Part 1 (Eastbourne Day 1)
Part 2 (Eastbourne Day 3)
I have never done one of these so this will probably crap and useless but i’ll do my best! I was just planning to go to Wimbledon and Wimbledon Qualies but I randomly decided to make the 1hr40 trip to Eastbourne at 11pm last night. I'm glad I did.
I got down to Eastbourne at around 10:10, it’s very intimate and the courts are all very close together. It felt so different to the only other tournament i’ve been to, Wimbledon, which is obviously huge and the players are all surrounded by security. Here you can access and talk to anybody. Anyway, there were already quite a few people when I got there and I watched O’Brien and Smith training for a bit. I saw Heather Watson warming up on the grass and she smiled at me but I didn’t bother her. Bojana Jovanovski was also warming up and she is actually stunning in person. I walked around aimlessly for a bit and saw Sorana so I got a picture with her. By that time the players were all warming up so I sat down to watch Makarova vs Rodina.
Evgeniya Rodina vs Ekaterina Makarova
This was the first match I watched and it was on court 2. To be honest I wasn’t really paying much attention, there was a lot going on around and I was too busy looking around and checking who was playing on the practise courts to give it my full attention. Rodina started off playing very well though, she was being aggressive and hitting winners off both sides. She went up a break immediately but as Makarova began to find her range it became obvious who the better player was. Makarova began to really construct points and finished many well thought out points at the net or else with a deft dropshot, I was very impressed. I also liked her service motion, it is very smooth and effortless. I moved away from the match after the first set and was unsurprised to see that she had won the second set so easily.
Mariana Duque Marino vs Sania Mirza
After checking out the practise courts for a bit, I went up to court one to check out how Mirza’s comeback was faring. I remember reading in another thread that MDM was as good as a Bye but she was actually playing decently from what I saw. She was serving well and knifing her slice to great effect in addition to loading junk onto Mirza’s backhand. She made Sania work but Sania’s forehand was painting the lines whenever she had the opportunity. It is still insanely huge and I hope she wins a couple more matches here and starts to climb back up the rankings, or else she will be a wasted talent.
Heather Watson vs Anna Smith
NID, Heather just had to make things much harder than they needed to be and she wasn’t helped by the fact that almost every breakpoint she had was saved by a lucky netcord winner from Smith. A reservation I have about Heather’s game is the fact that usually when she’s pushed out wide, there’s no effort to play herself back into the point – she just tries to hit the ball hard back into the middle and usually the ball ends up in the service box and gives the opponent an easy putaway, which is holding her back considering she moves and anticipates so well. Anyway, both girls came out looking to dictate. Anna’s game is made for grass – decent first serve, very good second serve, flat strokes and she clearly loved hitting lower balls. She could hit winners off both sides but her forehand was the main breadwinner. It was also clear that Heather was the better player from the very beginning. Her strengths are her movement, anticipation and offensive shot selection. Both of her groundstrokes are both pretty good and completely technically sound – her forehand had much more topspin on it and she hits a lot of angles on that side whereas her backhand is much flatter and she favours the backhand DTL.
The first set was pretty engaging, Heather was moving the ball around and looking to be aggressive whereas Anna’s play was much more central and she was trying to grind Heather down until she was able to pounce on a shorter reply. The provided some nice rallies, including a one in which Anna worked all the way off the court and then Heather came up with a forehand down the line winner from practically in the linesperson’s chair. After the first set however, the quality of play dropped. A couple of things I noticed were that Anna netted almost every high backhand, Heather was hitting a lot of balls late and clearly disliked the grass, Heather needs to mature and not get annoyed at herself so easily and finally, the ballboys and girls are an embarrassment, but more on that later.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Katarina Srebotnik
I sat myself right in the corner of the Watson vs Smith match so I could watch this match as well. Tsveti started off poorly, hitting horrible forehand errors and uncharacteristic backhand errors, she looked disinterested and it was obvious she was going to lose that set before she even got broken. Srebotnik was impressive, however. She was hitting a lot of dropshots and coming into the net a lot more than I ever remember, but to great effect. Her forehand isn’t as good as it once was though and it seems the lack of an effective groundstroke is what has been holding her back. Still, she played pretty well and looks to be on her way back. Pironkova began to find some big serves and backhands in the second set and from then on it was over. She reverted to slicing most forehands but her slice forehand is actually a pretty good shot, she really knifes it. She finished well so her match vs Heather tomorrow should be very interesting.
Naomi Broady vs. Jarmila Groth
Broadz is so slow. Forget Sharapova, forget Dumptruckenport, Naomi seriously cannot retrieve anything
. The best highlights of her game are her serve and single hander. It’s not an arty backhand though, it is as flat as a pancake and almost has the same effect as a double hander. She hits it very well but was often out of position thanks to her foorwork (or lack of). I only saw about 5 games of the second set and the match was completely dominated by serve, so I can’t really comment on details but Jarmila hit a couple of nice shots at the end of the set and I thought she would go onto win. Not sure if she did though.
Anna Lapushchenkova vs Anna Chakvetadze
Watched the first set and came back a couple of times in the second. As usual, Lapushchenka was playing her typical “HiTtin WiNnaZ fRoM aLl oVaH dA cOrT!!11” style of play, just that she was hitting errors too. She actually played pretty well though but Chakvetadze was impressive. There were none of the horrible errors that have come to define her game over the last few years. She was being patient, imposing her game whenever she could, constructing points well and moving extremely well. She was serving well at the beginning but her serve slowed down a little and LApush pounced. The one thing I noticed from watching her live was just how good her anticipation is and it made for some great rallies and a lot of the time Anna would seemingly be in the right place before Lapush even hit her shot. I hope Chakvetadze continues to improve, especially considering she has put on a little weight and is officially sexy.
Bojana Jovanovski vs. Kai-Chen Chang
Watched most of the second set. Bojana was just in great form, serving well, hitting winners from both sides and I noticed that she’s at her best win on the run. KFC wasn’t shabby herself, she hit some nice shots and they had some great rallies but the result was NID. I was shocked to see that Bojana had almost choked the first set away, but she seemed to get her form back quickly.
Pauline Parmentier vs Melanie South
Watched the first set and the end of the match. Mel was playing great, serving well and hitting a lot of winners. She has been playing terribly since she randomly decided to go on a training block in the middle of last year so that’s a good win for her. A lot of posters here have called her the worst player to ever enter the top 100 (lulz) but I don’t think that’s right. She’s especially good on the grass and I hope she can continue to win here, and she has a good chance if she continues to play like that. By the way, I just love Pauline’s serve. It’s so effortless and smooth, it is without a doubt one of the best motions on the tour technically. Her wrist snap is very good and her weight transference is perfect, and it’s the reason why she is able to hit above 120mph so much with that frame and height.
Karoline Sprem vs Edina Gallovits
There’s not much to say about this match really. Sprem was her typical self, just completely hitting the absolue shit out of the ball. She’s just a step slower, a little weaker and much more inconsistent than before. I guess she played well but the problem with the match was the fact that Gallovits just clearly had had no time to get used to the grass. Whenever the ball came hard and low Edina just framed the ball over the net. She didn’t seem too upset when I saw her walking around after she lost so I guess that was probably why.
Irina Begu vs Monica Niculescu
I wanted to watch this and check out Begu but my back started to hurt badly so I had to leave. Begu was being overpowered by Niculescu when I left though (SHOCK, HORROR!), so I guess that doesn’t bode well for the rest of her career then.
-Pavlyuchenkova played with Hantuchova. Pavlyuchenkova is getting bigger by the secong
-MJMS with Bartoli (who kept on saying "No No, Maria Maria!", which was quite cute). Maria seems to have recovered from her injury and Marion isn’t that fat. She was hitting well and especially returning very well.
-Zvonareva and Szavay. Agnes is much prettier in person than on TV or in pics. Zvonareva was hitting pretty well, Agnes really needs to shorten her strokes on grass because every single shot she hit was late. It just doesn’t work.
-The most busy period was when Schiavone and Pennetta were playing right next to Radwanska and Wozniacki. Hilarious thing was that everyone was watching Schiavone and nobody bothered to look at Radwanska/Wozniacki who looked like they were playing in slow motion. Schiavone was hitting well.
-Jie and Hantuchova. Jie looked good, when I came they were practising serve and returns and both were doing pretty well. Jie is even cuter IRL.
-Oudin and Pavlyuchenkova. Nothing interesting there, neither were playing too well.
-Petrova and Kleybanova. Both looked very good, Nadia was laughing about and enjoying herself as usual.
-Cirstea and Azarenka. They were on really late, both girls were hitting VERY well. Vika was returning really well and Sorana was hitting every ball so cleanly, the sound of the ball on her racket was just orgasmic.
-Stephens and Stubbs. Sloane is very impressive, a random combination so I wonder if she’s playing doubles.
-Also saw my boy Gilles! So glad he’s back, he was hitting so well and effortlessly, love watching him play.
-Generation Suck-fest - got pics with Sorana and Victoria and then Wozniacki ran past me and we stared each other down.
-The ballboys and girls are so bad. They kept on dropping balls, forgetting to pick balls up and putting the wrong scores on the scoreboards. The umpires were shouting at them.
-Sven Groeneveld was EVERYWHERE.
-As I said before, Stephens was there, she kept on looking at me when I walked past her but I didn’t stop to talk for some reason.
-The announcer for center court is an idiot. Sloane pretty much summed it up while she was practising; “Why the hell is he SO LOUD when there is only like one person in the stadium?”
-A little boy asked Wozniacki to sign something and she must've blanked him or said "no" because he ran back to his mother in tears.
-Kleybs and Fognini were laughing together
-Dr Walter was giving me dirty looks.
-Wozniacki is much prettier in person, though she still doesn't do much from me.
I’m sure I missed some stuff out but i’ll post if I remember. If you have any questions, just ask. I really enjoyed it there and i’m thinking about going back on Monday.