The crowd was there. The 17-year-old junior champions were there.
So were the taller 33-year-old veterans, two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, who has 22 career WTA Tour doubles titles and has been ranked as high as No. 4 in world doubles but is now No. 23, and world's No. 19 doubles standout Andreja Klepac of Slovenia.
The Althea Gibson Club Court was packed with fans and enthusiasm for just crowned Easter Bowl champions Emma Navarro of Charleston and Chloe Beck of Watkinsville, Ga., as they played for a spot in the Volvo Car Open doubles semifinals on Friday afternoon.
But, of course, experience can be difficult to beat.
"It's different playing such an experienced team," Navarro said. "But we had our opportunities."
The juniors put up a strong fight and actually had their chances to make things really tight for the veterans. Five of the last seven games went to deuce in no-ad scoring.
The match was much closer than the final 6-3, 6-2 verdict for the Hradecka/Klepac team might indicate.
When the Beck/Navarro team closed to 3-2 in the second set with a service break of the powerful 5-10 Hradecka, the fans put up a big roar. Beck and Navarro had game points in two of the last three games but lost the no-ad point both times.
"They had too much experience," Beck said.
The juniors probably made more spectacular shots than the veterans with some amazing volleys and court coverage. Beck and Navarro played smart tennis most of the match but couldn't match the overall power of Hradecka and the 5-9 Klepac, who was doubles runner-up in last year's VCO with Martinez Sanchez.
At times, it appeared that Beck and Navarro were just lucky at the net not to get hit by some of the missiles directed at them by the veterans.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com.