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View Full Version : Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (Sunday added on 9th September)


andrewbroad
Jun 18th, 2007, 12:50 AM
Quick links (they open in new windows):

Monday 11th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11012235#post11012235) (first round)
Tuesday 12th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11021026&posted=1#post11021026) (first & second round)
Wednesday 13th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11029757#post11029757) (second round)
Thursday 14th June (no play due to rain)
Friday 15th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11037351#post11037351) (third round)
Saturday 16th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11044967#post11044967) (third round & quarter-finals)
Sunday 17th June (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=11614710#post11614710) (quarter-final, semi-final & final)--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 19th, 2007, 10:43 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
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1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. First-round eyewitness report: Fedak v KrajŪček
4. First-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Kops-Jones
5. First-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Camerin
6. First-round eyewitness report: Govortsova v BirnerovŠ

I realise that this is a very long message, so I would advise those who don't have time to plough through all the point-descriptions: just read the summary at the start of each match-report.

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1. Photos
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1.1 My photos
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I have uploaded all my photos for Monday 11th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1002277-6f8

Monday's players:

Maria Kirilenko (31 photos)
Sania Mirza (21)
Yuliana Fedak (20)
Maria Elena Camerin (14)
Eva BirnerovŠ (12)
MichaŽlla KrajŪček (11)
Olga Govortsova (9)
Raquel Kops-Jones (7)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.


1.2 Other photos
----------------

Maria Sharapova:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Daniela HantuchovŠ:
Search Getty Images for "hantuchova"

Maria Kirilenko:
Search Getty Images for "kirilenko"

Sania Mirza:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=mirza

Various players off-court, including Maria Sharapova, Daniela HantuchovŠ, Sania Mirza, Tsvetana Pironkova, Alyona Bondarenko, Tamira Paszek and Jelena Janković:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/photogallery/?Event=birmingham

----------------------
2. First-round results (Monday 11th June)
----------------------

Nice winners, nice losers:
+ Yuliana Fedak [Q] d. MichaŽlla KrajŪček, 7-6 (7/5) 6-4
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Maria Elena Camerin, 6-3 6-3
+ Olga Govortsova [Q] d. Eva BirnerovŠ, 6-7 (9/11) 6-4 7-6 (9/7)

What rocked:
+ MARIA KIRILENKO [16,DF] d. Raquel Kops-Jones [Q], 6-3 6-3
+ Tsvetana Pironkova d. Aleksandra Wozniak, 4-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/4)
+ JULIA VAKULENKO [9] d. Sun,Tiantian, 6-2 6-1
+ Elena Likhovtseva d. Bethanie Mattek 6-3 6-0
+ Yaroslava Shvedova d. Kateryna Bondarenko, 4-6 6-4 6-3

What sucked:
- Varvara Lepchenko lt. Lilia Osterloh [Q], 6-7 (7/9) 3-6
- Yan,Zi [Q,S] lt. Casey Dellacqua, 2-6 2-6
- Ekaterina Bychkova lt. Andreja Klepač [Q], 5-7 6-2 3-6
- Roberta Vinci lt. MEILEN TU [13], 1-6 2-6

I was disappointed to miss Varvara, Zi and Roberta because they were first up and I arrived at the Edgbaston Priory Club almost two hours after the start of play. :-(

KrajŪček sent packing [Teletext 499] (Monday 11th June)
>>>
American qualifier Lilia Osterloh set up a second-round meeting with two-time champion Maria Sharapova by beating Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 6-3.
<<<

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3. First-round eyewitness report: Fedak v KrajŪček
--------------------------------------------------

I saw the whole match on Centre Court. I like both players, but I wish MichaŽlla would revert to the hairstyle she had when she won 's-Hertogenbosch 2006. She looked so much cuter and more beautiful when she had a ponytail than with this short, boyish haircut.

Yuliana, who turned 24 three days before this match, is one of the cutest, prettiest players on the WTA Tour, and she looks absolutely delectable now. She was the one I wanted to win.

Yuliana has improved beyond recognition from the weak player whom Maria Kirilenko beat in the first round of Birmingham 2005. Yuliana now has wonderful court-craft, all-court flair, and more power than two years ago, as well as frustrating opponents by getting a lot of balls back.

Big-serving MichaŽlla, who has long take-backs on her groundstrokes, tried to overpower Yuliana predominantly from the baseline until she [MichaŽlla] was *2-4 down, then came to the net a lot, led 5-4* (30/0), 6-5* (30/0) and 6-6 (5/1*), but Yuliana staged an amazing recovery to win the last 6 points of the tiebreak and take the first set.

Yuliana romped to a 5-2* lead in the second set (saving 3 break-points at *4-2), but failed to serve it out at *5-3 despite a match-point miraculously saved by MichaŽlla with an off-forehand return-winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline!

Nevertheless, Yuliana broke to love to seal a 7-6 6-4 victory which pleased me greatly. It was a lovely match to start my Birmingham 2007 experience - the best of the day in terms of the quality of the rallies.


First set
---------
FEDAK _* *@*___* *T 7(7)
KRAJÕ * *___*@* *__ 6(5)

The match started at 13:11 BST.

MichaŽlla serving 0-0: Double fault. 0/15. MichaŽlla hit a forehand long on the third stroke. 0/30. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla hitting a backhand winner down the line. 15/30. Yuliana's depth and pace forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand lob long. 15/40 (2 BPs). Service-winner. 30/40. A very long rally ended with Yuliana netting a forehand, and MichaŽlla said "c'mon". 40/40. MichaŽlla hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. Ad MichaŽlla. Yuliana went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide.

Yuliana serving 0-1: MichaŽlla took the initiative at the net, and hit a forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Yuliana forced a short ball from MichaŽlla at the net, and hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit an aggressive forehand just long. 30/15. Yuliana hit a fantastic down-the-line forehand winner off an awkward low ball from MichaŽlla. 40/15. Yuliana hit an off-forehand winner behind MichaŽlla.

MichaŽlla serving 1-1: MichaŽlla netted a backhand dropshot. 0/15. MichaŽlla went for a forehand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 0/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/40 (3 BPs). Ace out wide. 15/40. A good serve set up a forehand winner down the line. 30/40. MichaŽlla hit a forehand smash-winner and screamed "c'mon!" 40/40. Yuliana netted a cheap forehand return. Ad MichaŽlla. Double fault (second serve just long). Deuce #2. MichaŽlla hit a wild forehand long. Ad Yuliana (BP #4). Service-winner. Deuce #3. After two skyscraper-lobs from MichaŽlla, Yuliana painted the sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Yuliana (BP #5). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #4. MichaŽlla netted a backhand. Ad Yuliana (BP #6). Yuliana hit a wonderful return onto the baseline off a hard serve, but hit a backhand wide. Deuce #5. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla hitting a virtual forehand winner. Ad MichaŽlla. Service-winner.

Yuliana serving 1-2: MichaŽlla netted a backhand volley after Yuliana's passing-shot forced her to half-volley. 15/0. MichaŽlla got away with a very short second serve as Yuliana hit a forehand return wide. 30/0. MichaŽlla netted a backhand, and Yuliana said "c'mon". 40/0. Yuliana mishit a crosscourt forehand, and it turned into a dropshot-winner!

MichaŽlla serving 2-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. A service-winner down the middle forced Yuliana to net a forehand return. 30/0. Yuliana hit a drop-volley in the middle of a delightful rally, which ended with MichaŽlla hitting a forehand smash wide. 30/15. MichaŽlla backhand wide. 30/30. Yuliana hit a forehand lob pass-winner down the line, off a good approach from MichaŽlla! 30/40 (BP). A short ball from Yuliana forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand long, giving Yuliana the first break.

Yuliana serving 3-2: MichaŽlla hit some nice short angles, but netted a backhand and screamed. 15/0. MichaŽlla went for a crosscourt backhand return-winner, but it was just wide. 30/0. MichaŽlla backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Yuliana hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Yuliana played an error-forcing one-two punch.

MichaŽlla serving 2-4: MichaŽlla backhand just long. 0/15. Yuliana mishit a backhand long. 15/15. A hard, deep serve forced Yuliana to earth a backhand return. 30/15. Yuliana backhand wide. 40/15. A dipping return at MichaŽlla's feet forced her to hit a backhand volley wide. 40/30. Yuliana lobbed long after two smashes from MichaŽlla.

I sensed a tiny shift in momentum to MichaŽlla in that game. It seemed that coming to the net more would give her the edge over Yuliana.

Yuliana serving 4-3: Yuliana backhand long. 0/15. Yuliana forehand smash-winner. 15/15. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Yuliana to hit a backhand pass wide. 15/30. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Yuliana to hit a backhand lob wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Early in a long rally, I thought that a low ball from Yuliana was going to force MichaŽlla into error, but MichaŽlla ended up hitting an off-forehand winner to break back.

MichaŽlla serving 4-4: Yuliana hit a forehand winner off a short, high ball from MichaŽlla. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. MichaŽlla served & volleyed with a backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Ace out wide, in the corner. 40/15. Second serve: Yuliana netted a forehand. MichaŽlla was looking to serve & volley on every serve now.

Yuliana serving 4-5: A high dropshot from Yuliana got the treatment it deserved: MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Yuliana complained about her first serve being called out, then netted a backhand. 0/30. MichaŽlla backhand lob just long. 15/30. MichaŽlla backhand long. 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. MichaŽlla forehand long. Yuliana said "c'mon" - she was talking to herself a lot now.

MichaŽlla serving 5-5: MichaŽlla netted a backhand, and Yuliana said "c'mon". 0/15. Yuliana got away with a poor dropshot as MichaŽlla netted a forehand off it. 0/30. Yuliana forehand just long. 15/30. And again. 30/30. Yuliana hit a defensive forehand lob long. 40/30. MichaŽlla forced a short ball from Yuliana, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Yuliana kept saying, "Ya ya ya ya ya, c'mon" after points.

Yuliana serving 5-6: Yuliana sprayed a forehand wide off a long ball from MichaŽlla. 0/15. Yuliana crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/30. Yuliana's second serve was just inside the centre-line(!); after a rally, MichaŽlla hit an off-forehand wide. 15/30. After a delightful sliced forehand, Yuliana hit a forehand winner down the line, though I thought it might have been wide! 30/30. MichaŽlla netted a forehand off a short ball from Yuliana, and shouted something long in Dutch. 40/30. Yuliana hit a forehand winner down the line and said "c'mon"; MichaŽlla threw her racket.

Wow - Yuliana had to recover from 0/30 both times she served to stay in the first set, and could easily have been facing set-points if her balls on the lines at 0/30 and 15/30 had been called out!

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Fedak/KrajŪček):
{0/0*} MichaŽlla serve + crosscourt forehand winner.
{*0/1} MichaŽlla hit a lob over Yuliana's head; Yuliana hit a backhand long and yelped.
{*0/2} Yuliana hit two hard forehands down the line followed by a forehand dropshot; MichaŽlla hit a backhand pass wide.
{1/2*} Yuliana forehand down the line just wide.
{1/3*} Yuliana hit a forehand long, provoking a loud "c'mon" from MichaŽlla.
{*1/4} MichaŽlla hit a short forehand smash-winner.
{*1/5} MichaŽlla forehand return wide.
{2/5*} MichaŽlla hit a forehand long, and complained about Yuliana's shot on the baseline earlier in the rally.
{3/5*} MichaŽlla hit a big serve, but netted a forehand on the third stroke.
{*4/5} MichaŽlla forehand just wide.
{*5/5} Yuliana hit a backhand winner onto the sideline.
{6/5*} MichaŽlla hit a forehand just wide. Yuliana won the first set 7-6 (7/5) at 14:17 (1h06m).


Second set
----------
FEDAK * *@ @*__@ 6
KRAJÕ _*__@__*@_ 4

Yuliana serving 0-0: MichaŽlla forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. MichaŽlla backhand just wide. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit a backhand long, and shouted something that sounded like "yo purto!" (my best attempt at writing it down with no knowledge of Dutch). 30/15. MichaŽlla netted a forehand return. 40/15. MichaŽlla netted a backhand.

MichaŽlla serving 0-1: MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the third stroke. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Yuliana chopped a forehand return-winner crosscourt. 30/15. Yuliana almost netted a forehand smash earlier in the rally, but hit a backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Yuliana hit a wild off-forehand wide. 40/30. MichaŽlla netted a forehand smash. 40/40. Yuliana netted a sliced forehand return. Ad MichaŽlla. She made Yuliana run from Yuliana's backhand-sideline to Yuliana's forehand-sideline; MichaŽlla hit a forehand drop-volley winner.

Yuliana serving 1-1: A serve out wide forced a short return; Yuliana backhand winner down the line. 15/0. MichaŽlla came to the net behind a sliced backhand down the line, but it was a clean winner. 15/15. Ace down the middle, in the corner. 30/15. Yuliana hit a backhand halfway up the net. 30/30. MichaŽlla forehand return wide. 40/30. Yuliana came to the net with an off-forehand + crosscourt forehand volley-winner.

MichaŽlla serving 1-2: MichaŽlla sprayed a forehand wide. 0/15. Double fault. MichaŽlla did an energy-bounce ŗ la Marion Bartoli. 0/30. Double fault. 0/40 (3 BPs). MichaŽlla hit a forehand long, and I got the impression that something was badly wrong with her in that game.

Yuliana serving 3-1: Double fault (it's catching!). 0/15. MichaŽlla punished a short second serve with an off-forehand return-winner. 0/30. MichaŽlla backhand wide. 15/30. MichaŽlla backhand very long. 30/30. Yuliana mishit a forehand very long. 30/40 (BP). MichaŽlla broke back with a crosscourt backhand winner into the corner.

MichaŽlla serving 2-3: Yuliana failed to capitalise on a wonderful deep forehand return, as MichaŽlla hit a forehand volley-winner after an exchange of dropshots. 15/0. Double fault. MichaŽlla slapped her thigh. 15/15. MichaŽlla hit a forehand into the bottom of the net, and shouted something long in Dutch. 15/30. Ace down the middle. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP). A low ball from MichaŽlla induced Yuliana to net a backhand. 40/40. Yuliana's width forced MichaŽlla to net a backhand. Ad Yuliana (BP #2). Yuliana reinstated her break with a delectable backhand drop-volley winner.

Yuliana serving 4-2: MichaŽlla hit a hard backhand down the line, forcing Yuliana to hit a forehand wide. 0/15. Yuliana backhand just wide. 0/30. Yuliana hit a reflex forehand pass-winner at a short crosscourt angle! 15/30. Yuliana hit a backhand long after some nice grunting, reminiscent of Iva Majoli. 15/40 (2 BPs). Yuliana crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40. Yuliana's off-forehand clipped the netcord, forcing a floater from MichaŽlla, which Yuliana dispatched with a two-handed backhand volley-winner down the line. 40/40. MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). MichaŽlla backhand just long. Deuce #2. Yuliana forehand pass winner down the line, on the sideline. Ad Yuliana. Yuliana hit a serve out wide, and guided a forehand volley-winner crosscourt.

I got the impression that MichaŽlla was upset at the changeover, though I was too far away to see as well as I wanted to.

MichaŽlla serving 2-5: Yuliana hit a stinging off-forehand, forcing MichaŽlla to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Yuliana netted a backhand return. 15/15. Yuliana netted a backhand return. 30/15. Ace down the middle, in the corner. 40/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand volley-winner.

Yuliana serving for the match at 5-3: Yuliana tried to serve & volley, but MichaŽlla hit a down the line backhand pass - a virtual winner. 0/15. MichaŽlla took the initiative and hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/30. Ace down the middle, just inside the service-line. 15/30. Yuliana spread MichaŽlla, but MichaŽlla came to the net and hit a forehand volley that forced Yuliana to net a backhand pass. 15/40 (2 BPs). MichaŽlla chipped & charged, but Yuliana came up with a stunning crosscourt forehand pass-winner down the line, into the corner! 30/40. MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt backhand just wide, and said, "No, no, no. C'mon. You sure the ball was out?" 40/40. MichaŽlla netted a forehand return. Ad Yuliana (MP #1). MichaŽlla saved it with a miraculous off-forehand return-winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline! Deuce #2. Yuliana backhand long. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). MichaŽlla opened her shoulders and hit a forehand return-winner down Yuliana's forehand-line.

MichaŽlla serving 4-5: Yuliana ran down a drop-volley and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. MichaŽlla mishit a forehand lob long. 0/30. MichaŽlla came to the net behind a slow, weak approach that allowed Yuliana to nail a backhand pass that forced MichaŽlla to net a backhand volley. 0/40 (MP #2). Yuliana backhand return wide. 15/40 (MP #3). MichaŽlla hit a good serve, but Yuliana hit a good return, and MichaŽlla netted a forehand volley. Yuliana won 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 at 15:00 (second set 43m, match 1h49m).


http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1427
>>>
Another qualifier to successfully negotiate the first round was Vakulenko's compatriot Fedak, and the world No.129 was responsible for the day's biggest upset when she ousted No.14 seed KrajŪček from the draw. The match was a tightly contested affair, and the final result hinged on just a handful of points, but it was the 24-year-old Ukrainian who held her nerve at these crucial moments; reeling off six straight points to snatch the first-set tiebreak, and then breaking KrajŪček in the final game of the match to secure a 7-6(5) 6-4 win.
<<<

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4. First-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Kops-Jones
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I watched all three of Maria Kirilenko's matches here, so I'll start with some general observations.

I always call her 'Little Maria' (because I'm a fan of Maria Sharapova), but she looked much bigger than the frail 17-year-old I saw at Birmingham 2004! She's definitely become taller (5'8") and bulked up since then. But she did seem younger and cuter later in the week than in her first-round match.

Little Maria has had a rough old time of it this year: she came into Birmingham 2007 with a win/loss record of 8:14 for the year so far, having snapped a six-match losing-streak at the French Open.

And grass had historically been a bad surface for her - at least at Wimbledon, where she has a 1:4 win/loss record. Her records at Birmingham and 's-Hertogenbosch actually aren't so bad.

At Birmingham 2007, Little Maria played the best tennis I've ever seen her play. She's learning how to utilise her strengths on grass: not just trying to slug it out from the baseline like a miniature Maria Sharapova, but mixing it up with sliced backhands (she really can impart some vicious underspin) and forays to the net. Her serve has improved a lot, and her returns have always been fantastic, as has her footwork.

On the other hand, Maria leaves herself so exposed at the net sometimes, and also let herself down with some wayward forehands and ill-advised dropshots during her third-round loss to Jelena Janković. But there are a lot of positives she can take from this tournament after her slump.


I saw Little Maria's whole first-round match on Centre Court.

I had never heard of Raquel Kops-Jones before this tournament; she was playing her first main-draw WTA-tournament at the age of 24.

So I reckoned that even a slumping, grass-hating Maria should have been able to dismiss Kops-Jones for the loss of fewer than six games. It wasn't a very convincing performance against an opponent who looked out of her depth, and certainly I didn't think that Maria would trouble Janković in the third round. How wrong I was! :-)


First set
---------
KIRILENKO @* * *_*@ 6
KOPS-JONE __* * *__ 3

The match started at 15:16 BST.

Kops-Jones serving 0-0: Maria hit a dipping return to Kops-Jones's feet, forcing her to hit a forehand half-volley long. 0/15. A big return forced Kops-Jones to earth a sliced backhand. 0/30. Kops-Jones just long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria came to the net, but hit a forehand long. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Maria serving 1-0: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, forcing Kops-Jones to net a backhand. 15/0. Maria backhand wide. 15/15. Maria sprayed a forehand wide. 15/30. Kops-Jones hit a high sliced backhand just long. 30/30. Kops-Jones netted a forehand return. 40/30. Service-winner down the middle: Kops-Jones's return flew back into Stand D!

Kops-Jones serving 0-2: Kops-Jones hit a backhand long on the third stroke. 0/15. Kops-Jones hit a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Maria mishit a backhand wide. 30/15. A good serve forced a short return, which Kops-Jones dispatched with a forehand winner. 40/15. Maria hit a sliced backhand fizzing with underspin, inducing Kops-Jones to hit a forehand volley long. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand.

Maria serving 2-1: Kops-Jones chopped a forehand return into the net. 15/0. Kops-Jones netted a backhand. 30/0. Kops-Jones hit a backhand halfway up the net. 40/0. A deep return pushed Maria back on her heels, inducing her to hit a forehand wide. 40/15. Service-winner out wide.

Kops-Jones serving 1-3: Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley-winner after a well-constructed rally. 15/0. Maria backhand return just long. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Good serve, but a short forehand return onto the sideline forced Kops-Jones to hit a forehand long. 40/15. Kops-Jones hit a good serve followed by a delectable backhand drop-volley winner.

Maria serving 3-2: Kops-Jones worked her way to the net and hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Kops-Jones netted a sliced backhand. 15/15. Maria forehand volley + crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Maria forced a short ball, and showed lovely footwork as she hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Maria tried to serve & volley, but the return was at her feet, forcing her to net a backhand half-volley. 40/30. Maria sliced a backhand just wide. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Maria. Kops-Jones came to the net behind an approach-shot that landed on the baseline, but Maria's backhand pass forced her to frame a forehand wide.

Kops-Jones serving 2-4: Kops-Jones tried to serve & volley, but netted a backhand volley. 0/15. Maria earthed a forehand return. 15/15. A body-jamming serve forced Maria to earth a forehand return. 30/15. Maria forehand return very long. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Maria serving 4-3: Service-winner. 15/0. A serve down the middle forced Kops-Jones to earth a forehand return. 30/0. Kops-Jones earthed another forehand return. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Kops-Jones serving 3-5: Maria hit a hard, short backhand return: Kops-Jones earthed a backhand. 0/15. Kops-Jones forehand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones sliced backhand floated long. 15/30. Maria netted a forehand return. 30/30. A good pass from Kops-Jones forced Maria to hit a forehand volley long. 40/30. Maria hit a delectable backhand drop-volley winner. 40/40. Maria came to the net, forcing Kops-Jones to net a forehand. Ad Maria (SP). Kops-Jones hit a backhand into the bottom of the net. Maria won the first set 6-3 at 15:46 (30m).

Lovely two-tone grunting from Maria now.


Second set
----------
KIRILENKO *@__*@* * 6
KOPS-JONE __@*___*_ 3

Maria serving 0-0: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Maria, driven wide, hit a forehand wide. 30/15. Maria's crosscourt backhand forced Kops-Jones to hit a backhand wide. 40/15. Service-winner out wide, on the sideline.

Kops-Jones serving 0-1: A long rally ended with Kops-Jones hitting a forehand long. 0/15. Kops-Jones tried to serve & volley, but mishit a forehand volley long & wide. 0/30. Maria hit a backhand return onto the baseline, forcing Kops-Jones to hit a backhand just long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria netted a backhand return. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Maria serving 2-0: Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley that forced Maria to earth a running forehand pass and say "aargh!" 0/15. Maria forehand long. 0/30. Service-winner down the line. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Kops-Jones's backhand return floated just long. 30/30. Maria forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria forehand just long.

Kops-Jones serving 1-2: Kops-Jones netted a backhand. 0/15. Kops-Jones crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Kops-Jones netted a forehand. 15/30. Kops-Jones hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/30. Kops-Jones hit a forehand volley-winner on the fifth stroke. 40/30. Maria backhand just long.

Maria serving 2-2: Kops-Jones netted a backhand - probably distracted by the loudspeaker calling a doubles-match in the middle of the rally. 15/0. Kops-Jones crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Maria came to the net, inducing Kops-Jones to net a backhand. 30/15. Kops-Jones netted a forehand. 40/15. Kops-Jones hit a backhand return halfway up the net.

Kops-Jones serving 2-3: Maria hit two nonconsecutive forehands onto the baseline: the second one actually looked long; Kops-Jones netted a backhand and screamed. 0/15. Kops-Jones, hitting harder, hit a forehand wide. 0/30. Kops-Jones mishit a forehand lob long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria hit a dipping return followed by a lob, but Kops-Jones saved the break-point with a forehand smash-winner. 15/40. Maria came to the net and hit one volley, but Kops-Jones hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 30/40 (BP). Kops-Jones backhand volley just wide.

Maria serving 4-2: Kops-Jones hit a backhand drop-volley winner that clipped the netcord, but would have been a winner anyway. 0/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner onto the sideline, and gave a little jump. 15/15. Maria backhand wide. 15/30. Kops-Jones netted a sliced backhand return, and smacked the court with her racket. 30/30. Kops-Jones backhand just long. "C'mon, c'mon," said Maria. 40/30. Double fault (second serve very long). 40/40. Kops-Jones forehand return long. Ad Maria. Kops-Jones earthed a forehand return.

Kops-Jones serving 2-5: Maria backhand wide. 15/0. Maria netted a tame forehand return. 30/0. Maria hit a dipping return, forcing Kops-Jones to hit a half-volley backhand wide. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Kops-Jones backhand approach long. 40/30. Serve + backhand drop-volley forced Maria to net a backhand.

Maria serving 5-3: Maria hit a forehand smash at Kops-Jones's feet, followed by a forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. A netcord from Maria gave Kops-Jones the initiative, and she hit a high forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones hit a wild backhand return wide. 30/15. Maria came to the net but netted a backhand volley. 30/30. Maria hit a wild backhand drive-volley winner very long & very wide! 30/40 (BP). Kops-Jones hit a backhand just long, and emitted a very loud scream! 40/40. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand down the line, though Kops-Jones went for a down-the-line backhand winner that was only just wide! Ad Maria (MP #1). A first serve down the middle induced Kops-Jones to hit a forehand return long. Maria won 6-3 6-3 at 16:26 (second set 40m, match 1h10m).


http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1427
>>>
No.16 seed Kirilenko was another player to grace the stadium-court on Monday, and after a difficult season in which she has won just eight matches, the 20-year-old Muscovite was understandably delighted with her assured 6-3 6-3 win over Raquel Kops-Jones.
<<<

Quotes from Little Maria
------------------------

"It was my first match of the year on grass, so it was pretty difficult at the start, but I got better as the match progressed, and I was really happy to get the win. I started to feel the game as it went on; it became much easier.

"Grass is a tough surface, as the bounce is not always consistent and it takes a little while to get used to, but I was volleying well, and I hope I can build on this performance. I'll have to play much more slice and come to the net more against Dechy."

-------------------------------------------------
5. First-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Camerin
-------------------------------------------------

A nice match between the beautiful Maria Elena Camerin and her spreading rallies, and the flairsome groundstrokes of Sania Mirza, who is also not unattractive.

But it wasn't /that/ great of a match, as there were only a few shining examples of the spreading or the flairsome power. Maria Elena made an impressive start, but Sania won pretty straightforwardly after recovering from 1-3* (15/30) down in the first set, although she did miss two match-points at 6-3 5-2* as Maria Elena served to stay in the match with all guns blazing.

Maria Elena showed signs of anger throughout the match: throwing and kicking her racket, smacking the court and the netpost with her racket, hitting balls in anger, complaining about line-calls, and swearing in Italian. Sania, by contrast, was pretty reserved, apart from three screams after losing points towards the end of the match.

I saw the whole match on Centre Court. Maria Elena won the toss and chose to serve, and it started at 16:38 BST.


First set
---------
MIRZA _*__@*@*@ 6
CAMER * *@_____ 3

Maria Elena serving 0-0: Sania netted a backhand return. 15/0. Sania forehand return long. 30/0. Maria Elena hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind Sania. 40/0. Maria Elena hit a wild backhand long. 40/15. Maria Elena opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand to set up a crosscourt forehand winner.

Sania serving 0-1: Sania crosscourt backhand winner behind Maria Elena. 15/0. Maria Elena crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Sania forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob long. 40/0. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-1: Sania forehand return long. 15/0. Maria Elena netted a tame backhand. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand wide. 15/30. Service-winner (Sania forehand lob-return just long). 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a backhand. 40/40. Sania forehand just long. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena hit a forehand smash-winner whilst running backwards into no-man's-land. Ad Maria Elena. Sania forehand long.

Sania serving 1-2: Maria Elena's off-forehand forced Sania to earth a backhand. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Maria Elena hit a forehand return halfway up the net. 30/15. Sania backhand long. 30/30. Maria Elena hit a forehand lob-winner over Sania's head. 30/40 (BP). Sania sprayed a backhand wide of the tramlines.

Maria Elena serving 3-1: Sania forehand just wide. 15/0. Maria Elena backhand long. 15/15. Maria Elena deep crosscourt forehand + off-forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. In what would prove to be the turning-point of the match, Maria Elena hit a forehand halfway up the net. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand and groaned in Italian. 30/40 (BP). Sania backhand return wide. 40/40. Maria Elena forehand just long. Ad Sania (BP #2). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Sania serving 2-3: Sania mishit a forehand long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria Elena backhand just long. 40/15. Maria Elena off-backhand return-winner.

Maria Elena serving 3-3: Sania backhand long. 15/0. Maria Elena sprayed a backhand long. 15/15. Sania hit a forehand return long, and groaned. 30/15. Sania hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Maria Elena's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her own side. 40/40. A long rally of crosscourt backhands ended with Sania hitting a forehand smash-winner. Ad Sania (BP). Double fault.

Sania serving 4-3: Maria Elena forehand wide. 15/0. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forced Maria Elena to earth a backhand. 30/15. Sania forehand smash-winner. 40/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return.

Maria Elena serving 3-5: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Maria Elena forehand just long. 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve quite long). 30/30. Maria Elena backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a forehand return. 40/40. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena netted a forehand. Ad Sania (SP). Maria Elena hit her first serve into the net, and in my notes it looks like she said "Dia"! She also netted her second serve for her third double fault of the game, and smacked the court with her racket. Sania won the first set 6-3 at 17:17 (39m).


Second set
----------
MIRZA _@* *@* * 6
CAMER @__*___*_ 3

Sania serving 0-0: Sania forehand very long. 0/15. Sania, running backwards, hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand return very long. 30/15. Sania backhand wide. 30/30. Maria Elena hit an off-backhand return-winner. 30/40 (BP). Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, inducing Maria Elena to hit a forehand long. Maria Elena complained. 40/40. Service-winner. Maria Elena complained again. Ad Sania. Double fault (second serve just long). Maria Elena netted a forehand return. Ad Sania. She hit a backhand long, and shouted "ah!" Deuce #2. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena (BP). Sania hit an off-backhand volley onto the sideline, but it was slow enough to give Maria Elena a crosscourt forehand pass-winner for the first break of the set.

Maria Elena serving 1-0: Sania backhand just long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand return wide. 30/15. Sania forehand wide. 40/15. Sania hit an off-forehand winner behind Maria Elena. 40/30. Sania hit a good, deep backhand return down the line, forcing Maria Elena to net a forehand. Maria Elena shouted. 40/40. Maria Elena hit a backhand just long, and hit a ball in anger. Ad Sania (BP). Sania netted a backhand return. Deuce #2. Maria Elena forehand wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). A long rally with a loudspeaker-announcement ended with Sania netting a backhand. Deuce #3. Sania backhand return just long. Ad Maria Elena. She netted a forehand. Deuce #4. Sania backhand just wide. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). Deuce #5. Sania hit an error-forcing off-forehand after forcing a short ball from Maria Elena. Ad Sania (BP #3). Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner after Maria Elena stopped playing the point! She towelled down. Maria Elena seemed to be catching her toss a lot, just as she did against Daniela HantuchovŠ at Wimbledon 2006.

Sania serving 1-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Her first serve was almost another ace down the middle, but she netted the second to make it a double fault. 15/15. Sania hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Maria Elena's crosscourt forehand forced Sania to hit a forehand lob wide. 30/30. Maria Elena sprayed a forehand return wide. 40/30. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-2: Maria Elena backhand long. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand return. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Service-winner down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 2-2: Forehand return just wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Maria Elena serving 2-3: Maria Elena netted a backhand. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forehand just long. 30/15. Sania netted a backhand. 40/15. Sania backhand winner down the line. 40/30. Double fault. Maria Elena shouted something long in Italian, and received a code-violation for "audible obscenity". The umpires are well-versed in the swearwords of different languages! 40/40. Sania played a spreading rally, culminating with a forehand winner down the line. Ad Sania (BP). Maria Elena hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner, and Sania screamed! Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand that forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). Maria Elena played a great spreading rally with a crosscourt backhand winner, and Sania screamed again! Deuce #3. Double fault. Maria Elena kicked her racket away. Ad Sania. Sania hit a backhand that clipped the netcord and landed deep, inducing Maria Elena to net a forehand and put Sania a set and a break up.

Sania serving 4-2: Sania backhand just long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 15/15. Maria Elena blasted a forehand return very long. 30/15. A high ball from Maria Elena induced Sania to hit a forehand just long. 30/30. Sania backhand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria Elena, driven wide, netted a forehand. 40/40. A long rally ended with Maria Elena netting a backhand. Ad Sania. She netted a backhand. Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Ad Sania. Maria Elena on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long.

Maria Elena serving 2-5 (new balls): Maria Elena banged the netpost with her racket on her way out from the changeover, but channelled her anger into a blazing off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Sania forehand wide. 30/0. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand winner of flairsome power. 30/15. Sania exposed herself at the net, but Maria Elena hit a forehand pass wide. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand on the third stroke. 30/40 (MP #1). Maria Elena saved it positively, forcing a short ball from Sania to hit an off-forehand winner. 40/40. A low ball induced Maria Elena to hit a backhand long. Ad Sania (MP #2). Sania netted a forehand return and screamed! Deuce #2. Off a high, deep ball from Sania, Maria Elena hit a blazing forehand winner down Sania's forehand-line. Ad Maria Elena. Sania backhand return very long.

Sania serving for the match at 5-3: Sania forced a deep defensive lob from Maria Elena, and hit a forehand winner down Maria Elena's forehand line. 15/0. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the third stroke. 30/0. Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Maria Elena to earth a forehand. 40/0 (MP #3). Sania went for an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. She hit her second serve long for a double fault. 40/15 (MP #4). A brief rally ended with Sania hitting a down-the-line forehand winner of flairsome power. Sania won 6-3 6-3 at 18:07 (second set 50m, match 1h29m), then hit some autographed balls into the stands.


http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1427
>>>
One of the WTA Tour's most popular players, Sania Mirza, was also in first-round action on Monday. The Indian No.1 is on the comeback-trail after a right-knee ligament injury sidelined her for two months, and with Wimbledon less than two weeks away, the 20-year-old was in typically buoyant mood after her 6-3 6-3 victory over Maria Elena Camerin.

Mirza: "It was a difficult first-round match, so I'm very pleased to come through with a win, and although I don't think I was at my best throughout, I played the important points well. There's always some anxiety when you play your first match on the grass, but as the match progressed, I started to read the bounce and time my shots a lot better."
<<<

--------------------------------------------------------
6. First-round eyewitness report: Govortsova v BirnerovŠ
--------------------------------------------------------

After the Mirza v Camerin match on Centre Court, I purchased one of the DFS Classic's trademark crÍpes, and ate it on the hill above Court 2, where Eva BirnerovŠ had taken the first set off Olga Govortsova, who was serving for the second at 5-4.

Govortsova succeeded, and I watched the whole of the third set casually, to find out who would become Daniela HantuchovŠ's second-round opponent. My photos are not of the best quality from the position I was in, but I didn't feel inclined to go down and join Mr. Bean and Mr. Clappy at the fence of the court. ;-)

BirnerovŠ really should have won this match, as she led *3-1 in the third set (it became 3-3), had three match-points with Govortsova serving at 4-5 (0/40), and two more in the tiebreak (at *6/5 and 7/6*). Govortsova won on her first match-point, and BirnerovŠ - who was upset by some close line-calls in the third set, all of which favoured Govortsova - walked off Court 2 in tears.

BirnerovŠ played all the nice touch-shots in the part of the match I saw, while Govortsova - whom I'd never heard of before this tournament - just played ordinary WTA tennis, and I think she saved one of BirnerovŠ's match-points with an off-forehand return-winner onto the sideline, just as MichaŽlla KrajŪček had saved one of Yuliana Fedak's earlier in the day.

Govortsova is tall, blonde and mildly attractive, with a grunt like Karolina äprem's, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for BirnerovŠ.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

-sugi-
Jun 20th, 2007, 12:23 PM
thanks andrew :D

andrewbroad
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:42 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. Second-round results
4. First-round eyewitness report: Poutchkova v Kerber
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Dechy
6. Second-round eyewitness report: HantuchovŠ v Govortsova

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 My photos
-------------

I have uploaded all my photos for Tuesday 12th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1012525-599

Tuesday's players:

Daniela HantuchovŠ (35 photos)
Maria Kirilenko (32)
Olga Poutchkova (13)
Yaroslava Shvedova (11)
Alicia Molik (10)
Sťverine Brťmond (9)
Ayumi Morita (6)
Yuliana Fedak (5)
Olga Govortsova (5)
Angelique Kerber (4)
Li,Na (3)
Jamea Jackson (2)
Tsvetana Pironkova (1)
MichaŽlla KrajŪček (1)
Vasilisa Bardina (1)

Unfortunately I didn't get to see Tsvetana Pironkova play at Birmingham 2007 because she always clashed with higher-priority matches, but I did take a nice close-up of her when I was sitting by the practice-courts and she walked right past me!

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.


1.2 Other photos
----------------

Daniela HantuchovŠ (and Olga Govortsova):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=hantuchova
Search Getty Images for "hantuchova"

Maria Kirilenko:
Search Getty Images for "kirilenko"

Yaroslava Shvedova (and Li,Na):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=shvedova
Search Getty Images for "shvedova"

Alicia Molik:
Search Getty Images for "molik"

Ayumi Morita:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=morita

Tamira Paszek:
Search Getty Images for "paszek"

----------------------
2. First-round results (Tuesday 12th June)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Alicia Molik d. S…VERINE BR…MOND [10]

What rocked:
+ Tamira Paszek d. Anne Keothavong [WC], 2-6 6-2 6-4
+ Ayumi Morita [Q,S] d. Jill Craybas, 6-4 6-1

What sucked:
- OLGA POUTCHKOVA [11] lt. Angelique Kerber, 0-6 0-6

-----------------------
3. Second-round results (Tuesday 12th June)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVŃ [3,EF] d. Olga Govortsova, 6-2 6-4
+ MARIA KIRILENKO [16,DF] d. Nathalie Dechy, 5-7 6-2 6-0
+ Elena Likhovtseva d. AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [12], 7-5 7-6 (7/4)

What sucked:
- Yaroslava Shvedova lt. LI,NA [4], 6-4 2-6 0-6

I saw the second and third sets of Shvedova v Li on Centre Court after Kirilenko d. Dechy on Court 2. In the middle of the second set, Shvedova took a medical time-out for both feet, and it all went downhill for her from there. She finished with a double fault IIRC.

Shvedova is quite attractive, like a taller, prettier version of Martina Hingis.

-----------------------------------------------------
4. First-round eyewitness report: Poutchkova v Kerber
-----------------------------------------------------

I watched all of Olga's match, casually, on Court 3. It was very sad to see, and all too obvious that something has gone badly wrong with Olga since I watched her at the Australian Open, when she looked very promising, not to mention cute.

As soon as Olga walked onto Court 3, I was shocked by how much weight she appeared to have put on since the Australian Open. Right from the start, she looked utterly miserable.

Olga's approach to the match was to try to hit a winner as early as possible in every single point. She did hit several winners with her cannonball-groundstrokes (which seemed less flairsome than at the Australian Open, due to her weight), but she hit many more unforced errors, and all Kerber had to do was to show up and try to make Olga hit three balls in each rally.

When Olga was 0-6 0-5 down, she changed ends at the far netpost rather than sitting down for the changeover.

I've never seen such an immature, unprofessional performance from any working person, but I feel very sorry for Olga. I witnessed the absolute nadir of her slump (so far), but she must be going through H.E. double hockey-sticks to have sunk this low.

I have since read that Olga has been suffering from a back-injury, but it looked to me more like an attitude-injury.

----------------------------------------------------
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Dechy
----------------------------------------------------

I saw Little Maria practising just before 12:00 BST, and she looked absolutely delectable. Compared with how she looked on Monday, it was as if she or I had travelled through time! She looked younger and cuter, yet her tight, shinless trousers made her legs seem long.

I watched her whole match on Court 2. She played much better, too, than she had on Monday: despite her failure to close out the first set - and not closing out has been a key characteristic of her slump - she raised her game in the second and third, while Dechy - surprisingly for a player of her calibre and experience - just went to sleep.

Maria hit some very good passing-shots in this match, even though Dechy doesn't expose herself at the net as badly as Maria does.


First set
---------
KIRIL @*___* * *__ 5
DECHY __*@* * * *@ 7

The match started at 13:55.

Dechy serving 0-0: Dechy netted a backhand. 0/15. Dechy backhand volley-winner. 15/15. A good forehand from Dechy forced Maria to dig out a short forehand, but Dechy netted a forehand. 15/30. Dechy sprayed a forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Double fault (second serve just long).

Maria serving 1-0: Maria mishit a forehand just wide. 0/15. Maria hit two sliced backhands; Dechy came to the net; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/15. A deep crosscourt forehand return forced Maria to earth a forehand. 15/30. Maria's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 15/40 (2 BPs). Ace down the middle. 30/40. Maria came to the net, got a short ball from Dechy, and hit an off-backhand winner. 40/40. Dechy came to the net, forcing Maria to hit a forehand lob long. Ad Dechy (BP #3). Dechy netted a forehand return. Deuce #2. Service-winner. Ad Maria. Double fault (second serve long). Deuce #3. Maria netted a backhand. Ad Dechy (BP #4). Dechy netted a backhand. Deuce #4. Service-winner. Ad Maria. Dechy netted a backhand.

Dechy serving 0-2: Dechy's backhand down the line forced Maria to earth a forehand. 15/0. Dechy netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand return. 30/15. Maria forehand return just wide. 40/15. Dechy backhand wide. 40/30. Serve + forehand volley-winner.

Rich, two-tone grunting from Maria.

Maria serving 2-1: Dechy backhand return long. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Dechy forced a short ball from Maria, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind her. 30/15. Maria, stretched low and wide, hit a backhand floater which Dechy dispatched with a high forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Dechy forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/40 (BP). Maria backhand long.

Dechy serving 2-2: Dechy hit a deep, hard forehand, forcing Maria to net a backhand. 15/0. Dechy netted a backhand. 15/15. Maria forehand long. 30/15. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner that clipped the netcord. 30/30. Maria sprayed a backhand wide. 40/30. Maria hit a forehand long.

I sensed that Maria was losing the momentum from her good start.

Maria serving 2-3: Dechy forehand just long. 15/0. Dechy came to the net behind a short, low, wide ball, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand pass just wide. 15/15. Service-winner: Dechy netted a forehand return. 30/15. A good serve forced Dechy to net a backhand. 40/15. Maria netted a backhand on the third stroke. 40/30. Somebody called "fault", but it wasn't an official, so it was a let. Dechy netted a backhand.

Dechy serving 3-3: Maria netted a backhand. 15/0. Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. 30/0. Dechy came to the net, forcing Maria to hit a forehand lob long. 40/0. Maria forced a short ball from Dechy, and hit a forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Maria went for a backhand pass-winner down the line, but it was just wide - unlucky, but Dechy wasn't exposing herself at the net like Maria was.

Maria serving 3-4: Dechy netted a forehand return. 15/0. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Maria hit a brilliant forehand pass-winner down the line! 40/0. Ace down the middle.

Dechy serving 4-4: Maria backhand long. 15/0. Maria hit a groundstroke onto the baseline, forcing Dechy to hoist a defensive lob, which Maria dispatched with a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Service-winner down the middle. 30/15. Dechy forehand volley-winner - set up by an approach-shot that almost bounced backwards! 40/15. Dechy backhand just long. 40/30. Service-winner.

Maria serving 4-5: After some sliced backhands from Maria, Dechy went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 15/0. Dechy backhand return wide. 30/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/15. Service-winner down the middle, into the corner. 40/15. Ace out wide.

Maria did some stretching with her hands on her hips.

Dechy serving 5-5: Dechy hit a very low forehand volley, but Maria's crosscourt backhand pass forced her to hit a backhand volley wide. 0/15. Maria spread Dechy with a crosscourt forehand + crosscourt backhand, forcing her to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Maria's crosscourt forehand forced Dechy to earth a forehand. 0/40 (3 BPs). Dechy off-forehand winner. 15/40. Maria forehand just long. 30/40. A good serve forced Maria to mishit a backhand lob-return long. 40/40. Maria forehand long. Ad Dechy. Maria came to the net, but she left herself so exposed: Dechy's crosscourt forehand pass forced Maria to net a forehand volley.

Maria serving 5-6: Maria came to the net behind a crosscourt forehand approach, but it was a clean winner. 15/0. Dechy hit an off-forehand just wide, and groaned. 30/0. Dechy netted a forehand return. 40/0. Dechy backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Dechy drove Maria wide, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner into the space. 40/30. Dechy hit a crosscourt backhand winner into the corner, but Maria wasn't far away. Lovely grunting from Maria. 40/40. Maria went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was long. Ad Dechy (SP). Ace out wide, on the service-line. Deuce #2. Maria sliced a backhand long. Ad Dechy (SP #2). Maria sliced a backhand wide. Dechy won the first set 7-5 at 14:48 (53m).

The last two games were the turning-point of the first set: Maria led 40/0 in both, but lost both! That's why I was surprised when she turned the match around in the second set!


Second set
----------
KIRIL @* * *@* 6
DECHY __* *___ 2

Dechy serving 0-0: Maria hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner (Dechy just managed to clip it with her racket). 0/15. Maria's lob forced a weak volley from Dechy; Maria hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 0/30. Maria came to the net behind a down-the-line backhand, but once again she left herself exposed, as Dechy hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 15/30. A good serve out wide forced a short return; Maria crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Maria hit a sweet short-angled crosscourt backhand return-winner just inside the sideline! 30/40 (BP). Dechy's crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 40/40. Maria went for an ace out wide, but it was just wide. She hit an off-backhand winner. Ad Maria (BP #2). Service-winner: backhand lob-return just long. Deuce #2. Maria hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Ad Maria (BP #3). Dechy netted a forehand on the third stroke.

Maria serving 1-0: Dechy backhand drop-volley winner. 0/15. Maria's crosscourt forehand approach forced Dechy to earth a forehand. 15/15. Maria hit a good crosscourt backhand, forcing Dechy to hit a backhand just wide. 30/15. Ace out wide, but it was a let. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Dechy serving 0-2: Ace down the middle, but it was a let. Maria netted a sliced backhand, held out her hand with the fingers outstretched, and said "aargh!". 15/0. Return long. 30/0. Maria earthed a backhand return. 40/0. Double fault (second serve long). 40/15. Dechy netted a backhand. 40/30. Dechy backhand winner down the line.

Maria serving 2-1: Service-winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Dechy netted a backhand with Maria coming in. 30/0. Dechy netted a forehand return. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Dechy serving 1-3: Maria forehand return long. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 15/15. Maria forehand long. 30/15. Dechy crosscourt forehand winner just inside the baseline. 40/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/30. Maria mishit a forehand return long.

Maria serving 3-2: Dechy forehand return long. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Maria forehand just long. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Dechy serving 2-4: Maria nailed a forehand pass-winner down the line, pumped her fist and said "c'mon". 0/15. Dechy hit a backhand just wide, and said "wooh!" 0/30. Dechy forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Dechy netted a forehand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Service-winner out wide, just inside the sideline. 30/40. Dechy crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/40. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind Dechy, just inside the sideline. Ad Maria (BP #3). Dechy hit a forehand dropshot-winner, but they had to play a let. Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line, and her grunt was followed very quickly by a "c'mon"!

Maria serving 5-2: Maria hit a sliced backhand approach just wide, but it was overruled as good, so they had to replay the point. Maria's serve forced a short return; Maria crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Dechy chopped a backhand return halfway up the net. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (3 SPs). Maria went for an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. Her second serve forced a short return; she hit a backhand winner down the line, but they had to replay the point. Ace out wide. Maria won the second set 6-2 at 15:22 (34m).


Third set
---------
KIRIL @*@*@* 6
DECHY ______ 0

Both players took a bathroom-break, and the third set started at 15:30.

Dechy serving 0-0: Dechy went for a crosscourt backhand pass-winner, but it was wide. 0/15. Dechy netted a backhand. 0/30. Maria netted a backhand return. 15/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria hit a sweet crosscourt backhand return-winner.

Maria serving 1-0: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. Dechy took her shoe off. 30/0. Dechy netted a horrendous forehand. 40/0. Dechy hit a fast, deep backhand return down the line, forcing Maria to earth a forehand. 40/15. A vicious sliced backhand from Maria induced Dechy to hit a forehand wide of the tramlines.

Dechy serving 0-2: Maria hit a very short backhand dropshot-winner from quite far back! 0/15. Dechy forehand long. 0/30. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Dechy netted a backhand on the third stroke. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria netted a forehand return. 30/40. Dechy netted a forehand on the third stroke.

At this stage, Maria was in the zone, while Dechy looked decidedly ragged.

Maria serving 3-0: Maria hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Dechy to earth a forehand. 15/0. Service-winner: Dechy netted a forehand return. 30/0. Maria ran down a dropshot, but blasted a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. Maria's depth forced Dechy to hit a short, floating crosscourt forehand just wide.

Dechy serving 0-4: Service-winner: Maria backhand return long. 15/0. Maria crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Dechy backhand just wide on the third stroke. 15/30. Dechy made Maria run with a crosscourt forehand + crosscourt backhand, forcing Maria to net a backhand. 30/30. Maria came to the net behind an off-forehand, forcing Dechy to net a backhand pass. 30/40 (BP). Maria netted a forehand return. 40/40. Maria's crosscourt backhand forced Dechy to hit a forehand lob long. Ad Maria (BP #2). Dechy forehand just wide.

Maria serving 5-0: Dechy netted a forehand return. 15/0. Maria hit a hard, deep backhand, inducing Dechy to net a backhand dropshot. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (3 MPs). Maria netted a sliced backhand on the third stroke. 40/15 (MP #2). In a sign of things to come in the third round, Maria sprayed a choky forehand very long. 40/30. Ace out wide, in the corner. Maria raised her arms, winning 5-7 6-2 6-0 at 15:51 (third set 29m, match 1h56m).

----------------------------------------------------------
6. Second-round eyewitness report: HantuchovŠ v Govortsova
----------------------------------------------------------

Olga Govortsova is tall, blonde and mildly attractive, with a grunt like Karolina äprem's. IMO, she plays ordinary WTA tennis.

Daniela made a dreadful start, spraying unforced errors left, right and centre as she lost 9 of the first 10 points. However, she soon got into her stride, and from 0-2* down she reeled off six games in a row (saving two break-points at *1-2) to take the first set 6-2 with a brilliant display of groundstrokes of flairsome power, and an amazing backhand drop-volley winner at 4-2*!

The second set was decided by a single break of serve in the third game, but although Daniela had to save a break-back point at *3-2, the outcome never seemed in doubt as she romped to a 6-2 6-4 victory.

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/reports.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/danielahantuchova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:46 AM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Second-round results
3. Maria Sharapova: Is her fire going out?
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Santangelo
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Osterloh
6. Second-round eyewitness report: Bartoli v Cavaday

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 My photos
-------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Wednesday 13th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1031004-107

Wednesday's players:

Maria Sharapova (17)
Sania Mirza (7)
Alyona Bondarenko (7)
Marion Bartoli (6)
Kateryna Bondarenko (6)
Daniela HantuchovŠ (4)
Mara Santangelo (4)
Lilia Osterloh (4)
Yuliana Fedak (3)
Vera ZvonarŽva (1)
Tsvetana Pironkova (1)
Urszula Radwańska (1)
Angelique Kerber (1)
Naomi Cavaday (1)

Daniela HantuchovŠ did not play on Wednesday, but I saw her buying a crÍpe and a bottle of Diet Coke from the crÍpe-stand at 15:25 BST!

Vera ZvonarŽva wasn't actually there, of course, as she is suffering from a serious left-wrist injury, but it was nice to see a giant photo of the defending champion on the outside of Centre Court.

Yuliana Fedak was playing a doubles-match when play was suspended for the day at 15:38. She ran right past me, giving me a golden opportunity to take a close-up, and as I did so, she smiled at me - at ME! :o


1.2 Other photos
----------------

Maria Sharapova:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Marion Bartoli:
Search Getty Images for "bartoli"

Ayumi Morita:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=morita

Tsvetana Pironkova:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=pironkova
Search Getty Images for "pironkova"

Daniela HantuchovŠ:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1435

-----------------------
2. Second-round results (Wednesday 13th June)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. Lilia Osterloh [Q], 6-4 6-0
+ MARION BARTOLI [5,S] d. Naomi Cavaday [WC], 6-3 6-1
+ Yuliana Fedak [Q] d. Milagros Sequera, 3-6 6-4 6-3
+ Tamira Paszek d. MEILEN TU [13], 6-2 7-6 (7/3)
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [6] d. Chan,Yung-Jan, 6-3 6-4
+ Ayumi Morita [S] d. AI SUGIYAMA [7], 6-4 1-6 6-2
+ JULIA VAKULENKO [9] d. Andreja Klepač [Q], 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3

What sucked:
- Sania Mirza [DF] lt. MARA SANTANGELO [8], 3-6 6-3 6-7 (6/8)
- Tsvetana Pironkova lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 4-6 1-6
- Alicia Molik lt. Vania King, 6-7 (10/12) 4-6


http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/News/070613Stars.htm
>>>
No.2 seed Jelena Janković made swift progress into the third round of the WTA Tour event with a 6-4 6-1 win over Tsvetana Pironkova.

The tournament's No.2 seed looked slightly uncomfortable at the outset, claiming a break to lead 2-1 but handing it back to Pironkova in the next game. The Serbian world No.3 steadied in the sixth game to take a 5-3 lead, serving out the set two games later with an ace.

Pironkova was allowed just one more game in the match, the first of the second set, Janković running away with it in one hour and two minutes.

"In the first set I was struggling a little bit, making a lot of errors, but in the second set I was more accurate, found my rhythm and played a little better," said Janković. "I am happy with my first round, especially my first match on grass after the clay-court season."
<<<

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1433
>>>
The other seed to fall on day 3 of the tournament was Japan's Ai Sugiyama, who lost a seesaw encounter with her compatriot and training-partner Ayumi Morita. A close first set was just shaded by Morita, but the gifted 17-year-old lost her way somewhat in the second, and No.7 seed Sugiyama capitalised to take the match into a decider. After falling 2-0 behind in the final set, it appeared experience would triumph over youth, but Morita promptly reeled off the next six games to stun Sugiyama and book a place in the next round with a 6-4 1-6 6-2 victory.

Janković, runner-up here in 2005, had little trouble disposing of Bulgarian teenager Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday, winning her first grass-court match of the season, 6-4 6-1. Pironkova battled bravely in the first set, but she ran out of steam in the second, and Janković raced to her 45th victory of the year in a fraction over an hour.

"In the first set I was struggling a bit and making a lot of errors," Janković said, "but in the second set I started to find my rhythm. Overall I'm happy with my performance, especially as it's my first match on grass after the clay-court season."
<<<

------------------------------------------
3. Maria Sharapova: Is her fire going out?
------------------------------------------

Maria's failure for the second year running to win the Birmingham title is serious cause for concern ahead of Wimbledon, and indeed for the rest of the year. The BBC commentators at Eastbourne put her behind Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Amťlie Mauresmo, Jelena Janković and Venus Williams as a contender for the Wimbledon 2007 crown.

Maria has struggled with a right-shoulder injury from the start of 2007, which has affected her serve, and kept her out of action from late March to late May. She can still hit some very good serves, but she's throwing in a lot of double faults.

Her groundstrokes were alarmingly erratic here too. In the third round, she led Tamira Paszek 6-3 *4-3, then threw in a rash of unforced errors to drop the second set.

In the final against Jelena Janković, she took the first set 6-4, was twice a break up in the second (*1-0 and *3-2), and was 3-0* up in the third (which became *3-3), and three points away from her first title since Linz 2006 at 5-4* (15/30). Janković was as tight as a drum midway through the third set, yet Maria calmed her down with a stream of unforced errors. If Maria cannot win a Tier III on her favourite surface despite such leads, then frankly it's hard to see where her next title is coming from.

Maria is renowned for her mental strength and intensity, her hunger and passion, but there are signs that these may be waning:
* Her failure to close out sets and matches, despite promising leads.
* Taking much less time between points, rather than turning to the back fence to compose herself.
* Occasionally she stops grunting, or only grunts very quietly. I'm noticing fewer and quieter "c'mon"s from her, too.
* Her father is a much quieter spectator than he used to be. It's almost as if they're both satisfied with what she's already achieved.
* I'm pretty sure she sportingly conceded a point at one point, and not an unimportant one either.
* I remember reading somewhere a recent quote from Maria about how her two-month injury-layoff had "restored the intensity that has always been there."
* Maybe, just maybe, the off-court distractions are beginning to take their toll. Attending an event at Tower Bridge, London on 21st June strikes me as a strange thing to be doing, four days before Wimbledon.

I hope that I am reading way too much into these signs - that her struggles this year are purely due to her injuries, that maybe she is trying to replace some of her perceived gamesmanship with sportsmanship - but the more I think about them, the more I worry.

-----------------------------------------------------
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Mirza v Santangelo
-----------------------------------------------------

The match was played on Court 1, and started at 11:05 BST. Court 1 provides the most intimate view of all the match-courts at Birmingham, as it is possible for spectators to sit just behind the player's chairs (at a discreet distance, of course!).

This match was attended by a vocal group of Italians cheering for Santangelo, and a vocal group of Indians cheering for Sania. It was the first time I'd ever heard the word "forza" spoken by an Italian (both by Santangelo and her supporters), but the Indians were simply saying "go Sania".

Santangelo played very well - I'm not surprised she went on to reach the semis. She was coming to the net a lot, and volleying like a pro. She was a far cry from the 27th seed at the Australian Open who lost so tamely to Serena Williams in the first round.

Santangelo is objectively quite attractive, with a nice, slender body and sparkling eyes, but I can't really warm to her, because she's not my facial type. Sania is cuter, and has flairsome power on her groundstrokes.

As a demi-fan of Sania, I watched this match from the start to *1-2 in the third set, when Maria Sharapova's match was called onto Centre Court and I had to leave.


First set
---------
MIRZA _*___* *_ 3
SANTA * *@* * * 6

Santangelo serving 0-0: Double fault (second-serve foot-fault). 0/15. Santangelo forehand long. 0/30. Sania forehand wide. 15/30. Backhand return long. 30/30. Santangelo netted a backhand on the third stroke. 30/40 (BP). Backhand return long. 40/40. Forehand return long. Ad Santangelo. Double fault. Deuce #2. Santangelo hit a low-bouncing crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Santangelo. She held.

Sania serving 0-1: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Backhand return wide. 30/0. And again. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Santangelo serving 1-1: Crosscourt forehand return-winner. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Sania forced Santangelo into error with a dipping backhand pass down the line to Santangelo's feet. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Backhand return long.

Sania serving 1-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. Sania netted a forehand. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Sania backhand wide. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner. 40/40. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Santangelo (BP). Sania went for a crosscourt forehand winner, but it was just wide, giving Santangelo the first break.

Santangelo serving 3-1: Santangelo came to the net, forcing Sania to hit a backhand long. 15/0. Sania forehand lob long. 30/0. Santangelo dropshot + high forehand volley-winner. 40/0. Service-winner. 40/15. Service-winner.

Sania serving 1-4: Double fault. 0/15. Backhand return long. 15/15. Ace. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner.

Santangelo serving 4-2: Santangelo high volley-winner. 15/0. Santangelo crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Ace out wide. 30/15. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand wide, and said, "No, no! Ay yay yay!" 40/15. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 2-5 (new balls): Backhand return long. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/15. Sania forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Wild return long.

Santangelo serving 5-3: Santangelo crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Santangelo backhand lob long. 15/15. A hard, deep ball from Sania forced Santangelo to hit a forehand lob wide. 15/30. A meaty rally ended with Santangelo hitting a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Forehand return just long. 40/30 (SP #1). Service-winner out wide. Santangelo won the first set 6-3 at 11:33 (28m).


Second set
----------
MIRZA *@__*@* * 6
SANTA __@*___*_ 3

Sania serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, off a weak ball from Sania. 15/15. Sania off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand winner and shouted "ah!" 40/15. Santangelo hit a short, fading crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Service-winner.

Santangelo serving 0-1: Santangelo forehand long. 0/15. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Santangelo to earth a backhand. 0/30. Sania crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Santangelo backhand winner down the line, just inside the baseline. 30/30. Sania backhand drop-volley winner. 30/40 (BP). Double fault (second serve long). Sania pumped her fist and said "c'mon".

Sania serving 2-0: Sania forehand long. 0/15. Sania netted a forehand. 0/30. A virtual ace out wide clipped the top edge of Santangelo's racket. 15/30. Sania lofted a forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Santangelo broke back with a backhand winner down the line.

Santangelo serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Ace. 15/15. Serve + backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Sania netcord forehand volley-winner - very lucky! 40/30. Sania lofted a forehand return just long.

Sania serving 2-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 40/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 40/15. Santangelo netted a sliced backhand.

The umpire spoke to a linesman about a ballgirl: "Give her a bit of tuition - she's not awake!"

Santangelo serving 2-3: Sania forehand lob long. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Serve + forehand smash, but Sania came up with a crosscourt forehand lob-winner into the corner, just inside the baseline! 30/15. Santangelo crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. 40/15. Sania hit a hard crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Sania forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Sania crosscourt forehand winner. Santangelo shouted "aah!" Ad Sania (BP). Sania broke with a backhand return-winner down the line which put a big smile on my face.

Sania serving 4-2: Sania backhand just long. 0/15. Sania forehand just long. 0/30. The first serve was a fault, but Santangelo mishit a lob-return which sailed out of Court 1 and hit me on the leg! But I decided not to press charges, even though I wanted Sania to win - no harm intended, no harm done. Second serve: Sania crosscourt backhand winner. 15/30. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 30/30. Santangelo netted a forehand volley. 40/30. Santangelo forehand very long.

Santangelo serving 2-5: Sania hit a forehand return halfway up the net. 15/0. Two service-winners. 40/0. Crosscourt forehand return-winner. 40/15. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner.

Sania serving 5-3: Service-winner. 15/0. Santangelo forehand wide. 30/0. Sania's depth forced Santangelo to hit a backhand long. 40/0 (3 SPs). Santangelo came to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but Sania, on the defensive, hit an amazing netcord backhand pass-winner down the line! Sania won the second set 6-3 at 12:04 (second set 31m, match so far 59m).


Third set
---------
MIRZA _*
SANTA * *

Santangelo serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. A good serve forced a short return; Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0. Sania netted a backhand return.

Sania serving 0-1: Santangelo hit a backhand volley long, and grimaced. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 40/0. Sania netted a backhand on the third stroke. 40/15. Sania hit a forehand volley and retreated; Santangelo forehand volley-winner.

Santangelo serving 1-1: Sania forehand wide. 15/0. Santangelo netted a forehand volley. 15/15. Service-winner out wide: Sania netted a low forehand return. "Forza! Forza!" said Santangelo. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. And again.

Sania serving 1-2: "Would the following players please report to Centre Court ready for play: Maria Sharapova, Lilia Osterloh." These words sent me dashing from Court 1 immediately! ;-)

Santangelo won 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8/6).


Articles
--------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1433
>>>
Undoubtedly the most exciting match of the day was the three-set thriller between No.8 seed Mara Santangelo and Indian star Sania Mirza. Italy's Santangelo started the match in confident fashion, and with Mirza struggling to deal with her aggressive tennis, it was no surprise when she wrapped up the opening set in under half an hour.

Mirza hit back to take the second set, and when she moved 5-3 ahead in the decider, her place in the third round looked all but assured. However, Santangelo showed tremendous character to fend off two match-points, before edging a tense tiebreak to win an absorbing encounter, 6-3 3-6 7-6(6).
<<<

http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/News/070613Stars.htm
>>>
Out on Court One, No.8 seed Mara Santangelo of Italy survived a scare to defeat Sania Mirza of India 6-3 3-6 7-6(6).

Looking confident off the back of her women's-doubles title at the French Open last week (with Alicia Molik), Santangelo made a strong start to the match, racing to a 4-1 lead courtesy of some erratic serving by Mirza.

The pair exchanged service-breaks in the first four games of the second set, but the Indian rallied with the set squared at 2-2, taking three games in a row and serving out the set to love.

Mirza looked the likely winner midway through the third set, taking a break in the seventh game, then holding serve to lead 5-3. But the more highly-ranked Santangelo fought back, levelling things at 5-5 after a long deuce-game.

The set went to a tense tiebreak that went with serve until the fourteenth point, when Santangelo claimed the mini-break and the match, 8/6 in the tiebreak.
<<<

-------------------------------------------------------
5. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Osterloh
-------------------------------------------------------

I watched the whole match on Centre Court. Maria made a stuttering start: it was Osterloh dictating the points at the start of the match, and Maria had to save three nonconsecutive break-points in her opening service-game.

But she never dropped her serve in the match, winning the first set by virtue of a single break of serve (she had to save two more break-points serving for it at 5-4), and racing through the second 6-0 with some brilliant winners along the way, as Osterloh threw in some cheap unforced errors (but again, Maria struggled through her last service-game, saving two break-points and needing two match-points).

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html

----------------------------------------------------
6. Second-round eyewitness report: Bartoli v Cavaday
----------------------------------------------------

Marion Bartoli has modelled her game faithfully on Monica Seles, except that she's right-handed and she doesn't grunt. Recently, she's taken to doing 'energy-bounces' before each serve, so I spent most of the match trying to photograph one with her feet off the ground! She also has a weird stance as she prepares to serve: she holds out her racket as though preparing for a fencing-duel, with the fingers on her (taped) right hand outstretched, then wraps them around her racket-handle.

Marion is not very mobile, but she hit some fantastic Selesian groundstrokes in this and other matches that I saw at Birmingham 2007.

Naomi Cavaday was a British wild card, and is left-handed.

The match was played on Centre Court, and started at 14:07.


First set
---------
BARTOLI @ @* * *@ 6
CAVADAY _@__* *__ 3

Cavaday serving 0-0: A long rally ended with Marion threading a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Cavaday backhand winner down the line on the third stroke. 15/15. Double fault (second serve hit the netcord and fell long). 15/30. Cavaday netted a forehand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Marion broke with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Marion serving 1-0: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Marion netted a backhand. 0/30. Cavaday backhand long. 15/30. Cavaday exploited Marion's lack of mobility with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40 (2 BPs). Cavaday broke back with a forehand winner down the line - off a weak, high ball from Marion.

Cavaday serving 1-1: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Cavaday forehand wide. 0/30. Ace out wide. 15/30. Cavaday crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Marion netted a backhand return. 40/30. Cavaday forehand very long. 40/40. Cavaday netted a forehand. Ad Marion (BP). Marion earthed a backhand. Deuce #2. Cavaday forehand long. Ad Marion (BP #2). Cavaday hit a backhand just long to reinstate Marion's break.

Marion serving 2-1: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Marion came to the net behind a deep approach, forcing Cavaday to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Marion crosscourt backhand winner, just inside the sideline. 40/0. Marion backhand long. 40/15. Marion netted a backhand. 40/30. Cavaday forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Marion backhand volley-winner after some good retrieving by Cavaday. Ad Marion. Ace out wide.

Cavaday serving 1-3: Marion backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Cavaday hit an off-forehand winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline. 15/15. Cavaday forehand wide. 15/30. Cavaday forced a short ball, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Cavaday forehand dead-netcord winner. 40/30. Marion's depth forced Cavaday to hit a backhand lob long. 40/40. Cavaday's forehand pass down the line forced Marion to earth a forehand volley. Ad Cavaday. She forced a short ball, and hit an off-backhand winner behind Marion.

Marion serving 3-2: A crosscourt forehand return on the sideline forced Marion to hit a forehand wide. 0/15. Cavaday netted a sliced forehand. 15/15. A low-bouncing return forced Marion to hit a backhand wide. 30/30. Marion's depth forced Cavaday to net a backhand. 40/30. Wild forehand return very long.

Cavaday serving 2-4: Cavaday forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Cavaday forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Marion crosscourt forehand return-winner. 30/15. Marion netted a forehand return. 40/15. Backhand return long.

Marion serving 4-3: Marion netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/15. Marion crosscourt backhand + crosscourt forehand forced Cavaday to hit a forehand lob wide. 15/15. Cavaday netted a forehand return. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. Ace out wide, ĺ up the sideline and just inside it.

Cavaday serving 3-5: Cavaday came to the net, but Marion took the initiative with a ball to Cavaday's feet, then hit a down-the-line backhand pass that forced Cavaday to hit a forehand volley wide. 0/15. Cavaday netted a forehand. 0/30. Marion crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. 0/40 (3 SPs). Ace down the middle called long. Second serve: Marion hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner just inside the sideline. Marion won the first set 6-3 at 14:46 (39m).


Second set
----------
BARTOLI *@* *@* 6
CAVADAY ___*___ 1

Marion serving 0-0: A good serve forced a short return; Marion crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Cavaday netted a forehand. 30/0. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Cavaday serving 0-1: Cavaday netted a backhand on the third stroke. 0/15. Cavaday netted a forehand. 0/30. A deep backhand return forced Cavaday to net a forehand. 0/40 (3 BPs). Cavaday hit a backhand very long to put Marion a set and a break up.

Marion serving 2-0: Cavaday netted a backhand return. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Service-winner: Cavaday backhand lob-return long. 40/0. Ace out wide, on the sideline.

Cavaday serving 0-3: Forehand return wide. 15/0. Cavaday hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, just inside the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0. Cavaday sprayed a forehand wide. 40/15. Cavaday forehand wide. 40/30. Cavaday hit a jousy forehand volley-winner onto the baseline.

Marion serving 3-1: Marion's forehand down the line forced Cavaday to earth a forehand. 15/0. Ace out wide, on the service-line. 30/0. Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/0. Ace out wide, in the corner. Raindrops?

Cavaday serving 1-4: Cavaday sprayed a backhand wide of the tramlines. 0/15. Cavaday forehand long & wide. 0/30. It was windy now, and Cavaday hit a forehand long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Marion crosscourt backhand return-winner.

Marion serving 5-1: Marion off-forehand winner. 15/0. Marion forehand very long. 15/15. Cavaday forehand long. 30/15. Cavaday backhand wide. 40/15. Service-winner down the middle: Cavaday's forehand return flew backwards into Stand D. Marion won 6-3 6-1 at 15:10 (second set 24m, match 1h03m).


Cavaday quotes
--------------

"There is a huge gap between players 16 to 20 in the world and those around the top 60. She was obviously a lot tougher than Bardina, and I didn't perform to my best, but there are a lot of positives I can take into my next couple of tournaments.

"The first set was competitive; even though I was not serving well, I thought I moved well, and the things I have been working on came into play out there. I definitely need the public to be patient with me now. There is no quick fix. I am relatively young in tennis-terms, and I have not got the experience that everyone else in the draw has."


http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/News/070613Stars.htm
>>>
After a promising first set, British No.4 Naomi Cavaday lost to No.5 seed Marion Bartoli (FRA) in the second round of the Birmingham tournament, 6-3 6-1. With her serve off the boil, Cavaday struggled against her opponent, ranked 223 places above her in the world, but was upbeat following the match.

"I think I ran well, moved well, a lot of things I've been working on I put into play today against such highly-ranked opposition, so I was really happy with that performance."

And the Brit paid tribute to a supportive centre-court crowd. "To have the opportunity to compete in this type of tournament is fantastic. Home-crowd, centre court, it was really great fun. I wasn't feeling nervous. I enjoy it. Everyone's on my side. How can that be a bad thing?"
<<<

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

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 23rd, 2007, 02:19 AM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round results
3. Third-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Janković

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 My photos
-------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Friday 15th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1043659-219

Friday's players:

Maria Sharapova (23 photos)
Maria Kirilenko (21)
Yuliana Fedak (21)
Jelena Janković (8)
Marion Bartoli (6)
Tamira Paszek (6)
Li,Na (3)

Wow - I can't believe I took more photos of Big Maria in a ten-minute warm-up (before play was suspended for the day due to heavy rain at 14:48 BST) than of Little Maria in her 2h11m match!

For matches that I make notes on, I take the majority of my photos during the warm-up. Unfortunately a lot of players don't take their tops off until after the warm-up, but Big Maria took her top off for this warm-up even though it was cold! :-)


1.2 Other photos
----------------

Maria Sharapova (and Tamira Paszek):
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Maria Kirilenko:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=kirilenko
Search Getty Images for "kirilenko"

Marion Bartoli:
Search Getty Images for "bartoli"

Yuliana Fedak:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=fedak
Search Getty Images for "fedak"

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Friday 15th June)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Elena Likhovtseva d. Ayumi Morita [Q], 6-2 6-0

What rocked:
+ MARION BARTOLI [5,S] d. Angelique Kerber, 6-2 6-0
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [6] d. Vania King, 6-1 6-3

What sucked:
- MARIA KIRILENKO [16,DF] lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 6-3 3-6 5-7
- Yuliana Fedak [Q] lt. LI,NA [4], 4-6 4-6
- JULIA VAKULENKO [9] lt. MARA SANTANGELO [8], 3-1 retired (left-ankle sprain)

Poor Julia. Despite the groundstaff's efforts to make the outside courts playable, they were in a pretty bad state after all the rain. They were drying them with towels, and pouring water into a ditch at the back of Court 3 (which Julia retired on) because there's no proper drainage.

The only third-round matches left over until Saturday were the ones involving my Eternal Fanship:
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] v Tamira Paszek (Paszek won the toss and chose to receive)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVŃ [3,EF] v ELENI DANIILIDOU [15]

They were faced with the prospect of playing four matches in two days, against opponents already through to the quarter-finals.

------------------------------------------------------
3. Third-round eyewitness report: Kirilenko v Janković
------------------------------------------------------

This was a great performance from Little Maria - in fact, she dropped one game fewer than Maria Sharapova did in losing the final to Janković by an almost identical scoreline! (4-6 6-3 7-5). Both Marias were a set and a break up (*1-0 in the second; Little Maria even led 2-0* (30/0 and 40/30)), and from 3-3 in the third, their game-sequences against Janković were identical (Janković having to serve to save the match at 4-5, then winning three games in a row).

Maria certainly didn't look like a player in a slump!

Janković had a patch on her right shoulder, but I learned after the match that she had a stiff neck. Perhaps the two are related.

After all the rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, the match started in hot and sunny conditions on Centre Court at 12:16 BST.


First set
---------
KIRILENK * *__@*@* 6
JANKOVIĆ _* *@____ 3

Maria serving 0-0: Janković went for a forehand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 15/0. Janković forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Service-winner down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/15. Janković hit a backhand return halfway up the net. 40/15. Maria hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Janković to hit a backhand wide.

Janković serving 0-1: Double fault. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. Janković served & volleyed, but retreated and netted a backhand. 15/30. Maria mishit a backhand long. 30/30. Janković hit a deep, low backhand down the line, forcing Maria to mishit a forehand wide. 40/30. Janković forced Maria to hit a forehand into the bottom of the net.

Maria serving 1-1: Ace out wide, outside edge of the sideline. 15/0. Backhand return long. 30/0. Serve forced a defensive lob-return; Maria's forehand forced Janković to net a forehand. 40/0. Serve forced a short return; Maria forehand winner down the line.

Suddenly it was gloomy, though it would get hot and sunny again shortly.

Janković serving 1-2: Maria netted a forehand return. 15/0. Janković forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. 30/0. Maria netted a backhand after failing to punish Janković's mishit backhand lob, which at least had the merit of being deep. 40/0. Maria netted a forehand return.

Maria serving 2-2: Maria mishit a forehand lob long. 0/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/30. Maria hit a sloppy forehand long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria's first serve was called long but overruled. On the replay, Janković's backhand return clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 15/40. Maria overhit a forehand long, giving Janković the first break.

Janković serving 3-2: Janković dominated the rally, but a low forehand pass from Maria forced Janković to earth a forehand. 0/15. Janković forehand volley-winner (Maria should have lobbed instead of hitting a backhand pass). 15/15. Maria hit a down-the-line forehand onto the sideline, forcing Janković to net a backhand. 15/30. Janković went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria backhand wide of the tramlines. 30/40. Maria broke back with a crosscourt backhand onto the sideline that forced Janković to hit a backhand wide of the tramlines - well played!

Maria serving 3-3: Maria made an ill-advised foray to the net, with a lack of commitment that Janković punished with a backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Service-winner out wide, on the sideline. 15/15. Janković lofted a forehand just long. 30/15. Maria netted a backhand on the third stroke. 30/30. Janković netted a forehand return. 40/30. Maria hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Janković to hit a backhand wide.

Janković serving 3-4: Double fault (second serve long). 0/15. Janković backhand very long. 0/30. A short-angled ace out wide caught the outside edge of the sideline. 15/30. Maria hit a forehand down Janković's forehand-line for a virtual winner. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria hit an aggressive forehand return just long. 30/40. Maria backhand just wide. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle, in the corner. Ad Janković. Maria hit a fantastic crosscourt backhand return-winner with such a low bounce! Deuce #2. Janković hit a backhand long on the third stroke. Ad Maria (BP #3). Double fault (second serve just long).

Maria serving 5-3: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Service-winner down the middle (forehand return into the bottom of the net). 15/15. Service-winner down the middle. 30/15. Double fault (second serve long). 30/30. Maria spread Janković with a crosscourt forehand winner followed by either a crosscourt backhand or an off-forehand into the corner; Maria came to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner, and got away with retreating as Janković lobbed long. 40/30 (SP #1). Ace out wide. Maria said "c'mon" as she won the first set 6-3 at 12:46 (30m).


Second set
----------
KIRILENK @*_____*_ 3
JANKOVIĆ __*@*@* * 6

Janković serving 0-0: She netted a forehand. 0/15. Janković hit a forehand wide on the third stroke. 0/30. A long rally ended with Janković hitting a forehand winner down the line. 15/30. Janković backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Janković backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Janković hit a forehand long to put Maria up a set and a break.

Maria's grunt was higher-pitched now, which I take as a sign of anxiety.

Maria serving 1-0: Maria netted a forehand on the fifth stroke. 0/15. Janković forehand wide. 15/15. Janković backhand long & wide. 30/15. Maria went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 30/30. A long rally ended with Janković hitting a backhand winner down the line. 30/40 (BP). Maria hit a forehand onto the baseline which may have been long; it forced Janković to hit a forehand lob long. 40/40. Janković backhand winner down the line. Ad Janković (BP #2). She squandered it with a wild backhand return long. Deuce #2. Maria hit a backhand dropshot that caused Janković to slip over; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. Ad Maria. She held with a flairsome crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline.

Although Maria was now 2-0* up, she seemed anxious and unable to impose herself as she did in the first set. It's been Janković's errors that have given Maria this lead in the second.

Janković serving 0-2: Maria came to the net behind a nice deep sliced backhand, and hit a forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Janković netted a backhand on the third stroke. 0/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner (Maria backhand "not up"). 15/30. Janković hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/30. Janković forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria came to the net, but her approach was not deep enough, and Janković hit a deep crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/40. Maria netted a forehand. Ad Janković. Service-winner out wide.

Maria serving 2-1: Backhand return wide of the tramlines. 15/0. Janković off-forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Maria off-forehand winner off a short ball. 30/15. Maria hit a beautiful off-forehand drop-volley winner. 40/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/30. Maria crosscourt forehand wide by a whisker. 40/40. Maria got away with retreating from the net as Janković hit a backhand lob just wide. Ad Maria. Service-winner - but the umpire called fault. Maria hit her second serve long for a double fault. Deuce #2. Ace out wide. Ad Maria. Janković came to the net, forcing Maria to hit a backhand very long. Deuce #3. Maria hit a wild forehand long, and shrugged her shoulders. Ad Janković (BP). Janković forehand wide. Deuce #4. Janković backhand volley-winner off a weak crosscourt backhand pass from Maria. Ad Janković (BP #2). Janković broke back with a crosscourt backhand winner.

Janković serving 2-2: Maria backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Janković went for a backhand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 0/30. Deep service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Maria got under a forehand, lobbing it very wide/long. 30/30. Maria forehand long. 40/30. A crosscourt backhand return forced Janković to net a one-handed backhand. 40/40. Maria netted a forehand. Ad Janković. Ace out wide, in the corner.

It was no longer hot and sunny, but gloomy now.

Maria serving 2-3: Janković forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Maria netted a sliced backhand. 0/30. Maria forehand long. 0/40 (3 BPs). Janković netted a forehand return. 15/40. An awkward wide, short crosscourt backhand return forced Maria to hit a backhand wide.

Janković serving 4-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Janković's depth forced Maria to hit a forehand lob into Stand B. 30/0. Maria stopped playing the point after returning a serve that landed on the junction of sideline and service-line, and Janković hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Maria hit a fantastic crosscourt forehand return-winner into the corner. 40/15. Maria netted a forehand return.

Maria serving 2-5 (new balls): Janković's backhand clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/0. A delightful rally ended with Janković hitting a backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Forehand return very long. 30/15. Janković netted a backhand return. 40/15. Janković hit a forehand return into the top of the net.

Janković serving 5-3: Janković forehand wide. 0/15. Maria took the initiative at the net, but Janković hit a forehand lob-winner onto the baseline! 15/15. Forehand return just long. 30/15. Double fault (second serve long). 30/30. Service-winner out wide, in the corner. Maria said "aagh!" with rising pitch. 40/30. Janković backhand long. 40/40. Janković backhand winner down the line: called out, but overruled as good - no replay because it was a clear winner. Maria complained to the umpire at some length. Ad Janković (SP #1). Janković netted a forehand on the third stroke. Deuce #2. An ace out wide was called wide but overruled as good, but it was not a clear winner in the umpire's opinion, so they replayed the point. Maria mishit a backhand wide - possibly distracted by a loudspeaker-announcement. Ad Janković (SP #2). Maria netted a forehand return. Janković won the second set 6-3 at 13:30 (44m).

Quite a controversial game to end the second set!

Maria took a bathroom-break, and they started playing the third set at 13:38. By this time it was gloomy and slightly windy.


Third set
---------
KIRILENK _@__*@* *___ 5
JANKOVIĆ @ @*___* *@* 7

Maria serving 0-0: Maria mishit a backhand lob long. 0/15. Janković netted a backhand. 15/15. Double fault (wild second serve long). 15/30. A long rally with Janković framing a backhand ended with Janković hitting a backhand long. 30/30. Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner - a semi-dropshot. 40/30. Maria netted a mishit backhand. 40/40. A short, low return forced Maria to net a forehand. Ad Janković (BP). Backhand return long. Deuce #2. Janković hit a deep forehand winner down the line. Ad Janković (BP #2). Maria forehand smash-winner. Deuce #3. Maria forehand just long. Ad Janković (BP #3). Maria crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Deuce #4. Maria netted a choky sliced forehand. Ad Janković (BP #4). Maria backhand just wide (called by the umpire).

Janković serving 1-0: Maria backhand just long. 15/0. Janković had the upper hand in the rally, but netted a forehand. 15/15. Maria's depth forced Janković to hit a forehand wide. 15/30. Janković forehand long. 15/40 (2 BPs). Second serve: Maria netted a forehand return. 30/40. Maria wild forehand very long. 40/40. Maria crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Ad Maria (BP #3). My notes say "deep service-winner", but I don't know what to make of that, because Maria broke back!

Maria serving 1-1: Maria forehand wide. 0/15. A long rally ended with Maria netting a sliced backhand. 0/30. Double fault (second serve long). 0/40 (3 BPs). Janković reestablished her break with a forehand smash-winner down the line.

Janković serving 2-1: Deep ace down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand. 30/0. Maria netted a forehand. 40/0. Maria forehand return halfway up the net.

Maria serving 1-3: Maria backhand wide of the tramlines. 0/15. Maria hit a deep, high-bouncing forehand down the line, that induced Janković to net a backhand. 15/15. Maria hit a deep, fast, error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/15. Maria forehand very long - forced by Janković at the net, and possibly by another loudspeaker-announcement. 30/30. Maria off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline. 40/30. Maria off-forehand winner just inside the sideline.

It was windy now.

Janković serving 3-2: Maria played a spreading rally, culminating with a forehand winner down the line, on the sideline. 0/15. Wild backhand return long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 15/30. Ace out wide. 30/30. Service-winner out wide, on the sideline. 40/30. Maria took the initiative with a fantastic crosscourt backhand return onto the sideline, and hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/40. Double fault (second serve long). Ad Maria (BP). Janković netted a backhand.

What a turnaround! Just when I thought that Maria's ship had sailed, Janković was back to being erratic, and back came the Maria of the first set! :-)

Maria serving 3-3: Janković backhand very long. 15/0. Maria achieved good depth and control on her groundstrokes, forcing Janković to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Serve forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. She pumped her fist. 40/0. Maria thought her first serve was an ace down the middle. Janković crosscourt backhand winner. 40/15. Maria spread Janković with a crosscourt forehand + crosscourt backhand, and hit a forehand smash-winner with a loud grunt! :-)

There were a few raindrops, and I hoped that the rain would hold off now that Maria had the momentum of winning three games in a row!

Janković serving 3-4: Short-angled ace out wide, on the sideline. 15/0. Janković netted a backhand. 15/15. Janković forehand winner down the line, on the sideline. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Maria chipped & charged, but she left herself so exposed at the net, giving Janković an easy crosscourt backhand pass-winner.

More raindrops.

Maria serving 4-4: Maria demonstrated excellent footwork as she hit an off-backhand winner. 15/0. Backhand return long. 30/0. Loudspeaker: "All groundstaff to their courts." Double fault (second serve long). 30/15. After a long rally, Maria's crosscourt backhand forced Janković to hit a backhand lob just wide. 40/15. Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line.

Janković serving to stay in the match at 4-5: Forehand return just long. 15/0. Serve out wide + off-backhand winner down the line, just inside the sideline. 30/0. Maria showed good judgement at the net to leave a Janković forehand that landed just long. 30/15. Janković backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Mishit forehand return long.

I thought I heard thunder (but the storm held off until after this match).

Maria serving 5-5: Double fault (long). 0/15. Janković punished Maria's poor dropshot with a backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/30. The umpire rebuked a woman in Stand B for getting up in the middle of a game: he asked her to sit down, but she ignored him and left the stadium. Perhaps the call of nature is stronger than the call of an umpire! Double fault (second serve long). 0/40 (3 BPs). Service-winner. 15/40. Maria came to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, forcing Janković to net a forehand. 30/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

There was a sad look on Maria's face as she came out from the changeover.

Janković serving for the match at 6-5: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Backhand return just long. 15/15. Maria hit a forehand wide after running down a dropshot - so acute! 30/15. Maria hit a delectable backhand drop-volley winner. 30/30. Maria sprayed a forehand wide & long. 40/30 (MP #1). Maria crosscourt forehand winner + crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. 40/40. Maria hit a forehand very long, after Janković slipped over earlier in the rally. Ad Janković (MP #2). She came to the net, and Maria netted a backhand pass. Janković won 3-6 6-3 7-5 at 14:27 (third set 57m including the 8m bathroom-break, match 2h11m).

With spectators trying to leave the stadium around me, Janković gave an inaudible interview.


Articles
--------

http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/News/070615Jelena.htm
>>>
Janković survives Kirilenko challenge

Jelena Janković withstood a determined onslaught by Maria Kirilenko to reach the quarter-finals of the DFS Classic in Birmingham, 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Janković, the No.2 seed, came out of the blocks fast in the first set, going up a break in the fifth game to lead 3-2.

But No.16 seed, Kirilenko, broke straight back to level the contest at 3-3, then got on a roll, winning the next two games and earning herself the chance to serve out the set in a game that saw two double faults before a decisive ace.

As the Russian's serve became increasingly erratic in the second set, Janković began to steady, again going up an early break to lead 3-2 courtesy of two more Kirilenko double faults. The Serb raced to a 5-2 lead, serving out the set 6-3 to level the match.

Janković was leading 3-1 in the second set when the momentum swung back in Kirilenko's direction, the 20-year-old winning three straight games to lead 4-3.

Games then went with serve until the 11th game of the decider, when Kirilenko served three double faults to concede the break. Janković served it out on her second match-point, Kirilenko hitting a tame backhand into the net to hand the Serb victory in two hours and 12 minutes.

After the match Janković acknowledged that it hadn't been her most polished performance.

"I was struggling a little bit, and obviously today I didn't play my best tennis," said the 22-year-old. "But I stayed in the match and took my chances, and found a way even though it was not my day I and was making a lot of mistakes and was not moving well."

And she said she was trying hard not to let the rain get to her. "You get used to it, but I don't like it. We want to play and we're here to play and we're here to do our job, but this rain sometimes can be quite frustrating. But that's the way it is. This is the reality and you have to accept it."

Nevertheless, she was cautiously optimistic with the way her grass-court campaign is progressing, saying: "Of course it gives you confidence when you win 7-5 in the third. This tough situation makes you stronger and more confident, but I prefer to win easier, in two sets, for sure."
<<<

Janković defeats Kirilenko to reach QF in Birmingham (Associated Press)
>>>
Third-ranked Jelena Janković rallied to defeat Maria Kirilenko 3-6 6-3 7-5 on Friday in the third round of the DFS Classic.

Janković advanced to the quarter-finals despite being hampered by a sore neck.

"When I woke up, my neck was so stiff: I couldn't turn to the left," Janković said. "I got some treatment, and I think it will take a couple of days to loosen up. I was struggling a little bit, and I didn't play my best tennis. I just tried to stay focused."

Janković saved a break-point when down 0-2 in the second set, and then broke her opponent's serve twice in a row. She got another break to go up 6-5 in the final set and served for the match.
<<<

PA SportsTicker
>>>
Jelena Janković successfully dodged the rain-showers to reach the quarter-finals at the $200,000 DFS Classic on Friday.

The second-seeded Serbian advanced with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory over No. 16 Maria Kirilenko of Russia.

The rain-delays were exacerbated by an ailing Janković's struggle to get past her determined opponent, Kirilenko.

It took the 22-year-old Serbian more than two hours to secure the victory in a match that contained no fewer than 11 breaks of serve.

Janković did have an excuse for her uneven play.

"I woke up this morning with a stiff neck, and had to have treatment from the physio," she said.

The 20-year-old Kirilenko was a set and a break up before losing five games in a row, but demonstrated tremendous resilience in a marathon third set.

She looked to be on her way out when she was broken to love in her second service-game, but twice broke the Janković's serve before being edged out.

"I was struggling and didn't play my best tennis, but I stayed in the match and found a way to win," said Janković, who is due to meet Alyona Bondarenko of the Ukraine for a place in the semi-finals.

Despite her stiff neck, Janković insisted she was ready to play three matches on Friday, including a doubles-match against Kirilenko.
<<<

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1437
>>>
Janković Sinks Kirilenko in Third-Round Thriller

Janković has had an outstanding year on the WTA Tour, and her win over No.16 seed Maria Kirilenko was her 46th of the season. However, the high-flying Serbian certainly did not have things all her own way out on centre court, and Kirilenko will be desperately disappointed not to have pulled off the shock of the tournament.

Janković started the match sluggishly, and her errant groundstrokes, allied with Kirilenko's steady baseline play, saw the Russian take a surprise one-set-to-love lead.

In the second set, Janković started to find her rhythm on the slick grass surface, and despite not being at her fluent best, the world No.3 did well to force the match into a decider. The final set was a nervous affair, with five service-breaks and nine double faults, but eventually it was Janković who came out on top, setting up a quarter-final meeting against Bondarenko with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory.

"I was struggling a bit today and obviously I didn't play my best tennis," Janković said, "but I stayed in the match, took my chances and found a way to win even though I was making a few too many mistakes. I came to Birmingham to get as many matches as possible on grass, to get my rhythm on it and build up my confidence before the start of Wimbledon, so it was great to get the win and hopefully I can keep on improving."
<<<

Struggling Janković on track (by Hyder Jawad for The Birmingham Post)
>>>
The inference, surely, is that if Janković can perform below her usual standard, yet still defeat a player as talented as Kirilenko, then auguries are good.

But the victory was far from impressive, and she knows that she will have to perform with greater consistency and dexterity if she is to have a hope of winning Wimbledon next month.

The match contained 11 breaks of serve, and was tense rather than exciting. Kirilenko could easily have won, but her serve collapsed at the worst possible time: in the 11th game of the final set.

It was Kirilenko's defeat more than it was Janković's victory, which says much about the nature of the match. Kirilenko, who won the first set with relative ease, knows that this was a missed opportunity.
<<<

Below-par Janković advances (by Oliver Brown for The Daily Telegraph)
>>>
At least the glamour-quotient surpassed the entertainment-value at Edgbaston yesterday as Jelena Janković, the "Mongolian princess" of women's tennis, narrowly averted a third-round defeat by Maria Kirilenko, the sport's sole Stella McCartney model.

Janković had been preparing for a draining day of three matches, including doubles, before the downpours that have dampened this tournament returned to increase the backlog. Fortunately, the Serb was cheerful enough to smile through such irritations.

The world No 3 was far from her best in grinding out a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Kirilenko, an edgy, bronzed Muscovite whose every flounce was followed slavishly by the cameras.

Janković's defence was a sore shoulder, but her performance in the first set and a half was hardly that of a Wimbledon-contender.
<<<

More quotes from Janković
-------------------------

{before the match}

"It will be a tough match. I just want to go out there and play my game and be aggressive and go for my shots. This is grass and you have to finish the points quite quickly. You don't want to get into a rally, you just want to go.

"I like it here on the grass. I think because I hit the ball pretty flat, the faster surfaces suit my game, and I think I definitely have a great chance of doing well this week and then at Wimbledon."


{after the match}

"I was ready to play another singles-match and my doubles-match. But I was very tired out there. I did not sleep well. I woke up with a stiff neck, and had to have treatment from the physio. It must have been a bad pillow in my hotel-room.

"It is not nice spending all of your time sitting on the couch, waiting for the rain to stop."

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 24th, 2007, 02:48 AM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round results
3. Quarter-final results
4. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Paszek
5. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Hantuchová v Bartoli
6. Doubles round-up

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 My photos
-------------

I have uploaded all my photos for Saturday 16th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1049942-b32

Saturday's players:

Daniela Hantuchová (50 photos)
Alyona Bondarenko (38)
Maria Sharapova (36)
Marion Bartoli (28)
Séverine Brémond (17)
Nathalie Dechy (15)
Tamira Paszek (10)
Jelena Janković (7)
Liezel Huber (6)
Cara Black (5)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.


1.2 Other photos
----------------

Maria Sharapova (and Tamira Paszek):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Daniela Hantuchová (and Marion Bartoli):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=hantuchova
Search Getty Images for "hantuchova"
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1440

Alyona Bondarenko:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=bondarenko
Search Getty Images for "bondarenko"

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Saturday 16th June)
----------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. Tamira Paszek, 6-3 4-6 6-2
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [3,EF] d. ELENI DANIILIDOU [15], 7-6 (7/3) 6-4

------------------------
3. Quarter-final results (Saturday 16th June)
------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. Elena Likhovtseva, 6-2 6-3

Not so nice:
- ALYONA BONDARENKO [6] lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 4-6 3-6

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/6760159.stm
>>>
Bondarenko produced a fine array of groundstrokes but did not have the serve to seriously trouble Janković, who dodged the showers to gain a 6-4 6-3 victory.
<<<

Janković: "I did well. I was happy with my game today. It was much better than it was yesterday, and I felt pretty good on the court."


Suspended until Sunday:
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [3,EF] v MARION BARTOLI [5,S], 7-5 4-6 *0-0 (30/40)

----------------------------------------------------
4. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Paszek
----------------------------------------------------

This was a wonderful match - my favourite of the tournament. I had to choose between watching this and Daniela Hantuchová v Eleni Daniilidou, and Paszek was the deciding-factor for me. I was very impressed by her play against Justine Henin at the French Open, and again here. She hits some amazing groundstrokes, and is a fearless fighter. She also looked cuter at Birmingham than she ever had before. ;-)

16-year-old Paszek very definitely has top-ten potential - at least - particularly judging by the brilliant service-game she played at 2-2 in the second. Maria should never have gifted Paszek the second set with an alarming rash of unforced errors from *4-3 up, and she served way too many double faults, but I guess the match deserved a third set purely by the calibre of play. It was highly enjoyable!

Maria broke in the first game of the third set, but the key game of the match was when she went up *1-0 (40/0), yet needed four deuces before holding serve, and saved a break-point. Once again, Maria showed her amazing ability to step it up in the third set after playing poorly in the second.

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at...
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html

...along with a brief report on Maria's quarter-final against Elena Likhovtseva (which I missed because I chose to watch Daniela Hantuchová v Marion Bartoli instead), and articles about both of Maria's matches.

--------------------------------------------------------
5. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Hantuchová v Bartoli
--------------------------------------------------------

A frustrating match for me as a Daniela-fan, because I believe that Daniela is much more talented than Marion, especially on grass, but she failed to impose herself at the right times. Indeed, Daniela started the match like she was going to sweep Marion aside, winning the first six points of the match to go 1-0* (30/0) up. But after squandering two break-points at 15/40 in that game, it was Marion who broke first to go *3-2 up. Marion took an off-court medical time-out when she was about to serve for the first set at 5-4. She resumed with two double faults as Daniela reeled off the next three games to take the first set.

Daniela was broken in the first game of the second set, and then just couldn't make any impression on Marion's serve as Marion clung to that break like a limpet. Marion is a Selesian player (two hands both sides), and she hit plenty of groundstroke-winners throughout the match, particularly crosscourt ones.

It was a high-quality match - unfortunately I can't say the same about the view, as the first two sets were played on the very humble setting of Court 4 after rain had caused a terrible backlog; the match attracted a large crowd, and my decision to watch Alyona Bondarenko v Jelena Jankovic beforehand cost me a seat by Court 4, so I actually had to stand by Court 3 and watch the match from an angle (it was actually scheduled for Court 3, which the rain had made unplayable, so I had no idea when it was going to start).

By the end of the second set, it was getting cold, dark and slippery. With Daniela facing break-point at 30/40 in the first game of the third, both players stopped playing, went to the net, and after a lengthy discussion with the officials, it was suspended overnight, with both players agreeing to play the final on Sunday should the winner happen to defeat Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals.

My full match-report, with a description of every point up to the overnight suspension, can be found at...
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/reports.html

...along with a brief report on Daniela's third-round match against Eleni Daniilidou (which I missed because I chose to watch Maria Sharapova v Tamira Paszek instead - and a wonderful match it was, too).

The win over Daniilidou was enough to move Daniela up to #10 in the rankings on 18th June - her highest since she dropped from #9 to #14 on 8th September 2003.

-------------------
6. Doubles round-up
-------------------
First round
-----------

- (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/SANIA MIRZA [DF])[4] lt. Sun,Tiantian/Meilen Tu, walkover

There were walkovers left, right and centre in the doubles-event, as rain prevented much play on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, leaving the tournament with a huge backlog in both singles and doubles. The organisers wanted to use the indoor-courts, but none of the players had the appropriate footwear.

Daniela pulled out of the doubles on Saturday evening, following the suspension of her singles quarter-final. It's a shame I didn't get to see her play with Sania - another player with groundstrokes of flairsome power!


Quarter-final (Saturday 16th June)
-------------

+ (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1] d. Séverine Brémond/Nathalie Dechy, 6-4 7-6 (9/7)

This was the only bit of doubles I really sat down and watched all week, joining it when Black/Huber were 6-4 *4-3 up (I think). It was certainly a good fightback by the French ladies.

Cara is cute, if a little scrawny in her old age, but Séverine looked exceptionally beautiful (particularly in facial terms). Dechy isn't really my type, but together they were a lovely, smiling doubles-pair.

There was a funny if slightly alarming incident when Dechy ran down a dropshot and tumbled right over the net, landing on her opponents' side and her own backside!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/danielahantuchova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

P.S. I still have Sunday's reports & photos to write up and post, but these will have to wait for either a large gap in Wimbledon, or possibly after Wimbledon. Remember to check back here if you're interested!

ozfan44
Jun 25th, 2007, 01:31 PM
thanks mate

:bigcry: no reports of dellacqua??

andrewbroad
Sep 9th, 2007, 11:28 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. My photos
2. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Hantuchová v Bartoli
3. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Bartoli
4. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Jankovic

------------
1. My photos
------------

I have uploaded all my photos for Sunday 17th June 2007, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/1917585-f12

Sunday's players:

Maria Sharapova (62 photos)
Jelena Jankovic (27)
Daniela Hantuchová (26)
Marion Bartoli (21)
Cara Black (2)
Liezel Huber (2)
Meilen Tu (2)
Sun,Tiantian (2)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

--------------------------------------------------------
2. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Hantuchová v Bartoli
--------------------------------------------------------

- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [3,EF] lt. MARION BARTOLI [5,S] 7-5 4-6 5-7

A frustrating match for me as a Daniela-fan, because I believe that Daniela is much more talented than Marion, especially on grass (I wrote this before Marion went on to reach the Wimbledon-final!), but she failed to impose herself at the right times.

Play was suspended on Saturday night with Daniela facing break-point at 30/40 in the very first game of the third set. I had already posted a report on Saturday's play when I had to break off for Wimbledon. This report covers the resumption of play on Sunday.

The third set resumed on Centre Court on Sunday, and both players were pretty nervous. Marion did convert that break-point, and was never behind in the game-score, though she did look very choky when serving for the match at 5-4. But instead of seizing the momentum, Daniela helped Marion on her way to the semi-finals with some cheap errors in the last two games.

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at...
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/reports.html

----------------------------------------------------
3. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Bartoli
----------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [5,S], 7-5 6-0

The first set was anything but straightforward, as play was held up for 34 minutes with Maria leading 3-2*, as a woman in Stand C had a very nasty fall and had to be airlifted to hospital, and then an elderly man sitting right in front of me in Stand D fainted in the 18°C heat and had to be removed by trained first-aiders!

Play resumed once both those casualties had been removed from the stadium, but the helicopter-ambulance didn't actually arrive until 4-4 (30/15), whereupon Maria lost the next three points; thus Bartoli served for the first set at 5-4.

But Bartoli, who had choked dramatically when she served for the match at 5-4 in the third set against Daniela Hantuchová two hours earlier, threw in two consecutive double faults, and Maria won every game left in the match.

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at...
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html

------------------------------------------------
4. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Jankovic
------------------------------------------------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] lt. JELENA JANKOVIC [2], 6-4 3-6 5-7

Jankovic had already been involved in one of the most entertaining matches of the week when she beat Maria Kirilenko (Little Maria) 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the third round - a strikingly similar scoreline!

But this was an even better match than that one in terms of the calibre of play, even though the result hurt me more because Big Maria is a member of my Eternal Fanship, and was expected to beat Jankovic as she did in the Birmingham 2005 final.

The match featured very full-blooded hitting from both, with little time between points - which is uncharacteristic for Maria. Jankovic has definitely added power to the basic counterpunching-game I'd seen from her in previous years.

Maria led by a set and a break at *1-0 in the second, just as Little Maria had done. Big Maria also led by another break at *3-2, then lost four games in a row to drop the second set.

Maria won the first seven points of the third set, and seemed to have one hand on the trophy when she led 3-0* - especially when Jankovic made two wild forehand errors to make it 30/30.

But the key game was at *3-1, when Maria double-faulted to go 0/30 after an erroneous overrule. After that, she stopped grunting, and started playing tentatively and looking anxious. She was broken to love, and although Jankovic got very tight, Maria's errors allowed her to level up at 3-3.

The atmosphere became very tense, with Serbs in the crowd cheering loudly for Jankovic. The next four games went with serve, and Maria was three points from victory as Jankovic served to stay in the match at 4-5 (30/15). But a weak attempt to chip and charge, followed by a wild forehand return, made it 5-5.

Maria was broken to 15, courtesy of a double fault, two backhand errors, and Maria leaving a Jankovic-lob that was in! This left Jankovic serving for the match at 6-5, and she served it out to 15 as Maria missed a return off a woefully short second serve on the second championship-point.

I had a close encounter with Jankovic earlier in the week, when I found myself standing side-by-side with her at the crêpe-stand! We both ordered chocolate-crêpes. Little did I realise she would go on to win the title over Maria!

My full match-report, with a description of every point, can be found at...
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/danielahantuchova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/