Bepa made a good start against former champion Mary Pierce, whose go-for-broke style meant she hit most of the winners and errors in this match. Bepa led 5-2 (with one break of serve) after 30 unforced errors from Pierce, but then Pierce found her range and Bepa suffered what UK Teletext described as "a mental wobble, arguing with linesmen, her coach and herself", and lost a long and draining first set 7-6 (7/2 - she had a 2/0 lead in the tiebreak, having had a set-point on Pierce's serve at 5-6 30/40).
Bepa continued to fight in the second set, recovering from 2-4, but Pierce was always one step ahead as they traded six breaks in a row, and according to Teletext, Bepa lost her nerve as Pierce rolled back the years to win 7-6 (7/2) 7-5 in 2h12m.
I like Pierce - in the mid-1990s she was one of the most brilliant and sexy players on the WTA Tour, and I might well have inducted her into my eternal fanship had I not been obsessed with Monica Seles and Iva Majoli to the exclusion of all other players (the gates of my fanship remained shut between 1993 and 1999). It's much easier to forgive Pierce for upsetting Bepa when I remember her glorious 6-2 6-2 annihilation of Steffi Graf in the French Open 1994 semi-finals.
Zvonar * *@* *___*_ 6(2)
Pierce _*___* *@* * 7(7)
Started 17:35 CEST.
Bepa serving 0-0: 0/30 -> 30/30, 40/30, held.
Pierce serving 0-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad P, held.
I hope this won't be the first in a long series of missed opportunities for Bepa. Bepa's next service-game will be crucial after those missed break-points.
Bepa serving 1-1: 0/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad P (BP), Deuce #2, ad B, held.
The 40/15 -> 40/40 syndrome strikes two games in a row against Bepa! A very important hold, especially after saving a break-point.
Pierce serving 2-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad P, Deuce #2, ad B (BP), Deuce #3, ad B (BP #2), Deuce #4, ad B (BP #3), broken.
Well done Bepa! A long game like that can often turn the momentum in favour of the player who wins it.
Bepa serving 3-1: 0/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad B, held.
An important hold to confirm the break, and this is where the advantage of serving first comes into play, when you can be three games ahead with just one break - both a material and a psychological advantage.
Pierce serving 1-4: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad B (BP), Deuce #2, ad P, Deuce #3, ad P, held.
With a break-point for 5-1, Bepa had a chance to be dominating this set. 4-2 is a much smaller lead, but Bepa has to feel good about her situation rather than dwelling on what might have been.
Bepa serving 4-2: held to love.
Pierce is absolutely dominating the match as only she can at the moment, with a W:UE of 7:30 compared with 4:12 for Bepa.
Pierce serving to stay in the first set at 2-5: held to love.
Bepa serving for the first set at 5-3: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
The IBM NetCam shows Bepa with her face buried in a towel at the changeover. I hope she's not going to suffer a similar fate as when Jelena Dokic blew a 5-1 third-set lead against Pierce at the US Open 2003.
Pierce serving to stay in the first set at 4-5: held to love.
I hope Bepa can pull herself together as she did in the second set against Nadia Petrova at Philadelphia 2004. The score is equal, but the momentum is with Pierce now.
Bepa serving 5-5: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad P (BP #2), Deuce #2, ad B, held.
Come on Bepa - break for the set!
Pierce serving to stay in the first set at 5-6: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (SP), 40/40, ad P, held.
And now for a nice game of Russian Roulette...
6-6 tiebreak: Bepa *0/0, 1/0*, 2/0*, *2/1, *2/2, 2/3*, 2/4*, *2/5, *2/6 (4 SPs), Pierce won the first set 7-6 (7/2) at 18:50.
Bepa will need all her resolve and fighting spirit to pull this one out. There's nothing that drains you like having a big lead in the first set and then losing it on a tiebreak - especially when the set lasted 75 minutes!
There's a major heatwave in Paris today which Bepa won't like, even though it's evening now - we've already seen Daniela Hantuchová wilt in midday heat today, and I believe Daniela likes hot weather much more than does Bepa!
Pierce's final W:UE for the first set was 19:37, while Bepa's was 7:24. So Pierce hit a lot of winners and Bepa a lot of UEs since Bepa was 5-2 up.
Zvonar __@ @ @* *__ 5
Pierce *@ @ @__* *@ 7
Pierce serving 0-0: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held.
Bepa serving 0-1: broken to love.
I hate to say it, but I think Bepa has gone.
I may not be able to watch this match, but I can imagine - with the help of the W:UE statistics - that Pierce is making Bepa do all the running out there in the heat.
Pierce serving 2-0: 15/0, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Bepa serving 1-2: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad P (BP #3), broken.
Well, it's commendable that Bepa's still fighting out there, but it's an awfully long way back in this heat, as tired as I imagine that Bepa must be by now.
Pierce serving 3-1: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad B (BP), broken.
Bepa serving 2-3: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
This has degenerated into a match of break and counterbreak!
Pierce serving 4-2: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
Bepa serving 3-4: 0/30 -> 40/30, 40/40, ad B, held.
I'm actually beginning to believe Bepa might win this set now.
Pierce serving 4-4: held to love.
Bepa serving to stay in the match at 4-5: 0/15, 40/15, held.
Well done Bepa.
Pierce serving 5-5: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, held.
Bepa serving to stay in the match at 5-6: 0/40 (3 MPs), Pierce won 7-6 (7/2) 7-5 at 19:47 when Bepa hit a forehand wide.
Pierce finished with a winner-to-unforced-error ratio of 34:55 (1.6 UEs for every winner), while Bepa's final W:UE was 16:42 (2.6 UEs for every winner). But Pierce hits the ball so hard that it's all up to her, really.
Pierce really punished Bepa's second serve: Bepa got 56% of first serves in, winning 65% on first serve and only 22% on second serve (Pierce 73%, 65% and 40%). Bepa hit 3 aces, but didn't help her own cause with 9 double faults.
They had 10 break-points each, but Bepa only broke 4 times while Pierce broke 5 times.
Vera's French Open profile:
Photos: Search Getty Images for "zvonareva"
Dr. Andrew Broad