View Full Version : Moscow 2006: Andrew's TV-report / Fed Cup 2007

Oct 18th, 2006, 04:20 PM
KREMLIN CUP (Moscow, Russia; carpet (Supreme); WTA Tier I)
=========== http://www.kremlincup.ru/ (http://www.kremlincup.ru/)

I don't have access to Eurosport myself, but a video of Maria's match has come into my possession, so I have incorporated it into this report.

Maria won that match to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final with Anna Chakvetadze, who may very well be the next player I will induct into my Eternal Fanship. So the only thing that could have gone wrong was if one player pulled out injured, and since the match was scheduled for Friday the 13th, well it had to happen, didn't it? ;)

Maria has been nursing a right-foot injury since Thursday, but is optimistic of it healing in time for this week's Zurich tournament.

Photos & video

On-court and off-court:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova (http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=478 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=478) (to 489)
http://www.mariasharapova.com/ (http://www.mariasharapova.com/)
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

It seems there is also a Russian basketball-player called Maria Sharapova - her fans must have a nightmare trying to search the Internet! ;)

Off-court only:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=moscow (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=moscow)
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=moscow2 (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=moscow2)
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=891 (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=891)
http://tennisfan1.proboards33.com/index.cgi?board=WTAt&action=display&thread=1128771858 (http://tennisfan1.proboards33.com/index.cgi?board=WTAt&action=display&thread=1128771858)
http://tennisfan1.proboards33.com/index.cgi?board=WTAt&action=display&thread=1128771858&page=2 (http://tennisfan1.proboards33.com/index.cgi?board=WTAt&action=display&thread=1128771858&page=2)

I love the one with Anna Chakvetadze and Maria Kirilenko! :hearts:

Video: last game v Bychkova:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=6qJ1X72K6Xc (http://youtube.com/watch?v=6qJ1X72K6Xc)

Maria Sharapova quiz:
http://backspinquizzes.blogspot.com/2006/09/long-overdue-maria-sharapova-quiz.html (http://backspinquizzes.blogspot.com/2006/09/long-overdue-maria-sharapova-quiz.html)

Pretournament quotes from Maria

"I want to perform at my top here, because last season I had a disappointing trip. I definitely feel a lot physically better than I did when coming into this event last year.

"I came here to win the Kremlin Cup, so I have no time for other things."

Second round (Wednesday 11th October)

+ MARIA YURYEVNA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Ekaterina Andreyevna Bychkova [Q], 6-4 7-5

This was my first time to see Bychkova play, and she impressed me much more than I expected - both as a player and as a woman.

Bychkova was ranked #94 last week (#78 this), but against Maria she played like a top-20 player. She is a big server (great first serve) and a very good mover, and at 1-1 in the first set, the way she saved 15/40 with two aces was just unbelievable!

But on many occasions, Maria's pace and depth were too much for Bychkova to handle, and I've never seen her Maria swinging serves down the middle like she did in this match! :worship:

Maria broke at the start of the second set, but Bychkova won four games in a row from 1-3 to serve for it at 5-3! Bychkova had a set-point at 40/30 in that game, and was also two points from winning it with Maria serving at 4-5 (0/30). But Maria cut out her sloppy play and came storming back with her own run of four games to win the match.

www.wtatour.com (http://www.wtatour.com/): "Playing for the first time since capturing her second Grand Slam title at the US Open, Sharapova was also a little bit out of sorts, but still managed to advance in two sets, 64 75, over qualifier Ekaterina Bychkova. The Russian teenager won a routine first set but ran into some problems with her aggressive opponent in the second, fighting back from a 5-3 deficit and saving a set-point en route to the win."

I always thought Bychkova was a plain-looking girl in photos, but she is much more telegenic than photogenic. She showed off her sexy bare shoulders on a rare day when Maria covered hers up (Maria found Moscow very cold, apparently). Bychkova also has nice legs, a quirky walk, and a sexy return-stance. I'd have to give Maria the edge in facial beauty, although even Bychkova's face looked much better than it does in photos.

First Set

SHARAPOV _* * *@* * 6
BYCHKOVA * * *___*_ 4

Bychkova serving 0-0: A long rally ended with Maria hitting a crosscourt backhand winner - Bychkova didn't challenge it, but Hawkeye said it was out! 15/30. Service-winner. 40/30. Double fault. 40/40. Second serve: Maria hit an error-forcing forehand return. Ad M (BP). Maria netted a backhand return. Deuce #2. Service-winner. Ad Bychkova. Maria netted a backhand.

Maria serving 0-1: She held to 15 with a service-winner, and on game-point a body-jamming serve to set up an off-forehand winner.

Bychkova serving 1-1: 15/30. Maria hit a searing crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/40 (2 BPs). Bychkova saved them with an ace down the middle and an ace out wide!! 40/40. Double fault. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Bychkova held with two more aces down the middle!

Maria serving 1-2: Ace out wide. Maria spread Bychkova with an off-forehand to force a very short ball, and hit a down-the-line backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/0. Maria held to love with a forehand down the line to set up a crosscourt forehand winner.

Bychkova serving 2-2: Bychkova deep backhand winner down the line. 15/0, 30/15. Maria backhand winner down the line. 30/30, 40/30. Maria hit an error-forcing short-angled crosscourt backhand. 40/40, held.

Maria serving 2-3: Maria hit two backhand volleys, but Bychkova hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Maria hit a brilliant crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. A terrific return set up a backhand winner down the line for Bychkova. 30/30, 40/30. Maria's backhand clipped the netcord and fell wide. 40/40. Maria netted an easy short forehand. Ad Bychkova. A long rally ended with a Bychkova backhand just long. Deuce #2. Bychkova netted a backhand. Ad Maria. She held with a swinging service-winner down the middle.

Bychkova serving 3-3: Forced errors brought up three break-points at 0/40. Maria converted the second when Bychkova netted a forehand.

Maria serving 4-3: Maria forehand just long. 0/15. Bychkova forehand just wide. 15/15. Double fault. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Bychkova backhand long. 40/30. Maria held with a swinging second-serve ace down the middle.

Bychkova serving to stay in the first set at 3-5: Double fault. 0/15. Bychkova netted a forehand. 0/30. Second serve: Maria forehand return long. 15/30. Maria sprayed a forehand long & wide - then rehearsed the footwork she should have used. 30/30. Maria netted a backhand off a very short ball. 40/30. Bychkova netted a forehand. 40/40. Down-the-line forehand return just wide. Ad Bychkova. Maria netted a forehand off another short ball.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-4: Maria hit a forehand smash-winner off the bounce. 15/0. Bychkova backhand wide. 30/0. Bychkova forehand just wide. 40/0 (three set-points). Maria went for a backhand down the line, but it was just wide. 40/15 (SP #2). Maria netted a backhand. 40/30 (SP #3). Maria hit an error-forcing forehand smash to win the first set 6-4.

Second Set

SHARAPOV @* *____@*@* 7
BYCHKOVA __* *@*@____ 5

Bychkova serving 0-0: A deep off-backhand return set up a crosscourt backhand winner for Maria. 0/15. Maria off-forehand winner. 0/30. Maria crosscourt forehand winner. 0/40 (three break-points). Maria hit a down-the-line backhand that forced Bychkova to hit a forehand long.

Maria serving 1-0: There was a power-cut at the venue for a few seconds! Bychkova forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand. 15/30. Bychkova netted a backhand. 30/30. After some good defence by Bychkova, Maria sprayed a forehand long. 30/40 (break-point). Maria saved it with an ace down the middle. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Maria. Bychkova forehand return just long.

Bychkova serving 0-2: She held to love with three big serves - the last one an ace down the middle, on the junction of service-line and centre-line!

Maria serving 2-1: Bychkova crosscourt forehand forced Maria to net a forehand. 0/15. Maria hit a blistering crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand to set up a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline. 40/15. She held with an ace down the middle, on the centre-line.

Bychkova serving 1-3: She held to 15, courtesy of an error-strewn game by Maria.

Maria serving 3-2: Maria crosscourt backhand forced Bychkova to net a backhand. 15/0. Backhand return just long. 30/0. Double fault. 30/15. Maria successfully challenged a shot that was called out, and got the point replayed, but then she netted a forehand. 30/30. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/30. Maria sprayed a backhand very wide. 40/40. Maria forehand just wide. Ad Bychkova (break-point). A good serve down the middle forced a short return, but Maria hit a forehand just wide, giving Bychkova the break back!

Bychkova serving 3-3: Held to love with errors from Maria and an ace down the middle.

Maria serving 3-4: Bychkova backhand just wide. 0/15. Bychkova forced a short ball and hit an off-backhand winner. 15/15. Maria backhand just long. 15/30. Maria quadruple-faulted to put Bychkova a break up!

Bychkova serving for the second set at 5-3: Bychkova netted a forehand. 0/15. A serve out wide followed by a crosscourt forehand forced Maria to lob long. 15/15. A netcord from Maria gave Bychkova a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. Maria hit a big forehand return followed by a crosscourt backhand, forcing Bychkova to hit a backhand wide. 30/30. Maria netted a forehand after forcing a short, easy ball! 40/30 (set-point). Good first serve; Maria crosscourt backhand return down the middle; Bychkova short off-forehand; Maria short-angled crosscourt backhand; Bychkova backhand just long (she challenged the call, but it was well out). 40/40. Bychkova hit an off-backhand to force a short ball, but she netted a forehand and screamed! Ad Maria. Bychkova netted a forehand. "C'mon!" said Maria.

Bychkova buried in her towel at the changeover.

Maria serving to stay in the second set at 4-5: Maria sprayed a forehand wide. 0/15. Maria forehand wide. 0/30. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Another service-winner down the middle forced Bychkova to lob just long. 30/30. Maria forced a short ball, and hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. "C'mon!" she said. 40/30. She held with a swinging ace down the middle.

Bychkova serving 5-5: Maria hit a backhand down the line, forcing Bychkova to hit a forehand lob long. 0/15. Bychkova hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/15. Maria hit a blazing forehand return-winner down the line, just inside the sideline. 15/30. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand on the baseline to force a very short ball, which she dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. Maria doubled over and shouted "c'mon!" 15/40 (two break-points). Bychkova saved the first with a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40. A rally with big hitting by Maria and great retrieving from Bychkova ended when a Sharapova forehand down Bychkova's forehand-line forced her to lob long. Maria bent over pumping her fists and shouted "c'mon"!

Maria serving for the match at 6-5: A good serve forced a backhand return long. 15/0. Maria netted a forehand. 15/15. Bychkova netted a forehand. 30/15. A long rally ended with Maria hitting a huge off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/15 (two match-points). Body-jamming serve; short backhand return down the middle; Maria off-forehand; Bychkova short backhand down the middle; Maria sealed victory with a crosscourt forehand winner into the corner, just a few centimetres from both lines! Maria won 6-4 7-5 in 1h46m.

Maria quotes

"I don't think I started badly. Considering this was my first match in four weeks, it was a good performance.

"I got a little bit sloppy in the middle of the second set, but I stepped it up when I needed to.

"I had a first-round bye, and she had already played four matches [3 qualifying + first round].

"It was great to have the support of the crowd. When you play a fellow Russian, you have to expect the fan-support to be even, but the atmosphere was great tonight."

Bychkova quotes

"I didn't want to think about winning the set. I've seen others get her into the same situation where they have set-point against her, and I didn't want to think about it, just play each point then see what happens.

"I didn't play so well against her serve, and my serve was not too good today, but it was a good experience to play against Maria, especially here in Moscow."

Quarter-final (Friday 13th October)

- MARIA YURYEVNA SHARAPOVA [2] lt. Anna Chakvetadze, walkover

I was really looking forward to Maria playing the ultracute Anna again, so it's a real shame that the Friday 13th jinx struck again!

The WTA Tour gives "right foot strain" as the reason for Maria's withdrawal. But some sources say she had pain in her right hip. The Slovak word "noha" means both "foot" and "leg". If Russian also has one word for both, perhaps that would explain the confusion? Slovak doesn't use "noha" to mean "hip", though...

It would have been a very interesting match in terms of competitiveness, too. Anna had thrashed world #10 Dinara Safina 6-1 6-2 in the first round, and she went on to win the title with wins over Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova. Anna has flairsome power on her groundstrokes now, and may very well be the next player I will induct into my Eternal Fanship.

Maria quotes

"Unfortunately, I will not be able to play today. I felt pain in my right {hip/foot} back in the hotel after my first match here. I couldn't practise and even walk yesterday. I have to pull out. I'm really disappointed, but I have no choice.

"I hurt my foot during my match on Wednesday, and since then I did everything possible to be ready for my match today. But when I woke up this [Friday] morning it was obvious I wasn't going to be able to play. I'm really disappointed because I felt I was playing really well lately.

"I could not train today. I will not be able to step out on the court today. If I'm not able to give a hundred percent, I'd rather not play at all.

"I feel strongly the season needs to be made much shorter, with more breaks for players to rest, in order to be in peak condition when we do play. I know the Tour is taking this issue seriously, and I am looking forward to the changes that will lead to a healthier schedule for players."

From www.mariasharapova.com (http://www.mariasharapova.com/):
Hi everyone,

I'm so sorry to say that I have to pull out of the tourney in Moscow. Right after my first round I started to feel slight pain at the top of my right foot and by the time I went to bed I had trouble walking normally. Yesterday it wasn't any better, so I stayed in the hotel and got treatment on it throughout the day. I was hoping for it to get slightly better by today but when I got up and walked on it, it was pretty much the same. Thirty minutes ago I put my tennis shoes on and tried to run around the room, but felt pretty useless. It's weird how these things just come on out of nowhere, but I guess that's part of it. I'm trying not to feel sorry for myself, as there are a lot of other things happening in the world, a lot worse than this. So with that I am going to go to the site right now and do the whole sing and dance of pulling out....seeing the doctor, signing the forms, and buttering up the press. To all my Russian fans that were expecting to see me today, I am so so sorry and I hope to see everyone really soon! I am hoping to recover by next week's tournament....which means lots of treatment and ice in the next couple of days. Ciao! P.S expect to see a doodle really soon!

Said doodle is now online, and includes the following paragraph:
I will start this with my foot update. It is slowly getting better day by day and I am hoping to start hitting again Monday. These little nagging injuries are not very convenient in the their timing but what can you do! But honestly after playing for nine months, you should start booking rooms at all the local tournament hospitals in advance. J/K!! I have been getting so much treatment that I'm not quite sure which one is helping. Is it the magic cream, the hot and cold therapy, my trainer's potions, or the needles that poke out of my foot daily for twenty minutes?

Anna quotes

"I'm disappointed not to play, especially with Maria here in Russia. I'll try to use my time off to relax and get ready for my semi-final match.

"I have played Dementieva before, and she has beaten me every time, but I'm a stronger player now, and I think I have a chance to win."

FED CUP http://www.fedcup.com/ (http://www.fedcup.com/)

From www.mariasharapova.com (http://www.mariasharapova.com/):
10/3/2006 9:50:00 PM

Maria has made herself available for her 1st Fed Cup tie against Spain next year. The tie will be played in Moscow and held the weekend of 21st-22nd April.

Here is what Maria has to say about representing Russia: "I'm really excited to make my 1st appearance in Fed Cup for my country and it is great to be playing the tie in Moscow. Hopefully, myself and the team will put up a strong showing against Spain who have a good team"

This tie is the 1st round of the World Group and 8 teams are in the World Group.

Russia have been champions in 2004 and 2005.

I am not surprised by the timing of Maria's Fed Cup début. If she doesn't make herself available for Fed Cup in 2007 and 2008, she will sacrifice her eligibility for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, so that first tie in 2007 was always going to reveal Maria's true colours... and they are white, blue and red! :)

Elena Dementieva, who has made catty comments about Maria in the past, has reacted very positively to this news:

"If she plays, it's going to be very helpful for the team. She's a very strong player. and we have a lot of chances to win if she's playing.

"I don't see any problems with her father. He's an emotional guy, but it is nothing to do with his daughter. Maria is a nice girl, and I don't see any problems."

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