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View Full Version : No way to escape my Estoril Open reports - I'm posting them here as well


Corswandt
Apr 28th, 2007, 12:38 AM
Same stuff I already posted at GM.

Already here:

Kirilenko
Poutchkova
The Rodionovas
Benesova
Rezai

For the ATP tournament:

Tursunov
Horna
Udomchoke
Gil
Elias

--------

Wandered around the premises a bit. Our fearsome #1 Frederico Gil was hard at work, grunting and topspinning away (man has never hit a flat shot in his life) in the practice courts, which probably means he'll play Sunday.

Up to Centralito. On the stands, a Portuguese coach was upbraiding a teary eyed player who must have been Neuza Silva, but stopped when Lucho Horna, who was passing by smirking and munching an apple, mumbled a comment on the scene to his own coach - a mixed event in a nutshell.

This was my first picture of the afternoon:

http://img123.imageshack.us/img123/39/imgp0713gs9.th.jpg (http://img123.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0713gs9.jpg)

Talk about striking gold.

I went to watch Horna's practice session for a while. During a pause, his coach, who looked like one of those old Roman senators you see in films, greeted me politely, displaying that old fashioned courtesy Latin Americans still do so well.

On practice courts at the end of the corridor where I took Kirilenko's photo were several teams of girls who seemed quite poor ball strikers. I was thinking that those misogynists who go on about how women's practice sessions are an embarrassment compared to the men's might have a point, but then Kirilenko was joined by Benesova, they began hitting, and the honour of women's tennis was saved. Benesova's strokes look very quick and compact from up close, and Kirilenko's volleying is a treat. Her BH seems a mess though. Couldn't get a photo of Benesova because there was no gap on the wire fence. They were eventually forced to move out to make room for some kids and for a while shared the court with two French speaking women who seemed absolutely inept. One of them kind of looked like Kremer, but played a 1 handed BH. Her hitting partner was hopeless.

This year's qualies are total scrubsville, so I had no idea who most of the people on the practice courts were.

But I think this woman was there; either her or somebody else with a stocking up her left leg as well:

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/6427/sportrewta17xg2.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta17xg2.jpg)

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/7305/sportrewta06pb8.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta06pb8.jpg)

She was in Budapest too - I got these photos at the tournament website. Any idea who she is? Her hitting partner was absolutely gorgeous. Svelte ponytailed blonde wearing an appropriate "I Feel Pretty" tee, built much like Azarenka, great legs, but somewhat shorter and with a cuter face. Any idea who she might be? (Having looked it up, I suspect it might have been Olivia Sanchez).

Two Spanish speaking clowns were goofin' around on Court 4, and next to it I noticed Poutchkova. She looks somewhat like a Mannerist madonna, with her proportionally small head over a large body (kind of like the opposite of Nuria Llagostera Vives). Her clean, flat, powerful hitting is wonderful to watch, and of course absolutely useless on this surface. I suspect first round crash against some moonballer.

Piccies:

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/7496/imgp0719jk2.th.jpg (http://img410.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0719jk2.jpg)

That one was taken by her coach, so don't blame me for the flash of light.

http://img123.imageshack.us/img123/9577/imgp0723ss8.th.jpg (http://img123.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0723ss8.jpg)

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/8991/imgp0731lx6.th.jpg (http://img410.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0731lx6.jpg)

Tursunov injured himself in practice nearby and left limping soon after I took these.

There was this French coach, a left handed, wiry middle aged man with a high pitched voice who talked and talked and talked and talked to his seemingly bored and uninterested (and with good reason) pupil, who seemed to be everywhere.

Then finally I risked my life to take these:

http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/6507/imgp0740su8.th.jpg (http://img339.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0740su8.jpg)

And The Man himself:

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/4093/imgp0738fq5.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0738fq5.jpg)

Their practice was highly scientific. Daddy stands at the net throwing balls at Aravane for her to whack as if she's trying to kill them, Mommy goes around picking up aforementioned balls. Rinse and repeat. Aravane's footwork is astonishingly rudimentary.

Kevin.
Apr 28th, 2007, 02:30 AM
please get brie whitehead pics/interview i am dying to hear about it

Frode
Apr 28th, 2007, 03:33 AM
Why am I having a sense of deja vu here....................


Caravane does not look like the fittest player on tour in that picture............

Experimentee
Apr 28th, 2007, 04:11 AM
Thanks for the reports!

I always knew there was something strange whenever I saw Poutchkova, but I couldnt think of what, now that you mentioned it, I realised it was that her head is too small for her body! :yeah:

Kai
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:21 AM
But I think this woman was there; either her or somebody else with a stocking up her left leg as well:

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/6427/sportrewta17xg2.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta17xg2.jpg)

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/7305/sportrewta06pb8.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta06pb8.jpg)

She was in Budapest too - I got these photos at the tournament website. Any idea who she is? Her hitting partner was absolutely gorgeous. Svelte ponytailed blonde wearing an appropriate "I Feel Pretty" tee, built much like Azarenka, great legs, but somewhat shorter and with a cuter face. Any idea who she might be? (Having looked it up, I suspect it might have been Olivia Sanchez).

Greta Arn from Germany :wavey: :D

LCS
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Great report Corswandt! We want more!

Nadie
Apr 28th, 2007, 10:26 AM
Piccies:

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/7496/imgp0719jk2.th.jpg (http://img410.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0719jk2.jpg)

That one was taken by her coach, so don't blame me for the flash of light.



:bounce: :bounce: great pics and report! :yeah:

A Magicman
Apr 28th, 2007, 01:18 PM
But I think this woman was there; either her or somebody else with a stocking up her left leg as well:

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/6427/sportrewta17xg2.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta17xg2.jpg)

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/7305/sportrewta06pb8.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sportrewta06pb8.jpg)

She was in Budapest too - I got these photos at the tournament website. Any idea who she is?


I sense blasphemy! This is, as stated correctly, Great Granaten Greta from Germany who just sent Pauline Parmentier packing.

She wears this stocking cos she had a thrombosis in May 2006.

Greta will rock Estoril, you'll have the luck to witness that. :music:

shrOOf
Apr 28th, 2007, 01:25 PM
I sense blasphemy! This is, as stated correctly, Great Granaten Greta from Germany who just sent Pauline Parmentier packing.

She wears this stocking cos she had a thrombosis in May 2006.

Greta will rock Estoril, you'll have the luck to witness that. :music:

:rocker2:

TheBoiledEgg
Apr 28th, 2007, 08:56 PM
you survived taking a pic of Aravane with daddy around :scared: :lol:

thanx !!!!!!
nice pics :) and reports

Corswandt
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Great Granaten Greta from Germany

Best

nickname

ever.

Corswandt
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Edited.

Steffy6094
Apr 29th, 2007, 09:08 AM
Then finally I risked my life to take these:

http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/6507/imgp0740su8.th.jpg (http://img339.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0740su8.jpg)

And The Man himself:

http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/4093/imgp0738fq5.th.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0738fq5.jpg)

Their practice was highly scientific. Daddy stands at the net throwing balls at Aravane for her to whack as if she's trying to kill them, Mommy goes around picking up aforementioned balls. Rinse and repeat. Aravane's footwork is astonishingly rudimentary.

:rolleyes: It's the kind of report about Aravane that I hate... You have some bad (very bad) predjuges... Maybe if you take the time to speak with the Rezai's Family you will see that you don't have to beleive in what you read on the media...:tape:

Btw Aravane's practice session is not always like that but this kind of practice sessions that you saw gave to Aravane the powerfull game that she plays...

Be more open please...

Thanks for the picture....

Corswandt
Apr 29th, 2007, 02:26 PM
:rolleyes: It's the kind of report about Aravane that I hate... You have some bad (very bad) predjuges... Maybe if you take the time to speak with the Rezai's Family you will see that you don't have to beleive in what you read on the media...:tape:

Btw Aravane's practice session is not always like that but this kind of practice sessions that you saw gave to Aravane the powerfull game that she plays...

Be more open please...

Thanks for the picture....

WTF is this, the PC Police?

Arsalan Rezai's behaviour is well attested. If he doesn't want people to crack (harmless) jokes at his expense, maybe he should tone down his act.

As for the Rezai's practice session, I reported what I saw, which fitted perfectly with what I heard before about said sessions (from TV commentators who had witnessed them, not from disgruntled haters).

Ravsieg
Apr 29th, 2007, 05:40 PM
As I said before, I actually got a nice impression of the guy as he was funny towards the entertainers there. :P

The Guilty
Apr 29th, 2007, 08:47 PM
Today Aravane was practising with Maria Kirilenko. I think I'll write the report tomorrow. Too tired and sunburnt :o

Ravsieg
Apr 30th, 2007, 12:32 AM
Today Aravane was practising with Maria Kirilenko. I think I'll write the report tomorrow. Too tired and sunburnt :o

I sooo understand you. :lol:

Corswandt
Apr 30th, 2007, 01:19 AM
Saturday report

Belated, for which I apologise. Photos to follow soon. Hopefully.

In contrast to what I did last year, in which I usually watched 2 or 3 full matches on each day, on Saturday I kept moving around and checked out a lot of matches.

Rakhim vs Whitehead

I'm not fascinated with bagel girls in general and/or Brie Whitehead in particular; I went to watch this much because of Whitehead being now something of a pet of WTAW as a whole, by popular demand so to speak then. I was more keen on watching Benesova on Court Central, but in retrospect and bearing in mind what happened there, I'm actually glad I didn't.

The stats were already posted; Whitehead won only 12 points, made 7 DFs and took Rakhim to deuce (twice) on a single game, the second, on Rakhim's serve. She had no GPs and typically won a single point on each game, or no points at all. But I think she did hit a winner.

Rakhim is very exotic looking. Blonde-ish and freckled, but with Central Asian features. Powerfully built, even more so when compared to Whitehead. She quickly realised she didn't have to go for too much to win the match and rushed the net after any shorter ball from Whitehead for what turned out to be easy volleys.

She spoke Russian (or so it sounded to me) to her entourage. At the end of the match, she looked up to said entourage with a priceless "What was THAT?" look on her face.

Whitehead is not athletic enough to play tennis at this level. She's an extremely slight girl who would be a good hitter at club level, but she simply lacks the agility and power to move fast enough to keep up with her opponents in rallies - not because she's overweight (on the contrary), but because she's just not strong enough for that. Hit a couple of decent shots that force her to move around a bit and the point is yours, since Whitehead either won't be able to reach it, will spray the ball wide, or her shot will float to the service line at most for an easy putaway. Several of Whitehead's ROS went out by kms. But as I said she's not as inept in terms of shotmaking as one would think. Her second serve, for instance, when it did go in, was frequently better placed than Rakhim's.

My guess is that her mother (Who married money? Has money herself?) is delusional and is living her dreams of tennis stardom vicariously through her daughter. And since there are worse ways to spend one's teenage years than living the high life by travelling around the globe, staying in good hotels and experiencing the glamour, real or perceived, of the pro tennis tour, Whitehead goes along with it.

Ozga vs Arina Rodionova

Arrived at this while the first set was still being played. Was there long enough to snap photos of both players. Arina has a deep tan and uses shades just like her big sis, who was there watching. Ozga's name suggests Turkish ancestry, but she's red haired. Both on Friday and yesterday, I kept bumping into her. It seems she roams through the precinct even more than I do (which is saying something). The outer outside courts don't make for good viewing, so I left.

Arn vs Parmentier

This was a fun match judging by the very little I saw of it. Standard of play was decent compared to some of what I saw later on (needless to say Whitehead should not be used for comparisons). Arn was at times a bit of a junkballer, while on other occasions she would try to overpower Parmentier with her FH. She seems a but unfit though; I noticed she was breathing heavily after some of the more elaborate rallies. Parmentier can hit hard, but isn't a very good mover and certainly not as resourceful as Arn.

Fedossova vs Ferreira

On to Centralito, where Fedossova was self-destructing against some topspinning Portuguese pusher, amid much racquet throwing. Fedossova's 2nd serve was so shite it defies description. I remember a point in which the chair umpire went to check the mark of a shot from Ferreira that was well out (I was just a few meters away) and called it in. :rolleyes: I'm very glad that Ferreira went on to get whipped by Rakhim, since her game was astonishingly boring. "But it's effective", you'll say. So was mustard gas.

Martinez Granados vs Benesova

I arrived at this on the middle of the second set. Benesova was already looking disinterested and playing nonchalantly. The score hints at a tightly contested match, but there was none of that on the part I saw.

Still, Benesova would occasionally get pissed off enough to hit a big winner. And occasionally she would smirk contemptuously at Martinez Granados botched volleys or touch shots. It was as if Benesova was thinking to herself "I can't be arsed to win this, but at least I'll have some fun at her expense".

Martinez Granados doesn't grunt or shriek; she squeals.

When Martinez Granados served for the match at 5-4, Benesova would blast her off the court in one point and dump the ball into the net on the next. All with the same blasé weariness: "I've given up on this match ages ago, and still this scrub can't close it out." 5-5. Benesova was BP down on the next game when she decided it was time to hit some winners. 5-6, and maybe it was still time to turn the match around. But on the next game, Benesova just made some sloppy errors, and in the TB she tanked outrageously, with 2 consecutive DFs and a DF on MP that landed well inside the service box - on the wrong side of the court.

Errani vs Chakhnashvili

This was a very poor match, with wild, needless errors from both sides, and pitiful 2nd serves being blasted away for winners on both sides as well.

Errani is small (she has to jump up to hit her FH) very compact and tomboyish, with a useless BH and a FH loaded with topspin. Her shots have little depth and she's inconsistent.

Chakhnashvili has no 1st serve, and handed over a service game with multiple DFs. Overall she actually has excellent touch and good variety, but sadly next to no consistency. She couldn't deal with Errani's spin at all. She would sometimes be surprised by the bounce and dump the ball into the net because she was out of position.

Initially I intended to watch all of this, but it was so poorly played that I climbed up to Centralito to check what was on display.

Pous Tio vs Gubacsi

And that turned out to be a good move. This was by far the best match of the day, with good hitting, lengthy rallies, and few sloppy errors. I had been there before to take some photos, and left when Gubacsi was outlasting Pous Tio in the rallies, so I was surprised when I got back to see that Pous Tio had taken the first set. Saw all of the second.

The rallies were very evenly matched, with both players hitting deep and Pous Tio mixing up flat shots and topspin.

Pous Tio is both a smoother mover and a heavier hitter than Gubacsi. She hits a powerful FH with heavy spin, and was usually more aggressive than Gubacsi. One of her volleys was to die for.

The elegant Gubacsi is a very good hitter, particularly off her BH side - her BH is a superb shot, the best you can expect to see at this level, flat, deep and accurate. Her FH tends to float a bit, but using shot combinations she managed to wrongfoot Pous Tio on a number of occasions. She was actually slightly more consistent than Pous Tio, but she's not very agile and also less resourceful than her opponent.

At the beginning of the second set, Gubacsi seemed to be outplaying Pous Tio again, and after holding for 1-0 she had BPs on Pous Tio's serve. But she played them too tentatively and from too far behind the baseline; she got dropshotted and Pous Tio picked on her shorter balls to step inside the court. Had she played those BPs like any other point, it's likely she would have won them. Then, rather unsurprisingly, she got broken and her resistance seemed to crumble. She was down 1-4 when Pous Tio gifted her a break to let her back on the match, but not for long. She got broken with a good dropshot from Pous Tio and the latter closed out the set and the match.

After this, I went on a tour of the practice courts, and saw Azarenka, Potchkova, our #1 Frederica Piedade and another (Portuguese?) player practicing together. Azarenka was drilling holes in the clay with her serve, Poutchkova was looking on midly amused, and our #1 Frederica Piedade was looking really tiny next to them.

Barrois vs Kalabina

Watched the final (bagel) set. When I arrived, Kalabina was being given a lower back rub.

Kalabina is a young (16 y.o.) Russian player who has settled in Portugal. I had seen her play before in the 10k Montechoro final she lost to Linetskaya.

She's fast, pugnacious and a good slider, but lacks experience at this level. But she does have experience of claycourt tennis; she was hitting with more spin than Barrois and playing from further behind the baseline. She was quick to react to return Barrois' serve, and her own serve isn't a liability. She seemed to have a cold; she was coughing occasionally, at least.

Barrois c'mon-ed a lot (sometimes in the German original - LOS!), and also let go at least one scheisse! after a bad miss.

I had also seen Barrois play before vs Mauresmo at the USO, and at the time she seemed to me kind of a poor man's Bremond. On clay she can't play like she did on Decoturf of course, but she does have some good touch at the net, made effective use of slices, low balls and other junk to discomfit Kalabina, and can hit a decent topspin 1 handed BH. But of course what matters on clay is baseline firepower, and of that she has little; her shots lack punch. She did move Kalabina around well to force errors out of her. I think that such a tall player should have a bigger serve, but her serve motion is simple and pretty, her 1st serve was well placed and she did close the match with an ace.

After leaving this match, I passed by an ATP qualifying match that was comically bad. Barrois' serve was bigger than that of those two pussies put together.

Makarova vs Rodrigues

Watched the first two games. Makarova is a lefty, without major weapons judging from what I saw. Rodrigues is a pusher who does little to nothing herself to actually win the points, and her ROS was frightfully bad. But I'm willing to forgive all of that, since she is HAWT. When I left, the score was 1-1, so I was surprised to find out later what a blowout this turned out to be.

Parra Santonja vs Savchuk

This was the only match I watched in full. There were a lot of other players in attendance, which is usual in Court 1, the closest to the player's lounge. Even Vinny Ice made an appearance, talking loudly on his cell phone.

The sturdily built Savchuk is a poor mover. Her 1st serve was AWOL for the most, but her 2nd serve, though conservatively placed, isn't really attackable. She knows how to use spin, her BH is dependable, but her FH is extremely loopy.

Arantxa Parra Santonja [APS] is an atypical Spaniard, tall and with toothpicks for legs. She is 2 handed off both sides, but doesn't look as awkward as some other such players; she does fit the type in that she is quite aggressive. In fact, she tended to go for too much and was somewhat erratic. IIRC most of her winners were DTL and came from her BH side. Her serve was occasionally very good.

First set had a load of consecutive breaks. Winners were few and far between, and Savchuk couldn't hit through her opponent from the baseline. She tried to rush the net on a number of occasions (I remember her as a big server and net rusher), but botched all of them. She was dependent on APS giving away points with errors. Throughout, Savchuk's 1st serve % must have been about 0. She served for the set and unsurprisingly got broken.

Early on the second set, Savchuk found her 1st serve, but lost the range on her BH. While she was being consistent she actually stood a chance; of course, when she began netting shots and overhitting ROS, she was toast. She pulled off some sick dropshots, but trying the same trick 3 times in the same game... A couple of good serves helped her hold serve when down 0-3. APS choked horribly; she had a BP to go 5-1 up and game point to go 5-2. Instead, score was now 4-3. Savchuk had finally - sadly for her too late - found the key. She was hitting very deep to take time away from APS and force her to hit while stepping back. APS was serving at 4-4 and wasted her two first GPs with a DF and a horrible UE. But finally she went up 5-4 and Savchuk tanked the last game.

Sanchez vs Tochilovskaya

Petkovic, still playing in Torrent, was replaced by a Russian alt., diminutive Tochilovskaya, who is 18 y.o. but looks no more than 12.

Olivia Sanchez's game, of the little I saw, reminded me of Dulko's. She doesn't hit that hard or that deep, but she moves the ball around well and knows what shots to hit to win a point, usually by forcing an error.

Tochilovskaya hits decently and is a fighter, but court coverage will always be a problem for someone so tiny.

On to Court Central, because I wanted to enjoy the TV perspective and check some top notch ATP claycourt action :zzz: I thought Beto Martín was still playing, but that match was already over and now Spanish claycourt legend Santiago Ventura was warming up to play against some other Santiago. Turned out to be fun. There were a lot of shanks that flew over the stands. A typical point would feature Ventura dropshotting Santiago II two times. Ventura would step further inside the court than the Williams sisters to attack Santiago II's kick serve to the ad court, and of course sometimes he missed. He then blamed the bad bounce. Yeah, right. And then would dropshot some more. Santiago II also complained, but of the way the wind was messing up his toss. Yeah, right.

Petkorazzi
Apr 30th, 2007, 01:36 PM
Great Report!!! Do you have any Chakhnashvili pics?

Steffy6094
Apr 30th, 2007, 06:36 PM
Today Aravane was practising with Maria Kirilenko. I think I'll write the report tomorrow. Too tired and sunburnt :o
Realy? She practiced with Maria? :eek:

Corswandt
Apr 30th, 2007, 09:38 PM
Great Report!!! Do you have any Chakhnashvili pics?

I do. I'll see if I can upload them later tonight.

TheBoiledEgg
Apr 30th, 2007, 09:59 PM
thanx for the reports

any details of todays matches ??

Corswandt
Apr 30th, 2007, 11:46 PM
thanx for the reports

any details of todays matches ??

There ya go:

Monday report

Poutchkova vs Rodionova

The match was played under an overcast sky, with a chilly wind and occasional sprinkling of rain. Not bad enough to justify a rain delay break though (there was a very brief one in the doubles match I watched though). Fair skinned Poutchkova didn't get to remove her long sleeved shirt. :sad:

I picked this match to watch because I wanted to get a good look at Poutchkova's game, and because I expected Rodionova to be on her baddest behaviour. :devil: Not much in the way of tantrums though; first racquet throwing had to wait for the second game, but from then on repeated at regular intervals; apart from that the occasional loud outbursts, and complaining of three kids who had taken to cheer on Poutchkova.

Rodionova seemed to have a cold; she kept blowing her nose, and had to call for a trainer early on the first set.

Poutchkova is a stereotypical power baseliner, without much in the way of variety. She had an edge in firepower over Rodionova, particularly on the FH side, but she's not the best of movers, a poor defender, and clearly not at home on clay. Her FH is quite pretty, and her best shot. Her BH isn't much less powerful than her FH, but less reliable and usually less deep. On ROS in particular, her BH would land around the service line, so Rodionova would almost always serve to her BH side.

There really isn't anything special about Rodionova's game. I suppose the reason she gets wins against lower ranked opponents is consistency and the fact that her serve (both 1st and 2nd), unlike that of most scrubs, isn't a liability. Against the elite, she's helpless (case in point AO vs Sharapova). Her best shot is her BH, while her FH can be erratic. She's faster and a bit more consistent than Poutchkova, and forced her to hit that extra shot more often than the opposite. She kept hitting into Poutchkova's BH to draw an error or an attackable shot to wrongfoot her. A typical Rodionova point consisted of a serve or a deep shot into Poutchkova's BH followed by a BH DTL or FH CC winner.

Overall, this wasn't a great match. Both players lacked the power to hit through each other, and far too much of the match seemed like an endless CC BH drill.

Poutchkova was up a break for most of the first set and eventually took it, with some help from her superior serve, but from then on Rodionova both became more consistent and began to go for her own shots more. The match still had its rough patches. Early on the second set, after Rodionova had played some good tennis to hold 1-0, Poutchkova was clearly out of sorts (her 1st serves went out by 1 or 2 meters, she botched an overhead), but still held serve for 2-2. She had a BP on the next game, after one of the best rallies of the match in which she defended herself well, but missed it after a lengthy CC FH rally. Then she lost the range on her FH and Rodionova rushed to a 5-2 lead, served for the set and got broken (some excellent winners by Poutchkova there), but closed it out on Poutchkova's serve.

Third set was a breakfest. Poutchkova hit a relatively low 1st serve %, and by the third set she was clearly taking something off her serve to try and get a few more 1st serves in - the consequence was that Rodionova began to have a got at all of her serves, usually with a very deep return right back at Poutchkova to take time away from her. When Poutchkova went for broke with her FH, she made wild errors; when she played more tentatively, she usually ended up winning the point.

So the match reaches is climax. Poutchkova serving to stay on the match at 4-5, 30-40 MP Rodionova. Poutchkova serves, Rodionova nets the return.

TB - Rodionova was up 4-3 after a ROS winner off a Poutchkova 2nd serve, but then Poutchkova hit a huge DTL BH winner to go up 5-4, and closed the match on her second MP (Rodionova netted a FH), after missing the first with a wild UE.

Azarenka vs Razzano

I had high expectations for this match, and I wasn't disappointed. The match was indeed as tightly contested as the score suggests. This was two big hitters ripping the cover off the ball - a claycourt match with tons of winners. This is why I watch tennis for. Sure, some shots went out, but that's inevitable when both players are going for so much.

Razzano was her usual self. Good 1st serve, big FH, very aggressive, always trying to step inside the court, going for winners off anything attackable, often with success. But she isn't very fast, and against someone with Azarenka's firepower her only option is to strike first.

Azarenka's serving was very impressive. Very high 1st serve %, good pace, excellent placement. She usually held serve easier than Razzano.

Azarenka's game has evolved since last year. Shock! Azarenka now uses topspin! Mixes it up! Can play some defence! Hit a successful dropshot! But of course the supersonic flat and extremely deep shots we all know and some of us love are still there - she's just a bit more judicious with her use. She hits huge off both sides (though her BH is somewhat less reliable on ROS) and is so powerful she can dictate play while hitting from far behind the baseline :eek: From about 3-3 onwards, she had found her range and was dominating the match.

Azarenka also seems to have matured. She served to stay on the first set, played confidently and held at love, and on the next game broke Razzano with a colossal FH winner. She served for the set and went down 0-40 though, with Razzano converting her 3 BP with a FH winner.

On to the wacky TB, which featured some sick shotmaking from both players. Both saved SPs with huge winners, but ultimately Azarenka prevailed.

On to second set, with Azarenka apparently cruising for the win with a 3-0 lead (second service game closed with 4 consecutive big first serves). But then Razzano stopped making errors, and when such a big hitter isn't making any errors she becomes, to use a favourite expression with WTAW's punditry, "unplayable". Azarenka was also playing somewhat more tentatively and payed the price. Down a break she went. Razzano couldn't keep it up though; Azarenka recovered and Razzano served to stay on the match twice. The second time, she was broken at love with another FH winner from Azarenka. A fitting end to a good contest.

Saw most of the third set of Nole vs Andreev on the big screen. Nole seemed to lack confidence in his own shots and Andreev was dictating a fair number of rallies. Then I was offered an invitation to Court Central and headed there for the last games. The crowd was for Andreev. If any of you heard a loud "AJDE!" just before the first of Nole's MPs on the TB, that was me.

Bartoli/Kirilenko vs Sfar/Cohen Aloro

Guess what? I found out who those two "inept" French speaking women I saw practicing on Friday were. :o

Actually, Sfar is indeed pretty much useless apart from the volleys. Cohen-Aloro (who makes Bartoli look elegant and fit, and, like Sfar, plays with a 1 handed BH - I didn't know that) is the one who provides the groundstroke firepower. Their tactic was for both of them to rush the net and guard it like a wall - wise, considering their volleys were the only edge they had over their opponents.

Bartoli's hitting seemed good, footwork not that much, even though she did scramble well on a few points. Kirilenko's volleying was quite poor when compared to that of the opposing team. She still seems to have no confidence in her BH, but she did improve as the match went along.

Not much in the way of notes; I was there for the photo op, not for the match. Sat right next to Dr. Walter Bartoli, who was whispering coaching to his daughter: Il faut être plus aggressive au retour de service. Il faut prendre des risques avec le retour. and often Plus de puissance dans les coups. Plus de puissance. He also talked some English to Yuri Kirilenko, and later on to Andreev.

No ad, "decisive point" scoring - all for it. The game is sharper and flows faster.

I left after the second set because I forgot it would go to a super TB. :o Checked Centralito, where Korolev was self-destructing against Beto Martín, and then wandered back to Court Central, where the third set of F. Gil vs RRH had just begun. Amusing contrast between how crap the match was and how much the crowd (understandably) was into it. While I was there, I heard that Gil had been up 4-2 on the second and choked the set away. But he closed it out in the end, with a string of godawful BH errors from RRH.

Corswandt
May 1st, 2007, 12:35 AM
These are the photos everyone wants to see:

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/228/imgp0741hm3.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0741hm3.jpg)

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/1108/imgp0747da6.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0747da6.jpg)

http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/6198/imgp0756or6.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0756or6.jpg)

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/9254/imgp0772xv0.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0772xv0.jpg)

I don't have time to crop and upload the rest right now.

tobi
May 1st, 2007, 12:44 AM
Thanx for the report & pics

I dont think you will miss Camille's match tomorrow vs. Vivi :lol:

Would love to see any kind of report and pic of her match if it is possible ;)

Corswandt
May 1st, 2007, 12:49 AM
Thanx for the report & pics

I dont think you will miss Camille's match tomorrow vs. Vivi :lol:

Would love to see any kind of report and pic of her match if it is possible ;)

I think I'm going to Müller vs Wozniacki instead (despite what my "Ace Watch" thread may lead people to think, I don't really care about Pin). The OOP is a nightmare; nearly all women's matches are scheduled for 11:00 AM and there's usually 2-3 matches that I really want to watch going on at the same time.

Spiritof42
May 1st, 2007, 09:36 AM
Great reports Corswandt, very entertaining. You write better than some professional sports journalists. :)

IMPOSSIBLE
May 1st, 2007, 04:19 PM
Arvidsson vs Piedade match report and any pictures ?

Rui.
May 1st, 2007, 06:53 PM
Arvidsson vs Piedade match report and any pictures ?

I prefer to advance that report!

HTE
May 1st, 2007, 07:03 PM
Great service Corswandt, looking forward to more :)

Tennis-Chick
May 1st, 2007, 07:10 PM
These are the photos everyone wants to see:

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/228/imgp0741hm3.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0741hm3.jpg)

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/1108/imgp0747da6.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0747da6.jpg)

http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/6198/imgp0756or6.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0756or6.jpg)

http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/9254/imgp0772xv0.th.jpg (http://img160.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0772xv0.jpg)

I don't have time to crop and upload the rest right now.

Fantastic photos!!!! :bounce:

Great reports!!

HenryMag.
May 1st, 2007, 07:35 PM
Arvidsson vs Piedade match report and any pictures ?

Easy...Piedade hasn't power to finish the points....Arvidsson BH was on fire today, few errors and some great shots....

IMPOSSIBLE
May 1st, 2007, 07:40 PM
Easy...Piedade hasn't power to finish the points....Arvidsson BH was on fire today, few errors and some great shots....

pictures ?? :)

Sebastien123
May 1st, 2007, 08:53 PM
Corswandt,

you just wrote some amazing reports, and I've read it precisely two times from the beginning to the end. Really enjoyed it, and had the feeling like I was reading good deep reportage from some newspaper. You're simply the best. Cant wait for another write from you. Thank you very much for your work. Much appreciated.

Sebastien123
May 1st, 2007, 09:04 PM
btw, I can tell u, good to see Elena healthy :)

I really missed those epic, crazy, lost all nerves and heart-attacks matches by Elena..... and guess what she made for us today - just look at the result, and this tells u everything :devil:

Corswandt
May 2nd, 2007, 12:00 AM
Great reports Corswandt, very entertaining. You write better than some professional sports journalists. :)

That's damning with faint praise.

sunsfuns
May 2nd, 2007, 03:37 AM
Really great reporting, Corswandt :D

Did you get to see Muller-Wozniacki? Would love to read about it if you did...

Spiritof42
May 2nd, 2007, 04:40 AM
That's damning with faint praise.
:D

Is that more to your liking: You write a lot better than most professional sports journalists. :p

HenryMag.
May 2nd, 2007, 07:56 AM
pictures ?? :)

Monday, I'll upload the pics from Sofia.

Carofan
May 2nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
Omg it seems I escaped the Estoril report from tuesday :eek:

Corswandt
May 3rd, 2007, 12:16 AM
Tuesday report

Wozniacki vs Müller

I arrived at the venue at noon and catched the match I was looking forward to the most already at 6-4, 3-0 - massive bummer. Still, I had a look at Wozniacki's game, but bear in mind that what follows is based on little more than a dozen of points.

Wozniacki is much slighter in real life than she looks in photos.

Wozniacki is a clean hitter off both sides, the BH side being perhaps superior; she doesn't have overwhelming power (even though she did blast away a couple of Müller's second serves for winners) but hits with good pace and depth, and made few (or none?) errors in the games I saw. She can scramble, moonball and scoop up the ball when she's in trouble, play from way behind the baseline if necessary. Her serve is good, and her movement, even though she's not lightning fast, is decent for a tall girl. She uses the whole court - she's not an all-court player in the sense that she won't chip and charge, but if she finds herself at the net after chasing a short ball from her opponent she'll stay there instead of retreating back to the baseline like I see so often and will volley effectively if needed. Azarenka, for instance, can also volley decently, but only for those easy putaways that Sharapova manages to botch. So, she has no obvious weaknesses, which means she doesn't have any big liability to correct, and can thus focus on improving things she already has (baseline firepower, shot variety, serve) to make herself a true contender for the elite.

Müller, that product of the fucked up 2006 ranking system, still managed to hit a couple of wrongfooting winners, but was absolutely hopeless at the net, and made a few needless errors when her only chance was not to make any. Her current ranking is an embarrassent to the WTA.

Then I went to check of Pin's match.

Ruano Pascual vs Pin

Watched only 3-4 games. Pin's shots look even more powerpuff when seen up close, if that is possible. Maybe it was the contrast with Davydenko, who was hitting in practice session at the adjacent court, but still. Ruano Pascual could only slice from her BH side. Rallies went on for ages, with Pin cheerfully moonballing away and running from side to side over and over and over and over like a windscreen wiper. Ruano Pascual missed an easy overhead which ended up landing well on her own side of the court, at which point I burst out laughing, something that didn't go too well with the Spanish contingent around me. The next point was a botched BH volley by Ruano Pascual that nearly flew off the court. Enough comedy, I thought - time to check out some tennis.

So I went to see a few games of

Arn vs Pous Tio

Who had already played each other in qualies. Ho ho ho. Arn was wearing Nikki V's AO dress. Yay. No junkballing from Arn today. Her shots were flatter, deeper and more penetrating than Pous Tio's. She was changing the direction of the ball well with her FH and moving Pous Tio around by going for the corners, mostly with her in-out FH. Her BH is also more than adequate for this level. Pous Tio's shots had too much topspin, and seemed to fly half as fast as Arn's. Which means she'd be in trouble even if Arn wasn't being more consistent. And those DFs didn't help either.

Then I went to watch Czech Cussing 101 With Babs.

Yakimova vs Strycova

Watched nearly all of this, with a 2 or 3 breaks (missing one or two games at most) to check scores on other courts. On retrospect, should have left, but I thought I had already done enough aimless wandering.

Yakimova's footwork was a bit off in the beginning; she would lean, or even lunge, to hit some shots, but improved as the match went along. She was also taking too may risks with the placement of her 2nd serve, and handed over a break with a DF. In general, she had slightly superior firepower than Strycova, and she seems to have more confidence in her BH. In the first set, she kept going for big DTL BH winners and missing all of them (including one on SP); she also didn't deal well with some of Strycova's slices.

Strycova on the other hand is a good defender, who can scrape, slide and moonball well. Her serve is good for a player of her size in the sense that it's very well placed and not really attackable, but she has no weapons whatsoever (apart from an obnoxious 'tude - she got a code violation warning early on the first set for punching back a ball at the ballkid, but didn't actually hit him - and constant outbursts in Czech) - she can hit her loopy FH deep, but it's not a kill shot, and her BH can be unreliable. She mixes it up with slices (her good 2 handed BH slice is similar to Kirilenko's) to draw errors, topspin FHs to buy time and break her opponent's rhythm, and dropshots.

The initial games all went to deuce, with many needless errors from both sides, but in the end Strycova took the first set.

Second set was completely different - Yakimova had realised that Strycova had absolutely nothing to hurt her (this was a result of coaching she received from her Spanish speaking coach in the stands), and was merely keeping the ball in with decent pace and depth and pinning Strycova to her shakier BH side in endless CC BH rallies until she drew the error out of her. Strycova made 3 consecutive sloppy errors to give Yakimova 1-1; Yakimova was a break up, but Strycova recovered because Yakimova couldn't deal with her moonballs. Strycova dug herself out of a few tight situations on this set, but lost it in the end. Strycova's volleys were awkward and ineffective throughout; even when she didn't outright miss them, they were usually too long to be decisive - and considering her lack of weapons from the baseline, this meant she couldn't hit a winner to save her life.

The third set featured much of the same; on occasion (not very often) Strycova would have the opportunity to finish off a point from half court of at the net, and would botch it. She would also take over some points from ROS, but again she just couldn't close out the points. Yakimova served for the match at 5-3 and got broken; Strycova served to stay in it and quickly went down 0-40. Yakimova converted her second MP.

Azarenka, complete with garish accessories and in the company of Kunytsin, made a brief appearance.

In the meantime, I passed by Court 2 where Dr. Walter Bartoli was practicing with his daughter. The practice was in the same highly scientific mold as the Rezai's: pater Bartoli stands at the net and throws balls off a basket (usually 3-4 in quick succession) for Marion to hit as hard and deep as possible.

Ozegovic vs Kirilenko

There was a huge crowd at Court 2 when this match began, with hardly a seat left; but most people left at the second change of ends, since the match was played under incessant drizzle that never relented but never quite broke into rain.

Ozegovic, who buries her eyes under her cap just like Beetle Bailey, is a clean hitter who plays controlled aggression quite well. She has a neat FH, with which she hits very flat and with which she takes the ball early, something that helps her in gradually entering the court.

Kirilenko put her excellent touch to good use on the defense, in which she was helped by the predictable pendular pattern (left-right-left-right) of Ozegovic's shots. There was some CC BH drill, as seems de rigueur at the Open this year.

It's remarkable how many good shots Kirilenko has to hit to win a point, even against a Challenger level player like Ozegovic. She tried to dictate rallies with her BH, without much success, used nice BH dropshots, and tried to work her way into the net, but pretty much gave up on that after the first set. Her somewhat superior serve made the difference at times, but she tended to DF at the worst possible times.

On the second set, Kirilenko had a 4-1 lead, but she wasn't outplaying Ozegovic by that wide a margin; Ozegovic handed over a few decisive points with needless errors. Kirilenko DFed on her two first SPs, but closed it out in the end.

At about 18:00, with 2-2 in the second, rain finally poured down and the match was postponed.

croat123
May 3rd, 2007, 04:57 AM
so nika actually played well?? :eek:
thanks so much for the report

Jogi
May 3rd, 2007, 11:21 AM
Tuesday report
Arn vs Pous Tio

Who had already played each other in qualies. Ho ho ho. Arn was wearing Nikki V's AO dress. Yay. No junkballing from Arn today. Her shots were flatter, deeper and more penetrating than Pous Tio's. She was changing the direction of the ball well with her FH and moving Pous Tio around by going for the corners, mostly with her in-out FH. Her BH is also more than adequate for this level. Pous Tio's shots had too much topspin, and seemed to fly half as fast as Arn's. Which means she'd be in trouble even if Arn wasn't being more consistent. And those DFs didn't help either.


do you have a photo of this? :D
thx for the reports!

Corswandt
May 3rd, 2007, 10:17 PM
do you have a photo of this? :D

I do. But it will take a few days before I have time to upload it.

Ravsieg
May 3rd, 2007, 11:11 PM
Wozniacki vs Müller

I arrived at the venue at noon and catched the match I was looking forward to the most already at 6-4, 3-0 - massive bummer.

Wait a second, did you hear someone moaning that he was going there just because of that match and got stuck over a hour on the ticket queue? :p

That was me, and I got in there by that time too.

I also stood out because I approached Caroline after the end of the match.

Corswandt
May 4th, 2007, 01:20 AM
Wednesday report

Safarova vs Yakimova

Yakimova arrived a bit early, Safarova a bit late. Some fellows were trying to repair the electronic scoreboard (without success).

I believe anyone that saw Safarova's performances at the Paris GDF knows what a spectactular shotmaker she is - one of the finest in the game, though sadly not the most consistent. The power Safarova can generate (off both sides) out of such a wiry frame is simply astonishing - and it's all timing and racquethead speed. Even on clay and against a highly mobile opponent such as Yakimova, 1-2 shots and the point is won (or lost with an UE). Her FH is more versatile than her BH, in the sense that she moves the ball around better with it. She often used the typical lefty point: wide serve to the ad court for a short BH reply, in-out FH winner. Another combination she used was aggressive FH ROS, then CC FH attack, then the conclusion at midcourt with an easy in-out FH.

Now the problems: Safarova has absolutely no defense. Her movement is mediocre and her defensive moonballs are piss poor; they lack depth and are usually easy putaways for her opponent. Also, her game at the net seems poor as well; on this match, she rushed the net with CC FH approaches on half a dozen occasions and lost the point nearly every time.

Bottom line, even though Safarova seems comfortable on clay (even sliding when necessary), her ultra aggressive baseline game has none of the characteristics of the stereotypical claycourter. And thank Heavens for that.

Yakimova on the other hand usually tried to keep the ball in play with deep, non-attackable shots, and would load her FH with topspin to hit deep even when under pressure (i.e. all the time, considering Safarova's take-no-prisoners approach to the game). She hit next to no winners, but made next to no errors as well, and made Safarova hit the extra shot quite often - of course this game plan (obviously the work of her Spanish language coach) only worked if Safarova was making errors, as she did early on the first set and then throughout the second.

One of the crucial factors was that Safarova has a good serve that she used to set up and win quick points, and she held serve more easily than Yakimova throughout.

Safarova entered the match out of sorts and got broken. She made countless errors and was 2-0 down before she found her range, but once she did WHOA!

The second set was a different story. Safarova went BP down on the second game after a horrible botched overhead, then going 0-2 down again. She made a successful incursion into the net on the next game, but to no avail as Yakimova hit 2 good 1st serves to set up quick winners, and then closed out the game with a sick BH DTL winner. Yakimova hit 2 DFs and seemed close to choking when serving for 5-2, but was handed the game by some more of Safarova's errors. Safarova saved 3 SPs with big winners, but missed an easy volley on the fourth SP.

The third set opened with Yakimova playing with much more confidence, and on her first service game she held to love. But now Safarova's fireworks returned and she also held to love with 4 winners. At 3-2 for Safarova, Yakimova went down 0-40 after the best rally of the match; Safarova converted the first BP with an ROS FH winner (there were a few of those). Safarova then held comfortably, as her serve was making the difference (her 2nd serve is also quite good, excellently placed).

But there was still some DRAMA to be had.

When Safarova prepared to serve for the match, there was already some drizzle and the sky was covered with the heaviest, darkest clouds you can imagine. Safarova either won quickly or faced the prospect of a rain delay, possibly until the next day (that's how bad the sky looked). So she goes for broke with her serve, takes no more than 10 secs between points, and reaches MP. She starts her service motion and the first rain begins to fall. Ace, GSM Safarova. :eek: The very next instant (and I do mean the very next instant :eek: ), the downpour begins, with both players quickly picking up their stuff and running off the court.

During the rain delay, I met a fellow WTAW poster, suzie, who carries one of those big ass cameras with a big ass lens and takes photos that are actually good (as opposed to mine).

As for my own camera, sadly the batteries died just as Mariana Alves :hearts: passed by with her hair down and munching on some popcorn.

The rain stopped at around 16:00, but it took some time for the courts to dry up, since some of them now had puddles the size of lakes.

Ozegovic vs Kirilenko

The match carried over from the previous day; the score was 2-2 in the third. Not much to add to what I already posted yesterday. Kirilenko didn't play that bad; even though she did make a few more needless errors than Ozegovic, the difference wasn't that big, and she actually played some very pretty points here and there. It's just that she needs to hit 7-8 good shots to win a point; she couldn't hit through Ozegovic (even though she unwisely tried to do just that most of the time), and usually Ozegovic would be able to turn the point around in the meantime, step inside the court and finish it off with her FH.

After wandering around a bit, I watched the first few games of Monaco vs Querrey, which seemed like a contest to see who could hit the most awful BH error.

Corswandt
May 4th, 2007, 01:23 AM
Wait a second, did you hear someone moaning that he was going there just because of that match and got stuck over a hour on the ticket queue? :p

That was me, and I got in there by that time too.

I also stood out because I approached Caroline after the end of the match.

I didn't notice anyone, sorry - I was pissed off at being late and tried to make up for lost time by following what was left of the match from the first point.

And I left as soon as the match was over.

Ravsieg
May 4th, 2007, 02:20 AM
I didn't notice anyone, sorry - I was pissed off at being late and tried to make up for lost time by following what was left of the match from the first point.

And I left as soon as the match was over.

I understand you completely, exact same with me concerning the first phrase. :p
I'm not the kind of moaning but I couldn't resist going at it against the guy who was there standing opening the court door. I only got in at 5-0 though, from 2-0 to 4-0 I watched from the balcony on the other side.

Still, you were probably close to me on the damn queue for the tickets judging from the time you got in. I was a few steps from the window when the man said all 3 of them would be for everyone from there on.

Foot's Fingers
May 4th, 2007, 09:51 AM
thnks for yr reports!!!

interesting to read

Jogi
May 4th, 2007, 07:43 PM
I'm so looking forward to the Greta - Wozniacki report... and maybe a Greta - Arvidsson one? ;)

HenryMag.
May 4th, 2007, 09:06 PM
Greta vs. Arvidsson

Quick match...Greta played very well, few errors, many winners, good serves, likes to come to the net...Arvidsson, many errors, not serving very well...

Arn is my favourite to reach the final tomorrow.

A Magicman
May 4th, 2007, 09:58 PM
Greta played very well, few errors, many winners, good serves, likes to come to the net...

Sounds like a Wimbledon finalist 2007 to me. ;)

Thanks for the report :wavey:

crazillo
May 4th, 2007, 10:01 PM
Sounds like a Wimbledon finalist 2007 to me. ;)

Thanks for the report :wavey:

Don't jinx her. :lol: But really nice to hear that.

shrOOf
May 4th, 2007, 10:08 PM
Greta :hearts:

HenryMag.
May 4th, 2007, 11:16 PM
Sounds like a Wimbledon finalist 2007 to me. ;)

Thanks for the report :wavey:

If she plays in Roland Garros as she's playing in Estoril, she can be a very good surprise.

Corswandt
May 4th, 2007, 11:24 PM
Still, you were probably close to me on the damn queue for the tickets judging from the time you got in. I was a few steps from the window when the man said all 3 of them would be for everyone from there on.

I was the one who shouted Agora!?! at that exact moment.

Corswandt
May 4th, 2007, 11:25 PM
I'm so looking forward to the Greta - Wozniacki report... and maybe a Greta - Arvidsson one? ;)

Watched both. Reports coming soon.

crazillo
May 4th, 2007, 11:26 PM
Watched both. Reports coming soon.

Thanx. :)

AlexBarrington
May 5th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Corswandt u saw somewhere there Flavia Pennetta?:hearts:

Corswandt
May 5th, 2007, 01:05 PM
Corswandt u saw somewhere there Flavia Pennetta?:hearts:

Saw her play against Dulko. Report coming later today, hopefully.

shrOOf
May 5th, 2007, 06:12 PM
Watched both. Reports coming soon.

:hearts:

Corswandt
May 6th, 2007, 02:58 AM
Thursday report

Liek, OMG, I just saw [...]!11!!!

I haven't bored you all that much with player sightings, but on a relatively small, mixed event like the Estoril Open you do get a lot of those. During the Wednesday rain delay, while leaning on the balcony over Court 2, probably as many as a dozen players passed by in no more than 15 minutes: the Rodionovas, Rakhim, Kalabina, Tochilovskaya, a few of the Spanish women, Sfar, the Dulkos, PHM surrounded by a large entourage (had he lost 1R in Casablanca instead of taking the title, he would be walking around alone I guess; success = hangers on), among others. I could have taken some portraits, but I didn't went out of my way to get those this year, and soon after, as I've already told you, the batteries of my camera died. "Gordo" Calleri really does look very beefy. I often bumped into Rakhim, Kalabina and baby faced Tochilovskaya; these restless teenagers roamed through the venue even more than I did.

On to the scouting/match reports.

Arn vs Wozniacki

This match was well played (with good rallies and few wild errors) but rarely spectacular, and tight but rarely exciting. Court 2 makes for poor viewing, and that also didn't help. I should have went up to the balcony, but I didn't feel like standing for the duration of the match.

The impression of Wozniacki I got from those three games vs Müller was more or less confirmed. Wozniacki can hit on the run and move the ball around, and plays the rallies smartly, BUT she hasn't got overwhelming power from the baseline. She's not really a heavy hitter, and relies more on consistency (she makes few errors), placement and point construction. She'll rush the net and stay there after chasing a shorter ball, which is commendable, and she can dropshot to further mix it up. Her BH is her most powerful side, though it still doesn't qualify as a kill shot; her defence is better on the FH side, since she hits her FH with more topspin. Her movement is merely decent, but she can defend herself by hitting moonballs to push her opponent back (rather than attempting the same through deep flat shots). Her forward movement is good; at least on clay, she can retrace her steps and pull back or rush forward as needed (I'm not sure if other surfaces will give her the time to do that). Her serve seemed more effective vs Müller than it was on this match, but it's certainly not a liability, and at this level her 2nd serve isn't attackable; actually, there isn't that much difference between her 1st and 2nd serves. She uses her serve more to open up the court than to win the point outright - a wise course of action on clay. Her ROS is aggressive, but in a different way from what I'm used to see; while others go for low % winners off 2nd serves or hit right back at the server's feet to take time away from them, Wozniacki attacks the ball and hits it away from the server to take over the rally.

There was some junk from Arn this time; she initially had some problems with Wozniacki's serve, but after a while began dealing with it just fine. From the beginning, she was hitting deeper and harder (several CC BH winners right on the line), and making good use of her net game. Her serve was also more powerful, with several aces.

Wozniacki closed the first game with an ace, and was up 2-1; but I was getting the feeling that Arn would eventually get the upper hand. Which she did, oddly enough in a game where Wozniacki played her best tennis so far on this match. After some junk and moonballing from both players, Arn went two breaks up and took the first set.

Clay magnifies the problem of facing a journeywoman who happens to be "in the zone", because you can't serve/blast your way out of trouble there. Arn was playing excellently, making next to no errors, even her last ditch slices were all in, she hit the lines and corners repeatedly. Wozniacki would have had to play perfectly to win that first set.

But by the middle of the second set, Arn's level decreased somewhat (she looked slower and less consistent), enough to give Wozniacki a 4-2 lead; Wozniacki was playing much the same (but she did break Arn, after a superb rally, with the lowest slice I have ever seen; this was clay, and yet it didn't bounce). The point that eventually gave Wozniacki the SP was doubtful. I couldn't see it from where I was, and the chair umpire took his time checking it before finally calling it out, confirming the linesman's call.

To a third set then, with Arn giving Wozniacki the first break by dumping an overhead into the net - ouch. But on the next game Arn broke Wozniacki to love with two CC BH winners. Wozniacki began going for ROS winners, without much success; her level of play had also dropped a bit, and her 1st serve went away. When already down 2-3, Wozniacki faced a BP after flinching when she had an attackable ball on the previous point, but saved it with a big in-out FH winner and went on to win that game after some tough rallies.

Arn held serve (with an ace down the T) to make it 4-3. By now Wozniacki was looking spent and deflated. Her 1st serve was gone, and Arn was dictating all the rallies. She was soon 0-40 down at her own service game,m after hesitating at the net because she thought Arn's defensive slice was going out; she should have just put it away.
Arn then served for the match, got to 40-30 and closed it out.

Dulko vs Pennetta

I rushed up to Centralito and caught this match at 4-1 in the 1st set, which was good because I didn't expect to get to watch any of it.

This was a frustrating match in the sense that it could have been so much better. Two wily players who know each other well and who know how to play on clay, but who were somewhat out of sorts, particularly Pennetta. This could have been last year's final. Dulko is the more versatile of the two; Pennetta is more of a B-list heavy hitter who happens to know how to construct points and feels comfortable on clay.

Dulko was clearly the more confident player; she was really going for broke with her FH (which is a very pretty shot - she hits it with a wide swing and an excellent upper body rotation) - Dulko may not be the most powerful of players, but she certainly was overpowering Pennetta, always taking the initiative and dictating rallies, even at the risk of making errors, being more aggressive than she usually is, going for the lines with her in-out FH, attacking Pennetta's shakier BH side and going for difficult touch shots and mostly pulling them off. There were a few wild BH errors when trying to hit defensive lobs.

Pennetta is fit, but not very fast - this was one of the first things I noticed about her back in late 2005 (I feel old). She has a good serve though, and she hits her FH with heavy topspin - but she lost most of the FH vs FH contests against Dulko. She was having a go at Dulko's serves, even the 1st, but without much success. She seemed completely out of sorts and was making loads of needless errors. She clearly isn't the player she was before her late 2006 injury.

The early second set was a rough patch with quite a few needless errors from both sides. With Pennetta leading 3-2, Dulko went down 0-40 on her serve with sloppy errors, and Pennetta took the second BP with a shot that skidded off the baseline and away from Dulko's swing. The crucial factor on this set was that Pennetta's BH was now firing, both CC and DTL; she was now hitting deeper than Dulko. Dulko served to stay on the set at 5-2, with Pennetta netting 3 consecutive shots to hand her the game, but on the next game, after a shaky start, Pennetta closed out the set with a DTL BH winner right on the line.

The third set opened with a very rough patch - atrocious tennis from both players, and Pennetta cussing loudly at her own poor play. Dulko broke to go up 3-0 with a DTL FH ROS winners off 2nd serve from Pennetta. From then on, it was mostly Pennetta's serve that was keeping her afloat. She closed out a service game with a huge in-out FH winner. Pennetta would sometimes rush the net after an approach into Dulko's FH, and naturally got passed. With Dulko 4-1 up, she got the decisive BP on Pennetta's serve by dictating the point, attacking with her CC FH and finishing with a DTL FH winner. On the BP itself, Pennetta handed it over with a wild FH error. Soon after, Pennetta got a warning for her cussing. Dulko now served for the match; she got up to 30-0, but Pennetta took the next point after a CC BH duel in which she ripped the cover off the ball until she forced Dulko's error. Dulko got to MP after a superb dropshot that Pennetta nevertheless reached, and ultimately it was only on her second passing shot that Dulko took the point. On the MP, Pennetta netted a FH ROS.

Later on the afternoon I returned to the Centralito, now packed to watch Beto Martín and crowd favourite Robredo having a contest to see who could play further from behind the baseline. The most attentive spectator was Juan Monaco, who seemed OK even though he had retired from doubles earlier that day. I sent some text messages, checked out my notes from previous matches, checked out Kalabina and the adorable Rakhim :hearts: who were tanning their legs on the player's balcony, but I eventually ran out of things to do, remembered that a doubles match was about to begin, and left.

Said doubles was Schruff/Strycova vs Dominguez Lino/Parra Santonja. Schruff's serve is just pitiful. And if Dulko hits one of the prettiest FHs I have ever seen, LDL hits by far the ugliest.

Then I went on a melancholy tour of the empty practice courts. The atmosphere of the early days, where seemingly every practice court was filled with hotties I had never seen before, had gradually vanished as the rounds went by and more players were sent packing. But I eventually found Davydenko, being lectured in English by an old fellow with a beer gut, probably this week's replacement for Eduard. Said old fellow then enlisted one of the ballgirls in attendance to help out with the drills, which isn't something she'll tell her grandchildren but was cute nonetheless.

http://img159.imageshack.us/img159/4082/copyofimgp1070di1.th.jpg (http://img159.imageshack.us/my.php?image=copyofimgp1070di1.jpg)

Davydenko and the ballgirl

I finished the day at the Rodionova/Vanc vs Piedade/Nogueira doubles at the Centralito, sitting in a particularly rowdy corner where some people were crudely mocking the performance of the Portuguese players - and then at the end of the match went to ask for their autographs. :rolleyes: I spent the whole time taking photos of Mariana Alves :hearts: , who was sitting in the player's balcony.

HenryMag.
May 6th, 2007, 08:48 AM
I finished the day at the Rodionova/Vanc vs Piedade/Nogueira doubles at the Centralito, sitting in a particularly rowdy corner where some people were crudely mocking the performance of the Portuguese players - and then at the end of the match went to ask for their autographs. :rolleyes: I spent the whole time taking photos of Mariana Alves :hearts: , who was sitting in the player's balcony.

I was sitting near these people and I noticed the same thing....In the beginning of the match I had a flag of Portugal.


Great report Corswandt!

shrOOf
May 6th, 2007, 11:04 AM
thank you so much :hearts:

crazillo
May 6th, 2007, 02:06 PM
Thanx! :)

Derek.
May 6th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Thanks. :)

Corswandt
May 7th, 2007, 02:20 AM
Friday report

Safarova vs Domínguez Lino

Conditions were very harsh for this match; overcast sky, strong wind, the clay slowed down even more by the damp weather, and the bounce was completely unpredictable due to the damage suffered by the courts during the Wednesday downpour.

Domínguez Lino (LDL) has the ugliest game I have ever seen. It really defies description. Her horrible FH is just topspin, topspin, and more topspin. She's not even a fast retriever; she just plays a very high % game, hitting lots of zero pace shots that land around midcourt, and doing absolutely nothing to win the point by herself - she hits with so little depth that she makes Medina Garrigues look aggressive by comparison. Her BH ROS was pretty much a disaster, and she just can't flatten out her shots due to her extreme FH grip. Her game plan consisted of little more than bombarding Safarova's BH side with topspin until (hopefully) it broke.

The first couple of games saw a torrent of errors from Safarova, who was completely off her game. Already down 1-3 and serving, Safarova made some more wild errors to go down 15-40 and ultimately get broken. Clearly, Safarova is used to shots with more depth and pace than LDL's, and since her footwork was initially off, she dumped quite a few balls into the net because she didn't step forward to get into position to hit them properly.

But eventually Safarova began to move her feet and found her range, hitting a DTL BH winner to get to 4-3. She also noticed that rushing the net behind an approach to LDL's useless BH meant point won almost 100% of the time (Safarova overdid it a bit, though), since LDL couldn't hit passing shots off that side. She broke LDL with a good volley, and went up 5-4. While serving at 5-5, Safarova hit a high FH volley to save a BP; now for the second time LDL would serve to stay on the set. Game went to deuce. Safarova hits a dropshot, followed by a magnificent FH passing shot winner - first SP, which Safarova squandered by netting a BH. LDL was playing even more tentatively than the usual, if that is possible. Second SP, with LDL luring Safarova into the net with a short slice to her BH side. Safarova reaches it and hits a CC half-volley, which LDL tried to volley back but missed.

Once Safarova took the first set and I was assured that tennis and not chickenshit moonballing would be the victor, I bolted off to Centralito to watch Azarenka.

Azarenka vs Dulko

Dulko began this match by handing over the first break to Azarenka with a DF. She was making a few FH errors, while Azarenka was on her game from the beginning.

Azarenka has the potential to play Sharapovian controlled aggression - deep, flat mostly DTL groundstrokes off both sides, complete with high pitched cringeworthy shriek. he hit some beautiful BH slices, can dropshot (with a success rate of 1 out of 3 on this match :lol: - you don't dropshot a claycourter), and can use topspin to push her opponent back and enter the court herself. On her first service game her 1st serve was off, on the second it appeared, allowing her to win some quick points with drive volleys off ROS floaters.

When Dulko was serving at 4-0, this was beginning to look like a complete rout. She went down 0-40 and saved the first BP with an ace, but on the second hit a botched dropshot.

Azarenka then called for the trainer (don't know why).

She served for the set at 5-0, but Dulko got to deuce after saving 2 SPs. Azarenka was then broken after a rally in which Dulko forced her to move around until a CC FH from Azarenka landed just wide. Dulko then served to stay on the set, got to 40-15, but was eventually broken with a DF on SP.

The second set was much tighter than the score indicates, as Dulko says on her blog. Azarenka went down 0-40 on her serve with a DF and several UEs; Dulko missed the first BP by netting a FH, the second by missing an easy overhead and the third when an attempted in-out ROS FH winner off a 2nd serve from Azarenka was just wide - she did what she had to do, but failed on the actual execution.

The match was no longer a pushover for Azarenka, since Dulko wasn't making that many errors anymore; Azarenka noticed it and began to go for (even) more. Dulko had noticed that Azarenka was having some trouble moving to the right and defending on her FH side (on this match alone, for some reason; on the final she had no such problem). Azarenka couldn't hit her FH on the run and ended up making wild errors; when pressured on her FH side, she usually ended up hitting semi shanks and unintentional shallow lobs for an easy putaway.

At 3-2, with Dulko serving, Azarenka missed 2 BPs with wild errors, but converted the third when an in-out FH from Dulko went wide by no more than a couple of cms.

On the next game, wily Dulko took to luring Azarenka into the net to then pass her, and got up 30-0. But Azarenka equalised with a big 1st serve out wide to the ad court, and closed out the game when Dulko netted a FH off a short FH from Azarenka that landed around the service line.

5-2. Dulko was now serving to stay on the match, and went down 0-30 with 2 sloppy errors. 0-40, 3 MPs, all of which Azarenka missed even though Dulko couldn't get a 1st serve in (but had a lucky netcord on the third MP), closing it out only on her fourth MP with a CC FH winner.

Arn vs Arvidsson

I arrived at this match with the score already at 3-0 for Arn; on the points I watched from the gate it seemed as if Arvidsson was being served off the court. There were at least a dozen Swedes in attendance.

The first thing I noticed about Arvidsson was her huge ass, but she also has a deep, flat BH and a decent serve. It's not difficult to believe that she was solid top 100 before her slump.

In terms of firepower, even though she couldn't hit through Arn (not even force the errors out of her), she wasn't that far behind her opponent; what made the difference was Arvidsson failing to do anything at all with Arn's serve, and her inconsistency. She wasn't even making that many wild errors, but to beat Arn it would take more than just solid play, let alone the inconsistent one Arvidsson was displaying. Arn was as much in the zone as in her previous matches, serving big and going for her in-out FH. Even her last ditch defensive shots hit the lines.

Arn, already up 4-0, gave the first game to Arvidsson by dumping two slices into the bottom of the net.

After completely mishitting a FH that floated to the net, Arvidsson made a sarcastic OK sign.

Early on the second set, Arn was playing wonderfully. Her footwork is just superb, and even when forced to hit out of balance, she would still manage to hit deep and with accuracy. She comes to the net with confidence, and her volleys look smooth and reliable. Actually, I don't think she missed a single volley on all the matches I saw her play. She hit with more topspin than I had seen her do in previous matches, and she wasn't afraid of Arvidsson's big BH; in fact, she won most of the BH vs BH rallies.

Arvidsson saved 2 MPs on her serve, but Arn closed it out with an ace on the next game.

I saw some of Vinny Ice vs Gasquet on the big screen and it seemed like a very interesting, fun match, with Gasquet using all his cute shots and Vinny Ice rushing the net whenever possible.

Llagostera Vives vs Bartoli

Not much to say about this match, to which I arrived with the score already at 3-0 for Llagostera Vives (NLV).

Bartoli was out of sorts and the range of her shots was off. NLV, playing much more aggressively than I had seen her do in Budapest, made next to no errors and hit a fair number of winners, frequently wrongfooting Bartoli due to Marion's lack of agility and poor lateral movement. With her current movement and fitness levels, Bartoli is unable to keep up with just about everyone in rallies, and not even her powerful hitting can get her out of trouble. Bartoli also kept rushing the net behind nothing and getting passed. Her two handed volleys are awkward looking and ineffective (she either nets them or hits them too deep).

Bartoli's ROS is simply insane. By positioning herself as far forward as she does, she is inevitably caught offside (so to speak) if her opponent's serve happens to be any good. The ROS itself is typically hit DTL and very deep, right to the baseline.

After asking for a medical timeout, Bartoli played and lost a further game before retiring.

Then I then went to Court Central to watch Future World #1 Nole vs Guillermo García Lopez (GGL). Not a very large crowd in attendance, and it became even smaller as the match went along and a chilly wind made everyone uncomfortable. Given his build and the kit he was wearing, GGL looked somewhat like Haas seen from a distance, and he also has a 1 handed BH and a big 1st serve. The match suffered from the windy conditions, the bad bounces and Nole's erratic play. Nole kept having trouble breaking GGL's serve and the match ended up being much more difficult for him than it needed to be. GGL hit some of the most awful shanks I have ever seen. His Spanish supporters cheered Nole's errors much louder than GGL's winners - classy. You can see where Nadal's obnoxious 'tude is coming from.

Corswandt
May 7th, 2007, 02:42 AM
Final - Arn vs Azarenka

Wasn't actually there - saw it on TV.

Arn was playing much more passively than in previous matches. From the beginning, her game plan was to keep the ball in play and wait for the best. Her 1st serve % was low, and that meant she was under constant pressure from Azarenka in her own service games. She was flawless at the net though, as she was throughout the tournament.

Azarenka was hitting mostly CC, not using her in-out FH as often as I'd seen her do on her previous matches. She was patient, using dropshots and other touch shots on occasion - with the exception of a patch in the middle of the first set where she made loads of errors. Her CC FH was her main weapon, with which she kept attacking Arn's FH side. Her serve wide to both the ad and the deuce courts is perhaps the best you can expect to see at this level, and she was using her wingspan and reach well for defensive purposes.

The second set saw Azarenka's serving at its most impressive - but also far too many errors, those mostly landing out rather than being netted (amazing, considering how flat and low Azarenka usually hits her groundstrokes), which prevented her from making any inroads on Arn's service games. Soon Arn was 3-1 up, and se held for 4-1 after several wild ROS errors from Azarenka. Arn took to moonballing, and Azarenka was now clearly self-destructing and spraying shots all over the place.

The third set was initially more of the same - moonballing and great defense from Arn, errors from Azarenka. Arn's FH was now a mess though. Azarenka saved her best play to the decisive points (a dropshot she hit off a moonball from Arn was to die for), and managed to claw her way back into the tightly contested set.

5-4, Arn serving to stay on the match. Azarenka missed the first MP by netting a BH after a lengthy rally, and the second after another long and elaborate rally in which she could have finished the point off at the net.

Azarenka saved two BPs at 5-5, the second with a DTL BH passing shot winner.

Arn served for the match at 6-5, but Azarenka got to 0-40 with an awesome CC FH passing shot winner and broke her to take the match into a third set TB.

On the TB, Arn got to 4-1 with a lucky netcord, and on MP, she served an ace - a sliced serve to the T on the ad court that was right on the line.

crazylace01
May 7th, 2007, 03:17 AM
thank you for your awesome reports this week!!! :)

Spiritof42
May 7th, 2007, 07:00 AM
Final - Arn vs Azarenka

5-4, Arn serving to stay on the match. Azarenka missed the first MP by netting a BH after a lengthy rally, and the second after another long and elaborate rally in which she could have finished the point off at the net.

Thanks. I was curious to know what had happened on Vika's 2 match points. Sounds like she wasn't aggressive enough. Probably too nervous.

Corswandt
May 7th, 2007, 02:10 PM
Thanks. I was curious to know what had happened on Vika's 2 match points. Sounds like she wasn't aggressive enough. Probably too nervous.

She was aggressive. It's just that Arn got everything back.

Corswandt
May 7th, 2007, 03:35 PM
Actually, what screwed Azarenka wasn't choking away the 2 MPs; technically, she didn't even choke them. What did her in was going away from the match for a set and a half.

Friday report edited, with some new stuff added.

xieergai
May 7th, 2007, 03:38 PM
Thanks,you are great!

tobi
May 7th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Thanx for the reports all week long :)

shrOOf
May 8th, 2007, 09:54 PM
these reports were great :yeah: