View Full Version : Birmingham: Andrew's eye-witness report -- extended report and photos added 17th July

Jun 17th, 2005, 01:39 AM
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, WTA Tier III)

I attended the tournament from Monday to Sunday, watching Maria successfully defend her title. This report is a potted summary of each of her matches, based on my own observations. Point-by-point match-reports will appear on my website some time after Wimbledon 2005 and before the French Open 2006, along with the many photos I took.

Doubles: First round

- Maria Sharapova/Maria Kirilenko [WC] lt. Marion Bartoli/Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6-4 6-0

This was scheduled as Monday's last match on Centre Court, but due to fading light was moved to an outside court (Baltacha beat Bondarenko on Centre just ten minutes later) - that's no way to treat the defending champions of the doubles title, or the lady whose entry broke box-office records for this tournament! :fiery:

The two Marias didn't play in any matter remotely befitting the name Super Maria Sisters. It was Big Maria's first doubles match since September 2004, and her rustiness showed: Big Maria had neither the power, precision nor accuracy that she would show in singles, and the two Marias just didn't gel together as they did at Birmingham 2004 - I don't think they exchanged a single high five during the match.

I don't think Big Maria was at all happy with being pushed onto an outside court in cold, windy conditions (both Marias were wearing long sleeves with pedal-pushers under their skirts), and Big Maria looked almost disinterested as they relinquished their title tamely after leading 3-0 in the first set - ironically by the same scoreline by which they had upset second seeds Li,Ting and Sun,Tian Tian in their first-round match at Birmingham 2004.

Bartoli and Tanasugarn played very well: Tanasugarn volleyed brilliantly after an errant start, while Bartoli also hit some stinging volleys - two-handed off both sides! The Marias were getting outfoxed at the net every time.

Singles: Second round (after a bye)

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1] d. Anne Kremer, 6-3 6-0

After a nervous start in which she was broken for 2-1, Maria looked every inch the reigning Wimbledon champion as she demolished Kremer with a dazzling display of power and precision with which every other player in the draw paled in comparison. Her only slight weakness was that she hit a number of forehands wide.

As I was making my way through the dense crowd outside Centre Court immediately after the match, I almost walked straight into a tall girl in a white dress with green and orange markings. I looked up and she was Maria!!

Third round

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1] d. SAMANTHA STOSUR [16], 6-3 3-6 6-1

This was a repeat of last year's third-round match against a serve-and-volleyer with a very good serve and a not-so-good volley. But Stosur's volley has evidently improved a lot in the intervening year, and it's a sign of the depth in women's tennis these days that she was able to give Maria such a tough challenge.

Maria played very well throughout this match, but Stosur played a blinder in the second set. Play was suspended for five minutes with Stosur serving at 2-2 30/0 in the second, because a kitchen-worker fell through the side of the corporate-hospitality tent, fell ten feet and had to be rescued and taken to hospital. But this seemed to inspire Stosur, as she played a brilliant game to break Maria for 4-2 whilst holding her own serve reliably.

The weather was cool and not so sunny, and in the third set I finally got to see what Stosur looks like when she took off her sunglasses for probably the first time in her career!


+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1] d. Eleni Daniilidou, 7-5 2-6 6-1

This is where Maria's health-problems started: she woke up with a sore throat, and took a medical time-out at 1-2 in the second set for treatment on her right thigh and left buttock.

Daniilidou looks and plays just like Mark Philippoussis (with a one-handed backhand), except that she's shorter and has a less powerful serve. Daniilidou played very badly in the first set, while Maria looked careless, committing a string of inexplicable unforced errors. If Maria had played just 10% better, she would have won the first set 6-0 instead of 7-5.

Maria looked very uncomfortable in the second set after her medical time-out, playing tentatively and looking well on her way out of the tournament. I half-expected her to retire at the end of the second set, but instead she left the court for a bathroom-break.

Evidently, Maria told herself "just go for broke or you're out of the tournament", because she returned for the third set absolutely determined and fired up, hitting winners like a mad dog!

After the match, Maria was presented with honourary life-membership of the Edgbaston Priory Club, in recognition of her achievements in winning the DFS Classic in 2004, and beyond.



This was a mouthwatering match, and a repeat of the Birmingham 2004 final. Tatiana had been very lucky with her draw to reach the semi-finals, struggling as she was with a right-ankle injury. Maria had a sore throat and a right-thigh injury, so it was a battle of the walking wounded.

The match was played in cold, gloomy conditions with a distinct threat of rain, but although this limited the amount of flesh both girls were willing to bare, they both looked striking in their luminous tops: dark pink for Maria, lime-green for Tatiana.

Tati put her injury-problems aside to produce her best performance of the tournament in the first set, contributing fully to the set of the tournament in terms of the quality of play from both players. Both girls hit their fair share of brilliant winners in the first set, not to mention their fair share of grunting, with Tati's alluring "uy" providing the perfect duet to Maria's song-grunt.

Maria led 5-2 in the first set with a set-point on Tati's serve at 30/40; she served for it at 5-3, but was thwarted by a couple of brilliant winners from Tati as well as her own errors. The game of the match occurred on Tati's serve at 5-6, in which Maria needed a further four set-points to close it out after coming up with more winners than Tati.

Normally I would be very anxious with Maria struggling like this in a set, but against Tatiana in this entertaining form, I simply enjoyed every moment of it. It was the kind of display from Tatiana that makes me still believe I might one day induct her into my eternal fanship. Right now, Tati stands alone as my favourite player outside my fanship after Maria Kirilenko failed to impress me as I had hoped she would.

The second set was a bit of an anticlimax in terms of the contest. Tatiana slipped over at 0-1, and took a medical time-out at 0-3 to realign the bandages on her right foot - now suffering with an infected cut as well as the ankle-sprain. Tatiana immediately held serve to love with an ace, two service-winners and a blazing off-forehand winner, but from 3-1 it was all Maria with a series of crosscourt forehand winners.

The final

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1] d. JELENA JANKOVIC [3], 6-2 4-6 6-1

The final was played in very cold and windy conditions (at least Jankovic had bare shoulders - Maria sadly not), and it wasn't a very high calibre of play from either of them, to be honest.

Jankovic was nervous in the first set, unable to offer much resistance against Maria who was still feeling her right-thigh injury and making plenty of unforced errors. But Maria did hit some nice winners too, including a forehand lob-winner of superb length and a backhand drive-volley winner, as well as her usual array of forehand/backhand winners crosscourt/down-the-line and aces.

In the second set, Jankovic settled down and started hitting the ball much more cleanly, with fewer errors than in the first set, hitting a number of winners close to the sidelines. Maria was really struggling with her overheads, netting her smashes or failing to put them away, so Jankovic had a lot of success with lobs.

The only break in the second set was against Maria at 3-3, when she let slip a 30/0 lead with her tendency to hit forehands just wide. It was enough for Jankovic to serve out the second set.

At the end of the second set, Jankovic took a medical time-out for a left-thigh injury, and lost the momentum she had been building. Jankovic returned to her error-strewn form of the first set as Maria surged through the third set 6-1, just as she had done in both her previous third sets in the tournament. Maria loves breadsticks! :D

Maria broke for 3-1 in the third, running down a Jankovic dropshot to hit a crosscourt forehand winner. She broke again for 5-1 with a forehand winner down the line, a dead-netcord forehand winner, and a crosscourt forehand return-winner on break-point. She sealed a successful defence of her title with a splendid service-game, including an easy forehand smash-winner, an ace down the middle, and Jankovic hit a backhand return just wide on Maria's second championship-point at 40/30.

Jankovic said she didn't expect to be in the final, that she was happy with her great week, and congratulated Maria on her week. She blamed her third-set capitulation on her thigh-problem, saying that on grass you have to bend low.

After being presented with the Maud Watson trophy - the oldest trophy in tennis, named for the first-ever women's singles champion at Wimbledon 1884 - Maria said she had enjoyed a really tough week, that she hoped to meet Jankovic many times again, and that Jankovic wasn't the only one with a thigh-problem! (laughing). She thanked DFS, the fans, her father, Michael and ??Doff??. She said she had great memories of this tournament, that she hoped to be back next year, and that she hoped to defend the big one too.

Dr. Andrew Broad


Maria Croft
Jun 17th, 2005, 12:18 PM
thanx for the great report !!

Jun 17th, 2005, 12:58 PM
Thanks Andrew :hug:

Jun 20th, 2005, 02:27 AM
So what happened when you ran into Maria????

Jun 20th, 2005, 10:34 PM
So what happened when you ran into Maria????

I didn't run into her. I sidestepped at the last moment to avoid the most embarrassing collision of my life.

I hope that stalker doesn't realise how easy it actually is to run into Maria when she's coming off the court! :o

Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/)

Jul 17th, 2005, 04:28 PM
I have uploaded to my website my extended Birmingham 2005 reports. These reports contain point-by-point descriptions of Maria's matches (I attended the tournament from Monday to Sunday):

I have also uploaded the many photos that I took on my digital camera at Birmingham 2005:

Maria Sharapova (75 photos)
Daniela Hantuchová (47)
Tatiana Golovin (41)
Maria Kirilenko (41)
Anna Chakvetadze (28)
Yuliana Fedak (16)
Marion Bartoli (14)
Ai Sugiyama (13)
Arantxa Parra Santonja (11)
Alina Jidkova (10)
Eleni Daniilidou (10)
Maria Elena Camerin (7)
Jelena Jankovic (7)
Jennifer Russell (6)
Samantha Stosur (6)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (6)
Rika Fujiwara (6)
María Sánchez Lorenzo (5)
Nicole Vaidišová (5)
Akiko Morigami (4)
Amanda Janes (4)
L'udmila Cervanová (3)
Tatiana Perebiynis (3)
Mashona Washington (3)
Alyona Bondarenko (2)
Anne Kremer (2)
Tatiana Panova (2)
Bryanne Stewart (2)
Shinobu Asagoe (1)
Evgenia Linetskaya (1)
Laura Granville (1)
Jamea Jackson (1)
Anne Keothavong (1)
Natalie Grandin (1)

All these photos can be found in the Photos section of my website (subject to the image-host being up at the time you visit):

In a few weeks' time, I will be announcing my extended Wimbledon 2005 reports. If you would prefer to read individual match-reports as I upload them, please check the following page every few days:

Dr. Andrew Broad


Andy Mac
Jul 17th, 2005, 04:36 PM
thanks mate