French Open 2008: Andrew's TV-report -
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French Open 2008: Andrew's TV-report

ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)

1. Photos
2. First-round result
3. Second-round result
4. Third-round TV-report: Pennetta v V.Williams
5. Fourth-round result
6. Women's Doubles

1. Photos

Flavia Pennetta:

Search Getty Images for "pennetta"

2. First-round result (Monday 26th/Tuesday 27th/Wednesday 28th May)

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [26,DF] d. Tatiana Perebiynis, 6-3 6-2

The first set was played over three days! Flavia trailed 0-1* (40/0*) on Monday night, and led 4-3* (ad) on Tuesday night before finishing the job on Wednesday.

3. Second-round result (Thursday 29th May)

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [26,DF] d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [Q], 3-6 6-1 6-1

Looking ahead to her third round against Venus Williams, Flavia said:
"It's now or never. This is the time in my career where I feel like can achieve the most. I'm totally focused on my tennis this year. She's a great champion and I have to make sure to cut down the angles of the court, because that where she's at her best: on the run."

4. Third-round TV-report: Pennetta v V.Williams (Friday 30th May)


I saw the whole match on BBCi. Williams didn't play badly; it was an excellent claycourt-performance by Flavia, who has won 6 WTA singles-titles and beaten Venus Williams before, but hadn't beaten such a big-name player on the Grand Slam stage before.

As the players waited to come onto the court, the crowd inexplicably started booing, and the players stood there looking worried before being called onto court.

Flavia won the toss and elected to receive (I presume), and the match started at 20:22 CEST.

First set
PENNETTA __@ @*@*__@* 7
WILLIAMS *@ @____*@__ 5

Williams serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Williams on the third stroke hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/15. Williams tried to spread Flavia, but it didn't work, and she netted a backhand. 15/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/40. Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 30/40. Flavia forehand return long by a whisker. 40/40. Flavia on the fourth stroke dumped a backhand into the net. Ad Williams. She spread Flavia, inducing her to hit a forehand just long.

Sam Smith: "Pennetta has an all-court game. She's one of the few women that really understands how to play on the court. Certainly you want to watch the forehand. She moves well, and has good shot-selection."

Sam Smith also suggested that Flavia had been distracted by the relationship she had with Carlos Moyá.

Flavia serving 0-1: Service-winner out wide - but the umpire checked the mark and ordered them to replay the point. Flavia backhand wide. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 15/15. Double fault. 15/30. Flavia hit a sharp crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Flavia backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Flavia on the third stroke netted a backhand.

Williams serving 2-0: Williams came to the net, but a dipping pass forced her to net an awkward low forehand volley. 0/15. Williams came to the net, but Flavia's crosscourt forehand pass clipped the netcord and jumped over Williams's racket for a winner. 0/30. Flavia outmanoeuvred Williams and hit an off-forehand winner. 0/40. Flavia sprayed a crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/40. Service-winner out wide. 30/40. Williams on the third stroke netted a forehand.

Sam Smith: "Late in the evening, top seeds are more vulnerable."

Flavia serving 1-2: Williams ran down an inadequate dropshot and hit a backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Williams opened up the court and hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/30. Williams played aggressively and hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/40. Flavia forehand long.

I don't like the look of this so far. Williams is dominating Flavia like they were playing on grass, and Flavia is making some rather cheap errors too.

Williams serving 3-1: Williams netted a backhand. 0/15. Williams forehand wide. 0/30. Flavia forehand long. 15/30. A crosscourt-backhand drill ended with Williams netting one. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Flavia serving 2-3: Williams netted a forehand. 15/0. Flavia played a fabulous spreading rally, with an error-forcing crosscourt forehand smash. 30/0. Flavia came to the net, but her approach wasn't strong enough and Williams hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/15. Flavia hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside both the sideline and the baseline! 40/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner.

This is much better from Flavia than it was two games ago.

Williams serving 3-3: Flavia came to the net and hit a "tremendous" off-forehand punch-volley winner. 0/15. Williams came to the net, but a dipping pass at her feet forced her to net a low forehand volley. 0/30. Ace down the middle (on the junction of centre-line and service-line). 15/30. A long, "breathtaking" rally ended with Williams hitting a backhand long. 15/40. Williams came to the net, moved Flavia into the tramlines and hit a backhand volley-winner. Flavia yelled in frustration. 30/40. Flavia broke with a crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner.

Sam Smith: "Pennetta has fantastic stroke-production, prepares so early for her shots, and she's got great variety. How she has (at 26) never been beyond the third round of Roland Garros, I'll never know."

Flavia serving 4-3: Flavia netted a backhand. 0/15. Flavia forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Williams came to the net, forced a skyscraper-lob from Flavia, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Williams forehand just long. 30/30. Williams backhand just long. Flavia winced like something was about to hit her. 40/30. Double fault (second serve long). 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Flavia. Williams backhand long.

Four games in a row to Flavia!

Williams serving 3-5: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Serve + off-forehand winner back behind Flavia. 30/0. Flavia forehand long. 40/0. Williams spread Flavia with an off-forehand + off-backhand winner.

Flavia serving 5-4: A long baseline-rally ended with Flavia netting a forehand and emitting a loud yell. 0/15. Flavia opened up the court with an off-forehand, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. She pumped her fist. 15/15. Flavia came to the net but uncharacteristically netted a forehand volley. 15/30. Williams came to the net, but Flavia hit a "brilliant" wrong-footing crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 30/30. Flavia forehand long. 30/40 (BP). Flavia played a good spreading rally but netted a backhand.

Sam Smith: "Some of the best women's tennis we've seen so far this championship, just in terms of the quality of the hitting."

So far, Flavia has won 21 rallies with four or more strokes, and only 11 with fewer than four strokes, while Williams has won 17 of each.

Williams serving 5-5: Williams netted a forehand. 0/15. Flavia sprayed a backhand wide. 15/15. Williams came to the net, but an intriguing rally ended with her hitting a backhand volley long (forced by Flavia's forehand pass down the line). 15/30. Williams netted a backhand. 15/40. Flavia forehand long. 30/40. Flavia backhand long. 40/40. Williams netted a forehand. Ad Flavia. She broke with a backhand down the line, and screamed in celebration.

Flavia serving 6-5: Flavia on the third stroke hit a forehand long. 0/15. Ace down the middle. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Williams netting a forehand. 40/15 (SP #1). Service-winner: defensive lob-return just long. Flavia won the first set 7-5 at 21:08.

Second set
PENNETTA @* * * *@ 6
WILLIAMS __* * *__ 3

Williams serving 0-0: Flavia blasted a backhand wide. 15/0. Williams off-forehand winner. 30/0. Flavia netted a backhand dropshot. 40/0. Flavia hit an error-forcing forehand return down the line. 40/15. Flavia hit an error-forcing off-forehand. 40/30. Williams netted a backhand. 40/40. Double fault (second serve hit the netcord and fell long). Ad Flavia (BP). She netted a makeable backhand return. Deuce #2. Williams backhand wide. Ad Flavia (BP #2). Double fault (second serve long).

Wow - broken from 40/15!

Sam Smith: "Flavia can hurt herself by being too self-critical. Quite a fiery character when she gets going."

Flavia serving 1-0: Williams off-backhand return + crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Williams backhand long. 15/15. Williams netted a backhand return. 30/15. Flavia's backhand dropshot forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15. Service-winner.

Williams serving 0-2: Flavia sprayed a wild backhand long & wide. 0/15. Service-winner. 30/0. Williams's deep forehand down the middle forced Flavia to hit a forehand wide. 40/0. Flavia crosscourt backhand + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Williams got caught in no-man's-land as Flavia hit a backhand lob-winner. 40/30. Williams forced Flavia into error, and Flavia yelled again.

It's getting dark now, so Flavia needs to hold onto this break if she's going to win tonight.

Sam Smith: "If she has [ever played better], I haven't seen it. Very difficult for Williams to find the holes."

Flavia serving 2-1: Williams forehand wide. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Williams netted a return. 40/0. Flavia forehand very long. 40/15. Williams hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Flavia. 40/30. A long, nailbiting baseline-rally ended with Williams netting a backhand.

Williams serving 1-3: Williams hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Williams came to the net, forcing Flavia to hit a defensive lob long. 40/0. Flavia backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Flavia forehand long.

Williams played very well in that game, so she's still a danger. I think Flavia has the temperament to win this, but...

Flavia serving 3-2: Flavia came to the net, but Williams hit a "brilliant" early backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Williams slammed a thunderous crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Williams mishit a forehand long. 15/30. Williams backhand long. 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. Flavia went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 40/40. Williams netted a backhand. Ad Flavia. Another good serve, and Flavia forced Williams to hit a forehand long.

Mark Petchey: "Once again thwarted by Pennetta's intelligent play."

The match on Court 1 has already been suspended for bad light, and the supervisors are gathering round this court now.

Williams serving 2-4: Flavia forehand just long (the umpire checked the mark). 15/0. Williams hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/15. Flavia forehand long. 30/15. Williams pounced on a short ball to hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Flavia backhand long.

The barometer of Williams's form is how far she misses by, and so far in this match, not by much.

Flavia serving 4-3: Williams played a great spreading rally with a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. 15/15. Williams hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 15/30. A long rally ended with Flavia hitting a "remarkable" backhand winner down the line that caught the outside edge of the sideline! 30/30. Ace out wide: on the sideline! 40/30. Flavia netted a backhand. 40/40. Flavia opened up the court with an off-forehand + crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Flavia. Williams netted a backhand return.

Williams serving 3-5: Williams forehand wide. 0/15. Williams's serve forced a short ball, and she hit a deep off-backhand virtual winner. 15/15. Serve out wide + error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/15. Flavia's off-forehand return flashed onto the sideline for a winner, but was called wide. 40/15. Williams on the third stroke netted a silly forehand dropshot. 40/30. Flavia played a nice spreading rally, inducing Williams to net a backhand. 40/40. Flavia opened up the court and hit an off-backhand winner down the line and onto the sideline for a winner - better than it had to be! Ad Flavia (MP #1). Flavia maintained the initiative through a long, heart-beating rally, pinned Williams to her backhand sideline, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner to win 7-5 6-3 at 21:47.

5. Fourth-round result (Sunday 1st June)

- FLAVIA PENNETTA [26,DF] lt. Carla Suárez Navarro [Q], 3-6 2-6

6. Women's Doubles
6.1 First-round result (Saturday 31st May)

+ Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Maria Kirilenko [DF] d. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro/Camille Pin, 7-5 6-2

6.2 Second-round result (Sunday 1st June)

- Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Maria Kirilenko [DF] lt. (DINARA SAFINA/ÁGNES SZÁVAY)[9], 3-6 6-7 (4/7)

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; Jul 15th, 2008 at 10:30 PM.
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