ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
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Video of the match-point (Bepa hits a weak return to give Safina a crosscourt backhand winner):
First round (Sunday 28th May)
- Vera Zvonarëva lt. DINARA SAFINA , 6-3 7-5
I wouldn't call it a disappointing result, because I knew the draw was very tough. I'm relieved that it wasn't much worse. Bepa led *3-1 and *4-2 in the second set, and also thwarted Safina's first attempt to serve it out at 5-4.
After being down 0-3 in the first set Vera started to play some good tennis and hit several winners to make it 3-3. However, she lost the plot in the following games and lost the set 36. She started complaining, questioning calls and changing racquets. In the 8th game of the first set Vera was 30-00, but lost the next four points, two of them with rather bad BH errors.
Second set started better for Vera as she could build up a 3-1 and a 4-2 lead both on own serve and even had a chance to make it 5-2, but she started making errors again and was trailing 4-5 before breaking back to level it 5-5. In the next two games Vera didnt have the consistancy to make it into a decisive third set and she lost the set and the match 63 75.
Vera played sometimes the tennis that took her to the Top10 in 2004, but overall she was just too inconsistant.
The match started at 11:12 CEST on Court Chatrier. The cretins in charge of BBCi decided to show Sugiyama v Daniilidou, because Tim Henman was next on Court One, so I followed live scores at www.rolandgarros.com
ZVONAR ___*@*___ 3
SAFINA *@*___*@* 6
Safina serving 0-0: 15/0, 15/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad S, held.
A good fight from Bepa, but to no avail.
Bepa serving 0-1: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Safina serving 2-0: 0/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
I hope I won't have to wait ten games for Bepa to get on the scoreboard today!
Bepa serving 0-3: 0/15, 40/15, held.
Safina serving 3-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad B (BP #3), Deuce #2, ad B (BP #4), Deuce #3, ad B (BP #5), broken!
Yes! This day we fight!
Bepa serving 2-3: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Safina serving 3-3: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
This is where the disadvantage of serving second comes into play: Bepa does NOT want to see Safina serving for the first set at 5-3.
Bepa serving 3-4: 30/0, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Safina serving for the first set at 5-3: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15 (2 SPs), 40/30, Safina won the first set 6-3 at 11:54 (42m).
ZVONAR * *@ @___@__ 5
SAFINA _*__@ @*@ @* 7
Bepa serving 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Safina serving 0-1: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Bepa serving 1-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held.
With every game Bepa wins, I'm more relieved about the final scoreline. At least 3-6 2-6 would have a modicum of respectability about it.
Safina serving 1-2: 0/40 (3 BPs), 15/40, broken.
Woo-hoo! Let's make it three sets, Bepa!
Bepa serving 3-1: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
I can well imagine Bepa in tears at this changeover, because that game may well have been the difference between losing in two sets and taking it to a third set.
Safina serving 2-3: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
But crying or not, Bepa has a tremendous fighting-spirit! And Safina's the one with all the pressure to win this match, as the commentators (on Sugiyama v Daniilidou) are talking of her as a potential Grand Slam champion. But right now, they're talking of Bepa "fighting back nicely"!
Bepa serving 4-2: 30/0, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad B, Deuce #2, ad S (BP), broken.
Safina serving 3-4: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Bepa serving 4-4: 0/15, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Bepa has lost her last three service-games.
Safina serving for the match at 5-4: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Woo-hoo! I'd be very nervous if I were Safina in this situation...
Bepa serving 5-5: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
Safina serving for the match at 6-5: 30/0, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30 (MP), Safina won 6-3 7-5 at 12:46 (1h34m) - the first player ever to reach the second round of a Grand Slam on the opening Sunday.
Safina was more aggressive and successful, as she had a winner-to-unforced-error ratio of 30:35, Bepa 19:29.
Bepa got 53% of first serves in, winning 58% of points when she did so, and 34% on second serve (Safina 65%, 57% and 44%). From the first set to the second, both girls got more first serves in, but won fewer points on both serves.
Bepa served two double faults, Safina four, and they served one ace each.
Bepa broke 4 times from 9 break-points, Safina 6 from 8, so Safina was almost twice as efficient in that all-important department.
There was a fair amount of net-play for a claycourt singles-match (especially in the second set), with Bepa winning 10 of 15 points at the net, Safina 11 of 15.
In points, Safina won 71-63.
Quotes (sorry, no Bepa ones)
Safina: "It was not easy, I was pretty tight. I won only one match in four years at Roland Garros. They said I'm opening in centre court, they put even a little more pressure. I knew that I had to be tough, and I knew she's a great player. At that moment, I had to be really focused every point.
"I'm starting to be a little more calm this year, and a little more knowing what I'm doing on the court. I'm trying to play really focused from the first point to when I shake hands. Maybe now with the new coach [Glenn Schaap], we are working more on my weapons. So now I know what can I do. I'm just working every day hard on it."
Bepa's Roland Garros profile:
Dr. Andrew Broad