The colour, the passion, the national pride, fantastic crowds, noisy fans and of course, loads of trading opportunities crammed into a couple days - it doesn't get any better than this!
I started with a midnight session from the Australia v Italy rubber. Franny Schiavone's comical grunting reached fever-pitch, a hilarious contrast to the stoical Stosur. During the day, I began by testing the water with a new strategy that paid dividends in the Kanepi v Martinez-Sanchez tie. It's something I'd been keeping an eye on for a while without actually betting and I'll look to add it to my arsenal in future. I'm always slightly wary of incorporating anything new into my strategies. Mostly because I only usually look to do this when I'm going through a rough patch, which is never a good idea - if your strategy works, you should always stick to it and show confidence in what has worked in the past. However, I feel that this new strategy has shown so much promise that it could take my trading to the next level - it certainly did today.
I also used it on the Pavlyuchenkova v Cornet match. With Sharapova rightly dropped after her appalling display yesterday, I was expecting Pav to pull Russia back into this tie. She did but I have to say, it was looking unlikely at one stage. What is it with Russian women and serving? They all seem to go through horrendous problems with their serves which often last for months - Sharapova, Safina, Kuznetsova, Petrova to name 4. It seemed as though Pav was about to begin her own descent into double-fault delerium in set 1 but turned things around miraculously to see off an improving Cornet. Alize is hitting a rich vein of form and I think we'll see her really climb the rankings this year, having taken a couple of big scalps already.
I'm sure all WTA traders were licking their lips with glee when they saw Bethanie Mattek-Socks take the first set off Kim Clijsters today. Kimmy seems to repeatedly storm into early leads then switch off and get pulled back these days, before coming back to win, so it was a no-brainer to take her after the 1st set - I only wish I'd stayed in longer! But I see it as a good sign that I didn't let it run to the end. That's not trading, it's gambling and once you get into the habit of leaving bets open, it's only a matter of time before it comes back to bite you on the arse. I've learnt that the hard way - better to take the early green than risk losing it all.
Onto the men and 3 ATP finals to finish the day. Ivan Dodig's brave displays have lit up the tour this week and today was no different. I've given him my first 'Player of the Week' award despite the fact he cost me money! I didn't expect him to win today, after an exhausting week of 3 setters where he threw himself literally into every shot, I picked a very strong looking Berrer to beat him but he was simply outfought and outclassed by the inspired Croatian. I was rather lucky not to take a much larger red from this game, having gotten a tad impatient and taken on Berrer during a risky period of the game. Impatience is my biggest flaw both as a trader and a life-skill and is the major reason why I have struggled to get a trader's mindset. I had a small green after over an hour but tried to force a trade where the downside was potentially far too great. I'd like to say 'lesson learnt' but I've said that so many times now, I can't be sure it actually is!
The end to this match will surely turn out to be one of the highlights of the year though. Dodig hit an ace on match point and raced across the court, throwing his raquet high into the crowd to a massive roar from his home fans - only to be told by the umpire that the serve was out! My sides almost split through laughter, though a couple of points later he deservedly took the trophy.
In Santiago, Santiago was beaten but I incorporated my new strategy into my trade and produced my biggest win of the year so far. I won't be getting carried away though. A good trader is a consistent trader. I get far more pleasure from having a day with no large reds than I do from a day with large greens. It doesn't matter how small the green is, as if I'm consistent, I always have the option of increasing my stake for more profit, safe in the knowledge that I won't throw it all down the toilet with erratic trading.