PDA

View Full Version : Birmingham 2007: Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (Sunday added 12th September)


andrewbroad
Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:03 AM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Is Maria's fire going out?
3. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Osterloh

---------
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 Hantuchová (4)
Mara Santangelo (4)
Lilia Osterloh (4)
Yuliana Fedak (3)
Vera Zvonarëva (1)
Tsvetana Pironkova (1)
Urszula Radwańska (1)
Angelique Kerber (1)
Naomi Cavaday (1)


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

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

Various players off-court, including Maria:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/photogallery/?Event=birmingham

-----------------------------
2. Is Maria's 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, Amélie 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.

-------------------------------------------------------
3. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Osterloh (Wednesday 13th June)
-------------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. Lilia Osterloh [Q], 6-4 6-0

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

--
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 25th, 2007, 12:51 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Paszek
3. Quarter-final result

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.

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 My photos from Friday
-------------------------

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 My photos from Saturday
---------------------------

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.


1.3 Other photos
----------------

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

----------------------------------------------------
2. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Paszek (Saturday 16th June)
----------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] d. Tamira Paszek, 6-3 4-6 6-2

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.

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

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

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

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

andrewbroad
Sep 12th, 2007, 07:52 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. My photos
2. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Bartoli
3. 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
(seems to be down just at the moment - if so, try again later)

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. 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

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