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Full Mixed Doubles first-round TV-report

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)

I apologise for the very long delay in getting round to my full TV-reports on Vera’s Wimbledon 2010 campaign. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, and my website is no longer online, since Sqweebs closed down its free hosting-service in January. So I’m posting my reports here, at a lower level of detail than originally planned, with the goal of finishing Wimbledon 2010 before Wimbledon 2011 begins.

Mixed Doubles: First-round TV-report: Zvonarëva/Sa v Robson/J. Murray (Friday 25th June 2010)

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Andre Sa d. Laura Robson [DF]/Jamie Murray, 6-3 6-3

An entertaining doubles-match, played at the breakneck pace of a James Bond film – no lengthy discussions between points for these four!

Vera showed the kind of brilliance that made her a Mixed Doubles champion at Wimbledon 2006 (with Andy Ram): big forehand drives, backhand winners down the line, numerous punch-volley winners, a couple of drop-volley winners, dipping passing-shots, and a winning lob. Such was their confidence in her that she received serve in the ad-court! And she looked very fetching in a bare-shouldered top!

Vera seems to have chosen a good partner: Sa served well (there were no breaks against Vera/Sa in the match), and hit some blinding volleys. I think they have what it takes to win Vera’s second Wimbledon title!

16-year-old Robson played well, but was let down by an erratic partner in Jamie Murray, who was broken in the last game of the first set (Vera/Sa were already up a break from Robson’s first service-game), and suffered the only break of the second set.

Jamie Murray is no longer the force that won the Wimbledon 2007 Mixed Doubles (with Jelena Janković), so Robson would do well to choose a better partner next time. She reached the Hopman Cup final with Jamie’s brother Andy, but I don’t suppose Andy would be up for playing Mixed Doubles at the Majors.

The only moment of concern for Vera came when she was serving at 6-3 *4-2 (40/0), but lost four points in a row to give the Britons a BP. Had they converted it, the momentum could have swung in their favour.

First set
ZV/SA _*@*_*_*@ 6
MU/RO *___*_*__ 3

The match was dynamically scheduled fourth on Centre Court, and started at 19:01 BST.

Both Robson and Murray are left-handed. Robson received in the deuce-court, which is normal for the woman in Mixed Doubles, while Vera received in the ad-court, which is a very bold statement!

Murray serving 0-0: Robson hit a forehand smash-winner (Vera tried jumping for it at the back of the court). Service-winner. Held.

Sa serving 0-1: Double fault (second serve wide). 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to hit a backhand lob long. 15/15. A net-rally ended with Vera hitting a backhand volley wide, and there was a nice smile on Robson’s face. 15/30. A dipping return forced Sa to net a backhand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace down the middle. 30/40 (BP #2). Sa on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand half-volley winner. Deuce #1. Deep second serve out wide forced Robson to net a backhand return. Ad Sa (GP #1). A deep ball forced Sa to hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Vera on the third stroke hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner down the middle off Robson’s return. Virginia Wade: “Pace does not worry Zvonarëva.” Ad Sa. Sa’s off-forehand volley forced Murray to run outside the tramlines and net a left-handed forehand.

Robson serving 1-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Sa to bunt a backhand return long. 15/0. A deep ball induced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Murray intercepted Sa’s return to hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Murray hit a wonderful short-angled crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera bisected the Britons with a “really clever” forehand volley to force a floater from Robson, on which Sa pounced to hit a forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera’s down-the-line backhand return forced a short backhand volley from Murray, which Sa dispatched with a sliced off-backhand pass-winner back behind Murray. Deuce #1. Vera cut off Robson’s crosscourt backhand to hit a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle. Ad Vera/Sa (BP #1). Vera nailed a huge forehand winner down the Britons’ right sideline. Broken.

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva has had a couple of hiccups in her career, and each time, it’s been the Mixed Doubles that has sorted it out. She won the Mixed Doubles here in 2006 with Ram when she was on the crest of a slump, and a couple of years earlier won the US Open with Bob Bryan, and that lifted her. Her career has been up and down. She’s an emotional young lady.”
Virginia Wade: “There were those couple of years for Zvonarëva when she had been playing really well, and then she would get so upset on the court. We all remember a match she played on the stadium of the US Open, where she was a set and a break up, but when she sat at the changeover, she was crying into her towel, and went on to lose that match. In the last couple of years, she has calmed right down and played so well, and then she had a terrible injury last year in April.”

Vera serving 2-1: Robson hit an off-forehand wide off a deep ball. 15/0. Murray went to the net, but Vera hit a dipping crosscourt backhand to his feet, forcing him to net a backhand half-volley. 30/0. Murray hit a crosscourt forehand straight into Sa’s body, forcing him into error. 30/15. Murray hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 30/30. Murray, running wide at the net, netted a backhand volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray backhand return just long. Held.

Murray serving 1-3: Vera at the net hit an awkward low backhand volley wide. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand return. 30/0. Murray tried to serve and volley, but Sa’s dipping crosscourt forehand return forced him to net a backhand volley. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide: Vera hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner past Robson at the net. 30/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Sa to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Sa serving 3-2: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Sa’s deep forehand volley forced Murray to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: 115 mph, on the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve long). Deep serve out wide forced Robson to hit a backhand return wide.

Robson serving 2-4: Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Robson dominated the point and hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Vera hit a beautiful crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. 30/15. Vera hit a down-the-line backhand return winner. 30/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to hit a forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray went to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. Held.

Simon Reed: “Robson looks born for the big stage. Her temperament is very good.”

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): Sa hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Murray backhand return long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to hit a backhand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep service-winner out wide. Held.

Murray serving 3-5: Murray on the third stroke netted a forehand volley off a dipping return. 0/15. Vera hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 0/30. Murray on the third stroke netted a backhand volley. 0/40 (GP #1 for Vera/Sa). Robson’s forehand smash forced a floater that sat up nicely for Murray to... net a forehand smash. Held. Vera/Sa won the first set 6-3 at 19:33 BST (31m).

Vera is playing brilliantly – even the commentators admit that she is the best player on the court right now. Robson is playing well, but is being let down by an erratic partner.

Second set
ZV/SA *@*_*_*_* 6
RO/MU ___*_*_*_ 3

Sa serving 0-0: Deep, body-jamming first serve forced Robson to net a backhand return, but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed that it was just long. Sa’s deep crosscourt forehand volley forced Robson to hit a backhand lob wide. 15/0. Sa forced Murray to hit a backhand lob long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to net a forehand return. Held.

Murray serving 0-1: Vera’s depth forced Murray to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Murray crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Sa’s dipping forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/30. Robson left a lob from Vera that landed just inside the baseline for a winner! 15/40 (BP #1). Sa hit a stinging forehand return-winner down the line. Broken.

Vera serving 2-0: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. Murray hit a deep backhand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Ace out wide. 15/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to hit a forehand long. 30/30. Murray at the net overran Vera’s crosscourt forehand, netting a forehand pass. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve out wide induced Murray to net a forehand return. Held

Well recovered from 0/30!

Robson serving 0-3: A great rally ended with Robson hitting a crosscourt forehand virtual winner past Vera. 15/0. The Britons wasted a challenge on a serve that was way wide. Murray, driven into the tramlines, hit a backhand long. 15/15. Robson’s off-forehand induced Sa to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Murray on the third stroke tipped a backhand drop-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Murray dispatched a floater with a forehand smash-winner. Held.

Sa serving 3-1: Ace out wide. 15/0. Murray dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera’s crosscourt backhand drop-volley forced Murray to hit a running forehand long. Held.

It’s great to see Vera laughing with her partner at the changeover. Virginia Wade described her as usually “businesslike” and shy.

Murray serving 1-4: Robson on the third stroke hit a crisp off-backhand punch-volley winner. 0/15. Murray ran down a short floater and hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 30/0. Murray hit a backhand virtual winner past Vera. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace out wide. Vera and Sa wasted a challenge. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: First serve out wide forced a short return that sat up nicely for Sa to hit a forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Robson netted a forehand volley. Simon Reed: “Normally, she has very quick hands.” 30/0. Sa on the third stroke hit a backhand volley-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Murray’s deep off-backhand return forced Vera to earth a backhand. 40/15 (GP #2). Murray intercepted Vera’s crosscourt forehand and hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #3). Murray hit a error-forcing forehand return down the middle. Deuce #1. Robson’s deep crosscourt backhand return induced Vera to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Murray (BP #1). Sa pounced on a floating return to hit a backhand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner. Ad Vera (GP #4). First serve out wide + Sa crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Robson serving 2-5 (new balls): Robson netted a backhand three strokes after Vera hit a lovely acute-angled crosscourt backhand volley. 0/15. Serve + Murray forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to net a forehand return. 30/15. Murray intercepted Vera’s crosscourt backhand to hit a sharp forehand volley-winner down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Murray hit an off-forehand volley-winner. Held.

Sa serving 5-3: Deep ace out wide. 15/0. Murray’s dipping crosscourt forehand pass forced Sa to net an awkward low backhand volley. 15/15. Deep second serve induced Robson to hit a forehand return wide. 30/15. Vera’s off-backhand into Robson’s body forced her to net a backhand volley. Vera apologised to her. Ace out wide. Vera/Sa won 6-3 6-3 at 20:03 BST (second set 29m, match 1h01m).

Virginia Wade: “Vera Zvonarëva was really the outstanding player there. She was absolutely superb. It’s not as if Andre Sa let her down in any way at all: he was sharp and good and quick. Zvonarëva is still in all three events, so she’s having a super Wimbledon. She has tremendous instinct in singles and doubles.”


Robson’s sights on junior crown after doubles exit (Sandy Macaskill, The Daily Telegraph – UK)
“Body is in pieces but the mind is strong – keep the dream alive,” Jamie Murray proclaimed on Twitter on Friday, before he and Laura Robson took to a Centre Court finally sheathed in shadow for the first round of their Mixed Doubles.

Pretty stirring stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Sadly, Andre Sa and Vera Zvonarëva are not followers of his social networking site – or, if they are, they are not that easily swayed – for they killed the dream stone-dead on Friday night.

Robson had already departed the first round of the ladies’ doubles the day before, while Murray had gone out of the men’s – he and his partner Jonny Marray put up quite a fight, going down in five sets to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjić, the decider lasting 28 games (is that all?).

But this performance confirmed what his post had revealed, that the match had taken its toll. The British pair was thrashed in straight sets: 6-3 6-3.

At least, perhaps, it will be a relief to Kathy Robson. Her daughter might still have a hankering for Marat Safin, but let’s not forget, Murray has previous with his Mixed Doubles partners.

He famously whittled away the hours en route to winning the title back in 2007 by flirting happily with his partner Jelena Janković, until – rumour has it – her mother warned him away.

Of course, in reality, this partnership was never going to be like that, the 16-year-old Robson grinning at Murray like he was her older brother as they emerged on court, Murray loping in that curious way of his, Robson bounding alongside. Even so, the chemistry was off.

Sure, there were the high-fives between every point, the whispered strategy behind mouths obscured by a ball, but none of the instinctive communication successful doubles-pairings need.

Going for the same volleys, not knowing who was going forward and who back, or side to side, for that matter. Pretty basic stuff. Murray didn’t even let the lady leave court first.

The signs were ominous from the off. For starters, it took five minutes for Murray, sporting a crew-cut that a Marine would be proud of, to hold the first service-game of the match.

Robson was clearly nervous, at one point patting a dreadful volley into the net after Zvonarëva chased down a delightfully angled drop-shot from Murray, a point that should never have been lost.

Then they were unable to break, even though Sa was serving so slowly that his first effort rarely topped out at over 115 mph. No need for him to lighten up when it was Robson’s turn to face, then.

The first set disappeared in the blink of an eye, the second even faster. Robson’s serve was broken as Zvonarëva, drawing a bead on her opponent’s serve, whipped a forehand return down the line for a *2-1 lead in the first set.

From there, it was all downhill for their opponents, the Brazilian and Russian taking the match in a minute over the hour.


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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