Eastbourne 2006: Andrew's eye-witness report - TennisForum.com
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Eastbourne 2006: Andrew's eye-witness report

(Eastbourne, England; grass; WTA Tier II)

I attended the tournament from Monday 19th June to Wednesday 21st June - I realise this is four-and-a-half weeks late!

First round (Tuesday 20th June)

+ Vera Zvonarëva d. Anna Chakvetadze, 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (2/7) 6-2

I had made emergency arrangements to go to Birmingham the previous Thursday specifically to watch Bepa v Anna, believing it to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But it's a small world, and the sequel was even better than the original!

Anna is a much better player now than when I first saw her at the French Open and Birmingham 2005. Back then she was a bit of a grinder, but now she has flairsome power on her groundstrokes (especially the forehand), and can make the court look very wide with her deceptive groundstroke-winners. I already knew she had a great serve, which sets up a lot of one-two punches.

Anna is so cute, too. In this match, whenever she made an error she would jump up off the ground whilst moving her legs as if running. I believe the term for this is a "Bojangles jump".

Anna is now my favourite player outside my Eternal Fanship (ahead of Tatiana Golovin and Maria Kirilenko), and if by next year she has improved by as much again, she just might be the next player I induct.

Bepa is already a member of my Eternal Fanship. She combines flairsome power with amazing retrieval-skills, she hits the ball extremely well on both her serve and her groundstrokes, and she has the most beautiful volleys in tennis IMO.

So it was a match between two girls who are extremely cute and extremely flairsome - so much more joyful to watch than the muscular top seeds such as Mauresmo, Clijsters and Kuznetsova!

Bepa should have won in straight sets after breaking for 2-1 in the second set (she was broken back immediately), and netting an easy short forehand on her fourth break-point at 4-4! But Anna deserved a set for her flairsome contribution to both their matches.

The match was played on Court One, which has stands on three sides, open to anyone with a ground-pass or higher. It's a much more intimate setting than Centre Court, though not as intimate as the outside courts. So at least Bepa and Anna had a much larger audience than the dozen spectators who watched them at Birmingham!

Anna lost her footing so many times in the match that I would question her choice of shoes (I believe herringbone is the correct sole for grass now that pimples are banned).

Bepa is famous for crying in her matches, but it was Anna who did all the crying for the both of them. Anna was in tears as she came out at *2-5 in the third set, and she definitely burst into tears the moment she lost. I do feel sorry that she doesn't appear to enjoy playing as much as I enjoy watching her, or as much as Bepa is enjoying her own tennis at last - at one point Bepa even made a fake crying-noise and smiled!

First Set:
ZVONARËVA *@___@* *__@ 7(7)
CHAKVETAD __@*@__* *@_ 6(3)

The match started at 14:58 BST, with Bepa serving first. At 30/0, Anna hit a forehand winner down the line after some great retrieving from Bepa, but Bepa hit an ace out wide and held to 15.

Anna serving 0-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Bepa forehand pass virtual winner down the line. 15/15. Ace out wide. 30/15. Anna netted three forehands in a row to hand Bepa the first break for 2-0.

But Bepa made three forehand errors of her own (and a double fault) as Anna broke back after one deuce to make it 2-1.

Anna serving 1-2 (40/30): They exchanged two dropshots, then Bepa hit two lobs; Anna dispatched the second with a forehand smash-winner.

Bepa serving 2-2 (30/30): Anna off-backhand winner. 30/40 (BP). Anna mishit a backhand drop-volley for a winner, to go a break ahead.

Anna serving 3-2 (30/30): Anna played a good spreading rally, but netted a forehand smash. 30/40 (BP). Anna hit a backhand long to give Bepa the break back, and made her first Bojangles jump. Anna's grunt was high-pitched.

Bepa serving 3-3: Anna played a spreading rally and hit an off-forehand winner behind Bepa. 0/15... 30/15. Bepa earthed a backhand and muttered in English. 30/30. Anna hit a forehand smash wide, and made another Bojangles jump. Bepa held to 30.

Anna serving 3-4: Held to 30 with a serve + forehand winner down the line, an ace out wide, and a serve + crosscourt forehand winner.

Bepa serving 4-4 (40/15). Anna hit a cracking backhand winner down the line. 40/30. Anna netted a backhand; Bojangles jump.

Anna serving to stay in the first set at 4-5: Anna played a lovely controlled rally, ending with a forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Bepa hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/15. Anna slipped; Bepa forehand return-winner. 15/30. Both girls made a series of errors. 40/40. Anna forehand long. Ad Bepa (SP #1). Anna hit a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Bepa to hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Anna did the splits after a service-winner! Ad Anna. A good serve set up a roaring backhand winner down the line.

Bepa serving 5-5: She double-faulted en route to 0/30. Anna made two forehand errors and a Bojangles jump. 30/30, 40/30, 40/40. Anna dead-netcord backhand winner. Ad Anna (BP). Double fault.

Anna serving for the first set at 6-5: Anna netted an easy short forehand. 0/15. Anna dead-netcord backhand winner. 15/15. Anna netted a backhand. 15/30. Anna forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Anna backhand just long. She was making a Bojangles jump after every error now!

6-6 tiebreak (all scores from Bepa's perspective):
{*0/0} Anna backhand wide.
{1/0*} Bepa mishit a backhand return wide of the tramlines.
{1/1*} Anna forehand wide.
{*2/1} Anna backhand long.
{*3/1} Anna forehand return wide.
{4/1*} Anna hit a pinpoint off-forehand onto the sideline to set up a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt.
{4/2*} Anna double-faulted.
{*5/2} Anna netted a backhand.
{*6/2: SP #2} Anna hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Bepa to net a forehand.
{*6/3: SP #3} Anna double-faulted to lose the first set 6-7 (3/7) at 15:53 (55m).

Second Set:
ZVONARËVA _*@__* * * * 6(2)
CHAKVETAD *__@* * * *_ 7(7)

Anna serving 0-0: Bepa forced two errors for 0/30, but Anna recovered to 30/30 with a forehand smash-winner. Bepa netted a backhand and yelled. 40/30. Anna held with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Bepa serving 0-1 (40/30). Anna hit a backhand winner down the line off a ball so short that Anna touched the net, therefore Bepa won the point.

Anna serving 1-1: 15/0. Bepa hit a forehand down the line to set up a backhand winner down the line after a mishit lob from Anna. 15/15, 30/15. After hitting a backhand return long, Bepa flapped her arms and muttered. 40/15. Anna wasted a total of three game-points with errors. Deuce #2. Anna played a flairsome rally, but hit a forehand wide. Ad Bepa (BP). Anna hit a forehand wide to put Bepa up a set and a break.

Bepa serving 2-1: Service-winner en route to 30/0. Double fault. 30/15. Bepa went for a pinpoint off-forehand winner, but it was just wide. 30/30. Anna hit a dead-netcord forehand winner, and Bepa complained to the umpire about the lack of a call on her baseline. 30/40 (BP). Bepa hit a forehand wide to give Anna the break back.

Anna serving 2-2: Bepa forehand smash-winner - Anna slipped over and got up very gingerly. 0/15... 15/30. Bepa played a spreading rally with a dropshot that allowed Anna to hit a forehand winner down the line. 30/30. Two forehand errors by Bepa.

Bepa serving 2-3: 15/0. Serve + off-forehand winner. 30/0. Anna hit a lovely crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15... 40/30. Anna forehand long after dominating an intense rally with good lateral retrieval from Bepa.

Anna serving 3-3: Serve + forehand winner down the line. 15/0... 30/15. Anna hit a service-winner which was called a fault and then corrected - surely the point should have been replayed, as Bepa had a play on the ball? Bepa complained to the umpire: "I heard it [the call] before [I hit the ball]... You're making so many mistakes - impossible to play the game this way." 40/15. Anna hit a good serve to set up an off-forehand winner, and Bepa immediately said, "Yeah, right - impossible."

Bepa serving 3-4: Held to 15 with four backhand errors from Anna, who muttered in Russian, and lost her footing - not for the first time in this match!

Anna serving 4-4: Double fault; Anna muttered. 0/15, 0/30. Bepa hit a two-handed high backhand drive-volley winner. 0/40 (3 BPs). Anna saved the first with a crosscourt backhand into Bepa's backhand-corner, forcing her to net a backhand. 15/40. Anna went to the net, forced a short ball from Bepa, and hit a forehand winner down the line. 30/40. Anna hit a crosscourt forehand into Bepa's forehand-corner; Bepa netted a forehand and emitted a loud shriek! 40/40. A long, intense baseline rally ended with Anna hitting a forehand long. Ad Bepa (BP #4). Bepa netted an easy short forehand and screamed! Deuce #2. Bepa forehand return just long. Ad Anna. She went to the net, but Bepa's defence was too strong, and her pass forced Anna to net a forehand volley. Deuce #3. Anna hit a lovely crosscourt forehand winner behind Bepa. Ad Anna. She hit a forehand winner down Bepa's forehand-line.

Bepa serving to stay in the second set at 4-5: Bepa hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind Anna, who slipped over right in front of me. 15/0. Bepa forehand wide. 15/15. Bepa hit a backhand winner down the line behind Anna. 30/15. Anna netted a backhand off a short, defensive sliced backhand from Bepa. 40/15. Bepa hit a backhand lob that brushed Anna's racket.

Anna serving 5-5: Anna opened up the court with a beautiful crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, and hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. Anna forehand wide. 15/15. Serve + off-forehand winner. 30/15. Bepa hit a backhand wide, and said "no, no no no!" 40/15. Service-winner (Bepa backhand lob-return just long).

Bepa serving to stay in the second set at 5-6: Bepa backhand winner down the line; Anna screamed something in Russian loud and twice! 15/0. Anna hit a forehand wide off a short ball, and did a Bojangles jump. 30/0. Bepa ran down a dropshot and hit a beautiful short crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 40/0. Anna netted a forehand.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores from Bepa's perspective):
{0/0*} Anna crosscourt backhand forced Bepa to net a sliced backhand.
{*0/1} Anna wild forehand wide.
{*1/1} Anna's depth forced Bepa to net a forehand.
{1/2*} Anna hit a crosscourt backhand off a low ball, forcing Bepa to net a sliced backhand.
{1/3*} Anna wild backhand wide.
{*2/3} Anna hit a well-disguised backhand dropshot-winner.
{*2/4} Bepa forehand long.
{2/5*} Fooled by the lovely disguise on Anna's shots, Bepa hit a backhand lob long.
{2/6*: 4 SPs} Anna won the second set 7-6 (7/2) with a forehand smash-winner at 16:50 (57m).

Third Set:
ZVONARËVA * * *@*@ 6
CHAKVETAD _* *____ 2

Bepa held to love with four errors from Anna.

Anna serving 0-1: Anna short-angled crosscourt forehand. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0, 30/15. Bepa dispatched a lob from Anna with a high forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Bepa made two forehand errors, muttered "on the grass", made a fake crying-noise, and smiled!

Bepa serving 1-1: Anna netted a forehand and did a Bojangles jump. 15/0. Bepa hit a virtual forehand winner crosscourt. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Anna hit a crosscourt backhand to open up the court for a forehand winner down the line. 40/15, 40/30. Ace out wide.

Anna serving 1-2: Anna netted a forehand and muttered. 0/15. Anna hit a crosscourt backhand of flairsome power, forcing Bepa to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Anna hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line, into Bepa's forehand-corner. Bepa dropped her racket and complained to the umpire. 30/15. Anna hit a backhand long, and the crowd laughed for some reason. 30/30, 30/40 (BP). Anna saved it with a hard, pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Three deuces, two more break-points wasted by Bepa. Ad Bepa (BP #4). Anna saved it with a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #4. Bepa hit a backhand winner down the line behind Anna. Ad Bepa (BP #5). Anna saved it with a backhand drive-volley winner behind Bepa. Deuce #5. Bepa hit two groundstrokes long.

Bepa serving 2-2: Ace down the middle. 40/0. Double fault. 40/15. Anna opened up the court with a great crosscourt backhand, but netted a backhand.

Anna serving 2-3: It was cold and windy now, and Anna hit two shots wide. 0/30. Anna played a spreading rally with a dropshot that allowed Bepa to hit a backhand winner down the line. 0/40 (3 BPs). Anna hit a forehand wide.

Bepa serving 4-2: Anna forehand winner down the line. 0/15, 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Anna hit a searing crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30, 40/30. Anna's deep topspin forced Bepa to net a forehand and mutter. 40/40. With a two-tone grunt reminiscent of Monica Seles, Bepa netted a forehand. Ad Anna (BP). Bepa saved it with a good serve to set up a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. Deuce #2. Anna crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Anna (BP #2). Anna forehand long. Deuce #3. After an exchange of volleys at close range, Anna ran back and hit a backhand wide. Ad Bepa. Anna hit a backhand wide.

Anna was in tears as she came out from the changeover.

Anna serving to stay in the match at 2-5: Anna hit a crosscourt forehand, forcing Bepa to hit a forehand wide. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Double fault. 30/15. Bepa hit a crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Anna to hit a backhand wide. 30/30. Bepa hit a lob long, but as Anna turned to face me, she was in tears. 40/30. Anna netted a forehand. 40/40. Anna forehand wide. Ad Bepa (MP #1). A very long rally ended with Anna hitting a backhand wide and bursting into tears. Bepa won 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 at 17:30 (2h32m).

Bepa: "It's great to be able to come here from Birmingham, where I had such a great week, and win another match. It's obviously giving me a lot of confidence going into Wimbledon. I was disappointed to lose the second set, after I had some chances to win in straight, but I'm proud of the way I pulled it all together again."

This was the 200th victory of Bepa's career (in singles) - a milestone achieved just five days later than Maria Sharapova!

Doubles: First round (Monday 19th June)

- Anna Chakvetadze/Vera Dushevina lt. Jarmila Gajdošová/Anastassia Rodionova, 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (3/7)

I watched a bit of this match casually - not enough to appreciate the tennis because, in the up-close setting of Court 2, I went a bit mad taking photos of the ultracute Anna!

(No, I'm not going to share them - at least not in the near future, as I have 300-400 very large photos from this year's Birmingham and Eastbourne, which would take weeks to upload, and I'm not satisfied with any of the free image-hosts I've previously used/investigated.)

Anna chews wasps as much in doubles as she does in singles, but she has this really cute habit of craning her neck around when she is at the net and the ball is hit to her partner at the baseline.

An out-of-grounds meeting! (Wednesday 21st June)

As my father and I were returning to our hotel at approximately 21:30 BST, we found ourselves walking behind a girl who bore a striking resemblance to Anna Chakvetadze. Her hair was loose; she was wearing a cyan jumper with alternating purple and white diamond-patterns down each arm, blue jeans and white trainers. She was with another girl of about the same age, dressed in red, whom I didn't recognise.

Then she looked over her shoulder at me, and my neural network for face-recognition told me that she definitely was Anna!!! And she looked much happier off duty than she does on court!

They walked ahead of us for some time in the direction we were already going in, and as they passed a certain hotel, they were joined by Kveta Peschke and two old men - I'm rather certain that one of them was Anna's father Djambuli, though I wasn't sure which (one of them said the other was Georgian - Chakvetadze is a Georgian name).

The girls were walking rather faster than the men, and when the girls were out of earshot, my father said to the men, "You're speaking Russian, aren't you?"

We chatted to the men for about five minutes. The one I think was Djambuli said that his English was poor - but it was certainly good enough to hold a fluent conversation! I said I wanted to learn Russian but didn't have the time, and that I had already dabbled in Slovak. He said I ought to talk to Peschke then! (she is Czech).

My father said of Anna, "I like her groundstrokes, but she cries when she loses, doesn't she?" Djambuli seemed somewhat offended by this, so my father turned the conversation to football (which I have no interest in myself).

After about five minutes we had to turn back, as we had walked past our hotel quite a while ago! The girls were getting too far ahead of us anyway. So we shook hands with the men, and that was the end of my Eastbourne 2006 eye-witness experience.

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 #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2006, 08:50 PM
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Oh I wish I'd seen this match. Sounds like it was very entertaining. A lot closer than at Edgbaston. Shame Anna threw in so many errors in the first set tie break. She needs to win those vital points. But those couple of weeks were the beginning of Vera's big comeback!

Anna puts a lot of pressure on herself to win so when it's not working out the tears do seem to flow. Maybe she should chat to Vera about how to sort it out. I hope she'll grow out of it.

And she's not the only one slipping on the grass. Lots of players were. Maybe it has something to do with the unusually hot weather this year affecting the grass.

Djambuli scares me a bit. I was sitting next to him at Birmingham for a while and he was chain-smoking and had a look on his face that made me think better of speaking to him.
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