Australian Open 2009: Andrew's reports (semi-final TV-report added)
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
1. UK TV-alert
2. First-round draw
3. Vera Zvonarëva preview
4. Order of Play for Monday
Master-thread for Andrew's Australian Open 2009 reports:
Andrew's TV-reports (added Zvonarëva v Safina SF)
1. UK TV-alert
The evening-sessions on Rod Laver Arena will be televised on BBCi from 08:25 GMT each day of the tournament (digital viewers press Red or select the appropriate Freeview-channel: it could be either 301 or 302).
This coverage will consist of the women's match on the evening-session of the Rod Laver Arena (on days that there is one), followed by the men's match, followed by recorded coverage of these matches (or Andy Murray's match) on a continuous loop.
Additionally, all Andy Murray's matches will be televised live on either BBC 1 or BBC 2 (his first match is on Tuesday). I think it's quite possible that bits of other matches might be shown in these programmes if Murray's match starts late or finishes early, as was occasionally the case when the BBC used to do this for Tim Henman.
Other Australian Open coverage on BBC television:
* Saturday 24th January: highlights on BBC 1 (13:00 to 14:30 GMT);
* Saturday 31st January: highlights of Women's Singles final on BBC 2 (13:00 to 14:00 GMT);
* Sunday 1st February: Men's Singles final live on BBC 2 (from 08:30 GMT).
The Women's Singles final will be on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session for the first time this year, therefore it will be live on BBCi.
2. First-round draw
The draw is very lopsided for me, as I have five members of my Eternal Fanship in the top half, and just one in the bottom half. To be honest, my expectations are very low, as they're all slumping apart from Vera Zvonarëva  - and her preparations have been hit by illness this week, although she certainly showed what she is capable of on the big stage by beating four top-seven players to reach the final of the Sony Ericsson Championships!
For me, the draw is highlighted by a mouthwatering but unfortunate first-round match between Vera and Magdaléna Rybáriková, and a potential second-round match between Anna Chakvetadze  and Jelena Dokić.
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
(* ?x v ?y) I prefer ?x to win
(!) enthusiastic support
(!!) very enthusiastic support!
(my loyalty is to ?x) I like both players, but prefer ?x
(my Reason says ?x, but my Passion says ?y) I prefer ?x in tennis-terms, but want ?y to win because she's more attractive
(my Passion says ?x, but my Reason says ?y) I find ?x more attractive, but want ?y to win because I prefer her game
2.1 Top quarter
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ  v Yvonne Meusburger
* Kirsten Flipkens v Rossana de los Ríos (komaan Kirsten!)
* Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q] v Nathalie Dechy (davai Viktoriya!)
* AI SUGIYAMA  v Stéphanie Dubois [Q]
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v SYBILLE BAMMER  (POJĎME LUCIE!!)
* Marina Eraković v Petra Cetkovská (slight preference to Marina)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v Karolina Šprem [Q,DF] (my Reason says Karolina, but my Passion says Tsvetana)
* MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] v Melanie South (allez Marion!)
* Yaroslava Shvedova v NADIA PETROVA  (davai Yari!)
* Sania Mirza [DF] v Marta Domachowska (my loyalty is to Sania)
* Monika Wejnert [WC] v Karin Knapp (go Monika!)
* ÁGNES SZÁVAY  v Galina Voskoboeva
* MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] v Sara Errani (davai Maria!)
* Monica Niculescu [s] v Katie O'Brien [Q] (my Passion says Katie, but my Reason says Monica)
* Maria Elena Camerin v Edina Gallovits (forza Maria Elena!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] (my loyalty is to VERA)
2.2 Second quarter
* Alla Kudryavtseva v DINARA SAFINA  (Kud is the lesser of two evils)
* Aravane Rezaď v Ekaterina Makarova (allez Aravane!)
* Patricia Mayr v Julia Schruff [Q]
* Kimiko Date Krumm [Q] v KAIA KANEPI  (ganbatte Kimiko!)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Casey Dell'Acqua (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Mathilde Johansson v Jill Craybas (allez Mathilde!)
* Andrea Petković v Kathrin Wörle [Q]
* ALIZÉ CORNET  v Mariya Koryttseva (allez Alizé!)
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI  v Shahar Pe'er (my loyalty is to Caroline)
* Virginia Ruano Pascual v Mariana Duque Marino (ˇvamos Virginia!)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v Tamira Paszek (GO JELENA!!)
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] v Anne Keothavong (DAVAI ANNA!!)
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA  v Sofia Arvidsson
* Barbora Záhlavova Strýcová v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro
* Yanina Wickmayer v Alberta Brianti [Q] (komaan Yanina!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v Julia Görges (my loyalty is to Ana)
2.3 Third quarter
* VENUS WILLIAMS  v Angelique Kerber
* Roberta Vinci v Carla Suárez Navarro (forza Roberta!)
* Melanie Oudin [Q] v Akgul Amanmuradova
* María José Martínez Sánchez v TAMARINE TANASUGARN 
* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES  v Isabella Holland [WC]
* Elena Vesnina v Julie Coin (davai Elena!)
* Jessica Moore [WC] v Christina McHale [WC] (go Jessica!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v Mara Santangelo (forza Flavia!)
* Kristina Mladenović [WC] v PATTY SCHNYDER 
* Jarmila Gajdošová v Virginie Razzano
* Hsieh,Su-Wei [s] v Chan,Yung-Jan (jia you Su-Wei!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ  v Chanelle Scheepers [Q] (poďme Domi!)
* Sabine Lisicki v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK  (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Samantha Stosur (pojďme Klára!)
* Iveta Benešová v Vera Dushevina (pojďme Iveta!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA  v Kristina Barrois (davai Elena!)
2.4 Bottom quarter
* Anastasia Rodionova v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA 
* Ayumi Morita [s] v Tatjana Malek (my Passion says Tatjana, but my Reason says Ayumi)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v Séverine Brémond (POJĎME NICOLE!!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO  v Olivia Rogowska [WC] (davai Alyona!)
* ZHENG,JIE  v Camille Pin (jia you Jie!)
* Sorana Cîrstea v Melinda Czink (hai Sorana!)
* Ekateryna Bychkova v Lourdes Domínguez Lino (davai Ekateryna)
* Kateryna Bondarenko v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA 
* VICTORIA AZARENKA  v Petra Kvitová
* Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Tathiana Garbin
* Elena Baltacha [Q] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld (go Elena!)
* Olga Govortsova v AMÉLIE MAURESMO  (davai Olga!)
* Peng,Shuai [s] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE  (jia you Shuai!)
* Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] v Nuria Llagostera Vives
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Anastasiya Yakimova (ˇvamos Gisela!)
* SERENA WILLIAMS  v Yuan,Meng [WC]
3. Vera Zvonarëva preview
Vera comes into the Australian Open 2009 on the back of the best year of her career, as she enjoyed a consistent 2008 (compiling a 65:22 win/loss record - as many match-wins as world #1 Jelena Janković), then stepped up to reach the final of the Sony Ericsson Championships by beating four top-seven players!
Vera started 2009 by leading Team Russia to the final of the Hong Kong exhibition. In her semi-final rubber, she beat Zheng,Jie 7-6 6-4. In the final, she beat Gisela Dulko 6-4 0-6 6-3 in one rubber, but lost 6-2 6-2 to Venus Williams in her other rubber as Team Americas beat Team Russia 4:1.
Vera then pulled out of Sydney with a gastrointestinal illness. From what I remember of players having gastrointestinal illnesses in the past, I'm not too worried about Vera missing the Australian Open, but obviously her preparation has not been ideal.
A capsule-look at top women in the Australian Open
By The Associated Press (Saturday 17th January 2009)
VERA ZVONARËVA (7)
2008 Match-Record: 65:22
2008 Singles-Titles: 2
Career Singles-Titles: 7
Major Titles: 0 (Best Finish: QF - French Open 2003)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 1r 2008, 4r 2007, 1r 2006, 2r 2005, 4r 2004
* Reached a season-high eight finals in 2008, but only collected two titles.
* Among her final-defeats was the season-ending WTA championship, helping her to a year-end top-ten finish for the first time.
* Won Bronze at the Olympics - part of a Russian sweep of the medals - and helped Russia win the Fed Cup.
* Withdrew from her first-round match in Australia last year in the second set because of a left-ankle sprain.
* Can be prone to emotional outbursts.
* Has never advanced beyond the last eight at a Major.
2009 Australian Open - Women's Breakdown - Top 10 and Others to Watch
Nick Bollettieri (Friday 16th January 2009)
Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)
Weight: 130 lbs.
D.O.B.: 7th September 1984
Turned Pro: September 2000
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Current Ranking: #7
2008 Titles: Prague and Guangzhou
2008 Australian Open: 1st Round
Zvonarëva is a tough competitor, and competes hard in each and every single one of her matches. Like so many others, though, she struggles on the big stage. She has only been to the quarter-finals of a Major once - back in 2003 at the French Open - and has been to the fourth round of the Aussie Open twice.
Last year, she got bounced in the opening round by Ai Sugiyama, and she doesn't want to let that happen again. It's pretty simple if you ask me; she cannot think about the past, and must focus on the here and now. It's all about confidence for Zvonarëva!
^What Nick doesn't mention is that Vera retired against Sugiyama, having sprained her left ankle just before the Australian Open 2008.
3.2 First round
Vera has a mouthwatering match with the gorgeous Magdaléna Rybáriková. It's unfortunate that it's a first round, as I really wanted Magda to win a couple of matches here, but the draw has made that wish incompatible with my Eternal-Fanship loyalty to Vera.
The only time I've seen Magda play was in the final of the Girls' Singles at Wimbledon 2006, which was on BBCi. Magda was up against a 15-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, and took the first set with some Daniela Hantuchová-esque play: those backhands down the line, and beautiful backhand drop-volleys. But inexplicably, Magda started slicing her backhands (but staying back), and lost 3-6 6-1 6-3.
Magda has a big serve, and a forehand with a long backswing that can be both a major weapon and an error-source. Since I haven't seen her play since Wimbledon 2006, I don't know whether she has shortened that backswing as I suggested.
I've been waiting since 2005 for Magda to establish herself on the WTA Tour, and at last she is in the process of doing so.
Last year, Magda rose from #279 to #58, winning ITF St. Petersburg-Vsevolozhsk and ITF Patras in March/April 2008, successfully qualifying for the French Open and Wimbledon (where she lost in the second and first rounds of the respective main draws), and posted her career-best result at a Major by reaching the third round of the US Open.
Magda reached her first WTA Tour semi-final at Tashkent 2008, but sadly, on her 20th birthday (4th October), she retired with illness after losing the first set 6-3 to Sorana Cîrstea. Magda finished 2008 with a 48:21 win/loss record.
After a first-round loss at Auckland, Magda reached her second WTA semi-final at Hobart this week, beating world #13 Flavia Pennetta 7-5 6-3 in the second round (her first-ever win over a top-twenty player), and then sinking Melinda Czink 6-0 1-6 7-6 (9/7) in blistering heat, so it's excusable that she lost 6-1 6-3 to Iveta Benešová in the semi-finals the next day (Thursday). Magda just rose to a career-high #50.
After her Hobart semi-final and before the AO draw was made, Magda said: "I'm looking forward to Melbourne now. My best [Major] performance was [the] US Open third round, so now I will aim further, but it's going to be very hard."
Vera has never played Magda before. They were due to meet in the second round of Prague 2008, but sadly that match didn't even get on court, as Magda withdrew with a low-back strain. Vera, of course, went on to win that tournament.
I expect Vera to have the edge in this match, purely because she's coming off such a great 2008. But from Magda's perspective, it's a good time to play Vera because Magda just reached a semi-final while Vera was sidelined by illness this week. I expect Vera to have a win, but not an easy win.
Prediction: Vera d. Magda 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4.
3.3 Later rounds
Vera should have an easy second-round match against #101 Maria Elena Camerin or #76 Edina Gallovits.
Vera should meet Maria Kirilenko  in the third round, whom she leads 3:0 head to head (6-2 6-3, 6-2 6-0 and 6-4 6-4). But #39 Sara Errani is liable to upset Kirilenko, whom she leads 2:0 head to head; Errani is also coming off an impressive run to the semi-finals at Brisbane that included a win over #21 Daniela Hantuchová.
It's difficult to predict whom Vera might meet in the fourth round, as Nadia Petrova  is recovering from viral meningitis and lost 6-2 6-4 to Alizé Cornet in the first round of Sydney, while Ágnes Szávay , who suffered a sophomore-slump last year, lost 6-3 7-5 to Anne Keothavong in the first round of Hobart. It could just as easily be an unseeded player such as Yaroslava Shvedova, Marta Domachowska or Karin Knapp.
Vera could meet Majorless world #1 Jelena Janković in the quarter-finals, although Janković is struggling to adapt to her new muscular body: she's not moving as well, and has also been ill recently. Janković leads Vera 6:4 head to head, with Vera winning their last meeting: at the Sony Ericsson Championships 2008. My dream is for Lucie Šafářová to come through to that quarter-final instead of Janković.
With the Williams-sisters and on-form Elena Dementieva safely tucked away in the bottom half, Vera's likely semi-final opponents would be Dinara Safina , Ana Ivanović  or even future legend Caroline Wozniacki , although my dream is for Daniela Hantuchová  to reach the semi-finals, just as she did last year.
4. Order of Play for Monday
Margaret Court Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 1r: Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] v VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
MS 1r: Potito Starace v Bernard Tomić
WS 1r: CAROLINE WOZNIACKI  v Shahar Pe'er
WS 1r: DINARA SAFINA  v Alla Kudryavtseva
MS 1r: Marc Gicquel v DAVID NALBANDIAN 
Full order of play:
Dr. Andrew Broad
Last edited by andrewbroad; Feb 16th, 2010 at 04:47 PM.
Reason: edit Title