Full final TV-report for Zvonarëva v S.Williams
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
I apologise for the very long delay to this report. I am extremely busy with my job, and my life has been particularly hectic since I posted my Wimbledon 2010 semi-final reports in April.
I wish Vera a full recovery from her recent health-problems, especially the shoulder-injury with which she has withdrawn from the Australian Open 2013.
Final TV-report: Zvonarëva v S.Williams (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
- VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS , 3-6 2-6
Vera didn’t play her best by any means in this, her first Major singles final, but by good serving and aggressive counter-punching, she at least managed to achieve a modicum of scoreline-respectability against the ruthless Williams, who had already won 12 Major singles-titles (including three Wimbledons) from 15 previous finals (losing only to Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova).
The obvious reasons for Williams’s victory were her huge serve and powerful groundstrokes, but she also had quite a bit of success with short-angled groundstrokes to the sidelines. Vera has excellent lateral retrieval, but it’s much tougher for her (and therefore would be for anybody) when she is called upon to move diagonally rather than parallel to the baseline.
I have structured my report as follows:
1. a detailed game-by-game summary of each set;
2. a blow-by-blow description of every single point;
3. transcriptions of the players’ on-court BBC interviews.
1. Game-by-game summary
1.1 First set
Williams made a strong start, holding to love with the help of a netcord that set up a backhand winner.
Vera at *0-1 made an encouraging start, hitting a backhand drive-volley winner as she held to 30. She showed herself to be a good retriever, who was quite capable of taking the initiative if Williams couldn’t get the first strike in.
Williams at *1-1 double-faulted to trail 15/30, but recovered with an ace... Vera pegged her back to deuce, but netted a silly sliced forehand, and Williams held serve with another ace.
Vera at *1-2 held to 15 with some big serves of her own. Williams at *2-2 held to 30 after Vera tested her with a sliced forehand that drew an error, and a net-approach to which Williams responded with a down-the-line forehand pass-winner.
Vera at *2-3 trailed 0/30 and 30/40, but recovered with three big serves in a row (including her second ace) to hold for 3-3*.
For those first six games, the standard of play was certainly good, with no sign yet of the blowout that many had predicted.
Williams at *3-3 held to 15 with a couple of big serves, an off-forehand drive-volley winner, and an error-forcing net-approach.
Vera at *3-4 hit two big serves to lead 40/15, but served her first double fault at 40/30. Williams wasted one break-point by netting a second-serve return. From Deuce #2, Vera went to the net on consecutive points, but Williams hit an awkward lob and a running forehand pass-winner to score the first break.
Williams, serving for the first set at *5-3, hit two big serves to lead 40/15. She wasted the first set-point with a double fault, and Vera saved the second with an error-inducing short-angled crosscourt backhand return. A serve + smash-winner gave Williams a third set-point, and Vera hit a makeable forehand just wide to lose the first set 3-6 by one single break.
1.2 Second set
Vera squealed in frustration as she netted a makeable forehand at 0:1 *0-0 30/40 to go a set and a break down.
Williams at *1-0 played a spectacular game to hold to 15 with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline, a down-the-line backhand winner, an off-backhand winner, and a down-the-line backhand volley-winner.
Vera at *0-2 responded with a hold to 15 of her own, with the help of three big serves including her fourth ace.
Williams at *2-1 surpassed even the brilliance of her previous service-game as she held again to 15 with her seventh and eighth aces, a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline, and an off-forehand volley-winner – 8 winners in the last 10 points on her serve!
Vera at *1-3 recovered from 15/40 with a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner to make it deuce, then reached game-point with a wrong-footing crosscourt forehand winner. Sadly, with her anxiety evident in the pitch of her grunting, she then made two errors, surrendered her service-game with a double fault, and waved her arms in frustration.
Williams at *4-1 again held to 15, with two big serves, and two successful forays to the net that ended with forehand smashes (the first a clean winner).
Vera at *1-5 added a modicum of respectability to the scoreline by holding to 15 with the help of a crosscourt backhand winner, a service-winner and an error-forcing net-approach.
Williams at *5-2 served her ninth ace, followed by a second serve that kicked like a mule to force Vera into error, and a forehand smash-winner to reach triple championship-point at 40/0. A nail-biting final rally ended with Williams at the net to hit a high off-forehand drive-volley winner.
2. Point-by-point description
2.1 First set
ZVONARËV _*_*_*___ 3
WILLIAMS *_*_*_*@* 6
The match was first on Centre Court. Williams won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 14:12 BST.
Williams serving 0-0: Vera on the sixth stroke hit a backhand long. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). In a longish baseline-rally, Williams’s backhand clipped the netcord and fell short, forcing Vera to run forward and hit a short sliced forehand down the line, enabling Williams to hit a deep down-the-line backhand winner. Held.
Vera serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced a backhand lob-return long. Vera got a loud cheer from the crowd as she avoided the possibility of a Golden Set. 15/0. Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams hit a fearsome deep crosscourt backhand return; Vera showed her excellent retrieval-skills to recover, but Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and landed just inside the sideline for a winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams’s heavy, deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Williams netted a forehand. Held.
Williams serving 1-1: Vera’s deep backhand jammed Williams into hitting a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a down-the-line backhand return wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Ace #2: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/30. Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand winner was too much even for Vera’s lateral retrieval. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera’s deep crosscourt return induced Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Vera dumped an extreme sliced forehand halfway up the net – who’s been watching Tsvetana Pironkova? Ad Williams (GP #2). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Held.
Vera serving 1-2: Deep first serve down the middle induced Williams to hit a wild off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/0. Williams netted a backhand off a high-bouncing backhand from Vera. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a good forehand approach down Williams’s right sideline, but Williams came up with a stunning running crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve: forehand return long. Held.
Williams serving 2-2: Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 0/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, deep in the corner. 15/15. Williams hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, inducing Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Vera’s sliced forehand bounced very low, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 30/30. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Vera to bunt a crosscourt backhand wide, accompanied by a cute little moan. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, but her down-the-line backhand approach was found wanting as Williams hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Held.
Vera’s not getting blown away out there, and is looking to take the initiative with deep groundstrokes, approaches to the net, and even the occasional Pironkova-esque sliced forehand!
Vera serving 2-3: Vera mishit a wild forehand wide, as the topspin caused an awkward bounce. 0/15. Vera off-forehand wide. 0/30. Williams on the fourth stroke blasted a crosscourt forehand into the net. 15/30. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/30. Vera hit an off-forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Williams to run into the tramlines, stretch wide and net a forehand. Deuce #1. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. Ad Vera (GP #1). Deep first serve induced Williams to net a backhand. Held.
Unnecessary errors led to the BP, but well recovered, and now Williams has baggage.
Williams serving 3-3: Virtual ace: wide-angled first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams dominated the point with a first serve out wide + deep crosscourt backhand + off-forehand drive-volley winner back behind Vera. 30/0. Ace #5: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand down the line, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand wide. Held.
Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Williams netted a forehand – good slide from Vera to retrieve Williams’s off-forehand to the sideline. 15/0. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #3: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to stretch wide and net a one-handed backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Vera sliced a defensive backhand long. Ad Williams (BP #1). First serve just long. Respectable second serve out wide induced Williams to net a backhand return. Williams threw her racket in disgust. Deuce #2. Vera went to the net behind an off-forehand, but Williams hit an awkward crosscourt backhand lob, forcing Vera to net a high backhand volley. That’s where Williams has learned from Anna Chakvetadze! Ad Williams (BP #2). Vera went to the net, but Williams hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. Broken.
I hope those last two points don’t discourage Vera from going to the net. Williams came up with two pretty exceptional shots, and if I were Vera, I’d take a chance on her not being able to keep coming up with them consistently.
Williams serving 5-3: Ace #6: first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to bunt a forehand long. 30/0. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the line – on the centre-line – forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob-return wide. Vera wasted a challenge, although the delay might help her. 40/15 (SP #1 for Williams). Double fault #3 (second serve long). 40/30 (SP #2 for Williams). Kick second serve: Vera hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return just inside the sideline, inducing Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a defensive forehand lob-return, which Williams dispatched with a down-the-line forehand smash-winner. Ad Williams (SP #3). Second serve... Vera, on the fourth stroke, hit a makeable off-forehand just wide. Williams won the first set 6-3 at 14:48 BST (36m).
2.2 Second set
ZVONARËV __*___*_ 2
WILLIAMS @*_*@*_* 6
Vera serving 0-0: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Williams came up with an unbelievable short-angled crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. 30/15. Vera netted a backhand off a deep, body-jamming crosscourt backhand return. 30/30. Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand bounced low, inducing Vera to dump a backhand halfway up the net. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera netted a makeable forehand, and emitted a long squeal of frustration. Broken.
Williams serving 1-0: Williams netted a backhand. 0/15. Williams went to the net, her crosscourt forehand forced a floater, and she dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Williams ran down a netcord-dropshot and hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 30/15. Williams spread Vera with a short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline + off-backhand winner back behind Vera. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace out wide, but Vera made a successful challenge, so they had to replay the point. Williams went to the net and hit a backhand volley-winner down the line. Held.
Vera serving 0-2: Big first serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Williams hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return to the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/15. Vera’s deep, wrong-footing backhand forced Williams to hit a backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand lob-return long. Held.
Vera stems the tide, but she has yet to find an answer to Williams’s serve in this match.
Williams serving 2-1: Ace #7: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Vera used up a challenge. 15/0. Williams’s footwork let her down as she netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #8: first serve out wide, just inside the sideline beyond Vera’s outstretched racket. 30/15. Williams hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand volley-winner. Held.
Vera serving 1-3: Williams went to the net behind an off-forehand approach to the sideline, forcing Vera to net a backhand 0/15. Vera had the initiative, but netted a backhand off a high-bouncing ball. 0/30. Vera’s down-the-line forehand forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Williams hit a short-angled off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide: Williams blasted a crosscourt forehand return into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced a short return; Vera hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner at 84 mph. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Williams, who was running to her left. Ad Vera (GP #1). A crosscourt-backhand drill ended with Vera netting one. Deuce #2. Williams’s deep backhand forced Vera to net a forehand. Ad Williams (BP #3). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Vera waved her arms in frustration. Broken.
Vera’s grunt is increasing in pitch: she sounded increasingly anxious as that last game progressed, and now she has to forget that she’s a set and a double break down, and fight to the bitter end, as is her wont.
BBC commentator Mark Petchey said that when Vera had her wrist-injury, her physiotherapist Jean-Pierre Bruyčre made her go to bed with a CD taped to each hand so that she couldn’t move her wrists. “Every morning, she would have to go to his room like a duck, and tap on his door so that he could untape them.”
Williams serving 4-1: Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and earth a defensive forehand return. 15/0. Williams netted a backhand. 15/15. Virtual ace out wide. 30/15. Williams went to the net and spread Vera, finishing with a forehand smash-winner down the line. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams went to the net, hitting several volleys until a body-jamming forehand smash forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob that landed on her own side of the court. Held.
Vera serving 1-5: Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Deep, body-jamming first serve down the middle forced Williams to mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/0. Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams’s crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Vera bent over and berated herself in Russian. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams netted a backhand. Held.
Well, at least she’s avoided 3-6 1-6. I always think that winning five games is the cut-off point for a scoreline that has a modicum of respectability about it.
Williams serving 5-2 (new balls): Ace #9: first serve down the middle at 122 mph. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide kicked up on Vera, forcing her 8 feet behind the baseline to hit a backhand return long. Vera resisted the temptation to throw her racket. 30/0. Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). A longish rally, during which Vera hit a deep backhand right on the baseline, ended with Williams going to the net and hitting a high off-forehand drive-volley winner. At least I’m pleased that it finished with a winner rather than Vera’s backhand being called long. Williams won 6-3 6-2 at 15:20 BST (second set 31m, match 1h07m).
3. On-court BBC interviews
The on-court interviews were conducted by 1976 French Open champion Sue Barker, who now presents the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage.
3.1 Vera’s interview
Vera reacted to her loss by sitting in her chair, blinking back tears. But looking at her going up to receive the silver runner’s-up plate from the Duke of Kent, I would certainly have signed for this at the start of the tournament (although preferably against Maria Sharapova in the final!).
Barker: “Ladies and gentlemen, I know you want to hear from Vera. Tough day, but you have so much to be proud of, and also, you just played today one of the greatest champions of all time.”
Vera: “Yeah. Hello everyone – sorry, I lost my voice a little bit. Yeah, I think, you know, Serena... congratulations: you’re a great player, but you’re also a great champion, so I think you showed great effort and determination throughout the week, and you really deserved to win today.”
The crowd started applauding after Vera said “I think you showed”. I like to believe that they were applauding her graciousness in defeat.
Barker: “And also, I hope that you have proved a lot to yourself: your first Grand Slam final, only the third Russian woman through to the final here. I hope... you know, you have so much to be proud of.”
Vera: “Yeah, definitely.”
The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.
Vera: “I think I’m a little bit disappointed at the moment. You know, maybe I was not able to show my best today, but I think Serena didn’t allow me to show my best – she was playing really well. But, yeah, I think, you know, after a couple of hours, I will look back and I will realise that, you know, this moment, I was dreaming about it since I was a little kid: to be here playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, and now here I am.”
Barker: “And also, I think what people...”
The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.
Barker: “I think what people don’t understand is also how special this is, because you’ve had so many injuries, so much time out from competition, now fully fit, and now being able to play at your very best. It must mean so much to you.”
Vera: “Yeah, I think it does, but actually, it means a lot to me that those people in my box over there were here for me today, and also a surgeon who did my surgery last year was able to be come, and my... because of him, I’m able to be here today, because I was really doubting that I was gonna be able to play tennis again. And my team from physio who helped me to recover from it: they’re here; they were supporting me, and really grateful, and everyone here, my coach, and everybody.”
The surgeon to whom she referred was Niek van Dijk, who had removed scar-tissue from her right ankle in November 2009 after a nasty injury at Charleston in April. Her coach at Wimbledon 2010 was Sergey Demekhin.
Barker: “They put you together. You’ve supplied the great tennis. Congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, Vera Zvonarëva!”
3.2 Williams’s interview
Barker: “We’ve been here before. The fourth time, for everyone, must be so special. And I think, from your reaction at the end of that, this one is very special.”
Williams: “Yeah, this one’s very special. Hey, Billie: I got you! <laughing>”
By winning her 13th Major singles-title, Williams surpassed the total of 12 won by Billie Jean King, who was watching from the stands.
Williams: “It was number 13 for me now. She’s... you know, it was just amazing to be among such great people, but... yeah.”
Barker: “Just to explain to people: the 13th Grand Slam title means she moves to sixth on the all-time greatest champions’ list – just ahead of Billie Jean. Lucky number 13, eh?”
Williams: “Yeah, it’s actually my lucky number. But, yeah, I’d just again like to congratulate Vera, I mean, what amazing: she’s been through so much in the past year, and everyone should give her a big round of applause, ‘cause she really defines what a champion and never giving up means.”
Barker: “And also, she started so well. I guess you knew that game at 4-3 was key in that first set.”
Williams: “Yeah, it was definitely a key game, and again, I’m just happy to be able to win. Can I say my thank-yous?”
Williams: “Okay. I would like to first and foremost thank my God Jehovah: I’ve really relied on him this tournament. Just thank you so much for allowing me to be here. I thank my dad, my mom, Sasha, Isha – my sisters are here – Lyn, Venus, hey! <laughing> Suzanne, for always supporting me, and everyone that came out. Esther, for keeping me fit, and Jill for always being there for me, so I have really a great team, and, you know, I’m just really happy and I feel so blessed.”
Williams: “Oh oh oh oh! Sorry! Most of all, I would like to thank you guys for getting me through this. I... the crowd was really amazing, and, you know, to win several times and to still be behind me means so much to me, so thank you so, so, so much.”
Barker: “Do you have any superstitions? I mean: is that a lucky necklace?”
Williams: “Venus gave it to me, ‘cause I didn’t bring any jewellery – believe it or not – to wear, so I don’t wanna give it back.”
The crowd laughed.
Barker: “It looks a bit like the trophy!”
Williams: “The rings are hers, so it’s like... she’s always taken care of me. Still!”
Barker: “Just looking over the tournament: you’ve played so well, haven’t dropped a set. The serve – I’ve gotta talk about the serve. 89 aces, and Martina Navrátilová said earlier today: the greatest serve of all time.”
Williams: “Wow. I honestly never served like this, so, hah hah hah! I just feel like at Wimbledon, whenever I come on this grass, and come and play on this amazing court, I start serving well, and I just definitely want to keep it up! <laughing>”
Barker: “And I’ve gotta say: your dad, Richard, he takes so many photos. Do you ever get any of these?”
Williams: “Yeah, he always sends us tons of photos. Did you get me?”
Richard Williams put his thumb up, and the crowd laughed.
Williams: “So I’ll look over them. So it’s just such a great moment. Yeah, it’s great.”
Barker: “And I know you said before that when you walked down those stairs, past the honours-board, when you first came here to Wimbledon, you wanted to be on that honours-board, and now look at you.”
Williams: “I did, and my dream was able to come true. And everyone’s dream can come true if you stick to it and work hard. So thanks.”
Barker: “Your name will be on there when you walk out there for the fourth time. Ladies and gentlemen, Serena Williams!”
Dr. Andrew Broad