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post #2 of (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2007, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Monday

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DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
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1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. First-round eyewitness report: Fedak v KrajŪček
4. First-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Kops-Jones
5. First-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Camerin
6. First-round eyewitness report: Govortsova v BirnerovŠ

I realise that this is a very long message, so I would advise those who don't have time to plough through all the point-descriptions: just read the summary at the start of each match-report.

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1. Photos
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1.1 My photos
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I have uploaded all my photos for Monday 11th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1002277-6f8

Monday's players:

Maria Kirilenko (31 photos)
Sania Mirza (21)
Yuliana Fedak (20)
Maria Elena Camerin (14)
Eva BirnerovŠ (12)
MichaŽlla KrajŪček (11)
Olga Govortsova (9)
Raquel Kops-Jones (7)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.


1.2 Other photos
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Maria Sharapova:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/...os&p=sharapova
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Daniela HantuchovŠ:
Search Getty Images for "hantuchova"

Maria Kirilenko:
Search Getty Images for "kirilenko"

Sania Mirza:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/...photos&p=mirza

Various players off-court, including Maria Sharapova, Daniela HantuchovŠ, Sania Mirza, Tsvetana Pironkova, Alyona Bondarenko, Tamira Paszek and Jelena Janković:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3...ent=birmingham

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2. First-round results (Monday 11th June)
----------------------

Nice winners, nice losers:
+ Yuliana Fedak [Q] d. MichaŽlla KrajŪček, 7-6 (7/5) 6-4
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Maria Elena Camerin, 6-3 6-3
+ Olga Govortsova [Q] d. Eva BirnerovŠ, 6-7 (9/11) 6-4 7-6 (9/7)

What rocked:
+ MARIA KIRILENKO [16,DF] d. Raquel Kops-Jones [Q], 6-3 6-3
+ Tsvetana Pironkova d. Aleksandra Wozniak, 4-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/4)
+ JULIA VAKULENKO [9] d. Sun,Tiantian, 6-2 6-1
+ Elena Likhovtseva d. Bethanie Mattek 6-3 6-0
+ Yaroslava Shvedova d. Kateryna Bondarenko, 4-6 6-4 6-3

What sucked:
- Varvara Lepchenko lt. Lilia Osterloh [Q], 6-7 (7/9) 3-6
- Yan,Zi [Q,S] lt. Casey Dellacqua, 2-6 2-6
- Ekaterina Bychkova lt. Andreja Klepač [Q], 5-7 6-2 3-6
- Roberta Vinci lt. MEILEN TU [13], 1-6 2-6

I was disappointed to miss Varvara, Zi and Roberta because they were first up and I arrived at the Edgbaston Priory Club almost two hours after the start of play. :-(

KrajŪček sent packing [Teletext 499] (Monday 11th June)
>>>
American qualifier Lilia Osterloh set up a second-round meeting with two-time champion Maria Sharapova by beating Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 6-3.
<<<

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3. First-round eyewitness report: Fedak v KrajŪček
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I saw the whole match on Centre Court. I like both players, but I wish MichaŽlla would revert to the hairstyle she had when she won 's-Hertogenbosch 2006. She looked so much cuter and more beautiful when she had a ponytail than with this short, boyish haircut.

Yuliana, who turned 24 three days before this match, is one of the cutest, prettiest players on the WTA Tour, and she looks absolutely delectable now. She was the one I wanted to win.

Yuliana has improved beyond recognition from the weak player whom Maria Kirilenko beat in the first round of Birmingham 2005. Yuliana now has wonderful court-craft, all-court flair, and more power than two years ago, as well as frustrating opponents by getting a lot of balls back.

Big-serving MichaŽlla, who has long take-backs on her groundstrokes, tried to overpower Yuliana predominantly from the baseline until she [MichaŽlla] was *2-4 down, then came to the net a lot, led 5-4* (30/0), 6-5* (30/0) and 6-6 (5/1*), but Yuliana staged an amazing recovery to win the last 6 points of the tiebreak and take the first set.

Yuliana romped to a 5-2* lead in the second set (saving 3 break-points at *4-2), but failed to serve it out at *5-3 despite a match-point miraculously saved by MichaŽlla with an off-forehand return-winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline!

Nevertheless, Yuliana broke to love to seal a 7-6 6-4 victory which pleased me greatly. It was a lovely match to start my Birmingham 2007 experience - the best of the day in terms of the quality of the rallies.


First set
---------
FEDAK _* *@*___* *T 7(7)
KRAJÕ * *___*@* *__ 6(5)

The match started at 13:11 BST.

MichaŽlla serving 0-0: Double fault. 0/15. MichaŽlla hit a forehand long on the third stroke. 0/30. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla hitting a backhand winner down the line. 15/30. Yuliana's depth and pace forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand lob long. 15/40 (2 BPs). Service-winner. 30/40. A very long rally ended with Yuliana netting a forehand, and MichaŽlla said "c'mon". 40/40. MichaŽlla hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. Ad MichaŽlla. Yuliana went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide.

Yuliana serving 0-1: MichaŽlla took the initiative at the net, and hit a forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Yuliana forced a short ball from MichaŽlla at the net, and hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit an aggressive forehand just long. 30/15. Yuliana hit a fantastic down-the-line forehand winner off an awkward low ball from MichaŽlla. 40/15. Yuliana hit an off-forehand winner behind MichaŽlla.

MichaŽlla serving 1-1: MichaŽlla netted a backhand dropshot. 0/15. MichaŽlla went for a forehand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 0/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/40 (3 BPs). Ace out wide. 15/40. A good serve set up a forehand winner down the line. 30/40. MichaŽlla hit a forehand smash-winner and screamed "c'mon!" 40/40. Yuliana netted a cheap forehand return. Ad MichaŽlla. Double fault (second serve just long). Deuce #2. MichaŽlla hit a wild forehand long. Ad Yuliana (BP #4). Service-winner. Deuce #3. After two skyscraper-lobs from MichaŽlla, Yuliana painted the sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Yuliana (BP #5). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #4. MichaŽlla netted a backhand. Ad Yuliana (BP #6). Yuliana hit a wonderful return onto the baseline off a hard serve, but hit a backhand wide. Deuce #5. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla hitting a virtual forehand winner. Ad MichaŽlla. Service-winner.

Yuliana serving 1-2: MichaŽlla netted a backhand volley after Yuliana's passing-shot forced her to half-volley. 15/0. MichaŽlla got away with a very short second serve as Yuliana hit a forehand return wide. 30/0. MichaŽlla netted a backhand, and Yuliana said "c'mon". 40/0. Yuliana mishit a crosscourt forehand, and it turned into a dropshot-winner!

MichaŽlla serving 2-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. A service-winner down the middle forced Yuliana to net a forehand return. 30/0. Yuliana hit a drop-volley in the middle of a delightful rally, which ended with MichaŽlla hitting a forehand smash wide. 30/15. MichaŽlla backhand wide. 30/30. Yuliana hit a forehand lob pass-winner down the line, off a good approach from MichaŽlla! 30/40 (BP). A short ball from Yuliana forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand long, giving Yuliana the first break.

Yuliana serving 3-2: MichaŽlla hit some nice short angles, but netted a backhand and screamed. 15/0. MichaŽlla went for a crosscourt backhand return-winner, but it was just wide. 30/0. MichaŽlla backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Yuliana hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Yuliana played an error-forcing one-two punch.

MichaŽlla serving 2-4: MichaŽlla backhand just long. 0/15. Yuliana mishit a backhand long. 15/15. A hard, deep serve forced Yuliana to earth a backhand return. 30/15. Yuliana backhand wide. 40/15. A dipping return at MichaŽlla's feet forced her to hit a backhand volley wide. 40/30. Yuliana lobbed long after two smashes from MichaŽlla.

I sensed a tiny shift in momentum to MichaŽlla in that game. It seemed that coming to the net more would give her the edge over Yuliana.

Yuliana serving 4-3: Yuliana backhand long. 0/15. Yuliana forehand smash-winner. 15/15. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Yuliana to hit a backhand pass wide. 15/30. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Yuliana to hit a backhand lob wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Early in a long rally, I thought that a low ball from Yuliana was going to force MichaŽlla into error, but MichaŽlla ended up hitting an off-forehand winner to break back.

MichaŽlla serving 4-4: Yuliana hit a forehand winner off a short, high ball from MichaŽlla. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. MichaŽlla served & volleyed with a backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Ace out wide, in the corner. 40/15. Second serve: Yuliana netted a forehand. MichaŽlla was looking to serve & volley on every serve now.

Yuliana serving 4-5: A high dropshot from Yuliana got the treatment it deserved: MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Yuliana complained about her first serve being called out, then netted a backhand. 0/30. MichaŽlla backhand lob just long. 15/30. MichaŽlla backhand long. 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. MichaŽlla forehand long. Yuliana said "c'mon" - she was talking to herself a lot now.

MichaŽlla serving 5-5: MichaŽlla netted a backhand, and Yuliana said "c'mon". 0/15. Yuliana got away with a poor dropshot as MichaŽlla netted a forehand off it. 0/30. Yuliana forehand just long. 15/30. And again. 30/30. Yuliana hit a defensive forehand lob long. 40/30. MichaŽlla forced a short ball from Yuliana, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Yuliana kept saying, "Ya ya ya ya ya, c'mon" after points.

Yuliana serving 5-6: Yuliana sprayed a forehand wide off a long ball from MichaŽlla. 0/15. Yuliana crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/30. Yuliana's second serve was just inside the centre-line(!); after a rally, MichaŽlla hit an off-forehand wide. 15/30. After a delightful sliced forehand, Yuliana hit a forehand winner down the line, though I thought it might have been wide! 30/30. MichaŽlla netted a forehand off a short ball from Yuliana, and shouted something long in Dutch. 40/30. Yuliana hit a forehand winner down the line and said "c'mon"; MichaŽlla threw her racket.

Wow - Yuliana had to recover from 0/30 both times she served to stay in the first set, and could easily have been facing set-points if her balls on the lines at 0/30 and 15/30 had been called out!

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Fedak/KrajŪček):
{0/0*} MichaŽlla serve + crosscourt forehand winner.
{*0/1} MichaŽlla hit a lob over Yuliana's head; Yuliana hit a backhand long and yelped.
{*0/2} Yuliana hit two hard forehands down the line followed by a forehand dropshot; MichaŽlla hit a backhand pass wide.
{1/2*} Yuliana forehand down the line just wide.
{1/3*} Yuliana hit a forehand long, provoking a loud "c'mon" from MichaŽlla.
{*1/4} MichaŽlla hit a short forehand smash-winner.
{*1/5} MichaŽlla forehand return wide.
{2/5*} MichaŽlla hit a forehand long, and complained about Yuliana's shot on the baseline earlier in the rally.
{3/5*} MichaŽlla hit a big serve, but netted a forehand on the third stroke.
{*4/5} MichaŽlla forehand just wide.
{*5/5} Yuliana hit a backhand winner onto the sideline.
{6/5*} MichaŽlla hit a forehand just wide. Yuliana won the first set 7-6 (7/5) at 14:17 (1h06m).


Second set
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FEDAK * *@ @*__@ 6
KRAJÕ _*__@__*@_ 4

Yuliana serving 0-0: MichaŽlla forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. MichaŽlla backhand just wide. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit a backhand long, and shouted something that sounded like "yo purto!" (my best attempt at writing it down with no knowledge of Dutch). 30/15. MichaŽlla netted a forehand return. 40/15. MichaŽlla netted a backhand.

MichaŽlla serving 0-1: MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the third stroke. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Yuliana chopped a forehand return-winner crosscourt. 30/15. Yuliana almost netted a forehand smash earlier in the rally, but hit a backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Yuliana hit a wild off-forehand wide. 40/30. MichaŽlla netted a forehand smash. 40/40. Yuliana netted a sliced forehand return. Ad MichaŽlla. She made Yuliana run from Yuliana's backhand-sideline to Yuliana's forehand-sideline; MichaŽlla hit a forehand drop-volley winner.

Yuliana serving 1-1: A serve out wide forced a short return; Yuliana backhand winner down the line. 15/0. MichaŽlla came to the net behind a sliced backhand down the line, but it was a clean winner. 15/15. Ace down the middle, in the corner. 30/15. Yuliana hit a backhand halfway up the net. 30/30. MichaŽlla forehand return wide. 40/30. Yuliana came to the net with an off-forehand + crosscourt forehand volley-winner.

MichaŽlla serving 1-2: MichaŽlla sprayed a forehand wide. 0/15. Double fault. MichaŽlla did an energy-bounce ŗ la Marion Bartoli. 0/30. Double fault. 0/40 (3 BPs). MichaŽlla hit a forehand long, and I got the impression that something was badly wrong with her in that game.

Yuliana serving 3-1: Double fault (it's catching!). 0/15. MichaŽlla punished a short second serve with an off-forehand return-winner. 0/30. MichaŽlla backhand wide. 15/30. MichaŽlla backhand very long. 30/30. Yuliana mishit a forehand very long. 30/40 (BP). MichaŽlla broke back with a crosscourt backhand winner into the corner.

MichaŽlla serving 2-3: Yuliana failed to capitalise on a wonderful deep forehand return, as MichaŽlla hit a forehand volley-winner after an exchange of dropshots. 15/0. Double fault. MichaŽlla slapped her thigh. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit a forehand into the bottom of the net, and shouted something long in Dutch. 15/30. Ace down the middle. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP). A low ball from MichaŽlla induced Yuliana to net a backhand. 40/40. Yuliana's width forced MichaŽlla to net a backhand. Ad Yuliana (BP #2). Yuliana reinstated her break with a delectable backhand drop-volley winner.

Yuliana serving 4-2: MichaŽlla hit a hard backhand down the line, forcing Yuliana to hit a forehand wide. 0/15. Yuliana backhand just wide. 0/30. Yuliana hit a reflex forehand pass-winner at a short crosscourt angle! 15/30. Yuliana hit a backhand long after some nice grunting, reminiscent of Iva Majoli. 15/40 (2 BPs). Yuliana crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40. Yuliana's off-forehand clipped the netcord, forcing a floater from MichaŽlla, which Yuliana dispatched with a two-handed backhand volley-winner down the line. 40/40. MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). MichaŽlla backhand just long. Deuce #2. Yuliana forehand pass winner down the line, on the sideline. Ad Yuliana. Yuliana hit a serve out wide, and guided a forehand volley-winner crosscourt.

I got the impression that MichaŽlla was upset at the changeover, though I was too far away to see as well as I wanted to.

MichaŽlla serving 2-5: Yuliana hit a stinging off-forehand, forcing MichaŽlla to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Yuliana netted a backhand return. 15/15. Yuliana netted a backhand return. 30/15. Ace down the middle, in the corner. 40/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand volley-winner.

Yuliana serving for the match at 5-3: Yuliana tried to serve & volley, but MichaŽlla hit a down the line backhand pass - a virtual winner. 0/15. MichaŽlla took the initiative and hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/30. Ace down the middle, just inside the service-line. 15/30. Yuliana spread MichaŽlla, but MichaŽlla came to the net and hit a forehand volley that forced Yuliana to net a backhand pass. 15/40 (2 BPs). MichaŽlla chipped & charged, but Yuliana came up with a stunning crosscourt forehand pass-winner down the line, into the corner! 30/40. MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt backhand just wide, and said, "No, no, no. C'mon. You sure the ball was out?" 40/40. MichaŽlla netted a forehand return. Ad Yuliana (MP #1). MichaŽlla saved it with a miraculous off-forehand return-winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline! Deuce #2. Yuliana backhand long. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). MichaŽlla opened her shoulders and hit a forehand return-winner down Yuliana's forehand-line.

MichaŽlla serving 4-5: Yuliana ran down a drop-volley and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. MichaŽlla mishit a forehand lob long. 0/30. MichaŽlla came to the net behind a slow, weak approach that allowed Yuliana to nail a backhand pass that forced MichaŽlla to net a backhand volley. 0/40 (MP #2). Yuliana backhand return wide. 15/40 (MP #3). MichaŽlla hit a good serve, but Yuliana hit a good return, and MichaŽlla netted a forehand volley. Yuliana won 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 at 15:00 (second set 43m, match 1h49m).


http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=1427
>>>
Another qualifier to successfully negotiate the first round was Vakulenko's compatriot Fedak, and the world No.129 was responsible for the day's biggest upset when she ousted No.14 seed KrajŪček from the draw. The match was a tightly contested affair, and the final result hinged on just a handful of points, but it was the 24-year-old Ukrainian who held her nerve at these crucial moments; reeling off six straight points to snatch the first-set tiebreak, and then breaking KrajŪček in the final game of the match to secure a 7-6(5) 6-4 win.
<<<

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4. First-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Kops-Jones
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I watched all three of Maria Kirilenko's matches here, so I'll start with some general observations.

I always call her 'Little Maria' (because I'm a fan of Maria Sharapova), but she looked much bigger than the frail 17-year-old I saw at Birmingham 2004! She's definitely become taller (5'8") and bulked up since then. But she did seem younger and cuter later in the week than in her first-round match.

Little Maria has had a rough old time of it this year: she came into Birmingham 2007 with a win/loss record of 8:14 for the year so far, having snapped a six-match losing-streak at the French Open.

And grass had historically been a bad surface for her - at least at Wimbledon, where she has a 1:4 win/loss record. Her records at Birmingham and 's-Hertogenbosch actually aren't so bad.

At Birmingham 2007, Little Maria played the best tennis I've ever seen her play. She's learning how to utilise her strengths on grass: not just trying to slug it out from the baseline like a miniature Maria Sharapova, but mixing it up with sliced backhands (she really can impart some vicious underspin) and forays to the net. Her serve has improved a lot, and her returns have always been fantastic, as has her footwork.

On the other hand, Maria leaves herself so exposed at the net sometimes, and also let herself down with some wayward forehands and ill-advised dropshots during her third-round loss to Jelena Janković. But there are a lot of positives she can take from this tournament after her slump.


I saw Little Maria's whole first-round match on Centre Court.

I had never heard of Raquel Kops-Jones before this tournament; she was playing her first main-draw WTA-tournament at the age of 24.

So I reckoned that even a slumping, grass-hating Maria should have been able to dismiss Kops-Jones for the loss of fewer than six games. It wasn't a very convincing performance against an opponent who looked out of her depth, and certainly I didn't think that Maria would trouble Janković in the third round. How wrong I was! :-)


First set
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KIRILENKO @* * *_*@ 6
KOPS-JONE __* * *__ 3

The match started at 15:16 BST.

Kops-Jones serving 0-0: Maria hit a dipping return to Kops-Jones's feet, forcing her to hit a forehand half-volley long. 0/15. A big return forced Kops-Jones to earth a sliced backhand. 0/30. Kops-Jones just long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria came to the net, but hit a forehand long. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Maria serving 1-0: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, forcing Kops-Jones to net a backhand. 15/0. Maria backhand wide. 15/15. Maria sprayed a forehand wide. 15/30. Kops-Jones hit a high sliced backhand just long. 30/30. Kops-Jones netted a forehand return. 40/30. Service-winner down the middle: Kops-Jones's return flew back into Stand D!

Kops-Jones serving 0-2: Kops-Jones hit a backhand long on the third stroke. 0/15. Kops-Jones hit a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Maria mishit a backhand wide. 30/15. A good serve forced a short return, which Kops-Jones dispatched with a forehand winner. 40/15. Maria hit a sliced backhand fizzing with underspin, inducing Kops-Jones to hit a forehand volley long. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand.

Maria serving 2-1: Kops-Jones chopped a forehand return into the net. 15/0. Kops-Jones netted a backhand. 30/0. Kops-Jones hit a backhand halfway up the net. 40/0. A deep return pushed Maria back on her heels, inducing her to hit a forehand wide. 40/15. Service-winner out wide.

Kops-Jones serving 1-3: Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley-winner after a well-constructed rally. 15/0. Maria backhand return just long. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Good serve, but a short forehand return onto the sideline forced Kops-Jones to hit a forehand long. 40/15. Kops-Jones hit a good serve followed by a delectable backhand drop-volley winner.

Maria serving 3-2: Kops-Jones worked her way to the net and hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Kops-Jones netted a sliced backhand. 15/15. Maria forehand volley + crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Maria forced a short ball, and showed lovely footwork as she hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Maria tried to serve & volley, but the return was at her feet, forcing her to net a backhand half-volley. 40/30. Maria sliced a backhand just wide. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Maria. Kops-Jones came to the net behind an approach-shot that landed on the baseline, but Maria's backhand pass forced her to frame a forehand wide.

Kops-Jones serving 2-4: Kops-Jones tried to serve & volley, but netted a backhand volley. 0/15. Maria earthed a forehand return. 15/15. A body-jamming serve forced Maria to earth a forehand return. 30/15. Maria forehand return very long. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Maria serving 4-3: Service-winner. 15/0. A serve down the middle forced Kops-Jones to earth a forehand return. 30/0. Kops-Jones earthed another forehand return. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Kops-Jones serving 3-5: Maria hit a hard, short backhand return: Kops-Jones earthed a backhand. 0/15. Kops-Jones forehand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones sliced backhand floated long. 15/30. Maria netted a forehand return. 30/30. A good pass from Kops-Jones forced Maria to hit a forehand volley long. 40/30. Maria hit a delectable backhand drop-volley winner. 40/40. Maria came to the net, forcing Kops-Jones to net a forehand. Ad Maria (SP). Kops-Jones hit a backhand into the bottom of the net. Maria won the first set 6-3 at 15:46 (30m).

Lovely two-tone grunting from Maria now.


Second set
----------
KIRILENKO *@__*@* * 6
KOPS-JONE __@*___*_ 3

Maria serving 0-0: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Maria, driven wide, hit a forehand wide. 30/15. Maria's crosscourt backhand forced Kops-Jones to hit a backhand wide. 40/15. Service-winner out wide, on the sideline.

Kops-Jones serving 0-1: A long rally ended with Kops-Jones hitting a forehand long. 0/15. Kops-Jones tried to serve & volley, but mishit a forehand volley long & wide. 0/30. Maria hit a backhand return onto the baseline, forcing Kops-Jones to hit a backhand just long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria netted a backhand return. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Maria serving 2-0: Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley that forced Maria to earth a running forehand pass and say "aargh!" 0/15. Maria forehand long. 0/30. Service-winner down the line. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Kops-Jones's backhand return floated just long. 30/30. Maria forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria forehand just long.

Kops-Jones serving 1-2: Kops-Jones netted a backhand. 0/15. Kops-Jones crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Kops-Jones netted a forehand. 15/30. Kops-Jones hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/30. Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley-winner on the fifth stroke. 40/30. Maria backhand just long.

Maria serving 2-2: Kops-Jones netted a backhand - probably distracted by the loudspeaker calling a doubles-match in the middle of the rally. 15/0. Kops-Jones crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Maria came to the net, inducing Kops-Jones to net a backhand. 30/15. Kops-Jones netted a forehand. 40/15. Kops-Jones hit a backhand return halfway up the net.

Kops-Jones serving 2-3: Maria hit two nonconsecutive forehands onto the baseline: the second one actually looked long; Kops-Jones netted a backhand and screamed. 0/15. Kops-Jones, hitting harder, hit a forehand wide. 0/30. Kops-Jones mishit a forehand lob long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria hit a dipping return followed by a lob, but Kops-Jones saved the break-point with a forehand smash-winner. 15/40. Maria came to the net and hit one volley, but Kops-Jones hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 30/40 (BP). Kops-Jones backhand volley just wide.

Maria serving 4-2: Kops-Jones hit a backhand drop-volley winner that clipped the netcord, but would have been a winner anyway. 0/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner onto the sideline, and gave a little jump. 15/15. Maria backhand wide. 15/30. Kops-Jones netted a sliced backhand return, and smacked the court with her racket. 30/30. Kops-Jones backhand just long. "C'mon, c'mon," said Maria. 40/30. Double fault (second serve very long). 40/40. Kops-Jones forehand return long. Ad Maria. Kops-Jones earthed a forehand return.

Kops-Jones serving 2-5: Maria backhand wide. 15/0. Maria netted a tame forehand return. 30/0. Maria hit a dipping return, forcing Kops-Jones to hit a half-volley backhand wide. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Kops-Jones backhand approach long. 40/30. Serve + backhand drop-volley forced Maria to net a backhand.

Maria serving 5-3: Maria hit a forehand smash at Kops-Jones's feet, followed by a forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. A netcord from Maria gave Kops-Jones the initiative, and she hit a high forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones hit a wild backhand return wide. 30/15. Maria came to the net but netted a backhand volley. 30/30. Maria hit a wild backhand drive-volley winner very long & very wide! 30/40 (BP). Kops-Jones hit a backhand just long, and emitted a very loud scream! 40/40. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand down the line, though Kops-Jones went for a down-the-line backhand winner that was only just wide! Ad Maria (MP #1). A first serve down the middle induced Kops-Jones to hit a forehand return long. Maria won 6-3 6-3 at 16:26 (second set 40m, match 1h10m).


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No.16 seed Kirilenko was another player to grace the stadium-court on Monday, and after a difficult season in which she has won just eight matches, the 20-year-old Muscovite was understandably delighted with her assured 6-3 6-3 win over Raquel Kops-Jones.
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Quotes from Little Maria
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"It was my first match of the year on grass, so it was pretty difficult at the start, but I got better as the match progressed, and I was really happy to get the win. I started to feel the game as it went on; it became much easier.

"Grass is a tough surface, as the bounce is not always consistent and it takes a little while to get used to, but I was volleying well, and I hope I can build on this performance. I'll have to play much more slice and come to the net more against Dechy."

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5. First-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Camerin
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A nice match between the beautiful Maria Elena Camerin and her spreading rallies, and the flairsome groundstrokes of Sania Mirza, who is also not unattractive.

But it wasn't /that/ great of a match, as there were only a few shining examples of the spreading or the flairsome power. Maria Elena made an impressive start, but Sania won pretty straightforwardly after recovering from 1-3* (15/30) down in the first set, although she did miss two match-points at 6-3 5-2* as Maria Elena served to stay in the match with all guns blazing.

Maria Elena showed signs of anger throughout the match: throwing and kicking her racket, smacking the court and the netpost with her racket, hitting balls in anger, complaining about line-calls, and swearing in Italian. Sania, by contrast, was pretty reserved, apart from three screams after losing points towards the end of the match.

I saw the whole match on Centre Court. Maria Elena won the toss and chose to serve, and it started at 16:38 BST.


First set
---------
MIRZA _*__@*@*@ 6
CAMER * *@_____ 3

Maria Elena serving 0-0: Sania netted a backhand return. 15/0. Sania forehand return long. 30/0. Maria Elena hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind Sania. 40/0. Maria Elena hit a wild backhand long. 40/15. Maria Elena opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand to set up a crosscourt forehand winner.

Sania serving 0-1: Sania crosscourt backhand winner behind Maria Elena. 15/0. Maria Elena crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Sania forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob long. 40/0. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-1: Sania forehand return long. 15/0. Maria Elena netted a tame backhand. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand wide. 15/30. Service-winner (Sania forehand lob-return just long). 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a backhand. 40/40. Sania forehand just long. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena hit a forehand smash-winner whilst running backwards into no-man's-land. Ad Maria Elena. Sania forehand long.

Sania serving 1-2: Maria Elena's off-forehand forced Sania to earth a backhand. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Maria Elena hit a forehand return halfway up the net. 30/15. Sania backhand long. 30/30. Maria Elena hit a forehand lob-winner over Sania's head. 30/40 (BP). Sania sprayed a backhand wide of the tramlines.

Maria Elena serving 3-1: Sania forehand just wide. 15/0. Maria Elena backhand long. 15/15. Maria Elena deep crosscourt forehand + off-forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. In what would prove to be the turning-point of the match, Maria Elena hit a forehand halfway up the net. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand and groaned in Italian. 30/40 (BP). Sania backhand return wide. 40/40. Maria Elena forehand just long. Ad Sania (BP #2). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Sania serving 2-3: Sania mishit a forehand long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria Elena backhand just long. 40/15. Maria Elena off-backhand return-winner.

Maria Elena serving 3-3: Sania backhand long. 15/0. Maria Elena sprayed a backhand long. 15/15. Sania hit a forehand return long, and groaned. 30/15. Sania hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Maria Elena's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her own side. 40/40. A long rally of crosscourt backhands ended with Sania hitting a forehand smash-winner. Ad Sania (BP). Double fault.

Sania serving 4-3: Maria Elena forehand wide. 15/0. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forced Maria Elena to earth a backhand. 30/15. Sania forehand smash-winner. 40/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return.

Maria Elena serving 3-5: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Maria Elena forehand just long. 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve quite long). 30/30. Maria Elena backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a forehand return. 40/40. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena netted a forehand. Ad Sania (SP). Maria Elena hit her first serve into the net, and in my notes it looks like she said "Dia"! She also netted her second serve for her third double fault of the game, and smacked the court with her racket. Sania won the first set 6-3 at 17:17 (39m).


Second set
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MIRZA _@* *@* * 6
CAMER @__*___*_ 3

Sania serving 0-0: Sania forehand very long. 0/15. Sania, running backwards, hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand return very long. 30/15. Sania backhand wide. 30/30. Maria Elena hit an off-backhand return-winner. 30/40 (BP). Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, inducing Maria Elena to hit a forehand long. Maria Elena complained. 40/40. Service-winner. Maria Elena complained again. Ad Sania. Double fault (second serve just long). Maria Elena netted a forehand return. Ad Sania. She hit a backhand long, and shouted "ah!" Deuce #2. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena (BP). Sania hit an off-backhand volley onto the sideline, but it was slow enough to give Maria Elena a crosscourt forehand pass-winner for the first break of the set.

Maria Elena serving 1-0: Sania backhand just long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand return wide. 30/15. Sania forehand wide. 40/15. Sania hit an off-forehand winner behind Maria Elena. 40/30. Sania hit a good, deep backhand return down the line, forcing Maria Elena to net a forehand. Maria Elena shouted. 40/40. Maria Elena hit a backhand just long, and hit a ball in anger. Ad Sania (BP). Sania netted a backhand return. Deuce #2. Maria Elena forehand wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). A long rally with a loudspeaker-announcement ended with Sania netting a backhand. Deuce #3. Sania backhand return just long. Ad Maria Elena. She netted a forehand. Deuce #4. Sania backhand just wide. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). Deuce #5. Sania hit an error-forcing off-forehand after forcing a short ball from Maria Elena. Ad Sania (BP #3). Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner after Maria Elena stopped playing the point! She towelled down. Maria Elena seemed to be catching her toss a lot, just as she did against Daniela HantuchovŠ at Wimbledon 2006.

Sania serving 1-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Her first serve was almost another ace down the middle, but she netted the second to make it a double fault. 15/15. Sania hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Maria Elena's crosscourt forehand forced Sania to hit a forehand lob wide. 30/30. Maria Elena sprayed a forehand return wide. 40/30. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-2: Maria Elena backhand long. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand return. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Service-winner down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 2-2: Forehand return just wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Maria Elena serving 2-3: Maria Elena netted a backhand. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forehand just long. 30/15. Sania netted a backhand. 40/15. Sania backhand winner down the line. 40/30. Double fault. Maria Elena shouted something long in Italian, and received a code-violation for "audible obscenity". The umpires are well-versed in the swearwords of different languages! 40/40. Sania played a spreading rally, culminating with a forehand winner down the line. Ad Sania (BP). Maria Elena hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner, and Sania screamed! Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand that forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). Maria Elena played a great spreading rally with a crosscourt backhand winner, and Sania screamed again! Deuce #3. Double fault. Maria Elena kicked her racket away. Ad Sania. Sania hit a backhand that clipped the netcord and landed deep, inducing Maria Elena to net a forehand and put Sania a set and a break up.

Sania serving 4-2: Sania backhand just long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 15/15. Maria Elena blasted a forehand return very long. 30/15. A high ball from Maria Elena induced Sania to hit a forehand just long. 30/30. Sania backhand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria Elena, driven wide, netted a forehand. 40/40. A long rally ended with Maria Elena netting a backhand. Ad Sania. She netted a backhand. Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Ad Sania. Maria Elena on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long.

Maria Elena serving 2-5 (new balls): Maria Elena banged the netpost with her racket on her way out from the changeover, but channelled her anger into a blazing off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Sania forehand wide. 30/0. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand winner of flairsome power. 30/15. Sania exposed herself at the net, but Maria Elena hit a forehand pass wide. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand on the third stroke. 30/40 (MP #1). Maria Elena saved it positively, forcing a short ball from Sania to hit an off-forehand winner. 40/40. A low ball induced Maria Elena to hit a backhand long. Ad Sania (MP #2). Sania netted a forehand return and screamed! Deuce #2. Off a high, deep ball from Sania, Maria Elena hit a blazing forehand winner down Sania's forehand-line. Ad Maria Elena. Sania backhand return very long.

Sania serving for the match at 5-3: Sania forced a deep defensive lob from Maria Elena, and hit a forehand winner down Maria Elena's forehand line. 15/0. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the third stroke. 30/0. Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Maria Elena to earth a forehand. 40/0 (MP #3). Sania went for an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. She hit her second serve long for a double fault. 40/15 (MP #4). A brief rally ended with Sania hitting a down-the-line forehand winner of flairsome power. Sania won 6-3 6-3 at 18:07 (second set 50m, match 1h29m), then hit some autographed balls into the stands.


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One of the WTA Tour's most popular players, Sania Mirza, was also in first-round action on Monday. The Indian No.1 is on the comeback-trail after a right-knee ligament injury sidelined her for two months, and with Wimbledon less than two weeks away, the 20-year-old was in typically buoyant mood after her 6-3 6-3 victory over Maria Elena Camerin.

Mirza: "It was a difficult first-round match, so I'm very pleased to come through with a win, and although I don't think I was at my best throughout, I played the important points well. There's always some anxiety when you play your first match on the grass, but as the match progressed, I started to read the bounce and time my shots a lot better."
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6. First-round eyewitness report: Govortsova v BirnerovŠ
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After the Mirza v Camerin match on Centre Court, I purchased one of the DFS Classic's trademark crÍpes, and ate it on the hill above Court 2, where Eva BirnerovŠ had taken the first set off Olga Govortsova, who was serving for the second at 5-4.

Govortsova succeeded, and I watched the whole of the third set casually, to find out who would become Daniela HantuchovŠ's second-round opponent. My photos are not of the best quality from the position I was in, but I didn't feel inclined to go down and join Mr. Bean and Mr. Clappy at the fence of the court. ;-)

BirnerovŠ really should have won this match, as she led *3-1 in the third set (it became 3-3), had three match-points with Govortsova serving at 4-5 (0/40), and two more in the tiebreak (at *6/5 and 7/6*). Govortsova won on her first match-point, and BirnerovŠ - who was upset by some close line-calls in the third set, all of which favoured Govortsova - walked off Court 2 in tears.

BirnerovŠ played all the nice touch-shots in the part of the match I saw, while Govortsova - whom I'd never heard of before this tournament - just played ordinary WTA tennis, and I think she saved one of BirnerovŠ's match-points with an off-forehand return-winner onto the sideline, just as MichaŽlla KrajŪček had saved one of Yuliana Fedak's earlier in the day.

Govortsova is tall, blonde and mildly attractive, with a grunt like Karolina äprem's, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for BirnerovŠ.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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