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View Full Version : My Birmingham reports (days 1, 2, 3 + 5) UPDATED for QFs!


~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 07:58 PM
Hey guys, I spent the whole afternoon at the DFS Classic today! Most of the players seemed to be walking around, even if there weren't very many high-profile matches going on today! The only top players I didn't see were Sharapova and Hantuchova!

We got there at about 11.15 after asking for directions from a lovely old woman :lol: Bearing in mind this is only the second tennis tournament I've ever been to (the other being Wimbledon last year where I only saw a couple of doubles matches), I was very excited! So then imagine how I reacted when a shuttle bus pulled up as we were queueing to get tickets and Vera Zvonareva, Alicia Molik and Sania Mirza got out! My friends aren't really tennis fans so they were very amused by how excited I was about seeing Alicia :lol: Jelena Jankovic also emerged out of the players lounge (or whatever it is) moments later!

When we got in, we went straight to centre court and watched the Arvidsson-Czink match. I wasn't expecting much but it was actually a very high quality match. Sofia struggled with her serve early on but when she started getting them in it was very effective! In fact, it was great service from both women, Czink's lefty serve was working well! Czink was 5-2 up in the first set due to some very impressive aggressive play but Sofia started to play better and Czink started to make some more errors and ended up losing the set in the tiebreak.

I missed some of the second set because I went to look around the grounds and watched Alicia Molik practice for a bit - she was practicing with Pratty and i think her coach? On the court right next to her, Vera was running up and down with some guy (coach?) and Mara Santangelo and Elena Likhotseva were there as well. I saw Vera EVERYWHERE today, I saw her arrive at 11.15 and she was still there when I left at about 4.30.

I went back in to watch the Arvidsson-Czink match but spent most of my time at the top overlooking the practice courts :lol: Alicia and Pratty left sometime during that third set but then Daniilidou came on with her coach and hitting partner (I don't think she was a player, I had never seen her before). Daniilidou was mainly practicing her serves, her coach was demonstrating technique. Eleni was hitting some impressive serves but the whole time I was thinking that its her second serve she should be practicing :o

After the Arvidsson match, we went outside and hung around the main practice area where Francesca was practicing with someone I didn't really recognise. Likhotseva was also there with the same guy Zvonareva was with earlier (does he coach both of them?). At some point I saw Vera on these practice courts as well. But THEN the legend that is Martina Navratilova walked right past me onto the practice courts!! I was surprised to see her because I knew she had withdrawn (she had her knee bandaged btw). Anyway, she stood and watched Francesca practice for a couple of minutes and then talked to her briefly - I think she was coaching her! A storm had been rumbling away in the distance throughout the third set of the Arvidsson match and it finally arrived and absolutely p*ssed it down! So Martina got off there quickly but was stopped by this group of kids who tried to get her autograph and my friends pushed me to go to (I'm pretty shy). Martina muttered something about the pen not working and I thought she was going to get one from the reception area a few seconds away so I went after her like some loser :lol: But she just disappeared :o But THEN when I got back to my friends they were jumping up and down like idiots because it turned out that whilst I had been chasing Martina, Fran had got off the courts and raced underneath my friends' umbrellas! Apparently she gave them a big goofy grin and said something that none of them understood and ran off again :haha:

After the rain had passed, I went the more secluded practice courts behind the centre court and guess who was there? Yup, Vera Z! I watched her practice with the same guy again - she was practicing volleys and passing shots - and some of the kids on the court right next to her saw me taking pictures of her and thought that because someone recognised her she must be Maria Sharapova! So then one of the cocky ones shouted over to her coach and asked him if she was Maria Sharapova :haha: Vera seemed to have a good laugh about it anyway :lol: After a few minutes, her coach left and Vera was just there alone surrounded by these kids as she did some stretches! So I somehow plucked up the courage to go and speak to her and get her autograph! She seemed really sweet :hearts: That was the first autograph I'd ever gotten and shortly after I got Frannie's as well :D

I sat through about 5 games of the Borwell-South match before deciding it was going to be as boring as I thought it would be! I spent the rest of the afternoon near Court 1 where I saw the latter half of Vesnina-Razzano. Vesnina was VERY impressive in the final set which she raced through 6-0! I'm definitely going to keep my eye on her in the future ;) At the same time as that match, Brandi vs Tu and Rolle vs Foretz were playing. There were some strange noises coming from the Tu match :lol: And I had never heard of Rolle before but she seems very fiery! She was throwing her racket everywhere and having temper tamptrums!! I went to see who was practicing again and saw Sammy :), Sania and Yan and Li (I think) Also, Raymond, Likhotseva and Sugiyama all walked past me! I love this tournament already, it just seems so relaced with the players feeling free to walk around everywhere. I went back to the outside courts but we decided to go home, very sun-burnt, a while later. But I noticed before we went that there were quite a few players hanging around the outside courts, Vesinina hung around after her match, I think Shenay Perry was there and of course, it wouldn't have been a complete day without it, I saw Vera YET AGAIN joking with her coach amongst the spectators just before I left :angel:

Sorry for the length of this! I enjoyed it so much, I had to share :lol: Feel free to ask questions etc :)

-sugi-
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:02 PM
Thanks :) I love the Fran bit :haha: :haha:

jimbo mack
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:04 PM
Fran had got off the courts and raced underneath my friends' umbrellas! Apparently she gave them a big goofy grin and said something that none of them understood and ran off again

:lol:

bis2806
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:08 PM
But THEN when I got back to my friends they were jumping up and down like idiots because it turned out that whilst I had been chasing Martina, Fran had got off the courts and raced underneath my friends' umbrellas! Apparently she gave them a big goofy grin and said something that none of them understood and ran off again :haha:


Haha! Franny is so funny :D I'm sure Fran was speaking in Italian or in English with a thick Italian accent haha!

SJP
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:13 PM
I was there all day today too, and everyone does just seem so relaxed, it's great. There were so many players watching the Tu/Brandi match - seemed bizarre - I saw Anne Kremer, Elena L, Anna C, Czink, Zvonereva, Perry, Craybas and a few other players I didn't recognise.

lolas
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:19 PM
Great...Thanks for sharing your experience. Will you be there tomorrow?

Meesh
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:20 PM
:lol: Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the reports. I guess I always thought tennis players had a special entrance etc... I was surprised the first tournament that I went to that Jelena Dokic was walking out of the grounds in front of me.

Have FUN! Take lots of photo's and keep the reports coming!

~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the responses guys! I certainly had a good time :D

Great...Thanks for sharing your experience. Will you be there tomorrow?

Yeah I'm definitely going tomorrow, I really want to see the Vera-Alicia match amongst others :)

~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:33 PM
Have FUN! Take lots of photo's and keep the reports coming!

Thanks I will :yeah: I took some photos today as well and I'll upload them at some point if people are interested (probs tomorrow or the day after) but I have to worn you I only have a standard camera so there not up to Nouf's or East Players' standards!

pcrtennis
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Were Lisa, Elena L and Ai wakling together around? Did you see the MoritA vs O'Brien match?

Glad you're enjoying it! Souds like alot of fun!!! Great report!!

~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:43 PM
^^ I saw Lisa and Ai but Lisa was with her coach and Ai was on her own. Elena L I saw on her own as well but she was also around Santangelo, Zvonareva and Zvonareva's coach - he could be Likhotseva's coach actually, I'm not sure :shrug:

SJP
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:44 PM
Elena L was with a load of other Russian girls and I think her coach.

pcrtennis
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:51 PM
Any any of you guys see Morita-O'Brien?

SJP
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:55 PM
Saw a bit of it, Morita did very well considering I believe it was her first match on grass

pcrtennis
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:57 PM
ok great thamks!

~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 10:53 PM
Sorry, to those who asked, I didn't see the O'Brien match! I'm going again tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to give you another report :)

iPatty
Jun 12th, 2006, 10:57 PM
Wow. Great report. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have fun tomorrow.

Are you going all week?

~Rachel~
Jun 12th, 2006, 11:13 PM
No unfortunately I can't really afford to go all week :sad: I'm going tomorrow and Friday :wavey:

CrossCourt~Rally
Jun 12th, 2006, 11:15 PM
Thanks :) I love the Fran bit :haha: :haha:

Yeah...Fran should be a stand up comedian when she retires!! :lol: :p

TheBoiledEgg
Jun 12th, 2006, 11:23 PM
I'm gonna have to get a pic of Ted Watts giving a wave :lol:

not a bad day today :) :) apart from the 5 mins of rain twice which caused nearly 2 hours of delay :o

LeRoy.
Jun 12th, 2006, 11:25 PM
5 min of rain causes a 2 hr delay ? :eek: tape:

Thanks for the reports guys :wavey:

Epigone
Jun 13th, 2006, 12:42 AM
After the rain had passed, I went the more secluded practice courts behind the centre court and guess who was there? Yup, Vera Z! I watched her practice with the same guy again - she was practicing volleys and passing shots - and some of the kids on the court right next to her saw me taking pictures of her and thought that because someone recognised her she must be Maria Sharapova! So then one of the cocky ones shouted over to her coach and asked him if she was Maria Sharapova :haha: Vera seemed to have a good laugh about it anyway :lol: After a few minutes, her coach left and Vera was just there alone surrounded by these kids as she did some stretches! So I somehow plucked up the courage to go and speak to her and get her autograph! She seemed really sweet :hearts: That was the first autograph I'd ever gotten and shortly after I got Frannie's as well :D:rolls: Nice story :D

Bepa :worship:

SJP
Jun 13th, 2006, 06:34 AM
I'm going all week as I was lucky enough to get a weeks pass!!

pcrtennis
Jun 13th, 2006, 06:49 AM
I'm going all week as I was lucky enough to get a weeks pass!!


Nice!! Are you going to give us reports? It would be great if you would!! Have a great time!

esquímaux
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:04 AM
Eleni was hitting some impressive serves but the whole time I was thinking that its her second serve she should be practicing :o:haha: :haha: Eleni :sad:

Mightymirza
Jun 13th, 2006, 07:38 AM
great report...Would be expecting one today as well..Waiting for it... :D r u gonna go to watch today as well??

ceiling_fan
Jun 13th, 2006, 09:37 AM
great story!! hehe thanks!

Jakeev
Jun 13th, 2006, 09:45 AM
Lol about Ahsha Rolle. I think this is her first maindraw win in a WTA event right?

The girl has a big game but damn she could probably but Cappy to shame:lol:

FedExpress
Jun 13th, 2006, 10:05 AM
I like your report. It's a really great story :) Thank you :yeah:

xXSarajevoXx
Jun 13th, 2006, 10:14 AM
Thank you for the report :yeah:

~Rachel~
Jun 13th, 2006, 08:03 PM
Hey guys, I went into Birmingham again today! Due to the rain delay, it wasn't as enjoyable as yesterday but there was still about 3 hours of play before the heavens opened.

I arrived about 11 and already it seemed a lot busier than yesterday, I'm not surprised considering the order of play of the two days. I also wasn't surprised to see Vera Z out practicing already - she seems like such a hard worker! Stosur was just finishing her practice as well, she had a 5 minute chat with her coach before leaving and signing a few autographs :) Jelena Jankovic, Anna Chakvedatze, Elena Vesnina and Eleni Daniilidou were also all there! I didn't get to see them too much but I went round the back and watched Eleni for a couple of minutes - she was practicing volleys and just as I arrived she played two good volleys and got the third one all wrong! Her coach was joking that she can't make three volleys in a row or something :lol: Eleni seemed in high spirits anyway :D By the way, does anyone else who was at DFS today or yesterday recognise Eleni's hitting partner? Eleni's coach spent some time with her today as well, so I'm wondering if she's on the ITF circuit or something :shrug:

After watching them hit for a while I went to watch the Mirza-Bondarenko match which was very high quality from what I saw! Despite a few easy errors, Mirza was very impressive! I hadn't seen her play in a while and I'd forgotten just how mighty her groundstokes are :worship: I was also impressed with Bondarenko, it was the first time I had seen her play and, judging by what I saw today she definitely has huge potential :) The only worrying thing was the strapping on her right elbow - I hope it's nothing serious :scared:

I left this match after the first set and went in hunt of Alicia :lol: She wasn't practicing (but Bryanne and Elena L were and Fran and Ai were hitting together on the far court) so I wandered down to the outside courts where Pratty was playing Peng and sure enough, Alicia was sitting at the back with some friends! I decided to sit around there for a bit and kept stealing glances at Alicia :lol: I thought about going to talk to her but it became apparent she wasn't her usual smiley self so I left it! I thought at the time she was just nervous about her upcoming match with Vera but in hindsight, she was clearly upset at having to withdraw from the tournament :sad: A while later, Bryanne Stewart arrived straight from practice and sat down in front of Alicia and chatted to her a few mins. I didn't get the chance to talk to her but Bryanne seems lovely, really cheerful and down-to-earth :D I love how the Australian girls turned out to support each other like this, they're clearly a tight bunch ;) I noticed Sammy coming onto court so I went and watched the first few games. I'd forgotten how good Sam's serve is :eek: esepcially on grass!! She was playing Rodionova, who, by 1-1 had thrown an excessive temper tantrum about a line call :tape: I didn't watch long enough to see how Rodionova plays because I went to watch the end of the Mirza match. It was a very clinical finish from Sania, she served it out impressively in the third set! I have a feeling she will go far in this tourny :worship:

Whilst I was hanging around waiting for the Molik-Vera match to start, I saw Jelena Jankovic entertaining a little group of players outside the practice courts :lol: She seems hilarious! Jelena was literally jumping up and down doing these weird impressions of someone/something :haha: There was a lot of laughter and I could hear Jelena even when I was a good distance away near the centre court!! There was also another player there joining in but I couldn't make out who it was - a Chinese girl I think :) I wasn't sure what to make of Jelena before, but after today she seems delightful :hearts: Stubbsy and Black were warming up to start practice as well, I think that's the first time I've seen Stubbs smile :lol: Just kidding ;) I also saw Sofia Arvidsson and Elena Vesnina walking around a lot today, both of them seemed happy and cheerful :hug: Although I did walk past Vesnina at one point when whoever she was with (her parents I presumed) seemed be having a disagreement of some kind and they had stopped right outside Centre Court whilst the dispute was being discussed :lol:

I was walking towards the outer courts again when Alicia hurried past me and shouted to somone she would be there in five so I went back to Centre thinking thinking that she would be on soon! Imagine my surprise when I saw Anne Kremer warming up :lol: My first thought was that they had changed the scedule but then I saw Vera and realised that Alicia had withdrawn :cry: I was pretty upset for the first couple of games so I didn't really take much in but Vera was definitely hitting the ball cleanly and moving well! But Anne also seems like a very good mover and was making Vera work for the points despite the scoreline :yeah:

There's not much else to say apart from that it started to rain and never really stopped! The grounds staff had all the outer courts uncovered at one point but had to put the covers back on again about 10 mins later :o I left at about 3.40 but just as I was walking out I saw Yuri talking to someone on the phone about the weather (I think it was him anyway!!). I hope the weather is better for tomorrow for all going, I would really like to be there but I can't really afford it! Hopefully I'll be going on Friday so I'll write another report for then :wavey:

pcrtennis
Jun 13th, 2006, 08:15 PM
Great report!! Surprised to hear that Ai and Schiavone were practicing together...nice to hear....did you see any of the Morigami-Raymond match?

That Chinese girl with Jankovic was most probably Na Li...Apparently they're pretty good friends and they're playing doubles here.

~Rachel~
Jun 13th, 2006, 08:47 PM
I didn't actually see any of the Raymond-Morigami match unfortunately, I saw them warming up but I had to go back to Centre to see Vera's match!

Yeah it probably was Na Li with Jankovic actually! Thanks :)

~Rachel~
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:20 AM
Well I couldn't bear not going today after seeing the line-up, even though I can't actually afford it :o It was such a packed day! Luckily there was only one rain break, of about 45 mins :yeah: Because it was such a long day I can't really remember in what order everything happened so I'll just talk about the actual matches first and then a bit about who I saw around the grounds ;)

I saw the completion of Sam's 1st round match and a bit of her match against Lisa! I'm very impressed by Sam's serving and volleys at this tourny! She's really been using that monster serve to great effect! But she has been hitting a lot of errors on her groundies :( I think it was this lack of consistency that let her down in the Raymond match. Her serve was keeping her in the final set but when it came to the tie break, she kind of collapsed and wasn't able to make Lisa really work for the points. BTW, Sam has a great little support group with her! I'm not entirely sure who's coaching Sam at the moment, but I've sat next to a woman in both her matches who wears a 'coach' tag round her neck and is always very vocal in her support of Sam. I haven't seen anyone like that at Lisa's matches, but she really doesn't need it! Although Lisa is clearly more successful in doubles, she's still got game and obviously loves the grass - it suits all of her slicing and volleying skills! It's really great to see Lisa still winning singles matches :yeah:

I also saw bits of both Eleni's matches and I can't say I was very impressed with her form. I left her match vs Keothavong at 3-3 in the first set and it turns out that Eleni didn't lose a game from then on, so she could have played brilliantly for all know!! I was trying to watch her match against Li but there was too much going on! From what I saw Li was very impressive, really attacking the ball and not making too many UEs :yeah: Eleni on the other hand...her shots just seem to float over the lines, sometimes I wonder how controlled her groundies are :shrug: I got her autograph a while after she lost and she seemed OK but understandably not in terribly high spirits ;) I wanted to watch more of Jankovic-Peng but Sharapova was due on Centre so I headed over there. From what I saw though, Jelena was hitting the ball cleanly and in a very controlled way - not going for too much, just doing enough! I also wish I could say more about the Mirza-Perry match but I didn't watch too much of it! I like the spin that Perry puts on the ball rather that just bashing it! And Sania, well she still seems in good form :yeah: BTW, she seems to have her entire family out here rooting for her :lol: Definitely a lot of vocal support for her ;)

The Sharapova match was interesting if only for the new kid on the block - Asha Rolle. I had never seen her play before and I was really quite impressed. Her serve is mighty and her single-handed has some bite to it, but as with so many players she just needs to become more consistent and cut down on the errors. It's really refreshing to see an attacking player in the traditional sense of the world - she served and volleyed on a high percentage of points! Maria was...unimpressive. But I wasn't really expecting much considering that this was her first match on grass this season - I'm sure she'll improve throughout the tourny! She seemed to serve a lot of double faults and there were quite a few errors coming from both her fh and bh. Ultimately though, she played well on the points that mattered and came up with some impressive passing shots :)

I ended up watching Vera steamroll Sucha for the entirety of the match! Although it was one-sided, Vera was smoking so it was entertaining to watch (her tennis wasn't bad either :lol: j/k). Seriously though, Vera is my pick for the final as long as she keeps her head screwed on the right way ;) I suppose, in fairness, she hasn't really been tested yet - Sucha doesn't really have any weapons as such, nothing to challenge Vera. Kremer was much the same although she did run a lot of balls down which would have tested Vera's patience and shot selecting :)

Just a quick word about the doubles - I saw little bits of Craybas/Huber vs Rodionova vs Perebynis, Peng/Tu vs Sfar/Woehr and Black/Stubbs vs Poutchek/Hseih. Obviously Black and Stubbs were by far the most impressive team and I'd be surprised if they didn't win this tournament - although there are a few dark horses in the draw like Mirza/Schiavone ;) Peng and Tu make a good pair, they played a good match from what I saw and always smiling and laughing, as were Sfar/Woehr :yeah: Craybas and Huber also seemed to be having a good time although I was actually quite impressed with how Rodionova and Perebynis were playing! Rodionova managed to find a line call to complain about though :tape:

Now just a quick word about who I saw around the grounds! Firstly, Alicia was still here today because I caught a brief glimpse of her sitting in the VIP lounge/bar! I didn't actually see her outside though :o I saw Stubbsy and Raymond sitting together with another girl I didn't recognise and I later saw this girl again with Stubbsy and Stewart! No doubt that Lisa and Rennae are still good friends :yeah: Cara Black was hanging around today as well, but she was on her own and just watched a bit of the Daniilidou - Li match with a book in her hand. I was standing right beside her at one point and she's SO tiny!! I felt like a breath of wind would knock her over! Another shady figure watching that match was Yuri Sharapov :lol: He was there with Maria's hitting partner and at one point told some people who had just stood in front of him to move out of the way :lol: Jelena Jankovic was her usual sunny self today! I saw her buying a Crepe from a van but not before having a funny conversation with the person who was serving her about how close together their birthdays were :haha: How they got onto this topic I have no idea since they had obviously never met before :lol: I'm starting to love this girl more and more, she's such a personality and seemingly willing to chat to anybody :worship: The other thing I found out today is who Eleni's "hitting partner" is! Turns out that she's Jasmin Woehr who I saw playing doubles today! She's been, along with Eleni's coach, at every one of Eleni's matches so far. She watched some of Eleni vs Li just before her doubles match and had to rush off to get changed when her name was called. When Eleni lost to Li, Eleni sat in her chair with a towel over her head for an eternity, all of the lines judges and ball boys had already left the court by the time she got up! But she then went straight from the court to sit with her coach and watched Woehr's doubles match until the end. Make what you will of that relationship ;)

That's all for now, I've probably forgotten something though! I'm going on Friday so I'll write a report for then as well :wavey:

Mr_Molik
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:38 AM
thanx rachel
aussies :worship:

Zauber
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:55 AM
wow great reports
thank you
yes seeing so many player all over the place, makes attending a tennis tournament very special. (the smaller tournaments)

Lenafan
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:59 AM
Your reports are absolutely awesome. Extremely insightful.

We should all pitch in and pay for your ticket to go tommorow.

wukenaihe
Jun 15th, 2006, 01:47 AM
Great reports!!!
I'm looking forward to day 4's report. The match between Masha and Na will be exciting.

Drake1980
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:30 AM
Thank you very much!!!

Mightymirza
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:22 AM
Thank you so much for your report....It was awesome.....

AUSBOY
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:00 AM
That mysterious girl, that was vocally supporting Sam Stosur with the coach tag would be her partner Sarah Stone without a doubt!!! Sarah is a former tour player reached 600 is singles, about 120 in doubles. She's good friends with Alicia, Wheeler and most of the aussie players in that age bracket.

AUSBOY
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:01 AM
Thanks for the reports btw! :)

How was Pratt playing though? Was she feeding Peng junk balls?

Andy.
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:03 AM
Thanks for the reports

Sharapova's_Boy
Jun 15th, 2006, 04:05 AM
:yeah:

slk45
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:01 AM
After the rain had passed, I went the more secluded practice courts behind the centre court and guess who was there? Yup, Vera Z! I watched her practice with the same guy again - she was practicing volleys and passing shots - and some of the kids on the court right next to her saw me taking pictures of her and thought that because someone recognised her she must be Maria Sharapova! So then one of the cocky ones shouted over to her coach and asked him if she was Maria Sharapova :haha: Vera seemed to have a good laugh about it anyway :lol: After a few minutes, her coach left and Vera was just there alone surrounded by these kids as she did some stretches! So I somehow plucked up the courage to go and speak to her and get her autograph! She seemed really sweet :hearts: That was the first autograph I'd ever gotten and shortly after I got Frannie's as well :D
Nice reporting, Rachel. Vera really is sweet. :hug: :kiss: She's a good one to have a first autograph from. She also has a good sense of humor. :)

PerfectForm
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:36 AM
Jeca seems like a really nice girl on top of everything else!

Alicia Rocks
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:17 AM
Thanks :D

Modiac.
Jun 15th, 2006, 06:47 AM
Thanks for ur awesome reports!

Foot's Fingers
Jun 15th, 2006, 08:11 AM
Thanks for the reports

~Rachel~
Jun 15th, 2006, 11:57 AM
Great reports!!!
I'm looking forward to day 4's report. The match between Masha and Na will be exciting.

Unfortunately I'm not going today :sad: The only other day I'm going is tomorrow - I'll make sure I give a full report ;)

I forgot to mention that I saw bits of the Morita match as well, I didn't really see enough to make any judgements but Morita seemed to be playing brilliantly, moving Sofia around the court and not making many UEs! Also, it took me a while to realise it but I was sitting right behind the Japanese camp :lol: In front of me was Ai's mother and I think Morita's coach etc, then in front of them was Ai herself and another guy (maybe Ai's father?). They were all getting very excited - Ai kept looking round to grin at her mother every time Morita played a great shot :lol: It was cool to see them all there to support her :yeah:

Also, the Mattek-Bartoli looked like an intriguing encounter! Both of them are real characters :lol: There were some really long rallies which were fun to watch although I'm still at a loss as to how Bartoli is able to compete like that in such a match - she just doesn't look like an athlete! But credit to her, she was playing well and came through impressively :yeah:

AUSBOY - if you can find a picture of Stone then I'll be able to tell you if it was her or not cause I was sitting next to her in both matches!

~Rachel~
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:09 PM
Thanks for the reports btw! :)

How was Pratt playing though? Was she feeding Peng junk balls?

I was probably too busy keeping an eye on Alicia to be following this match closely :o But when I was watching Pratt seemed to be coming to the net, playing quite positively really! I wouldn't say Peng is quite comfortable on grass yet but she stepped it up in the last set and played more aggressively so Pratt was on the backfoot more :wavey:

gsm
Jun 15th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Unfortunately I'm not going today :sad: The only other day I'm going is tomorrow - I'll make sure I give a full report ;)
thanks heaps rach!!! :worship:

BTW, i especially enjoyed your little chat on maria's match!

Ellery
Jun 15th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Thanks a lot :worship:

~Rachel~
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:10 PM
No probs guys, glad you enjoyed them :wavey:

HAOCHEN-GOAT
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:30 PM
Did u yake some pics from Na ? :)

~Rachel~
Jun 15th, 2006, 02:43 PM
Did u yake some pics from Na ? :)

No sorry I didn't :sad: It's really hard to take pictures of those on Courts 2, 3 and to a lesser extent 4, because you have to stand up to see over the wire fence and thus block the view for people behind you. I tried to take pictures of Vera Z and Sucha warming up before the match and someone asked me to sit down :o

urklerlay
Jun 15th, 2006, 03:12 PM
great reports...thank you!!

auntie janie
Jun 15th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Great work; thank you! :)

~Rachel~
Jun 16th, 2006, 07:55 PM
It was yet another enjoyable day today in Birmingham :) The first thing I saw when I walked onto the grounds was that Navratilova was out coaching Schiavone again on the practice courts! I couldn't hear what they were talking about and they were just finishing as we got there. Instead of watching Bartoli-Tu, we decided to go and watch some doubles since Black and Stubbs were playing. When we got to the outside courts, Courts 1 and 2 were being used for practice and the doubles was being played on 3 for some reason :shrug: Craybas and Huber were on Court 1 and left shortly after we got there but Martina N then showed up and was practicing with a couple of hitting partners for an hour or so. Most of the time they were practicing 2 on 1, obviously with Martina on her own up against the other two ;) The most surprising and exciting thing for me though was that Molik was on Court 2 practicing with her coach! Alicia seemed to be practicing all aspects of her game but her coach spent a while working on her backhand return of serve - he was trying to get her to shorten the swing, much like Justine does sometimes. I got her autograph afterwards, she seemed in a world of her own :lol: But she was really nice and said her neck was feeling much better :yeah:

From what I saw of the doubles in between watching Nav and Molik practice, Mattek and Washington were playing well all the way through - although I'd say Mattek was the slightly stronger player in that match. In the first set, Black and Stubbs were showing why they were the No.1 seeds and grand slam winners but I wasn't really sensing much comeraderie between them :shrug: I can't put my finger on what it is but as a team they don't seem to work as well as say Rennae and Lisa did, or as Paola and Vivi do, even though as individuals they are exceptional doubles players! I didn't see the last set so I can't tell you exactly why Stubbs/Black lost except for the fact that Mattek/Washington were playing very well :)

We went to try and see some of Bartoli-Tu but it had just finished as we got there :o So unfortunately I can't tell you anything about that! However, by far the best match of the day that we saw was Vera Z vs Franny! I was really looking forward it and, although it was a bit slow starting, it didn't disappoint. Martina N was watching in the area where the coaches usually sit and, especially in the 2nd set, it was apparent what Fran had enlisted Nav's help for. She really started attacking the net and played some excellent, effective volleys. It was good to see this grass court tennis from Fran :yeah: Another tactic of Fran's was the drop shot - she must have used this over a dozen times :lol: She was definitely trying to expose Vera's movement and draw her into the net. Most of the time the drop shots were quite effective, but Vera did also play some excellent net points :yeah: Apart from maybe in the first set, there didn't seem to be that many errors from either player. Vera made some awesome winners, moving Fran around the court with powerful and accurate groundstrokes :worship: As may have been expected, Vera's emotional fragility was in full view in the second set, there was a lot of racket smashing and arm waving going on :lol: I was pleasantly surprised though by how composed Vera stayed throughout the third set and by the manner in which she closed the match out :yeah:

Next up was Maria vs Santangelo. Although the scoreline may not reflect it, Maria was far more impressive in the second set than in the first! She made a lot of errors in the early stages and she was struggling with her serve. There were quite a few double faults from Masha but she straightened those problems out in the second set and served impressively from then on :yeah: I get the feeling Maria is still warming up for the grass season and that in her next match she'll be even better! There isn't much to say about Santangelo as harsh as that sounds - the match was all about Maria. Mara did put in an impressive game in the second to force Maria to serve it out at 5-2, but apart from that I can't really remember Santangelo doing much. I wish she would have come to the net more since she clearly has solid volleys - to be honest though I don't Mara really believed in herself today :sad:

I saw a bit of Peng/Tu vs Yan/Vesnina before going to watch the Likhotseva-Jackson match. I was very impressed by the duo of Peng and Tu, they were having fun out on court as well, especially Shaui ;) Yan didn't seem to be on form today unfortunately, she was making quite a few errors on her groundies. Vesnina wasn't playing very well at the net from what I saw :sad: I'm not sure what her volleys are usually like - I know she has amazing grounstrokes - but from seeing her today I think her net game is an area to focus on ;)

The Likhotseva match wasn't too exciting! Mainly baseline rallies, I felt like it was Roland Garros again :lol: Jamea was being very aggressive though, definitely some good play from her :yeah: She's like a dynamo :lol: She seems to be a big bundle of energy, constantly moving and jogging and jumping around! Likhotseva was playing really quite badly and she was getting very frustrated with herself, making sarcastic gestures at her coach etc. I didn't see the second set because we decided to leave after the rain delay but I imagine it was much of the same ;)

This is my last report for this year :) I've had a great time in Birmingham the four days I've been and I would definitely reccommend it if anyone was wondering whether to go :yeah: I'd like to go next year but I've got a feeling my exams will clash with it :o I think I'm going to make a real effort to go to Eastbourne next year though :) Hope you enjoyed my reports :wavey:

Cat's Pajamas
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:06 PM
thanks :D

Ellery
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:07 PM
Thanks :worship:

deep bass
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Glad you had such a good time Rach. Thanks for the reports!

gsm
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:13 PM
rache!!!

great reporting this week, i loved it!!!

thanks again!!!

Dexter
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:15 PM
Thx a bunch! :D

Derek.
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:20 PM
Thanks! :wavey:

-sugi-
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:22 PM
Mara :sad:

slk45
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:27 PM
Great reports, Rachel! :hatoff: :wavey: Glad to hear Vera was able to recover in the 3rd set. Hope you can go again. What about Wimbledon? any chance you'll get to that?

~Rachel~
Jun 16th, 2006, 08:40 PM
Great reports, Rachel! :hatoff: :wavey: Glad to hear Vera was able to recover in the 3rd set. Hope you can go again. What about Wimbledon? any chance you'll get to that?

Thanks! I'm not sure about Wimbledon yet - I haven't got tickets but I'm thinking about queueing up on one the first few days and maybe getting a grounds pass. Does anyone know about the chances of getting a showcourt ticket on the gates for the first couple of days?

Sharapova's_Boy
Jun 17th, 2006, 03:01 AM
:yeah:

iPatty
Jun 17th, 2006, 03:08 AM
It was great reading your reports all week, Rachel. I'm glad you had a good time. :D

Maria Croft
Jun 17th, 2006, 08:25 AM
Thanks for all the great reports :)

azmad_88
Jun 17th, 2006, 08:32 AM
thanks..!