paradorn Srichaphan. He's ranked 53, and is a fan favorite because he's won the tournament in the past -- and the fact that he's Asian doesn't hurt. Note the open seats. This is actually the first of four matches for the evening.
We're at the top row, but still can see everything well. The tickets cost 50 rupees, about a dollar. A dollar for an entire evening of four matches? Count us in.
Unfortunately for Srichaphan, he spent most of the match like this - it ended 6-1, 6-2, against Stefan Koubek of Austria. Koubek's rated in the 70s.
Here's Srichaphan stretching for a Koubek shot. Although we got six tickets, Jonathon didn't come. He couldn't find his shorts. This caused such a commotion that Michele stayed home with him. So we went with our friend Brian and his daughter Jacqueline instead. Two other consulate families came too.
Here's the real main event of the evening, Rafael Nidal versus Karan Rastogi. Nidal is the #2 player in the world, second only to Roger Federer, who didn't come. Rastogi isn't even in our program. Nidal's from Spain, while Rastogi is from Bombay. Guess who the fans liked best?
It was nightfall by the time this started. It lasted about two hours, and there were still two matches scheduled after this!
Rastogi really surprised us -- he kept the first set close at 6-4. We weren't sure if Nadal took him seriously.
Rastogi was done by the second set, though. Nidal won 6-1 to take the match. This is all taken with my Christmas present from Michele. Thanks Michele!
This is a closer shot of Nidal. Katherine wanted to get an autograph, but the edges were mobbed before the match even ended. At least we were close to the car -- our driver got VIP government parking by flashing the diplomatic plates.