Thanks for your report I Heart Masha
I will make reports during the tournament of Bad Gastein in July, especially for you
Good draw for Mimi in Charleston, winnable match against Schruff.
I posted all my PVB pics of Tamira in my photostream HERE:
and one of *many* videos I took this week on Youtube here:
I promised that I would write more about Tamira's week, so here goes.
On Tuesday she played Czink in horrible conditions--it was very cold (50F) and very very windy (40mph). Tamira must be tough though, because while the rest of us were shivering the first thing she did was take off her warm up jacket and reach in the cooler for a cold drink. In fact, she even complained once because they weren't cold enough and the ball boy had to go get some cold ones for her--lol.
The court was aligned in a north south direction and the wind was out of the due north, so serving and rallying from each end was very different. Czink hit a ton of DFs from the south end. Tamira figured out the conditions much better and adjusted her game. When she fell behind 0-4 in the 1st set I was concerned, but she seemed pissed more than anything. She clawed back into the set and I thought she would win the TB but sadly, it wasn't meant to be. However, she was playing much better than Czink by that point and I believed she would turn it around. Of course, I wasn't so sure at 6-7, 0-3, but even then she didn't seem worried. She started hitting out on her shots rather than playing conservatively, and it paid off as she rapidly turned it around to go up in set 3. She went to the locker room between sets 2 and 3 and changed outfits. Tamira was broken to level it up again, but calmly took control with a decisive break. She called Jimenez to court once per set. He was sitting across the aisle from me.
I enjoyed watching Tamira play this match because it was on Court 1 and not the stadium, and I was able to shout encouragement and let her know that she had at least one fan in the stands. As I said before, afterward, when she was walking off, she looked up (I guess she heard me cheering for her during the match) and I said "great job, Tamira!" She smiled and said "thank you" and when I said "Now beat Patty (Schnyder)!" she kind of rolled her eyes and laughed.
Against Lepchenko, Mimi got off to another slow start after breaking in game 1 (she won the toss in both her first two matches and chose to receive), and looked lethargic in the first set. Actually, I think she was a little bored, because Lepchenko is not a player who hits with pace, and Mimi seems to like hitting against players who hit with pace. Lephchenko was nervous at first but started hitting out on her shots after awhile and hit some nice mis-direction winners that caught Mimi off guard. By the end of set 1, Tamira was finally into the match mentally, and it didn't take her long in set 2 to pull ahead and take command of that set, hitting some really spectacular winners that painted both sidelines and the baseline. Her backhand was just
all week, as she used her forehand to push her opponents back into the corner and then, WHAM, a great, sharp crosscourt winner, punctuated with a "C'MON!". This is definitely her bread-and-butter shot.
The third set against Lepchenko was back and forth for awhile, but Mimi was never in any serious danger, and won it pretty comfortably in the end.
Against Wozniak (which, also, like the Lepchenko match was in the stadium), Mimi again lost set one and rebounded in set 2 after she looked dead and buried. She was making tons of errors in this match, and more DFs than in her previous matches, and it was showing. Wozniak hit some winners but was DF-ing a lot herself and Tamira should have taken advantage, but didn't. SHe had some BP chances she failed to capitalize on, including being up 15-40 in a couple games she eventually lost. She did show some real mettle by fighting back from 0-40 on her serve a few times. The set scores for the first 2 sets were identical with the match against Lepchenko: 3-6, 6-3. When Mimi won set 2 she really pumped her fist and exclaimed "C'MOOOOOOOONNNN!" and I thought she would run away with set 3.
After calling Jimenzez in the middle of set 2, she never brought him out again, which I thought was a mistake, although she showed real heart and great fight in coming back from 2-5 to get to 6-5 and MP. At that point in the match, Tamira was on a roll, and had really been pushing Wozniak around the court, dragging her in, driving her side to side and then hitting some amazing passing shots right inside the sidelines. Those 4 and a half games were by far the best she played all match. Not sure what happened at that point, but maybe she got a little nervous or tentative and tried to be too conservative. It allowed Wozniak to get an initiative and put Mimi on the defensive on critical points, which she blew by overhitting on the run.
I have the entire TB, as well as the 6-5 game, on video, shot from the side of the court, so you can watch the rallies in their entirety. I just need to find the time to get those vids uploaded.
All in all, I thought Tamira played well, and had a shot at winning this tournament. I was actaully physically ill afterwards, for the rest of the day, which must be how she felt, too.
I think Mimi has a nice draw for Charleston, though Schruff did beat her 2 years ago at Amelia Island in qualifying. If she wins that, which she should, Cibulkova is beatable. She was not in particularly good form at PVB.
The serve, by all players, took a beating this week, because of the winds. Don't read too much into the DFs. Tamira is serving much better these days. She uncorked some as high as 108 mph at PVB, a few at 107, 105, 104, 102 and others at 100-101. Many in the high 90s. Her second serves were almost always in the 84-89 range. She had a couple aces on 2nd serves. While she will never be Serena on serving, she does have more pace and consistency on serves than a lot of supposed "bigger hitters". For example, Wozniak had a little more pace at the high end (I think she maxed out at 111) but her second serves were cream puffs in the 75 mph range. Lepchenko tossed in 1st serves in the 80-90 mph range and had a second serve at 65, which Mimi ate for lunch.
I got Tamira's autograph, but felt like a total idiot because I was soooo nervous. I didn't really want to ask her, because it was a little before her match with Wozniak, and I didn't want to make her mad or anything (she probably wondered who the hell was taking so many pictures of her all week) but I decided I'd probably never have another chance. I hope I didn't cause her to lose.
Anyway, it's official. She's my favorite player now.