Iroda photos from ITF Campobasso:
15th ASIAN GAMES (Doha, Qatar)
Women's Singles: Quarter-final (Monday 11th December)
- IRODA TULYAGANOVA  lt. LI,NA , 6-3 5-7 2-6
My match-report is based on the downloadable video:
The video is only 40 minutes long, but covers most of the 2h13m match, cutting out the changeovers and much of the time between points, and sometimes skipping unexpectedly to a future game. It's mostly very watchable, although there are a few points with invisible-ball misery!
Li,Na looks like a thin, Oriental version of Ana Ivanovic, and plays like Ana too, in that she has a big forehand and likes to spread. Li played some very dynamic tennis in this match, often ending up at the net for a forehand smash, while Iroda probably has the most superb sheer athleticism of the players in my Eternal Fanship.
Iroda had all the glamour, with a flamboyant gold-and-black dress, and made all the nice noises too, with an Iva-Majoli-like grunt, and sometimes muttering, shouting or screaming after errors! Li, in contrast, was quiet and unexpressive, like a robot.
Windows Media Player
won't let me rewind this video, so I've done the best I can in one take with no pauses:
TU * * *@* * 6
LI _* *___*_ 3
Iroda serving 0-0: Iroda held, but there was a great rally - I think at 30/15 - where Iroda showed good retrieving, but Li hit a forehand smash-winner.
Li serving 0-1: a quick hold.
Iroda serving 1-1: Iroda held, hitting some sliced backhands and a good error-forcing off-forehand. Iroda's backhand is predominantly a regular two-handed one, but she does go to the one-handed slice more than any other member of my Eternal Fanship.
Li serving 1-2: Held to love, but Iroda showed amazing retrieval on the last point, followed by a nice smile!
Iroda serving 2-2: 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Li hit a deep error-forcing forehand return. 15/30. Li played a great spreading rally, ending with a volley-winner. 15/40 (two break-points). Iroda saved the first with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 30/40. Iroda saved the second with an off-forehand winner. 40/40. Li forehand long. Ad Iroda. Li wild return out.
Li serving 2-3: More great retrieval from Iroda, but seemingly to no avail as Li seemed to be cruising to an easy hold, with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline to make it 40/0. Double fault. 40/15. Li hit two forehands wide. 40/40. And again! Ad Iroda (break-point). She hit a forehand wide. Deuce #2. Iroda hit a great lob that completely switched the initiative from Li to her, enabling Iroda
to hit a forehand smash-winner! Ad Iroda (break-point #2). Li long.
Iroda serving 4-2. Iroda mixed up her backhand with one-handed slice and two-handed topspin to win a long rally. 15/0... 40/15. Double fault. 40/30. Iroda held with a backhand winner down the line.
Li serving 2-5: Li held to 15, opening up the court for a forehand smash-winner on the last point.
Iroda serving 5-3: Iroda seemed to hit a wild forehand out, but she can't have done. 15/0. Li backhand smash long. 30/0. Li error. 40/0 (three set-points). Iroda backhand long. 40/15 (set-point #2). I don't know what happened, because the video suddenly jumped into the second set. Iroda held to win the first 6-3.
TU __@__* *@*__ 5
LI *@ @* *___*@ 7
Li serving 0-0: Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner en route to a quick hold.
Iroda serving 0-1: Iroda netted a forehand. 0/15. Iroda netted a backhand and screamed! 0/40 (three break-points). Iroda sprayed a backhand wide to give Li the first break.
Li serving 2-0: Iroda broke back (not shown).
Iroda serving 1-2: Li broke again (not shown).
Li serving 3-1: Iroda shouted after she netted a backhand. 40/15. Li netted a forehand smash. 40/30. Li hit a nice short-angled crossscourt forehand, but when she tried to hit back behind Iroda with another one, it went wide. 40/40. Iroda netted a backhand. Ad Li. Li held with a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, right in the corner.
Iroda serving 1-4: Iroda hit a groundstroke just long, and argued the call. 0/15. Iroda held, but the video suddenly skipped to the next game.
Li serving 4-2: Iroda was forced to net a defensive backhand lob. 15/0. Li forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Iroda hit a backhand long, and whacked the court with her racket. 40/0. Ace down the middle.
Iroda serving 5-2: She held (not shown).
Li serving 5-3: Iroda hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 0/15. Iroda hit a backhand return long, and muttered. 15/15. Iroda hit a defensive backhand lob wide. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15 (two set-points). Li hit a backhand volley wide - off a stinging pass from Iroda. 40/30. Li netted a forehand. 40/40. Li netted a backhand. Ad Iroda (break-point). Li forehand long.
Iroda serving 4-5: She held (not shown).
Li serving 5-5: Iroda forehand long. 15/0. Iroda error. 30/0. Iroda long. 40/0. Li backhand long. 40/15. Iroda netted a backhand and threw her racket.
Iroda serving 5-6: Li hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. After a great rally, Li netted a backhand. 15/15, 15/30, 30/30. Li backhand winner down the line. 40/30 (set-point #3). I don't know what happened, because the video suddenly jumped into the third set. Li broke to win the second 7-5.
Iroda had more chances early in the set than I had realised: not only did she have two break-points for *3-0, she also had two game-points for 3-1*.
TU @*______ 2
LI __*@*@*@ 6
Li serving 0-0: Li sprayed a forehand long, off a short ball from Iroda. 0/15. Li forehand just long. 0/30. Li forehand wide. 0/40 (three break-points). Iroda backhand long. 15/40. Iroda backhand error. 30/40. Li sprayed a forehand wide to give first blood to Iroda.
Iroda serving 1-0: She held (not shown).
Li serving 0-2: Iroda forehand long. 15/0. Invisible-ball misery. 15/15. Iroda netted a backhand and said, "no, no". 30/15. Li netted a backhand. 30/30. Iroda opened up the court with an acute-angled forehand - one of the abilities that comes with her extreme Western grip - and I guess she must have hit a forehand winner? 30/40 (break-point). I didn't see what happened to the point which would have given Iroda *3-0. 40/40. Li hit a backhand pass wide with Iroda at the net. Ad Iroda (break-point #2). Iroda squandered another chance for *3-0 by netting a sliced backhand. Deuce #2. Iroda netted a backhand. Ad Li. She held with an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline.
Iroda serving 2-1: Iroda hit a forehand wide, and shouted. 0/15. Iroda netted a sliced backhand. 0/30. Li forehand long. 15/30. Li backhand long. 30/30. Li netted a backhand. 40/30 (point for 3-1). Iroda took the initiative with a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, but the initiative switched to Li, who hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/40. Li backhand volley-winner. Ad Li (break-point). She netted a forehand. Deuce #2. Li forehand wide. Ad Iroda (point for 3-1). Li hit a forehand smash-winner, and Iroda emitted a long, loud scream! Deuce #3. Iroda backhand just long. Ad Li (break-point). Iroda forehand wide.
Li serving 2-2: Li hit a defensive lob long. 0/15. Iroda error. 15/15. Li forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Iroda hit a short-angled error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/30, 40/30. Iroda forehand just long.
Iroda serving 2-3: Li broke (not shown).
Li serving 4-2: She held (not shown).
Iroda serving 2-5: Li forehand just long. 30/0. Iroda netted a forehand. 30/15. Iroda forehand long. 30/30. Li hit an error-forcing backhand volley. 30/40 (match-point #1). Iroda hit a backhand just long. Li won 3-6 7-5 6-2. They kissed at the net.
Dr. Andrew Broad