Amelia Island 2007: Andrew's tournament-review / UK TV-alert (the repeat) -
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Amelia Island 2007: Andrew's tournament-review / UK TV-alert (the repeat)

(UK TV-alert at the end of this message)

BAUSCH & LOMB CHAMPIONSHIPS (Amelia Island, Florida, USA; green clay; WTA Tier II)

1r bye
2r + Catalina Castańo, 6-0 6-3
3r + SAMANTHA STOSUR [12], 6-2 6-1
qf + Venus Williams, 6-2 6-3
sf + ANA IVANOVIĆ [6,DF], 6-4 3-6 6-4
_f + NADIA PETROVA [1], 6-2 6-1

It's been a long time since I have written a tournament-review for Tatiana (26th October 2006 to be precise). But not half as long as I've been waiting for her to win a WTA singles-title!

I have waited three years for this moment, ever since 16-year-old Tatiana burst onto the scene with her sexy microshorts and even sexier grunt. I have evaluated her four different times for possible induction into my Eternal Fanship, but have found her lacking on all four occasions, and so she remains head of my demi-fanship, just behind my ten favourite tennis-players of all time.

Now is not the time for a fifth evaluation, but rather, a first celebration for a girl for whom I still have a big soft spot. And it is in this spirit that I present my free gift to the Tatiana Golovin community: my Amelia Island tournament-review.

Photos & videos


Photos & videos: (to 229)

Video: Tatiana d. Venus Williams in quarter-final:

Video: Highlights of final:

I've only seen a few points (by watching online videos), but I was impressed. Tatiana seemed to be going for her shots with a vengeance - particularly on her forehand - and making very nice noises too.

Video: Tatiana's World I (7˝m):

Video: Tatiana's World II (8˝m):

Video: Le Monde de Tatiana III (9 minutes, in French):

My evaluation of Tatiana

Although Tatiana failed my last evaluation for possible induction into my Eternal Fanship at the end of last year, I am willing to share my observations for the good of the community.

There are two examiners which any player must satisfy before I can induct her into my Eternal Fanship. The internal examiner - my Passion - has wanted to induct Tatiana since 2004.

But the external examiner - my Reason - continues to veto Tatiana's induction on the grounds that she is too passive too often, and her tennis looks so laboured compared with every member of my Eternal Fanship.

Here are the notes that my Reason made whilst watching Tatiana's US Open quarter-final (a 6-7 6-7 loss to Maria Sharapova) last December:

+ big
+ body-jamming
+ elegant and sexy
+ one-two punches, especially with FH
- second serve weak, slow, predictable with the slice
- or she goes for too much on her second serve and double-faults
- she gets very tight on second serve

hard hitting from baseline - her power has increased!
+ "has the firepower to overpower Maria!" [Nicole Pratt]
+ great depth
+ stays close to the baseline - less time for opponent to react
+ big forehand
+ FDL, BDL a regular strength? She loves to play CCF + FWDL
+ hard and deep down the middle sometimes: rare to see in women's tennis
+ can take the ball early
- not that many winners

+ dropshot
- but sometimes ill-advised dropshots - not great feel
+ mixing depth with short angles, especially when driven wide
+ comes to the net very rarely, but can hit beautiful volleys

+ feisty, gritty, determined, never gives up, tremendous fighting spirit
- gets nervous: feet stop moving and she doesn't anticipate so well


The problem is that she is two different players:
+ (Aggressive Tatiana) sometimes very promising: standing inside the baseline, aggressive, taking the initiative. This is the player I want to induct into my Eternal Fanship.
- (Passive Tatiana) often resorts to defensive: just keeps the ball in play, often with a lack of depth on her shots, sits back on her heels and waits for errors - that's why I hesitate to induct her. Can be boring to watch, even when successful.

She often waits until she's down in the match before she's aggressive.

The following quotes have been attributed to Brad Gilbert:
There are two big things in Tati's game. Her return, which is incredible. She can make a winner, or a big shot which will put her in a good position to win the point.

But the shot which makes her a very powerful player is her forehand. She can make anything with it. That's simple for me: Tati has the best forehand on the WTA Tour.

She can also read the game very well. I noticed it when she was only 14 years old. You'll understand why i think she's a top-five contender. She would already be in it if she didn't get injured for 4 months last year. It wouldn't be surprising if she made a few big things in a Grand Slam.

But she needs to improve on two points: her character, and her regularity from a week to another one. I saw her losing against Mauresmo in Sydney a few days ago, and she kind of tanked in the second set, throwing her racket, etc. She can improve on it.

Tatiana knows what she wants - that's why I'm not worried that she hasn't a full-time coach. But to reach the top in the rankings, she will have to win points each week - win as many points as she can. If she manages to improve on it, yeah, top five is for her.

Pretournament quotes from Tatiana

"It doesn't really matter who I play against. This is our first tournament on clay, [and] it's just a matter of me getting my confidence on the clay-court, and playing a lot of points and a lot of matches."

Second round (Wednesday 4th April)

+ TATIANA GOLOVIN [8,DF] d. Catalina Castańo, 6-0 6-3

Tatiana won the first seven games {6-0 1-0}, then lost three in a row {6-0 1-3}, then won five in a row {6-0 6-3} against one of the weakest players on the WTA Tour, whose best surface is clay.

Third round (Thursday 5th April)


Tatiana had also beaten Stosur 6-2 6-0 just a few weeks before at Indian Wells. Stosur's results for the year so far look okay, so I guess she must have un problčme Golovin.

great match played by Tati. little bit of a choke at 6-2, *4-0 but she still won. Tati's serve looked great and her net played looked very solid as well.

Quarter-final (Friday 6th April)

+ TATIANA GOLOVIN [8,DF] d. Venus Williams, 6-2 6-3

And Tatiana was 6-2 *4-0 up! But Tati loves to choke, and she let it become 4-3* before winning the last two games of the match.

Tatiana was seeded to win, but Williams's reputation precedes her: five-time Grand Slam champion, former world number one, former runner-up at the French Open, and she came into this match with a 10:1 win-loss record for the year (her lone defeat coming at the fair hands of Maria Sharapova at Miami).

Williams had appeared to be in good form earlier in the tournament, upsetting fourth seed Patty Schnyder in the second round (but who doesn't upset Patty Schnyder this year?).

So it was sweet to beat her - in fact, Tatiana is now 2:0 head-to-head against Venus, having also beaten her at another green-clay tournament: 7-5 6-4 at Charleston 2005!


Associated Press (AP):
Williams lost the first set in 36 minutes, and was down 4-0 before she broke Golovin twice and put together three straight wins. Just when it appeared she would tie the set, Golovin broke her in the eighth game, and then held serve for the win.

Jeff Elliott for Reuters:
Williams never got on track in losing to 20th-ranked Golovin for the second time in as many matches. After dropping the first set, Williams trailed 4-0 in the second before mounting a brief comeback by winning three consecutive games.

But Golovin broke Williams's serve in the next game, and then held serve to clinch the triumph.

Agence France Presse (AFP):
Eighth seed Golovin needed one hour, 15 minutes to dispatch the former World No. 1 Williams, who was playing in just her third tournament of 2007.

Williams is now 10:2 overall, having won the Memphis-title earlier this year.

Williams is seeking to re-establish herself as a dominant player on the women's tour in the wake of a left-wrist injury that sidelined her for much of last season.

PA SportsTicker:
Seeking her first career-title, Golovin used a quick start to make it a long afternoon for Williams. [a short afternoon, surely!]

Golovin won the first three games of the match, then broke an obviously frustrated Williams to win the first set.

It was an even more impressive start to the second set, as Golovin won the first four games.

However, Williams - a five-time Grand Slam champion - showed some grit by twice breaking Golovin to close within 4-3.

But, after breaking back, Golovin served out the match at love en route to reaching her second semi-final of the year. She also made the final four at Antwerp.

Williams, who fell to 10:2 this year, had dropped just one set in her first three matches this week.

Reactions from the TG-community

I'm also a Vee fan and the fact is that Tatiana played a great match, she was playing very well, especially in the defense. Of course Venus was hitting a lot of UEs but she hit some winners as well. So don't say that Tati won thanks to Vee, because she won that pretty much thanks to her tactic...

Very well done from Tati except for the attempted choke at the end but she righted the ship at the right moment.

I thought she played very well getting great depth off the ground, even from her backhand most of the time. Played well at the net as well.

Tati played very well, especially on the first set with a great serve.She knew what she had to do in order to beat Venus and she did it.She's a natural clay player.I was impressed because we didn't see her to much on clay last year unfortunately.She's very smart on the court and she wasn't too clumsy on the net today.

i might be exaggerating a little but that drop shot volley to go up 5-3 might be the most important shot of tati's career, especially if her ranking goes up. she was in the middle of a choke and some tentative play but she was able to hit a good forehand and a perfect volley. i don't know if she has ever hit a better volley at such an important part of the match in her whole career.

Tatiana quotes

{before the match}

"I haven't seen her play lately, but I'm looking forward to getting on court with her. She's definitely one of the toughest to beat when she's in top form."

{after the match}

"I put a lot of pressure on her right from the start. I was getting everything back. When she kind of came back, I fought through that.

"It was one of the better matches I've played all season, so I'm really happy.

"When she's in top form, she's tough to beat, but she hasn't played too many tournaments, so I don't think she was playing at 100%. But I put a lot of pressure on her, getting everything back, and fighting in the second set. I think she felt I was playing well, so she started going for more and making mistakes. It's a really good win."

Williams quotes

{before the match}

"I expect to play well more than anything. I'm trying to elevate my game with each match - that's really what I want from my game."

{after the match}

"I'm definitely disappointed. I was playing pretty well in this tournament and would have loved to win this match, but she just played better today. I had so many errors today - it was tough to play against her and me at the same time."

"We were back on serve [2-6 *3-4] so that was nice. But those last two games went a lot quicker than I wanted them to."

Semi-final (Saturday 7th April)

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ TATIANA GOLOVIN [8,DF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [6,DF], 6-4 3-6 6-4

Ana owned Tatiana 5:0 in matches stretching back to Zürich 2004, so it was nice for Tatiana to get a win over Ana, who may well be destined for great things. Overturning a lopsided head-to-head is one of the hardest things in tennis, because of the beliefs of both players as they walk onto court. I would actually say that this was a bigger win for Tatiana than the one over Venus Williams.
{before the match}

Ivanović is 5:0 lifetime against Golovin, but none of those have been blow-outs. They have gone to three sets twice, the Serb winning one of those in a third-set tiebreak, and one 7-5 in the third; all three of her two-set wins have been tight.

{after the match}

Earlier in the afternoon, it was one of Petrova's most difficult adversaries, Tatiana Golovin, who earned the other final berth. The No.8-seeded Frenchwoman beat No.6 seed Ana Ivanović, 6-4 3-6 6-4. She had not beaten Ivanović in their five previous encounters, but this time Golovin hung tough, even at the most critical of times; she allowed a 5-2 third-set lead, and 40/15 while serving it out at 5-4, to disappear, but got her first win over Ivanović on her third match-point.

Ivanović's run to the semis was impressive, considering it was her first event on green clay; but Golovin's run is similarly exceptional, considering it is only her second attempt on the surface. She made the semis at Charleston in 2005.

Jeff Elliott for Reuters:
The Moscow-born Frenchwoman ended a five-match losing streak to Ivanović with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win in the other semi-final.

The two battled 55°F (13°C) temperatures and 15 mph winds off the Atlantic Ocean.

It wasn't spectacular tennis, but it was crowd-pleasing and unpredictable with five service-breaks in the first eight games of the deciding third set.

Ivanović had numerous opportunities for more, missing out on seven break-point chances in Golovin's first three service-games before finally converting on the eighth.

She fought back from a 5-2 deficit to trail 5-4, but Golovin reached for a shot over her head and put it past Ivanović at match-point to secure her first win ever over the Serbian player.
Golovin earning a lot of love at Amelia
The fresh-faced fan-favourite upsets Ivanović and will take on Petrova for championship.
By Francine King, The Times-Union

Saturday's early semi-final at the Bausch & Lomb Championships featured a pair of début darlings: Serbian Ana Ivanović and Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin - two of the WTA Tour's fresh young faces.

The 19-year-olds, who both played at Amelia Island for the first time this year, thrilled the crowd with a three-set marathon.

But it was eighth-seeded Golovin who secured the title of first-time finalist - along with the hearts of several tennis-fans - with her 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory.

Throughout the match, several male fans in the grandstand were professing their love for Golovin, saying they wanted to marry her. She said she appreciates the support.

"It's always great when the crowd's behind you," she said. "When I stood up from my chair at 5-4 [in the third set] and the crowd started to really make a lot of noise, it definitely pumps you up.

"Tennis is a show, and you do want people that come watch to enjoy it. So if you can provide that, it's always a lot of fun."

Golovin and Ivanović certainly provided that show on Saturday, as they each fought off multiple break-points, smacked powerful winners, and forced errors from each other.

After dropping the first set, sixth-seeded Ivanović opened the second by breaking Golovin's serve on a backhand winner down the line.

"I started to feel more confident about my game, and definitely I could feel the momentum at that point," she said.

Golovin broke back in the fourth game to pull even at 2-2, but Ivanović converted another break-chance in the fifth, and held serve for a 4-2 lead. Golovin fought off four set-points in the ninth game before double-faulting the set away and slamming her racket to the ground.

She recovered her emotions quickly, however, and began the third set by breaking Ivanović's serve. Golovin carried that momentum to a 5-2 lead, but Ivanović fought back to 5-4 before Golovin was able to close out the match with an overhand volley.

"She [Ivanović] always plays so much better when she's down," said Golovin, who had lost five previous matches against Ivanović. "I'm just really glad I finally got a win over her."

That win sends Golovin to today's final, where she will meet defending champion Nadia Petrova, who is 1:4 against the French teen.

Tennis Week:
It took six matches spread out over three years, culminating in a three-set struggle that featured five service-breaks in the final set, and required a competitive presence beneath immense third-set pressure and a windy 55°F day, but in the end, Tatiana Golovin made it all well worth the wait.

The eighth-seeded Golovin broke through with her first career-win over Ana Ivanović, 6-4 3-6 6-4, to advance to the Bausch&Lomb Championships final at Amelia Island today.

Advancing to her fourth career-final, Golovin moved to within one win of her first career tournament-title. The 20th-ranked Golovin advanced to Sunday's 1pm final against defending champion Nadia Petrova. <snip>

Golovin has won four of five career-meetings with Petrova, including a 7-5 6-3 triumph in their lone career-clash on clay-court in the 2005 Charleston quarter-finals.

A wild-card recipient into the main draw, Golovin had not dropped a set in defeating Catalina Castańo, 12th-seeded Samantha Stosur and Venus Williams en route to the semi-finals. But she carried an ignominious history against the sixth-seeded Serbian: Golovin had won just two sets in five career-losses to Ivanović.

The 19-year-old baseliners play similar styles, but Golovin's willingness to take risk on crucial points proved to be a key to her win. At 4-4 (15/30) in the opening set, Golovin gambled in striking an ambitious second serve down the middle, and followed with a forehand winner for 30/30. Two points later, Golovin again challenged Ivanović with a big serve, drawing a short ball that she put away with an inside-out winner for 5-4.

Serving to stay in the set, Ivanović hit a short second serve, and paid the price as Golovin lashed a forehand winner for 0/30. Ivanović responded with a service-winner and forehand winner to draw even, but was pushed into pursuit of a Golovin-lob that landed long, and Ivanović's lob-reply missed the mark long as she faced set-point. Neglecting to bend her knees on a forehand, Ivanović found the net and dropped the first set, 4-6.

Adept at hitting down the line off both sides, Ivanović used that ability to break serve in the sixth game [of the second set]. Blasting a backhand down the line, she broke for 4-2.

Serving at 3-5, Golovin fought off four set-points with aggressive play, but Ivanović's continuous pressure finally got to Golovin. On the fifth set-point, Golovin spun a second serve into the net, then smashed her blue Wilson frame to the clay-court in frustration as Ivanović took the set to level the match.

The decisive set featured up and down tennis from both women, though both continued to hit deep shots and force the play.

A Golovin-backhand tripped on the top of the tape and crept over to give her two match-points in the 10th game. Ivanović saved them both with winners, including a backhand down the line on the second. On her fourth match-point, Golovin ventured forward and knocked off an overhead to advance to her first final since she lost to Petrova, 6-3 7-6(4), in the Stuttgart-final last fall. That loss came just one month after Golovin upset the fifth-seeded Russian in the third round of the US Open.

More quotes from Tatiana

{before the match}

"I always have a tough time against her, but I'm playing well and feeling good. We've never played this deep in the draw. It'll be a good one."

{after the match}

"She made me work for it, but we always have tough matches even though I'd never beaten her.

"The conditions were very, very tough to handle. It was windy and it was really cold out there. But I was proud of myself because I was able to keep at it. We both could have played better.

"I'm just glad I finally got a win over her. In past matches, we had three-setters and tough two-setters, so I knew I could beat her; we have similar styles, using our forehands and serves but our backhands being a bit weaker. But today I was proud of myself because I was just able to keep at it and focus. I think I just really wanted to win more than her today.

"I used to think I wasn't that good on clay, but the green clay has been good to me. It's good preparation for the red clay as well as the French Open, which is a big goal for me."

More quotes from Ana

{before the match}

"Obviously she is in good form. I've played her five times, and we've had really good matches. Whoever plays better will win."

{after the match}

"She served well and played some very good points in the deciding moments. It was windy and cold, and it took me a little time to get into the match; but at the end of the day, it was the same for both of us. I really don't think I was as aggressive as I was supposed to be to beat her.

"I enjoyed my time here, and had some good wins. It was going well except for today, but I have a lot of positives I can take. I look forward to coming back."

Final (Sunday 8th April)


Petrova was the defending champion here, and #7 in the world; a player who has won 7 WTA singles-titles - all since October 2005, when she was already 23. She's a tall, muscular player who can be a threat to anyone, but who also has a fragile temperament - often letting bad points prey on her mind.

When I first checked the online scoreboard to see how she was doing, I found Tatiana 6-2 5-1* up!

With a lot of "2nd serve"s appearing on the scoreboard, Tati quickly jumped out to three championship-points at 0/40. After another missed first serve, the scoreboard remained at 0/40 for an age, then updated to 15/40. Then the match was over, with T.GOLOVIN as the winner!

Tatiana now owns Petrova 5:1
{before the match}

Petrova and Golovin have played five times before, with Golovin leading that series, 4:1. She won their first three encounters, including on this same green clay-court surface two years ago in Charleston; the Russian downed her for the first time in the Stuttgart-final last fall, but the French teen won their last meeting, in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, when Petrova retired with heat-illness.

{after the match}

It was fourth time lucky for one of women's tennis' most promising future stars on Sunday afternoon, as Tatiana Golovin captured her career-first WTA Tour singles-title at the Bausch & Lomb Championships, held on the green clay of the Amelia Island Plantation.

Seeded No.8 and playing in just her second career-tournament on the green clay surface, Golovin winning her first title this past week seemed like something of a long shot at the start, but after winning her early rounds she only got better, cruising past Venus Williams in the quarter-finals, defying an 0:5 head-to-head against Ana Ivanović in the semis and, in the final, crushing top seed and defending champion Nadia Petrova easily in straight sets, 6-2 6-1.

The one-hour, 16-minute rout was her most impressive performance; despite the fact she had won four of their five previous encounters, she hadn't won any of her three previous Tour finals, including against the Russian in Stuttgart last fall. This time, the French teenager said she had more belief in herself.

Golovin, who has been hovering just inside the Top 20 for most of this season, notched her eighth top-ten victory; three of those eight are over Petrova, the first two coming last year at Paris [Indoors] and the US Open. Their first encounter came at Charleston two years ago, which was also Golovin's first event on green clay; there, she reached the semis with wins over Williams and the Russian.

The last time Petrova won so few games in a match came almost two years ago, with a 6-2 6-1 loss to Sania Mirza at San Diego. Sunday's loss snapped her 14-match win-streak on green clay, which included titles here and at Charleston last year, and her four wins en route to the 2007 Amelia Island final.

BBC Sport:
Superb Golovin wins maiden title
Golovin took her head-to-head record against Petrova to 5:1

France's Tatiana Golovin upset top seed and defending champion Nadia Petrova to win her first tour title at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Florida.

The 19-year-old beat Russia's Petrova 6-2 6-1 in one hour, 16 minutes.

Golovin had been in excellent form all week on the green clay in Amelia Island, beating Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic on her way to the final.

An aggressive Golovin opened the final with a service-break, and broke Petrova twice more on her way to the first set.

Petrova was well below her best, and the second set disappeared even more quickly, with Golovin converting her second match-point when her opponent fired a forehand long.

Agence France Presse (AFP):
Tatiana Golovin captured the first WTA Tour title of her career here on Sunday with a confident straight-set victory over top seed and defending champion Nadia Petrova.

The eighth-seeded Golovin, ranked 20th in the world, defeated world No. 7 Petrova 6-2 6-1 in just 1hr 16min.

The 19-year-old Russian-born French player claimed her first title after three runner-up finishes - one each in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Although she holds a career-advantage over Petrova, it was Petrova who had denied her most recent bid for a title, in the final at Stuttgart last October.

PA SportsTicker:
Tatiana Golovin didn't let her latest opportunity slip away.

The eighth seed from France, Golovin won her first career WTA title by blitzing defending champion Nadia Petrova, 6-2 6-1, in the final of the $600,000 Bausch & Lomb Championships.

Having lost in her three previous finals - including a straight-sets loss to Petrova at Stuttgart in 2006 - the 19-year-old Golovin exacted revenge on the top-seeded Russian in this Tier II claycourt-event.

A French citizen who was born in Moscow and lives in Miami, Golovin needed just 76 minutes to dispatch Petrova and improve to 5:1 against her lifetime.

Golovin, who has played on the WTA circuit since 2002, broke Petrova six times in the match while saving 7 of 8 break-points.

Associated Press (AP):
Tatiana Golovin beat Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-1 on Sunday for her first WTA Tour singles-title at the Bausch & Lomb Championships at the Amelia Island Plantation.

Golovin was appearing in her fourth championship, but had been runner-up in each of the three previous finals. This time, there was no denying the French teenager.

Golovin answered nearly all of the top-seeded Petrova's booming but erratic serves, and most of her blistering groundstrokes. But her best tactic was to wait until the defending champion made one of her 27 unforced errors.

Petrova was seeking her first successful title-defense. She rolled through her first four matches in the tournament without losing a set, and declared the green clay at Amelia Island among her favourite surfaces to play on.

But she was broken in her first two serves, and again in her fourth serve. All four points she lost in the latter break came on unforced errors, which she agreed was uncharacteristic of her game.

The second set wasn't any better for the defending champion. She lost her serve three times. She saved triple match-point with a backhanded winner, but when her forehand was ruled out down the sideline, Golovin threw up her hands in celebration, ready to accept her trophy and first-place cheque of $95,500.

Jeff Elliott for Reuters:
Tatiana Golovin captured her first WTA Tour title when she stunned top-seeded and defending champion Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-2 in the final of the Amelia Island championships on Sunday.

Golovin had risen to No. 20 in the WTA Tour rankings, but the 19-year-old was winless in three previous Tour singles-finals.

When Petrova sent a forehand wide down the line at double match-point, Golovin raised her arms in exhilaration, and then covered the tears of joy that streamed down her face.

She won it on a sound, steady game, and having the patience to wait for Petrova to make one of her 29 unforced errors in the 15 games. Even Petrova admitted it was uncharacteristic of her.

She also lacked an effective serve.

Normally one of the stronger servers on the Tour, Petrova won just over half (14 of 27) of the points on her first serve, and was only able to capture eight of 25 opportunities on her second serve.

Golovin was able to take advantage of that weakness by breaking her three times in both sets.
Frenchwoman avoids mistakes en route to her victory at Amelia Island.
By Francine King, The Times-Union

A year ago, Tatiana Golovin was wearing an air-cast and watching the end of the Bausch & Lomb Championships on television.

On Sunday, she concluded her début at the Amelia Island tournament by claiming the first WTA Tour singles-title of her career with a 6-2 6-1 rout of defending champion Nadia Petrova.

The 19-year-old Frenchwoman was scheduled to make her first Amelia Island appearance last year, but a sprained ankle she suffered in the semi-finals at Miami against Maria Sharapova forced her to pull out.

Golovin said her breakthrough came partly because she wasn't as concerned about winning as she had been in previous finals. In those matches, she tended to get nervous and start making mistakes.

On Sunday, her mistakes were few and far between. She committed 10 unforced errors, compared to 29 for her Russian opponent.

Two weeks ago, tournament-director John Arrix put the idea in Golovin's head that her special day could come at Bausch & Lomb. Golovin, who committed to play here only after losing early in Miami, ate dinner with Arrix shortly after she decided to come to Amelia Island.

Arrix told her how glad he was she would be playing in the tournament and that he thought it could be her first win, Golovin told the Stadium Court crowd during the awards-ceremony.

"So we're going to listen to John from now on," she added with a big grin, eliciting laughter from the fans who embraced her wholeheartedly during her championship-run.

Petrova finished with 21 winners to 15 for Golovin, but Petrova's powerful serve - usually one of her biggest assets - failed her against the French teen, who now owns a 5:1 record against her. Petrova put 52% of her first serves in play as her nine-match winning-streak at Amelia Island ended.

Petrova appeared fatigued throughout the match, most evidently during the many long points that rarely seemed to go her way. Golovin took advantage of Petrova's first-serve troubles and her fatigue to convert six of eight break-point chances.

Golovin was able to finish Petrova off, winning the final six games of the match.

Steve Tignor:
Hot Tati

Well, that was a surprise, wasn't it? She's only 19, but Tatiana Golovin has been on tour for five years, just long enough to make me start writing her off as a major threat - or any kind of a threat, for that matter. The little Russo-Floridian Frenchwoman pops up for a good match, makes you think her all-court feel is what today's Tour needs, then does something to an ankle and disappears.

Before this weekend in Amelia Island, Golovin had the look of a young star who had levelled off - playing-wise, motivation-wise, work-wise - after officially making it on Tour. But that was before she played three excellent matches in a row to beat Venus Williams, Ana Ivanović and Nadia Petrova for her first pro title.

In the process, she again made me think it can be safe for touch, rather than power, to find success in the women's game. Any fan who been heartened by the return of Martina Hingis should be happy with any success Golovin has. She's the closest thing to the Swiss among today's teenagers.

If anything, Golovin has even less power than Hingis. Against Petrova, she sat well behind the baseline, happy to move the ball from corner to corner and subtly wrong-foot Petrova every chance she got. Rather than go crosscourt with her backhand to Petrova's backhand, she went up the line and into the forehand countless times. This produced few winners, but it threw Petrova off. The normal rhythm of a baseline-match was broken up, and Petrova couldn't find any rhythm herself. Like Hingis, Golovin changes directions with the ball at will, particularly on the backhand side.

Golovin has improved her serve over the last couple of years, shedding the kind of extra motion that has led to serving breakdowns among many women. She's using a version of the extremely abbreviated swing favoured by men like Fernando González. It hasn't completely cured her of the yips - as soon as she got up a set and a break, she started the next game by firing two double faults - but she gets more juice on the ball than you would expect for someone her size.

Unfortunately, that's not true of the rest of Golovin's game. I like the feel and variety she employs - the dropshot especially - but even yesterday she was pushed back, and had to rely on Petrova's unforced errors in key situations. How high can Golovin climb with this game? She's No. 19 as of today, one spot below her career-high. This week Dinara Safina is No. 11 and Elena Dementieva is No. 12; there's no reason why Golovin can't compete with them, particularly with the slow clay season upon us, though it's hard to see her established in the Top 10 anytime soon (Golovin got smoked last month in Key Biscayne by world No. 10 Anna Chakvetadze 6-1 6-3). She'll need to stay injury-free, and show the kind of mental consistency that has so far been lacking. This, her first championship, was the only way to start.

On the other side of the court, what did this loss tell us about Petrova? She's had a pretty good run in finals in the past year, and she could once again be a dark horse at the French Open in a couple months. But yesterday was not encouraging. Petrova said she gave up in the second set, and she looked to be (vaguely) ailing during the match; more problematic, though, is her continued lack of what I'll call mental efficiency. Petrova held to go up 1-0 in the second set, then lost the first point of the next game when Golovin hit a nice crosscourt pass-winner. For no good reason, Petrova decided to choose this time for a display of anger, smashing the net with her racquet. There are times to get angry and times to keep your concentration in check; 1-0 (15/15) was clearly the latter. At least wait until your behind in a game to go ballistic. Like Marat Safin, Petrova lets her emotions get the better of her, rather than using them to her advantage. This rollercoaster-style will likely keep her from ever holding it together for the seven matches in a row needed to win a major.

Tennis Week:
Pursuing every ball with the enthusiasm of a woman determined to clean up clay with each swing of her immaculate forehand, Tatiana Golovin spent Easter Sunday completing her own personal championship-hunt. Rather than holding an Easter-basket, Golovin hoisted her first career tournament-title. The eighth-seeded Golovin dusted defending champion Nadia Petrova, 6-2 6-1, to capture the Bausch&Lomb Championships at Amelia Island.

When Petrova's final forehand flew beyond the baseline, Golovin raised her arms in joy, dropped her head in a brief bow, then bunny-hopped her way across the clay in celebration.

A wild-card recipient into the main draw, Golovin did not drop a set in defeating Catalina Castańo, 12th-seeded Samantha Stosur and Venus Williams en route to the semi-finals. Then she scored her first career-victory in six matches over sixth-seeded Serbian Ana Ivanović, 6-4 3-6 6-4, to set up the final with Petrova.

Golovin had won four of five career-meetings with Petrova, including a 7-5 6-3 triumph in their lone career-clash on clay-court in the 2005 Charleston quarter-finals. In their only prior meeting in a final, Petrova grounded Golovin, 6-3 7-6(4), to win the Stuttgart title last October, and prior to today's match Petrova offered a simple explanation for Golovin's successful history in their head-to-head series: "She got a little lucky," Petrova said.

It was Golovin's solid first serve and declarative forehand — rather than her good fortune — that made the difference today.

[What the hell is a "declarative forehand"? In computer-science, "declarative" means "what" rather than "how".]

The match began with three straight service-breaks before Golovin held at 30 for a 3-1 lead. Petrova earned two break-points in the sixth game, but Golovin saved the first with a 107mph serve into the body, and the second when Petrova's forehand return strayed wide. Two points later, she held for 4-2.

Petrova missed the mark with a backhand down the line to donate serve in the seventh game, then punctuated the errant shot by dropping her Babolat racquet to the court in disgust, covering her eyes with her hands in an effort to avoid an unsightly 2-5 deficit.

While Petrova was left to ponder missed opportunities that slipped through her fingers — she converted only one of her eight break-point chances, while Golovin cashed in on six of her eight break-point opportunities — Golovin saw only opportunity as she served out the opening set in the next game.

A lethargic Petrova could not keep pace with Golovin in the second set. Golovin's forehand is a significantly more stable stroke than Petrova's forehand, which can go off, particularly when she's forced to hit a low ball on the run. Sensing that the seventh-ranked Russian was starting to lose her range and resolve, Golovin continued to move Petrova laterally on key points in the second set.

At 1-1 in the second set, Golovin ran around backhand and ripped a forehand return down the line to push Petrova into pursuit. Anticipating a short reply, Golovin stepped into the court, and followed with a flashy diagonal forehand swing-volley winner to break for 2-1. That sequence of shots showed Golovin's confidence in her forehand, and seemed to sap the strength from Petrova. Golovin won the final five games to close out her first career-championship after three runner-up efforts.

Petrova spent almost six years searching for her first career-title before she finally broke through in beating Patty Schnyder, 4-6 6-3 6-1, to capture the 2005 Linz title in her fifth career-final. That victory propelled Petrova to her first year-end top-ten finish, and she has gone on to win six more championships in the past 15 months.

The 20th-ranked Golovin is still only 19 years old, she's strengthened her serve and now has her first championship. Can this breakthrough launch her to similar success?

"I hope it will continue, and I hope I will have a good streak on the clay-courts," said Golovin, who will play Charleston next week, while defending Charleston champ Petrova will take the week off. "But I'll just try to enjoy today."

I just finished watching it and I was so nervous since I didn't look at the result. I kept waiting for Tati to lose her nerve and choke. And it never happened.

This is the most calm she has ever been during a tournament. She was never really flustered against Venus or Petrova.

And her backhand was great for most of the week, hitting it with great depth and making some great cross court passes with it.

Tatiana quotes

{before the match}

"It'll be a matter of how well I recover from today. Hopefully they'll [Petrova and Sybille Bammer] go on a long time!"

{after the match}

"I'm a little overwhelmed. This is probably the happiest day of my life in my tennis-career. I still can't believe it.

"It all happened so fast. Last year I was sitting in my room with my cast on, watching Petrova in the semis or finals, wishing I was here. Definitely it's emotional for me to be here a year later in the final, actually winning the tournament. It's definitely very special.

"The experience of beating Venus [Williams] and Ana [Ivanović] this week - especially Ivanović, since I had never beaten her in the past - it gives you confidence.

"I felt I was ready to win my first title today. Today I knew that I could beat Petrova. I knew I had the weapons to do so. It was just a matter of me being able to do it on [that] special day at that time.

"I told myself to stay aggressive and use my forehand; it put a lot of pressure on her. When the last games came, I didn't get scared.

"Today was different from my other finals, because I went out there feeling I was ready to win my first title, that I worked hard for it and deserved it.

"I forced myself to be aggressive and stay aggressive, and use my forehand. That kind of put pressure on her. She probably felt she needed to go for the big shots, and that's where her mistakes came from.

"The score is easy, but it wasn't that easy. I just wanted to win really badly, and I just kept fighting. I could feel on the other side that she wasn't making as many winners, and that she wasn't hurting me as much, so definitely I was playing on that.

"She didn't start off the second set as well. She wasn't getting as angry or as happy, or showing as much emotion. So I just felt I was much stronger physically."

[Re. Petrova's serve]
"On the clay, it's tougher for her because the ball doesn't go as fast, and you have more time to react. But definitely she didn't serve that great today.

"No, it still hasn't sunk in. I'm still really excited about it. I feel like I've gone on to the next level in winning my first tournament."

Petrova quotes

{before the match}

"It'll be special if I can defend here, because I haven't done that yet. It would be another step forward in my career. I really like this tournament, and the crowd is on my side during my matches, so I just really enjoy being out there.

"It would be something special for me. It would be a new step in my career, so I can prove something else to myself. If I do it once, I can do it a second time in a row. It would be a great feeling if I can do it.

"I'll just take it as another match - I don't really pay much attention to who is on the other side of the net. I know how to play on this surface, and I am playing well, so I hope to prove tomorrow that this is really my surface."

{after the match}

"It wasn't a really nice match for me today; I just wasn't sharp enough. I was just a split second late to get to the balls, and didn't have my concentration. She played solid, though; she doesn't have weaknesses. It's about time she won her first title!

"She is a counterpuncher. If it's necessary to put 100 balls on the other side, she would do that.

"Playing with the second serve, it gives your opponent more chances to come back in the games."

[Re. unforced errors]
"What I can say is that it is just a lack of concentration. In some situations, I was going for too much in trying to finish it off. I didn't have enough energy really to stick in the balls today. I didn't have quite the desire either, especially after I lost the first set.

"I was a bit surprised that I was tired. I felt good in the warmup, but then on the court, I felt the fatigue starting to kick in. Maybe it's not only the physical tiredness - I feel mentally tired too. It might be time to take a break and take a couple days off."

UK TV-alert

UK viewers: watch out for highlights of the Amelia Island final in Transworld Sport on Channel 4 on Sunday morning.

Transworld Sport begins at 07:00 BST, and ends at 07:55 BST (I've never gone wrong with a start-time of 06:59 and a stop-time of 07:59).

Transworld Sport may also be televised in other countries.

Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

Last edited by andrewbroad; Apr 18th, 2007 at 09:51 PM. Reason: edit Title
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Apr 18th, 2007, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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UK TV-alert (the repeat)

(Transworld Sport may be televised in other countries, but the details in this message are specific to the UK.)

There are four points from the Amelia Island final between Tatiana Golovin and Nadia Petrova in this week's Transworld Sport, which is repeated with sign-language at 03:20 BST on {Friday night/Saturday morning} on Channel 4.

The tennis was 13 minutes into Sunday's broadcast of Transworld Sport, before the first adverts, so I recommend 03:32 as a safe start-time for timer-record, and 03:40 as a safe stop-time (Transworld Sport has been known to start up to 5 minutes late).

The points they showed:

* Petrova serving 0-0 (40/40): After some short, tentative hitting from both players, Petrova went to the net behind a short off-forehand, and Tatiana punished it as it deserved, with a nice crosscourt backhand pass-winner while Petrova was barely over the service-line. I mean, they picked out that point as a highlight, but something would have had to go very wrong for Tatiana not to make that pass.

* Petrova serving 2-4 (30/40): Tatiana stroked the ball around the court without much power or depth, but with some lovely grunts, until Petrova slugged a wild backhand wide to give Tatiana the break (Petrova threw her racket). If that was a highlight, then I dread to think what the rest of the match was like!

* Petrova serving 2-6 1-1 (ad Golovin): Tatiana ran around her backhand to hit a forehand return - not a tactic I approve of, as it leaves a terrible gap to her right - but it paid off in this instance as she hit a blistering forehand return down Petrova's forehand-line to force a defensive lob, which Tatiana dispatched with an impressive off-forehand drive-volley winner close to the sideline. That's the kind of point that makes me still regard Tatiana as potential Eternal-Fanship material, if only she could play that aggressively all the time.

* Petrova serving 2-6 1-5 (15/40): On the eighth stroke of the rally, Tatiana hit her last stroke without a title: a short pinpoint backhand down the line, accompanied by a nice grunt, that induced Petrova to hit a crosscourt forehand just over the baseline.

Tatiana celebrated by raising her arms, bowing, having a big smile on her face, and jogging to the net to shake hands. It's been said that tears of joy were streaming down her face, but I didn't notice any there.

Dr. Andrew Broad

My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Re: Amelia Island 2007: Andrew's tournament-review / UK TV-alert (the repeat)

thxs andrew great review as usual!

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