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View Full Version : Estoril Open reports and photos (posts #58 and #78), with many more to come


Corswandt
Apr 11th, 2008, 11:34 PM
Same stuff as in GM.

Just checked the OOP for tomorrow and I'm :fiery:

Matches in courts that I assume will have no stands, and only two matches on Court Central (Why? This isn't grass - it's not like having more matches played in there would ruin the surface.), when even for qualies they are selling more expensive "Court Central" tickets (and stupid me bought two of those).

And why the fuck a 32 player ATP Q draw when year after year nobody bothers to show up?

To add to that, I have no clue what I'll watch. Pivovarova will play in the (again, I assume) stand-less courts; Vögele same; Catarina Ferreira I'd rather watch paint dry.

Not taking any requests this year, sorry.

HenryMag.
Apr 12th, 2008, 09:57 PM
2 matches on Central Court, because the "God Federer" trained at 4pm there....and you had to have the ticket to Central Court to watch the training session.

Corswandt
Apr 12th, 2008, 10:51 PM
2 matches on Central Court, because the "God Federer" trained at 4pm there....and you had to have the ticket to Central Court to watch the training session.

Plus only two matches on Court Central tomorrow as well. I hope they'll have strippers there during the afternoon, so that those who, like myself, bought Court Central tickets don't end up feeling like total idiots.

Corswandt
Apr 12th, 2008, 10:51 PM
Venue hasn't changed much from last year. The girls at the sponsor booths look like crap compared to previous years though.

Insanely packed OOP; play began at 10:00 AM with 8 (eight) women's matches being played simultaneously. I suspect the organizers panicked at the prospect of rain delays and tried to finish as many matches as possible as soon as possible by using as many courts as possible. In the end, there was no rain, all the hapless Portuguese went down in about 15 mins average, and so the schedule cleared pretty quickly; by 16:15, only a few ATP Q matches were still being played, and there really wasn't much else to do other than go watch Fed's practice session with the Portuguese scrubs, which was what I did for the rest of the afternoon.

Anyways.

Got there and confirmed my suspicions that Courts 13 and 18 didn't have stands, or any place where you could sit or even stand watching. This ruled out some of the matches I was more keen on watching, namely Hlavackova vs Pivovarova. Disappointed, I headed to Court 1 to see Soler-Espinosa, only to find out she had been replaced by ALT Tochilovskaya (ALT for the second year running). Not the match I had in mind to watch, but by then I couldn't be arsed to go elsewhere to find something more interesting, so I stayed and took out camera, pen and clipboard.

Hrdinova d. Tochilovskaya 6-0, 7-5

Got there at 3-0 Hrdinova. Played under dark, heavy clouds.

Hrdinova looks impressive. Tall, at around 1,85m, and very powerfully built. After she won the match, the kids were all over her, and with good reason - in Portugal, a woman of that size is a wonder in itself. She was all patched up though. She has a big serve for this level, as is to be expected (hit some aces); her groundstrokes were more powerful than Tochilovskaya's by a wide margin, and she hit quite a few wrongfooting winners. Her BH looks weird, and she often attempted cute dropshots (both BH and FH) off Tochilovskaya's puffballs, almost always successfully since her opponent was playing from so far behind the baseline. Her big wingspan is helfpul on defense, and she has the kind of reliable defensive slice you can expect from a seasoned veteran.

As for the diminutive Tochilovskaya, she was completely outgunned. Even those serves she managed to place well risked getting blasted away. She couldn't get any kind of depth on her shots, save for the odd BH (her best shot by far), and she wasn't moving well, lunging or leaning into many of her shots instead of placing her feet properly. She tried defensive slices on occasion, and botched all of them.

1st set went according to script, with a few amusing incidents - both players let aces go by because they thought the serve would be out, Hrdinova complained to the clueless umpire (weird accent - said "duce", as in Mussolini, instead of "deuce", often forgot the score) about Tochilovskaya taking too little time between serves, and Tochilovskaya's racquet was thrown around quite a bit. Early on the 2nd set, Hrdinova seemed to become impatient, and began netting FHs. Tochilovskaya also managed to stay in rallies longer. By the middle of the 2nd set, the match was much more balanced, and Hrdinova's FH was still leaking errors, but her serve bailed her out on a few occasions. Hrdinova up a break 4-2, and then all of a sudden she stopped moving, dumping all of her groundstrokes into the net. Tochilovskaya, to her credit, isn't stupid; she realized all she had to do was to keep the ball in play, and this she tried to do; but she wasn't consistent enough to pull it off and ended up losing the set and the match. Hrdinova closed it out with a dropshot + lob combo.

Headed out to Court 2 right beside to watch

Zec-Peskiric d. Gerasimou 62 36 76(4)

Got there late on the 2nd set. There was a gentleman, impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, sitting nearby myself politely cheering Zec-Peskiric (ZP) on. Match was slightly better than the previous one. Less wild errors out of the blue, at least.

Gerasimou isn't the greatest of scramblers, but she's tactically savvy, playing a high % game but nearly always picking the right moment to go for her shots, particularly the FH. Some good touch shots - but often hit at the worst possible time. Serve is crap, and retreated kms behind the baseline to return serve. She has some interesting variety on that ugly ass FH of hers; hit a few FH slices, can hit it with loads of topspin, and flattened it out to take over points when she had an opening. Her BH is teh suck though; rarely cleared the service line.

ZP has absolutely no weapons and no variety. Her only tactical option is to move the ball from corner to corner, and she had to hit 5-6 good FHs to win a single point. But she realized Gerasimou had very little to hurt her with, and her patience eventually paid off.

Odd that Gerasimou looks somewhat unfit, but by the end of the 2nd set it was ZP who was puffing and heaving. ZP began the 3rd set looking beaten, and she was down 0-3, but turned the match around by hitting some nice wrongfooting winners (and above all by running around her BH to hit her FH time and again), even though she often played the decisive points too tentatively. Served for the match but got broken at 30-40; then managed to break Gerasimou on her 3rd BP, a weird rally in which both players were exchanging groundstrokes while standing well inside the court. Served for the match again and again got broken in a CC BH duel, all the time taking ages between 1st and 2nd serves (nerves?). Prevailed in the TB mostly because Gerasimou played shite in it.

Went to eat something, eventually sat at a ATP Q match involving two Portuguese to wait for Dentoni and the aristocratically named Eloisa Maria Compostizo de Andres (EMCA), who were next on. Brie Whitehead and her mother were also in attendance.

In the adjacent Court 13, Hlavackova was blowing Pivovarova clean off the court with her FH. Eventually Pivovarova called in for the trainer and received medical assistance (left knee/thigh IIRC) for a while. Pivovarova's serve motion is majestic, so wide and ornate it makes Sharapova's look spartan. Simply wonderful stuff, to the extent that you don't really care if it's effective or not. Converted MP on Court 13, and not 10 seconds later converted MP in the court I was sitting at. What are the odds of that?

Dentoni d. Compostizo de Andres 63 64

Watched all of this.

Compostizo de Andres is a lefty (I've been seeing her name in challenger draws for ages and yet had no idea she was left handed) who doesn't fit the Spanish stereotype - she's blonde and has dark blue eyes. She has the most beautiful, toned, athletic legs you can imagine. I have some photos, which I'll eventually post, but no picture can do them justice. Too bad about her game though - 100% predictable, it consists of keeping the ball in play by hitting topspin CC FH into her opponent's BH side over and over again and not much else. She had countless opportunities to step in and be aggressive, but she remained resolutely glued to the baseline instead. Against some impatient ball basher, she might have done better, but to her misfortune Dentoni is very consistent herself.

Neither player could get any kind of depth on their BH shots. Rallies far too often degenerated in exchanges of moonballs, as both were reluctant to take risks.

Dentoni, who seems to have attended the Pierce/Golovin School of Prim Mannerisms but dropped out of it in time not to be wholly insufferable, is long - long limbs, long torso, long neck. Svelte rather than athletic though - I suspect not bulking up is a deliberate choice so as not to hamper her movement (currently acceptable for someone of her build), but she looked drained by the middle of the 2nd set, and complained of it to her coach afterwards, and adding some muscle would give some more bite to her shots and perhaps make her less vulnerable to big hitters.

Dentoni's game is a bit like Chakvetadze's in that it is impossible to label. The best I can come up with is that she's probably the most aggressive puffballer you'll ever see. Her swings are wide and effortless, her shots don't have much pace and look harmless at first sight, and her 1st serve is all placement (the 2nd serve is just an embarrassment, but it's not like EMCA would attack it anyway). But she hit a number of aces, and her serve is well placed enough to allow her to hit the first FH in rallies and take them over or even finish them off. At least at this level, she can play 1-2 serve + FH winner combo points without having much in the way of raw firepower - seen live it looks even weirder than this description would lead you to think. Her FH isn't a huge shot, but she hits it to both corners (more often in-out) with such depth, accuracy and consistency that it's easy to see why she runs around her BH ASAP to hit it.

Dentoni began the match completely off her game, and seemed on the fast track to be completely routed, but early on the 1st managed to close out a game in which she was for the most outplayed and took over the match from there. By the end of the 1st set, she was hitting one in-out FH winner after another. SP, and EMCA decides to commit suicide by rushing the net. On to 2nd set, with EMCA holding easily, and Dentoni having to hit a big winner to save a BP on the next game. But you got the feeling that any error from EMCA would be fatal since she was hitting no winners herself; and soon she was down two breaks. Dentoni served for the set and got broken; EMCA went into wall mode, and all the rallies now went on for at least 15 shots. EMCA lost an endless exchange of moonballs to give Dentoni her 1st MP, which she squandered. Dentoni was clearly becoming discomfited with EMCA's relentless pushing; again she served for the match, and after missing her 3rd MP on a botched volley she began sobbing uncontrollably and had to turn her back to the match for a while to recover her composure (got a warning from the umpire). Closed it out on her 4th MP.

On to Court Central and to Fed's practice session. Mirka was there as well, left for a while, presumably to eat (ice cream booth is the closest one to Court Central). Session started slow, then Fed began showing off a bit. His BH slice is scary - even on clay, it hardly bounces, and its depth and accuracy are remarkable. He also hit scores of perfect dropshots off Rui Machado's topspin junk, and made up a number of all-wrist touch shots as he went along.

Wiggly
Apr 12th, 2008, 11:09 PM
Best "reporter" of the board. :worship:

auntie janie
Apr 12th, 2008, 11:20 PM
:lol: Hilarious chair ump.

Poor Dentoni, sobbing on court - what drama! :eek: I'm glad she finally closed it out.

Brie should have gone to Saint-Malo instead of hanging around Estoril hoping for some disaster to strike some players so she could get in as an alt. In Saint-Malo, she'd have made the q draw, but I guess she was hoping she could somehow get in here and defend her 1 ranking point from last year. :D

Fed's practice sounds like a lot of fun to watch. Great idea to put him on center court to give the fans a show.

Thanks for the excellent reports, again! :hatoff:

Corswandt
Apr 12th, 2008, 11:28 PM
Useless detail of the day: Vögele has went Krajicek and cut her hair. Probably to show that for her tennis comes first. Tennis would be nothing without driven, committed no-hopers such as her.

Corswandt
Apr 12th, 2008, 11:39 PM
Brie should have gone to Saint-Malo instead of hanging around Estoril hoping for some disaster to strike some players so she could get in as an alt. In Saint-Malo, she'd have made the q draw, but I guess she was hoping she could somehow get in here and defend her 1 ranking point from last year. :D

It only makes sense to skip some shitty challenger for a chance, however slim, to play in the biggest, bestest tournament in the world ever!!11!!1!!

Shvedbarilescu
Apr 13th, 2008, 12:14 AM
Always enjoy reading your reports. Detailed, opinionated, funny, blunt and always entertaining and interesting. I am hoping you get to see Monica Niculescu and I am looking forward to your assessment of this girl. As I'm sure you have heard she is a most unusual player. I have no idea what you will make of her or whether it will be favourable or not. But whatever you think I am sure it will be, at the very least, amusing and hopefully more than that. :)

Natash.
Apr 13th, 2008, 12:27 AM
Useless detail of the day: Vögele has went Krajicek and cut her hair. Probably to show that for her tennis comes first. Tennis would be nothing without driven, committed no-hopers such as her.

Omg I know. :sobbing: She used to have such pretty hair and now :tape:

*Jean*
Apr 13th, 2008, 08:14 AM
Pivovarova's serve motion is majestic, so wide and ornate it makes Sharapova's look spartan. Simply wonderful stuff, to the extent that you don't really care if it's effective or not.

:hearts:

Do you have any pictures ? :p

Corswandt
Apr 13th, 2008, 06:56 PM
Pivovarova's serve motion is majestic, so wide and ornate it makes Sharapova's look spartan. Simply wonderful stuff, to the extent that you don't really care if it's effective or not.

:hearts:

Do you have any pictures ? :p

No, it was impossible to take photos on that court. Chain link fence all around.

*Jean*
Apr 13th, 2008, 07:49 PM
Okay thanks ;)

Arthus
Apr 13th, 2008, 08:23 PM
Great report, thanks

spiceboy
Apr 13th, 2008, 09:39 PM
Omg I know. :sobbing: She used to have such pretty hair and now :tape:

She's not looking that bad :p

http://tennis-shots.com/getitext.php?i=2008_-_ITF_Biarritz__France_/VOEGELE__Stefanie/Stefanie_Vogele_2.jpg

http://tennis-shots.com/getitext.php?i=2008_-_ITF_Biarritz__France_/VOEGELE__Stefanie/Stefanie_Vogele_1.jpg

http://tennis-shots.com/getitext.php?i=2008_-_ITF_Biarritz__France_/VOEGELE__Stefanie/Stefanie_Vogele_4.jpg

http://tennis-shots.com/getitext.php?i=2008_-_ITF_Biarritz__France_/VOEGELE__Stefanie/Stefanie_Vogele_3.jpg

HenryMag.
Apr 13th, 2008, 09:46 PM
I hope they'll have strippers there during the afternoon, so that those who, like myself, bought Court Central tickets don't end up feeling like total idiots.

Well, no strippers at all....Just Federer and Gastão Elias training :lol:

Corswandt
Apr 13th, 2008, 10:01 PM
Well, no strippers at all....Just Federer and Gastăo Elias training :lol:

Caught the last 30 seconds of that.

I don't think I'll set foot on Court Central tomorrow.

Corswandt
Apr 14th, 2008, 11:52 PM
I don't think I'll set foot on Court Central tomorrow.

In the end, I did.

Sunday report:

Didn't take the scenic route today not only because I was late, but also because that would mean running into a few tens of thousands of bikers congregating at the Moto GP, since EN9 goes right past the Autódromo.

Vögele d. Kuzmina 64 63

German-language players stick together: Meusburger and Barrois were in attendance.

I first saw Vögele play at a local 25K late last year. My comments can be found here:

http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=12041078&postcount=1

The good news: Vögele has improved.

The bad news: she still sucks.

She's clearly working on ways to use her FH to move the ball around. She no longer avoids returning serve with her FH at all costs, but her FH ROS can be very poor; she has obvious timing problems. When in rallies, she can only loop back her FH when forced to hit under pressure or on the move. Serve remains a weapon (for this level). It earns her 1-2 free or nearly free points (unreturned/easy putaways) on each service game; her sliced serve down the T to the ad court is amazing for a player of her age. Vögele doesn't know how to hit conventional volleys and her drive volleys can be shaky, but she goes for them anyway.

Kuzmina got no free points off her serve - always a problem when facing an opponent such as Vögele. Her movement steadily deteriorated as the match went along. Her BH is mediocre, and she shanked a few FHs as well. She sometimes used dropshots - not the best I've seen even at this level, but usually effective. Until she went for one when BP down. Ouch.

To her credit and despite whatever other flaws her game might have, Vögele dictates whenever possible and prefers to make things happen rather than waiting for her opponent to take the initiative. Early on the match, she was off her game, and when you're the one calling the shots, you pay the price. Errors galore from her loopy FH. She found herself down a break, and chose the right time to begin hitting some decent groundstrokes. She made no needless errors in the last games of the 1st set; there were no more botched ROS, she moved the ball around very well and hit a few wrongfooting winners. Takes the first set.

2nd set opens with a fun game; several netcords, and an excellent exchange at the net. Kuzmina managed to shank back a couple of returns to big serves from Vögele and rallied from there; she broke Vögele, but was showing increasing signs of being hampered by whatever injury was forcing her to play with her right thigh wrapped. She was up 2-1, but then gifted Vögele a break; soon Vögele was up 3-2, and Kuzmina's movement was getting worse and worse. She tried dropshots and coming to the net to cut rallies short, and got broken at 15-40. The next game saw yet another cute exchange at the net, with decent volleying from both players; Vögele held with a colossal flat serve out wide to the ad court (clay dust flew up) and a BH drive volley. So now Kuzmina was down 2-5 and serving to stay on the match; went down 0-30, but made it to 30-all with an ace and a good flat serve wide to the deuce court + CC FH winner. A DF and we had the first MP. Saved, as Vögele netted a BH ROS. Vögele then served for the match. She couldn't get a 1st serve in, and was a bit too passive, but Kuzmina went for too much and handed her the game anyway.

Lyubtsova d. Ivanova 62 57 62

Got there with Lyubtsova down 5-6 and serving to stay on the set. Got broken. The match seemed right up my alley, with big hitting and wild errors. :hearts: Sizeable crowd, as so often happens at Centralito regardless of who is playing; also seemed to be enjoying it. But expectations went unfulfilled as the 3rd set was of rather poor quality.

Lyubtsova hits very flat off both sides. Some winners off the baseline, and we all know how big you have to hit to get those on clay, but also wild errors. Often uses in-out FH, but her BH was also powerful and deep; she hit some BH winners that just clipped the lines. Her strokes, both FH and BH, are textbook. She was considerably faster than Ivanova, and got to a lot of difficult shots with time left to return them with interest.

Ivanova is big and sturdily built. A merely average mover as a consequence. Hits a deep, flat BH, but her FH is loopy and useless. Good serve, when she got it in (not very often).

Both players tried lame dropshot + lob combos that were successful more often than they should.

3rd set opened with an exchange of breaks. Once Ivanova was down 2-4 it was over though. One wild FH error after another, and she seemed to have given up on the match. Played some excellent defense to save the 2nd MP, but by then it was too late.

Lyubtsova was perhaps the most promising player I saw today in terms of balance between firepower and mobility. Plays a spectacular game. Maybe she fooled me, but I'd say she's better than her current ranking, and if she got a serve, and if she cleaned up her game, she might be going places (as in, top 100). If... If... Come to think of it, too many ifs.

Suarez Navarro d. Arina Rodionova 62 61

Got there midway through the 1st set.

Carla Suarez Navarro (CSN) looks so manly you fully expect her to scratch her crotch and blow snot rockets.

The match was somewhat tighter than the score indicates. The good news is that Arina is already developing a temper to match her big sister's. Constantly mumbling to herself and grimacing, also shouted to some rowdy kids in the stands "Will you shut up? NOW." Kids didn't say another word for the whole length of the match.

Arina's serve is mediocre overall, but her sliced serve wide to the deuce court is just superb. Like her sister, she's a decent clay mover who doesn't have much in the way of weapons, but on occasion would get pissed off enough to hit some winners. She had a lot of trouble timing her shots due to Carla Suarez Navarro's (CSN) spin, and needless errors were a constant.

CSN on the other hand is very consistent. She hits both her FH and her BH with huge topspin - the "pop" sound coming off her racquet is really something. She ends the follow-through of her FH with her arm right above her head, but parallel to the baseline - i.e. not like in a buggy-whip FH. The main advantage of hitting with that much spin isn't only a bigger margin for error - on clay, the bounce pushes her opponents back without her having to take that many risks with the placement of her shots. She's one of the very few young players with a 1-handed BH. Said topspin BH is reliable but not quite as powerful and deep as her FH; accordingly, she avoids hitting it whenever possible. She has a smooth, simple service motion and hits her serve with a lot of topspin as well; but it can be attacked if her opponent gets the timing right (Rodina usually didn't). Her 2nd serve is well placed, but she takes some risks with it and ends up making a few DFs here and there.

Overall, I was expecting more variety. She isn't a claycourt junkballer or a sliding retriever; her game consists of staying kms behind the baseline pumping topspin groundstrokes and not much else.

Hlavackova d. Dekmeijere 6-1, 6-0

What I learned today: how to pronounce Hlavackova. Sat in here for a while before heading to Court 3.

Hlavackova hits extremely flat, with little margin for error; even on clay, she'll often net her shots. Her flat serve wide to the ad court is quite good.

But I was there to see The Legend Dekmeijere, of course. She's been playing challengers full-time since antediluvian times without ever having been ranked higher than #287. Ranked mostly around #350-400 over the past few seasons. How does she play then? Not laughably bad, oddly enough. She's also a reasonably flat hitter, but is inconsistent and has a very poor ROS considering she's a veteran by women's tennis standards.

Left with Hlavackova leading 4-1. Some of the games I saw went to deuce, so I was surprised to find out what a blowout this turned out to be.

Dentoni d. Fujiwara 46 62 63

Not much to add to what I said about Dentoni's game yesterday. She has great variety on her serve, and when returning 2nd serves will step forward but then step back to the baseline when her opponent actually begins her motion. Not a typical Italian in that she couldn't get the job done at the net - "she tried" is the best that can be said. Kicked her racquet around today again, plus loud and frequent bouts of recrimination against herself and against Fate. Bottom line, she's an elegant player with a stylish game, undeniably, but then again so was Gubacsi.

Not much to say about Fujiwara's game. Standard issue Japanese retriever. No free points given away, handy at the net. So she gave Dentoni the exact same problems as Compostizo de Andres yesterday, only magnified. Rallies were shorter though, since, unlike Compostizo, Fujiwara actually knows how to hit winners. Excellent sliced serve out wide to the deuce court, used a weird block FH on defense. Often moved forward to kill Dentoni's moonballs with drive volleys - brave, considering she's a towering 1,55m.

1st set Fujiwara quickly went up a break, then got broken, and was then up a break again. Dentoni played some of her best tennis to hold when down 3-5. Fujiwara then needed 3 SPs (lost the first in a fun rally, the second with a botched moonball) to close it out; Dentoni had a BP, but netted a BH ROS.

2nd set opens with Dentoni getting broken, and immediately asking for a medical timeout (right shoulder). Match resumes, and Dentoni takes it over completely. Fujiwara, serving while down 2-5 and 0-15, complains of a twisted ankle and asks for a timeout as well. Dentoni takes the set, and Fujiwara goes on a toilet break; changed her kit as well.

Was I pissed off with all these interruptions, you ask? Not at all. Medical timeouts mean sexpot Mariana Alves :drool: will show up.

The more interruptions, the better Dentoni played it seemed. Turning point was a game in which Fujiwara, down 1-2, got 3 good serves in and went up 40-0, only to lose 5 consecutive points and getting broken. Still, Dentoni got broken when first serving for the match, but closed it at 5-3 with some good serving.

With her slender figure and irrepressible Italian emoting, Dentoni is an inevitable crowd favourite. This was how it went: Dentoni wins a good point. Crowd reaction: rapturous applause from everyone. Fujiwara wins a good point. Crowd reaction: an old woman sitting ahead of me claps. Dentoni (ranked #192) even had kids asking for her autograph after the match.

Useless random player sighting section

The court where the stands for Court 3 were built was used by many players for stretching and other workouts, and the adjacent court is one of those more often used for practice. Simultaneously or in succession, the following players were present:

- a lackadaisical Marrero
- Barrois and Meusburger hitting together
- Kirilenko, in yet another lengthy practice session (yesterday she was also there); wannabe model or not, she sure "works her butt off", as the other Maria would say.
- de los Rios took a peek inside for a while.
- The Serve of Doom, Camille Pin in person, showed up to do some sprints and talk about this "beautiful guy" she had seen - so it turns out our Camille is a hussy. :devil:
- Pironkova - she really has an odd magnetism. A bit tomboy-ish, not the prettiest player on the Tour, but whenever she's present you just can't look elsewhere.
- Klepac and Maret Ani, who are playing doubles together here.
- Safarova - was at another court, further away but still visible. Only recognized her when I heard her unmistakeable yelp. She's erratic even on practice.

Droolv
Apr 15th, 2008, 12:12 AM
Cheers :D Good to see Makiri's training hard :p

lol @ Lucie :lol: :)

Bennguin1491
Apr 15th, 2008, 02:47 AM
What I learned today: how to pronounce Hlavackova.

and how is it pronounced?

FedererBulgaria
Apr 15th, 2008, 07:03 AM
- Pironkova - she really has an odd magnetism. A bit tomboy-ish, not the prettiest player on the Tour, but whenever she's present you just can't look elsewhere.


:lol:I hope that you will report her match soon!:drool:

Corswandt
Apr 15th, 2008, 09:11 PM
and how is it pronounced?

Hlah-vah-tch-koh-vah

:lol:I hope that you will report her match soon!:drool:

I will, I was there.

Corswandt
Apr 16th, 2008, 12:36 AM
Back at reporting on clay and the lower life forms that thrive in it.

Monday, final day of qualies and first MD matches.

Vögele d. Lyubtsova 62 63

First impressions can be so deceiving. Vögele was a massive disappointment when I first saw her on that 25K, and now you all know about today's [Tuesday] heroics. Yesterday [Monday] it was Lyubtsova's turn to disappoint me. She's very fit, pugnacious and a good hitter, but Vögele made her look like an ordinary player.

The chair umpire pronounce Vögele as "vo-jelle" (as in jelly), and kept at it for the duration of the match. And he wasn't even Spanish.

Meusburger and Barrois again in attendance, Pironkova took a peek, Garbin and then Neuza Silva practicing nearby.

Vögele opened the match with a magnificent ace - a slider to the deuce court; a sign of what was to come.

Lyubtsova seemed too cautious; she wasn't going for her shots and was playing from too far behind the baseline. She was making 10% of the baseline errors she made against Ivanova, but wasn't playing any more effectively. Vögele on the other hand was moving the ball around really well from the beginning. Lyubtsova hit a couple of big in-out FH winners in the second game, but was still broken.

Vögele kept pummelling Lyubtsova's BH side with her CC BH; a typical point would feature a combo of 2-3 deep CC BHs to open up the court, and then a CC FH or an in-out BH, not very deep, but enough to do the business. To my amazement she was letting it rip with her FH at Lyubtsova's serve, usually returning CC away from Lyubtsova. Also hitting flat serves wide to the ad court - a first. I was beginning to appreciate what a good mover she is, and the quality of her footwork. Her play was flawless; she got the GP to go 4-0 up with perhaps the finest rally I saw at the Open this year.

Eventually, as some Slavic players (including a black-clad Tochilovskaya) showed up to cheer Lyubtsova on, she began going for her shots a bit more, and broke Vögele. The next game saw a huge rally end in a botched drive volley from Vögele - but in the end she broke Lyubtsova to go up 5-1.

Vögele served for the set and quickly went down 0-30; equalized with 2 good serves; but was broken by another huge in-out FH winner from Lyubtsova. Closed out the set on a lucky netcord on the next game though.

The 2nd set was of lower quality, Vögele in particular not playing as well; opened with an exchange of breaks. Lyubtsova broke Vögele with some good winners that just clipped the lines and went up 3-2; but she then got sloppy and handed back the break right away. Vögele broke to go up 5-3 and closed out the match on her serve. Always in control - a confident, impressive performance overall.

Went to get a burger, saw Meusburger hitting with Kerber and Rodionova Jr. with Savchuk. Also Safarova walking by, and Cetkovska, who is drop dead gorgeous in person, though you'd never tell from the portrait I took of her. :mad:

Pironkova d. Dubois 6-0, 6-1

Now that wears more feminine gear Pironkova looks radiant. Just luscious. Small wonder that the stands featured what seemed like the Portuguese Chapter of the Pironkova Fanboy Society (meet them at the mirror thread in the Estoril Open subforum).

1st set was even more of a massacre than the score suggests. Most points were over in 2-3 shots, with Pironkova blasting winners and Dubois reaching balls late. Dubois can slide on clay, and I've seen worse players at the Open even this year, but Pironkova is just at a different level. Pironkova is a top 50 player who is still buried in teh suck mostly due to poor scheduling. Her serve was good (it seems her motion is a bit more conventional now, and she's getting some more pop on her serve as a consequence), and she was even flattening out her loopy FH when needed. Pironkova was looking sharp, moving well, sliding comfortably, and making good use of her long stride to cover the court. And I think I managed to snap a photo of her trademark slap on the thigh. :hearts:

2nd set, and Dubois, presumably on advice from her coach (BTW after listening to Dubois and her coach I was left with the impression that the Québecois speak not French but really bad English), takes to moonballing, while Pironkova takes to making UEs. Pironkova's FH became loopy again, but her CC BH was more than enough to do the business; and even a heavy topspin FH can be useful for point construction if it's aimed right at the corners to open up the court. Dubois was playing from too far behind the baseline - even some shots of hers that looked good failed to make any impression on Pironkova. Served to stay on the match, made two consecutive DFs, which says it all.

Dubois leaves in tears, Pironkova gets mobbed by the fanboys, myself included.

Dentoni d. Suarez Navarro 61 67(4) 62

Went to Court 2 to punish myself - or so I thought. Was astonished to find that the score was 6-1, 3-2 Dentoni.

Dentoni hits with a depth and accuracy Suarez Navarro (CSN) can only dream about, and CSN isn't such a great defender (good footwork, but she doesn't do impossible gets), but I really didn't expect this.

A Spanish family was in the stands, cheering Suarez Navarro on in the finest Spanish tradition (i.e. clapping harder for Dentoni's errors than for CSN's good shots). So I sat right behind them and began clapping loudly for Dentoni's winners.

Dentoni's coach was at the other end of the stands, too far away for me to hear him, but judging by previous matches he should be saying "Keep your cool now. One point at a time. Construct. Construct." and of course "Bravissima, Cori!"

Dentoni went up 4-3, but CSN broke back for 4-4; Dentoni served for the match at 5-4, and got broken. At 5-5, 0-30, she asked for the trainer for no apparent reason other than being pissed off at herself.

On to the TB, with Dentoni seemingly always on the verge of falling apart, CSN seemingly unflappable, but perhaps more accurately subdued, considering what happened next.

CSN plays from so far behind the baseline, it's just unbelievable. And not just on the moonball duels (quite a few of those). Dentoni had already won some points due to her defence against Fujiwara, and here she did the same; but she got totally pwned whenever she ventured forward into the net.

Dentoni's confidence in her serve is remarkable. She kicks her racquet around one moment, two seconds later she's at the baseline beginning her service motion - and serves a bomb. I think she'd serve impeccably even if getting bottled by a Latin American Davis Cup crowd.

After blowing so many chances, you'd expect Dentoni to do an Azarenka and begin hitting balls into the stands, but instead she quickly went up a break in the 3rd. Saved two BPs and went up 4-1 with two big serves. Then 4 straight errors to gift CSN the game and keep her on the match. Played a good game to go 5-2 up, and broke CSN to take the match.

Saw this, and still have no idea how Dentoni won it. She won next to none of the long rallies, yet her FH and her 1-2 punches, both on serve and on return, remained lethal even when she seemed completely out of sorts.

Zakopalova, née Koukalova, d. Rodina 75 36 61

On my way to Court 3, saw Vögele getting interviewed. Fame beckons. Federer was practicing on the adjacent court, a huge crowd pressing itself against the chain link fence. Federer would occasionally take a peek at the match and at Zakopalova. :devil: Mr. Zakopal in attendance, but I doubt he could raise any objections since Almighty Fed would thoroughly kick his metrosexual ass.

I went to see this match because the last time I had seen Kookie (apologies to Mrs. Zakopalova and to Mr. Zakopal for using this shorthand) play was back in late 2005 (!), and Rodina I had never seen before at all.

Kookie looks very slight in person - I think she was once a bit more buff than she is now. Also bow-legged, though not as much as say Schnyder.

She hits extremely flat, and her shots stay low even on clay; a typical rally would feature both players hitting from about knee height. Her serve can be extremely well placed, and her shots are very deep; she had Rodina scrambling all over the place from the get go. Hitting this flat has its advantages (the ball just flew off her racquet) and disadvantages (she often netted her shots).

Rodina on the other hand also hits her BH quite flat; her FH seems weaker, as it tends to float a bit, but she nonetheless used it aggressively as well on occasion. She hits with more spin and more margin for error than Kookie, and is a better mover, but she didn't win any points through mere scrambling.

Kookie sticks to her low % game, and accordingly, after going up 3-1 she gifted back a break with UEs and a DF thrown in for good measure.

Rodina served for the set at 5-4 and didn't win another point. She got broken to love due to some superb play from Kookie, granted, but when you show yourself to be mentally weaker than that beacon of positivity that is Kookie, nuff said.

Early 2nd set was of even lower quality, with too many errors out of the blue from both players. My mind and eyes wandered a bit, and I noticed Mamic going by, Knapp and her coach lost and asking around for their practice court, and Team Beautiful (Cetkovska and Benesova) hitting together. Also that one of the ballboys looked just like Otto Mann from the Simpsons. Elegant Hlavackova attended almost the whole of the match; she's one of the players who spends more time watching the matches of her countrywomen. Sometime in the 3rd set, I went out for a stroll leaving my stuff near her; Lunaris will be happy to know that I trust Czech people.

Set opened with Rodina taking over the rallies to break Kookie, but in the next game she failed to hold as Kookie blasted away two of her serves. At 3-2 for Rodina nobody had yet held serve. Rodina went up 5-2 and Kookie served to stay on the set; one of Rodina's best points of the match won her the first point, and all the remaining featured good play from both. The converted SP was a CC BH duel that finished with Kookie netting her shot.

3rd set began with some more superb rallies. Some good play from Kookie saw her go up 2-1, 40-0, but she was taken to deuce after two big winners from Rodina. Saved a BP with an ace, and was thus 3-1, and then 4-1, up. Kookie was not hitting winners at will, as Rodina seemed deflated. MP was won on a lucky netcord.

It was still relatively early, so I went to check out some of the doubles action. :yawn:

First Ani/Klepac vs Navratilova/Niculescu for the photo op. Part of the Czech contingent in attendance (Hrdinova, Kookie, Hlavackova and some dudes). Then on to Court Central, where I finished the day, for Senoglu/Jugic-Salkic vs Team Beautiful.

Ben.
Apr 16th, 2008, 12:58 AM
great report :yeah:

RandomShot
Apr 16th, 2008, 01:11 AM
Thankyou for the report :)

FedererBulgaria
Apr 16th, 2008, 07:07 AM
Thanks:worship::kiss:

dreylau
Apr 16th, 2008, 09:13 AM
thanks Corswandt for your great report of the match of Tsvetana

14v_v
Apr 16th, 2008, 07:34 PM
hello all


after 3 days of estoril open i will leave here couple of pics


enjoy :)



http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/5620/serraeo4.th.jpg (http://img134.imageshack.us/my.php?image=serraeo4.jpg)

me with Florent Serra - very nice player!

http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/9903/cimg1813fb8.th.jpg (http://img519.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cimg1813fb8.jpg)

Tax before match aganist Yulia in 1st round!

Tax was very kind and smile and saying :) to the pic


ti amo Tax!


http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/2662/pironkova4ba8.th.jpg (http://img519.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pironkova4ba8.jpg)

me and one friend with Pironkova after 1st round!

she´s very nice also ;)


http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/4485/dentoni2oc6.th.jpg (http://img144.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dentoni2oc6.jpg)

Dentoni (very pretty) win aganist Suarez


http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/6595/pin1pe2.th.jpg (http://img236.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pin1pe2.jpg)

camille pin big serve ;)

Corswandt
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:29 PM
http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/2662/pironkova4ba8.th.jpg (http://img519.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pironkova4ba8.jpg)

me and one friend with Pironkova after 1st round!

The portrait I got of Pironkova was taken not ten seconds later.

Saw you all there today at the Pironkova match, and then at Zakopalova vs Dentoni as well, right?

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm the nerd with the red clipboard. :wavey:

FORZA SARITA
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:34 PM
Nice pics:D
Tax always nice as usual:kiss:
Corinna:hearts:

14v_v
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:37 PM
The portrait I got of Pironkova was taken not ten seconds later.

Saw you all there today at the Pironkova match, and then at Zakopalova vs Dentoni as well, right?

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm the nerd with the red clipboard. :wavey:


yes i was in Tsveti today and zakopalova also :)



Tseveti sxhould hold serv to 5-5 and maybe the matchs can had another final!



did you see Tathiana garbin match ?

Corswandt
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:41 PM
did you see Tathiana garbin match ?

No, I didn't. Was it as exciting as the score suggests?

That day I was at Michelle's match at Court Central, and then moved to Kirilenko vs Vögele at Court 1. I saw Garbin today - showed up for a moment at Dentoni's match.

14v_v
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:46 PM
No, I didn't. Was it as exciting as the score suggests?

That day I was at Michelle's match at Court Central, and then moved to Kirilenko vs Vögele at Court 1. I saw Garbin today - showed up for a moment at Dentoni's match.

yes Tax was there tpday in Dentoni match ;)





1st round aganist yulia it was hilarious! even her coach did not believe in win...


after 61 1*-0 Tax lost completly concentration and did not find back concentration!


she fight a lot and only me pushing for her!



i take a pic with her in final of the match and she said thanks for the support!

Tax fight a lot even not playing her best tennis in 3 set



do you have any pic of you ?

FORZA SARITA
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:48 PM
yes Tax was there tpday in Dentoni match ;)





1st round aganist yulia it was hilarious! even her coach did not believe in win...


after 61 1*-0 Tax lost completly concentration and did not find back concentration!


she fight a lot and only me pushing for her!



i take a pic with her in final of the match and she said thanks for the support!

Tax fight a lot even not playing her best tennis in 3 set



do you have any pic of you ?

how played Corinna today?:p i think she was really tired after all these matches she played this week:sad:

14v_v
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:52 PM
how played Corinna today?:p i think she was really tired after all these matches she played this week:sad:

i think corinne have some talented!


she knows what to do in court, she will improve for sure!

yes maybe tired today, but klara better player now


we will see dentoni for sure in top 50 (just my opinion)

FORZA SARITA
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:54 PM
i think corinne have some talented!


she knows what to do in court, she will improve for sure!

yes maybe tired today, but klara better player now


we will see dentoni for sure in top 50 (just my opinion)

thanks:)
if you go tomorrow support Tax also for me:bounce:

14v_v
Apr 16th, 2008, 08:57 PM
thanks:)
if you go tomorrow support Tax also for me:bounce:

yes if not rain, i will be there for sure supporting Tax :cool:


i hope a win here to Tax

Corswandt
Apr 16th, 2008, 09:33 PM
how played Corinna today?:p i think she was really tired after all these matches she played this week:sad:

Left knee was strapped, but I don't think that was a factor. She had only played pushers up until now; Zakopalova by contrast can actually hit winners past her - which she did. 1st set was tight because Zakopalova hadn't yet found her range and was making a lot of errors.

Bennguin1491
Apr 16th, 2008, 09:35 PM
Mr. Zakopal in attendance, but I doubt he could raise any objections since Almighty Fed would thoroughly kick his metrosexual ass.

:spit: i do think mr. zakopalov is :hearts:, but he does strike me as such.

thanks for the awesome reports!

Corswandt
Apr 17th, 2008, 12:15 AM
Tuesday - main draw, first round

Headed to Court 2 to see Camille and her Serve of Doom, and nearly got run over by King Kolya, Eduard, and at least a couple of other grim looking fellows, walking fast and looking fiercely determined. I immediately understood that this year there would be no first round tank job from Davydenko. "Poor Melzer", I thought; "But at least he got to bone Nicole".

Pin d. Kerber 76(6) 63


Saw all of the 3rd set. Someone who I supposed was Kerber's coach and/or father was in the stands, calling her "Anya".

Kerber, who looks extremely fit and was wearing some nice, no nonsense gear, has a pretty lefty FH, but it's not exactly textbook - it seemed as if every single FH she hit had a different, often bizarre, follow-through. Her serve is harmless; she has a nice motion, but just doesn't get any racquethead speed with it. Good placement is the only possible asset of such a serve. She slides and hits a good running FH, but she's a bad defender overall. Her BH is her most powerful shot when she's given the time to set it up, but she doesn't move the ball around that well with it, often hitting to wherever she happens to be facing. Her defence on her BH side is very, very poor.

Kerber won the toss and selected to return - how very unsurprising. To my surprise Pin opened the match by trying to overpower Kerber with her FH - no, really - and made 3 consecutive wild errors - no, really. But she quickly broke back, including a cute dropshot ROS.

There were 5 successive breaks before Kerber finally held serve. Pin wasn't playing a smart match at all - she played almost exclusively into Kerber's FH, and her shot selection was sometimes puzzling.

A stupid dropshot from Pin gave Kerber a GP for 4-2, and Pin gifted it by going for a FH ROS winner (no, really) and missing it.

But then a miracle happened. Pin held serve.

At 4-4, with Pin serving, Kerber hit two wonderful FH winners and broke The Serve of Doom. Kerber then served for the set, but got broken as Pin took to moonballing. She would then move forward and attack with her FH as soon as Kerber hit a moonball short.

So it was now turn for Kerber to serve to stay on the set - which she did, because Pin was 100% passive. On to the TB, with Kerber - smartly - playing quite conservatively. Down 3-4, Pin completely lost it. Argued with the umpire, complained that she had played "4 balls that were out". Went on to hit two stupid errors in a row. 2 SPs Kerber. Pin saved the first win an in-out FH winner (no, really), and the second by pushing Kerber back with moonballs and then moving forward when Kerber's own moonballs came up short. Which was also how she won her SP.

As I was leaving, I heard Pin asking the umpire for a paper tissue, so I stretched my arm and gave her one.

Mamic d. Micaela Carolina Larcher de Brito 2-6, 6-0, 6-4

I headed out to Court Central and to the national lovefest that was scheduled to take place there - and which didn't quite according to plan. The TMN girls were handing over little plastic Portuguese flags at the gate, but contrary to my fears the crowd was quite civil throughout.

So how does Micaela Carolina play?

She's small and fit, but her court coverage really isn't that good - some of it, granted, is due to her small wingspan. She began the match by hitting really hard down the middle, and for a while it seemed that she couldn't change the direction of the ball with her BH. Errors usually came when she tried to open angles. Serve is nonexistent. Even when she gets it in (far from a given), it makes Radwanska's 2nd serve look like Roddick's 1st. Groundstrokes are good, yes, but the way people talk about Micaela Carolina you'd think she has a bigger FH than Ivanovic. Far from it, of course. She has to hit 2-3 good shots to win a point. She did a good job in getting some of Mamic's big serves back into play though - I doubt any other 15 y.o. would have been able to do the same. Her ROS can be all or nothing, usually with a sharply angled CC BH or in-out FH. Even before she began self-destructing, you could see that she's erratic, and is often caught out of position. Her game "plan" for this match consisted of hitting as hard as possible to Mamic's FH side. People who say Sharapova has no plan B would do well to watch Micaela Carolina.

Mamic hits very deep and accurately, but doesn't generate the kind of pace that Brito does, obviously. She has a good serve, much more varied and less predictable than that of most lefties (but you'd never know if you had only seen the 1st set). She can slide, and defends OK for a player of her size.

It was mostly the shakyness of her serve that lost her the 1st set, even though Brito won the odd good point with groundstroke combos.

Once Mamic got her serve going, she cruised. The 1st break of the 2nd set Brito buried herself in DFs, the 2nd she buried herself in baseline errors. Mamic had realized she only had to keep the ball in play, and she used her topspin FH intelligently; also some slices to further discomfit Brito, who was hitting one wild error after another. She clearly wasn't thinking anymore.

In the 3rd set, Brito got broken to give Mamic a 4-2 lead by failing to move for a ROS because she apparently thought it would be out. Mamic held for 5-2 in a game that featured some of the least bad tennis of the match. Mamic didn't really choke when it was time to close out the match; she just felt the need to force a decision and went for her own shots a bit more, making a few errors as a consequence. MP was won by a successful dropshot.

By now, the constricted venue seemed as if it was about to burst. As many as 7.000 people were milling about. Logistics broke down, there were long queues at every toilet, and at about 14:30 PM there was no food left anywhere. At least nowhere I could find it.

(to be finished tomorrow - Kirilenko/Vögele and Flipper/Safarova; I apologize for the delays, but tomorrow is supposed to be rained out and I'll do my best to catch up)

IMPOSSIBLE
Apr 17th, 2008, 12:46 AM
anything on Sofia Arvidsson ?

Corswandt
Apr 17th, 2008, 12:50 AM
anything on Sofia Arvidsson ?

Just a couple of photos which, at this rate, I'll upload and post sometime in November. :o

Arthus
Apr 17th, 2008, 08:15 PM
Nice pics and great report as usual, thanks a lot corswandt

HenryMag.
Apr 17th, 2008, 08:52 PM
yes if not rain, i will be there for sure supporting Tax :cool:

i hope a win here to Tax

Tax won :D

Nice match to watch!


BTW, I saw you today supporting Flipkens. ;)

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:55 AM
Saturday - round one of qualies

Venue hasn't changed much from last year. The girls at the sponsor booths look like crap compared to previous years though.

Insanely packed OOP; play began at 10:00 AM with 8 (eight) women's matches being played simultaneously. I suspect the organizers panicked at the prospect of rain delays and tried to finish as many matches as possible as soon as possible by using as many courts as possible. In the end, there was no rain, all the hapless Portuguese went down in about 15 mins average, and so the schedule cleared pretty quickly; by 16:15, only a few ATP Q matches were still being played, and there really wasn't much else to do other than go watch Fed's practice session with the Portuguese scrubs, which was what I did for the rest of the afternoon.

Anyways.

Got there and confirmed my suspicions that Courts 13 and 18 didn't have stands, or any place where you could sit or even stand watching. This ruled out some of the matches I was more keen on watching, namely Hlavackova vs Pivovarova. Disappointed, I headed to Court 1 to see Soler-Espinosa, only to find out she had been replaced by ALT Tochilovskaya (ALT for the second year running). Not the match I had in mind to watch, but by then I couldn't be arsed to go elsewhere to find something more interesting, so I stayed and took out camera, pen and clipboard.

Hrdinova d. Tochilovskaya 6-0, 7-5

Got there at 3-0 Hrdinova. Played under dark, heavy clouds.

Hrdinova looks impressive. Tall, at around 1,85m, and very powerfully built. After she won the match, the kids were all over her, and with good reason - in Portugal, a woman of that size is a wonder in itself. She was all patched up though. She has a big serve for this level, as is to be expected (hit some aces); her groundstrokes were more powerful than Tochilovskaya's by a wide margin, and she hit quite a few wrongfooting winners. Her BH looks weird, and she often attempted cute dropshots (both BH and FH) off Tochilovskaya's puffballs, almost always successfully since her opponent was playing from so far behind the baseline. Her big wingspan is helfpul on defense, and she has the kind of reliable defensive slice you can expect from a seasoned veteran.

As for the diminutive Tochilovskaya, she was completely outgunned. Even those serves she managed to place well risked getting blasted away. She couldn't get any kind of depth on her shots, save for the odd BH (her best shot by far), and she wasn't moving well, lunging or leaning into many of her shots instead of placing her feet properly. She tried defensive slices on occasion, and botched all of them.

1st set went according to script, with a few amusing incidents - both players let aces go by because they thought the serve would be out, Hrdinova complained to the clueless umpire (weird accent - said "duce", as in Mussolini, instead of "deuce", often forgot the score) about Tochilovskaya taking too little time between serves, and Tochilovskaya's racquet was thrown around quite a bit. Early on the 2nd set, Hrdinova seemed to become impatient, and began netting FHs. Tochilovskaya also managed to stay in rallies longer. By the middle of the 2nd set, the match was much more balanced, and Hrdinova's FH was still leaking errors, but her serve bailed her out on a few occasions. Hrdinova up a break 4-2, and then all of a sudden she stopped moving, dumping all of her groundstrokes into the net. Tochilovskaya, to her credit, isn't stupid; she realized all she had to do was to keep the ball in play, and this she tried to do; but she wasn't consistent enough to pull it off and ended up losing the set and the match. Hrdinova closed it out with a dropshot + lob combo.

Headed out to Court 2 right beside to watch

Zec-Peskiric d. Gerasimou 62 36 76(4)

Got there late on the 2nd set. There was a gentleman, impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, sitting nearby myself politely cheering Zec-Peskiric (ZP) on. Match was slightly better than the previous one. Less wild errors out of the blue, at least.

Gerasimou isn't the greatest of scramblers, but she's tactically savvy, playing a high % game but nearly always picking the right moment to go for her shots, particularly the FH. Some good touch shots - but often hit at the worst possible time. Serve is crap, and retreated kms behind the baseline to return serve. She has some interesting variety on that ugly ass FH of hers; hit a few FH slices, can hit it with loads of topspin, and flattened it out to take over points when she had an opening. Her BH is teh suck though; rarely cleared the service line.

ZP has absolutely no weapons and no variety. Her only tactical option is to move the ball from corner to corner, and she had to hit 5-6 good FHs to win a single point. But she realized Gerasimou had very little to hurt her with, and her patience eventually paid off.

Odd that Gerasimou looks somewhat unfit, but by the end of the 2nd set it was ZP who was puffing and heaving. ZP began the 3rd set looking beaten, and she was down 0-3, but turned the match around by hitting some nice wrongfooting winners (and above all by running around her BH to hit her FH time and again), even though she often played the decisive points too tentatively. Served for the match but got broken at 30-40; then managed to break Gerasimou on her 3rd BP, a weird rally in which both players were exchanging groundstrokes while standing well inside the court. Served for the match again and again got broken in a CC BH duel, all the time taking ages between 1st and 2nd serves (nerves?). Prevailed in the TB mostly because Gerasimou played shite in it.

Went to eat something, eventually sat at a ATP Q match involving two Portuguese to wait for Dentoni and the aristocratically named Eloisa Maria Compostizo de Andres (EMCA), who were next on. Brie Whitehead and her mother were also in attendance.

In the adjacent Court 13, Hlavackova was blowing Pivovarova clean off the court with her FH. Eventually Pivovarova called in for the trainer and received medical assistance (left knee/thigh IIRC) for a while. Pivovarova's serve motion is majestic, so wide and ornate it makes Sharapova's look spartan. Simply wonderful stuff, to the extent that you don't really care if it's effective or not. Converted MP on Court 13, and not 10 seconds later converted MP in the court I was sitting at. What are the odds of that?

Dentoni d. Compostizo de Andres 63 64

Watched all of this.

Compostizo de Andres is a lefty (I've been seeing her name in challenger draws for ages and yet had no idea she was left handed) who doesn't fit the Spanish stereotype - she's blonde and has dark blue eyes. She has the most beautiful, toned, athletic legs you can imagine. I have some photos, which I'll eventually post, but no picture can do them justice. Too bad about her game though - 100% predictable, it consists of keeping the ball in play by hitting topspin CC FH into her opponent's BH side over and over again and not much else. She had countless opportunities to step in and be aggressive, but she remained resolutely glued to the baseline instead. Against some impatient ball basher, she might have done better, but to her misfortune Dentoni is very consistent herself.

Neither player could get any kind of depth on their BH shots. Rallies far too often degenerated in exchanges of moonballs, as both were reluctant to take risks.

Dentoni, who seems to have attended the Pierce/Golovin School of Prim Mannerisms but dropped out of it in time not to be wholly insufferable, is long - long limbs, long torso, long neck. Svelte rather than athletic though - I suspect not bulking up is a deliberate choice so as not to hamper her movement (currently acceptable for someone of her build), but she looked drained by the middle of the 2nd set, and complained of it to her coach afterwards, and adding some muscle would give some more bite to her shots and perhaps make her less vulnerable to big hitters.

Dentoni's game is a bit like Chakvetadze's in that it is impossible to label. The best I can come up with is that she's probably the most aggressive puffballer you'll ever see. Her swings are wide and effortless, her shots don't have much pace and look harmless at first sight, and her 1st serve is all placement (the 2nd serve is just an embarrassment, but it's not like EMCA would attack it anyway). But she hit a number of aces, and her serve is well placed enough to allow her to hit the first FH in rallies and take them over or even finish them off. At least at this level, she can play 1-2 serve + FH winner combo points without having much in the way of raw firepower - seen live it looks even weirder than this description would lead you to think. Her FH isn't a huge shot, but she hits it to both corners (more often in-out) with such depth, accuracy and consistency that it's easy to see why she runs around her BH ASAP to hit it.

Dentoni began the match completely off her game, and seemed on the fast track to be completely routed, but early on the 1st managed to close out a game in which she was for the most outplayed and took over the match from there. By the end of the 1st set, she was hitting one in-out FH winner after another. SP, and EMCA decides to commit suicide by rushing the net. On to 2nd set, with EMCA holding easily, and Dentoni having to hit a big winner to save a BP on the next game. But you got the feeling that any error from EMCA would be fatal since she was hitting no winners herself; and soon she was down two breaks. Dentoni served for the set and got broken; EMCA went into wall mode, and all the rallies now went on for at least 15 shots. EMCA lost an endless exchange of moonballs to give Dentoni her 1st MP, which she squandered. Dentoni was clearly becoming discomfited with EMCA's relentless pushing; again she served for the match, and after missing her 3rd MP on a botched volley she began sobbing uncontrollably and had to turn her back to the match for a while to recover her composure (got a warning from the umpire). Closed it out on her 4th MP.

On to Court Central and to Fed's practice session. Mirka was there as well, left for a while, presumably to eat (ice cream booth is the closest one to Court Central). Session started slow, then Fed began showing off a bit. His BH slice is scary - even on clay, it hardly bounces, and its depth and accuracy are remarkable. He also hit scores of perfect dropshots off Rui Machado's topspin junk, and made up a number of all-wrist touch shots as he went along.

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:56 AM
Sunday - second round of qualies

Sorry for the delay.

Didn't take the scenic route today not only because I was late, but also because that would mean running into a few tens of thousands of bikers congregating at the Moto GP, since EN9 goes right past the Autódromo.

Vögele d. Kuzmina 64 63

German-language players stick together: Meusburger and Barrois were in attendance.

I first saw Vögele play at a local 25K late last year. My comments can be found here:

http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=12041078&postcount=1

The good news: Vögele has improved.

The bad news: she still sucks.

She's clearly working on ways to use her FH to move the ball around. She no longer avoids returning serve with her FH at all costs, but her FH ROS can be very poor; she has obvious timing problems. When in rallies, she can only loop back her FH when forced to hit under pressure or on the move. Serve remains a weapon (for this level). It earns her 1-2 free or nearly free points (unreturned/easy putaways) on each service game; her sliced serve down the T to the ad court is amazing for a player of her age. Vögele doesn't know how to hit conventional volleys and her drive volleys can be shaky, but she goes for them anyway.

Kuzmina got no free points off her serve - always a problem when facing an opponent such as Vögele. Her movement steadily deteriorated as the match went along. Her BH is mediocre, and she shanked a few FHs as well. She sometimes used dropshots - not the best I've seen even at this level, but usually effective. Until she went for one when BP down. Ouch.

To her credit and despite whatever other flaws her game might have, Vögele dictates whenever possible and prefers to make things happen rather than waiting for her opponent to take the initiative. Early on the match, she was off her game, and when you're the one calling the shots, you pay the price. Errors galore from her loopy FH. She found herself down a break, and chose the right time to begin hitting some decent groundstrokes. She made no needless errors in the last games of the 1st set; there were no more botched ROS, she moved the ball around very well and hit a few wrongfooting winners. Takes the first set.

2nd set opens with a fun game; several netcords, and an excellent exchange at the net. Kuzmina managed to shank back a couple of returns to big serves from Vögele and rallied from there; she broke Vögele, but was showing increasing signs of being hampered by whatever injury was forcing her to play with her right thigh wrapped. She was up 2-1, but then gifted Vögele a break; soon Vögele was up 3-2, and Kuzmina's movement was getting worse and worse. She tried dropshots and coming to the net to cut rallies short, and got broken at 15-40. The next game saw yet another cute exchange at the net, with decent volleying from both players; Vögele held with a colossal flat serve out wide to the ad court (clay dust flew up) and a BH drive volley. So now Kuzmina was down 2-5 and serving to stay on the match; went down 0-30, but made it to 30-all with an ace and a good flat serve wide to the deuce court + CC FH winner. A DF and we had the first MP. Saved, as Vögele netted a BH ROS. Vögele then served for the match. She couldn't get a 1st serve in, and was a bit too passive, but Kuzmina went for too much and handed her the game anyway.

Lyubtsova d. Ivanova 62 57 62

Got there with Lyubtsova down 5-6 and serving to stay on the set. Got broken. The match seemed right up my alley, with big hitting and wild errors. :hearts: Sizeable crowd, as so often happens at Centralito regardless of who is playing; also seemed to be enjoying it. But expectations went unfulfilled as the 3rd set was of rather poor quality.

Lyubtsova hits very flat off both sides. Some winners off the baseline, and we all know how big you have to hit to get those on clay, but also wild errors. Often uses in-out FH, but her BH was also powerful and deep; she hit some BH winners that just clipped the lines. Her strokes, both FH and BH, are textbook. She was considerably faster than Ivanova, and got to a lot of difficult shots with time left to return them with interest.

Ivanova is big and sturdily built. A merely average mover as a consequence. Hits a deep, flat BH, but her FH is loopy and useless. Good serve, when she got it in (not very often).

Both players tried lame dropshot + lob combos that were successful more often than they should.

3rd set opened with an exchange of breaks. Once Ivanova was down 2-4 it was over though. One wild FH error after another, and she seemed to have given up on the match. Played some excellent defense to save the 2nd MP, but by then it was too late.

Lyubtsova was perhaps the most promising player I saw today in terms of balance between firepower and mobility. Plays a spectacular game. Maybe she fooled me, but I'd say she's better than her current ranking, and if she got a serve, and if she cleaned up her game, she might be going places (as in, top 100). If... If... Come to think of it, too many ifs.

Suarez Navarro d. Arina Rodionova 62 61

Got there midway through the 1st set.

Carla Suarez Navarro (CSN) looks so manly you fully expect her to scratch her crotch and blow snot rockets.

The match was somewhat tighter than the score indicates. The good news is that Arina is already developing a temper to match her big sister's. Constantly mumbling to herself and grimacing, also shouted to some rowdy kids in the stands "Will you shut up? NOW." Kids didn't say another word for the whole length of the match.

Arina's serve is mediocre overall, but her sliced serve wide to the deuce court is just superb. Like her sister, she's a decent clay mover who doesn't have much in the way of weapons, but on occasion would get pissed off enough to hit some winners. She had a lot of trouble timing her shots due to Carla Suarez Navarro's (CSN) spin, and needless errors were a constant.

CSN on the other hand is very consistent. She hits both her FH and her BH with huge topspin - the "pop" sound coming off her racquet is really something. She ends the follow-through of her FH with her arm right above her head, but parallel to the baseline - i.e. not like in a buggy-whip FH. The main advantage of hitting with that much spin isn't only a bigger margin for error - on clay, the bounce pushes her opponents back without her having to take that many risks with the placement of her shots. She's one of the very few young players with a 1-handed BH. Said topspin BH is reliable but not quite as powerful and deep as her FH; accordingly, she avoids hitting it whenever possible. She has a smooth, simple service motion and hits her serve with a lot of topspin as well; but it can be attacked if her opponent gets the timing right (Rodina usually didn't). Her 2nd serve is well placed, but she takes some risks with it and ends up making a few DFs here and there.

Overall, I was expecting more variety. She isn't a claycourt junkballer or a sliding retriever; her game consists of staying kms behind the baseline pumping topspin groundstrokes and not much else.

Hlavackova d. Dekmeijere 6-1, 6-0

What I learned today: how to pronounce Hlavackova. Sat in here for a while before heading to Court 3.

Hlavackova hits extremely flat, with little margin for error; even on clay, she'll often net her shots. Her flat serve wide to the ad court is quite good.

But I was there to see The Legend Dekmeijere, of course. She's been playing challengers full-time since antediluvian times without ever having been ranked higher than #287. Ranked mostly around #350-400 over the past few seasons. How does she play then? Not laughably bad, oddly enough. She's also a reasonably flat hitter, but is inconsistent and has a very poor ROS considering she's a veteran by women's tennis standards.

Left with Hlavackova leading 4-1. Some of the games I saw went to deuce, so I was surprised to find out what a blowout this turned out to be.

Dentoni d. Fujiwara 46 62 63

Not much to add to what I said about Dentoni's game yesterday. She has great variety on her serve, and when returning 2nd serves will step forward but then step back to the baseline when her opponent actually begins her motion. Not a typical Italian in that she couldn't get the job done at the net - "she tried" is the best that can be said. Kicked her racquet around today again, plus loud and frequent bouts of recrimination against herself and against Fate. Bottom line, she's an elegant player with a stylish game, undeniably, but then again so was Gubacsi.

Not much to say about Fujiwara's game. Standard issue Japanese retriever. No free points given away, handy at the net. So she gave Dentoni the exact same problems as Compostizo de Andres yesterday, only magnified. Rallies were shorter though, since, unlike Compostizo, Fujiwara actually knows how to hit winners. Excellent sliced serve out wide to the deuce court, used a weird block FH on defense. Often moved forward to kill Dentoni's moonballs with drive volleys - brave, considering she's a towering 1,55m.

1st set Fujiwara quickly went up a break, then got broken, and was then up a break again. Dentoni played some of her best tennis to hold when down 3-5. Fujiwara then needed 3 SPs (lost the first in a fun rally, the second with a botched moonball) to close it out; Dentoni had a BP, but netted a BH ROS.

2nd set opens with Dentoni getting broken, and immediately asking for a medical timeout (right shoulder). Match resumes, and Dentoni takes it over completely. Fujiwara, serving while down 2-5 and 0-15, complains of a twisted ankle and asks for a timeout as well. Dentoni takes the set, and Fujiwara goes on a toilet break; changed her kit as well.

Was I pissed off with all these interruptions, you ask? Not at all. Medical timeouts mean sexpot Mariana Alves :drool: will show up.

The more interruptions, the better Dentoni played it seemed. Turning point was a game in which Fujiwara, down 1-2, got 3 good serves in and went up 40-0, only to lose 5 consecutive points and getting broken. Still, Dentoni got broken when first serving for the match, but closed it at 5-3 with some good serving.

With her slender figure and irrepressible Italian emoting, Dentoni is an inevitable crowd favourite. This was how it went: Dentoni wins a good point. Crowd reaction: rapturous applause from everyone. Fujiwara wins a good point. Crowd reaction: an old woman sitting ahead of me claps. Dentoni (ranked #192) even had kids asking for her autograph after the match.

Useless random player sighting section

The court where the stands for Court 3 were built was used by many players for stretching and other workouts, and the adjacent court is one of those more often used for practice. Simultaneously or in succession, the following players were present:

- a lackadaisical Marrero
- Barrois and Meusburger hitting together
- Kirilenko, in yet another lengthy practice session (yesterday she was also there); wannabe model or not, she sure "works her butt off", as the other Maria would say.
- de los Rios took a peek inside for a while.
- The Serve of Doom, Camille Pin in person, showed up to do some sprints and talk about this "beautiful guy" she had seen - so it turns out our Camille is a hussy. :devil:
- Pironkova - she really has an odd magnetism. A bit tomboy-ish, not the prettiest player on the Tour, but whenever she's present you just can't look elsewhere.
- Klepac and Maret Ani, who are playing doubles together here.
- Safarova - was at another court, further away but still visible. Only recognized her when I heard her unmistakeable yelp. She's erratic even on practice.

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:57 AM
Monday - final round of qualies and first MD matches

Back at reporting on clay and the lower life forms that thrive in it.

Vögele d. Lyubtsova 62 63

First impressions can be so deceiving. Vögele was a massive disappointment when I first saw her on that 25K, and now you all know about today's [Tuesday] heroics. Yesterday [Monday] it was Lyubtsova's turn to disappoint me. She's very fit, pugnacious and a good hitter, but Vögele made her look like an ordinary player.

The chair umpire pronounce Vögele as "vo-jelle" (as in jelly), and kept at it for the duration of the match. And he wasn't even Spanish.

Meusburger and Barrois again in attendance, Pironkova took a peek, Garbin and then Neuza Silva practicing nearby.

Vögele opened the match with a magnificent ace - a slider to the deuce court; a sign of what was to come.

Lyubtsova seemed too cautious; she wasn't going for her shots and was playing from too far behind the baseline. She was making 10% of the baseline errors she made against Ivanova, but wasn't playing any more effectively. Vögele on the other hand was moving the ball around really well from the beginning. Lyubtsova hit a couple of big in-out FH winners in the second game, but was still broken.

Vögele kept pummelling Lyubtsova's BH side with her CC BH; a typical point would feature a combo of 2-3 deep CC BHs to open up the court, and then a CC FH or an in-out BH, not very deep, but enough to do the business. To my amazement she was letting it rip with her FH at Lyubtsova's serve, usually returning CC away from Lyubtsova. Also hitting flat serves wide to the ad court - a first. I was beginning to appreciate what a good mover she is, and the quality of her footwork. Her play was flawless; she got the GP to go 4-0 up with perhaps the finest rally I saw at the Open this year.

Eventually, as some Slavic players (including a black-clad Tochilovskaya) showed up to cheer Lyubtsova on, she began going for her shots a bit more, and broke Vögele. The next game saw a huge rally end in a botched drive volley from Vögele - but in the end she broke Lyubtsova to go up 5-1.

Vögele served for the set and quickly went down 0-30; equalized with 2 good serves; but was broken by another huge in-out FH winner from Lyubtsova. Closed out the set on a lucky netcord on the next game though.

The 2nd set was of lower quality, Vögele in particular not playing as well; opened with an exchange of breaks. Lyubtsova broke Vögele with some good winners that just clipped the lines and went up 3-2; but she then got sloppy and handed back the break right away. Vögele broke to go up 5-3 and closed out the match on her serve. Always in control - a confident, impressive performance overall.

Went to get a burger, saw Meusburger hitting with Kerber and Rodionova Jr. with Savchuk. Also Safarova walking by, and Cetkovska, who is drop dead gorgeous in person, though you'd never tell from the portrait I took of her. :mad:

Pironkova d. Dubois 6-0, 6-1

Now that wears more feminine gear Pironkova looks radiant. Just luscious. Small wonder that the stands featured what seemed like the Portuguese Chapter of the Pironkova Fanboy Society (meet them at the mirror thread in the Estoril Open subforum).

1st set was even more of a massacre than the score suggests. Most points were over in 2-3 shots, with Pironkova blasting winners and Dubois reaching balls late. Dubois can slide on clay, and I've seen worse players at the Open even this year, but Pironkova is just at a different level. Pironkova is a top 50 player who is still buried in teh suck mostly due to poor scheduling. Her serve was good (it seems her motion is a bit more conventional now, and she's getting some more pop on her serve as a consequence), and she was even flattening out her loopy FH when needed. Pironkova was looking sharp, moving well, sliding comfortably, and making good use of her long stride to cover the court. And I think I managed to snap a photo of her trademark slap on the thigh. :hearts:

2nd set, and Dubois, presumably on advice from her coach (BTW after listening to Dubois and her coach I was left with the impression that the Québecois speak not French but really bad English), takes to moonballing, while Pironkova takes to making UEs. Pironkova's FH became loopy again, but her CC BH was more than enough to do the business; and even a heavy topspin FH can be useful for point construction if it's aimed right at the corners to open up the court. Dubois was playing from too far behind the baseline - even some shots of hers that looked good failed to make any impression on Pironkova. Served to stay on the match, made two consecutive DFs, which says it all.

Dubois leaves in tears, Pironkova gets mobbed by the fanboys, myself included.

Dentoni d. Suarez Navarro 61 67(4) 62

Went to Court 2 to punish myself - or so I thought. Was astonished to find that the score was 6-1, 3-2 Dentoni.

Dentoni hits with a depth and accuracy Suarez Navarro (CSN) can only dream about, and CSN isn't such a great defender (good footwork, but she doesn't do impossible gets), but I really didn't expect this.

A Spanish family was in the stands, cheering Suarez Navarro on in the finest Spanish tradition (i.e. clapping harder for Dentoni's errors than for CSN's good shots). So I sat right behind them and began clapping loudly for Dentoni's winners.

Dentoni's coach was at the other end of the stands, too far away for me to hear him, but judging by previous matches he should be saying "Keep your cool now. One point at a time. Construct. Construct." and of course "Bravissima, Cori!"

Dentoni went up 4-3, but CSN broke back for 4-4; Dentoni served for the match at 5-4, and got broken. At 5-5, 0-30, she asked for the trainer for no apparent reason other than being pissed off at herself.

On to the TB, with Dentoni seemingly always on the verge of falling apart, CSN seemingly unflappable, but perhaps more accurately subdued, considering what happened next.

CSN plays from so far behind the baseline, it's just unbelievable. And not just on the moonball duels (quite a few of those). Dentoni had already won some points due to her defence against Fujiwara, and here she did the same; but she got totally pwned whenever she ventured forward into the net.

Dentoni's confidence in her serve is remarkable. She kicks her racquet around one moment, two seconds later she's at the baseline beginning her service motion - and serves a bomb. I think she'd serve impeccably even if getting bottled by a Latin American Davis Cup crowd.

After blowing so many chances, you'd expect Dentoni to do an Azarenka and begin hitting balls into the stands, but instead she quickly went up a break in the 3rd. Saved two BPs and went up 4-1 with two big serves. Then 4 straight errors to gift CSN the game and keep her on the match. Played a good game to go 5-2 up, and broke CSN to take the match.

Saw this, and still have no idea how Dentoni won it. She won next to none of the long rallies, yet her FH and her 1-2 punches, both on serve and on return, remained lethal even when she seemed completely out of sorts.

Zakopalova, née Koukalova, d. Rodina 75 36 61

On my way to Court 3, saw Vögele getting interviewed. Fame beckons. Federer was practicing on the adjacent court, a huge crowd pressing itself against the chain link fence. Federer would occasionally take a peek at the match and at Zakopalova. :devil: Mr. Zakopal in attendance, but I doubt he could raise any objections since Almighty Fed would thoroughly kick his metrosexual ass.

I went to see this match because the last time I had seen Kookie (apologies to Mrs. Zakopalova and to Mr. Zakopal for using this shorthand) play was back in late 2005 (!), and Rodina I had never seen before at all. Match didn't feature much variety other than a couple of dropshots from Kookie. Somewhat boring.

Kookie looks very slight in person - I think she was once a bit more buff than she is now. Also bow-legged, though not as much as say Schnyder.

She hits extremely flat, and her shots stay low even on clay; a typical rally would feature both players hitting from about knee height. Her serve can be extremely well placed, and her shots are very deep; she had Rodina scrambling all over the place from the get go. Hitting this flat has its advantages (the ball just flew off her racquet) and disadvantages (she often netted her shots).

Rodina on the other hand also hits her BH quite flat; her FH seems weaker, as it tends to float a bit, but she nonetheless used it aggressively as well on occasion. She hits with more spin and more margin for error than Kookie, and is a better mover, but she didn't win any points through mere scrambling.

Kookie sticks to her low % game, and accordingly, after going up 3-1 she gifted back a break with UEs and a DF thrown in for good measure.

Rodina served for the set at 5-4 and didn't win another point. She got broken to love due to some superb play from Kookie, granted, but when you show yourself to be mentally weaker than that beacon of positivity that is Kookie, nuff said.

Early 2nd set was of even lower quality, with too many errors out of the blue from both players. My mind and eyes wandered a bit, and I noticed Mamic going by, Knapp and her coach lost and asking around for their practice court, and Team Beautiful (Cetkovska and Benesova) hitting together. Also that one of the ballboys looked just like Otto Mann from the Simpsons. Elegant Hlavackova attended almost the whole of the match; she's one of the players who spends more time watching the matches of her countrywomen. Sometime in the 3rd set, I went out for a stroll leaving my stuff near her; Lunaris will be happy to know that I trust Czech people.

Set opened with Rodina taking over the rallies to break Kookie, but in the next game she failed to hold as Kookie blasted away two of her serves. At 3-2 for Rodina nobody had yet held serve. Rodina went up 5-2 and Kookie served to stay on the set; one of Rodina's best points of the match won her the first point, and all the remaining featured good play from both. The converted SP was a CC BH duel that finished with Kookie netting her shot.

3rd set began with some more superb rallies. Some good play from Kookie saw her go up 2-1, 40-0, but she was taken to deuce after two big winners from Rodina. Saved a BP with an ace, and was thus 3-1, and then 4-1, up. Kookie was not hitting winners at will, as Rodina seemed deflated. MP was won on a lucky netcord.

It was still relatively early, so I went to check out some of the doubles action. :yawn:

First Ani/Klepac vs Navratilova/Niculescu for the photo op. Part of the Czech contingent in attendance (Hrdinova, Kookie, Hlavackova and some dudes). Then on to Court Central, where I finished the day, for Senoglu/Jugic-Salkic vs Team Beautiful.

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:57 AM
Tuesday - main draw, first round

Headed to Court 2 to see Camille and her Serve of Doom, and nearly got run over by King Kolya, Eduard, and at least a couple of other grim looking fellows, walking fast and looking fiercely determined. I immediately understood that this year there would be no first round tank job from Davydenko. "Poor Melzer", I thought; "But at least he got to bone Nicole".

Pin d. Kerber 76(6) 63

Saw all of the 3rd set. Someone who I suppose must be Kerber's coach and/or father was in the stands, calling her "Anya".

Kerber, who looks extremely fit and was wearing some nice, no nonsense gear, has a pretty lefty FH, but it's hardly textbook - it seemed as if every single FH she hit had a different, often bizarre, follow-through. Her serve is harmless; she has a nice motion, but just doesn't get any racquethead speed with it. Good placement is the only possible asset of such a serve. She slides and hits a good running FH, but she's a bad defender overall. Her BH is her most powerful shot when she's given the time to set it up, but she doesn't move the ball around that well with it, often hitting to wherever she happens to be facing. Her defence on her BH side is very, very poor.

Kerber won the toss and selected to return - how very unsurprising. To my astonishment Pin opened the match by trying to overpower Kerber with her FH - no, really - and made 3 consecutive wild errors - no, really. But she quickly broke back, winning a point with a cute dropshot ROS.

There were 5 successive breaks before Kerber finally held serve. Pin wasn't playing a smart match at all - she played almost exclusively into Kerber's FH, and her shot selection was sometimes puzzling.

A stupid dropshot from Pin gave Kerber a GP for 4-2, and Pin gifted it by going for a FH ROS winner (no, really) and missing it.

But then a miracle happened. Pin held serve.

At 4-4, with Pin serving, Kerber hit two wonderful FH winners and broke The Serve of Doom. Kerber then served for the set, but got broken as Pin took to moonballing; a typical moonball duel would eventually see Pin moving forward and attacking with her FH as soon as Kerber hit a moonball short.

So it was now turn for Kerber to serve to stay on the set - which she did, because Pin was 100% passive. On to the TB, with Kerber - smartly - playing quite conservatively. Down 3-4, Pin completely lost it. Argued with the umpire, complained that she had played "4 balls that were out". Went on to hit two stupid errors in a row. 2 SPs Kerber. Pin saved the first win an in-out FH winner (no, really), and the second by pushing Kerber back with moonballs and then moving forward when Kerber's own moonballs came up short. Which was also how she won her SP.

As I was leaving, I heard Pin asking the umpire for a paper tissue, so I stretched my arm and gave her one.

Mamic d. Micaela Carolina Larcher de Brito 2-6, 6-0, 6-4

Went to Court Central and to the national lovefest that was scheduled to take place there - and which didn't go quite according to plan. The TMN girls were handing over little plastic Portuguese flags at the gate, but contrary to my fears the crowd was quite civil throughout.

So how does Micaela Carolina play?

She's small and fit, but her court coverage really isn't that good - some of it, granted, is due to her small wingspan. She began the match by hitting really hard down the middle, and for a while it seemed that she couldn't change the direction of the ball with her BH (but later on she showed she can move the ball around as well). Errors usually came when she tried to open angles. Serve is nonexistent. Even when she gets it in (far from a given), it makes Radwanska's 2nd serve look like Roddick's 1st. Groundstrokes are good, yes, but the way people talk about Micaela Carolina you'd think she has a bigger FH than Ivanovic. Far from it, of course. She has to hit 2-3 good shots to win a point. She did a good job in getting some of Mamic's big serves back into play though - I doubt any other 15 y.o. would have been able to do the same. Her ROS can be all or nothing, usually with a sharply angled CC BH or in-out FH. Even before she began self-destructing, you could see that she's erratic, and is often caught out of position. Her game "plan" for this match consisted of hitting as hard as possible to Mamic's FH (i.e. left) side. People who say Sharapova has no plan B would do well to watch Micaela Carolina.

Mamic hits very deep and accurately, but doesn't generate the kind of pace that Brito does, obviously. She has a good serve, much more varied and less predictable than that of most lefties (but you'd never know if you had only seen the 1st set). She can slide, and defends OK for a player of her size.

It was mostly the shakyness of Mamic's serve that lost her the 1st set, even though Brito won the odd good point with groundstroke combos.

Once Mamic got her serve going, she cruised. The 1st break of the 2nd set Brito buried herself in DFs, the 2nd she buried herself in baseline errors. Mamic had realized she only had to keep the ball in play, and she used her topspin FH intelligently; also some slices to further discomfit Brito, who was hitting one wild error after another. She clearly wasn't thinking anymore.

In the 3rd set, Brito got broken to give Mamic a 4-2 lead by failing to move for a ROS because she apparently thought it would be out. Mamic held for 5-2 in a game that featured some of the least bad tennis of the match. Brito took to Sharapovian hystrionics whenever she won a more elaborate rally; Mamic kept her cool. Mamic didn't really choke when it was time to close out the match; she just felt the need to force a decision and went for her own shots a bit more, making a few errors as a consequence. MP was won by a successful dropshot.

By now, the constricted venue seemed as if it was about to burst. As many as 7.000 people were milling about. Logistics broke down, there were long queues at every toilet, and at about 14:30 PM there was no food left anywhere. At least nowhere I could find it.

There were a lot of things happening at the same time, so I had to make tough choices; Dentoni vs de los Rios was about to begin, but I headed out to Court 1 for Vögele vs Kirilenko, which was my priority for the day.

Kirilenko d. Vögele 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-1

Vögele was unflappable throughout; the occasion (first WTA MD match, against a top 50 player) didn't get to her at all.

This match again highlighted how vulnerable Kirilenko is on clay; just about anyone has a good shot at taking her out.

Kirilenko initially was hitting slightly harder and flatter, but as usual she just couldn't hit winners from the baseline to save her life. She rarely attempted to use her all-court game - and when she did, she had mixed success. At this level, clay notwithstanding, her serve can be an advantage over most opponents, but Vögele has a good serve herself (even though it didn't hurt Kirilenko at all for most of the match).

Both players were thus unable to hit through each other, and endless CC BH drill, that most familiar feature of women's lower tier claycourt tennis, was prevalent.

What I was noticing for the first time was just how good Vögele's anticipation and positional sense are. She was never caught out of position, was usually better at forcing Kirilenko to move around than the opposite (even though neither had a clear upper hand in the rallies). Unlike the pushers that infest the Estoril Open draw year after year, Vögele doesn't hesitate to move forward when she sees the opportunity to do so; she surprisingly pulled off some decent conventional volleys (and unsurprisingly got passed a couple of times as well). She also had a go at Kirilenko's 2nd serves.

With Vögele 4-2 up in the 1st, Kirilenko finally began to play some good tennis - including old skool S&V at one point. Took the 1st set, and Vögele asked for a potty break. Took the opportunity to check out Dentoni's match, and it was still 3-2 in the 1st, even though it had begun something like 20 mins earlier than Vögele's (!).

I commented the match with Gastăo Elias. Pretended not to know who he was; I don't want him to become too conceited.

In the 2nd set, Vögele had a BP to go 2-0 up, but failed to convert; then faced 2 BPs on her serve - saved the first, made a bad BH UE in the second. Kirilenko was using the deep slices I had seen her practice the day before to good effect. Went up 3-1 and was now trying to overpower Vögele with her in-out FH. Serving at 4-1, she played her trademark pretty game to hold.

But then something unexpected - down 1-5 and (nearly) out, serving to stay on the match, Vögele loosened up, went for her shots and served Kirilenko off the court. Kirilenko served for the match at 5-2, couldn't get a 1st serve in, and Vögele just swings away at her weak 2nd serves, going on to power her way to hold while serving to stay on the match for the 2nd time.

Kirilenko had a MP at 6-5, but Vögele won the point with a volley after a good rally. Kirilenko played awful in the ensuing TB, hitting a number of shots way out.

Then I left for a while, as momentous events were unfolding elsewhere; Federer had lost the 1st set to Rochus and was battling back in the 2nd; Dentoni was up 4-3 in the 3rd, and I decided to stay there to see how our hotheaded Italian would go. Dentoni blew de los Rios clean off the court, first breaking her and then closing it out on her serve; she may not hit that hard, but everything landed right on the corners. I don't think de los Rios won a single point in those last two games.

Rushed back to Court 1 and witnessed Kirilenko keeping her cool and winning a couple of tight (but not deuce IIRC) games to go up 4-1. Vögele seemed deflated; she couldn't keep up her excellent play in the 3rd, and Kirilenko was overpowering her. Kirilenko served for the match, unsurprisingly went down 0-40, but saved all 3 BPs, and then another; second MP, and Kirilenko DFs - or so it seemed! Call was overruled, and Kirilenko won the ensuing rally.

Went to Court Central to watch the final set of Federer d. Rochus. Rochus always get aced a lot; I assume it's a consequence of his small wingspan. Makes one wonder why the most conspicuous poor returners of the WTA (Srebotnik, Safarova, Vaidisova, Santangelo, Krajicek) are all quite tall.

Flipkens d. Safarova 7-5, 6-4

This match began rather late in the afternoon, and the temperature cooled significantly later on. But points just flew by in an instant, since this was Safarova after all.

The word "escultural" (statuesque) gets thrown arond somewhat carelessly by the local sportswriters, but in Safarova's case it is indeed warranted - her legs look as if they were carved in marble.

Flipkens wears glasses oncourt (but not off) and often mumbles to herself in Flemish.

Everyone knows what Safarova's game is. Goes for a low % winner after 2-3 shots at most, defense is for pussies. It's 3 consecutive whoa! winners, and then 3 consecutive wild errors. Her return game consists of swinging away. And now she goes for broke with her serve as well, be it 1st or 2nd. But there's a reason for her to play the way she does. She can't play controlled aggression and/or lengthy rallies of any sort, as her dismal footwork isn't up to the task (she makes Hantuchova look fleet of foot). She doesn't play defense because she has none.

Flipkens was as much of a spectator at this match as I was. Not much to say about her game; I can't even say if, and how, it has evolved since the last time I saw her play in mid 2006. It seems she has graduated into a defensive junkballer. She hits her FH with a lot of topspin, and her least bad serve is the flat serve out wide to the ad court, but against Safarova just about any serve will do. Her ROS remains suspect.

Flipkens held a SP in the 1st set at 5-4, but Safarova saved it with a 2-3 shot combination; and then again at 6-5, 40-30, but this time Safarova saved it with a 2nd serve ace. Gutsy, but it really shows how much she's a prisoner of the limitations of her own game. The next SP was saved with another big serve. DFed for the 4th SP, which she gifted with yet another FH error.

Safarova continued to play her game, sometimes blowing Flipkens off the court, sometimes burying herself in errors, and served to stay on the match at 4-5, at which point she just tanked.

Flipkens was mobbed by ballkids asking for autographs after the match, and I asked for a photo in French - to which she replied in Flemish. Snapped it anyway.

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:58 AM
Wednesday - main draw, second round

In the ensuing series of my amazing adventures among the upper crust.

It seems the sponsors have gone PC and decided to award quotas among the girls at their booths to both the freakishly ugly and the decidedly plain; too bad both quotas add up to about 80%. Then there's the just plain odd (there's a girl who looks like Hayley from Paramore). Remaining 20% is worth the admission price alone; but I wouldn't include the flaxen haired aryan lolitas of TMN in the aforementioned 20% (not that pervy). BTW after several days at the Estoril Open, I still have no idea about what said lolitas actually do other than wandering around.

Benesova d. Pennetta 6-2, 6-2

Three reasons to pick this match to watch: to make use of my Court Central tickets, to enjoy my TV perspective seat there, and for Benesova's loincloth. Seriously - woman was any barer, she'd get arrested.

Something like 50 people in attendance in a court with 5000+ seats. :help: The women's event sure pulls in the crowds. One of the spectators was one of those spies for gamblers (a young woman), using some discrete headphones to deliver instant scores so as to take advantage of the slight lag of online livescoring. One of these got busted the other day. Commotion, police. Thinking of blackmailing some of these spies, threatening to turn them in. :devil:

As I heard several people remarking, Pennetta has never played well at the Estoril Open. Benesova on the other hand was the protagonist of a hilarious tank job in the 1R of qualies last year. This match wasn't thus all that promising. But Benesova has been on a tear recently and in the end the match was nowhere near as bad as the score may suggest.

Pennetta is a versatile claycourter who, unlike say Garbin or even Schiavone, has a solid, if decidedly second tier, power game to fall back on. Actually, said power hitting, and her topspin FH (really nasty, vicious spin), are the backbone of her game, and this explains some of her successes in other surfaces.

Benesova, as you may have heard already, has been playing shit hot tennis. Her shots are now a perfect balance between power, placement and consistency. Her CC BH is just deadly, and she's showing the unmistakeable signs of a confident (2nd serve is always right on the line, dropshots always hit at the right time and always successful) and sharp (no matter how desperate, or even shanked, her ROS is always in - and deep) player.

I've seen Pennetta play worse here and win. She was having to play out of her comfort zone, going for more on 2nd serve and taking more risks in the rallies. Her serve is a mess, and the serve to the ad court in particular is completely gone. Claycourter or not, she does have slightly more power off the ground than Benesova, and of course much better defense, so you can guess how well Benesova played to be able to give such a beating to Pennetta.

Good opening game, Benesova facing a BP but saving it. Pennetta gifted the first break with 2 DFs, and Benesova won the GP to go up 3-0 with some awesome tennis.

Up 4-0, Benesova gifted Pennetta a break with some disastrous drive volleys (crap throughout - and she'll need them against Pin). Her game totally unravelled. But she kept her cool and held fast to go up 5-2. The angle on the CC BH winner she hit to gain 3 SPs on Pennetta's serve was just unbelievable.

2nd serve opens with a game that could have gone either way, but Benesova held. Hit an awesome DTL BH winner to earn 2 BPs in the next game and converted the 2nd. Benesova went up 4-0, went down 0-30 on her serve, but her excellent 2nd serve bailed her out. Served for the match at 5-1, went down 0-40, saved the first 2 BPs, but got broken in the end. Pennetta served to stay on the match again, and Benesova had 2 MPs at 15-40. Missed the first by netting a FH, but converted the second as a BH from Pennetta sailed long.

Pin d. Pironkova 6-3, 6-4

Went to Court 1 to see how Pironkova was doing against The Serve of Doom. Was surprised to find her down 3-6, 1-4. The fanboys were there again - all three of them.

"But, but - Corswandt said Pironkova was playing top 50 tennis, and that Pin played stupidly against Kerber".

I) Corswandt is an idiot, a point that can hardly be made too often
II) matchup issues - no matter how poorly say Pennetta was playing, she would have beaten Pin handily.

Pironkova just couldn't deal with Pin's junk, moonballs and total lack of pace. She doesn't have the raw baseline firepower, particularly off the FH side, to hit through Pin on clay. Having to hit 10-12 shots to win every damned point takes its toll.

Pin's game plan was simple - she would hit into Pironkova's harmless, loopy FH for a while, and then switch to her BH side with an in-out FH. She plays much like Roddick - no, really. In decisive points, she'll slice and moonball until she draws an error from her opponent. Served for the match and needless to say got broken. Closed it out when it seemed Pironkova had found a way to keep herself on the match.

After this trainwreck was over, I moved over to Centralito, where puffballer Simon was about to begin his match against some other dude I had never heard about (ATP draw this year is total scrubsville). Fled in terror and went to check the practice courts to see if I could find King Kolya. But as soon as I turned my back Federer walked right past me. He looks very buff when seen from up close.

Zakopalova d. Dentoni 6-4, 6-1

Up until now, Dentoni had only played pushers who didn't give away any free points but were glad to let her take the initiative. But today she'd be up against someone who would both hit winners past her and give away points with errors, and I was very curious to see how she'd deal with it. The answer: not very well.

I already described Kookie's FH in my report of her match vs Rodina, but I didn't emphasize both her great shoulder rotation that helps her get even more pace on her FH, and how she nearly always slides into the shot; she's an excellent clay mover.

Earlier I had seen Dentoni trotting around a practice court with her coach, and noticed that her left knee was all bound up. Still, I don't think that was much of a factor on this match.

Dentoni's FH was still doing some damage; it doesn't have as much pace as Kookie's, evidently, but it's much less erratic. When she got her 1st serve in, Kookie would net the return; when she had to hit a 2nd serve, Kookie would blast it away. In fact, Kookie was aggressive off every ROS, and in the 1st set was making even more errors than in her previous match - the main reason why the the set was somewhat tight. Dentoni tried some cute sliced dropshots, with mixed success; they often landed too far away from the net to be effective. She tried to keep the ball in play, and defended herself very well; she played smartly, I think. Went to even greater lengths than the usual to move around her BH and hit her FH. Off the BH, she mostly moonballed, using those moonballs to push Kookie back. Eventually, Kookie began attacking them with her BH.

Dentoni was up an early break, but Kookie quickly recovered, and at 5-4 she served for the set. Went up 15-0 after winning the best rally I've seen at this event so far, and closed the game after getting 4 consecutive 1st serves in.

In the 2nd set, Kookie was up an early break, and then 2 breaks for 4-1. There really wasn't much Dentoni could do when Kookie was hitting her FH and keeping it in, no matter how well she defended.

Knapp d. Duque Marińo 6-3, 6-4

Arrived at Centralito with Knapp already ahead in the 2nd.

Big ass Tyrolean Knapp weighs about twice as much as Duque Marińo, and it showed.

I've seen Knapp moving much better than this, even on other surfaces. She doesn't seem to be playing her best right now; if she was, she'd be a contender.

Duque Marińo is very consistent, hitting both BH and FH with topspin (not the vicious, ATP variety - just girly spin to keep the ball in while hitting relatively deep; she hits about half as hard as say Suarez Navarro), and has very good touch. But her limitations are evident - just can't win points on her own.

Knapp wasted a couple of MPs on Duque Marińo's serve IIRC, and got broken when she first served for the match.

Serving for the match a second time, it seemed yet another massive choke was on its way. With some luck, gets to another MP. Hits a big serve right to the corner of the service box, easy FH putaway. Duque Marińo can't do this.

Even before the players shook hands at the net I had already bolted off to Court Central to watch King Kolya's match. Entertaining, and a good way to end the day.

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:58 AM
Thursday - main draw, second round

Kirilenko d. Cetkovska 6-3, 6-2

This was a very, very poor quality match. Both players came in cold and off their games, and didn't improve as the match went along. Cetkovska actually got worse.

Cetkovska, with her cap and old skool outfit, is a bit of a powerpuff, and her approach to the game is somewhat lackadaisical. Her FH is good though - deep and accurate. Her BH is weak and erratic, with evident timing problems (her takeback on that side seems a bit too stiff and is often late; follow-through is fine though), but she doesn't avoid hitting it all that much. She dealt well with Kirilenko's junk, and used some herself; she's comfortable at the net, won some of the touch shot exchanges with Kirilenko, but she can't hit a passing shot to save her life. Her serve is either good or a DF; her toss is quite low, so wind can't have been the cause of her lousy serving. Made 2 DFs in the opening game, and for the rest of the match it was much the same.

Kirilenko was playing the % more, and using slices on occasion. Above all, she was hitting her FH with much more spin (which explains a couple of shanks). In some rallies, she hit only topspin FHs, and played from further behind the baseline than the usual. It seems she's trying to clay-ify her game.

Kirilenko was up 2-0, but Cetkovska got to 0-30 on Kirilenko's serve after winning the first halfway decent rally of the match. Kirilenko hit a superb defensive CC BH to save a BP here, and played even better to save the second BP, but got broken in the end.

With 4-3 for Kirilenko, Cetkovska serving, went up 40-0, but then made 2 consecutive DFs and eventually got broken. From then on, she just went on a mental walkabout. She even forgot to which side of the court she should go to begin the 2nd set. Cetkovska showed absolutely no competitive fire, no fight. Just an example: she gifted the break for Kirilenko to go up 5-2 with a DF and then by giving up on a point because she assumed the ball would be out.

Kirilenko was now working Cetkovska's weaker BH side quite well at times, hitting in-out topspin FHs or even moonballs into it, but overall the match went from mediocre to piss poor. Both players netted all their ROS.

Kirilenko served for the match and got to MP with a BH sliced dropshot; but of course she had to choke a bit, and it was only on her 3rd MP, after some excellent defense, that she finally took the match.

I wandered around a bit after this; there wasn't much going on, since the remaining women's 2R matches had also been total blowouts and were already over.

Settled in Court Central for Fed's match; a steady shower began as soon as Fed stepped up to serve, but the match wasn't interrupted. A somewhat heavier shower began soon after the match ended, and this forced delays in other courts. Mariana Alves :hearts: made sure that Centralito and Court 1 were covered, and then quickly repaired, and thus both the women's singles and doubles were completed today.

Garbin d. Mamic 6-2, 6-2

Got there with the score at 4-2 in the 1st. Somewhat tighter than the score indicates.

The points alternated between wildly entertaining all-court touch shot exchanges and Garbin trying to overpower Mamic with her in-out FH from well behind the baseline, usually without much success.

Garbin, whose game looks merely awkward and ineffectual in other surfaces, is a wonderfully resourceful, versatile player on clay. Mamic is also very skilled, and the depth and accuracy of her FH is really something. Began going for her BH late in the 2nd set, and you could see she can also hit big when needed. But her serve still needs work - way too many DFs. She also seems to play point by point instead of game by game - one of the main reasons for the lopsided score.

This match was interrupted on several occasions, and was played both under drizzle and actual showers. Mamic joked with Carlos Ramos about how cold it was.

Went to see the end of the women's doubles SF (Pennetta/Kirilenko vs Rodionova/Savchuk); the final game was played under heavy rain and strong gusts of wind.

FedererBulgaria
Apr 18th, 2008, 07:53 AM
Great job!:worship:

Yellow Moon
Apr 18th, 2008, 04:12 PM
cool reading :cool:, Corswandt
what's the scoop on the gamler's spy? I thought that once a match starts, all bets are off..:shrug:

Ballbasher
Apr 18th, 2008, 05:15 PM
No reports from Maret :sad:
But awesome reports overall :worship: Thanks Everyone! :D MariaK and Tzveti :bounce:

HenryMag.
Apr 18th, 2008, 07:21 PM
No reports from Maret :sad:


Ani def. Flipkens 60 62

Maret is not Lucie, so Kirsten had much trouble today. Against Lucie she just returned the ball and waited for Lucie's error. Today, of course it didn't work. Maret just made 7/8 UEs in all match. Her top spin FH gives her a lot of margin over the net, altough her BH is more flat, is was nice too.
So, Kirsten had to go for her shots and try to win points or stay in rally and wait for an opportunity to win the point. And as you can see it was disaster, because Maret didn't gave any easy ball to attack. Maret confirmed what I saw in RG 2 years ago: she has a nice serve. Not always bombastic, but solid and placed and give her some free points. At 06 *02, Kirsten played like "all or nothing" and made 3 great points (drop-shot, bachkand DTL winner, and FH DTL winner in the left corner) to finally win her 1st game. But it was the only game she played nice.
Congrats to Maret!

Corswandt
Apr 18th, 2008, 08:59 PM
what's the scoop on the gamler's spy? I thought that once a match starts, all bets are off..:shrug:

No, they're not. That's why there's livescoring in the first place - or do you think online livescoring is there merely for WTAWorlders to be able to post smilies on the daily scores thread?

Online livescoring isn't instant, there's a lag of a few seconds or so - the gamblers put spies in the stands go give them immediate updates on the scores so that they can take advantage of that lag. Illegal, but I think it's tolerated - there were 3 (three) spies in the Ani vs Savchuk match, and nobody did a thing.

Dammit, The Wrestler beat up on Maria again. Nobody will bother with this anymore. But I'll post today's report anyway, and see if I can upload some photos.

Ballbasher
Apr 18th, 2008, 09:25 PM
Thanks a lot HenryMag! :bounce:

Corswandt
Apr 19th, 2008, 12:37 AM
Friday - quarterfinals

Benesova d. Pin 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Phew. Damned near run thing. I mean, let's face it - we joke about Pin and her serve, call her cute (which she is), and so on, but does anyone actually enjoy her chickenshit, puffball "game"? (If you do - don't bother to answer. :p ) Pin is just the kind of player who can ruin a smaller tier clay event like the Estoril Open, and the draw was opening up for her, only chokers and headcases being left. The Estoril Open's WTA winner roster is already embarrassing enough as it is, so Pin losing today was most certainly for the best.

Arrived at the balcony above Court 2 to find the dustmen very interested on this match and following its score. Stayed with my fellow proles for a while, but eventually went down to the stands.

Pin was all junk and moonballs today, and, above all, absolutely zero pace. Often Benesova had to step forward because Pin's shots simply didn't carry enough pace to even reach her at the baseline (and no, those weren't dropshots). Pin's slices are pathetic; their only purpose is to hit a shorter ball and they don't even disrupt her opponent's rhythm all that much.

Pin's serve was in total Serve of Doom mode. It has to be seen up close to be believed. I wouldn't be surprised if she hit it with a FH grip. But come to think of it, Pin's Serve of Doom may not be wholly due to ineptness. I think it may be intentional; she's inviting her opponents to have a go at it - and hopefully miss. This may seem suicidal, but you have to consider that Pin's game is effective at the challenger level, and it's almost endearing how she refuses (or is unable?) to play any differently on the WTA Tour.

Match opened with the usual breakfest; it was 4-2 Pin before Benesova finally held. Pin's tactics today were much the same as in previous matches - relentlessly moonballing until one of Benesova's own moonballs came up short, then moved forward to attack it. Pin is absolutely hopeless at the net though; her attack usually consisted of hitting in-out FHs from the mid-court. Up 4-3, Pin led 40-0, let herself get taken to deuce, but held in the end. So Benesova was now serving to stay on the set; one of Pin's shots in the rally that gave her 15-30 was way out. SP, and Benesova dumps a FH into the net.

Both players ask for a potty break, Benesova changes her outfit.

2nd set pens some excellent play from Benesova to break Pin. Pin then played an unusually sloppy game for Benesova to hold, and soon Benesova was leading 3-0. With Benesova serving, intermittent showers and strong gusts of wind made an appearance; she let it get to her, and got broken. But broke back to love immediately afterwards. Served the first ace of the match to go up 4-1 30-0, and won the game on a botched moonball by Pin. In the last 3-4 games of the 2nd, Benesova was just playing shit hot tennis, hitting BH and FH winners at will. Wasted 2 SPs on Pin's serve (she got the second with a drosphot winner of Pin's serve - cheeky, and it made me laugh), the first on a shanked BH ROS, the second being saved by Pin with a sliced dropshot winner. Benesova closed it out on serve on her 4th SP though.

The 3rd set was mostly about Benesova keeping her nerve - all the more remarkable considering the wind only seemed to blow on her service games. It all came down to Benesova's solid play and to the reliability of her serve. Benesova was serving down 2-3 0-15 when the rain showers became stronger; the point was played under heavy rain, but Benesova somehow took it. Imagine if she had went into the rain break down 0-30 in her serve. Once back, Benesova played the same confident tennis she played late in the 2nd set. On the last serve game she played, Benesova hit some beautiful winners to hold at love, and then broke Pin to take the match.

Kirilenko d. Garbin 6-0, 6-1

Wasn't there, but saw the 1st set on TV when I got home (I still didn't know the score then :eek: ). You'd never tell who was the experienced claycourter from watching this. That Kirilenko wouldn't have as much trouble dealing with Garbin's junk as other players was expected; what I didn't expect was for her to be so patient and so consistent from the baseline. She was using that heavy topspin FH she's been working on with van Harpen (unbelievably grumpy, but I suppose he's a competent coach) as of late to move the ball around, and defended herself very well. It was Garbin who was making all the errors, often after long rallies.

Rain delays were a constant during the afternoon. The Zakopalova vs Knapp match was interrupted three times. Ani vs Savchuk was interrupted on SP for Savchuk.

The Osterloh/Arvidsson vs Jugic-Salkic/Senoglu doubles on Court 2 was also interrupted. Osterloh and Arvidsson didn't go back to the player's tent (yes, tent :help: ) during some of the delays, staying just outside the court near the MEO tent. I heard Osterloh complaining to the umpire of a bad call (called out, then corrected, then the point wasn't replayed because it was assumed she'd never reach it, with which she strongly disagreed) with her Valley Girl-ish accent: "It was, like, so slow. My granmudder could have played that ball. [pause] My dead granmudder."

Zakopalova d. Knapp 3-6, 6-4, 6-4

Reached Centralito with Pocket Safina Knapp down 3-2 in the 2nd and DFing her way to a break down.

In between points, Knapp moves very slowly, usually hunched over, with a completely blank expression - probably as a way to save energy, since offcourt she couldn't move and act more normally. As you know, she comes from the bilingual Alto Adige/Südtirol region, but pumps herself in Italian (very seldom).

Knapp's BH is similar to Arvidsson's in that she leans into the shot and you can see she puts her full body weight into it; but today she was making unusual BH errors and wasn't flattening out her FH. She was also moving quite poorly, as I had noticed on Wednesday.

Kookie defended herself well on the BH side, and was hitting her BH, which seems to have a small pause between the moment the racquet hits the ball and the follow through, with confidence. Knapp's topspin FH often gave her the time she needed to stay on the rallies, or even counterattack. Some flashy FH winners from her throughout as usual.

Up 4-2 in the 2nd, Kookie played awesome to hold, but made some UEs to help Knapp hold in the following game when she was serving to stay on the set. Kookie served for the set, and Knapp got a BP with a point in which she defended herself very well at the net, but in the next game she got herself broken precisely by failing to finish off a couple of points there.

On to the 3rd set, and showers began following immediately; Knapp still had time to break Kookie before the heavy rain forced in interruption that would last for something like 2 hours.

Knapp was up a break in the 3rd twice. There were some superb, high pace rallies in this set, but the overall quality was poor, with many needless errors from Knapp. For a couple of games after the final rain delay, her FH was a disaster, with error upon error - netted, shanked, overhit FHs, you name it. Kookie seemed in control, but then lost the range on her FH, and again Knapp went up a break. Kookie played some good defense in a few points; she's fleeter of foot than Knapp and more able to counterattack from a defensive position. But it was Knapp's erratic play that eventually did her in; she committed 3 DFs when serving to stay on the set, one of which went out by something like 2 meters.

Managed to watch the final game of Ani d. Savchuk. The few points I saw were dire. It looked like a qualies match. Savchuk hits her FH with a very extreme grip, and both her serve motion and returning stance are quaint.

Finished the day on Court Central watching the last two sets of Davydenko's win over Gicquel.

Corswandt
Apr 19th, 2008, 01:04 AM
Portraits

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/4198/imgp0209ql6.jpg

Pironkova

http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/7577/imgp0210cz5.jpg

Dentoni

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/5583/imgp0211nx6.jpg

Zakopalova

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/5264/imgp0247cv8.jpg

Kirilenko

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/5944/imgp0332ac1.jpg

Cetkovska

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/632/imgp0333hg3.jpg

Flipkens

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/283/imgp0470ci4.jpg

Benesova

tiptop
Apr 19th, 2008, 07:18 AM
Quality stuff your reports. :)

I already loved reading them last year. Not only you are a very good observer, but you are funny as hell. Some of the portraits are decent as well. I'm not a fan of Kirilenko (neiter game nor looks wise), but that's a great photo. If she would stand one more feet away from the fence it would even be a perfect one.

RandomShot
Apr 19th, 2008, 07:59 AM
Your reports were a good read, and thanks for the pictures :yeah:.

HenryMag.
Apr 19th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Yesterday finally I discovered who Corswandt is. It was in Pin vs Benesova match.

BTW, I'm the guy with a blue Nestea bag and a blue cap too. And I have a black umbrella in these last days.

Today I'll try to see a bit of both SFs, since they're on same time.

14v_v
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:00 AM
Tax won :D

Nice match to watch!


BTW, I saw you today supporting Flipkens. ;)

yes i was there supporting flip



but as u said Maret is not safarova and Maret had a good win

Corswandt
Apr 19th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Yesterday finally I discovered who Corswandt is. It was in Pin vs Benesova match.

I guess the nerdy clipboard is a dead giveaway. :o

Ryan
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:05 PM
Did you go to see the SFs today Corswandt?

Lunaris
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:23 PM
Thanks, Corswandt, for the reports and the pics.
Is Klára really trying to smile on that photo? It looks awkward. :lol:

Corswandt
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:46 PM
Did you go to see the SFs today Corswandt?

Yes, I did. Both were played at the same time, so I saw only the epic in Court Central.

Thanks, Corswandt, for the reports and the pics.
Is Klára really trying to smile on that photo? It looks awkward. :lol:

Caught her just before a match, when you're not supposed to bother players for photos. "Screw the protocol", I thought. "Missed enough photo ops today already".

Ryan
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:53 PM
Yes, I did. Both were played at the same time, so I saw only the epic in Court Central.



Caught her just before a match, when you're not supposed to bother players for photos. "Screw the protocol", I thought. "Missed enough photo ops today already".


Played at the same time? :o That's weird. Lookin forward to the report, thanks again for all the previous ones too.

Corswandt
Apr 19th, 2008, 11:58 PM
Played at the same time? :o That's weird.

Only three matches scheduled for Court Central today, and two of those were the ATP SF.

Corswandt
Apr 20th, 2008, 12:57 AM
Saturday - semifinals

As the days go by, the tournament gradually loses most of its atmosphere, as more and more players get knocked out and leave to play elsewhere. Yesterday there would be nobody at the practice courts even if they weren't a sea of mud. Later in the day, I found a girl finishing a practice session there. When she passed by me, I recognized her as junior hopeful Bárbara Luz. Luz has the figure we instantly associate with a tennis player, only smaller - as if she was built in 1:1,4 instead of 1:1 scale. She looks younger than she really is, always a bad sign. But she shrieks even in practice, so I guess she really means it.

But again as the days go by, atmosphere is replaced by Big Decisions. Some of those took place today.

Kirilenko d. Zakopalova 26 63 75

The crowd presented a strange spectacle; the weather forecasts the day before had been dire, so many people were wrapped up in Eastern Front greatcoats and wearing funny hats while the sun shone brightly. But today we were treated to the familiar Court Central sight of sudden, strong gusts of wind making the clay dust swirl up and out of the court, as did some of the funny hats.

Both players were relatively consistent, and there were some excellent rallies sprinkled throughout all three sets.

Kirilenko played into Kookie's BH whenever possible, so again there were a lot of CC BH duels. Her BH ROS was shaky, and she gave away too many free points like that.

During the 1st set, Kookie's serve was solid - it didn't earn her that many free points, but it wasn't a liability, and at this level that's often crucial. Her serve is sliced most of the time, wide to the deuce court and down the T to the ad court, the latter being her best serve. She was pushing Kirilenko back with some deep FH shots, and hitting a few great winners. She made far fewer errors than in some of her previous matches, and thus she managed to bring to bear the edge in baseline firepower she has over Kirilenko.

Kirilenko used some FH slices and dropshots to good effect. She was hitting mini kickers to both the deuce and the ad court on both 1st and 2nd serve (a further adaptation to clay) to keep away from Kookie's FH ROS.

Leading 2-0, Kookie played an error-filled game to give Kirilenko her first game; down 1-3, Kirilenko began using her topspin FH well to mess up Kookie's BH timing. But she was still being clearly overpowered. Kookie hit a huge DTL BH winner to break and go up 5-2, but she was unsurprisingly shaky when it was time to close out the set. She hit some awful 2nd serves, but at least they were in, and Kirilenko buried herself in errors while trying to kill them.

On to the 2nd set, with Kirilenko winning the first game thanks to her BH slice. Kookie's serve, never a huge weapon but reasonanly solid as described above, deserted her; she was now hitting 95 km/h 2nd serves, and a few DFs here and there. At 1-1, Kirilenko sportingly conceded a point on her serve to go down 0-40, but saved all 3 BPs and went on to hold. With 0-15 on the next game, there was a hilarious rally in which the wind blew the ball around in such a way that the bounce was completely unpredictable. Kirilenko would often slice her FH when the wind blew stronger during a rally. At 3-3, again Kirilenko found herself down 0-40 on serve, but again she saved the 3 BPs and held in the end. Now leading 4-3, Kirilenko got 3 BPs on Kookie's serve, converted the second with a BH drop volley after a CC BH approach, and then played an imperial service game to take the set.

3rd set begins with Kirilenko forgetting to which side of the court she was supposed to go. Kookie was giving Kirilenko some short balls for her to rush the net behind CC BH approaches. With Kookie leading 2-1, Kirilenko asked for a medical timeout, and was assisted by the trainer both on and off the court for some time (which earned her a warning from the umpire). At 3-3, it was Kookie's time to be down 0-40 and save all 3 BPs with some good play. Kirilenko didn't play too tentatively, but you could see she had no way to force a decision (other than perhaps rushing the net behind nothing, which she wisely chose not to do today). Serving at 4-4, Kookie held with a Camille Pin-ish 125 km/h serve that turned out to be an ace when it hit the line and skidded away from Kirilenko. But once Kirilenko held for 5-5, you could see that she was confident and playing solid, the support from the crowd possibly having some influence in that. She easily broke Kookie in the next game and even more easily got to 40-0 when serving for the match. But Kookie then went for broke on every shot, and saved two of those MPs with winners, the other being lost by Kirilenko with a CC BH UE. It was only on her fourth MP that Kirilenko closed out the match when a FH from Kookie sailed long.

Went out briefly to eat, and returned to watch both ATP SFs.

Gremelmayr is a tad clownish (that jumping BH :lol: ) but he played well for a while, well enough for Fed to have to play well himself if he was to prevail. Since Fed played shite, down a set he went. Most amusing aspect of the match was umpire Herfel announcing the score in heavily accented "trrinta-quarrenta" Portuguese though.

Some of the problems Federer has had as of late were apparent on the match vs Rochus (BH ROS, movement to his FH side), and to a lesser extent in his following matches. But today I often looked at the serve speed screen and noticed just how much Federer is taking off his 1st serve in exchange for a higher %. What is interesting is that his serve remains every bit as effective because of how well it is placed.

Before the King Kolya match began, I went to Centralito for a while to see how the women's doubles final was going. Pennetta/Kirilenko were playing like crap and still winning comfortably. The few people in attendance didn't seem much into it. Kirilenko was mostly a spectator, Jugic-Salkic and Senoglu couldn't return serve to save their lives, some of their returns nearly flying into the stands. Left after Pennetta/Kirilenko won the first set.

Finished the day at King Kolya's match. Gremelmayr may be a clown, but Serra is just plain boring. The ATP has dozens of such generic players filling the #40-100 ranking range.

HenryMag.
Apr 20th, 2008, 09:50 AM
I guess the nerdy clipboard is a dead giveaway. :o

That's right! I found out thanks to the red clipboard.

Corswandt
Apr 20th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Sunday - finals

Kirilenko d. Benesova 6-4, 6-2

Great expectations about this match, sizeable crowd, dark clouds in the sky.

Benesova looks extremely thin, even frail, on photos and on TV, but seen in the flesh (and what glorious flesh it is) her build looks nearly ideal.

From the beginning, Benesova was defending herself adequately while at the same time clearly avoiding going for too much with her shots, favouring depth and placement over power. Her serve was again very reliable, if unspectacular. But also from the beginning it was apparent that her FH was sometimes off, and that she wasn't play as solid as in her previous matches, and steadily became more erratic as the match went along. She thus couldn't hit through Kirilenko the way she had done with some of her previous opponents.

Kirilenko played a smart, consistent, solid match throughout. Her game plan consisted of moving Benesova around so as to draw errors from her. Not pretty, but much more effective than her usual tactics on clay (trying to hit through her opponents from the baseline or picking all the wrong moments to move forward into the net). She also played some very good defense, something at which she usually doesn't excel.

It was 1-1 before Benesova got her CC BH (her main weapon throughout this tournament) going.

The first BP on Kirilenko's serve saw an excellent rally, with Kirilenko sliding well, but Benesova took it with a DTL FH winner. She then had a GP to go up 3-1, which she took with a 2nd serve right to the T of the deuce court. At 3-2 for Benesova, Kirilenko asked for a medical time out. And then broke Benesova to love for 3-3. Benesova again got up a break immediately afterwards though - she hit a great FH volley at a stretch to get a BP, which she converted on a lucky netcord.

As you all know, rain began and forced a delay just when Kirilenko had SP on Benesova's serve (5-4* 30-40).

The players got back on the court to play the SP, which Benesova opened with a gutsy 2nd serve; but she lost the long rally that ensued when she failed to return a deep slice by Kirilenko.

The 2nd set saw Kirilenko coming close to bossing Benesova around; she was very aggressive on Benesova's service games, her CC BH in particular doing some damage. But it was Benesova's errors that gave Kirilenko 3 BPs at 2-0. Serving to stay on the match, Benesova DFed to go MP down, but Kirilenko missed a CC BH after a short rally. The second MP was played on Benesova's 2nd serve, and ended when Benesova netted a FH.

Bottom line, even though Benesova played nowhere near as well as in previous rounds, this match showed the limitations of her new "controlled aggression" mode. It has made her much less upset prone, but to win matches such as this final Benesova will need a bit more.

As for Kirilenko, the game she displayed today won't get her to any Slam QFs, but for lower tier events such as these it will probably be enough - unless she runs into say an Aravane Rezai having a good day.

The men's final began some time afterwards. Can you believe that mug I saw on the practice courts went on to win the tournament? It must have been overwhelming for him - from total unknown to winning the biggest, bestest tournament in the world ever!

Corswandt
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:10 PM
I think I overdo it [the snideness] at times. Almost feels as if I'm not enjoying being there. But I am. A lot.

The first few days are heaven. You can't take a couple of steps without bumping into players, coaches or their often colourful hangers-on. And this being a small event played on a constricted venue makes such encounters even more likely. I like this all so much that the other day I found myself scanning through the ITF calendar thinking "There MUST be something on somewhere, even if it's 100 km away, before late October". And I'm already determined to spend more time at the Beloura 25Ks, should they take place again this year.

And now to end on a http://clicksmilies.com/s0105/party/party-smiley-028.gif note. But to hell with blasé cynicism for once.

You may have noticed that I don't make much in the way of general observations about how great or how crap the Estoril Open is. It's neither a good nor a bad tournament; it's the one we have and it's the one I know.

I type in all these notes not only because I enjoy doing so but because I really do hope that they may be of some use to fellow tennis fans when selecting which matches to attend, or if they should go out of their way to watch player X or Y on TV. Though at first impression it may seem so, WTAW isn't just a cesspool of cheerful shit slinging between rival fanbases and woefully ineffective moderating. The info and commentary we can find in here if we dig deep enough is priceless, and that's why we come back again and again, and that's also why many more people get to read my verbose, none too bright and often pervy reports than if I posted them elsewhere.

The 2008 Estoril Open is over, its future, like the one of the blonde young woman on that small pic beneath my username, very much in doubt. Still, I can only hope that I'll be given a fourth opportunity to, toy camera and nerdy clipboard in hand, rub elbows with the pros, annoy them with requests for photos, and gather the notes that throughout this week I have delivered to the curiosity and candour of WTAWorlders.

http://img301.imageshack.us/img301/6583/imgp0511ed4.jpg

FINIS

Jess3781
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:19 PM
excelent reports and photos thank you so much :)

Corswandt
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:20 PM
Not exactly "finis" because photos are still to be uploaded and posted. I'll begin working on that tomorrow if all goes well.

Natash.
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:28 PM
Amazing job, Corswandt. :woohoo: Thanks again for the great report!

Corswandt
Apr 20th, 2008, 11:25 PM
One last note from today: near the mass of people waiting for that mug who won the men's tournament to pass on his way to the players' tent, I noticed Mariana Alves, who I think was going to get Maria Joăo Köhler (another Portuguese junior hopeful), who was also there, an autograph from Federer. A Brazilian gentleman complimented her and asked for a photo, and she made this huge "mission accomplished" smile for the camera (you can't even begin to imagine how much she had to rush around to get those lazy ass workers to cover the courts or repair them).

At least somebody knew who was the real star of the tournament.

Corswandt
Apr 21st, 2008, 09:15 PM
First batch of photos. More to follow.

http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/7751/imgp0015lv7.th.jpg (http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0015lv7.jpg)

Giantess Hrdinova

http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/8450/imgp0045qc3.th.jpg (http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0045qc3.jpg)

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/1433/imgp0049ai9.th.jpg (http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0049ai9.jpg)

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6509/imgp0050iz5.th.jpg (http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0050iz5.jpg)

Eloisa Maria Compostizo de Andres and her legs

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/6525/imgp0151hw2.th.jpg (http://img138.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0151hw2.jpg)

Dekmeijere

http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/4308/imgp0207xq4.th.jpg (http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0207xq4.jpg)

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6571/imgp0192md7.th.jpg (http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0192md7.jpg)

Pironkova - slap on the thigh

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/399/imgp0252ip7.th.jpg (http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0252ip7.jpg)

http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/7227/imgp0250fk2.th.jpg (http://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0250fk2.jpg)

Camille Pin - bombs away!

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/9471/imgp0353gs5.th.jpg (http://img138.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0353gs5.jpg)

Lilia Osterloh

HowardH
Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:28 PM
You really know your tennis Corswandt. And you can write, and have a good sense of humour. And you seem to be a pro photographer. How do you get the players to pose for you? Is there a special wording, or is it just the Corswandt charm?

I particularly enjoyed your observation that Roddick's game on big points resembles Camille Pin's- :lol: you're so right, he chips the backhand, loops the forehand, and even sometimes slows the serve down (although not to Camille's level).

I personally find the lack of power and charming inability to hit certain shots, smashes etc, rather endearing in Camille. It's almost cute. She seems to be trying to hit a bit harder though sometimes - although apparently she returns to plan A when it doesn't work. So I'm one of those people who likes watching her. But wait, she's a hussy? :lol: I'm so disillusioned. I guess it's to be expected of the French girls.

Kirilenko, yeah, sometimes when she gets a half opening she comes up to it, tries to do something, and it actually ends up softer than the shot before. Like she's trying to do it by leaning on it instead of generating racquet head speed, and gets a bit cramped up. It frustrates me. :fiery:

So much to read, so if I see someone's name in a draw I'm not familiar with I think I'll come look at your comments to see if I can find out about her. I've got a couple of questions but no need to answer if you don't have time. I saw Arina before and thought she dropshotted an awful lot (on Rebound Ace too). In the match you saw, was she still doing this? I guess it might seem normal on clay. And my opinion of Kerber's serve: not only not much pace, but placement is average. Almost always at least 1 metre from the corner. Very little spin too, second serve is like a soft version of first. I'll take your word on your analysis of Michelle Larcher de Brito. I've been wondering what she was like. Soft serve huh? I've seen a clip of her on youtube, and could only see her groundstrokes, which appear to have an effortless, almost lazy whippiness (lets go of one hand sometimes on backhand) but without being ferocious. Seems to generate the energy early in the swing and then just relax, not bothering to exert herself later on in the swing- but maybe that's just in practice?

You seem to be able to move about from match to match, rather than being stuck on one court? I'm envious, I wish Auckland had a setup like that. We can only really do that during the qualifying matches. Or have you just bought tickets to every court? Maybe there's an all-court pass? You probably wrote about this somewhere but you wrote so much!

HenryMag.
Apr 23rd, 2008, 06:11 PM
Yeah, in Estoril you buy a ticket to all courts and watch all the matches you want. No need to be stuck in a Court. I really like it.

IMPOSSIBLE
Apr 23rd, 2008, 08:32 PM
was the Osterloh photos from doubles with Arvidsson

Corswandt
Apr 23rd, 2008, 10:27 PM
was the Osterloh photos from doubles with Arvidsson

Yes it was and yes I did.

http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/7185/imgp0344ey6.th.jpg (http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=imgp0344ey6.jpg)

Corswandt
Apr 23rd, 2008, 10:49 PM
And you seem to be a pro photographer.

You have got to be joking. The only reason why these photos look merely lousy instead of horrid is because I cropped and resized all of them.

How do you get the players to pose for you? Is there a special wording, or is it just the Corswandt charm?

Wording is most often merely showing my toy camera and saying "Photo?".

Getting them just after they've won their matches and are feeling all giddy is a good start.

I personally find the lack of power and charming inability to hit certain shots, smashes etc, rather endearing in Camille.

You're so right - I forgot about that one. She botched - badly - every single overhead she tried to hit.

I saw Arina before and thought she dropshotted an awful lot (on Rebound Ace too). In the match you saw, was she still doing this?

I was at that match more for Suarez Navarro than Arina, but from what I do remember Arina wasn't suffering from dropshotitis.

And my opinion of Kerber's serve: not only not much pace, but placement is average. Almost always at least 1 metre from the corner. Very little spin too, second serve is like a soft version of first.

Placement was adequate on the match vs Pin, but I only saw a set and Court 2 makes for very poor viewing.

You seem to be able to move about from match to match, rather than being stuck on one court? I'm envious, I wish Auckland had a setup like that. We can only really do that during the qualifying matches. Or have you just bought tickets to every court? Maybe there's an all-court pass? You probably wrote about this somewhere but you wrote so much!

Two kinds of tickets at the Estoril Open:

- "recinto" ("visitante" in 2007) - ground pass, access to all courts save for Court Central
- "Court Central" - access to all courts including Court Central

Last year I got "visitante" tickets for most of the days I went there. This year I got a full set of "Court Central" tickets to be able to see Roger. All the outside courts (Centralito and Courts 1-2-3-4) are very close to each other, so you can hop from one court to another with the utmost ease.

auntie janie
Apr 25th, 2008, 07:02 PM
Corswandt, I hope all these compliments aren't swelling your head! :eek:

Corswandt
Apr 26th, 2008, 09:38 PM
Corswandt, I hope all these compliments aren't swelling your head! :eek:

Masterful.

You manage to imply at the same time that those compliments are unwarranted and that I'm conceited, but in such a subtle way that you'd always be able to say that no, you meant nothing of the sort.

auntie janie
Apr 26th, 2008, 09:43 PM
:lol: No, you're reading too much into my stupid comment. All the compliments are very well-deserved. Your reports and pics are great. :kiss: I hope you can attend some challengers this year and give us more of the same.

Corswandt
Apr 26th, 2008, 10:04 PM
:lol: No, you're reading too much into my stupid comment. All the compliments are very well-deserved. Your reports and pics are great. :kiss: I hope you can attend some challengers this year and give us more of the same.

I'm getting totally paranoid (notice how I reacted in the other thread when one of the Lusoténis kids showed up to pimp their blog). I blame it on hanging around Jujutards too much.