My Wednesday report [warning: looooong post + photos] - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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My Wednesday report [warning: looooong post + photos]

Ok people, this is my first ever WTAWorld tournament report, coming to you live from Birmingham on Wednesday the 8th of June. Well what can I say? I had a great time - sitting in the sun all day and watching fit and scantily-clad young women play high-quality grass court tennis, it doesn't get much better than that does it? A good time was had by all. Well that's it, thanks for reading, see you next year. Just kidding - here come the juicy bits.

Part 1

Well despite Birmingham city's best efforts to confuse my sense of direction, I managed to navigate my way from the station to the Priory Club on foot, arriving at about 11:30 just as play was getting under way. The first thing I saw upon entering the grounds was Virginie Razzano , all 6-foot-something of her, live and in the flesh, right in front of me on the practise court. This was quite a shock to the system as (a) I had not seen a real live tennis player in a couple of years and (b) Virginie is a more striking figure in real life than in photos.

Having survived my initial Razzanization, I wandered into the grounds to see what tennis was on. Before the day I had felt disappointed by today's OOP; it seemed like the interesting players had either lost earlier (Schaul, Kremer, Groenefeld, Jidkova) or were being rested (Sharapova, Jankovic) leaving only boring mid-tournament filler. In fact the only players I was looking forward to seeing were Asagoe, Hantuchova, Kirilenko and Vaidisova. Well. I ended up getting much more than I had hoped for. First of all I sat down to watch Asagoe-Tu. As expected, Asagoe looked the better grass player and won the first set easily as Tu dumped a string of awful-looking backhands into the net using a variety of ugly techniques. In the second, Tu came out swinging much more aggressively, got an early break and held on to it for a close 6-4. But her momentum faded in the third and Shinobu wrapped it up (6-1 4-6 6-1), although I didn't really see this as I had moved over to see Kirilenko-Jackson (although I could still hear the screams of rage coming from Tu). When Asagoe-Tu finished they got swamped by like 30 nasty little schoolkids wanting autographs.

I expected Maria to dominate here, but it was not the case. Jackson was on fire and blasting the hell out of the ball with deep penetrating groundies. Maria was mis-hitting a lot or not really finding her timing. She kept trying but was not able to put up much resistance, however credit must be given for her cool head and professional attitude on court - even though she was losing, she took it like a pro and accepted the poor result (6-2 6-3). She showed no anger, but departed quickly at the end of the match, ignoring the lone autograph hunter.

While watching this I really should have tried to see more of the Stephanie Foretz match going on next door. I've always liked her and was pleased to see the result go her way, even though I only saw a couple of points. Have to make an effort to see her at Wimbledon. Soon after that, Els Callens waltzed in looking very sporty and athletic, and sporting even shorter hair than usual which made her look a bit like a lesbian.

Then to my surprise, along came cute little Marion Bartoli (cute in a schoolgirl way) with her Dad, in a very colourful costume (her, not her Dad) featuring lots of bright pink, orange, green, and orange shoes that looked like a 10-year-old's . I was star-struck again to see Marion sitting right in the midst of the sunburnt British punters. They watched the matches closely, then her Dad left and Marion brought her tennis bag over and started putting on these compression sock things between her socks and her shoes. I have never seen these before. For the next half hour she kept coming and going with her stuff, as if she didn't know what court she was meant to be playing on. She came back later wearing a different pair of shoes for her match, so I guess the bright orange ones were either uncomfortable or banned by the tournament director

By this time I was concentrating on Vaidisova-Daniilidou. From what I had heard I was expecting Nicole to win this but Eleni's grass prowess eventually shone through. Nicole was definitely the better mover and was trying to mix it up a bit to get Eleni off balance, but in the process was mis-hitting a fair few balls. Eleni, on the other hand, was just keeping it simple and whacking one powerful, penetrating groundstroke after another. She has a lovely backhand. In the end it was her consistent power advantage that gave her the edge over Vaidisova (6-4 6-2), who was getting visibly annoyed with herself and seemed to give up towards the end. Eleni was receiving strong vocal support from a black girl, could've been Jamea Jackson from earlier but I may be wrong, and an attractive and very blonde Spanish-speaking girl who I assumed was a trainer (does Eleni train in Spain, mainly on the plain? ). Maria Sanchez Lorenzo was there watching too, and another girl I didn't recognise, although come to think of it she could actually have been Arantxa Parra (which would make sense).

From time to time my attention was drawn to the Stosur-Dominikovic match nearby, which I was trying to avoid because I can't stand either of them. It turned out to be a really weird match - Dominikovic started off stinking the whole place up with an awful warm-up and continued until she was 0-5 down... it looked like Stosur would blow her off the court in half an hour but the whole match turned on its head and Stosur went 0-4 down in the second. Then in the final set it turned into some really intense, high-quality tennis from both women, with huge rallies going all over the court, up until 6-6, and then Stosur won the TB which I didn't really see. Crazy stuff (6-1 1-6 7-6). Meanwhile Mr Bean, who I had spotted earlier eating a plate of fish and stinking the whole place up like the Aussies' tennis skills, was overheard trying to pronounce Dominikovic's name. He started undressing as well, not really surprising as he was wearing a thick coat in boiling sunshine! Later on I heard him mention with disappointment that he had only taken 6 photos of Tatiana Golovin.

After some spectators left their seats, an Italian boy and girl came to sit right in front of me and watch Daniilidou. I suspected she was a player but I didn't know who (I now believe it was Roberta Vinci). They were soon joined by a perky young blonde and their coaches, and started chatting. Soon I guessed that the blonde was none other than... Maria Elena Camerin! I have always liked Camerin despite never having seen a photo of her, so it was quite a shock to see how different she was in person to how I imagined her. Let's put it this way: she is a sexy little minx! And vivacious too - I had always imagined her as a quiet girl. Soon another Italian arrived, again one I couldn't place but I suspected it could be one of the Serra-Zanettis. I was right: Google Image Search confirms it was Adriana. Anyway this tightly-knit bunch were having a good old gossip together about the Pratt-Sugiyama match... Roberta was pretty quiet but Maria Elena was chirpy and Adriana was talkative in a more mature way. I don't speak much Italian so I didn't understand all of what they were saying, but I'm sure I heard something along the lines of "Pratt"..."vestiti"..."sbaglio"... whatever that means... They were also having a good guffaw when Stosur plonked an overhead straight into the net.

By this time I was feeling like a bit of a babe-magnet as all of the fit women had seemingly gravitated towards me: Camerin (especially), Bartoli, Jackson and her friend, this really hot tournament organiser woman (the blonde one), the red-headed photographer woman and even a couple of hippy-chic styled English girls.

During all this, a girl in black lycra came and sat down next to me. I couldn't recognize her at all, she looked very young with gingerish hair and a lot of freckles. My best guess is Natalie Grandin, who was beaten earlier on centre court, but this girl did not look 24. Anyway she was speaking to her French coach in a mixture of French and English with a strange accent and a dopey manner as if she had just been hit on the head by a Serena Williams drive volley. The coach was trying to get her to come to the gym but she had just eaten (I think her exact words were "J'ai mangé une potato") Anybody know if this could be Grandin or are there any other young, possibly American-sounding girls with French connections playing here?

After that I went back to the practise courts and saw Carly Gullickson practising with (I think) Anna Chakvetadze and a coach. Carly was hitting some serves and seemed to be playing pretty badly (more on her later).
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Part 2

Going back to court 1 I saw that Pratt and Sugiyama had pissed off and Bartoli was warming up against Tanasugarn. Due to Marion's colourfulness and the shoe episode I decided to watch (and take a lot of pictures). Marion is a strange player. When receiving she stands about 2 metres inside the baseline and then jumps backwards when the serve is hit. And of course she plays two hands off both sides (a lot of them about today!). Well she started off well enough and stayed level with Tammy until about 3-3. Then Tammy had a nasty fall and had to stop for several minutes for treatment. Marion was very concerned, after all they do play doubles together. On the restart the umpire got the score wrong, thinking Bartoli had won the last point, so Tammy had to argue her way back to the correct scoreline. Anyway after that Tammy was pretty much on fire, winning virtually every game (I don't remember the exact details). It finished 6-3 6-0, but Marion didn't seem to mind losing (maybe she is used to it ).

While Tanasugarn was mincing Bartoli's ass, I was trying to keep an eye on Razzano-Washington. I wanted Razzano to win but she wasn't playing that well. Lost the first 6-4, had a minor comeback in the second and took it 6-3 thanks to the support of a very loud French woman, and then capitulated in the third (6-4 3-6 6-1). Disappointing result, and Virginie was getting frustrated and shouting "Merde" quite a lot towards the end, although she seemed calm later on.

On court 3 Fujiwara-Vento had started and Fujiwara was really dominating, she must have won virtually every point for a 4-0 lead. Maria had a brief comeback to reach 2-6 2-2 but then Rika went on the rampage again and wrapped it up 6-2 6-2. Didn't really watch that one closely. After that an interesting doubles match came on, Daniilidou and Jennifer Russell against Laura Granville and Carly Gullickson. I believe Russell is a doubles specialist (?) so I was expecting her to win this one with Eleni. I was right and they didn't have too many problems. From what I saw Carly was stinking the place up again with some rather wild shots. There was this one overhead which she managed to sky off her frame, which just about summed it up. Whether she looked fat or not, you can judge for yourselves.

Then it was time for the match of the day (IMO), Shinobu and Maria Elena Camerin against Black & Huber. This was watched by the Italian coach who was shouting lots of "Forza"s and "Brave"s, and the Japanese coach who was silent (although I did overhear the two of them discussing Italy's Fed Cup tie with Russia). As for the match, Black & Huber were looking like the well-oiled doubles machine we know they are. Black (who I used to actually like) was like a little monkey, bouncing up and down at the net and hitting dozens of volley winners and leaping up to pluck lobs out of the sky. Huber was less flashy. Team Sex Appeal had to work hard to stay level, breaking back after Shinobu lost her serve and reaching 5-5 intact. Maria Elena was serving pretty big but looked helpless at the net, while Shinobu was not playing that well and being forced into lots of errors by her opponents. I took lots of photos of MEC. Unfortunately they got broken again and went down 7-5, which is when I went for a bit of a walk.

Back on the practise courts the other Italians were having a session with their coaches and the guy from earlier who was obviously a hitting partner. The Uberois were there too (even though they both lost in q1); Vaidisova was watching and commented in English to a passing Uberoi sister (which one? who knows) that she always seemed to be practising. The Uberoi pointed out that because she and her sister look alike, Nicole was seeing twice as many Uberois as she thought she was. Nicole agreed.

Returning to the doubles, the second set was the same story as the first - hard work got Shino & Elena close, but the second seeds were just too good. There were a couple of questionable line calls and Camerin started getting stroppy with the umpire in true Italian style. It finished 7-5 6-4 and I headed off to centre court.

On the path I passed Razzano on her mobile, talking in French about not knowing how to set up her ringtone or something. Then I saw Anne Keothavong, also on her mobile (I wouldn't have recogised her if it weren't for her English accent) talking to Amanda Janes, who then appeared round the corner looking like an albino ghost wearing factor 100 suntan cream. They were getting together to prepare for their doubles match but first they wanted to see the end of Hantuchova-Parra on centre, as did I, still not having set foot in the seat I paid £11 for. When I got in it was one set all and 2-1 Daniela. The final set was very tense, swinging first Hantuchova's way, then Parra's, until 4-4, 5-5, 6-6...
Parra was playing really well, serving big, good footwork and hitting her fierce and flat two-handers off both sides, while Daniela played alright but not amazingly - she didn't seem to have many weapons apart from the serve which brought her a fair few aces. There were some horrific line calls at my end (on Parra's, a guy in the crowd shouted out in Spanish "she [the lineswoman] is a bitch, forget about it" and on Daniela's, the whole crowd started yelling "that was way out" and chanting "out! out! out!" which was pretty funny) but the match was fair and in the end it came down to a couple of points which went Parra's way (6-4 6-7 7-6). It was a minor upset but definitely deserved by Parra - I never knew she had such skills.

I didn't want (or have time) to watch Janes & Keothavong in the final doubles match of the day so I left at that point. I have got to say, Birmingham is a lovely little tournament and I will definitely be coming back in future years. I fully recommend it to anyone who is able to go. There were a fair share of weirdos there, such as Mr Bean, a guy in an Arab head-dress, and several old men in cloth caps with huge telephotos, as well as lots of elderly folks and a handful of under-30s like me. I bet I saw The Boiled Egg and several others of you, but I wouldn't have known it. Who was that guy in the red checked shirt with a video camera? Someone famous no doubt.

Photos to follow.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some of the photos I took, please excuse the quality (crappy old digital camera with 3x zoom at long range with no tripod) which I have done my best to salvage on the computer.


The Priory Club, outside courts


Ditto


Bartoli


Tanasugarn


Razzano


Razzano, Washington & Fujiwara


Bartoli


Bartoli


Bartoli & Tanasugarn


Who is this man?


Random shot


Some weirdo in a hat


Razzano


Razzano


I never get tired of typing 'Razzano'


Bartoli gets aced by Tammy


Razzano


Daniilidou & Granville facing off


Gullickson


Gullickson


Daniilidou & Jennifer Russell


Maria Elena Camerin


Asagoe


Black & Huber


Black


Huber


Some bald camera weirdo


Some guy in a tall chair


Asagoe


Asagoe & Camerin


Camerin [HOTTT]


I have got to stop typing 'asausage'


Asagoe & Camerin

Last edited by controlfreak; Jun 9th, 2005 at 02:23 PM.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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PS: thanks for reading!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 02:52 PM
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thanks for pic and Tammy's report

Tamarine Tanasugarn
Nudnida Luangnam
Noppawarn Lertcheewakarn
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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Thanks controlfreak

Did Tammy move well after recieve treatment ? Hope her leg is OK.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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Maria Elena Camerin

thanks controlfreak!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Quote:

During all this, a girl in black lycra came and sat down next to me. I couldn't recognize her at all, she looked very young with gingerish hair and a lot of freckles. My best guess is Natalie Grandin, who was beaten earlier on centre court, but this girl did not look 24. Anyway she was speaking to her French coach in a mixture of French and English with a strange accent and a dopey manner as if she had just been hit on the head by a Serena Williams drive volley. The coach was trying to get her to come to the gym but she had just eaten (I think her exact words were "J'ai mangé une potato") Anybody know if this could be Grandin or are there any other young, possibly American-sounding girls with French connections playing here?

It was probably Natalie. She has a load of freckles. She being one of the few girls I have seen in action live, I have to cheer for her. And she is probably the underdog in every match for obvious reasons. The only American player I can think of with a load of freckles would be Jessica Kirkland, who didn't make the trip. Great report!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Thanks, any pics of Jamea???
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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Entertaining read.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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Thanks. Very very nice report. Any pictures of Maria K?
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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Great report. Thanks!

But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for that poor Tammy glad she owned afterwards though
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 10th, 2005, 02:00 AM
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thanks.
the courts are so beautiful

but the spectators have to sit so far away, and it the whole court system looks like a challenger tournament.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old Jun 10th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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Maria Elena is so hot, so is Aranxta!
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