Birmingham Report Day 3
Hi everyone, had another full day at Edgbaston today. The weather was overcast, grey, cold with showers so not ideal! It seemed to make everyone crabby!
I'll start off with the matches I watched properly. First up was Peng v Jankovic. Peng was in such a bad mood - she disputed a 'not up' call early on in the match and never really recovered. She looked like Monica could occassionally on grass, when her groundstrokes weren't working and the balls were so low she was practically scraping her knuckles on the floor. Jankovic didn't do anything spectacular, just played solid. Good serving by Peng though overall. I think Peng will only get better on grass, and I can certainly see how effective those groundies must be on hardcourts. During this match I was also watching a bit of Serra Zanetti-Vento, and Sfar-Pironkova. Serra-Vento was a good match for people to watch who just wanted to watch some good long rallies - quite an entertaining match, although Antonellas serve is shockingly bad. Pironkova hits the ball bloody hard (and is quite noisy), and puts her all into every shot and point - definate one to watch!
Next up watched Chakvetadze-Sucha, whilst keeping an eye on Sugiyma, and Mirza v Perry. Sugiyama's match was just yer bog standard routine win - solid if unspectacular. AI looks very happy at the moment, and spent the rest of the day sat watching matches wearing a bright green track suit and listening to her iPod. Mirza v Perry was very entertaining, Perry trying to spin the ball so much to trouble Mirza, sometimes worked, sometimes didn't. Mirza again displayed a much more mature approach and shot selection (until it gets tight, then it's hit it hard again), but overall pretty impressed with her and looking forward to her match tomorrow.
I was shocked by Chakvetadze - after every point she didn't win she was berating herself and getting angry and at times looked set to burst into tears - I should point out she was ahead the whole match and won it quite convincingly - her Dad (I think) was watching - she kept looking up to him, he didn't stop smoking the whole match!!! She also didn't seem very good at realising that sometimes you don't win the point because the other person hit a good shot, rather than you doing something wrong (if that makes sense!!).
Saw little bits of Sharapove-Rolle and Schiavone-Vento-Kabchi. Rolle has a great serve and good volleys, but quite a strange demeanour on court. Sharapova certainly isn't as popular as she once was - earlier she was overheard being quite rude to a bunch of schoolkids asking for her autograph, then suddenly when a camera and press turned up, she was all smiles! She played OK! Schiavone had fun I think - except for injury time outs for what appeared to be a back problem, nothing serious I think though and she played well - amazing spins and touch shots.
The other matches I saw all of (simultaneously) was Bartoli-Matteck, and Vera-Sucha. Have to say I am so impressed with Vera - she still looks like she is playing the best tennis here - such sensible shots and serving and she is smiling lots and laughing when she makes mistakes which is good! I rate her chances of reaching the final! To be honest Sucha didn't bring much to the court today.
Bartoli-Matteck in some ways was hilarious. No chocking I don't think at the end. It was a total war of attrition, long rallies often ending in errors but forced ones at least - both making strange noises and huffs and puffs - both, have to say, with shockingly bad movement. After every point (literally) Bartoli looked at her coach. She is just so funny to watch - her technique is so bizarre - but quite effective, and good serving from her! She is a character I'll give her that!
LAstly was Likhovtseva. She had very negative body language and not much confidence, despite being ahead the whole time. Her backhand in particular often ended up in the net. I think though, to all those that think she will retire at the end of this year, she has no plans to. She has been training here so hard and having very long discussions with her coach. She was fighting hard for every point. I can't help thinking that if she knew in her mind she was, effectively, winding down, that she might not do that.
Hope you haven't fallen asleep reading this!!!