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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 2010, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (final added 23rd July 2010)

=============
AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============


Welcome to the master-thread of my Birmingham 2010 reports! I have now posted my reports and photos for all seven days of the tournament.

From up here, you can navigate quickly to the individual posts within this thread (these links open in new windows – or tabs if you prefer):--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Jul 23rd, 2010 at 04:18 PM. Reason: edit Title; update first post; add link for Sunday
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Re: Andrew's eyewitness reports and photos (coming from 14th to 20th June 2010)

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2010, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Monday

=============
AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results (and mini-reports)
3. First-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v South
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Rybáriková v Kulikova
5. First-round eyewitness report: Robson v Vögele

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1. Photos (Monday 7th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Monday's photos are in three volumes.


Monday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 113)
-------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11709189-a25

Anna Chakvetadze (111 photos)
Melanie South (3)
Melinda Czink (3)
Marina Eraković (1)

Unfortunately I didn't get to watch Magdaléna Rybáriková open the defence of her title, as she was playing on Centre Court at the same time that Anna was playing on Court 1. Given the trouble that Anna's career is in, and that I hadn't seen her in person for four years, she had to be the top priority – sorry, Magda.

Anna looks bigger and more muscular than in the past. She was wearing a support on her left ankle – the one she sprained at Indian Wells. Unfortunately I missed her handshake with South, because the moment I switched my camera on to take it, the batteries died. But I replaced them in time to take some nice close-ups of Anna as she came off Court 1 (Photos 094–113).


Monday Part 2 (Photos 114 to 309)
-------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11709626-3a0

Stefanie Vögele (125 photos)
Laura Robson (46)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (25)
Michaëlla Krajíček (6)
Magdaléna Rybáriková poster (1)
Ekaterina Dzehalevich (1)

Vögele looked exquisitely beautiful in her match against Robson – even Rybáriková-esque in a couple of photos where she's looking up to serve (e.g. Photos 182, 198). It was so sad to watch her suffer and retire (unfortunately I wasn't camera-ready for the handshake). I never thought I would see those beautiful blue eyes filled with tears.

Larcher de Brito seems like a very fan-friendly girl with a lovely smile.


Monday Part 3 (Photos 310 to 501)
-------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11710651-fa8

Sandra Záhlavová (31 photos)
Sesil Karatantcheva (31)
Naomi Broady (26)
Katie O'Brien (24)
Yanina Wickmayer (21)
Anna Chakvetadze (15)
Stefanie Vögele (9)
Magdaléna Rybáriková (7)
Angelique Kerber (7)
Michaëlla Krajíček (5)
Alison Riske (5)
Shenay Perry (5)
Maria Sharapova posters (2)
Karolina Šprem (2)
Alicia Molik (2)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (1)
Maria Kirilenko poster (1)
Aravane Rezaď poster (1)
Sania Mirza poster (1)
Elena Baltacha poster (1)
Anne Keothavong poster (1)

By following Anna to the car-park (I realise that may come across as 'stalkerish', but it's just by the main entrance), I learned that she is friends with Vögele, for they met there, had a brief chat, and left together on a bus (Photos 348–351), while Anna's father stayed on the grounds.

I apologise for Magda's low photo-count for Monday. I only saw her briefly, from behind, as she was walking into the tournament-office.

-----------------------------------------
2. First-round results (and mini-reports) (Monday 7th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------

My selections:

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Laura Robson [Q,DF] d. Stefanie Vögele [DF], 6-4 0-1 retired (low-back injury)
+ Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] d. Katie O'Brien, 6-3 6-4

When Karatantcheva served for the match at 6-3 *5-4, O'Brien had BP×3 at 0/40, but when she wasted the last of the BPs, she emitted a loud scream like an actress in a horror-film! Two points later, she lost, and threw her racket twice. Karatantcheva had a friendly chat with Mr. Bean as she passed me on her way out.

What rocked:
+ Anna Chakvetadze [EF] d. Melanie South [WC], 3-6 6-4 6-4
+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] d. Regina Kulikova, 5-7 3-2 retired (low-back injury)
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Chan,Yung-Jan, 6-1 6-4
+ Marina Eraković d. MELINDA CZINK [11], 7-5 6-4
+ Ekaterina Makarova d. Chang,Kai-Chen, 6-3 6-3
+ ANGELIQUE KERBER [13] d. Misaki Doi [Q], 6-3 3-6 6-3
+ Jarmila Groth d. Julie Coin, 7-6 (7/4) 2-6 6-3
+ Michelle Larcher de Brito d. Ekaterina Dzehalevich [Q], 6-2 4-6 6-3

What sucked:
- Michaëlla Krajíček [Q,DF] lt. Anastasia Rodionova, 3-6 3-6
- Naomi Broady [WC] lt. Shenay Perry, 4-6 4-6
- Sandra Záhlavová lt. Alison Riske [Q], 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 0-6

Broady hits the ball very well, particularly on her serve, but was too erratic. Perry had a nasty fall on the last point of the match, which was played in steady drizzle.

Sandra Záhlavová was conspicuous by her very loud grunting, which could be heard across the grounds! Unfortunately she lost, so we wouldn't hear it again.

-----------------------------------------------------
3. First-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v South (Monday 7th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------------------

+ Anna Chakvetadze [EF] d. Melanie South, 3-6 6-4 6-4

Anna produced an amazing fightback to recover from 3-6 *1-4 (15/40), and from *1-4 (15/30) down in the third set too!

Anna struggled to find her range in the first set, letting South use the fast, low-bouncing grass to South's advantage, rather than Anna using it to her own advantage. South was playing well, but Anna had no answer on South's serve, although she did hit some nice winners in her own service-games, including a delectable backhand drop-volley winner at *1-3 (0/15).

When Anna went 3-6 *0-3 down, there was a look of despair on her face, and she was so desperate to break up the play that she even attempted a dropshot-return at 3-6 0-2* (0/15*). South was serving well and hitting the ball well, but it was a subdued performance by Anna up to that point.

But when Anna found herself facing two virtual match-points at 3-6 *1-4 (15/40), she caught fire! She started her fightback immediately with three clean winners in a row: a beautiful forehand dropshot-winner, a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, and another crosscourt forehand winner. She held for 2-4* with an off-forehand punch-volley winner, then hit an off-backhand winner and a backhand drop-volley winner to get 30/0*... in fact, Anna won the last 5 games of the second set from *1-4. She was pumped up now, stimulating herself with "c'mon"s and fist-pumps.

South started playing better again in the third set, recovering from *1-1 (0/30) with four forehand winners in a row. Anna remained intense, but was broken for 1-3* on a dead netcord-winner.

Anna found herself in a similar hole to the one from which she had recovered in the second set: this time *1-4 (15/30). History repeated itself – although this time, the turnaround had more to do with South's errors than Anna's winners. That's the psychological side of tennis: when you've blown one lead, your mind goes back to it and you're even more liable to blow another. But I can credit Anna for staying positive: by this stage, she was saying "c'mon" after every point that she won.

South actually won more points than Anna (83-82), but that's the beauty of tennis-scoring: it's not how many points you win, but who wins the last point.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/cha...ngham2010.html

-------------------------------------------------------
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Rybáriková v Kulikova (Monday 7th June 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------

+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] d. Regina Kulikova, 5-7 3-2 retired (low-back injury)

Magda opened the defence of her title on Centre Court, but I chose to watch Anna Chakvetadze on Court 1 instead. It was a tough decision between two members of my Eternal Fanship: I chose Anna because I hadn't seen her in the flesh for four years, and, because of her deep slump, I felt that my chances of seeing her again were lower than my chances of seeing Magda again. I apologise for any offence that my decision may cause in the Magdaléna Rybáriková community; I did choose Magda over Anna later in the tournament.

The first eleven games went with serve, with Magda wasting four break-points at 1-1*, and another at 3-3*. Magda saved one set-point at *4-5 (30/40), but couldn't escape from a *5-6 (0/40) hole.

The first four games of the second set went with serve, with Magda saving a break-point at *1-2 (30/40). There was a 12m delay at the end of that game, which implies that Kulikova took a medical time-out for her back-injury. Kulikova wasted three game-points at *2-2, then retired after Magda broke her for the first time in the match.

My full report – with point-by-point scores – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/ryb...ngham2010.html

-------------------------------------------------
5. First-round eyewitness report: Robson v Vögele (Monday 7th June 2010)
-------------------------------------------------

+ Laura Robson [Q,DF] d. Stefanie Vögele [DF], 6-4 0-1 retired (low-back injury)

This was a mouth-watering match, as I had been really looking forward to my first opportunity to watch either girl for the first time since Wimbledon 2009.

I first saw Vögele play at Birmingham 2009, where she reached the quarter-finals, but only watched her casually. I recorded her first-round Wimbledon match against Venus Williams, but haven't yet had time to watch more than a few points. I look forward to watching it in full later this year.

I must admit that I have developed a whopping big crush on Vögele over the last few months. She has arguably the most beautiful eyes on the WTA Tour, and the rest of her isn't bad either! I yearn to appreciate her tennis, too, for I have seen that she has a flairsome backhand, and have read that she likes to go to the net.

Sadly, with Vögele being injured in this match and having to retire, there wasn't much chance for me to gain a deep appreciation of her game. She came across as a soft-hitting but very elegant player... and even more beautiful than I'd ever seen her before.

I also have a soft spot for Robson, as she is a cute and likeable girl, who also demonstrated flairsome power in her first-round loss to Daniela Hantuchová at Wimbledon 2009 – for which, as a Daniela-fan, I wrote up a detailed report. I had been looking forward to Robson's Birmingham-début and seeing her in person for the first time, although I didn't expect it to happen this year!

In this match, Robson showed flashes of the talent that had given Daniela a huge scare at Wimbledon (Robson was 6-3 *3-2 up in that match), but was rather erratic.

The first nine games of the match went with serve, although Robson had to save break-points in three of her first four service-games, while Vögele didn't have to face one until *3-4 (which she saved).

Vögele conceded the first set on a quadruple fault, then burst into tears, and received a serious bout of physiotherapy on her lower back. Despite the fact that it was raining more and more heavily, and that Vögele actually broke Robson for the first time in the match at the start of the second set, this intriguing match was then cut short by her retirement.

Technically, it was the first time that Robson had ever won a match in the main draw of a WTA tournament.


First set
---------
ROBSON *_*_*_*_*@ 6
VÖGELE _*_*_*_*__ 4

The match was second on Centre Court, and started at 13:07 BST.

Robson serving 0-0: Deep first serve forced Vögele to net a forehand return. 15/0. Robson forehand long. 15/15. Robson on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/30. Vögele crosscourt backhand return wide. 30/30. Robson, driven wide, netted a one-handed backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Ace #1: down the middle. Deuce #1. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Robson (GP #1). Robson hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Vögele to net a forehand. Held.

Vögele serving 0-1: Second serve out wide forced Robson to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 15/15. Ace #1: second serve out wide. 30/15. Second serve... Vögele's deep backhand forced Robson to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve: Robson netted a backhand return. Held.

Robson serving 1-1: Deep first serve forced Vögele to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Robson netted a backhand off a short ball from Vögele. 15/15. Second serve... Robson went for a down-the-line forehand winner, but it was just long/wide. 15/30. Ace #2: down the middle. 30/30. Robson forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve long). Deuce #1. Vögele's short, low-bouncing backhand return forced Robson to net a backhand. Ad Vögele (BP #1). First serve forced Vögele to hit a backhand return long. Deuce #2. Ace #3: down the middle. Ad Robson (GP #2). Vögele hit a wild backhand long and wide. Held.

It was starting to rain. The groundstaff were called to the courts.

Vögele serving 1-2: Vögele forehand long. 0/15. Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 15/15. Second serve: Robson netted a forehand return. 30/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/30. Second serve: crosscourt backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Robson bunted a forehand return long. Held.

Robson serving 2-2: First serve forced a short return, but Robson hit a wild forehand wide. 0/15. Ace #4: out wide, just inside the service-line. 15/15. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. Deep first serve forced Vögele to net a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Service-winner out wide. Held.

Oh the raindrops, oh the raindrops, oh the raindrops, oh the raindrops...
[Radiohead, "Sit Down. Stand Up."]

Vögele serving 2-3: Robson forced a short ball, but hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. First serve forced Robson to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. Vögele on the third stroke netted a forehand. 30/15. Vögele on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/30. Vögele's deep forehand forced Robson to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Vögele crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #1. Serve out wide + off-forehand forced Robson to net a backhand. Ad Vögele (GP #2). Second serve: backhand return long. Held.

Robson serving 3-3: Double fault #1 (second serve long). 0/15. Vögele's deep crosscourt backhand forced Robson to net a forehand. 0/30. Vögele on the fourth stroke netted an off-forehand. 15/30. Deep first serve forced Vögele to hit a backhand return long. 30/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vögele hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner. Deuce #1. Vögele's deep forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. Ad Vögele (BP #1). Robson's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vögele to hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Virtual ace down the middle. Ad Robson (GP #2). Service-winner out wide. Held.

I get the impression that Robson is serving mainly to Vögele's backhand, because I can't seem to take a photo of Vögele's forehand return!

Vögele serving 3-4 (new balls): Second serve... Robson backhand long. 15/0. First serve: Robson's deep return forced Vögele to half-volley a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Second serve: off-backhand return wide. 30/15. Second serve: Robson's deep return forced Vögele to net a forehand. 30/30. Second serve... Vögele's depth forced Robson to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Vögele on the third stroke netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Vögele forehand long. Ad Robson (BP #1). First serve out wide forced Robson to hit a down-the-line forehand return just wide. Deuce #2. First serve out wide forced Robson to net a backhand return. Ad Vögele (GP #2). Second serve... Robson crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Robson serving 4-4: Vögele on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 15/0. Vögele on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. 30/0. Ace out wide: on the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Vögele. Held.

Robson requested to see her coach at the changeover.

Vögele serving 4-5: Second serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Second serve... Vögele on the third stroke dumped a cheap backhand into the net. 15/15. Robson's off-forehand return died away on Vögele, forcing her to net a backhand. 15/30. Second serve... Vögele mixed it up with a sliced backhand + crosscourt backhand + backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 30/40 (SP #1 for Robson). Double fault #4 (both serves into the net). Robson won the first set 6-4 at 13:43 BST (36m).

Vögele requested to see her coach. It was raining more heavily now, and I also noticed that Vögele was crying (Photos 233 and 234). The trainer came out and gave Vögele a serious bout of physiotherapy, which entailed Vögele lying on a towel while the trainer massaged her lower back, then pulled her legs up and put her through all sorts of extreme contortions (Photos 242 to 260).


Second set
----------
ROBSON _ 0
VÖGELE @ 1 retired

Following the medical time-out, they actually started playing the second set at 13:53 BST – 10m after the end of the first set.

Robson serving 0-0: Second serve... Vögele's crosscourt forehand forced Robson to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. First serve down the middle forced Vögele to hit a backhand return long. 30/15. Double fault #2 (second serve long). 30/30. A long rally ended with Vögele hitting a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Vögele crosscourt backhand just wide. Deuce #1. Second serve... Robson's pinpoint forehand down the line forced Vögele to hit a forehand long. Ad Robson (GP #1). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). Deuce #2. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). Ad Vögele (BP #2). Second serve out wide forced Vögele to hit a one-handed backhand wide. Deuce #3. Second serve... Vögele hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Robson. Ad Vögele (BP #3). Serve out wide + down-the-line forehand would-be winner just wide. Broken.

Vögele serving 1-0: The rain was getting heavier, but to my dismay, Vögele cut short this intriguing match by shaking hands with Robson. Robson won 6-4 0-1 (Vögele retired with a low-back injury) at 13:59 BST (second set 15m, match 51m).

Robson's on-court interview: "I felt really comfortable, although it was slippery. It's unfortunate that she had to retire."

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Jun 15th, 2010 at 04:14 PM.
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Andrew's photos for Tuesday

=============
AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results

Tuesday was very disappointing, as rain precluded any of the scheduled matches that I really wanted to see: Anna Chakvetadze v Andrea Petković, Maria Sharapova v Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Yanina Wickmayer v Laura Robson.

---------
1. Photos (Tuesday 8th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Tuesday's photos:
http://www.divshare.com/download/11717677-408

Maria Elena Camerin (44 photos)
Karolina Šprem (22)
Ayumi Morita (22)
Sophie Ferguson (17)
Jill Craybas (17)
Aleksandra Woźniak (13)
Yaroslava Shvedova (10)
Yanina Wickmayer (8)
Kirsten Flipkens (8)
Kristina Barrois (7)
Cara Black (3)
Aravane Rezaď (2)
Vania King (2)
Laura Robson (1)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (1)
Ekaterina Makarova (1)
Jarmila Groth (1)
Elena Baltacha (1)
Kaia Kanepi (1)

Most of Tuesday's photos are well below my usual standard, as the rain made Centre Court unfit for play, so a huge crowd flocked to the outside courts; I was therefore forced to take my Court-4 photos from a great distance, and my Court-3 photos through a tall wire fence that my camera kept wanting to focus on instead of the players behind the fence.

----------------------
2. First-round results (Tuesday 8th June 2010)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Ayumi Morita [S] d. Maria Elena Camerin, 6-2 3-6 6-2

What sucked:
- Kirsten Flipkens lt. VANIA KING [16], 4-6 0-6
- Alicia Molik lt. ALEKSANDRA WOŹNIAK [9], 5-7 1-6

Suspended overnight:
* Karolina Šprem [DF] v Kristina Barrois, *1-2
* Sophie Ferguson [LL] v Jill Craybas, 5-7 4-3*

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Wednesday

=============
AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. Second-round results
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Makarova
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v Petković
6. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 1)

---------
1. Photos (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Wednesday's photos are in two volumes.


Wednesday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 188)
----------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11725572-bf1

Magdaléna Rybáriková (92 photos)
Anna Chakvetadze (36)
Ekaterina Makarova (30)
Yaroslava Shvedova (25)
Andrea Petković (15)
Sesil Karatantcheva (14)
Sara Errani (6)
Shenay Perry (2)
Karolina Šprem (1)

Magdaléna Rybáriková tried to walk one way onto Court 2 (Photo 047), but decided it was too muddy and went the other way (Photo 048). I also thought it was exceptionally nice of her to sign autographs going onto court (Photos 052, 053), as most players ignore autograph-hunters just before a match.

Magda looked very relieved when she won her second-round match! (Photo 148).


Wednesday Part 2 (Photos 189 to 330)
----------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11725858-072

Maria Sharapova (72 photos)
Karolina Šprem (20)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (17)
Anna Chakvetadze (15)
Kristina Barrois (13)
Laura Robson (8)
Sally Peers (7)
Angelique Kerber (3)
Sara Errani (2)
Andrea Petković (2)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (1)

----------------------
2. First-round results (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
----------------------

My selections:

What rocked:
+ Karolina Šprem [DF] d. KRISTINA BARROIS [15], 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/4)

What sucked:
- ELENA BALTACHA [12] lt. Kaia Kanepi [Q], 1-6 0-0 retired (gastrointestinal illness)

-----------------------
3. Second-round results (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
-----------------------

My selections:

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] d. Ekaterina Makarova, 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7/5)
+ ANGELIQUE KERBER [13] d. Ayumi Morita [s], 6-1 7-6 (9/7)

What rocked:
+ Anna Chakvetadze [EF] d. ANDREA PETKOVIĆ [8], 6-4 6-4
+ SARA ERRANI [5] d. Shenay Perry, 6-2 4-6 6-1

What sucked:
- YAROSLAVA SHVEDOVA [6] lt. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 4-6 4-6

Suspended overnight:
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] v Bethanie Mattek-Sands, *4-0 (40/30)
* Sania Mirza-Malik [DF] v TAMARINE TANASUGARN [14], 6-4 0-0*
* Michelle Larcher de Brito v OLGA GOVORTSOVA [7], 6-1 1-3*
* ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] v Anastasia Rodionova, *2-0

--------------------------------------------------------
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Makarova (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
--------------------------------------------------------

+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] d. Ekaterina Makarova, 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7/5)

Magda's crown remained intact as she came through a very tough match against a dangerous opponent, despite blowing a 7-5 4-1* (15/0*) lead, and then being two points from defeat on three separate occasions in the third set: 4-5* (15/30*), 5-6* (30/30), and 6-6 (4/5*).

I believe that the main reasons Magda won the match were that she served very well, moved very well – her excellent retrieval made Makarova feel that she had to hit closer to the sidelines – and mixed it up with sliced backhands and two-handed backhands. But when the pressure was at its greatest – particularly in the third-set tiebreak – Magda resorted to hitting a lot of sliced backhands and other off-speed shots, and Makarova couldn't handle the lack of pace.

In the first set, Magda broke for *2-0 after Makarova made two unsuccessful forays to the net, but was immediately broken back to love with four errors on the third strokes of those points, and Makarova held for 2-2*. Magda took a *4-2 lead courtesy of some success at the net, some error-inducing sliced backhands, and a wonderful dropshot + pass-winner combination. The Noah's-Ark pattern of the first set continued as Makarova closed to 4-4*, her left-handed forehand really beginning to hit the mark. Three comfortable holds later, Magda took a 6-5* (30/15*) lead by running down a dropshot to hit a forehand winner, and her excellent retrieval pressured Makarova into making a couple of unforced errors to give Magda the first set 7-5.

Magda made a strong start to the second set, racing to a 3-0* lead with several forehand winners, while Makarova's level really dipped from what it was in the first set. Magda made a couple of careless errors to go 0/30 down at *3-1, but recovered with four good serves to take a commanding 7-5 4-1* lead.

The turnaround started with Makarova playing an impressive service-game to hold for 2-4*, then Magda started choking with a wild forehand smash long, a sliced backhand long when she led *4-2 (40/30), and a second serve very long as she double-faulted for 4-3*. Makarova broke for *5-4, and recovered from 0/40 to serve out the second set 6-4, as Magda became increasingly frustrated and cross.

The first eight games of the third set went with serve, although Magda got pegged back from 40/15 in her first two service-games, having to save a break-point in the latter. She wasted a 4-3* (30/0*) opening, then Makarova played a great game to break for *5-4. Serving for the match, Makarova led 30/15, but Magda broke back by running down a dropshot to hit a backhand winner. Magda then threw in a poor service-game to give Makarova a second bite at the cherry at *6-5; Makarova was again two points from victory at 30/30, but let Magda off the hook with two wild forehand errors.

In a nailbiting third-set tiebreak, Magda was once again two points from defeat at 4/5*, but bravely recovered with a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline to set up an off-forehand winner for 5/5*, sliced Makarova into submission for *6/5, and sealed victory with a virtual ace.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/ryb...ngham2010.html

---------------------------------------------------------
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v Petković (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
---------------------------------------------------------

+ Anna Chakvetadze [EF] d. ANDREA PETKOVIĆ [8], 6-4 6-4

A very encouraging win for Anna, considering that she straight-setted a player ranked #34 after her own ranking had dropped to #114. It was the first time since February that she'd won two main-draw matches in a tournament.

I watched the first set only out of the corner of my eye, as I was concentrating on defending champion Magdaléna Rybáriková's third set against Ekaterina Makarova on the adjacent Court 2. When Magda won and I was able to transfer my attention to Anna, she was up 6-4 *0-1.

The first eight games of the match went with serve; in fact, there were no break-points until Anna pegged Petković back from 4-4* (15/40*) to break for *5-4. Anna had her first set-point at 40/30 and, after one deuce, converted her second to take the first set 6-4.

At 6-4 1-1*, Anna hit an off-backhand winner en route to 40/15*, and converted that break-point with a forehand lob-winner over Petković's head: *2-1.

The next four games went with serve, then Anna netted a nervy backhand at 6-4 *4-3 (40/15). A five-deuce marathon ensued, with Anna wasting five game-points – two with double faults – before netting a bread-and-butter backhand to give Petković the break back: 4-4*.

But Anna broke again immediately – with the help of a down-the-line backhand pass-winner and an off-forehand winner – for 6-4 *5-4. She then served out the match to 15, sealing her victory with a down-the-line forehand winner.

My lasting impression of this match is the cute little yelp that Anna emitted every time she hit the ball.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/cha...ngham2010.html

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6. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 1: Wednesday 9th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] v Bethanie Mattek-Sands, *4-0 (40/30) suspended

Rain on Tuesday had left Centre Court in an unfit state, and by the time the groundstaff had made it ready to play, only 25 minutes of play were possible before it was rained off for the day. And 10 of those 25 minutes consisted of Mattek-Sands seeing the trainer to get her right thigh strapped, followed by an argument over whether the court had become too slippery to play on.

I must admit that the way the tournament-organisers protected Centre Court from the rain this year was a shambles: they waited until the rain was too heavy before suspending play on Monday and Wednesday (the more rain gets on the grass, the longer it takes to dry), and the covers don't even cover the whole court after Centre Court was expanded this year. I just hope that this year's problems don't put Maria off coming back here in future years!

Overall, Maria looked close to her blistering best in this match. On Wednesday, she made a solid start, hitting an ace down the middle as she held to 15. She then broke to 15 as Mattek-Sands made an erratic start: *2-0. Mattek-Sands hit two winners to put Maria 15/30 down, but Maria recovered and held to 30. She then hit an off-backhand return-winner and a crosscourt backhand winner as she broke to 30 for *4-0, and with the rain quickly becoming torrential, play was suspended for the day at 40/30.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Thursday

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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
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1. Photos
2. Second-round results
3. Third-round results
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Wickmayer v Robson
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 2)
6. Third-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Karatantcheva
7. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Kudryavtseva
8. Third-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v Riske
9. More Birmingham reports coming in July!

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1. Photos (Thursday 10th June 2010)
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Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Thursday's photos are in three volumes.


Thursday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 152)
---------------

Due to my DivShare account exceeding its download-limit, my photos will not be available to download until Thursday 24th June 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

http://www.divshare.com/download/11744423-bb2

Laura Robson (56 photos)
Yanina Wickmayer (49)
Anna Chakvetadze (40)
Sesil Karatantcheva (15)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (3)
Kaia Kanepi (3)
Sara Errani (1)
Jarmila Groth (1)
Angelique Kerber (1)
Heather Watson (1)

Laura Robson looked cuter than she did on Monday, now that I got to watch her close up on Court 1, and now that she didn't have Stefanie Vögele making her look like chopped liver! (Don't get me wrong: Yanina Wickmayer is very good-looking in her own way, but she's not in the liver-chopping business.)

It seems that Anna Chakvetadze is friends with Sesil Karatantcheva, for they went off to practise together – alone until Anna's father Djambuli arrived, and apart from me stalking them. I think Anna might have noticed me, judging by Photo 118. It makes me wonder whether she remembers me from one occasion to another (even though she has no idea who I am, because nobody knows what I look like).


Thursday Part 2 (Photos 153 to 263)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/11744744-f87

Sania Mirza-Malik (51 photos)
Maria Sharapova (37)
Aravane Rezaď (11)
Karolina Šprem (6)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (5)
Marina Eraković (2)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (2)
Mirjana Lučić (1)

It was so strange to see Maria on Court 1 (Centre Court was unplayable for the whole day) – probably the humblest surroundings she's played in since 2003. Photo 227 is my favourite of the day.


Thursday Part 3 (Photos 264 to 431)
---------------

http://www.divshare.com/download/11745260-4d6

Magdaléna Rybáriková (82 photos)
Aravane Rezaď (30)
Sesil Karatantcheva (25)
Anna Chakvetadze (21)
Mirjana Lučić (13)
Maria Sharapova (8)
Alison Riske (6)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (3)
Angelique Kerber (2)
Li,Na (2)
Alla Kudryavtseva (2)
Yanina Wickmayer (1)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (1)

Magda looked very upset when she lost her title (Photos 357–365).

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2. Second-round results (Thursday 10th June 2010)
-----------------------

My selections:

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ YANINA WICKMAYER [3,DF] d. Laura Robson [Q,DF], 7-5 6-4
+ Michelle Larcher de Brito d. OLGA GOVORTSOVA [7], 6-1 4-6 7-5

What rocked:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-0 6-3
+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] d. Anastasia Rodionova, 6-3 6-4
+ Marina Eraković d. Jill Craybas, 3-6 6-4 6-4

What sucked:
- Sania Mirza-Malik [DF] lt. TAMARINE TANASUGARN [14], 6-4 5-7 1-6
- Karolina Šprem [DF] lt. Mirjana Lučić [Q], 3-6 7-5 6-7 (3/7)
- Jarmila Groth lt. Kaia Kanepi [Q], 6-7 (5/7) 5-7

Sania blew a 6-4 *5-4 (30/0) lead. It was her first tournament since a lay-off with a wrist-injury and her wedding to Shoaib Malik. It seems that the WTA and the ITF don't yet recognise the "-Malik" in her surname, but that's what the physical scoreboard and the umpire were calling her.

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3. Third-round results (Thursday 10th June 2010)
----------------------

What rocked:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-1
+ YANINA WICKMAYER [3,DF] d. TAMARINE TANASUGARN [14], 6-4 6-4
+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] d. Mirjana Lučić [Q], 7-5 6-3

What sucked:
- MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] lt. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 2-6 7-6 (7/3) 2-6
- Anna Chakvetadze [EF] lt. Alison Riske [Q], 6-4 5-7 1-6

Suspended overnight:
* Marina Eraković v SARA ERRANI [5], 6-7 (5/7) *0-0
* ANGELIQUE KERBER [13] v LI,NA [1], 6-4 2-6 0-0*
* Michelle Larcher de Brito v Kaia Kanepi [Q], *2-4

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4. Second-round eyewitness report: Wickmayer v Robson (Thursday 10th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------------------

+ YANINA WICKMAYER [3,DF] d. Laura Robson [Q,DF], 7-5 6-4

Interviewer: "Where do you see yourself in four years?"
Applicant: "In your place."

This was an intriguing match for me, as I was looking to crystallise my feelings for both girls, in terms of whether they deserve to be in my demi-fanship (my second tier of favourites, which requires either Passion or Reason).

When I watched Robson play Daniela Hantuchová at Wimbledon 2009, I thought Robson was wonderful – and I am an Eternal Fan of Daniela! But I didn't feel the demi-fan way about Robson when I watched her junior-matches, so I hesitated to promote her.

In this match, I found myself feeling more Passion for Robson than for Wickmayer, who's in my demi-fanship because she satisfied my Reason with an impressive performance against Justine Henin at the Australian Open 2010. So I decided that if Wickmayer deserves to be in my demi-fanship, then so does Robson.

The way I feel about Robson now is a combination of Passion (her cuteness and bubbly personality) and Reason (her flairsome power) – each to about 50% of the level by which I induct players into my Eternal Fanship (which requires both Passion and Reason to an exceptional level).

I don't plan to induct any more players into my Eternal Fanship until someone VERY special comes along, and at this point, I don't see any clear candidates. Ana Ivanović and Victoria Azarenka satisfy my Reason but not my Passion, while Maria Kirilenko and Stefanie Vögele do the converse, and I don't see how the situation would change for those four. Sabine Lisicki has the potential to grow in Passion and Reason – possibly even to Eternal-Fanship level – but seems to be going backwards now due to injury, thus losing her chances to impress me further this year. Robson too has the potential to grow in Passion and Reason – but I don't really envision that she will grow to Eternal-Fanship level. The 13th member of my Eternal Fanship is probably someone whom I don't yet know...

The match was played in cold, windy conditions on a slippery court, which made it very serve-dominated (both girls have very good serves anyway), with a nice number of winners.

The 16-year-old world #258 put up a performance that suggested she has top-16 potential, but the 20-year-old world #16 was just a little bit too strong and solid for her.

Robson said: "It didn't really seem like either of us was moving that much – I think we were both a bit wary. I thought I started off quite well with my serve, but it was tough conditions. It was very slippy, but it was the same for both of us, so I can't complain. She is really intense on court, and that really worked to her advantage."

The first eleven games went with serve, the left-handed Robson saving a break-point at *2-3 (30/40) with a crosscourt forehand winner. The players had a 3-minute discussion with the umpire about the state of the court at 2-1*, and a 9-minute discussion with the referee at 3-2*.

Robson double-faulted at *5-6 (40/30), as Wickmayer played a couple of good points on return, and received a couple of backhand errors to take the first set 7-5.

Robson broke at the start of the second set – courtesy of four errors by Wickmayer and a crosscourt forehand return-winner. Robson consolidated the break with a hold to 15 for 2-0* – courtesy of a couple of dubious line-calls against Wickmayer. Robson faced a break-back point at *2-1 (30/40), but hit three good first serves to hold for 3-1*.

At 5-7 *3-2, Robson saved BP×2 (15/40), but double-faulted to give Wickmayer the break back: *3-3. The next three games went with serve, then Wickmayer at 5-4* broke to 30 for the match.


First set
---------
WICKMA *_*_*_*_*_*@ 7
ROBSON _*_*_*_*_*__ 5

The match was first on Court 1. Wickmayer won the toss and chose to serve, and started at 11:30 BST.

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Robson netted a forehand return. 15/0. Second serve... Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/15. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner – despite slipping just before she hit it! 30/30. Service-winner out wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace #1: out wide. Held.

Robson serving 0-1: Serve + dropshot-winner, but Wickmayer ran it down and hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Wickmayer's deep return forced Robson to net a forehand. 40/30 (GP #2). Robson netted a forehand. Deuce #1. Service-winner out wide. Ad Robson (GP #3). Service-winner out wide. Held.

Wickmayer serving 1-1: Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Robson backhand long. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle – and it was a second serve! 30/15. Ace #2: second serve out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... Robson on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. Held.

Both players discussed with the umpire whether to continue playing, as the court was rather slippery. I was sitting close enough to hear the umpire say, "It's not ideal." They decided to continue, "but if at any point... let me know."

Robson serving 1-2: Robson netted a backhand. 0/15. Ace out wide (it called wide, but the umpire overruled it without ordering the point to be replayed). 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Wickmayer to net a backhand. Held.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Serve + croscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve + forehand winner down the line. Held.

At 11:45 BST, the referee walked onto the court to discuss the state of it with the umpire and the players. I heard, "Don't mind you stopping for a bit... We're not going to suspend play... Wait ten minutes." The umpire then announced to the spectators that the match was pausing for a few minutes.

I decided that I probably had time to go to the toilet, but when I got back, I found that I had missed the next five points, for the match had resumed at 11:55 BST (9m after the end of the previous game).

Robson serving 2-3: 0/15. Second serve... 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). I saw Robson hitting a serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner as I made my way back to Court 1. I spent the next two points finding somewhere to sit. Deuce #1. Ad Robson (GP #1). Deuce #2. Second serve... Robson forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Robson (GP #2). Wickmayer's backhand return clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Held.

Wickmayer serving 3-3: Foot-fault. Second serve... Wickmayer netted a backhand. 0/15. Serve + down-the-line backhand winner. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Second serve: backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Wickmayer forehand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Service-winner + fist-pump. Held.

Robson serving 3-4 (new balls): Crosscourt forehand return long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Second serve... Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner that died away. 40/15 (GP #1). Wickmayer backhand long. Held.

Wickmayer serving 4-4: Wickmayer went to the net, and hit an off-forehand volley that forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Robson forehand long. 30/0. Good serve forced a short, high-bouncing return, which Wickmayer dispatched with a forehand smash-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Robson serving 4-5: Second serve... Wickmayer's deep backhand forced Robson to hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Service-winner out wide. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/30. Second serve... Robson's crosscourt backhand forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve: Wickmayer netted a forehand return. Held.

Wickmayer serving 5-5: First serve: forehand return long. 15/0. And again. 30/0. Second serve: forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve + crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Robson serving 5-6: Good second serve out wide forced Wickmayer into error. 15/0. Robson backhand just long. 15/15. Wickmayer's hard, deep forehand return forced Robson to net a forehand. 15/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve long). Deuce #1. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand winner, and shouted "komaan". Ad Wickmayer (SP #1). Robson hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Wickmayer shouted "yes!" and pumped her fist. Wickmayer won the first set 7-5 at 12:19 BST (49m).


Second set
----------
WICKMA __*_*@*_*@ 6
ROBSON @*_*___*__ 4

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Double fault #2 (second serve bounced on her side of the net!). 0/15. First serve forced Robson to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Wickmayer opened up the court with a good serve, but hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/30. Wickmayer forehand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Service-winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Serve + off-forehand winner into the corner. Deuce #1. Robson crosscourt forehand return-winner. Ad Robson (BP #3). Second serve... Wickmayer hit a down-the-line forehand wide. Broken.

Robson serving 1-0: Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand just wide, and argued about the call. 15/0. Wickmayer on the fourth stroke hit a down-the-line backhand winner onto the baseline, but it was called long. "The ball was in!" said Wickmayer. 30/0. Second serve... Robson's depth forced Wickmayer to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Wickmayer's crosscourt backhand bounced low, forcing Robson to stretch low & wide and net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #2). Wickmayer dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net. Held.

It was starting to drizzle.

Wickmayer serving 0-2: Robson netted a backhand. 15/0. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Ace #3: out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve out wide forced a short return, which Wickmayer dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Robson serving 2-1: Wickmayer crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Second serve... Wickmayer went to the net, forcing Robson to net a backhand. 15/15. Second serve... Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 30/30. Wickmayer's deep, low-bouncing forehand forced Robson to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to earth a backhand return. Deuce #1. Service-winner. Ad Robson (GP #1). Serve out wide forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Wickmayer serving 1-3 (new balls): Foot-fault. Second serve... Wickmayer's depth forced Robson to hit a backhand long. 15/0. Robson's deep backhand return forced Wickmayer to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Ace #4: out wide. 30/15. Serve + down-the-line forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson's deep return forced Wickmayer to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Double fault #3 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Robson netted a forehand return. Ad Wickmayer (GP #3). Wickmayer's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. She said "sorry". Held.

Robson serving 3-2: Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner. 0/15. Virtual ace out wide. 15/15. A low-bouncing ball from Wickmayer induced Robson to mishit a forehand long. 15/30. Robson hit an off-forehand just wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Robson hit a deep backhand onto the baseline, forcing Wickmayer to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #2). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #1. Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand forced Robson to net a forehand. Ad Wickmayer (BP #3). Double fault #3 (second serve out wide just wide). Broken.

Wickmayer serving 3-3: First serve out wide forced Robson to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Ace #5: out wide. 30/15. Second serve: Robson netted a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Service-winner out wide. Wickmayer said "komaan" and pumped her fist. Held.

Robson serving 3-4: Wickmayer on the third stroke hit a backhand long. 15/0. Second serve... Wickmayer, stretched wide, hit a backhand long. 30/0. Second serve... Wickmayer's depth forced Robson to net a forehand. 30/15. Ace #2: down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson's depth forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand long. Held.

Wickmayer serving 4-4: Ace #6: out wide. 15/0. Serve out wide: backhand return just wide. 30/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Robson. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #4 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 40/15 (GP #2). Robson hit a deep forehand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #3). Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to hit a forehand return long. Held.

It was drizzling again.

Robson serving 4-5: Double fault #4 (second serve long). Robson muttered. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and said "komaan". 15/30. Robson netted a backhand. 15/40 (MP #1 for Wickmayer). Serve out wide forced a short return, which Robson dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40 (MP #2 for Wickmayer). I forgot to write down what happened on the final point, as I was distracted by two men standing up right in front of me as I was trying to photograph the handshake. The LTA said that Wickmayer "finished in a flurry" after Robson had saved the first match-point. Wickmayer won 7-5 6-4 at 12:56 BST (second set 36m, match 1h26m).

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5. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 2: Thursday 10th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-0 6-3

The match was scheduled to resume second on Centre Court on Thursday, with Maria leading *4-0 (40/30) overnight, but Wednesday's rain and Thursday's cold, windy conditions made Centre Court unplayable all day. They had to resume the match on Court 1 – probably the humblest surroundings that Maria has played in since 2003!

Maria closed out the suspended game amusingly quickly with a service-winner to hold for 5-0*. She hit two forehand winners en route to her first set-point at 40/30*, then saved two game-points before setting up her second set-point with an off-backhand return-winner, and taking the first set 6-0.

Maria kept Mattek-Sands's face red with four backhand winners and some great serving en route to 6-0 3-0*, but Mattek-Sands avoided the double bagel by holding to 30 with a successful serve and volley, then broke back for 2-3* with a lob-winner over Maria's head and three deep returns that forced Maria to make forehand errors.

Maria reinstated her break immediately with a forehand pass-winner and a forehand return-winner. She faced another break-back point at 6-0 *4-2 (30/40), but responded with a service-winner out wide, an ace down the middle, and a forehand punch-volley winner.

Maria, running backwards, hit a tremendous backhand smash-winner to set up her first match-point at 6-0 6-2 (40/30*). She wasted it by missing a second-serve return, then Mattek-Sands hit two service-winners for 3-5*, but Maria served it out to love with a crosscourt forehand winner, a service-winner, an off-forehand pass-winner, and an ace out wide.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

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6. Third-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Karatantcheva (Thursday 10th June 2010)
------------------------------------------------------------

- MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [10,EF] lt. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 2-6 7-6 (7/3) 2-6

Magda struggled in cold, windy conditions with the odd raindrop. It was so cold that Magda wore a winter-coat as she went to and from the court! She was very erratic until she trailed 2-6 *3-5, but did at least play some dynamic all-court tennis to save the second set (even saving a match-point at 2-6 4-5*). As the defending champion, she looked very upset when she lost.

There was no immediate sign of the troubles to come as Magda held her opening service-game to 15 with a backhand dropshot-winner and a backhand drop-volley winner. In a game of four deuces at *1-1, Magda squandered four game-points, and although she hit a forehand dropshot-winner, an off-forehand winner and two aces in that game – one to save the first break-point – she finished the game with three unforced backhand errors in a row to get broken for 1-2*.

Magda pegged Karatantcheva back from 1-2* (0/40*) to Deuce with a crosscourt forehand winner and a forehand smash-winner, but Karatantcheva nevertheless consolidated her break with two forced errors: *1-3. Magda held for 2-3* with a couple of excellent lobs, but Karatantcheva held for 4-2* as Magda hit three forehand winners but five backhand errors – certainly an area of her game that needs work.

Magda at *2-4 gave Karatantcheva a look at at least three second serves, and a couple of deep returns forced Magda into backhand errors; Karatantcheva broke for *5-2, and served out the first set to 15 – gift-wrapped by a couple of wild errors by Magda.

Magda opened the second set with a terrible service-game, finishing with a double fault at 0/40. She had a break-back point at 2-6 0-1* (40/30*), but three unforced errors let Karatantcheva off the hook. Magda hit a crosscourt backhand winner as she held to love for 1-2*. She hit two backhand volley-winners for a 30/0* opening, but wasted it with four unforced errors: *1-3. Magda hit an off-forehand volley-winner en route to 40/15, but was pegged back to Deuce before holding for 2-3*. Karatantcheva held for 4-2*, and Magda held to love for 3-4* with some good error-forcing play. Magda's attempts to go to the net met with two pass-winners as Karatantcheva held serve; she was then two points from victory at 6-2 5-3* (30/15*). And then the turnaround began.

Magda recovered to hold for 4-5*, and then saw her coach (Mojmír Mihal) at the changeover. Judging by how she played for the rest of the second set, he probably told her to be aggressive and go to the net. Karatantcheva actually had her first match-point at 6-2 *5-4 (40/30) but hit a backhand long, then Magda went to the net on the next two points, hitting a forehand smash-winner and a backhand volley-winner to break back for *5-5! She held to love for 6-5* with some deep, error-forcing shots, then pegged Karatantcheva back from 6-5* (15/40*) with an off-forehand winner and a forehand volley-winner; Karatantcheva needed four game-points to force the tiebreak. Magda recovered an early mini-break with a backhand volley-winner, then cruised through the rest of the tiebreak as Karatantcheva made a series of unforced errors.

Sadly, Magda couldn't carry the momentum of the end of the second set over to the third, although she did hit the shot of the match to hold for 1-1*: a fantastic crosscourt forehand volley-winner deep into the corner at full stretch! But she couldn't put any pressure on Karatantcheva's serve. Magda recovered from *1-2 (15/40) with an error-forcing backhand volley and a virtual ace, and held for 2-2* after an ace and two forehand smash-winners, but that was to be the last game she would win.

Karatantcheva's error-forcing depth helped her to take a 1:1 3-2* (40/15*) lead, and though Magda saved those break-points with a forehand volley-winner and a forehand smash-winner, she dropped serve anyway with a couple of unforced errors: 2-4*. Magda hit a sliced backhand winner off a dropshot en route to 40/15*, but couldn't convert those break-points, and some more unforced errors made it *2-5. Magda reached 30/15 with a spectacular high backhand smash-winner, but two forehand errors brought up Karatantcheva's second match-point, and though Magda saved it with a service-winner, two more unforced errors sent her back to the locker-room, where there would be weeping and grinding of teeth.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/ryb...ngham2010.html

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7. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Kudryavtseva (Thursday 10th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-1

This was a rematch of Maria's Wimbledon 2008 second round, where she suffered a shocking 6-2 6-4 loss to Kudryavtseva, who then had the temerity to tell the press that she didn't like Maria's outfit.

Early on, it looked as though history might repeat itself, as Maria trailed *1-3 (15/40), but after saving 3 BPs in that game, she recovered to win 11 of the next 12 games to take her revenge in emphatic fashion.

I missed all but the last game of this match, as I was watching defending champion Magdaléna Rybáriková play a three-setter against Sesil Karatantcheva out on Court 3 (from where I could keep an eye on Maria whilst concentrating on Magda).

As soon as Magda had lost and left the court, I went straight over to Court 1, where Maria was playing for the second time in the day and leading 6-3 5-1*. She completed her victory by breaking to 15, courtesy of an off-forehand return-winner just inside the sideline, and three unforced errors from Kudryavtseva.

My full report – with point-by-point scores and a description of every point in the last game – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

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8. Third-round eyewitness report: Chakvetadze v Riske (Thursday 10th June 2010)
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- Anna Chakvetadze [EF] lt. Alison Riske [Q], 6-4 5-7 1-6

This may look like a terrible loss on paper, as Riske was ranked only #185 and won 8 of the last 9 games, but was an awesome performance by the 19-year-old with the kind of name a Bond-girl might have!

It's not like Anna surrendered in a hail of unforced errors; Riske played extremely aggressive grass-court tennis, going to the net at every opportunity, and everything worked for her in the third set. Riske went on to upset #16 Yanina Wickmayer in the quarter-finals and take a set off #17 Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals. If Riske can keep up this kind of form, she's definitely the USA's best hope for world-domination when the Williams-sisters retire or decline!

I watched most of the first two sets only out of the corner of my eye, as I was concentrating on defending champion Magdaléna Rybáriková's second and third sets against Sesil Karatantcheva on the adjacent Court 3. As soon as Magda had lost and left the court, I paid a brief visit to Court 1 to watch the last game of Maria's win over Alla Kudryavtseva, then went to Court 4, where Anna was leading 6-4 *4-5.

In the first set, Anna saved BP×2 at *0-1 (15/40), and broke to 15 for *3-2. She saved 2 GPs at 5-3*, then had 2 SPs, but Riske saved the second with an ace, and held serve with another ace. Anna had two more SPs at *5-4 (40/15), converting 40/30 with an ace: 6-4.

Anna looked to be heading for victory when she broke for 6-4 *3-2 (after saving a GP), but Riske broke back immediately to 15. The next five games went with serve, with Anna hitting a crosscourt backhand winner and a crosscourt forehand winner from *4-5 (Deuce). Anna at *5-6 was broken to 30 after losing a point at the net, while Riske won set-point at the net: 5-7.

In the third set, Riske held to 15 with two crosscourt forehand winners and an error-forcing smash, then broke to 15 with two off-forehand winners and two errors from Anna: one unforced, one forced. Anna at 0-2* gave Riske a tough service-game, saving one GP with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner, but two service-winners made it *0-3, and a break to 30 made it 0-4*. Anna broke back to 40 with a crosscourt backhand winner and a down-the-line backhand return-winner: *1-4. But Riske broke again with a dead netcord winner at 30/40, then served two aces in a row to set up MP×3 at *5-1 (40/0). Anna bravely saved the first by forcing a short ball and hitting an off-forehand winner, but Riske converted the second with a pinpoint off-forehand winner onto the sideline.

My full report – with a description of every point I watched – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/cha...ngham2010.html

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9. More Birmingham reports coming in July!
------------------------------------------

I don't have time to complete any more Birmingham reports this side of Wimbledon, as I now have to go and write my Wimbledon preview, and be utterly dedicated to the most important fortnight of the year!

I am therefore planning to write my remaining Birmingham 2010 reports in the first three weekends after Wimbledon:
* Quarter-finals (ETA 12th July 2010)
* Semi-finals (ETA 19th July 2010)
* Final (ETA 26th July 2010)

The above dates are extremely pessimistic estimates, which I should be able to improve on if I'm not too busy in July.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Jun 19th, 2010 at 01:04 AM. Reason: minor correction
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Friday

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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Third-round results
3. Quarter-final results
4. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Karatantcheva
5. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Wickmayer v Riske
6. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Rezaď v Errani

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1. Photos (Friday 11th June 2010)
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Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

N.B. At the time I posted this, my DivShare account was 95% up to its monthly download-limit. Once this limit is exceeded, my photos will not be available to download until Saturday 24th July 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

Friday's photos:
http://www.divshare.com/download/11970237-704

Maria Sharapova (51 photos)
Aravane Rezaď (48)
Sesil Karatantcheva (27)
Yanina Wickmayer (24)
Sara Errani (23)
Marina Eraković (19)
Alison Riske (19)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (8)
Laura Robson (3)
Olga Govortsova (3)
Heather Watson (3)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (2)
Cara Black (2)
Lisa Raymond (2)
Chuang,Chia-Jung (2)

Aravane Rezaď was wearing a very nice silver-white dress; unfortunately my photos fail to do justice to the way it glinted in the 4 o'clock sunlight.

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2. Third-round results (Friday 11th June 2010)
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Nice winner, nice loser:
- Marina Eraković lt. SARA ERRANI [5], 6-7 (5/7) 4-6

Not so nice:
- ANGELIQUE KERBER [13] lt. LI,NA [1], 6-4 3-6 5-7
- Michelle Larcher de Brito lt. Kaia Kanepi [Q], 2-6 2-6

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3. Quarter-final results (Friday 11th June 2010)
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Nice winner, nice loser:
+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] d. SARA ERRANI [5], 7-6 (7/2) 7-5

What rocked:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 6-2 6-4
+ LI,NA [1] d. Kaia Kanepi [Q], 6-4 6-2

What sucked:
- YANINA WICKMAYER [3,DF] lt. Alison Riske [Q], 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 3-6

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4. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Karatantcheva (Friday 11th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 6-2 6-4

Maria made a blistering start as she broke in the very first game. Karatantcheva played one strong service-game for 1-2*, but Maria broke again for *4-1 with an off-forehand return-winner off a first serve, and a down-the-line backhand winner.

And then Maria completely stopped grunting at *4-1 (30/0)! She held to 30 by running down a dropshot to hit a backhand winner down the line, but it was the first sign that Maria might have been ill – with one of the symptoms being a sore throat!

A bad call at 5-1* (30/30) robbed Maria of a winning forehand return – the umpire overruled it, but ordered them to replay the point: Karatantcheva served an ace, and then held for 2-5*. Maria served out the first set to 30, finishing with an ace out wide followed by a service-winner: 6-2.

Karatantcheva opened the second set with a hold to love, and it looked like Maria was about to do likewise at *0-1 (40/0), but two deep, error-forcing returns and a double fault pegged her back to Deuce. Maria hit two excellent second serves – an ace out wide and a service-winner – to hold for 1-1*.

Maria broke for 6-2 *2-1, courtesy of some error-forcing depth and, at 40/30*, a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline to finish the longest rally of the match.

Maria held for 6-2 3-1* with an excellent love service-game: a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner right in the corner, two aces, and a down-the-line forehand winner. Karatantcheva held for 2-3* with a backhand winner down the line, and Maria for 4-2* after dispatching a short ball with an off-forehand winner.

Karatantcheva held to 30 for 2-6 3-4* – despite Maria forcing two floaters and dispatching them with forehand drive-volley winners. Maria held for 5-3* with four winners: a crosscourt backhand, an ace down the middle, a pinpoint forehand down the line, and another crosscourt backhand. Karatantcheva held to 30, dragging Maria outside the tramlines to give herself an easy crosscourt forehand winner.

Karatantcheva then put up good resistance as Maria served for the match at 6-2 *5-4: a combination of Karatantcheva's depth and Maria making errors on the third stroke of two points gave Karatantcheva three nonconsecutive BPs. Maria saved the first with an ace out wide, the second with a dropshot + passing-shot combination, and the third with a deep, error-forcing forehand after a long rally. Two more forced errors sealed Maria's victory.

Maria said: "It was definitely good to get back out there. I haven't played her in a while – she's having a good career, and playing some good tennis this year."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

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5. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Wickmayer v Riske (Friday 11th June 2010)
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- YANINA WICKMAYER [3,DF] lt. Alison Riske [Q], 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 3-6

Riske put her win over Anna Chakvetadze in the previous round into perspective as she upset the world #16 in similar fashion: coming from a set down with a highly impressive display of all-court attacking tennis. Riske came through this match without ever having her serve broken!

Riske made her intentions clear from the start, going to the net in the first three games, but Wickmayer played well and served very well to keep her at bay in the first set. Wickmayer had a chance to break clear at 3-2* (40/30*) after Riske had served a quadruple fault, but Riske escaped to 3-3 with the help of a service-winner and a forehand smash-winner.

Both girls settled into a pattern of holding serve comfortably after that. Wickmayer was two points from winning the first set at 5-4* (30/30), and again at 6-5* (30/15*), but couldn't handle Riske's deep first serves.

The tiebreak was nip and tuck, but Wickmayer never trailed, and converted her first SP (*6/5) with an error-forcing crosscourt forehand onto the sideline.

The second set started in the same serve-dominated vein as the first, with Riske hitting her first two aces of the match back to back in the opening game.

The rally of the match occurred with Riske at 0:1 *2-2 (40/0): her crosscourt-forehand approach forced Wickmayer to run outside the tramlines to hit a forehand down the line, which Riske picked off with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner into the open court.

At 0:1 5-4*, Riske broke Wickmayer for the first time in the match – with a crosscourt backhand winner and some error-forcing depth – to take the second set 6-4. Wickmayer reportedly had to contend with a bleeding lip in that game.

At the start of the third set, Wickmayer had a chance to break Riske for the first time in the match, as she found a couple of good returns to peg Riske back from 40/15 and reach BP, but Riske escaped with two service-winners and an ace.

Riske had a BP at 1:1 1-0* (Ad), but wasted it with an unforced error, and Wickmayer held with a service-winner and an off-forehand winner: 1-1*.

Both girls hit plenty of winners as the next two games went with serve. Wickmayer had a BP at 1:1 2-2* (Ad), but a deep second serve induced her to hit a forehand return long, and Riske escaped once again with some strong serving.

Riske scored the only break of the third set as Wickmayer threw in a poor service-game at *2-3: a double fault, a Riske smash-winner, and unforced error, and a deep, error-forcing backhand return off a second serve gave Riske *4-2.

Riske held for 1:1 5-2* as Wickmayer missed four makeable returns (two on second serves), although she did hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner at 0/40*.

A doubly controversial overrule put Wickmayer 1:1 *2-5 (15/30) down, but Riske let her off the hook by missing a second-serve return, and Wickmayer held with two service-winners and a shout of "komaan".

With Riske serving for the match at 1:1 *5-3, Wickmayer's deep, error-forcing forehand return and a double fault put Riske 0/30 down, but an error-forcing foray to the net and an unforced error made it 30/30. Riske missed a forehand to give Wickmayer BP at 30/40, but Riske bravely saved it with a forehand smash-winner, and two unforced errors later, she was through to her first WTA Tour semi-final.

I've rarely seen anyone as excited to win a tennis-match as Riske was when she won this one! She dropped her racket and screamed, and was very excited in her on-court interview:

"I've had a great week. I'm just really, really excited and nervous. It was just really tough. It's good to be here for just one more day. I love Birmingham. I dreamed about it [reaching the semi-finals], but I didn't know if it was gonna be a reality."


First set
---------
WICKM *_*_*_*_*_*_T 7(7)
RISKE _*_*_*_*_*_*_ 6(5)

The match was second on Centre Court. Wickmayer won the toss and chose to serve, and the match started at 12:46 BST.

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Second serve... Riske hit a deep forehand return, went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Two of Riske's shots were long but not called, and Wickmayer had to win the point a third time with a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Ace #1: down the middle. 30/15. Second serve: Riske netted a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep second serve induced Riske to hit a forehand return wide. Held.

Riske serving 0-1: Deep second serve out wide induced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 15/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Deep second serve induced Wickmayer to hit a forehand return wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Riske went to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. Held.

Wickmayer serving 1-1: Second serve: Riske hit an off-backhand return-winner. 0/15. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand into the corner + down-the-line forehand winner. 15/15. Ace #2: out wide, on the sideline. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Riske hit an off-backhand return wide. Held.

Riske serving 1-2: Riske forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Second serve: Wickmayer netted a cheap forehand return. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Deep second serve induced Wickmayer to hit a backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Riske forced a floater, but netted a forehand smash. 40/30 (GP #2). Riske hit an off-backhand winner. Held.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Serve + off-backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Ace #3: down the middle, on the centre-line. Wickmayer shouted "allez" and pumped her fist. 30/0. Ace #4: down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Riske serving 2-3: Short second serve induced Wickmayer to net a backhand return. 15/0. Riske hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Double fault #3 (second serve wide). 30/30. Wickmayer's deep crosscourt forehand forced Riske to hit a forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #1. Riske forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. Ad Riske (GP #1). Second serve: Wickmayer netted a backhand return. Held.

Wickmayer serving 3-3: Second serve... Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand forced Riske to net a forehand. 15/0. Wickmayer went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner onto the sideline – after some excellent retrieval by Riske. 30/0. Wickmayer hit an off-backhand wide. 30/15. Wickmayer, driven wide, netted a one-handed backhand. 30/30. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve... Wickmayer's deep forehand forced Riske to hit a backhand return wide. Held.

Riske serving 3-4 (new balls): Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Wickmayer went for a forehand down Riske's right sideline, but put it long. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve: backhand return long. Held.

It was now quite windy.

Wickmayer serving 4-4: Wickmayer crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Riske to net a backhand return. 30/0. Second serve out wide forced Riske to earth a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve out wide + off-forehand winner back behind Riske. Held.

Riske serving 4-5: Deep first serve down the middle forced Wickmayer to net a backhand return. 15/0. Riske went to the net and hit a high off-forehand punch-volley winner. 30/0. Riske wasted a good serve out wide by hitting an off-forehand just wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve just wide). 30/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Wickmayer to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve forced Wickmayer to hit an off-forehand return wide. Held.

Wickmayer serving 5-5: First serve: Riske netted a backhand return. 15/0. Wickmayer went to the net, but didn't close in on Riske's dipping pass, and netted a low forehand volley. 15/15. Wickmayer's depth induced Riske to hit a loose backhand long. 30/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 30/30. Wickmayer went to the net, forcing Riske to hit a crosscourt forehand pass wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve... Wickmayer hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand that clipped the outside edge of the sideline, and hit an off-forehand winner. Held.

Riske serving 5-6: Deep first serve down the middle forced Wickmayer to earth a forehand return. 15/0. Wickmayer hit a short-angled off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Riske went to the net, but her approach-shot was poor; Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner, and said "komaan". 15/30. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/30. Second serve: Wickmayer dumped a cheap backhand return halfway up the net. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Wickmayer to earth a forehand return. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Wickmayer/Riske):
{*0/0} Wickmayer's deep backhand forced Riske to net a forehand.
{1/0*} Riske went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, forcing Wickmayer to net a running forehand.
{1/1*} Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline.
{*2/1} Riske's deep return forced Wickmayer to net a backhand.
{*2/2} Ace down the middle.
{3/2*} Second serve... Riske's deep crosscourt forehand forced Wickmayer to net a forehand.
{3/3*} Second serve... Wickmayer's deep crosscourt forehand forced Riske to net a forehand. Wickmayer said "komaan!"
{*4/3} Second serve: Riske's deep return forced Wickmayer to hit a backhand long.
{*4/4} Riske forehand return long.
{5/4*} Deep second serve down the middle induced Wickmayer to net a forehand return.
{5/5*} Riske sprayed a loose forehand long.
{*6/5: SP #1 for Wickmayer} Second serve... Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Riske to earth a forehand. Wickmayer won the first set 7-6 (7/5) at 13:33 BST (47m).

Both players saw their coaches during the set-break. As a computer-programmer who's used to generating output-text by rigid rules, I just love the umpires' repetitive verbiage when this happens: "Miss Wickmayer has requested to see her coach. Miss Riske has requested to see her coach."


Second set
----------
WICKM _*_*_*_*__ 4
RISKE *_*_*_*_*@ 6

Riske serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Ace #1: down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/0. Ace #2: down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #5 (second serve wide). 40/15 (GP #2). Wickmayer netted a running forehand. Held.

Wickmayer serving 0-1: Second serve... Riske tried to go to the net, but Wickmayer caught her in no-man's-land with a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/15. Good serve forced a short return, which Wickmayer dispatched with an off-backhand winner. 30/15. Wickmayer forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep second serve out wide forced Riske to earth a forehand. Held.

Riske serving 1-1: Deep first serve forced Wickmayer to net a backhand return. 15/0. Riske forehand long. 15/15. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Riske forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Wickmayer serving 1-2 (new balls): Ace out wide. 15/0. Riske hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 15/15. Deep first serve forced Riske to net a forehand return. 30/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve out wide induced Riske to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Held.

Riske serving 2-2: Second serve... Riske's down-the-line forehand forced Wickmayer to net a backhand. 15/0. Wickmayer, driven wide, hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/0. Ace #3: down the middle, on the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve... Riske went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand that forced Wickmayer to run outside the tramlines to hit a forehand down the line, which Riske picked off with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner into the open court. Held.

Wickmayer serving 2-3: Wickmayer hit a down-the-line backhand onto the baseline; it shot through on Riske for a winner. 15/0. With the wind rising, Riske hit a forehand long. 30/0. Ace #5: down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve: backhand return long. Held.

Riske serving 3-3: First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to net a forehand return. 15/0. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand just wide. 30/0. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Riske's short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. Held.

Wickmayer serving 3-4: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Second serve out wide induced Riske to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Second serve... Riske hit a deep backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Wickmayer to mishit a forehand wide. 30/30. Deep second serve forced Riske to hit an off-backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep serve forced Riske to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Riske serving 4-4: Riske netted a forehand. 0/15. Second serve: Wickmayer netted a forehand return. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Wickmayer to net a forehand return. 30/15. Ace #4: down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep service-winner out wide. Held.

Wickmayer serving 4-5: Riske hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Second serve... Riske's depth forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand long. 0/30. Deep first serve down the middle + deep crosscourt forehand winner onto the baseline. 15/30. Wickmayer netted a forehand punch-volley. 15/40 (SP #1 for Riske). Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Riske to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (SP #2 for Riske). Second serve... Riske's deep forehand return forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. Riske won the second set 6-4 at 14:06 BST (second set 32m, match so far 1h19m).


Third set
---------
WICKM _*_*___*_ 3
RISKE *_*_*@*_* 6

Riske serving 0-0: Double fault #6 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Second serve... Wickmayer netted a forehand. 30/15. Second serve out wide: Wickmayer netted a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Serve out wide: Wickmayer hit a backhand return-winner down the line. Deuce #1. Wickmayer's deep return forced Riske to net a forehand. Ad Wickmayer (BP #1). Service-winner down the middle. Deuce #2. Ace #5: out wide. Ad Riske (GP #3). Service-winner down the middle. Held.

It was now windy.

Wickmayer serving 0-1: Wickmayer hit a high backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Second serve out wide: Riske hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 15/15. Double fault #3 (second serve just long). 15/30. Riske crosscourt forehand just wide. 30/30. Riske forced a floater, but netted a forehand volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve: Riske hit a deep forehand return just inside the baseline, forcing Wickmayer to net a forehand. Deuce #1. Wickmayer netted a forehand. Ad Riske (BP #1). Riske hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. First serve out wide forced Riske to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Wickmayer (GP #2). Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner, and said "komaan!" Held.

Riske serving 1-1 (new balls): Second serve... Riske showed excellent retrieval until Wickmayer hit an off-forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Serve out wide + down-the-line backhand just inside the baseline. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Wickmayer hit an off-backhand winner. 30/30. Second serve... Wickmayer went to the net, but Riske hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Wickmayer serving 1-2: Serve out wide + off-backhand winner. 15/0. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Riske netted a backhand. 30/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner into the corner. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #6. Held.

Riske serving 2-2: Wickmayer forehand just long. 15/0. Second serve: Wickmayer netted a forehand return. 30/0. Riske forehand long. 30/15. Second serve... Riske hit a crosscourt forehand to the sideline, forcing Wickmayer to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve down the middle, but crosscourt forehand long. 40/30 (GP #2). My notes say that Riske's deep crosscourt backhand forced Wickmayer to stretch wide and bunt a one-handed backhand wide, but that can't be right, because Wickmayer won the point. Deuce #1. Riske netted a forehand, and moaned "no". Ad Wickmayer (BP #1). Deep second serve induced Wickmayer to hit a forehand return long. Deuce #2. Serve out wide + deep forehand down the line forced Wickmayer to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Ad Riske (GP #3). Deep first serve forced Wickmayer to net a forehand return. Held.

Wickmayer serving 2-3: Double fault #5 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Riske forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 0/30. Riske forehand long. 15/30. Wickmayer on the third stroke hit a loose crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Riske's deep backhand return forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Riske serving 4-2: Second serve: Wickmayer netted a backhand return. 15/0. Second serve: Wickmayer dumped a backhand return into the bottom of the net. 30/0. Short first serve out wide forced Wickmayer to earth a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve: Wickmayer hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner down Riske's right sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve out wide forced Wickmayer to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Wickmayer serving 2-5: Double fault #6 (second serve just long). 0/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand forced Riske to net a running forehand. 15/15. Riske opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a down-the line forehand winner that was called long but overruled as good, and the umpire awarded the point to Riske rather than ordering them to replay it, provoking a complaint from Wickmayer. 15/30. Second serve: Riske netted a backhand return. 30/30. Service-winner out wide. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced Riske to net a forehand return. Wickmayer shouted "komaan!" Held.

Riske serving 5-3: Wickmayer's deep forehand return forced Riske to hit a backhand long. Wickmayer shouted "komaan!" and pumped her fist. 0/15. Double fault #7 (second serve just long). 0/30. Riske went to the net, forcing Wickmayer to hit a crosscourt backhand pass wide. 15/30. Wickmayer slapped a forehand into the net. 30/30. Riske forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #1). Serve out wide + forehand smash-winner. Deuce #1. Wickmayer on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand wide. Ad Riske (MP #1). Wickmayer on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long, prompting Riske to drop her racket and scream! Riske won 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-3 at 14:46 BST (third set 40m, match 2h00m).

--------------------------------------------------
6. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Rezaď v Errani (Friday 11th June 2010)
--------------------------------------------------

+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] d. SARA ERRANI [5], 7-6 (7/2) 7-5

Rezaď had too much firepower for Errani, and early on, it looked like she would cruise to an easy victory like 6-2 6-3, but she didn't actually manage to pull away in the first set, and was broken back immediately after doing so in the second.

Rezaď looked awesome as she opened with a hold to love: a pinpoint backhand winner down the line, two aces, and a crosscourt backhand winner!

Rezaď's groundstrokes looked razor-sharp as she hit two forehand winners at 1-0*, but three errors and an Errani dropshot-winner staved off any threat of a break.

Games went comfortably with serve until Rezaď faced the first BP of the match at *5-5 (30/40). She ran down a dropshot and hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line, and got out of that game with an ace down the middle and an error-forcing crosscourt backhand.

Rezaď hit two forehand winners en route to SP×2 at 6-5* (40/15*), but netted a backhand after retreating from the net on the first SP, and netted a forehand smash on the second SP. Errani held for 6-6 after two deuces.

Rezaď dominated the tiebreak, with an ace down the middle at *3/1, followed by a dropshot-winner for 5/1*. Errani missed a second-serve return to give Rezaď her third SP at *6/2, which she converted with a deep, error-forcing backhand down the middle.

The first three games of the second set went comfortably with serve, although Errani got loud applause for a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner when she was driven wide at 1-0* (15/30*).

Errani's off-forehand winner put Rezaď in a spot of bother at 1:0 *1-2 (0/30), but she recovered with a deep, error-forcing crosscourt backhand and two service-winners, and held to 30 for 2-2*.

Rezaď took a 1:0 2-2* (30/0*) lead with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner and a down-the-line backhand winner, but let Errani off the hook by missing a second-serve return, and Errani held to 30 with some body-jamming serves to make it *2-3.

At 1:0 *2-3, Rezaď held to 15 with a down-the-line backhand pass-winner and an off-backhand winner, then scored the first break of the match – courtesy of an off-forehand winner, a double fault and two unforced errors from Errani – to lead *4-3.

However, a game of four deuces at 1:0 *4-3 saw Rezaď broken back, as her finishing deserted her several times during that game. Rezaď went to the net at 40/30, but Errani hit a lob-winner. Rezaď forced a floater but netted an easy forehand smash to give Errani BP #1. Rezaď saved that with an off-forehand winner, then made an unforced error after forcing a short ball to give Errani BP #2. Rezaď saved it with a service-winner, then moved to GP #2 with a pinpoint off-backhand winner, but once again, she made an unforced error after forcing a short ball, and Errani broke back with a down-the-line forehand winner followed by a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the other line.

Errani held to love for 0:1 5-4* with a down-the-line forehand winner and a dead netcord winner. Rezaď held for 5-5* with two aces in a row from 30/15.

A double fault and an unforced error put Errani in trouble at 0-1 *5-5 (15/30). Errani hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, but Rezaď moved to 40/30* with an off-backhand winner. She made an error off a dropshot, but reached BP #2 with a crosscourt backhand pass-winner, and converted it with an off-forehand winner: *6-5.

When Rezaď served for the match at *6-5, she reached 30/0 with two good serves, then Errani hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner, but Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand winner to set up MP×2 at 40/15. She wasted the first with a backhand error off a short return, but converted the second with a down-the-line backhand winner.


First set
---------
REZAĎ *_*_*_*_*_*_T 7
ERRAN _*_*_*_*_*_*_ 6

The match was third on Centre Court. Errani won the toss and chose to receive, and the match started at 15:12 BST.

Rezaď serving 0-0: First serve out wide + pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/0. Ace #1: down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/0. Ace #2: down the middle, on the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve down the middle + crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Errani serving 0-1: Rezaď forehand long. 15/0. Errani's deep crosscourt backhand forced Rezaď to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Second serve... Rezaď on the fourth stroke hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 30/15. Second serve... Errani hit a backhand dropshot-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Rezaď on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/30 (GP #2). Rezaď netted a forehand. Held.

Rezaď serving 1-1: Ace #3: down the middle. 15/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Second serve... Rezaď netted a backhand. 30/15. Errani hit an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Errani to earth a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle curled away from Errani, forcing her to net a forehand return. Held.

Errani serving 1-2: First serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Second serve out wide: Rezaď's hard, deep crosscourt backhand return forced Errani to earth a backhand. 15/15. Rezaď down-the-line backhand wide. 30/15. Second serve: Rezaď's deep forehand return forced Errani to hit a forehand lob long. 30/30. Errani hit a short-angled off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Rezaď serving 2-2: Second serve... Rezaď crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Second serve... Errani backhand just long. 15/15. Rezaď it a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner. 30/15. Rezaď went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve long). 40/30 (GP #2). Second-serve let. Second serve out wide + deep backhand winner down the line. Held.

Errani serving 2-3: Second serve... Rezaď hit a loose forehand long. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Service-winner down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced Rezaď to net a forehand return. Held.

Rezaď serving 3-3: Second serve: Errani netted a forehand return. 15/0. First serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve long). 40/15 (GP #2). Ace #4 (second serve down the middle). Held.

Errani serving 3-4 (new balls): Rezaď ran down a dropshot but hit a backhand wide. 15/0. Errani drew Rezaď to the net with a dropshot, then hit a forehand lob-winner over her head. 30/0. Second serve out wide: Rezaď hit a deep forehand return down the line, forcing Errani to net a backhand. 30/15. Rezaď hit an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Rezaď off-forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve: crosscourt backhand return wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 4-4: First serve out wide forced a short return, which Rezaď dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. First serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Errani to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Serve down the middle + deep forehand winner down the line. Held.

Errani serving 4-5: Deep first serve forced Errani to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Second serve... Rezaď's deep crosscourt forehand forced Errani to earth a forehand. 15/15. Rezaď hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and shrugged her shoulders. 30/15. Rezaď backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Errani on the third stroke hit an off-forehand just wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Rezaď forehand just long. Held.

Rezaď serving 5-5: Second serve... Rezaď went to the net, forcing Errani to hit a forehand lob wide. 15/0. Rezaď netted a forehand off a mildly awkward deep forehand return. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. First serve out wide – in the corner – forced Errani to net a backhand return. 30/30. Errani's deep crosscourt forehand forced Rezaď to net a forehand. 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Rezaď ran down a dropshot, and dispatched it with a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. Deuce #1. Ace #5: down the middle. Ad Rezaď (GP #1). Second serve... Rezaď's crosscourt backhand forced Errani to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Rezaď saw her coach at the changeover.

Errani serving 5-6: Rezaď hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 0/15. Rezaď crosscourt forehand + off-forehand winner. 0/30. Second serve... Rezaď down-the-line forehand wide. 15/30. Rezaď hit a crosscourt backhand onto the baseline, forcing Errani to earth a backhand. 15/40 (SP #1 for Rezaď). Second serve... Rezaď went to the net, but was forced to retreat, and dumped a backhand into the net. 30/40 (SP #2 for Rezaď). Rezaď forced a floater, but netted a forehand smash. Deuce #1. Rezaď crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Errani (GP #1). Rezaď hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Errani to hit a backhand wide. Deuce #2. Deep first serve out wide forced Rezaď to mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Ad Errani (GP #2). Rezaď forehand long. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Rezaď/Errani):
{*0/0} Rezaď's off-backhand forced Errani to net a forehand.
{1/0*} Errani on the fourth stroke netted a backhand.
{2/0*} Rezaď hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Errani to net a forehand.
{*3/0} Second serve: Errani's deep crosscourt backhand return forced Rezaď to hit a backhand long.
{*3/1} Ace #6: down the middle. Rezaď shouted "yes!" and pumped her fist.
{4/1*} Rezaď hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner.
{5/1*} Rezaď, driven wide, netted a backhand.
{*5/2} Second serve: Errani netted a backhand return.
{*6/2: SP #3 for Rezaď} Second serve... Rezaď hit a deep backhand down the middle, forcing Errani to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Rezaď won the first set 7-6 (7/2) at 15:59 BST (47m).

Errani saw her coach at the set-break.


Second set
----------
REZAĎ _*_*_*@__*@* 7
ERRAN *_*_*__@*___ 5

Errani serving 0-0: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Rezaď's crosscourt backhand return forced Errani to net a backhand. 15/15. Ace #1: down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/15. Second serve: Rezaď hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 30/30. Errani hit a backhand dropshot-winner (Rezaď's forehand was "not up"). 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Rezaď serving 0-1: Second serve... Errani forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. 0/15. Second serve out wide: Errani hit a down-the-line backhand return wide. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Second serve... Errani, driven wide, hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner, which was loudly applauded by the crowd. 30/30. Deep first serve forced Errani to net a forehand; Rezaď celebrated with another shout of "yes!" 40/30 (GP #1). Errani hit a deep forehand return onto the baseline, forcing Rezaď to hit an off-forehand wide. Deuce #1. Second serve... Errani hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Rezaď (GP #2). Second serve... Rezaď's depth forced Errani to net a forehand. Held.

Errani serving 1-1: Second serve... Errani hit a backhand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Rezaď's off-forehand forced Errani to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. A netcord from Errani induced Rezaď to hit an off-forehand wide. 30/15. Errani netted a forehand. 30/30. Rezaď hit an off-backhand just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Rezaď ran down a dropshot, but hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 1-2 (new balls): Rezaď hit a backhand just long. 0/15. Errani hit an off-forehand winner. 0/30. Second serve... Rezaď hit a hard, deep crosscourt backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Errani to earth a backhand lob. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Errani to earth a backhand return. 30/30. First serve down the middle forced Errani to net a backhand return. Rezaď celebrated winning that important point with another shout of "yes!" 40/30 (GP #1). Forehand return just long. Held.

Errani serving 2-2: Second serve out wide: Rezaď hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 0/30. Second serve out wide: Rezaď dumped a forehand return halfway up the net. 15/30. First serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit an off-forehand return wide. 30/30. Rezaď crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit an off-forehand return wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 2-3: Errani hit an off-forehand winner. 0/15. Second serve... Errani crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Errani went to the net, but Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner. 30/15. Second serve... Rezaď spread Errani with a crosscourt backhand + off-backhand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Errani to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Errani serving 3-3: Second serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Rezaď to net a running backhand. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 15/15. Rezaď hit an off-forehand winner, and pumped her fist. 15/30. Errani forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Errani hit a sliced backhand winner down the line. 30/40 (BP #2). Errani hit an off-backhand dropshot wide. Broken.

Both players saw their coaches during the changeover. As a computer-programmer who's used to generating output-text by rigid rules, I just love the umpires' repetitive verbiage when this happens: "Miss Rezaď has requested to see her coach. Miss Errani has requested to see her coach."

Rezaď serving 4-3: First serve out wide forced Errani to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Rezaď forehand long. 15/15. Rezaď hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Errani to net a forehand. 30/15. Second serve... Rezaď hit an off-forehand just wide. 30/30. Service-winner down the middle. 40/30 (GP #1). Rezaď went to the net, but Errani hit a backhand lob-winner just inside the baseline. Deuce #1. Serve out wide + down-the-line forehand forced a floater, but Rezaď netted an easy forehand smash. Ad Errani (BP #1). Rezaď opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, hit an off-forehand winner, and shouted "yes!" Deuce #2. Rezaď forced a short ball, but hit a backhand just long. Ad Errani (BP #2). First serve out wide forced Errani to net a backhand. Deuce #3. First serve out wide + pinpoint off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. Ad Rezaď (GP #2). First serve down the middle forced a short return, but Rezaď hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #4. Second serve... Errani hit a down-the-line forehand winner. Ad Errani (BP #3). Second serve... Rezaď went to the net, but Errani hit a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the line. Broken.

Errani serving 4-4: Short second serve: Rezaď mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to net a forehand return. 30/0. Errani hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Errani's backhand clipped the netcord and turned into a dropshot-winner. Held.

Rezaď serving 4-5: Errani hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide. 15/0. Rezaď hit an off-backhand long and wide. 15/15. Errani netted a forehand. 30/15. Ace #7: second serve landed on the service-line and shot through on Errani. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #8: down the middle. Held.

Errani serving 5-5: Deep first serve forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Double fault #2 (wild second serve very long). 15/15. Errani on the third stroke netted a forehand, and Rezaď shouted "yes!" 15/30. Second serve... Errani hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: it clipped the outside edge of the sideline. 30/30. Rezaď opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand return, and hit an off-backhand winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Rezaď ran down a dropshot, but pushed a down-the-line forehand long and wide. Deuce #1. Errani went to the net, but Rezaď hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. Ad Rezaď (BP #2). Second serve... Rezaď forced a short floater, dispatched it with an off-forehand winner, and shouted "yeah!" Broken.

Rezaď serving 6-5: First serve out wide forced Errani to poke a forehand return into the net. 15/0. Second serve down the middle induced Errani to net a forehand. 30/0. Second serve: Errani hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/15. Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand winner onto the baseline. 40/15 (MP #1 for Rezaď). First serve out wide forced a short return, but Rezaď hit an off-backhand wide. 40/30 (MP #2 for Rezaď). First serve out wide + down-the-line backhand winner. Rezaď won 7-6 7-5 at 16:48 BST (second set 48m, match 1h36m).

Rezaď's on-court interview: "I tried to play my best. It's difficult to play on grass, but I just tried to fight like I do every day. On grass, it's always important to serve well. Some days you play well, sometimes not – that's tennis."

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Andrew's semi-final eyewitness reports & photos

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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
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1. Photos
2. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Riske
3. Semi-final eyewitness report: Rezaď v Li
4. Forthcoming reports

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1. Photos (Saturday 12th June 2010)
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Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Saturday's photos are in two volumes.


Saturday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 137)
---------------

Due to my DivShare account exceeding its download-limit, my photos will not be available to download until Saturday 24th July 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

http://www.divshare.com/download/12033527-e61

Maria Sharapova (63 photos)
Aravane Rezaď (42)
Alison Riske (34)
Li,Na (25)
Michael Joyce (4)
Sarah Riske (3)
Yaroslava Shvedova (1)
Vania King (1)
Alla Kudryavtseva (1)

Photo 035 is a contender for the greatest photo I've ever taken. In a striking example of false perspective, Maria Sharapova had just hit a serve in my direction, and the ball was aligned with her body but much closer to the camera than she was, making it look as though she was, quite literally, seeing the ball the size of a football!

Alison Riske's coach is an attractive tall, leggy blonde – who, I now know, is her elder sister Sarah! (Photos 061 and 074). Alison herself might grow on me, although right now I'm finding it difficult to forgive her for beating Anna Chakvetadze in the third round.


Saturday Part 2 (Photos 138 to 224)
---------------

Due to my DivShare account exceeding its download-limit, my photos will not be available to download until Saturday 24th July 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

http://www.divshare.com/download/12034007-759

Yaroslava Shvedova (84 photos)
Vania King (28)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (6)
Liezel Huber (6)

I had another physically close – although this time less personal – encounter with Yaroslava Shvedova (Photo 148). My first close encounter with Shvedova came at Birmingham 2008, when she thanked me for holding open for her the front door of the hotel in which we were both staying.

That was the first of only two times that a professional tennis-player has ever spoken to me – the second time being when Stefanie Vögele thanked me for standing out of her way as she came off Court 1 after winning her third-round match at Birmingham 2009.

I watched Shvedova's doubles semi-final casually (she and Vania King lost 4-6 0-6 to Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands), which left me free to take loads of photos of her. Little did I realise that I was watching the Wimbledon 2010 Women's Doubles champs-to-be!

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2. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Riske (Saturday 12th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Alison Riske [Q], 6-2 4-6 6-1

Maria was given a run for her money by the world #185, whose big serving, net-rushing and excellent retrieval had seen off former #5 Anna Chakvetadze and current #16 Yanina Wickmayer in the previous two rounds – both those upsets had seen Riske drop the first set but take the second, as she did again against Maria, but Maria showed once again her Major champion's ability to step up a gear in the third set.

Maria served particularly well in this match: 12 aces, only one double fault, and she hit her fastest-ever serve: 121 mph!

Maria started the match with a down-the-line forehand winner and an easy hold to 15, but Riske showed great serving to hold to love: *1-1. Maria held to 30 with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner and an ace down the middle: 2-1*.

Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line followed by an error-forcing off-forehand return to put Riske in a *1-2 (0/30) hole, and broke to 15 courtesy of a double fault and an unforced backhand error: *3-1.

The next three games went comfortably with serve, Maria hitting two consecutive aces down the middle from *4-2 (30/15). Riske at *2-5 had 30/15 and the initiative in the rally, but sprayed a backhand long; Maria's deep, error-forcing forehand return gave her SP at 40/30*, and Riske netted a forehand to give Maria the first set 6-2.

Maria opened the second set with a hold to love – sealed with an ace out wide. Riske, serving much better than in the first set, held to 30. Maria held to love for 2-1* with two consecutive aces, but as in her previous match, she stopped grunting.

The quality of the tennis rose at 6-2 2-1*: with both girls forcing floaters from each other, Maria hit a high off-forehand winner and a crosscourt backhand winner, but Riske held to 30 with some strong serving and a forehand punch-volley winner: 2-2*. Maria was broken to 15 with a double fault and three errors (two forced): 6-2 2-3*.

Maria won the rally of the match with a crosscourt backhand winner after an amazing get from Riske outside the tramlines as Maria pegged Riske back from 40/15 to Deuce, but a forehand volley-winner gave Riske another GP, which she converted when Maria hit a wild backhand very long: 6-2 *2-4.

Maria held to love with an ace down the middle and two excellent second serves, the second of which set up an off-forehand winner: 6-2 3-4*. Riske held to love with a dropshot + pass-winner combination after Maria had missed three makeable returns: 6-2 *3-5. Maria held to 15 with two service-winners and two aces: 6-2 4-5*.

Maria couldn't stop Riske serving out the second set, despite leading 15/0*, 30/15* (after hitting a crosscourt forehand pass-winner) and 40/30*. Riske saved that BP after good retrieval helped her to win a nailbiting rally, and then Maria netted two groundstrokes – one unforced, one forced – to drop the second set 4-6.

Maria made a strong start to the third set, holding to 15 with her tenth ace, a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner, and two service-winners. She then broke to 15 with two off-forehand winners and a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 1:1 *2-0.

Maria held to 15 with a pinpoint forehand winner down the line for 3-0*, then Riske held to 30 – after Maria's crosscourt forehand winner at 3-0* (15/15) was controversially called wide. 1:1 *3-1.

Maria held to 15 with an off-forehand winner and her eleventh ace, and showed that she had the measure of Riske's net-rushing with a dipping backhand pass down the line at 4-1* (15/0*). Maria broke to 15 with two crosscourt forehand winners, and then served out the match in style: starting with a running backhand winner down the line, and converting her first MP at 1:1 *5-1 (40/15) with her twelfth ace!

Maria's on-court interview: "She played so many matches, and played so well. I'd never seen her play. She definitely has a great grass-court game. My fastest serve was 120 miles per hour – I'm not sure if that's correct! I've been coming [to Birmingham] for seven years: I love the atmosphere, the warm support."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

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3. Semi-final eyewitness report: Rezaď v Li (Saturday 12th June 2010)
-------------------------------------------

- ARAVANE REZAĎ [4,DF] lt. LI,NA [1], 1-6 6-3 3-6

Li used to be just a power-player, but nowadays, she puts much more emphasis on placement. She systematically dismantled Rezaď, exploiting her poor mobility – especially in the first set. Li played well, but Rezaď played into her hands – at least until she launched a fightback from 1-6 *0-2.

Rezaď began brightly, with a down-the-line forehand winner on the first point of the match (Li served first, and held to 30), and an off-backhand winner on the first point of her first service-game, which she held to love for 1-1*.

Li's attempt to serve and volley at *1-1 (0/0) met with a crosscourt forehand pass-winner, but she recovered from 0/15 (with a crosscourt backhand winner) and 15/30 (with an ace down the middle), and held to 30 for 2-1*.

Rezaď continued her pattern of hitting a winner on the first point of every game with an ace down the middle at *1-2 (0/0), but three unforced errors put her 15/40 down, and Li broke for *3-1 with a crosscourt backhand winner.

Li consolidated her break with a hold to 30: they each hit a down-the-line forehand winner, and Li at 30/30 hit an off-forehand winner despite being pushed back on her heels by a deep return. *1-4.

Li at 4-1* broke again to 15 with a backhand winner down the line, a crosscourt forehand winner, and two well-placed returns that forced Rezaď into error.

Li at *5-1 served out the first set to 15 as Rezaď missed four returns: two forced by good first serves, and two cheap errors off second serves.

Rezaď opened the second set with an ace, but then Li hit a deep, body-jamming forehand return down the middle, forcing Rezaď into error. That's the point that really sticks in my mind from this match, as it's a prime example of the damage that Li's placement did to Rezaď.

Li broke to 30 with three more well-placed, error-forcing groundstrokes, then held to 15 with an off-backhand winner and a crosscourt forehand winner: 6-1 2-0*.

Rezaď began her fightback with a hold to 30, then broke to 15 courtesy of two double faults, an off-forehand winner, and a deep, error-forcing return: 1-6 *2-2.

Rezaď held to 30 as she overcame Li's two winners with four well-placed service-winners: 1-6 3-2*. Li held to love, courtesy of three unforced errors and an error-forcing second serve: 6-1 3-3*.

Rezaď held to 15 with an ace down the middle, a bad call against Li, and a forehand dropshot-winner: 1-6 4-3*. Rezaď broke to 15 with an off-backhand winner and three cheap errors from Li: 1-6 *5-3. Rezaď served out the second set to 15 with two deep service-winners, an ace out wide, and a deep, error-forcing backhand: 1-6 6-3.

Rezaď put pressure on Li's serve at the start of the third set, a crosscourt backhand winner giving her 30/15*, but Li recovered with two service-winners and a deep, error-forcing forehand for 1:1 1-0*.

A double fault and two deep, error-forcing forehands from Li put Rezaď 1:1 *0-1 (0/40) down. She saved the first BP by running down a dropshot to hit an off-forehand winner, but Li converted the second BP with a deep crosscourt backhand winner for *2-0. That was to be the only break of the third set.

Li held to 15 courtesy of a missed second-serve return, a forced error and two service-winners for 1:1 3-0*. Rezaď held to love courtesy of three unforced errors and an ace out wide for 1:1 1-3*.

Li held to 30 with an error-forcing second serve, a crosscourt forehand winner, a deep forehand winner onto the baseline, and a service-winner down the middle for 1:1 4-1*.

Rezaď held to 30 with a deep, error-forcing backhand, a service-winner, an unforced error, and a backhand drop-volley winner for 1:1 2-4*.

Li held to 15 with three service-winners and an off-forehand winner: 1:1 5-2*. Rezaď held to 15 with a down-the-line backhand winner and three unforced errors: 1-1 3-5*.

A service-winner and two error-forcing crosscourt forehands gave Li 1-1 *5-3 (40/0). Rezaď coolly saved the first MP with a backhand dropshot-winner, but Li converted the second with a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline.


First set
---------
LI *_*@*@* 6
RE _*_____ 1

The match was second on Centre Court, and started at 14:03 BST.

Li serving 0-0: Rezaď on the fourth stroke hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/15. Li's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner; she apologised with her palm. 15/15. Li's deep crosscourt forehand forced Rezaď to net a forehand. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). A good second serve forced a short return, but Li hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 0-1: Rezaď hit an off-backhand winner. 15/0. Second serve... Li crosscourt forehand wide. 30/0. First serve out wide: Li hit a makeable forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve: Li netted a forehand return. Held.

Li serving 1-1: Li tried to serve and volley, but Rezaď on the fourth stroke hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/15. Li hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Second serve... Li forced a floater, but hit a forehand drive-volley long. 15/30. Ace #1: down the middle (officially it was recorded as an ace, but I think Rezaď clipped it with her racket). 30/30. First serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return wide – off the outside edge of her racket. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Rezaď serving 1-2: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Second serve... Rezaď on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Second serve... Rezaď backhand long. 15/30. Rezaď netted a cheap forehand off a short return. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Li hit a crosscourt backhand winner, and said "c'mon". Broken.

Li serving 3-1: First serve out wide forced Rezaď to earth a forehand return. 15/0. Rezaď hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: on the sideline and just inside the baseline. 15/15. Li, driven wide, netted a forehand. 15/30. Li ran down a dropshot and hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 30/30. Serve out wide: Rezaď's deep return pushed Li back on her heels, but she still managed to dig out an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Rezaď saw her coach (some guy from the Mouratoglou Academy) at the changeover.

Rezaď serving 1-4: Li hit a backhand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 0/15. Serve + off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Li hit a deep forehand return down the line, forcing Rezaď to net a backhand. 15/30. Second serve: Li hit an off-forehand return + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Li's off-backhand return forced Rezaď to mishit a forehand long. Broken.

Li serving 5-1: Service-winner down the middle: just inside the service-line. 15/0. Second serve: Rezaď dumped a backhand return halfway up the net. 30/0. Good serve out wide, but Rezaď hit a deep forehand return down the middle, forcing Li to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Second serve: Rezaď netted a forehand return. 40/15 (SP #1 for Li). Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit an off-backhand return wide. Li won the first set 6-1 at 14:23 BST (20m).


Second set
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LI @*___*___ 3
RE __*@*_*@* 6

Rezaď serving 0-0 (new balls): Ace #2: on the sideline. 15/0. Second serve: deep forehand return down the middle jammed Rezaď, forcing her to hit a forehand wide. 15/15. Li hit another deep forehand down the middle, but Rezaď responded in kind, forcing Li to net a forehand. 30/15. Li's off-forehand forced Rezaď to hit a short backhand, which Li dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Li hit a backhand return down Rezaď's left sideline, forcing her to earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Li's deep off-forehand forced Rezaď to net a backhand. Broken.

Li serving 1-0: Rezaď on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve wide). 15/15. Second serve... Rezaď's forehand was called long but overruled, so they had to replay the point, and Li took full advantage with a first serve down the middle + off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Rezaď. 40/15 (GP #1). Serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Rezaď serving 0-2: Deep second serve forced Li to hit an off-backhand wide. 15/0. Li netted a forehand. 30/0. Second serve... Li's deep crosscourt forehand forced Rezaď to hit a defensive forehand long. 30/15. Double fault (second serve long by a whisker). 30/30. Deep first serve forced Li to hit an off-forehand return wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Li off-forehand wide. Held.

Li serving 2-1: Double fault #2 (second serve long). 0/15. Rezaď crosscourt backhand + off-forehand winner back behind Li. 0/30. Double fault #3 (second serve just wide). 0/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand return long. 15/40 (BP #2). Rezaď's deep forehand return forced Li to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Rezaď serving 2-2: Deep first serve out wide forced Li to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Li hit an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Li to net a forehand return. 30/15. Li hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 30/30. First serve out wide: Li netted a cheap forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Li to net another forehand return. Held.

Li saw her coach (her husband Jiang Shan) at the changeover.

Li serving 2-3: Rezaď netted a backhand. 15/0. Rezaď netted a forehand. 30/0. Rezaď forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep second serve down the middle forced Rezaď to stretch wide and hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 3-3: Second serve... Li hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Rezaď to net a forehand. 0/15. Li forehand long. 15/15. Ace #3: down the middle (officially it was recorded as an ace, but I think Li clipped it with her racket). 30/15. Li hit a forehand return onto the baseline, but it was called long. She argued. 40/15 (GP #1). Serve down the middle forced a short return, which Rezaď dispatched with an off-forehand dropshot-winner. Held.

Rezaď saw her coach again at the changeover.

Li serving 3-4: Li sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Rezaď hit a fading crosscourt backhand to set up an off-backhand winner, and shouted "yes!" 0/30. Ace #2: out wide, on the sideline. 15/30. Li, stretched wide, hit a down-the-line backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Li hit a down-the-line forehand long. Broken.

Rezaď serving 5-3: Deep first serve out wide forced Li to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. First serve: Li's deep forehand return forced Rezaď to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Li to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Ace #4: out wide. 40/15 (SP #1 for Rezaď). Rezaď hit a deep off-backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Li to mishit a forehand very long. Rezaď won the second set 6-3 at 14:51 BST (second set 28m, match so far 48m).


Third set
---------
LI *@*_*_*_* 6
RE ___*_*_*_ 3

Li serving 0-0 (new balls): Good first serve out wide, but Rezaď's deep forehand return forced Li to net a forehand. 0/15. Second serve... Rezaď opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, but hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/15. Rezaď's return forced a short floater, which she dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit an off-forehand return wide. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Rezaď to step into the tramlines and net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Li hit a deep crosscourt forehand into the corner, forcing Rezaď to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Rezaď serving 0-1: Double fault #2 (second serve wide). 0/15. Li hit a deep off-forehand into the corner, forcing Rezaď to hit a defensive backhand long and wide. 0/30. Li hit a deep forehand return down the line, forcing Rezaď to hit a backhand long. 0/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Rezaď ran down a dropshot and hit an off-forehand winner. 15/40 (BP #2). Li hit a deep crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

Li serving 2-0: Second serve: backhand return long. 15/0. Li's deep off-forehand forced Rezaď to net a backhand. 30/0. Rezaď's crosscourt forehand return forced Li to stretch low & wide and net a forehand. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Rezaď to net a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Rezaď to net a forehand return. Held.

Rezaď saw her coach for the third time at the changeover.

Rezaď serving 0-3: First serve: forehand return long. 15/0. Second serve... Li crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Li crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #5: out wide, just inside the sideline. Held.

Li serving 3-1: Second serve out wide forced Rezaď to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Second serve... Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Second serve... Rezaď's deep crosscourt forehand forced Li to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Second serve... Li hit a deep forehand winner onto the baseline, said "c'mon" and pumped her fist. 40/15 (GP #1). Rezaď's deep forehand forced Li to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to mishit a forehand long. Held.

Rezaď serving 1-4: Rezaď hit a deep backhand down the middle, forcing Li to net a forehand. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Li to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. Double fault #3 (wild second serve long). 30/15. Li hit a deep crosscourt backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Rezaď to hit an off-backhand wide. 30/30. Li netted a forehand. 40/30 (GP #1). Rezaď hit a backhand drop-volley winner, and said "c'mon". Held.

Li serving 4-2: First serve out wide forced Rezaď to net a forehand return. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Rezaď to net a backhand return. 30/0. Second serve... Second serve: Rezaď's fading crosscourt backhand return forced Li to net a backhand. 30/15. Li hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Rezaď serving 2-5: Second serve... Rezaď hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Li. 15/0. Li hit a forehand return long, and yelled. 30/0. First serve: forehand return just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Rezaď dumped a backhand halfway up the net. 40/15 (GP #2). Li on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. Held.

Li serving 5-3: First serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand forced Rezaď to net a forehand. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Rezaď to hit a forehand return very long. 30/0. Li's crosscourt forehand forced Rezaď into the tramlines to hit a forehand very long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Li). Rezaď hit a backhand dropshot-winner. 40/15 (MP #2 for Li). Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Li won 6-1 3-6 6-3 at 15:21 BST (third set 29m, match 1h18m).

Li's on-court interview: "She played really hard. I called the coach: he helped me. I tried to get more back in the court, move more. Tonight, I'll just relax. If I win the match, I'll always do the same."

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4. Forthcoming reports
----------------------

I'll post my report and photos of the Birmingham final no later than Monday 26th July, and try to bring them forward to Saturday 24th July if possible, as that is when my DivShare account's download-limit will be reset.

My first French Open extended TV-report (1r: Maria Sharapova v Ksenia Pervak) has suffered a delay, as my TV just died (thank God it waited until after Wimbledon!), and I can't start this report until I get a new TV. So I'm giving myself a week's extension for this report (tentatively changing the ETA to 26th July for now), and will try to get back on the schedule detailed in my last Wimbledon report once I have my new TV.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Jul 18th, 2010 at 06:33 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Andrew's final eyewitness report & photos

=============
AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
=============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Li

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1. Photos (Saturday 12th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Sunday's photos:
http://www.divshare.com/download/12077963-61e

Maria Sharapova (82 photos)
Li,Na (69)
Cara Black (25)
Lisa Raymond (18)
Liezel Huber (11)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (9)
Michael Joyce (1)

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2. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Li (Sunday 13th June 2010)
------------------------------------------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] lt. LI,NA [1], 5-7 1-6

There had been signs earlier in the week that Maria may have been coming down with something: she had stopped grunting in both her quarter-final and her semi-final, and she stopped again at 5-5* in the final.

While I haven't found anything to verify that Maria was actually ill, she certainly ran out of gas after losing a tough first set in which she had led 3-1*. She won only 7 points in the second set, in which, astonishingly, all the games were won to either love or 15.

Credit to Li, though: she was ranked #11 at the time of this tournament, and played even better than that. She's so solid off the ground now, having matured from the go-for-broke player that she was in 2006 (when Maria beat her three times, each for the loss of 6 games).

Maria made a spectacular start to the final, hitting pinpoint forehand and backhand winners down the line, followed by a crosscourt backhand winner to set up BP at 0-0* (40/0*). That was the only BP that she would have in the whole match, and she converted it when Li hit a forehand long: *1-0.

Maria went 0/30 down after a double fault and a Li crosscourt forehand winner, and with both players forcing each other into errors from the baseline, Maria faced a break-back point at 30/40. But she saved it with a service-winner, and consolidated her break with an error-forcing forehand drive-volley: 2-0*.

Li eliminated the possibility of a double bagel by holding to love, with a crosscourt backhand winner to reach 40/0. Maria missed a second-serve return without grunting: *2-1.

Maria faced three more break-back points at *2-1. A double fault and a forehand return-winner put her 30/40 down, which she saved with a deep, error-forcing backhand down the line. She saved two more BPs with service-winners, then hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line to reach GP, which she converted with a low-bouncing, error-forcing crosscourt forehand: 3-1*.

Li held to 15 with a crosscourt backhand winner, a crosscourt forehand winner and a couple of service-winners – including a second serve that was a virtual ace!

Maria blew a *3-2 (30/0) lead with an unforced backhand error and a double fault; Li's off-forehand winner made it 30/40. Maria went to the net, but Li's dipping crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand: 3-3*.

Li held to 15 with an ace down the middle, and two deep, error-forcing forehands onto the baseline: 4-3*.

Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner and a down-the-line backhand winner to put Maria *3-4 (0/30) down, but Maria recovered with a crosscourt forehand virtual winner, a service-winner, and an actual crosscourt forehand winner: 4-4*.

Li held to love as Maria made four errors – three forced, one not.

Serving to stay in the first set at *4-5, Maria faced little resistance from Li as she held to 15 with an error-forcing forehand down the line and a service-winner: 5-5*.

Maria's grunting was conspicuous by its absence as she went to the net and hit a backhand drive-volley, allowing Li to hit a down-the-line forehand pass-winner to reach *5-5 (30/0). Li made two unforced errors, but a long, meaty baseline-rally at 30/30 ended with Li hitting an error-forcing off-forehand, and she converted 40/30 with a down-the-line backhand winner: 6-5*.

Serving to stay in the first set a second time at *5-6, Maria opened with a double fault, and Li reached 40/15* (SP×2) with an off-forehand winner. Maria saved the first SP with a down-the-line forehand winner, and Li was robbed of the second when her crosscourt backhand return was wrongly called wide. Maria then had two GPs, but wasted the first with a double fault, and the second with an unforced backhand error. Li's deep, error-forcing crosscourt backhand gave her a third SP, which she converted when Maria netted a backhand on the third stroke: 5-7.

Li opened the second set by holding to love with a down-the-line forehand winner, an ace out wide and a service-winner: 7-5 1-0*. Maria held to 15 with an ace down the middle, a crosscourt forehand winner and two service-winners: 5-7 1-1*.

Li held to 15 with a crosscourt backhand winner, a down-the-line backhand winner and a service-winner, as Maria failed to make good returns: 7-5 2-1*.

Maria made three forehand errors (two unforced) to go down 5-7 *1-2 (15/40), and Li converted that BP with a crosscourt forehand winner: 7-5 *3-1. Li held to love courtesy of an ace out wide, two service-winners and a missed second-serve return: 7-5 4-1*.

Maria hit a brave, error-forcing second serve on the centre-line for 5-7 *1-4 (15/0), but that was the last point she would win, as she followed it up with her seventh double fault, then two deep, error-forcing returns brought up BP at 5-7 *1-4 (15/40), which Li converted with a crosscourt backhand pass-winner off Maria's weak forehand dropshot: 7-5 *5-1.

Li served out the championship to love with a crosscourt backhand winner, a missed second-serve return, error-forcing depth to set up CP at 7-5 *5-1 (40/0); Maria netted a forehand first-serve return to hand over Magdaléna Rybáriková's Birmingham title to the player who beat Maria in last year's semi-finals and was then beaten by Magda in the final.

Li classlessly claimed that she had forgotten she had another match to play after beating Maria in their 2009 semi-final, and said that if there were another match after the 2010 final, she'd probably lose that too.

Maria was gracious in defeat, and didn't make any excuses:

"I came here to play as many matches as I could on grass. I would have loved to win, but she was the better player today, and she did many things better than me. She returned great. I put her under no pressure whatsoever on her serve.

"Even though the first set was close, I was in trouble from early on, and I gave her too many looks at second serves. I had my opportunities – a few points here and there could have made a difference.

"The goal was to get as many matches as I did; I've played opponents with different types of game. It's always nice to win a tournament, but it doesn't always happen."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/sha...ngham2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. Replacing my dead TV is taking longer than expected, so I'm giving myself another week's extension on my first French Open 2010 extended TV report (1r: Maria Sharapova v Ksenia Pervak): the ETA is now 2nd August 2010.

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Jul 23rd, 2010 at 04:28 PM.
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