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View Full Version : Andrew's TV-reports (completed)


andrewbroad
Aug 9th, 2008, 07:28 PM
Quick links (they open in new windows):

Preview (below)
Sunday 10th August: First round (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13805051#post13805051)
Monday 11th August: First round (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13814116#post13814116)
Tuesday 12th August: Second round (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13824260#post13824260)
Wednesday 13th August: Third round (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13834138#post13834138)
Thursday 14th/Friday 15th August: Quarter-finals (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13854619#post13854619)
Saturday 16th August: Semi-finals (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13863285#post13863285)
Sunday 17th August: Medal-matches (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=13871628#post13871628)
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. UK TV-alert
3. Notable absentees
4. Opening ceremony
5. First-round draw
6. Lucie Šafářová preview
7. Vera Zvonarëva preview
8. Nicole Vaidišová preview
9. Daniela Hantuchová preview
10. Andrew's wishes
11. Women's Doubles
12. Order of play for Sunday

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1. Photos
---------

Pretournament: various players including Ana Ivanović, Marina Eraković, Elena Dementieva and Jelena Janković:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Various players including Ana Ivanović and Elena Dementieva:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?cap=1&pg=1

--------------
2. UK TV-alert
--------------

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the tennis will be played in two sessions each day, the start-times as follows:
* 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST
* 17:00 China-time = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST

The following information applies to viewers with access to BBC 1, BBC 2, and Freeview BBCi:

These days will be televised by the BBC as follows (start-times in BST):
* Sunday 03:30 (Freeview 301), 11:00 (Freeview 302), 14:30 (BBC 2), 23:00 (Freeview 302)
* Monday 05:00 (Freeview Red button), 14:00 (BBC 1)
* Tuesday 03:30 (Freeview Red button), 12:00 (Freeview 301)

"Freeview Red button" refers to Freeview-channel 81, but timer-recorders beware: if you just tune into it without pressing the Red button, you'll get a screen saying "BBC Parliament has been suspended... press RED" (I have written to the BBC to complain about this).

From Wednesday to the second Sunday, the tennis will be played in one session each day:
* 16:00 China-time = 08:00 GMT = 09:00 BST)

These days will be televised by the BBC as follows (start-times in BST):
* Wednesday 09:00 (Freeview 302), 17:15 (BBC 2)
* Thursday 13:45 (BBC 1)
* Friday 09:30 (Freeview 301)
* Saturday/Sunday: information not yet available

I do not guarantee that the above information is up to date; it may change dynamically and without notice - especially the BBCi schedule. The following web-page gives details of the BBC's tennis-coverage a day ahead (Freeview, satellite, cable and online):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/tennis/default.stm

Freeview-viewers should also keep up to date with the "Interactive TV schedule" (press Red, then Select, then Blue, then select "BBC Sport Listings" from the menu).

--------------------
3. Notable absentees
--------------------

(Notable: would have been seeded, or is an active member of my Eternal Fanship or demi-fanship)

#4 Maria Sharapova [EF] (right-shoulder injury)
#10 Anna Chakvetadze [EF] (declined due to poor form)
#13 Marion Bartoli [DF,S] (ineligible due to skipping Fed Cup)
#18 Nadia Petrova (only four Russians can play singles)
#22 Maria Kirilenko [DF] (only four Russians can play singles)
#28 Tatiana Golovin [DF] (back-injury)
#100 Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] (too low, but congrats on top 100!)
#123 Michaëlla Krajíček [DF] (too low)
#184 Karolina Šprem [DF] (too low)
#188 Jelena Dokić [EF] (too low)
#378 Iroda Tulyaganova [EF] (too low, and hasn't played since May)
#828 Romana Tabaková [DF] (too low)


3.1 Maria Sharapova's withdrawal
--------------------------------

I am very disappointed and saddened that Maria has pulled out of the Olympics after an MRI-scan revealed torn tendons in her right shoulder - after she pulled out of Montréal after winning a near-three-hour marathon against Marta Domachowska.

It was Maria's right shoulder that ruined her 2007 season, and now 2008 since a certain backhand against Alyona Bondarenko at Indian Wells did the damage, but it was not properly diagnosed until after the aforementioned MRI-scan, when she got a second opinion: a torn rotator-cuff tendon.

Disappointed, because Maria is my favourite active player, and was the only member of my Eternal Fanship who was likely to be televised by the BBC at these Olympics. I was really looking forward to watching her play the Olympics. I still have four players in my 'EF squad', but they are all on poor form going into Beijing, and - unlike Maria - unlikely to be televised on their own merits.

Saddened, because it was Maria's dream to play the Olympics "ever since I was a little girl, so it's been one of my priorities for a very long time."

This is how much the Olympics means to Maria:

* "I think because I already have a Wimbledon-title, I'd take the Olympic Gold Medal. It will be incredible to be part of the Games."

* "One of the things I'm really looking forward to is the opening ceremony and walking with all the athletes from my country in front of thousands of people."

* "You need to be smart about the events you play before the Olympics, because you want to go into the Games having a few matches under your belt, but I'll be coming off the seven-to-eight-week stretch of being on the road. When the schedule was made, it was known that that's the way it's going to be. You're not going to change the Olympics. It's an honour to play there, and it's been a dream of mine. So whatever it will take, I'll make sure I'll be there and do the best that I can."

* Maria asked to be Russia's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, but was denied this honour because Russian-tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev didn't want her to tire herself out in the heat for four hours while she waited to march.

Maria couldn't play the Olympics at Athens 2004, because even though she'd just won the Wimbledon-title, it came after the cut-off date, when there were five Russians above Maria in the rankings (only four players from each country can play singles at the Olympics).

Maria has bent over backwards to meet the Olympic eligibility-criteria, but all her hard work has been for nothing, and now she'll have to wait until London 2012 for her next chance to make her Olympic début - and probably her last chance, as she'll be 25 by then, and has previously stated that she'll retire at 25 - ideally at those London Olympics, where the tennis will be played at Wimbledon.

Now I hope she can get to the bottom of her shoulder-problems and sort them out once and for all. I'm glad she has decided to skip the US Open - I think that's a wise decision, and frankly I don't really care about the US Open anymore, now that not only can I not watch it on TV, the USTA have forbidden Tennis Videos International (and anybody else) to sell copies of US Open matches.

If I were a player, I would seriously consider boycotting the US Open over this issue.


3.1.1 Articles
--------------

NO CHANCE OF ME COMPETING IN BEIJING
7/31/2008 7:10:00 PM
http://www.mariasharapova.com/
>>>
After yesterdays match I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder. After taking a few different exams and MRI's this morning, the doctors found two small tears in the tendons of my shoulder. There are so many mixed feelings because last night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve which could have ultimately been much more serious but after the tests this morning, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem. But on the other hand this is something that needs a lot of time to heal, which really hurts me to say that I have to miss the Olympics.

I'm currently packing up really quick to hop on the plane and head to NY for a second opinion but I wanted to let all of you know first that there's no chance of me competing in Beijing. The timing is so unfortunate and this makes me more sad than anything.
<<<

Injured Sharapova out of Olympics [CEEFAX 480->486] (Thursday 31st July)
>>>
World number-three Maria Sharapova will miss the Beijing Olympics because of a shoulder-injury.

The problem caused the 21-year-old Russian to withdraw from this week's WTA Rogers Open at Montréal.

She was in pain in her second-round 7-5 5-7 6-2 win over Poland's Marta Domachowska, and an MRI-scan revealed two small tears.

"This is something that needs a lot of time to heal. It really hurts me to say I have to miss the Olympics," she said.
<<<

Crocked Sharapova will miss Beijing [Teletext 495->499]
>>>
Beijing woe for Sharapova [Teletext 499]

Maria Sharapova has been ruled out of the Olympics with a shoulder-injury.

The 21-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from this week's Rogers Cup at Montréal after defeating Marta Domachowska, and a scan revealed two small tears in the tendons.

Sharapova told her website: "After the match, I knew there was something seriously wrong. This is something that needs a lot of time to heal."
<<<

Beijing 2008 - Sharapova out of Olympics (Eurosport/Reuters)
>>>
World number-three Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Beijing Olympics after an MRI-scan on her right shoulder revealed two small tears.

The Russian was examined by doctors after withdrawing from the Montréal Cup late on Wednesday evening with a sore shoulder following a 7-5 5-7 6-2 win over Poland's Marta Domachowska.

"After yesterday's match, I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder," Sharapova said.

"After taking a few different exams and MRIs this morning, the doctors found two small tears in the tendons of my shoulder.

"There are so many mixed feelings, because last night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve, which could have ultimately been much more serious.

"But after the tests this morning, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem.

"But on the other hand, this is something that needs a lot of time to heal, which really hurts me to say that I have to miss the Olympics."

Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis has also been forced to pull out of the Olympics after failing to recover from a wrist-injury.

The Games start on 8th August.
<<<

Injured Sharapova withdraws from Olympics (additional reporting by Matthew Cronin, editing by Ken Ferris)
By Steve Keating (Reuters)
>>>
World number-three Maria Sharapova pulled out of the Beijing Olympics on Thursday after an MRI scan on her right shoulder revealed two small tears.

"I'm currently packing up really quick to hop on the plane and head to New York for a second opinion, but I wanted to let all of you know first that there's no chance of me competing in Beijing," Sharapova said on her website.

"The timing is so unfortunate, and this makes me more sad than anything," she added on www.mariasharapova.com (http://www.mariasharapova.com). The Olympic Games are scheduled for 8th-24th August.

The Russian was examined by doctors after withdrawing from the Montréal Cup late on Wednesday evening with a sore shoulder following a 7-5 5-7 6-2 win over Poland's Marta Domachowska.

They advised Sharapova she would need a lot of time away from the game to let the injury to heal, which puts the 2006 US Open champion's chances of playing in this year's final Grand Slam, starting on 25th August in New York, in doubt.

"After yesterday's match, I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder," said Sharapova.

"After taking a few different exams and MRIs this morning, the doctors found two small tears in the tendons of my shoulder.

MIXED FEELINGS

"There are so many mixed feelings, because last night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve, which could have ultimately been much more serious.

"But after the tests this morning, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem.

"But on the other hand, this is something that needs a lot of time to heal, which really hurts me to say that I have to miss the Olympics."

Playing her first match since a shock second-round defeat by compatriot Alla Kudryavtseva at Wimbledon in June, Sharapova twice received treatment on her shoulder during her three-hour battle with Domachowska in Montréal on Wednesday.

While her groundstrokes were crisp and powerful, the Australian Open champion struggled with her serve, committing 17 double faults.

Sharapova said her shoulder had been troubling her since she played at Indian Wells, California in March.

After the results of tests in Montréal, the Russian was flying straight to New York to have the injury examined by sports-physician Dr. David Alchek, who will provide a second opinion and advise her on how much time she should take off.
<<<

Despondent Sharapova pulls out of Olympics (AFP, 1st August)
>>>
A despondent Maria Sharapova pulled out of the Beijing Olympics on Friday with a shoulder-injury, depriving the Games of one of its biggest stars.

The glamorous Russian withdrew from the WTA Rogers Cup in Montréal on Wednesday after a marathon second-round win over Marta Domachowska, and a scan revealed two small tears in her right shoulder.

"I'm currently packing up real quick to hop on a plane to New York for a second opinion, but I wanted to let you all know first that there is no chance of me competing in Beijing," she said on her official website.

"The timing is so unfortunate, and this makes me more sad than anything."

The world number-three's match against Domachowska was her first since her disappointing performance at Wimbledon, where she was dumped out by fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva in the second round.

"After Wednesday's match, I knew there was something seriously wrong with my shoulder," she added on the website.

"After taking a few different exams and MRIs, the doctors found two small tears in the tendons of my shoulder.

"There are so many mixed feelings, because on Wednesday night they were almost positive there was something wrong with my nerve, which could have ultimately been much more serious.

"But after Thursday morning's tests, for the first time in a while, they were able to give me a different answer and a different problem."

"This is something that needs a lot of time to heal. It really hurts me to say I have to miss the Olympics," she said.

The injury also throws into doubt whether she will be fit for the US Open, which starts on 25th August in New York.

The 21-year-old has already suffered wear and tear this year, pulling out of her scheduled Italian Open semi-final in May against Jelena Janković because of a calf-strain.

Sharapova joins a growing list of Beijing-casualties, including former world number-one and Athens Olympic silver-medallist Amélie Mauresmo and fellow French star Mary Pierce.

While many other top names remain in the draw, Sharapova's exit will be a big blow for Olympic organisers.

The pin-up attracts huge media interest, and her name-recognition is so powerful that an Internet-search brings up over seven million results.

She is also a global brand off court, raking in an estimated $25 million from endorsement-deals so far.

But it is also a cruel blow for Sharapova herself. When she announced she would play at the Olympics, she said: "It has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl."

"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is the opening ceremony and walking with athletes from my country in front of thousands of people."

With the three-time Grand Slam champion's withdrawal, Serbian superstar Ana Ivanović will be the centre of attention after claiming the number-one spot and the French Open title in Paris.

But with defending champion Justine Henin's shock retirement in May, and plenty of different winners already this year, the event is unpredictable.

Serbia's Janković holds the second ranking, and Serena Williams will look to join a role of honour which includes her sister Venus - the current Wimbledon-champion - by claiming the only major title to elude her.

The Games tennis-event starts on 10th August.
<<<

3.2 Anna Chakvetadze's withdrawal
---------------------------------

I'm very disappointed that Anna is skipping the Olympics simply because her form is "far from ideal".

Perhaps she wanted to give the Russian team a better chance by letting that bruiser Dinara Safina replace her - "I really want to thank her that she gives me a chance to go there," said Safina.

Or perhaps Anna just didn't want to make the long trip from America to Beijing and back, just for a couple of matches, so close to the US Open.

But I don't think she understands the honour that she is giving up, and I think her decision is against the spirit of the Olympics: "Taking part is more important than winning."

Maybe she'll understand these things when she's too old and low-ranked to play the Olympics, which I hope she won't be by London 2012.


3.2.1 Article
-------------

Dinara Safina to Replace Anna Chakvetadze on Russian Olympic Team
Posted by Aaress Lawless on 23rd June 2008
http://www.onthebaseline.com/2008/06/23/dinara-safina-to-replace-anna-chakvetadze-on-russian-olympic-team/
>>>
2008 French Open finalist Dinara Safina will have an opportunity to represent Russia in Beijing after her countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze decided to skip the Olympics.

Safina is expected to compete alongside Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Elena Dementieva.

Russia's team-captain Shamil Tarpischev announced his tentative squad last month, but Chakvetadze recently asked to have her name removed from the team-roster.

According to Chakvetadze's mother, the Russian No.4 has decided to skip the Olympics because of her recent struggles.

"Anna has no plans to compete in Beijing, because her current form is far from ideal," said her mother to the Allsport news-agency.

Chakvetadze played her first match at the Wimbledon Championships on Monday, and was forced to save three match-points before beating Stéphanie Dubois 2-6 6-1 8-6.
<<<

-------------------
4. Opening ceremony (The Bird's Nest, Friday 8th August)
-------------------

I watched the whole ceremony on BBC 1.

After a magnificent, atmospheric and selective portrayal of China's history that lasted an hour, the opening ceremony got to the bit I really love: the parade of athletes marching through the stadium, country by country - I always have fun trying to spot all the tennis-players.

The order of the countries was unpredictable to me: presumably Chinese alphabetical order. Greece came out first (presumably because it hosted the last Olympics), followed by the countries beginning with 'T'...

The first tennis-player I spotted was Shahar Pe'er (Israel), and then (in order of presentation):
* Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark was pretty sexy);
* Victoria Azarenka (Belarus);
* Leander Paes (India);
* Rafael Nadal (Spain) - they showed him at three different times in the parade!;
* Argentina was very sexy, and I think I caught a brief glimpse of Gisela Dulko;
* I loved Poland's cool red dresses, but couldn't spot Marta Domachowska;
* Andy and Jamie Murray (I was annoyed that the BBC kept focusing on Britain instead of showing Romania properly);
* Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria);
* Liezel Huber (USA);
* Lucie Šafářová and TomᚠBerdych (Czechia) - spotting Lucie was the highlight of the entire ceremony for me;
* Daniela Hantuchová (Slovakia) - sadly not close up, but I'm nearly sure that the tallest Slovenka was her;
* Fernando González (Chile's flag-bearer!);
* Roger Federer (Switzerland's flag-bearer);
* Ana Ivanović (Serbia) - sadly not close up, but I'm pretty sure I saw her.

The athletes marched with paint on their soles, creating a massive and increasingly visible rainbow of footprints on a canvas in the middle of the arena, which was then transferred to the podium - "a way of including every single athlete in the formal protocol."

-------------------
5. First-round draw
-------------------

The following draw is out of date: at the time of writing, I can't find a version updated since the withdrawal of Tatiana Golovin (I've been checking the official websites of the WTA, the ITF and the Beijing Olympics for hours), so I don't even know whom Lucie Šafářová plays now.


5.1 Top half (all four of my Eternal Fanship)
------------

* ANA IVANOVIĆ [1,DF] v Mariya Koryttseva (ajde Ana!)
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Tatiana Golovin [DF] (my loyalty is to Lucie)
* Anabel Medina Garrigues v Sybille Bammer
* Jill Craybas v PATTY SCHNYDER [13]

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Yan,Zi [s] (my loyalty is to Vera)
* Shahar Pe'er v Sorana Cîrstea (my loyalty is to Shahar)
* Akgul Amanmuradova v Francesca Schiavone
* Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8] (jia you Yung-Jan!)

* Olga Govortsova v SERENA WILLIAMS [4] (davai Olga!)
* Samantha Stosur v Sara Errani
* Peng,Shuai [s] v Carla Suárez Navarro (jia you Shuai!)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15] (my loyalty is to Nicole)

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Caroline Wozniacki v Selima Sfar [WC] (kom sĺ Caroline!)
* Tamarine Tanasugarn [WC] v Sofia Arvidsson
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v Kateryna Bondarenko (davai Elena!)


5.2 Bottom half
---------------

* Timea Bacsinszky v VENUS WILLIAMS [7] (hopp Timea!)
* Sania Mirza [DF] v Iveta Benešová (my loyalty is to Sania)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Casey Dell'Acqua (Ąvamos Gisela!)
* Tatiana Perebiynis v VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] (my Reason says Victoria, but my Passion says Tatiana)

* FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] v Kaia Kanepi (forza Flavia!)
* Eleni Daniilidou v Virginie Razzano
* Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S] (my loyalty is to Marina)
* Li,Na v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3] (jia you Na!)

* Mara Santangelo v DINARA SAFINA [6] (forza Mara!)
* Alicia Molik [WC] v María-José Martínez Sánchez (go Alicia!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Nuria Llagostera Vives [WC] (pojďme Klára!)
* Zheng,Jie v ÁGNES SZÁVAY [11] (jia you Jie!)

* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] v Pauline Parmentier (poďme Domi!)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v Marta Domachowska (my loyalty is to Tsvetana)
* Alyona Bondarenko v Milagros Sequera (davai Alyona!)
* Cara Black [WC] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] (go Cara!)

-------------------------
6. Lucie Šafářová preview
-------------------------

Lucie continues to have a rough time of it in 2008, with a 10:16 win/loss record for the year so far. Since her first-round Wimbledon-exit, she's:
* beaten Kira Nagy 6-2 6-2 at Budapest ("I cannot say it was too hard," she said), only to lose 6-1 6-4 to the resurgent Anna-Lena Grönefeld in the second round;
* lost 6-3 6-4 to world #320 Melanie Klaffner at Bad Gastein;
* extended her losing-streak to 3 matches: 7-6 6-3 to Vera Dushevina at Stockholm.

And this is what she had to say for herself after the Stockholm-loss: "At the beginning of the year, I was injured a lot, and have not been able to come back right. I would say that first set was very smooth, but that I did a lot of unnecessary errors. That is my biggest problem right now: that I am doing too much wrong."


6.1 First-round preview before Golovin's withdrawal
---------------------------------------------------

I checked the draw on Saturday morning, I went to all the trouble of writing a wonderful preview of the mouthwatering Lucie v Tatiana first-round match, and then Tatiana withdrew from the Olympics with more back-problems! :-(

It would be a shame for my Lucie v Tatiana preview to go to waste, so I'm going to post it anyway:

>>>>>>
But it's interesting that Lucie's drawn Tatiana Golovin in the first round, because Tatiana's been having an even worse year: barely able to play due to a back-injury, she's just 3:5 in 2008, and hasn't played since early May.

Olympic Draw Thoughts
by Nick Bollettieri (Thursday 7th August)
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
This tournament will also mark the return of another NBTA alum: Tatiana Golovin. She hasn't played since May because of injuries, and will face Lucie Šafářová in the first round. Golovin just spent some time practising here a couple of weeks ago, and looked healthy and ready to play. If she wins this match, she will most likely face Ana Ivanović in the second round.
<<<

I look at it as 50/50, because I don't know how strong Tatiana's going to come back. Nick Bollettieri says she's ready, but she hasn't been ready to play any WTA tournaments recently, so I have to wonder whether she's just desperate to play the Olympics rather than really ready.

It's great to see Tatiana in the Olympic draw this time, because in 2004, she appeared to have secured a place in the Athens Olympics by reaching the Birmingham-final, but it still rankles in my mind how Sandrine Testud came out of maternity-leave and used a protected ranking to steal Tatiana's rightful place in Athens.

Lucie may be the one I inducted into my Eternal Fanship, but I seriously considered inducting Tatiana several times between 2004 and 2007. Back in 2004, Tatiana was drop-dead gorgeous (who could forget those microshorts?), and seemed like a solid if unspectacular prospect in tennis-terms.

It seemed then that Tatiana had years of improvement ahead of her, but she has been plagued by numerous injuries: particularly ankle-injuries in 2005-2007. She managed to win her first two WTA singles-titles last year, and was runner-up to Justine Henin at two Tier I tournaments last October before a first-round retirement at Linz heralded her disastrous 2008.

Lucie and Tatiana have played each other once before: Tatiana beat Lucie 6-2 6-1 in Fed Cup 2006, but I don't think that's very relevant, after everything they've both been through since.

Lucie v Tatiana is definitely the most intriguing first-round match of the Olympics as far as I'm concerned. It's a shame that the BBC won't agree with me, but at least the winner should get televised against Ana Ivanović in the second round!
<<<<<<

-------------------------
7. Vera Zvonarëva preview
-------------------------

Vera was originally listed for doubles only at the Olympics, due to only four players of each country being allowed to play singles, but got her place in the singles after Maria Sharapova withdrew. While I am very disappointed to lose Maria, I am delighted that Vera gets to make her Olympic début in singles as well as doubles.

Vera had an excellent start to 2008, winning Prague and reaching three other finals, but it's been pretty much all downhill for her since her fourth-round loss at the French Open:
* She lost 6-3 6-3 to Ekaterina Makarova at Eastbourne: I was there and it was a listless performance by Vera;
* she beat Aiko Nakamura 6-1 6-7(3) 6-1 at Wimbledon, but came up against on-form Tamarine Tanasugarn in the second round: she played much better than at Eastbourne, but lost 7-6 4-6 6-3;
* lost 6-3 6-2 to lucky loser Samantha Stosur at Stanford;
* beat Jill Craybas 6-4 7-6 at Los Angeles, only to lose 6-4 7-5 to Nadia Petrova in the second round;
* lost 6-3 1-6 7-6 to Virginie Razzano at Montréal.


7.1 First round
---------------

Vera begins her Olympic campaign against Yan,Zi: a Selesian player who, being Chinese, can count on the support of a partisan crowd. Vera has never played Yan before.

Yan is best known for her Grand Slam success in women's doubles: in 2006, she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon with Zheng,Jie.

But Yan can also be dangerous in singles: she beat Ana Ivanović 6-3 6-1 in 3r Toronto 2007, and went on to reach the semi-finals! She also beat Jelena Janković 6-3 3-6 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of Bangalore in March 2008.

Yan's had a pretty poor 2008 apart from that, though: she's 8:12 for the year so far, is currently on a 3-match losing-streak, and hasn't played since Wimbledon, where she lost 6-3 6-0 to Anabel Medina Garrigues. So Vera has a good chance of coming through this one.

Without analysing beyond the first round in depth at this stage, Vera is seeded to come up against rising star Agnieszka Radwańska [8] in the third round, with the winner facing a likely quarter-final against top seed Ana Ivanović.


7.2 Articles
------------

Zvonarëva to replace injured Sharapova in Beijing (AFP, Friday 1st August)
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva will replace the injured Maria Sharapova at the Beijing Olympics, Russian tennis-federation official Vladimir Kamelzon said on Friday.

Kamelzon said that Fed Cup skipper Shamil Tarpishchev had been in charge of naming Sharapova's replacement after the world number-three withdrew earlier on Friday with a shoulder-injury.

"He told me that Zvonarëva, 23, who will play in the doubles-tournament together with Yelena Vesnina, will replace Sharapova in the singles-competition," he said.

Sharapova, 21, withdrew from the Montréal WTA event on Wednesday after a marathon second-round win over Marta Domachowska, and a scan revealed two small tears in her right shoulder.

The injury also throws her US Open participation into doubt.

Zvonarëva is ranked 11th in the world.

Sharapova joins a growing list of Beijing-casualties, including Athens silver medallist Amélie Mauresmo and fellow French star Mary Pierce.
<<<

---------------------------
8. Nicole Vaidišová preview
---------------------------

After her 6-match losing-streak that started in February and ended in June, Nicole appeared to be getting back on track as she successfully defended her Wimbledon quarter-final, albeit way below the form she showed at Wimbledon 2007.

But lack of patience and a tendency to tank have been key characteristics of Nicole's slump, and while you can get away with being impatient on grass if you have huge weapons such as Nicole's serve and forehand, there are no such shortcuts on faster, higher-bouncing hard courts.

Nicole's struggles have continued post-Wimbledon, struggling past world #133 Ayumi Morita 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1 at Los Angeles, where Bethanie Mattek repeated the humbling she gave Nicole at Birmingham: this time 6-4 6-0.

And it hardly got any better for Nicole at Montréal, as she lost 6-3 3-6 6-2 to Ai Sugiyama.

Nicole will have to do a lot better than that at the Olympics, where she has a tough first-round match against Alizé Cornet, who recently won her first-ever WTA singles-title at Budapest - albeit without having to play anyone in the top 100.

It's strange to see that Cornet is the seed here [15], rather than Nicole, but it's certainly an accurate reflection of their form in recent months.

Cornet has a 26:15 win/loss record for the year so far: mainly by virtue of excellent results on clay: she reached the Acapulco-final, the semi-finals of Amelia Island, semi-finals of Charleston with a win over world #13 Ágnes Szávay, and to cap it all, she reached the final of Rome with wins over #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova (6-2 6-4) and #8 Anna Chakvetadze! (3-6 6-4 6-3)

Cornet suffered a disappointing grasscourt-season with first-round losses at Eastbourne and Wimbledon, but then got back on clay to win the aforementioned Budapest-title, and retired ill in the first round of Bad Gastein the following week - it was a mistake to play there, but of more concern that she hasn't played since.

Cornet is a good counterpuncher, which is what makes her so effective on clay, so Nicole can't afford to be impatient against her.

They've never played each other before, but I'd say it's 60/40 in favour of Cornet, weighing up their recent form against the question-marks over Cornet's absence from the Tour since her retirement at Bad Gastein (though she hasn't actually withdrawn from any tournaments since then, so maybe she's just taking a break).


8.1 Articles
------------

Olympic Draw Thoughts
by Nick Bollettieri (Thursday 7th August)
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
Another interesting first-round match will pit NBTA alum Nicole Vaidišová against young Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet. These two have never faced, but this has the potential to be a good one.
<<<

Beijing 2008 - Fantasy: Going for Gold (Eurosport, Friday 8th August)
>>>
It is hard to recommend Czech player Nicole Vaidišová after she was handed a nightmare draw. In the first round, she has to face up-and-coming French star Alizé Cornet, and if she then gets past that battle, she is likely to face home-favourite Shuai Peng and a partisan home-crowd.

That is just the easy part though; Serena Williams is likely to come next in the third round, and it is hard to see Vaidišová getting past the American, who holds a 4:0 record over her.
<<<

-----------------------------
9. Daniela Hantuchová preview
-----------------------------

It's been Daniela's dream to play in the Olympics ever since she was a little girl watching Miloslav Mečíř winning the Gold Medal for men's singles at Seoul 1988, but the timing is terrible, as she has yet to recover the form she had before the stress-fracture in her right heel that kept her off the Tour from April to Wimbledon.

Daniela's 7-6 6-4 win over Sara Errani in her comeback-match at Wimbledon was commendable, but she didn't look fully fit in the third set of her 6-3 4-6 6-1 second-round loss to Alisa Kleybanova - and that was on grass: the most forgiving surface there is.

Daniela has struggled even more on the hard courts, losing 6-3 6-1 to Ai Sugiyama at Stanford, and 6-2 6-4 to Olga Govortsova at Los Angeles, extending her losing-streak to 3 matches.

So it's most unfortunate that she has to play Sugiyama again in the first round here, even if she'll have the crowd on her side.

Daniela is only 3:6 head-to-head against Sugiyama, even though Daniela was the higher-ranked player in 6 of those meetings. It's hard to play your regular doubles-partner (as Sugiyama was a few years ago), and often the lower-ranked partner has an advantage because she has inside information, not to mention the emotional aspect of seeing your partner on the other side of the net.

Daniela's wins over Sugiyama came at Eastbourne 2004 (6-1 7-6), Zürich 2005 (1-6 7-5 6-4) and Zürich 2006 (7-6 6-2). They didn't play each other in 2007 (Daniela's best year), but Sugiyama already beat Daniela at Miami this year (6-4 6-7 7-5) before the aforementioned Stanford-drubbing.

There's no one I'd like to see win the Gold Medal here more than Daniela, but the timing is terrible, the draw is very tough, and I would hate to put a number on Daniela's chances. Even if she gets past Sugiyama, she could have to play Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Dementieva and Serena Williams back to back on consecutive days.


9.1 Daniela's diary
-------------------

My last days before the Olympics (2008-08-01)
http://www.dhantuchova.com/diary.html?id=5
>>>
Hi guys!

Last week i have visited the nike base in Portland which was incredible experience..the whole place is absolutely fantastic it makes you understand why nike is the biggest and best sport company in the world..all the people i had oportunity to meet were very exciting and there is incredible amount of engery and enviroment to work in,that you can just feel it full of energy and new ideas that are going to come out any second..i have to say it makes me very proud to be representing nike as an athlete and to be a part of such a great company...

After i had a plane to catch which was very very tight as we had fly back to LA and from there to London..we had only few minutes to make the connection so at least i got my work out for the day done, running from one terminal to another.

This week im in Barcelona preparing in the Sanchez Casal for the upcoming olympics which is going to be such an in incredible experience..it is so hot here in barcelona and full fo tourists during this time of the year so it is very busy right now and aslo in the academy there are lot of kids that come here just for the summer holidays to improve their tennis which is nice to see that they like to do my sport also during holidays..talking about olympics i cant wait to be there as just beeing a part of it and represent my country is already going to be a big honour...

I hope you guys will all support me as much as you can and hope you will enjoy watching the whole thing on tv...i hope i will get a chance to see some sports as well and support my country men and women in their sports but tennis will come first of course for me as always..

Have a great day and i will speak to you all soon :-)

D
<<<

-------------------
10. Andrew's wishes
-------------------
10.1 Second round
-----------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [1,DF]
+ Anabel Medina Garrigues d. PATTY SCHNYDER [13]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Shahar Pe'er
+ Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] d. Francesca Schiavone

+ Olga Govortsova d. Samantha Stosur
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Peng,Shuai [s]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Caroline Wozniacki
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. Tamarine Tanasugarn [WC]

+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Timea Bacsinszky
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Tatiana Perebiynis
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [14] d. Virginie Razzano
+ Marina Eraković d. Li,Na

+ Alicia Molik [WC] d. Mara Santangelo
+ Klára Zakopalová d. Zheng,Jie
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] (I didn't really want to cheer against Domi this early, but Tsvetana is just too delectable!)
+ Alyona Bondarenko d. Cara Black [WC]


10.2 Third round
----------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Anabel Medina Garrigues
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Chan,Yung-Jan [WC]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Olga Govortsova
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5]

+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF] (my Passion says Gisela, but my Reason says Sania)
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] d. Marina Eraković
+ Klára Zakopalová d. Alicia Molik [WC]
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Alyona Bondarenko

To be more realistic, it will be interesting to see if Dominika Cibulková can repeat her Montréal-win over Jelena Janković at this stage - and if I finally get to see Domi play!


10.3 Quarter-finals
-------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Nicole Vaidišová [EF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF]
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Klára Zakopalová


10.4 Semi-finals
----------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]


10.5 Finals
-----------

Gold-medal match:
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Sania Mirza [DF]

Bronze-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]

It's a real shame that all four members of my Eternal Fanship are in the top half of the draw, but given that this is the situation, I think the podium should look like this:

GOLD: Daniela Hantuchová
SILVER: Sania Mirza
BRONZE: Vera Zvonarëva

According to a poll at www.dhantuchova.com (http://www.dhantuchova.com), 46% of Daniela-fans believe she's going to win the Gold medal (the dream), while 39% believe she's not going to win a medal at all (the harsh reality).

-------------------
11. Women's Doubles
-------------------
11.1 First-round draw
---------------------

Andrew's selections (desired winners on the left):

* Daniela Hantuchová [EF]/Janette Husárová v (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8]

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Petra Kvitová v Samantha Stosur/Rennae Stubbs

* Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone v Alicia Molik/Casey Dell'Acqua

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] v Nuria Llagostera Vives/María-José Martínez Sánchez

* Gisela Dulko [DF]/Betina Jozami [WC] v Shahar Pe'er/Tzipora Obziler [WC]

* Nicole Vaidišová [EF]/Iveta Benešová v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2]


11.2 Desired podium
-------------------

GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva/Elena Vesnina (but it isn't easy for me to choose them over Nicole Vaidišová/Iveta Benešová in the quarter-finals)
SILVER: Daniela Hantuchová/Janette Husárová
BRONZE: Lucie Šafářová/Petra Kvitová

----------------------------
12. Order of play for Sunday
----------------------------

All matches will be played at the Olympic Green Tennis Center (sic), which looks absolutely magnificent in the photos I've seen!

Sunday's schedule is a mixture of matches from both halves of the draw. The first round will be completed on Monday, followed by a round a day for the Women's Singles (with the finals on Saturday).

The weather doesn't look too good for the first round: rain, temperatures up to 31°C and humidity at 90%. Daniela Hantuchová said earlier this week: "This is the hottest weather I think I've ever experienced."

All start-times are given in China-time, which is 8 hours ahead of GMT and 7 hours ahead of BST (e.g. 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST).

Show Court 1
(10:30) MS 1r: Fernando González v Sun,Peng
(12:30) WS 1r: Peng,Shuai [s] v Carla Suárez Navarro
(17:00) MS 1r: Janko Tipsarević v David Ferrer
(19:00) WS 1r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Yan,Zi [s]
(21:00) MD 1r <snip>

Show Court 2
(10:30) MS 1r: Nikolay Davydenko v Ernests Gulbis
(12:30) WS 1r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama
(17:00) WS 1r: Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8]
(19:00) WD 1r: Nicole Vaidišová [EF]/Iveta Benešová v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2]
(21:00) MD 1r <snip>

Court 3
(10:30) MS 1r: Yu,Xinyuan v TomᚠBerdych
(12:30) WS 1r: Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
(17:00) WS 1r: Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S]
(19:00) MD 1r <snip>
(21:00) MD 1r <snip>

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship; the full order of play is at:
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/event/scheduleday1.asp

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

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

andrewbroad
Aug 10th, 2008, 06:53 PM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Vaidišová v Cornet (Part 1)
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Sugiyama (Part 1)
5. Ana Ivanović's withdrawal
6. First-round draw
7. Lucie Šafářová preview
8. Andrew's wishes
9. Order of play for Monday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Ana Ivanović practising:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic

Caroline Wozniacki:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=wozniacki

Search Getty Images for:
hantuchova
vaidisova
ana ivanovic

Various players including Daniela Hantuchová, Olga Govortsova and Peng,Shuai:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?cap=1&pg=1

----------------------
2. First-round results (Sunday 10th August)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Marta Domachowska, 6-3 6-4

What rocked:
+ Caroline Wozniacki d. Selima Sfar [WC], 6-4 6-1

What sucked:
- ANA IVANOVIĆ [1,DF] pulled out with a right-thumb injury

Suspended overnight:
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama, 6-2 3-0* (15/30*)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 1-6 *0-0
* Peng,Shuai [s] v Carla Suárez Navarro, 7-5 2-0*
* Olga Govortsova v SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 1-2*

----------------------------------------------------
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Vaidišová v Cornet (Part 1)
----------------------------------------------------

* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 1-6 *0-0

Nicole won the first set by virtue of a break in the first game, but presumably tanked the second set after going *1-4 down, as she is wont to do. The rain certainly came at the ideal time for her! And she'll have the advantage of serving first in the third.

The match started on Court 3 at approximately 15:15 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (more up to date)
http://www.scorestand.com/tennis (tells you who's serving, and lets you follow all the matches on one page)


First set
---------
VAIDIŠ @* * * * * 6
CORNET __* * * *_ 4

There was doubt over who was serving first, as scorestand.com said Nicole was, but that would mean eight breaks in a row after an initial hold. So I believe Cornet was serving first.

There was a rain-delay from 15:28 to approximately 15:35, with Nicole leading 3-1*.

Nicole won the first set 6-4 at 16:00 (34 minutes excluding the rain-delay).


Second set
----------
VAIDIŠ _*_____ 1
CORNET * *@*@* 6

Did Nicole tank this set? Cornet won it 6-1 at 16:20 (19 minutes).

There was a rain-delay from 16:23, which is just as well, as Nicole needs to get her head together for the third. In fact, play was abandoned for the day at 18:54.

-------------------------------------------------------
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Sugiyama (Part 1)
-------------------------------------------------------

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama, 6-2 3-0* (15/30*)

Well, contrary to what I expected, Daniela has made a very good start here, and Sugiyama a very bad one! But a new day is a new day, and as every Daniela-fan should know by now, there's a big difference between being a set and 3-0 up and actually winning the match!

The match started on Court 2 at approximately 15:20 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (more up to date)
http://www.scorestand.com/tennis (tells you who's serving, and lets you follow all the matches on one page)


First set
---------
HANTUCHO *@*@*__@ 6
SUGIYAMA _____*@_ 2

There was a rain-delay from 15:28 to approximately 15:40, with Daniela leading *2-0.

Daniela won the first set 6-2 at 16:04 (35 minutes excluding the rain-delay).

According to comments at http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352779&page=26 , Daniela was playing very well, and spreading Sugiyama from side to side.

Sugiyama was playing very badly, and apparently the crowd /are/ against her (as much as I hate to go into politics, Japan's presence at the Beijing Olympics is controversial according to a BBC commentator when Japan appeared in the opening ceremony).


Second set
----------
HANTUCHO *@* 3
SUGIYAMA ___ 0

There was a rain-delay from 16:23, with Daniela leading 3-0* (15/30*). Play was abandoned for the day at 18:54.

----------------------------
5. Ana Ivanović's withdrawal
----------------------------

I'm very disappointed that Ana has withdrawn with her right-thumb injury. I was really looking forward to seeing her play the Olympics, especially since Maria Sharapova withdrew, because the BBC aren't likely to televise any of the four remaining members of my Eternal Fanship - although Ana could have brought televisation to Lucie Šafářová in the second round, and that's what sucks the most.

And I'm sorry for Ana, too. This is what the Olympics means to her: "Winning the Olympics is like winning a Grand Slam, but even harder because it only happens every four years, and you only get the chance to play the Olympics maybe twice, maximum maybe three times in your career."

However, she jinxed herself with the following words: "To win an Olympic medal will be a thrilling moment. It's something every athlete dreams of."

Had she said "would" instead of "will", her Olympic dream would still be alive now.


5.1 Articles
------------

Ivanović withdraws from Tennis
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/
Updated: 2008-08-10 21:01:21
>>>
Top seed Ana Ivanović of Serbia has withdrawn from Women's Tennis at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with a right-thumb injury.

"I've been struggling with it. For the past month, I've been receiving so much treatment, and I've been doing everything to recover after Montréal, where I really wasn't able to play. After there, it was so painful. I took some time off, and haven't played a tournament in 10 days. Even yesterday, we flew a doctor in from Australia to help with my hand. I've had really great doctors and we've tried all kind of treatments. It's just nothing could get my hand back to be ready to play, and it was one of the hardest decisions," said Ivanović in explanation.

"It's one of the hardest moments in my career. I've tried to recover and play, but it was just impossible. This kind of injury takes time, and that's what I just didn't have enough of. I'm very disappointed, but I'm young and will have another chance," she added hopefully.

Women's Tennis is set to resume on Monday 11th August after several matches were postponed by rain.
<<<

Ivanović withdraws from Olympics (Reuters)
By Martyn Herman (Editing by Alex Richardson)
>>>
Top seed Ana Ivanović of Serbia withdrew from the Olympic tennis-event on Sunday with an injury to her right thumb.

"This is one of the worst moments of my career," Ivanović told a news-conference at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Ivanović, who will be replaced by fellow Serb Jelena Janković at the top of the world-rankings on Monday, said she had not been able to practise since arriving in China.

She said she sustained the injury when she returned to training after losing at Wimbledon.
<<<

Olympic tennis-tournament rocked by Ivanović pull-out (AFP)
>>>
Top seed Ana Ivanović pulled out of Olympic tennis-tournament on Sunday with a thumb-injury, calling it "the worst moment of my career" and dealing a fresh blow to the injury- and rain-hit event.

The French Open champion from Serbia, who had been due to face Ukraine's Mariya Koryttseva in the first round, said she had been carrying the right-thumb injury since the Rogers Cup in Montréal.

"This is the worst moment of my career," she said. "In the past month, I've been in so much pain, and I haven't been able to practise for 10 days.

"I haven't even hit a ball since arriving in Beijing."

Ivanović, who will be deposed as world number-one by compatriot Jelena Janković on Monday, is the latest big name to withdraw.

Maria Sharapova, Tatiana Golovin and Amélie Mauresmo had already pulled out of the competition, while 1996 champion Lindsay Davenport has decided not to play in the singles.

Second seed Janković is still a doubtful starter after picking up a calf-strain. She is due to play Zimbabwe's Cara Black in the first round.

Ivanović's pull-out came on a rain-hit day at the tennis-tournament, during which only nine of a scheduled 45 matches were completed.

She has not played since losing her third-round match in Montréal to unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek on 31st July.
<<<

Rain falls, Ivanović withdraws at Olympics
By Steven Wine: AP Sports Writer
>>>
The biggest surprise on a dismal first day of Olympic tennis came from Ana Ivanović, who didn't even play.

The top-seeded Ivanović withdrew on Sunday because of inflammation in her right thumb that has bothered her for several weeks. Her decision was announced after play was called for the day with only nine of 45 scheduled matches completed.

Ivanović decided to pull out after trying to practise on the eve of her opening match.

"It was just too painful," the Serb said. "I haven't played at all the last 10 days. It's one of the hardest moments in my career. I'm very, very disappointed."

Among the few players to complete victories was James Blake, at No.8 the top-seeded American in the men's draw.

Ten matches were suspended and 26 postponed. Serena Williams was interrupted with a one-set lead, and despite a long wait, Roger Federer never got on court.

No one was more frustrated than Ivanović, nursing a swollen thumb-joint at the top of her hand. She said the injury may take another two weeks to heal, which makes her questionable for the US Open beginning on 25th August.

"Hopefully it will be enough time," she said. "I went through so many treatments in the last five or 10 days, but with this injury it just takes time."

She was already assured of losing the top spot in the rankings on Monday to No.2 Jelena Janković. Ivanović has led the rankings since 9th June: the Monday after winning the French Open for her first Grand Slam title.
<<<

Injured Ivanović out of Olympics
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/tennis/7548997.stm
>>>
Top seed Ana Ivanović has pulled out of the Olympic tennis-tournament because of a thumb-injury.

"This is one of the worst moments of my career," said the Serb, who now faces a battle to make the US Open, which starts on 25th August.

Ivanović, who will be replaced by compatriot Jelena Janković as world number-one on Monday, had not been able to practise since arriving in China.

She sustained the injury in training after losing at Wimbledon.

"For the past month, I've been receiving so much treatment, and I've been doing everything to recover after Montréal, where I really wasn't able to play," she said.

"After there, it was so painful. Yesterday we flew an osteopath in from Sydney to help with my hand.

"I've had really great doctors to help, and we've tried all kind of treatments.

"Nothing could get my hand ready to play, and it was one of the hardest decisions of my career."

The French Open champion joins former Olympic champion Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Tatiana Golovin, Amélie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce in missing the event.

The 32-year-old Davenport, who won Gold in 1996, has struggled with a knee-problem since Wimbledon, but is expected to play in the doubles.

Second seed Janković, due to play Zimbabwe's Cara Black in the first round, is still a doubtful starter after picking up a calf-strain.

Ivanović's pull-out came on a rain-hit day at the tennis-tournament, during which only nine of a scheduled 45 matches were completed.
<<<

Ivanović withdraws from thunder-struck Olympics tennis (AFP)
>>>
Women's top seed Ana Ivanović of Serbia pulled out of the Olympic Games tennis-tournament on Sunday in a fresh blow after the first day of competition was heavily disrupted by prolonged thunderstorms.

The French Open champion, who will cede her world number-one status to compatriot Jelena Janković on Monday, has failed to recover from an injured right thumb, and joins Maria Sharapova, Tatiana Golovin and Amélie Mauresmo on the sidelines.

"This is the worst moment of my career," said the 20-year-old Serb, who has been undergoing osteopathic treatment here in a bid to alleviate the pain and restore the strength in the thumb she injured in last month's WTA Rogers Cup in Montréal.

"In the past month, I have been in so much pain, and I haven't been able to practise for 10 days.

"I haven't even hit a ball since arriving in Beijing," said Ivanović, who was slated to play a first-round match against Mariya Koryttseva on Monday.

The news came after a rain-disrupted first day of competition, during which only nine of the 45 scheduled matches were completed.

<snip>

The day's play was finally called off at 7:00 pm with only nine matches completed, giving officials a headache as they juggle the packed singles and doubles roster.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur of Australia, Italian Francesca Schiavone and Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova progressed in the women's draw.

But Serena Williams, China's Peng,Shuai, Daniela Hantuchová of Slovakia and Nicole Vaidišová of the Czech Republic were all mid-match, and were left kicking their heels in the locker-room.
<<<

Ivanović is out
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=19105
>>>
The battle for the women's singles has been thrown wide open by the withdrawal of the French Open champion and top seed Ana Ivanović.

Ivanović has a pain at the joint between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand. She first felt it when she practised after Wimbledon, and it has been getting worse in the weeks since. She says its refusal to respond to treatment means she may have to have it immobilised – her Australian doctor Grant Brent says this may mean a plaster-cast – but she says it is too early for her to think about withdrawing from the US Open which begins a fortnight from now.

The Olympic women's singles was already without a clear favourite, after the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova last month and the retirement of Justine Henin in May. Now without this week's world No.1, it seems very much up for grabs, with the favourites now Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and the coming week’s new world No.1 Jelena Janković.

Ivanović is replaced in the women's singles draw by Israel's Tzipora Obziler.
<<<

-------------------
6. First-round draw
-------------------
6.1 Top half (all four of my Eternal Fanship)
------------

* Tzipora Obziler [A] v Mariya Koryttseva (ajde Ana!)
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Maret Ani [A] (POJĎME LUCIE!!)
* Anabel Medina Garrigues v Sybille Bammer
* Jill Craybas v PATTY SCHNYDER [13]

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Yan,Zi [s] (my loyalty is to Vera)
* Shahar Pe'er v Sorana Cîrstea (my loyalty is to Shahar)
* Francesca Schiavone won
* Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8] (jia you Yung-Jan!)

* Olga Govortsova v SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 1-2*
* Samantha Stosur won
* Peng,Shuai [s] v Carla Suárez Navarro, 7-5 2-0*
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 1-6 *0-0

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama, 6-2 3-0* (15/30*)
* Caroline Wozniacki won
* Tamarine Tanasugarn [WC] v Sofia Arvidsson
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v Kateryna Bondarenko (davai Elena!)


6.2 Bottom half
---------------

* Timea Bacsinszky v VENUS WILLIAMS [7] (hopp Timea!)
* Sania Mirza [DF] v Iveta Benešová (my loyalty is to Sania)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Casey Dell'Acqua (¡vamos Gisela!)
* Tatiana Perebiynis v VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] (my Reason says Victoria, but my Passion says Tatiana)

* FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] v Kaia Kanepi (forza Flavia!)
* Eleni Daniilidou v Virginie Razzano
* Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S] (my loyalty is to Marina)
* Li,Na v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3] (jia you Na!)

* Mara Santangelo v DINARA SAFINA [6] (forza Mara!)
* Alicia Molik [WC] v María-José Martínez Sánchez (go Alicia!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Nuria Llagostera Vives [WC] (pojďme Klára!)
* Zheng,Jie v ÁGNES SZÁVAY [11] (jia you Jie!)

* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] v Pauline Parmentier (poďme Domi!)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] won
* Alyona Bondarenko v Milagros Sequera (davai Alyona!)
* Cara Black [WC] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] (go Cara!)

--------------------------------------
7. Lucie Šafářová: First-round preview
--------------------------------------

It took a long time to find a replacement for Tatiana Golovin, apparently: on Sunday morning, I checked the Beijing 2008 website <http://en.beijing2008.cn/> again, and discovered that Lucie's new opponent is the cute Estonian crybaby, Maret Ani.

Lucie is 1:1 head-to-head against Ani, having played her twice on the ITF Women's Circuit in 2005: at ITF Capriolo, Lucie won 6-4 6-2, but at ITF Poitiers, Ani won 6-4 4-6 6-2. Too long ago to be relevant.

Ani is 26 years old and ranked #97, but still lives mainly on the ITF circuit. She reached her career-high ranking of #63 in 2006: the year with her greatest concentration of WTA tournaments. I remember watching her lose 6-3 6-0 to Justine Henin-Hardenne in the first round of the French Open: she was very cute, and very nervous.

Ani made a 0:7 start to 2008, then reached the quarter-finals of ITF Monzon and the semi-finals of WTA Estoril (beat Anne Kremer, Kirsten Flipkens and Olga Savchuk, but lost 6-2 6-1 to Iveta Benešová).

Ani then reached the final of ITF Cagnes-sur-Mer, ending the first tournament of Tatiana Golovin's ill-fated comeback-attempt 5-7 7-6 6-2 in the second round, and losing 6-1 7-5 to Viktoriya Kutuzova in the final.

First-round losses at the French Open and Wimbledon followed (with a couple of ITF tournaments in between), and her last three tournaments have seen second-round losses at ITF Zagreb and WTA Bad Gastein, followed by a quarter-final at ITF Rimini (lost 7-6 6-2 to Roberta Vinci).

Ani's win/loss record for the year so far is 16:18 to Lucie's 10:16, but Lucie hasn't been down to the ITF circuit for some easy wins as Ani has.

It's a close call on current form, but definitely a winnable match for Lucie, and I'd give her the edge because she's just so much more talented than Ani, who might not even be ready to play in Beijing at such short notice.

See http://www.lucie-safarova.com/ for an interview with, and photo of, Lucie and Tomáš Berdych at the Olympics.

------------------
8. Andrew's wishes (updated after Sunday)
------------------
8.1 Second round
----------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Mariya Koryttseva
+ Anabel Medina Garrigues d. PATTY SCHNYDER [13]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Shahar Pe'er
+ Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] d. Francesca Schiavone

+ Olga Govortsova d. Samantha Stosur
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Peng,Shuai [s]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Caroline Wozniacki
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. Tamarine Tanasugarn [WC]

+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Timea Bacsinszky
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Tatiana Perebiynis
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [14] d. Virginie Razzano
+ Marina Eraković d. Li,Na

+ Alicia Molik [WC] d. Mara Santangelo
+ Klára Zakopalová d. Zheng,Jie
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] (I didn't really want to cheer against Domi this early, but Tsvetana is just too delectable!)
+ Alyona Bondarenko d. Cara Black [WC]


8.2 Third round
---------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Anabel Medina Garrigues
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Chan,Yung-Jan [WC]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Olga Govortsova
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5]

+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF] (my Passion says Gisela, but my Reason says Sania)
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] d. Marina Eraković
+ Klára Zakopalová d. Alicia Molik [WC]
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Alyona Bondarenko

To be more realistic, it will be interesting to see if Dominika Cibulková can repeat her Montréal-win over Jelena Janković at this stage - and if I finally get to see Domi play!


8.3 Quarter-finals
------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Nicole Vaidišová [EF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF]
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Klára Zakopalová


8.4 Semi-finals
---------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]


8.5 Finals
----------

Gold-medal match:
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Sania Mirza [DF]

Bronze-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]

It's a real shame that all four members of my Eternal Fanship are in the top half of the draw, but given that this is the situation, I think the podium should look like this:

GOLD: Daniela Hantuchová
SILVER: Sania Mirza
BRONZE: Vera Zvonarëva

---------------------------
9. Order of play for Monday
---------------------------

Show Court 1 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
WS 1r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Yan,Zi [s]
WS 1r: Peng,Shuai [s] v Carla Suárez Navarro (7-5 2-0*)
MS 1r: Lleyton Hewitt v Jonas Björkman [WC]
(Not before 17:00)
MS 1r: ANDY MURRAY [6] v Lu,Yen-Hsun
MD 1r: (ROGER FEDERER/STANISLAS WAWRINKA)[4] v Simone Bolelli/Andreas Seppi
WS 1r: Cara Black [WC] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2]

Show Court 2 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
WS 1r: Mara Santangelo v DINARA SAFINA [6]
WS 1r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Ai Sugiyama (6-2 3-0*)
WS 1r: Janko Tipsarević v DAVID FERRER [5]
(Not before 17:00)
WS 1r: Zheng,Jie v ÁGNES SZÁVAY [11]
MD 1r: Jonas Björkman/Robin Söderling v (RAFAEL NADAL/TOMMY ROBREDO)[6]
MD 1r: Andy Murray/Jamie Murray v Daniel Nestor/Frederic Niemeyer
WS 1r: ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v Kateryna Bondarenko

Court 3 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
MS 1r: Nicolas Massú [WC] v Steve Darcis
WS 1r: Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15] (6-4 1-6 *0-0)
MS 1r: Gaël Monfils v NICOLAS ALMAGRO [11]
(Not before 17:00)
WS 1r: Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8]
MD 1r: (Dmitry Tursunov/Mikhail Youzhny)[A] v (Fernando González/Nicolas Massú)[WC]
WS 1r: Gisela Dulko [DF] v Casey Dell'Acqua
WS 1r: Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S]

Court 6 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
WS 1r: Alicia Molik [WC] v María-José Martínez Sánchez
MS 1r: Paul-Henri Mathieu v Nicolas Lapentti
(Not before 17:00)
MS 1r: Agustin Calleri v Devin Mullings [A]
WS 1r: Anabel Medina Garrigues v Sybille Bammer
WS 1r: Tatiana Perebiynis v VICTORIA AZARENKA [12]
WS 1r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Maret Ani [A]

I hope they have good floodlights at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre, because it could be well after 21:00 before Lucie gets on!

The "not before 17:00" after only two matches is the most ridiculous piece of scheduling I've ever seen when there's already a serious backlog. Evidently the order-of-play committee is not made up of tennis-experts.

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/INF/TE/C58/TE0000Y11.shtml

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

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

andrewbroad
Aug 11th, 2008, 08:25 PM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Yan
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Sugiyama (Part 2)
5. First-round scoreboard-report: Vaidišová v Cornet (Part 2)
6. First-round TV-report: Govortsova v S.Williams
7. First-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Ani
8. Second-round draw
9. Second-round previews
10. Andrew's wishes
11. Order of play for Tuesday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Opening ceremony including Daniela Hantuchová, Sania Mirza, Caroline Wozniacki, Shahar Pe'er and Virginia Ruano Pascual:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=olympics_pre

Peng,Shuai, Carla Suárez Navarro, Ai Sugiyama and Alicia Molik:
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214528746.shtml

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

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Yan,Zi [s], 6-2 6-0
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Maret Ani [A], 6-4 6-2
- Nicole Vaidišová [EF] lt. ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 1-6 4-6
- Tatiana Perebiynis lt. VICTORIA AZARENKA [12], 4-6 7-5 4-6
- Sania Mirza [DF] lt. Iveta Benešová, 2-6 *1-2 retired (right-wrist injury)

Sania: "It was hurting before I even came to Beijing, but it's the Olympics, so you have to try and give it your best shot. The timing is very bad. I've been on painkillers for the last six days and took four this morning, but what worries me is that I could still feel it with that many painkillers."

What rocked:
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Ai Sugiyama, 6-2 7-5
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] d. Pauline Parmentier, 6-1 7-5
+ Alyona Bondarenko d. Milagros Sequera, 3-6 0-1* retired (right-ankle injury)
+ Shahar Pe'er d. Sorana Cîrstea, 6-3 5-7 6-0
+ Peng,Shuai [s] d. Carla Suárez Navarro, 7-5 7-6 (7/2)
+ Zheng,Jie d. ÁGNES SZÁVAY [11], 4-6 6-3 7-5
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-1 6-4
+ Li,Na d. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3], 7-6 (7/5) 6-4

What sucked:
- Gisela Dulko [DF] lt. Casey Dell'Acqua, 3-6 4-6
- FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] lt. Kaia Kanepi, 2-6 6-7 (6/8)
- Olga Govortsova lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 1-6
- Timea Bacsinszky lt. VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 3-6 2-6
- Klára Zakopalová lt. Nuria Llagostera Vives [WC], 6-2 3-6 5-7
- Cara Black [WC] lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 3-6 3-6
- Alicia Molik [WC] lt. María-José Martínez Sánchez, 1-6 1-6
- Mara Santangelo lt. DINARA SAFINA [6], 3-6 6-7 (1/7)
- Chan,Yung-Jan [WC] lt. AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8], 1-6 6-7 (6/8)

Klára lost after leading 6-2 3-1!

Suspended overnight:
* Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S], 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 1-0*

-------------------------------------------------
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Yan
-------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Yan,Zi [s], 6-2 6-0

An easy win for Vera: Yan's backhand wasn't working, so Vera put pressure on that side, and Yan made 42 unforced errors.

The match started on Court 1 at 10:43 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (Live Result gives live scores, while Match Statistics tells you the sequence of games and who was serving - the wrong way round)


First set
---------
ZVO * *@*@ @ 6
YAN _*____@_ 2

First blood to Vera, then a double break as Yan struggled with high bounces <ASP0315 at http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352898&page=6>.

Vera couldn't serve it out at *5-1, but broke to win the first set 6-2 at 11:14 (31 minutes).


Second set
----------
ZVO *@*@*@ 6
YAN ______ 0

Yan was broken from 0-1 (40/15), and her backhand was killing herself according to adrygf <http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352898&page=7>.

Vera won 6-2 6-0 at 11:45 (second set 32 minutes, match 1h03m).

-------------------------------------------------------
4. First-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Sugiyama (Part 2)
-------------------------------------------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Ai Sugiyama, 6-2 7-5

I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (Live Result gives live scores, while Match Statistics tells you the sequence of games and who was serving - the wrong way round)

The match resumed on Court 2 at approximately 12:35 China-time, with Daniela leading 6-2 3-0* (15/30*).


Second set
----------
HANTUCHO *@* * *___*@ 7
SUGIYAMA ___* * *@*__ 5

Daniela served for the match at *5-3, but couldn't serve it out. She had at least two match-points before *5-5, from what I gather from http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352898.

The scoreboard erroneously said it was 6-6 in the second set, but reverted back to 6-5*, then Daniela broke to win 6-2 7-5 at 13:19 (excluding all the rain-delays, the second set took 1h14m and the match 1h49m).

----------------------------------------------------
5. First-round scoreboard-report: Vaidišová v Cornet (Part 2)
----------------------------------------------------

- Nicole Vaidišová [EF] lt. ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 1-6 4-6

The match resumed on Court 3 at approximately 12:40 China-time, with Nicole at 6-4 1-6 *0-0. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (Live Result gives live scores, while Match Statistics tells you the sequence of games and who was serving - the wrong way round)


Third set
---------
VAIDIŠ * *@___@__ 4
CORNET _*__@*@ @* 6

First blood to Nicole (*3-1), but Cornet broke back immediately just after Daniela Hantuchová failed to serve out her match at 6-2 *5-3.

Cornet broke again for *4-3, Nicole broke back for 4-4, but Cornet reestablished her break to lead *5-4.

Nicole squandered four break-points in that game, allowing Cornet to serve out the match 4-6 6-1 6-4 at 13:23 (the third set took 46 minutes, and the match 1h39m excluding the rain-delays).

-------------------------------------------------
6. First-round TV-report: Govortsova v S.Williams
-------------------------------------------------

- Olga Govortsova lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 1-6

I saw the resumption on Freeview BBCi at 13:26, with Williams leading 6-3 *2-1. It was the first women's tennis match that Freeview BBCi has shown these Olympics, but sadly, Williams only had to play four games and for 16 minutes.

I've seen Olga in the flesh at Birmingham 2007 and Eastbourne 2008 and found her mildly attractive, but this was my first time to see her on TV, and she looks nicer on TV - possibly because she was not wearing a cap today, or possibly because I didn't get close-ups watching her on Centre Court at Eastbourne. Olga has a big nose, but a nice one (unlike She Who Must Not Be Named).

But Olga was only a shadow of the player who had beaten Nicole Vaidišová so impressively at Eastbourne; she seemed tight since the resumption, and served four double faults.

Williams serving 2-1: Williams came to the net, but Olga hit a slow crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 0/15. Ace out wide. 15/15. Williams came to the net and hit a backhand stop-volley winner. John Lloyd: "I don't think she meant that!" 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15. Olga netted a forehand under pressure.

Olga serving 1-3: Williams dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net off a deep groundstroke from Olga. The commentators praised Olga's depth in general this match. 15/0. Olga netted a forehand. 15/15. Olga hit a sloppy forehand long. 15/30. Williams forehand just long. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. 40/40. Double fault (second serve into the net). Ad Williams (BP #2). Olga hit a deep ball into the corner, and Williams steered a backhand just long/wide. Deuce #2. Excellent depth from Olga, and a deep crosscourt forehand winner into the corner - not power, but great placement. Ad Olga. She dumped a backhand halfway up the net. Deuce #3. Olga hit a forehand long. Ad Williams (BP #3). Olga went for an off-backhand, but it was just wide.

Olga seemed tight in that game: two double faults and some groundstroke-errors. She did well to hang in as long as she did.

Williams serving 4-1: Williams's depth forced Olga to poke a forehand long. 15/0. Olga forehand return long. 30/0. Williams forehand just long. 30/15. Deep service-winner down the middle. 40/15. Service-winner.

Olga serving 1-5: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Serve out wide + pinpoint backhand winner down the line. John Lloyd: "Swinging from the hip, going for broke on almost every single shot." 15/15. Double fault (second serve long). John Lloyd: "This is like Dementieva." 15/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/40 (MP #1). First serve: Williams blasted a crosscourt backhand winner to win 6-3 6-1 at 13:42, and shook her head - perhaps at how easy it was since the resumption.

------------------------------------------------
7. First-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Ani
------------------------------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Maret Ani [A], 6-4 6-2

The match started on Court 1 at 22:54 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml (Live Result gives live scores, while Match Statistics tells you the sequence of games and who was serving - the wrong way round)


First set
---------
ŠAF * * * * *@ 6
ANI _* * * *__ 4

The game at 4-3* lasted seven minutes, during which I really wanted to see *5-3!

Lucie won the first set 6-4 at 23:36 (40 minutes).


Second set
----------
ŠAF * *@* *@ 6
ANI _*___*__ 2

Lucie won 6-4 6-2 at 24:11 (second set 35m, match 1h15m).

--------------------
8. Second-round draw
--------------------

* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v (1r: Tzipora Obziler [A] v Mariya Koryttseva, *3-5)
* Sybille Bammer v PATTY SCHNYDER [13]
* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Shahar Pe'er (my loyalty is to Vera)
* Francesca Schiavone v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8]

* Samantha Stosur v SERENA WILLIAMS [4] (go Sam!)
* Peng,Shuai [s] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15] (may the better win)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Caroline Wozniacki (my loyalty is to Daniela)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v Sofia Arvidsson (davai Elena!)

* Iveta Benešová v VENUS WILLIAMS [7] (pojďme Iveta!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] v Casey Dell'Acqua (davai Victoria)
* Virginie Razzano v Kaia Kanepi
* (1r: Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S], 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 1-0*) v Li,Na

* María-José Martínez Sánchez v DINARA SAFINA [6]
* Zheng,Jie v Nuria Llagostera Vives [WC] (jia you Jie!)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] (my loyalty is to Tsvetana)
* Alyona Bondarenko v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] (davai Alyona!)

------------------------
9. Second-round previews
------------------------
9.1 Hantuchová v Wozniacki
--------------------------

Daniela has never played Caroline Wozniacki before, but Wozniacki beat the most similar player to Daniela in the Wimbledon 2006 Girls' Singles final: Magdaléna Rybáriková (Magda is a tall, gorgeous Slovenka like Daniela, has a big forehand and likes hitting backhands down the line and backhand drop-volleys like Daniela, and Magda was beating Wozniacki in that final until she bizarrely changed tactics and started slicing her backhands instead).

Wozniacki was just 15 then, but she turned 18 on 11th July, and is up to #22 in the WTA rankings, while Magda reached her career-high #91 today, and Daniela is much higher than either of them at #12.

However, I'd have to admit that Wozniacki is very likely to beat Daniela on current form. Daniela is really struggling since she came back from a long lay-off with a stress-fracture in her right heel that can never fully heal, while Caroline just won her maiden WTA singles-title at Stockholm for the loss of just 19 games (including world #10 Agnieszka Radwańska 6-4 6-1 in the semis, and #63 Vera Dushevina 6-0 6-2 in the final).

Wozniacki boasts an impressive 33:13 win/loss record for 2008 so far, including a fourth-round berth at the Australian Open, and a 6-2 6-3 win over world #9 Marion Bartoli en route to the Doha quarter-finals - and she improved on that score with a 6-3 6-1 thrashing of Bartoli at Miami.

Most impressively of all, she thrashed #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-2 at Eastbourne! (I was standing at the top of the stadium for the last couple of games of that match.)

Caroline is certainly capable of hitting winners, but she doesn't have that go-for-broke attitude that so many players of her age do. She gets a lot of balls back, and I remember her third-round match against Ana Ivanović at the French Open: the first set was tight (6-4), and Caroline had Ana "swatting away like she's trying to get rid of a particularly persistent fly" [Alastair Eykyn: BBC commentator].

Caroline is also a pretty girl: I like her long, loose hair, and she looked quite delectable in the skimpy tops that she wore at Wimbledon! ;-)

Caroline scored an easy 6-4 6-1 win over Selima Sfar on Sunday, so she has the added advantage of having had Monday off.


9.2 Zvonarëva v Pe'er
---------------------

Shahar Pe'er is quite a Vera-like player herself: excellent retrieval-skills, but she can attack as well. But Pe'er is slumping this year, with a mediocre 22:19 win/loss record.

Pe'er started 2008 with a run to the Gold Coast semi-finals, beating world #15 Dinara Safina 4-6 6-1 7-6(8) - a feat she would repeat 7-5 6-7 8-6 at Wimbledon, when Safina was up to #9. That put Pe'er in the fourth round - only to lose 6-2 6-1 to Elena Dementieva.

Pe'er had several such lopsided losses to various players early in 2008, and in May and June, she lost 5 matches in a row.

Pe'er was just 2:3 in her last three tournaments - Stanford, Los Angeles and Montréal - beating Melinda Czink and Sabine Lisicki, but losing to Anna Chakvetadze (3-6 4-6), Samantha Stosur (1-6 1-6) and Ai Sugiyama (2-6 2-6).

Pe'er beat Sorana Cîrstea 6-3 5-7 6-0 late on Monday, but Cîrstea is in an even worse slump, having lost 6-0 6-0 twice in recent months.

Pe'er hasn't been able to beat Vera even in Pe'er's better years: Vera leads 3:0 with victories at Tokyo Japan Open 2005 (6-3 7-5), Rome 2006 (1-6 6-2 6-0) and Luxembourg 2007 (4-6 6-1 6-4).

All the evidence points clearly towards Vera's fourth win over Pe'er - especially after Vera's nice, easy first-round win.


8.3 Šafářová v Koryttseva?
--------------------------

Lucie's second-round opponent is not yet decided, as Mariya Koryttseva was up 5-3* against Tzipora Obziler - the alternate who replaced Ana Ivanović - when play was finally suspended on Monday night.

But whoever wins that will have to play her second match of the day against Lucie, so I do need to write my preview tonight, and because it's already late, I'm going to save myself some much-needed time and assume that Koryttseva is going to come through to face Lucie (quite a reasonable assumption, seeing as she thrashed Obziler 6-2 6-1 at Bad Gastein last month).

Lucie has never played Koryttseva before. The 23-year-old Ukrainian is ranked #53 to Lucie's #82, and is having a better 2008 than Lucie, with a win/loss record of 24:18.

Koryttseva reached the semi-finals of Viña del Mar in February, albeit without beating a top-102 player, and then losing 6-2 7-5 to Klára Zakopalová. She did beat some top-100 players in other tournaments, but no real 'oh my gosh' scalps.

Koryttseva lost in the first round of both the French Open and Wimbledon, to Agnieszka Radwańska and Aleksandra Wozniak respectively.

But she reached the final of Palermo, beating world #31 Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2 6-2 before losing to Sara Errani 6-2 6-3.

Bad Gastein was also pretty scary, as Koryttseva upset the up-and-coming Caroline Wozniacki, ranked #30, 6-4 4-6 7-6(5), then thrashed Tereza Hladíková 6-3 6-1 in the quarter-finals. She then lost 6-3 6-2 to Lucie Hradecká - a Czech Selesian - in the semi-finals.

My parents actually went to Bad Gastein and said they were impressed by Koryttseva when she beat Wozniacki. My father was also sitting next to Klára Zakopalová, who was sitting next to Lucie during Hladíková's win over Karolina Šprem, so it seems likely that Lucie would have watched Koryttseva play too.

Koryttseva's last tournament was Stockholm: she beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-4, but was thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Agnieszka Radwańska.

In conclusion: Koryttseva is a dangerous opponent for Lucie, and I'd have to give Koryttseva the edge because she's having a better year. But Koryttseva is a journeywoman, so Lucie certainly has a fighting chance if she has to play her in the second round.

-------------------
10. Andrew's wishes (updated after Monday)
-------------------
10.1 Third round
----------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Sybille Bammer
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8]
+ (2r: Peng,Shuai [s] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15]) d. Samantha Stosur
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5]

+ Iveta Benešová d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [12]
+ Marina Eraković d. Virginie Razzano
+ Zheng,Jie d. María-José Martínez Sánchez
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Alyona Bondarenko

To be more realistic, it will be interesting to see if Dominika Cibulková can repeat her Montréal-win over Jelena Janković at this stage - and if I finally get to see Domi play!


10.2 Quarter-finals
-------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. (2r: Peng,Shuai [s] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15])
+ Iveta Benešová d. Marina Eraković
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Zheng,Jie


10.3 Semi-finals
----------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF]
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Iveta Benešová


10.4 Finals
-----------

Gold-medal match:
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]

Bronze-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Iveta Benešová

Desired podium:
GOLD: Daniela Hantuchová
SILVER: Tsvetana Pironkova
BRONZE: Vera Zvonarëva

-----------------------------
11. Order of play for Tuesday
-----------------------------

Hawk-Eye challenges are available on Centre Court and Show Court 1.

Court 3 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
WS 2r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] v Caroline Wozniacki
WS 2r: María-José Martínez Sánchez v DINARA SAFINA [6]
(Not before 17:00)
WS 1r: Marina Eraković v Ayumi Morita [WC,S], 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 1-0*
WS 2r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Shahar Pe'er
WS 2r: ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v Sofia Arvidsson
MS 2r: FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ [12] v Marin Čilić

Court 8 (start 10:30 China-time = 02:30 GMT = 03:30 BST)
WS 2r: Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16]
(Not before 12:00)
MS 2r: Olivier Rochus v Janko Tipsarević
(Not before 17:00)
WS 1r: Tzipora Obziler [A] v Mariya Koryttseva, *3-5
WD 1r: (SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA/DINARA SAFINA)[1] v Mara Santangelo/Roberta Vinci
WS 2r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v (1r: Tzipora Obziler [A] v Mariya Koryttseva)
WD 1r: Casey Dell'Acqua/Alicia Molik v Flavia Pennetta/Francesca Schiavone

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/INF/TE/C58/TE0000Y12.shtml

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

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

andrewbroad
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:01 AM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round result
3. Second-round results
4. Second-round TV-report: Cornet v Peng
5. Second-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Wozniacki
6. Second-round TV-report: Benešová v V.Williams
7. Second-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Pe'er
8. Second-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Koryttseva
9. Third-round draw
10. Third-round previews
11. Andrew's wishes
12. Women's Doubles
13. Order of play for Wednesday

"Imagine the Olympics as the gold gilding on the apex of a four-sided pyramid; this pyramid is the pinnacle of the sport. Each side represents a Grand Slam; the pinnacle of the sport is essentially the Grand Slams. But that finishing touch, the complete career, involves an Olympic gold medal."
[Ruggs y el mariachi! http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A39458163 ]

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Daniela Hantuchová, Tsvetana Pironkova, Dominika Cibulková, Iveta Benešová, Alyona Bondarenko, Caroline Wozniacki, Alizé Cornet and Peng,Shuai:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?cap=1&pg=1

Various players including Lucie Šafářová, Dominika Cibulková, Caroline Wozniacki, Alizé Cornet:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/ (Early Rounds)

---------------------
2. First-round result (Tuesday 12th August)
---------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
- Marina Eraković lt. Ayumi Morita [WC,S], 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 4-6

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

Nice winners, nice losers:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF], 6-2 6-2
+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. Peng,Shuai [s], 6-2 6-2
- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] lt. Caroline Wozniacki, 1-6 3-6

What rocked:
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Mariya Koryttseva, 2-6 6-1 7-5
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. Sofia Arvidsson, 6-3 6-4
+ Zheng,Jie d. Nuria Llagostera Vives [WC], 6-7 (7/9) 6-1 6-4
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] d. Casey Dell'Acqua, 6-2 6-2

What sucked:
- Iveta Benešová lt. VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 1-6 4-6
- Ayumi Morita [WC,S] lt. Li,Na, 2-6 5-7
- Samantha Stosur lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 2-6 0-6
- Alyona Bondarenko lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 5-7 1-6

I was very annoyed to tune into BBCi at 11:30 BST (the time the second session of televised tennis was scheduled to start) to see that the tennis was already on, and Alyona Bondarenko had lost before I even got to see her play Janković.

I probably didn't miss much, though, as everyone in the live-scores thread who saw it said it was a very poor match, and I must admit I like Alyona only for her beauty - I don't find her exciting in tennis-terms at all, really.

----------------------------------------
4. Second-round TV-report: Cornet v Peng
----------------------------------------

+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. Peng,Shuai [s], 6-2 6-2

Not the greatest match in my eternal video-collection (at least until that horrible white mould I've read about sets in), with both girls nervous and making a lot of errors. The BBC commentators certainly didn't like it, but for me it was a delightful combination of cuteness and Selesianity, so when I'm at the Pearly Gates, this will be on my video-tape.

Cornet made a very impressive start, playing more aggressively than I've seen her play before. But she got nervous at 5-0*, and her weak second serve doesn't bode well for her third-round match against Serena Williams.


First set
---------
CORN *@*@*__@ 6
PENG _____*@_ 2

The match started on Centre Court at 10:41 China-time, and I saw it all on BBCi.

Cornet serving 0-0: Peng forehand just long. 15/0. Cornet hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: on the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Cornet hit an easy forehand winner.

So far, this looks like a more aggressive Cornet than I'm used to seeing!

Peng serving 0-1: Peng netted a forehand on the third stroke. There was a big roar from the crowd. 0/15. Peng's depth forced Cornet to net a forehand. Huge cheer. 15/15. In the first extended rally, Peng hit a forehand just long. 15/30. Peng went for a backhand down the line, but it was wild and wide. 15/40. Cornet opened up the court beautifully and hit a crosscourt backhand winner.

Cornet serving 2-0: Short-angled ace out wide. 15/0. Peng blasted a nervous backhand return into the net. 30/0. Peng hit a hard, early forehand return whose depth and pace forced Cornet into error. 30/15. Peng came to the net, but Cornet hit a dipping crosscourt forehand at her feet, forcing her into error. 40/15. Peng hit a deep, aggressive, error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 40/30. Cornet hit a defensive backhand lob just long. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Cornet. She forced Peng to hit a forehand long.

Peng is very aggressive when she's allowed to be, but Cornet moves much better than Peng, is very aggressive herself today, and is threatening to run away with this even 6-0 6-0 at the moment. :-o

Peng serving 0-3: Peng lined up a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/0. Peng netted a forehand. 15/15. Peng went for a short-angled crosscourt backhand dropshot, but it was just wide. 15/30. Peng opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, hit a backhand winner down the line, on the baseline... it was called long, but she challenged it, and Hawk-Eye showed that it clipped less than 1% of the baseline!! A big smile from Cornet. 30/30. Peng forehand long. 30/40. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide).

David Garrido: "Very tight out there. Very tight, and that second serve leaves a lot to be desired."

Cornet serving 4-0: Peng pounced on a shaky second serve with a deep, error-forcing crosscourt forehand return just inside the baseline. 15/0. A deep, early forehand return forced Cornet on her heels into error. 30/0. Body-jamming serve out wide - sloppy footwork from Peng. 15/30. Peng came to the net and hit a nice forehand volley-winner down the line. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide: crosscourt forehand return just wide. 30/40 (BP #2). A long rally ended with Cornet hitting a deep, low-bouncing backhand down the line, forcing Peng to earth a forehand. 40/40. Peng blasted a forehand long. Ad Cornet. Peng netted a forehand off another awkward, low-bouncing ball from Cornet.

A break-point not taken, and we're still on for a bagel or two...

The crowd are making a lot of noise during points - in China, they're not used to watching tennis, so they don't get the etiquette that's expected of spectators around the world.

Peng serving 0-5: Peng came to the net and hit a forehand smash netcord-winner!! Cornet smiled again. 15/0. Cornet pounced on a short return and hit a forehand winner down the line onto the baseline - so fluid movement up to that. 15/15. Cornet forehand just long. 30/15. Deep serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Cornet to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/15. Peng came to the net, but blasted a nervous forehand very long. 40/30. Cornet's deep return rocked Peng back on her heels, forcing her to net a forehand. 40/40. Peng forced a short return and hit a forehand smash-winner off the bounce. Ad Peng. Cornet's deep crosscourt backhand return forced Peng into error. Deuce #2. Second serve: Cornet forehand return long. Ad Peng. A deep return induced Peng to blast a short-angled crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #3. Cornet forehand return long. Ad Peng. She got away with a short second serve as Cornet on the fourth stroke bunted a backhand long.

A huge roar from the crowd as Peng gets on the board despite squandering four game-points.

Cornet serving 5-1: Peng missed a return off a weak second serve. 15/0. Another weak second serve allowed Peng to hit a deep, aggressive, error-forcing forehand return down the line. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Cornet backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Peng came to the net, but her volley sat up, and Cornet ran it down to hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner into the corner: just inside the sideline - the point of the match so far. 30/40 (BP #2). Service-winner. 40/40. Second serve: Peng netted a forehand return. Ad Cornet (SP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). Deuce #2. A deep forehand return forced Cornet to net a forehand. Ad Peng (BP #3). A lovely, flairsome baseline-rally ended unfortunately with Peng hitting a backhand long. Deuce #3. First serve: Peng slapped a forehand return into the net. Ad Cornet (SP #2). She netted a backhand, and screamed in frustration. Deuce #4. Cornet on the third stroke hit a forehand long. Ad Peng (BP #4). Peng blasted a forehand into the net. Deuce #5. Peng came to the net, but poked an off-forehand long. Ad Cornet (SP #3). Cornet backhand down the line just wide. Deuce #6. Peng forehand just long. Ad Cornet (SP #4). Double fault (second serve just long). Deuce #7. Peng's depth induced Cornet to hit a forehand just wide. Ad Peng (BP #5). Peng hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline - the first winner of that long game, and she breaks back!

A very nervous game from Cornet (and from Peng). Now she's got the baggage of four missed set-points, she's letting the crowd get to her I think, and that second serve is the one glaring weakness in her game.

Peng serving 2-5: Peng on the third stroke hit a backhand wide. 0/15. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 0/30. Peng pounced on a short, mishit ball to hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/30. Peng showed some good defence in a long rally, but Cornet hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (SP #5). Cornet forehand just long. 30/40 (SP #6). Cornet blasted a forehand return into the net. 40/40. Ace down the middle. Ad Peng. Cornet forehand netcord-winner - much as Peng tried to run it down. Deuce #2. Peng backhand just long. Ad Cornet (SP #7). Peng forehand long. Cornet won the first set 6-2 at 11:27 (46 minutes).

David Garrido: "Cornet doesn't have that killer-instinct. Can't finish her off."

It will be interesting to see if Peng can keep it this close in the second set, now that Cornet has got nervous and lost the great momentum she got from her excellent start to this match.


Second set
----------
CORN *@* * *@ 6
PENG ___* *__ 2

Cornet serving 0-0: Peng forehand long. 15/0. Cornet forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Peng punished a short second serve with a deep backhand return just inside the baseline, forcing Cornet to bunt a defensive forehand lob into the tramlines. 40/15. Peng forehand winner down the line. 40/30. Peng off-backhand wide - you need great footwork for that shot, and Peng didn't show it there.

Peng serving 0-1: Peng netted a backhand off a deep groundstroke from Cornet. 0/15. Cornet netted a forehand return. 15/15. Peng's depth forced Cornet way behind the baseline to slice a backhand into the net. 30/15. Cornet forehand winner down Peng's forehand-sideline. 30/30. Peng came to the net and hit a backhand half-volley dropshot-winner of lovely touch. 40/30. Short second serve: Cornet blasted a backhand return-winner down the line. 40/40. Cornet punished a short second serve with a deep forehand return just inside the baseline, forcing Peng to backstep and bunt a backhand lob wide. Ad Cornet (BP). Peng attempted a half-volley forehand dropshot from the baseline, but netted it.

Cornet serving 2-0: First serve out wide forced Peng into the tramlines to net a crosscourt forehand return. 15/0. Cornet forehand just long. 15/15. A wide crosscourt forehand return forced Cornetto hit a forehand wide. 15/30. Peng netted a forehand. 30/30. Body-jamming serve forced Peng to hit a forehand return long. 40/30. Peng blasted a backhand return into the net.

Peng serving 0-3: Cornet netted a forehand. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Cornet forehand just long. 40/0. Cornet came to the net and hit a nice off-backhand drop-volley winner. 40/15. Peng backhand long. 40/30. Peng nailed a down-the-line backhand winner behind Cornet.

Cornet serving 3-1: Peng pounced on a short ball to hit an off-backhand just inside the sideline - much better than her previous attempt at an off-backhand. 0/15. Peng forehand return long. 15/15. And again. 30/15. Peng backhand return long. 40/15. Cornet almost hit an ace down the middle onto the centre-line, but it was just wide. Second serve: Peng netted a forehand return.

Really cheap return-errors from Peng in that game.

Peng serving 1-4: Peng pounced on a short return to hit an easy crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Forehand return just long. 30/0. Serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forced Cornet to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 40/0. Cornet netted a forehand return.

Cornet serving 4-2: Peng hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide, and wiped her eyes. David Garrido: "Peng beginning to feel the strain." 15/0. Second serve: Peng missed another return. 30/0. Cornet's depth forced Peng to hit a forehand long. 40/0. Service-winner out wide, and the first fist-pump I've noticed from Cornet.

Peng serving 2-5: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Peng hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner off a short, high-bouncing ball from Cornet. 15/15. Short second serve: Cornet forehand return-winner down the line. 15/30. Peng went for a short-angled crosscourt backhand, but it was just wide. 15/40 (MP #1). Double fault (both serves just long). Cornet won 6-2 6-2 at 11:55 (second set 28m, match 1h14m).

Cornet showed off her lovely smile again. She was talking to someone at the side of the court just after the match - coach?

---------------------------------------------------------
5. Second-round scoreboard-report: Hantuchová v Wozniacki
---------------------------------------------------------

- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [10,EF] lt. Caroline Wozniacki, 1-6 3-6

Swan
You glide above the thrashing
Release the catches
Strain your wings behind your back
[Scott Walker, "Face On Breast" from _Tilt_]

The match started on Court 1 at 10:49 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml


First set
---------
HANTUCHOV ___*___ 1
WOZNIACKI *@* *@* 6

Wozniacki won the first set 6-1 at 11:16 (27 minutes). I'm watching Cornet v Peng on BBCi at the same time, and I thought Cornet was humiliating Peng, but Wozniacki has beaten her to winning the first set despite a slightly later start.


Second set
----------
HANTUCHOV __* *__@_ 3
WOZNIACKI @* * *@ @ 6

David Garrido (commentating on Cornet v Peng): "Seems to have pretty much all the elements of her game formed, the young Dane."

And courtesy of the break back from 2-5*, Daniela has managed to detain Wozniacki past the end of Cornet's win over Peng - but only just, as Wozniacki won 6-1 6-3 at 11:59 (second set 43m, match 1h10m).


5.1 Article
-----------

Schiavone and Wozniacki upset seeds in Women's Singles
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214532732.shtml
>>>
Italian Francesca Schiavone and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark both surprised higher-seeded opponents to advance to the final 16 of the Women's Singles event at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre on Tuesday 12th August.

Rising Danish star Wozniacki pulled off another surprise, defeating No.10 seed Daniela Hantuchová of Slovakia 6-1 6-3 to book a spot in the third round.

The Dane took advantage of 42 unforced errors from her opponent to take control, and although Hantuchová broke back when Wozniacki served for the match, she regrouped to break back and secure the win.

"I feel like I played a good game, and I'm so happy that I won over Hantuchová," Wozniacki said.

"It's a great win for me as she is a very good player."
<<<

------------------------------------------------
6. Second-round TV-report: Benešová v V.Williams
------------------------------------------------

- Iveta Benešová lt. VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 1-6 4-6

It was pretty mean and inaccurate of BBCi to sum up this match as "Venus Williams faced minimal resistance from Iveta Benešová" in its round-up later. "Her Czech opponent demonstrated sporadically strong form, but in the end was outplayed by the older Williams-sister" may be nearer the mark.

Left-handed Iveta didn't play a bad first set; Williams was very sharp and error-free today, and looks ready to regain the Gold Medal she won at Sydney 2000 - especially with the draw being so weak, it has to be said.

Iveta did well to hang in the second set by holding serve after being broken in the first game, but she frustrated herself with some unnecessary errors on Williams's serve - especially after Williams quadruple-faulted in each of her first two service-games! Williams's forehand began to break down towards the end, but I don't think there's a player left in the draw who wouldn't be scared of playing Williams on this sort of form - with the exception, perhaps, of her overconfident sister Serena, who is safely tucked away in the other half.


First set
---------
BENEŠOVÁ _*_____ 1
WILLIAMS * @*@*@ 6

The match started at 12:16 China-time, and I saw it all on BBCi.

Williams serving 0-0: Big second serve out wide induced Iveta to hit a forehand return long & wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. John Lloyd chuckled. "That was a rocket!" 30/0. A deep crosscourt backhand return forced Williams to net a forehand. 30/15. Service-winner down the middle. 40/15. Iveta managed to engage Williams in a long rally, but a deep forehand down the line from Williams forced Iveta to hit a forehand wide.

Iveta's standing a long way in to receive this huge serve of Williams. John Lloyd praised Iveta for being "compact".

Iveta's wearing a skimpy black outfit with a nice strip of bare midriff, and a short black skirt that moves around sexily as she sashays about the court. David Garrido: "Better described as a large belt rather than a miniskirt."

I would reserve that description for the microshorts that Tatiana Golovin wore in 2004! But I certainly think Iveta ranks #2 in the category of short shorts and skirts.

Iveta serving 0-1: Iveta backhand very long. 0/15. Williams opened up the court and hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/30. A deep return induced Iveta to net a forehand. 0/40. Iveta's backhand down the line - just inside the sideline - induced Williams to net an ugly backhand. 15/40. Service-winner. 30/40. Deep second serve induced Williams to hit a backhand return wide. 40/40. Williams netted a forehand. Ad Iveta. Williams netted a forehand.

Good recovery from 0/40 by Iveta - and credit to the commentators for not doing what Iveta hates: talking about her like she already lost the match.

Well, I've got 1h23m left on my video-tape at this point, so let's just say Iveta will do well to make me have to change tapes.

Williams serving 1-1: Williams forehand long. 0/15. And again. 0/30. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 15/30. Williams backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Iveta went for a sharp, flairsome backhand winner down the line, but sadly it was wide. 40/30. Iveta crosscourt backhand wide.

Iveta's going for her shots, and the BBC commentators like her tactics. They think she has to go for them to win this match, although often the way to beat Venus Williams is to feed off her errors - particularly off her forehand. But she's just not making errors today.

Iveta serving 1-2: Iveta wasted a nice, deep off-forehand by hitting a backhand long. 0/15. Iveta backhand long. 0/30. Iveta netted a forehand. 0/40. Williams netted a forehand. 15/40. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40. A couple of nice, deep, hard groundstrokes from Iveta, but then she hit a backhand long to give Williams the first break.

Almost recovered from 0/40 again.

Williams serving 3-1: Service-winner. 15/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 30/0. Williams forced a short ball and hit an easy crosscourt forehand winner. 40/0. Williams off-forehand winner just inside the sideline.

Iveta serving 1-4: Williams forced a floater and dispatched it with a high forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. Iveta sliced a backhand just wide. 15/30. Williams's deep forehand forced Iveta into error. 15/40. Williams came to the net and hit a deep, error-forcing forehand just inside the baseline.

John Lloyd: "It's like a lightweight going up against a heavyweight at the moment. Benešová is playing well, but she's being destroyed at the moment."

Williams serving 5-1: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. A long rally ended with Iveta blasting a short-angled crosscourt backhand just wide. John Lloyd: "A brilliant example of Venus Williams's athleticism." 15/15. Williams came to the net and showed great reflexes and wingspan to hit a forehand winner down the line: right in the corner. 30/15. Service-winner (117mph). David Garrido: "That's a decent /men's/ first serve." 40/15. Williams came to the net, but left a nice gap to her left for Iveta to hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 40/30. Iveta forehand return just wide. Williams won the first set 6-1 at 12:43 (27 minutes).

The commentators said Iveta didn't play badly at all in that first set, but Williams is setting the bar very high. And I totally agree: Williams is playing like a man, without making all the errors she makes on a bad day.

John Lloyd: "Very calm demeanour, Benešová - not much emotion, getting on with the job."


Second set
----------
BENEŠOVÁ __* * * *_ 4
WILLIAMS @* * * * * 6

Iveta serving 0-0 (new balls): Second-serve service-winner out wide. 15/0. Williams ghosted in on a floater from Iveta, and hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Iveta forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Iveta's short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 40/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/30. Williams came to the net and blasted a crosscourt backhand winner off the bounce. 40/40. Williams's depth forced Iveta to hit a defensive backhand lob wide. Ad Williams (BP). Williams came to the net and hit a nice forehand stop-volley winner.

Williams serving 1-0: Double fault (second serve long). 0/15. Body-jamming service-winner. 15/15. Iveta blasted a backhand wide. David Garrido: "She's added 10% to her groundstrokes, just trying to force the issue a bit." 30/15. Serve out wide forced a short return; Williams crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Double fault (second serve just long - Williams used up a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it was long by about 10% of the width of the service-line). 40/30. Quadruple fault (second serve just long). 40/40. Iveta hit a forehand just long, and whacked a ball away in frustration. Ad Williams. She hit a forehand just long. Deuce #2. Iveta blasted a backhand return wide. Ad Williams. Service-winner.

A few unnecessary errors from Iveta in that game.

Iveta serving 0-2: Williams backhand long. 15/0. Williams forehand winner down the line. 30/0. David Garrido: "What can Benešová do to change the course of this match?" Iveta hit a nice crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. 30/15. Iveta crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 40/15. Service-winner. Iveta still looked frustrated as she walked to the changeover.

Williams serving 2-1: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Quadruple fault! (DF #6) 0/30. Service-winner out wide. 15/30. Iveta forehand return just long. She looked up to the sky and muttered. 30/30. Iveta backhand just long. David Garrido: "She's /annoyed/ about it." 40/30. Iveta's deep backhand return forced Williams to hit a forehand long. 40/40. Iveta's backhand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Ad Williams. Iveta overran a backhand off a smash from Williams, hitting a defensive lob wide.

0/30, but a couple more unnecessary errors from Iveta let Williams off the hook.

Iveta serving 1-3: Iveta on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. Second serve: Williams netted a backhand return. 15/15. Iveta opened up the court and hit a beautiful crosscourt backhand winner. John Lloyd: "Tremendous! The good footwork, short backswing, good rotation. Belts it into the corner." Iveta went for a crosscourt forehand, but just hooked it long. 30/30. A deep Iveta forehand induced Williams to spray a forehand long. 40/30. Iveta opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, and hit a "glorious" pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. It looked beautiful on the replay - and so did Iveta as she sat at the changeover, drinking sexily from her waterbottle.

Williams serving 3-2: Williams forehand long. 0/15. Iveta hit a backhand just long, and hit a ball into the net in frustration. 15/15. Body-jamming service-winner. 30/15. Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Iveta went for a backhand down the line, but it was wide.

Williams is still very sharp, but Iveta continues to frustrate herself with unnecessary errors on Williams's serve in this set.

Iveta serving 2-4: Williams forehand long. 15/0. Iveta hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 30/0. Two service-winners.

Williams serving 4-3: Williams sprayed a forehand very long. 0/15. Williams sprayed another wild forehand very long - this time off a short ball. 0/30. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Iveta netted a backhand. 30/30. Huge body-jamming service-winner - she's used that well on big points today. 40/30. Williams's power and depth forced Iveta to hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Signs of Williams's forehand beginning to break down. Iveta needs to keep plugging away at that side, and who knows how much could happen?

Iveta serving 3-5: Williams forehand return very long. 15/0. Iveta forehand long. 15/15. Williams sprayed a wild forehand VERY long. 30/15. Iveta played a glorious spreading rally: crosscourt backhand into the corner + backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Brilliant last two points by Iveta!

Williams serving 5-4: Williams netted a backhand. 0/15. Iveta took the initiative with a stunning backhand return down Williams's forehand-sideline, came to the net, but Williams hit a "magnificent" backhand lob-winner. 15/15. Another body-jamming service-winner. 30/15. Iveta netted an unforced backhand on the fourth stroke. 40/15 (MP #1). First serve out wide: forehand return long. Williams won 6-1 6-4 at 13:25 (second set 42m, match 1h09m), and Iveta looked pretty annoyed as she shook hands.

----------------------------------------------------
7. Second-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Pe'er
----------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)

This is my answer to those who think a three-medal Williams-sweep is inevitable at these Olympics:
>>>
I think Vera Zvonarëva is going to win Gold in both singles and doubles. Vera is a supremely talented player, combining flairsome power with excellent retrieval-skills, and her form of 2008 so far is encouraging - she did have a slump between the French Open and the Olympics, but has rectified that with two good victories at Beijing so far. She has beaten both Williams-sisters in her career, so she can definitely do it here.
<<<

The match started on Court 3 at 18:05 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml


First set
---------
ZVONA *@*@__* * 6
PE'ER ____@* *_ 3

Vera won the first set 6-3 at 18:37 (32 minutes).


Second set
----------
ZVONA @__* *@*___*T 7(7)
PE'ER _@* *___*@*__ 6(4)

I felt that Vera's hold from *1-2 to 2-2* was an important one after relinquishing her early break.

An 8-minute service-game for Pe'er at *3-3 resulted in Vera reinstating her break: *4-3.

Vera led 5-3*, and wasted a match-point in that game before *5-4.

Vera had to serve to stay in the set at *5-6: it took her 6 minutes to force a tiebreak.

And then I had to put up with the stupid scoreboard, which reports tiebreak-scores as "6:6(1)", 6:6(2)" and so on! :rolleyes:

Vera won 6-3 7-6 (7/4) at 19:48 (second set 1h11m, match 1h43m).


I don't suppose any of Vera's tantrums have ever matched that of Russian weightlifter Svetlana Tsarukaeva today. After her Olympic medal-chances ended with a failure to lift 107kg, she burst into tears, flounced off the stage sobbing noisily, tried to walk round a corner too early and banged her head against the wall! :banghead:

--------------------------------------------------------
8. Second-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Koryttseva
--------------------------------------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Mariya Koryttseva, 2-6 6-1 7-5

"Siamese fighting fish: fascinating creatures. Brave but, on the whole, stupid. Except for the occasional one, such as we have here, who lets the other two fight. While he waits. Waits until the survivor is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself. And then, like SPECTRE, he strikes."
[Ernst Stavro Blofeld, From Russia with Love]

Koryttseva had completed a 5-7 7-5 6-4 first-round marathon against Tzipora Obziler earlier in the day - having resumed at 5-3*. So presumably her tiredness came into play in the second set, although Lucie still made a meal of the third, letting two early breaks slip immediately.

The match started on Court 8 at about 22:40 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml


First set
---------
ŠAFÁŘOVÁ __* *___ 2
KORYTTSE @* * *@* 6

Koryttseva's service-game from *2-1 to 3-1* took 8 minutes. Koryttseva won an increasingly embarrassing first set 6-2 at 23:17 (37 minutes).


Second set
----------
ŠAFÁŘOVÁ *@* *@* 6
KORYTTSE ___*___ 1

Koryttseva's service-game from *0-3 to 1-3* took 13 minutes. Lucie won the second set 6-1 at 23:55 (38 minutes).


Third set
---------
ŠAFÁŘOVÁ @ @__* * *@* 7
KORYTTSE _@ @* * *___ 5

Koryttseva had to endure another 8-minute service-game from *3-3 to 4-3*. Once again, she came through it, but it must have taken its toll physically.

I actually had to abandon following live scores at 4-4 due to a thunderstorm directly overhead. When it had passed, I went straight to Match Statistics to find out that Lucie had won, and how the last four games went.

Lucie won 2-6 6-1 7-5 at 24:50 (third set 55m, match 2h10m).

-------------------
9. Third-round draw
-------------------

* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Sybille Bammer (POJĎME LUCIE!!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Francesca Schiavone (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v SERENA WILLIAMS [4] (allez Alizé!)
* Caroline Wozniacki v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] (my loyalty is to Caroline)

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] v VENUS WILLIAMS [7] (davai Victoria!)
* Li,Na v Kaia Kanepi (jia you Na!)
* Zheng,Jie v DINARA SAFINA [6] (jia you Jie!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] (poďme Domi!)

------------------------
10. Third-round previews
------------------------
10.1 Zvonarëva v Schiavone
--------------------------

Vera has a pretty good chance of beating Francesca Schiavone: she only leads their head-to-head 6:0!

Only one of those matches has been one-sided, though:
+ 2002 French Open: 6-2 6-7 7-5
+ 2004 Rome: 6-3 6-3
+ 2005 Rome: 7-5 7-6
+ 2006 Birmingham: 6-4 3-6 6-1
+ 2006 Linz: 5-7 6-1 6-3
+ 2008 Doha: 2-6 6-3 6-4

I was there at Birmingham 2006: Schiavone adopted net-rushing tactics, but Vera was too good in the end. I can't really imagine Schiavone doing the same on Decoturf; I expect a much more baseline-oriented encounter (not that there's any chance the BBC will televise it).

28-year-old Schiavone has won only one WTA singles-title (Bad Gastein 2007) from 9 finals, but is renowned for playing well for her country in Fed Cup, and also the Athens 2004 Olympics, where she reached the quarter-finals (albeit without having to beat a top-26 player, and then getting thrashed 6-1 6-2 by Anastasia Myskina).

Schiavone isn't having a particularly great 2008 so far, with a win/loss record of 19:16 going into this match. She beat world #10 Marion Bartoli 2-6 6-3 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of Sydney, reached the third round of the Australian Open, then lost four matches in a row (the fourth being the one to Vera at Doha).

Schiavone bounced back from that losing-streak by beating world #9 Marion Bartoli 6-1 6-7 6-1 and #1 Justine Henin 7-6 7-6 to reach the semi-finals of Dubai (lost 5-7 7-5 6-2 to Elena Dementieva), and also reached the fourth round of Indian Wells (lost 2-6 7-5 6-2 to Ana Ivanović).

Schiavone hasn't done a lot since then: just a couple of wins against Ukraine in Fed Cup, second-round losses at Berlin and Rome, and reached the third round of the French Open for the loss of 8 games, only to be thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Victoria Azarenka. She beat Tamira Paszek 6-3 5-7 10-8 in the first round of Wimbledon, but then lost three matches in a row (including Paszek's revenge at Montréal).

Schiavone has reached the third round of the Olympics with the following results...
1r + Akgul Amanmuradova, 6-4 6-2
2r + AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [8], 6-3 7-6 (8/6)

...once again demonstrating her tendency to play well for her country. While Vera has got to the third round as follows:
1r + Yan,Zi [s], 6-2 6-0
2r + Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)

Almost identical second-round scores, but Schiavone's was against a more impressive player on 2008 form, so I definitely expect another tough Vera v Schiavone encounter. But Vera's 6:0 head-to-head makes her a strong favourite... I hope.


10.2 Šafářová v Bammer
----------------------

It's not looking good for Lucie! First of all, Sybille Bammer leads their head-to-head 3:0 - ITF Valašské Meziříčí 2003 (6-4 6-1), San Diego 2006 (6-4 6-7 6-1) and Eastbourne 2007 (7-6 5-7 6-3).

Secondly, Bammer is having a better year than Lucie, with a win/loss record of 20:19 going into this match, and is currently ranked #32 to Lucie's #82.

Although 2008 has been less stellar for Bammer than her breakthrough-season last year, ominous highlights include beating world #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 7-6 (10/8) to reach the quarter-finals of Doha (losing to Vera Zvonarëva), and more recently, reaching the quarter-finals of Los Angeles by beating #8 Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 5-7 6-2 (then losing to Flavia Pennetta).

Bammer has reached the third round of the Olympics with the following results:
1r + Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-2 4-6 6-4
2r + PATTY SCHNYDER [13], 6-4 6-4

While Lucie has struggled quite a bit against less illustrious opposition:
1r + Maret Ani [A], 6-4 6-2
2r + Mariya Koryttseva, 2-6 6-1 7-5

Beating Bammer to reach an Olympic quarter-final would be the highlight of Lucie's 2008 so far - even more so than drawing praise from Serena Williams with a near miss (6-0 2-6 7-5) at the Hopman Cup.

-------------------
11. Andrew's wishes (updated after Tuesday)
-------------------
11.1 Quarter-finals
-------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Caroline Wozniacki (may the better win)
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] d. Li,Na
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] d. Zheng,Jie

It's a real shame that the last two remaining members of my Eternal Fanship are in the same quarter: only one of them can win a medal now, and either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.

But my 'EF squad' have already done much better than I expected at these Olympics. The four who started were on such bad form coming into Beijing that when I saw the draw, I feared they might all lose in the first round. I definitely would have signed to have three in the second round and two in the third round.


11.3 Semi-finals
----------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. (qf: ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Caroline Wozniacki)
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [12]


11.4 Finals
-----------

Gold-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16]

Bronze-medal match:
+ (qf: ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Caroline Wozniacki) d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [12]

Desired podium:
GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva
SILVER: Dominika Cibulková
BRONZE: Alizé Cornet or Caroline Wozniacki

-------------------
12. Women's Doubles
-------------------
12.1 First-round results (Tuesday 12th August)
------------------------

+ (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] d. Nuria Llagostera Vives/María-José Martínez Sánchez, 2-6 6-1 6-3

+ Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone d. Alicia Molik/Casey Dell'Acqua, 6-4 6-4

+ Gisela Dulko [DF]/Betina Jozami [WC] d. Shahar Pe'er/Tzipora Obziler [WC], 6-3 6-2

- Daniela Hantuchová [EF]/Janette Husárová lt. (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8], 1-6 6-7 (9/11)

- Nicole Vaidišová [EF]/Iveta Benešová lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2], 6-4 5-7 1-6

Nicole and Iveta led 6-4 *3-1 (also 4-3*) against the Williams-sisters!


To be played on Wednesday:
* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Petra Kvitová v Samantha Stosur/Rennae Stubbs


12.2 Second-round draw
----------------------

Andrew's selections (desired winners on the left):

* (Sania Mirza [DF]/Sunitha Rao)[WC] v (SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA/DINARA SAFINA)[1]

* Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone v (CHAN,YUNG-JAN/CHUANG,CHIA-JUNG)[3]

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] v Gisela Dulko [DF]/Betina Jozami [WC]


12.3 Desired podium (updated on Tuesday)
-------------------

GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva/Elena Vesnina
SILVER: Lucie Šafářová/Petra Kvitová
BRONZE: Flavia Pennetta/Francesca Schiavone

-------------------------------
13. Order of play for Wednesday
-------------------------------

Court 4 (start 16:00 China-time = 08:00 GMT = 09:00 BST)
WS 3r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Francesca Schiavone
WD 2r: Alyona Bondarenko/Kateryna Bondarenko v Olga Govortsova/Darya Kustova
MD 2r: Andy Murray/Jamie Murray v Arnaud Clément/Michael Llodra
MD 2r: Victoria Azarenka/Tatiana Poutchek v (LINDSAY DAVENPORT/LIEZEL HUBER)[5]

Court 5 (start 16:00 China-time = 08:00 GMT = 09:00 BST)
WS 3r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Sybille Bammer
MD 2r: (NICOLAS ALMAGRO/DAVID FERRER)[5] v Simon Aspelin/Thomas Johansson
WD 1r: (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4] v Mariya Koryttseva/Tatiana Perebiynis
WD 2r: (SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA/DINARA SAFINA)[1] v (Sania Mirza [DF]/Sunitha Rao)[WC]

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/event/scheduleday4.asp

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

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

andrewbroad
Aug 14th, 2008, 01:02 AM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round results
3. Third-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Bammer
4. Third-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Schiavone
5. Third-round TV-report: Cornet v S.Williams
6. Quarter-final draw
7. Quarter-final preview: Zvonarëva v Bammer
8. Andrew's wishes
9. Women's Doubles
10. Order of play for Thursday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Lucie Šafářová, Dominika Cibulková, Alyona Bondarenko, Alizé Cornet:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?cap=1&pg=1

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Wednesday 13th August)
----------------------

What rocked:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4
+ Li,Na d. Kaia Kanepi, 4-6 6-2 6-0

What sucked:
- Lucie Šafářová [EF] lt. Sybille Bammer, 5-7 4-6
- DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [16] lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2], 5-7 1-6
- ALIZÉ CORNET [15] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 6-3 3-6 4-6
- Zheng,Jie lt. DINARA SAFINA [6], 4-6 3-6
- VICTORIA AZARENKA [12] lt. VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 3-6 2-6

Cibulková and Azarenka remain the only two players in the top 32 whom I've never seen play (more than a handful of points) and particularly want to (I've also never seen Ágnes Szávay play).

I'm particularly disappointed that Domi failed to repeat her recent Montréal-win against Jelena Janković, who was a doubtful starter here due to a calf-injury.

Janković: "She doesn't give you any free points; everything you do, you really have to earn it. I started well. I was hitting the ball quite solid. But she liked that style of play. I kind of changed my game a little bit, adding some variety, and it helped. I'm glad to win in two sets. It's a good win for me."

Janković is #1 this week, but I think that makes a mockery of the WTA Rankings. Her best three results in the last 52 weeks have been semi-finals at the Australian and French Opens, and Rome - the only title she's won in those 52 weeks. Those are good results for a top-10 player, but #1? You cannot be serious! And she's been slumping ever since losing that French Open semi-final.

If I were Janković, I would have asked the WTA to remove me from the rankings for the duration of my Slamless sojourn at #1, rather than go down as the weakest #1 in tennis-history.

Nice winner, nice loser:
- Caroline Wozniacki lt. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5], 6-7 (3/7) 2-6

---------------------------------------------------
3. Third-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Bammer
---------------------------------------------------

- Lucie Šafářová [EF] lt. Sybille Bammer, 5-7 4-6

Lucie did well to make it two tight sets, given her slump. She's an exceptionally determined player, and she fought well from *2-4 in the first set and *3-5 (15/40) in the second.

But she'll be ruing missing three set-points at 5-4* in the first! They were 3 of the 6 of 7 break-points that she failed to convert.

The Olympics were definitely a step in the right direction for Lucie. She just needs to stay injury-free, and let her form return in time for the 2009 season.

The match started on Court 5 at 16:12 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml


First set
---------
ŠAFÁŘO *___* *@*___ 5
BAMMER _*@* *___*@* 7

A forehand winner gave Lucie set-point at 5-4* (40/30*), and she had a total of 3 nonconsecutive set-points in that game. :sad:

Bammer won the first set 7-5 at 17:03 (51 minutes).


Second set
----------
ŠAFÁŘO __* * * *_ 4
BAMMER @* * * * * 6

Lucie got to break-point at 1-2* (40/30*) with a winner, but Bammer saved it with a service-winner.

Thanks to Corpuscle for the following point-descriptions
<http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=353119&page=18>

Lucie serving 3-5: 15/40 (MP #1). Service-winner. 30/40 (MP #2). Bammer forehand error. 40/40. Lucie smash-winner. Ad Lucie. Backhand error. Deuce #2. Lucie winner down the line. Ad Lucie. Held.

Bammer serving 5-4: 0/15. Lucie netcord-winner. 0/30. Bammer forehand winner down the line. 15/30. Lucie mishit a return into the stands. 30/30. Lucie out. 40/30 (MP #3). Bammer won 7-5 6-4 at 17:51 (second set 48m, match 1h39m).


Lucie and TomᚠBerdych
-----------------------

Lucie's match finished just before her boyfriend TomᚠBerdych started his match against Roger Federer, whom he beat at the Athens 2004 Olympics! I really hoped that Berdych could repeat that feat here, as it would have been the perfect way to cheer Lucie up, but Federer, of course, had other ideas, and beat Berdych 6-3 7-6 (7/4) despite Berdych leading 3-0* in the second set.

I watched that match on BBCi, hoping that Lucie might turn up later (after her own post-match routine), but I didn't spot her, so the BBC's only televisation of Lucie in 2008 was that brief close-up of her in the Opening Ceremony.

Berdych has quite a feminine game with the power of a man. By that, I mean he tends to stand on the baseline and hit hard and flat (as opposed to standing ten feet behind it, playing with a lot of topspin, or coming to the net). He played some good spreading rallies, and even a couple of great winners at the net, but Federer's defence was too strong - he just kept sticking his racket out and neutering Berdych's initiative, and that's why he's been ranked #1 continuously from February 2004 to the end of this week.

Sam Smith told two unbelievable lies about Lucie during that match. First she said that the Czech support-team had been over on Court 5 "watching Lucie Šafářová defeat Sybille Bammer", and then she said Lucie "used to be Berdych's girlfriend - I don't think she is any more."

Lucie and Tomᚠare the golden couple of tennis. They've been together for about five years now. I gather that they live together, and plan to get married in the future (not any time soon AFAIK). They were certainly still together coming into Beijing - the interview and photo at http://www.lucie-safarova.com/ are proof enough for me.

Perhaps it's time to replace Berdych's "the man who beat Roger Federer at the Olympics" tag with "Lucie Šafářová's boyfriend". ;-)

-------------------------------------------------------
4. Third-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Schiavone
-------------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4

Vera was up an early break in both sets, but made life difficult for herself before extending her head-to-head against Schiavone to 7:0.

The match started on Court 4 at 16:13 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA *@* *___* * T 7(7)
SCHIAVONE ___* *@* * *_ 6(4)

Vera had a set-point at 5-4*. She won the first set 7-6 (7/4) at 17:24 (1h11m), and there was a long delay before the second began. Presumably they were taking the customary bathroom-break, especially with the conditions being so humid (in the matches I saw on BBCi today, Alizé Cornet was drenched with sweat at one changeover, and even Roger Federer was sweating - I would have hated to see Pat Rafter!).


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA @*___*@* * 6
SCHIAVONE __*@*___*_ 4

Vera won 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 at 18:18 (second set 54m, match 2h05m). So Vera's two-setter lasted longer than Serena Williams's 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory today!


Article
-------

Zvonarëva books quarter-final place [Teletext 495->497]
>>>
Zvonarëva makes progress [Teletext 498]

Ninth seed Vera Zvonarëva has reached the last eight of the Olympic Games tournament in Beijing.

The Russian was too good for unseeded Italian Francesca Schiavone, whom she beat 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 in a tight match.
<<<

---------------------------------------------
5. Third-round TV-report: Cornet v S.Williams
---------------------------------------------

- ALIZÉ CORNET [15] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 6-3 3-6 4-6

The match started at 20:06 China-time, and I saw it all on BBCi.

Cornet played an amazing first set, as Williams was overpressing, but also being forced into a lot of errors (Williams smashed her racket at *1-4 (0/40)). But Cornet went off the boil in the second set, and was tired in the third as Williams cut down on her errors and just overpowered Cornet at times.

It wasn't a particularly impressive performance from Serena by Williams-standards, especially in contrast to Venus's sharp, error-free second-round performance that I saw on BBCi yesterday. Venus would beat Serena quite easily on current form, but that would have to be either the final or the Bronze-medal play-off, and I hope other players (Vera Zvonarëva in particular) will have something to say about that.

Centre Court had a great atmosphere when the players came on, with floodlights, a large, loud crowd, and music playing. Cornet had a lovely smile.


First set
---------
CORNET _@*@*@__* 6
WILLIA @_____@*_ 3

Cornet serving 0-0: Williams took the initiative with a big return, and hit an off-forehand winner behind Cornet. 0/15. Serve out wide + down-the-line backhand into the net - bad error. 0/30. Williams blasted a searing crosscourt forehand return-winner just inside the sideline. 0/40. First serve down the middle: Williams netted a forehand return. 15/40. Williams came to the net, so did Cornet, and Williams hit a crosscourt forehand pass-volley winner.

Sam Smith: "If I were Alizé Cornet, I'd be extremely worried. Serena Williams expects to cut through this opponent. But Cornet will make Williams keep playing one more ball."

Williams serving 1-0: Williams went for a big forehand winner onto the sideline on the third stroke, but it was just wide. 0/15. A big serve down the middle forced Cornet to bunt a defensive forehand lob wide. 15/15. Williams backhand just long. 15/30. Service-winner out wide. 30/30. Williams blasted an unforced crosscourt forehand wide. 30/40. Cornet looked very animated as she waited to receive, absorbed Williams's power well, and Williams dumped a backhand into the net to give Cornet the break back.

Cornet serving 1-1: Williams netted a forehand off an easy short ball. Chris Bradnam: "Almost trying /too/ hard at the start here to dominate." 15/0. Cornet on the fourth stroke hit a lovely forehand winner back behind Williams. Sam Smith: "It's so lovely watching the feet of Cornet." 30/0. Williams forehand just long. 40/0. Cornet ran around her backhand and hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline.

Well, well! After the first game, it looked like Williams would go through Cornet like a hot knife through butter, but Williams is overpressing, and Cornet just played a great service-game!

Williams serving 1-2: Williams on the third stroke hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Williams forehand long. 0/30. Service-winner out wide. 15/30. Cornet hit a sharp, flairsome, pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline - the bane of the off-forehand. 15/40. Williams dumped a backhand into the net.

Three games in a row to Cornet. Chris Bradnam: "Just has so much self-belief, Cornet."

Alizé carried an insect off court with her racket, with a lovely smile. Apparently it's good karma not to kill it, although she had several seconds of trouble trying to tip it off her racket at the side of the court!

BBC 1 even used this incident in its daily feature "Monkey Magic: the good, the bad and the ugly" in its Games Today programme: "And there she is, Alizé Cornet of France, being bullied by a pesky irritant - no, not Serena Williams on the other side of the net, but... sounds like a wasp. She's a kind girl: she didn't want to kill it, so she decided to take it to the edge of the court, only the wasp didn't want to leave the match. Well, I can report the wasp's doing well; she's out of the Olympics."

Cornet serving 3-1: Service-winner. 15/0. Williams crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Williams crosscourt forehand return-winner. 15/30. Cornet tried to run around her backhand, and dumped a forehand into the net. 15/40. An exchange of acute crosscourt forehands ended with Williams hitting one just long. 30/40. A good one-two punch from Cornet forced Williams to hit a forehand wide - Cornet looking to be aggressive. 40/40. Cornet painted the sideline with an off-forehand winner. Ad Cornet. Second-serve service-winner down the middle.

Sam Smith (re. Cornet's forehand winner at 40/40): "That grip is extreme Western - how can you possibly see which way it's going? She's almost Berasategui on that forehand."

(Alberto Berasategui hit his forehand with the back of his hand facing forward, so that he was actually hitting his forehand with the same side of the racket as he would a backhand.)

Wow - another great service-game by Alizé! Sam Smith predicted she could actually upset Williams today. I don't share her optimism, knowing that Williams is one of the greatest fighters in tennis-history, and remembering how nervous Cornet got at 5-0 in her second round yesterday.

Williams serving 1-4: Cornet forced Williams to net a forehand. 0/15. Cornet's depth forced Williams to dump a backhand into the net. 0/30. Williams netted a cheap forehand, smashed her racket and got a code-violation. 0/40. Forehand return just long. 15/40. Williams came to the net, forcing Cornet to earth a backhand. Williams shouted and pumped her fist. 30/40. Cornet dominated the rally, her off-forehand forcing Williams to net a forehand.

I can't believe this scoreline. Please don't wake up, Alizé!

Cornet serving 5-1: Williams forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. A low-bouncing ball forced Cornet to net a backhand. 0/30. A king-size-power crosscourt forehand forced Cornet to bunt a forehand long. 0/40. Cornet's deep off-forehand forced Williams to hit a backhand wide. 15/40. A great baseline-rally with 'ooh's and 'aah's from the crowd ended with Williams hitting a down-the-line backhand just long. 30/40. Williams opened up the court and hit a backhand winner down the line - Cornet really stranded on the left after running around her backhand.

Williams serving 2-5: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Cornet forehand just long, but she challenged and it was plumb on the line. Replay: serve + crosscourt forehand winner (Williams was in danger of touching the net, the return was so short). 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Williams went for a short-angled crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, but it was just wide. 40/15. Serve down the middle forced a floating return, which Williams dispatched with an easy smash.

A must-win game for Alizé next.

Cornet serving 5-3: Cornet played a great spreading rally, with 'ooh's and 'aah's from the crowd, went for a backhand winner down the line: it was called wide, but she challenged and it caught about 5% of the sideline! 15/0. A long rally ended with Cornet spraying a forehand wide - and the second serve was so short too. 15/15. Service-winner down the middle - but Williams challenged it, and Hawk-Eye showed that it was long by about the width of the service-line. Replay: a longish rally ended with Cornet hitting a backhand long. Williams shouted "c'mon". 15/30. Williams netted a return, but challenged the serve and it was long. A brave second serve on the service-line, but Cornet hit a backhand just long. 30/30. Williams netted a backhand with the court wide open. 30/40. Williams netted a forehand return. 40/40. A long rally ended with Cornet hitting a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: right in the corner. Sam Smith: "That is Justine-Henin-like." Ad Cornet (SP #1). Williams blasted a backhand into the net. Cornet won the first set 6-3 at 20:41 (35 minutes).

Sam Smith: "She weighs nothing, this one. What she's getting out of her game is indecent! I love the way she backed her game-plan, even though she went from 5-1 to 5-3."

Cornet was glistening with sweat at the set-break - it's very humid indeed.


Second set
----------
CORNET _*___* *_ 3
WILLIA * *@* * * 6

Williams serving 0-0: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Double fault (second serve hit the netcord and fell wide). 15/15. Williams hit a sloppy backhand long. 15/30. Serve + off-forehand winner on the sideline. 30/30. Williams hit an error-forcing forehand onto the baseline. 40/30. Service-winner down the middle.

Cornet serving 0-1: Williams crosscourt forehand just long. She berated herself at the back of the court. 15/0. Cornet went for a forehand onto the sideline, but hooked it just wide. 15/15. Williams backhand winner down the line. 15/30. Williams whacked a wild backhand wide. 30/30. Second serve: Williams netted a forehand return. 40/30. Cornet backhand long. 40/40. Cornet hit a "superb" short-angled crosscourt forehand winner back behind Williams, just inside the sideline. Ad Cornet. It looked like Cornet hit a down-the-line backhand winner onto the sideline, but it was called wide. Cornet challenged: it clipped the outside edge of the sideline, and it was a clean winner so they didn't have to replay the point.

Williams is going for too much power, and not respecting Cornet's movement. And she's not pressurising Cornet's weak second serve, of which we saw a prime example at 30/30.

Sam Smith (re. Cornet): "What a mover! She's quick; she's got very quick feet. She's got dancing feet, and she reads as well."
Chris Bradnam: "She's got that Hingis-quality, hasn't she?"
Sam Smith: "Much quicker than Hingis!"

Williams serving 1-1: Williams came to the net, forcing Cornet to hit a backhand lob long. 15/0. Cornet went for a backhand return down the line, but it was just long. 30/0. Williams down-the-line backhand wide. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Service-winner out wide (Cornet had to stretch, and netted a forehand return).

My Reason for Cornet is certainly increasing at these Olympics. If Cornet wins this match, I'll declare myself a demi-fan and start calling her "Alizé" on a regular basis.

Cornet serving 1-2: Cornet ran down a very short return and hit a forehand winner down the line. Chris Bradnam: "Moves like a spring-chicken up to this one. Real bright look in the eyes." 15/0. Williams sprayed a crosscourt forehand long/wide. 30/0. Cornet down-the-line backhand wide. 30/15. A deep, body-jamming backhand from Williams rocked Cornet back on her heels to net a forehand. 30/30. Service-winner down the middle - what power! 40/30. Second serve: Williams backhand return-winner down the line. 40/40. Ace down the middle. Ad Cornet. She tried to spread Williams, but a short mishit forehand sat up nicely to give Williams the initiative with a searing crosscourt backhand, forcing Cornet to hit a backhand skyscraper lob wide & just long. Deuce #2. Williams netted a backhand. Ad Cornet. Williams punished a short second serve by blasting a forehand return-winner onto Cornet's forehand-sideline. Deuce #3. Williams forehand just long. Ad Cornet. Cornet off-forehand just wide. Deuce #4. Williams hooked a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Ad Williams (BP #1). Williams hit a cheap backhand return into the tramlines, and there was a pained expression on her face. Deuce #5. Williams forced a floater and hit a high off-forehand winner. Ad Williams (BP #2). Cornet netted a backhand.

Williams breaks, but there's no great improvement in her form. I think it's more that Cornet has gone off the boil a bit. I wouldn't say she's choking.

Williams serving 3-1: First serve out wide: forehand return just long. 15/0. A Golovinesque grunt from Cornet as she stretched for a return, and Williams dispatched her floater with a forehand winner. 30/0. Williams came to the net and dispatched a high floater with an easy smash. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Cornet serving 1-4: Williams dumped a cheap forehand return into the net. 15/0. Serve out wide: Williams netted a backhand return. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. Serve + dropshot forced Williams to net a backhand - I think Cornet was a bit lucky to get away with that.

Williams serving 4-2: Short-angled ace out wide: on the sideline (Cornet wasted a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it was plumb on the line). 15/0. More nice grunting from Cornet, but she hit a backhand long. 30/0. A netcord from Cornet gave Williams the initiative: three strokes later she hit a forehand smash-winner. 40/0. Cornet forehand return-winner on the sideline. 40/15. A crowd-pleasing rally, in which Williams spread Cornet with a short-angled crosscourt forehand, ended with Cornet hitting a backhand long.

Sam Smith: "I think she's a really tough cookie. I'm not sure she's as strong mentally as Serena Williams - very few players are. But do you know what? This one: she's a street-fighter. I like Alizé; I think she's gonna bring a lot to women's tennis; she's ranked #18 in the world now. I think she's got a shot at the top ten. Just great attitude, great mover."
Chris Bradnam: "She's got a lot of that magic word: belief. I mean: the confidence is there because she's done so much winning from the moment she was getting a world-ranking as a senior at 14 years of age. So always had a lot of confidence, but she /believes/ that she belongs on these sorts of stages against these sorts of players. Even though it's her début in the Olympics against one of the greats of the game, she believes she belongs here."

Cornet serving 2-5 (new balls): Cornet dumped a backhand halfway up the net. 0/15. Williams netted a backhand. 15/15. Williams dumped a forehand return into the net. 30/15. Cornet ran down a short ball but hit a forehand long. 30/30. Great defence from Cornet, and Williams hit an off-forehand just wide. 40/30. Williams hit a backhand would-be return-winner just past the sideline.

Williams serving 5-3: Ace down the middle. 15/0. And again. 30/0. Great first serve out wide + crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 40/0 (SP #1). Service-winner down the middle. Williams won the second set 6-3 at 21:18 (37 minutes).


Third set
---------
CORNET __* * * *_ 4
WILLIA @* * * * * 6

Cornet serving 0-0: Williams backhand return long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). Cornet let her shoulders drop. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. A huge off-forehand return forced Cornet to bunt a defensive backhand lob wide. 30/30. Williams's depth forced Cornet to bunt a backhand lob long. 30/40. Williams pounced on a weak second serve with a crunching crosscourt backhand return-winner.

I think Cornet is tired (an observation the BBC commentators picked up on a few games later).

Williams serving 1-0: Cornet went for a backhand down the line, but put it wide. 15/0. Williams's off-forehand forced Cornet to bunt a one-handed backhand low into the net. 30/0. Cornet netted a backhand. 40/0. Williams hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand, forcing Cornet to hit a crosscourt forehand wide.

Cornet serving 0-2: Service-winner. 15/0. Cornet's deep forehand forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Williams blasted a backhand return down Cornet's backhand-sideline just wide. 40/0. Cornet found the sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner, and pumped her fist.

Sam Smith: "I don't fancy her [Cornet's] chances. I don't think she's got enough. But if Serena Williams misses, she's got the nerve to win this final set."

I have to question that after watching Cornet wobble in the first set of her second-round match yesterday.

Williams serving 2-1: Williams came to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Cornet ran around her backhand and dumped a forehand into the net. 30/0. Cornet ran down a short ball and hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. 30/15. Williams advanced up the court, forcing Cornet to net a backhand. 40/15. Cornet hit an off-forehand wide, and sighed.

Sam Smith praised Cornet's fitness - physical and mental. But she's looking a bit flat between points now. She's not used to playing third sets against opponents of Williams's calibre, and it can't be easy in this ridiculous humidity either.

Cornet serving 1-3: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Cornet netted a forehand. 0/30. Williams backhand long. 15/30. Williams punished a weak second serve with a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 15/40. Cornet hit a deep, error-forcing backhand down the line. 30/40. Service-winner down the middle. 40/40. Williams came to the net, but a dipping crosscourt backhand pass forced her to lunge for, and net, a backhand volley. Ad Cornet. Williams's backhand - off a very deep ball from Cornet that rocked her back on her heels - clipped the netcord and fell back on her side.

Cornet's backhand down the line is one of her best weapons, especially in this day and age of right-handed players running around their backhands to hit forehands, leaving their forehand-sidelines exposed.

Williams serving 3-2: Williams came to the net and hit an easy crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Williams forced a floater from Cornet, came to the net and dispatched it with an easy forehand smash. 30/0. Ace out wide (88mph). 40/0. Williams cracked a huge backhand winner down the line.

Williams is now playing with too much power and error-freedom for Cornet.

Cornet serving 2-4: Second serve: Williams netted a cheap forehand return. 15/0. Williams netted another forehand return - this time off a first serve. 30/0. Williams's deep forehand forced Cornet to bunt a defensive forehand long. 30/15. Williams opened up the court for a backhand winner down the line, but pushed it just wide. 40/15. Cornet hit a pinpoint backhand down the line + off-forehand volley-winner - lovely couple of shots.

Sam Smith suggested that Cornet was tired because it's very physically demanding to keep standing up to Williams as a counterpuncher (which is what Cornet essentially is, although she's more aggressive at these Olympics than I've seen her in the past).

Cornet said "m****" (a French swearword) at the changeover.

Williams serving 4-3 (new balls): Cornet hit a forehand long, and thought about throwing her racket. 15/0. Cornet left Williams standing with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line: on the sideline. 30/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15. Cornet went for a forehand winner down the line, but put it wide, then put her head down, screwed her eyes up and put her hand over her face - tired rather than upset. She asked the umpire to tell the crowd to be quiet.

Chris Bradnam: "Serena Williams would love to get the job done here. If Cornet can hold serve, you just never know."

Cornet serving 3-5: Williams netted a forehand return. 15/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/15. Williams netted a tame backhand. 30/15. Williams sprayed a crosscourt backhand wide, and yelled. 40/15. Williams forehand return just long.

Williams serving 5-4: First serve out wide: Cornet mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). Chris Bradnam: "Is that the start of the jitters?" 15/15. Cornet opened up the court, but netted an off-forehand. She put her hand to her face, knowing that was a chance missed. 30/15. An amazing rally with them both at the net ended with Williams hitting a crosscourt forehand volley-winner past Cornet. 40/15 (MP #1). Williams caught her toss, and it went past 22:00. A brief rally ended with Cornet hitting a forehand just long. Williams won 3-6 6-3 6-4 at 22:00 (third set 42m, match 1h54m).

Sam Smith: "What a great advertisement for women's tennis at the Olympics. Serena Williams needed her experience to get her through."

Serena Williams: "I was making so many errors, and I wasn't practising like that at all; it came to a point where I hit a backhand into the net and just had enough. Before I knew it, I just got even angrier.

"But then I started playing more smart out there. I just tried keeping more balls in play, and cutting down on my errors. The fact that I'm really fit was able to help out as well. She has had some stellar results this year, so I knew I had to start playing better."

---------------------
6. Quarter-final draw
---------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Sybille Bammer (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] v SERENA WILLIAMS [4] (davai Elena!)
* Li,Na v VENUS WILLIAMS [7] (jia you Na!)
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] v DINARA SAFINA [6] (ajde Jelena!)

--------------------------------------------
7. Quarter-final preview: Zvonarëva v Bammer
--------------------------------------------

Well, Sybille Bammer just beat Lucie Šafářová in the third round, denying me a mouthwatering Vera v Lucie quarter-final. Bammer may lead Lucie 4:0 head-to-head now, but for Vera, it's 2:0 against Bammer:
+ 2004 Philadelphia 1r: 6-4 3-6 7-6(5)
+ 2008 Doha qf: 2-6 6-2 6-0

(Philadelphia 2004 is one of the highlights of Vera's career so far. She thrashed Jennifer Capriati 6-0 6-1 in a do-or-die match to qualify for the season-ending championships - Capriati has not played since - then scored her only win over Nadia Petrova to reach the final.)

So a tight three-setter followed by a lopsided three-setter... perhaps Vera can do the job in straight sets now! Obviously I'm ready for another tough match, but I couldn't ask for a better draw than this in an Olympic quarter-final, so I'd be pretty disappointed if Vera blew this golden opportunity to play for a medal (reaching the semis would guarantee playing in either the Gold- or Bronze-medal match).

Bammer has a win/loss record of 21:19 for 2008 going into this match, and is currently ranked #32 to Vera's #11.

Although 2008 has been less stellar for Bammer than her breakthrough-season last year, ominous highlights include beating world #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 7-6 (10/8) to reach the quarter-finals of Doha (but then Vera beat her), and more recently, reaching the quarter-finals of Los Angeles by beating #8 Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 5-7 6-2 (then losing to Flavia Pennetta).

Bammer has reached this quarter-final with the following results:
1r + Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-2 4-6 6-4
2r + PATTY SCHNYDER [13], 6-4 6-4
3r + Lucie Šafářová [EF], 7-5 6-4 (Lucie had 3 set-points)

While Vera won very one-sidedly in the first round, but has had slightly closer matches than Bammer in the next two rounds:
1r + Yan,Zi [S], 6-2 6-0
2r + Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)
3r + Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4

ITF's preview
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=19130
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva can thank her lucky stars that she's in the draw at all – she wouldn't have been if Anna Chakvetadze hadn't pulled out – but the emotional Russian has made the best of her luck and is favourite to beat Austria's Sybille Bammer and reach the last four. Zvonarëva won their match earlier this year in Doha, but both times they've played, it has gone to three sets, so it could be close again.
<<<

It was actually Maria Sharapova's withdrawal that put Vera in the Olympic singles - Anna's earlier withdrawal let Dinara Safina in.

Nick Bollettieri's preview
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
The last quarter-final will feature the unheralded and underrated Vera Zvonarëva taking on Austrian Sybille Bammer. Zvonarëva beat Francesca Schiavone 7-6(4) 6-4, and Bammer took down Lucie Šafářová 7-5 6-4. Zvonarëva is 2:0 against Bammer, including a victory earlier this year on the hard courts in Doha. Edge here definitely goes to Zvonarëva, but don't count Bammer out just yet. She is a tough player who has beaten Serena Williams in the past.
<<<

It's also worth posting my reply to the ongoing "Could Serena and Venus bring home three medals?" discussion at the above site:
>>>
Venus destroyed Vera on grass, which is by far Venus's best surface, and Vera was inexperienced on it at the time. It would be a different story on the Decoturf of Beijing, where Vera would be able to neuter Venus's initiative with her excellent lateral-retrieval skills, and then turn defence into attack.

Serena struggled quite a bit against Alizé Cornet today, and her last two wins over Vera (since Vera's win at Cincinnati 2006) have been a tight two-setter and a three-setter.

It's good that Vera would have to play Serena (in the semis) before she would have to play Venus, because Venus was much sharper and more error-free in her second round than Serena was in her third round (those being the matches I've seen on BBC television).
<<<

------------------
8. Andrew's wishes (updated after Wednesday)
------------------
8.1 Semi-finals
---------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5]
+ JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] d. Li,Na


8.3 Finals
----------

Gold-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2]

Bronze-medal match:
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. Li,Na

Desired podium:
GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva
SILVER: Jelena Janković
BRONZE: Elena Dementieva

------------------
9. Women's Doubles
------------------
9.1 First-round result (Wednesday 13th August)
----------------------

- Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Petra Kvitová lt. Samantha Stosur/Rennae Stubbs, 1-6 0-6

I'm sure the bagelstick wouldn't have happened if Lucie had played with Petra Cetkovská! (with whom she reached the Stockholm-final a week and a half ago).


9.2 Second-round results (Wednesday 13th August)
------------------------

+ (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] d. Gisela Dulko [DF]/Betina Jozami [WC], 6-2 6-3

+ Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone d. (CHAN,YUNG-JAN/CHUANG,CHIA-JUNG)[3], 7-6 (7/1) 1-6 8-6

- (Sania Mirza [DF]/Sunitha Rao)[WC] lt. (SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA/DINARA SAFINA)[1], 4-6 4-6

Vera is now the sole survivor of my Eternal Fanship in both singles and doubles. My decision to induct her in her slump-year (2005) is looking good right now. Hopefully I'll be able to say the same of Lucie Šafářová in three years' time.


9.3 Quarter-final draw
----------------------

Andrew's selections (desired winners on the left):

* Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone v (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[6]

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] v (2r: Ayumi Morita [S]/Ai Sugiyama v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2])


9.4 Desired podium (updated on Wednesday)
------------------

GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva/Elena Vesnina
SILVER: Yan,Zi/Zheng,Jie
BRONZE: Flavia Pennetta/Francesca Schiavone

------------------------------
10. Order of play for Thursday
------------------------------

Show Court 2 (start 16:00 China-time = 08:00 GMT = 09:00 BST)
WS qf: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Sybille Bammer
MD qf: (IGOR ANDREEV/NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO)[8] v Arnaud Clément/Michaël Llodra
MD qf: (ROGER FEDERER/STANISLAS WAWRINKA)[4] v (MAHESH BHUPATHI/LEANDER PAES)[7]
WD 2r: Ayumi Morita [S]/Ai Sugiyama v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2]

I don't see the logic of scheduling that last WD match last when Vera and Elena Vesnina are waiting to play the winners in the quarter-finals!

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/event/scheduleday4.asp

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

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

andrewbroad
Aug 16th, 2008, 01:01 AM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Quarter-final results
3. Quarter-final scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Bammer
4. Semi-final draw
5. Semi-final preview: Zvonarëva v Dementieva
6. Andrew's wishes
7. Women's Doubles
8. Order of play for Saturday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Vera Zvonarëva:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=zvonareva

Daniela Hantuchová:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=hantuchova

Gisela Dulko:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=dulko

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

Dominika Cibulková:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=cibulkova

Alyona (and Kateryna) Bondarenko:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=bondarenko

Alizé Cornet:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=cornet

Caroline Wozniacki:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=wozniacki

Iveta Benešová:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=benesova

Search Getty Images for:
zvonareva
safarova
hantuchova
vaidisova
pironkova
dulko
pennetta
cibulkova
bondarenko
cornet
wozniacki
vesnina

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Lucie Šafářová, Flavia Pennetta, Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko, Dominika Cibulková (labelled as "Alona Bondarenko"), Alizé Cornet, Elena Dementieva, Jelena Janković and Zheng,Jie:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=7&cap=1

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko, Elena Dementieva and Virginia Ruano Pascual:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/ (Final Rounds)

------------------------
2. Quarter-final results (Thursday 14th/Friday 15th August)
------------------------

Thursday:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Sybille Bammer, 6-3 3-6 6-3
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 6-4 6-3
+ Li,Na d. VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 7-5 7-5

Quarterena Williams began like she was going to blow Dementieva away, first racing into a 3-0* lead in the first set, then leads of 6-3 3-1* and 4-2*. Then Dementieva won 9 games in a row to lead 3-6 6-4 5-0* before Quarterena salvaged 3 games.

Venus Williams led 3-0*, 4-1* and 5-4* in the first set, and 5-4* in the second.


Friday:
- JELENA JANKOVIĆ [2] lt. DINARA SAFINA [6], 2-6 7-5 3-6

I saw this match on BBCi: there were a few good points, but overall it was pretty boring, with long, counterpunching rallies and lots of unforced errors. Its redeeming qualities were Janković's body from the neck down, and Safina's new, cuter grunt.

At least one good thing comes of Janković's loss: her failure to reach the Gold-medal match stops her unworthy reign as world #1 at one week; Ana Ivanović will regain the top ranking on Monday.

I also saw the men's singles semi-final between Fernando González and James Blake. I wanted González to win because he is one of the most spectacular players in men's tennis, and Gisela Dulko's boyfriend to boot (I saw her in the stands).

It was a high-quality match with high drama too: González saved match-points at *5-6 (0/40) in the third, but sadly his 4-6 7-5 11-9 victory was tainted at *8-9 by a pass from Blake being called long - the umpire failed to notice that it just clipped González' racket (a fact attested by the video-replay), and was therefore technically his error.

González: "I didn't feel anything. I mean, it's just one point. There is an umpire. If I'm 100% sure about it, I mean, I will give it. But I'm not sure."

If I were González, I would be feeling guilty that my victory was robbed of its integrity by that incident, though I must admit that I probably wouldn't have volunteered an admission in that situation either, unless I was asked. Don't get me wrong: I'm a man of integrity who would rather lose than win with an unworthy point counting towards my victory, but my actions require much aforethought, and in the heat of the moment, I can certainly omit to do things that I later regret. At the end of the day, it's the officials' job to determine whether a player touches a ball - not the players' job, and certainly not the media's job.

MaliVai Washington (re. John McEnroe's disqualification at the Hall of Fame Champions' Cup): "As players, we are in control of the match. Officials are in charge of the integrity of the game."

Let me get one thing clear: González did not cheat, and those who say he did are guilty of defamation. At the worst, he is guilty of poor sportsmanship. I'm also disappointed that Blake chose to be so outspoken about it.

And as far as other sports go, I'm pleased that the sexy artistic gymnast Nastia Liukin won the women's individual all-around Gold Medal - something I had been looking forward to since seeing her in Transworld Sport.

------------------------------------------------------
3. Quarter-final scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Bammer (Thursday 14th August)
------------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Sybille Bammer, 6-3 3-6 6-3

Bammer adopted an uncharacteristically aggressive approach to this match, with a W:UE ratio of 32:75 to Vera's more conservative 9:50. The momentum was determined to a large extent by whether Bammer was making winners or unforced errors.

The match started on Show Court 2 at 20:16 China-time, after rain delayed the start of play by just over four hours. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml
and the live-scores thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=353224


First set
---------
ZVONAR * *@*@__* 6
BAMMER _*____@*_ 3

With the advantage of serving first, Vera took a *5-1 lead as Bammer made lots of UEs, but Bammer turned the momentum in her favour by cutting down on her UEs and pegging Vera back to *5-3 as UEs crept into Vera's game.

Bammer's service-game at 1-4 lasted 10 minutes before Vera broke for 5-1. Vera won the first set 6-3 at 20:55 (39 minutes).


Second set
----------
ZVONAR _____*@*_ 3
BAMMER *@*@*___* 6

Bammer had the advantage of serving first, and raced into a 5-0* lead hitting winners left, right and centre as Vera resorted to moonballing. But Vera regained the momentum - and the advantage of serving first in the third - by pegging Bammer back to *5-3.

Bammer won the second set at 21:35 (40 minutes).


Third set
---------
ZVONAR *@*___*@* 6
BAMMER ___*@*___ 3

Vera led 3-0* in the third set, but had to endure the scare of being pegged back to *3-3 before reeling off the last three games of the match.

Bammer's service-game at 3-4 lasted 8 minutes before Vera broke for 5-3. Vera won 6-3 3-6 6-3 at 22:20 (third set 45m, match 2h04m).


Articles
--------

Williams lose [CEEFAX 670->673]
>>>
Venus and Serena suffer defeats [CEEFAX 673]

Meanwhile, Vera Zvonarëva is also through to the last four after beating Austrian Sybille Bammer 3-6 6-3 6-3.
<<<

Dementieva sets up all-Russian semi [Teletext 495->497]
>>>
Dementieva ousts Serena [Teletext 497]

Fifth seed Elena Dementieva battled from a set down to upset Serena Williams and ensure Russia would claim a medal in the women's singles.

The 26-year-old Muscovite came back to secure a 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory against the fourth-seeded American.

Fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva, seeded ninth, saw off the challenge of Sybille Bammer of Austria, and faces compatriot Dementieva for a place in the final.
<<<

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2523
>>>
No.9 seed Vera Zvonarëva joined Dementieva and Li in the semi-finals earlier in the day with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over unseeded Sybille Bammer. Zvonarëva was not on the original singles-roster for Russia, only heading to Beijing to compete in the doubles with Elena Vesnina; but upon the injury-withdrawal of Maria Sharapova, she was moved onto the singles-squad, and is now within reach of a medal.
<<<

------------------
4. Semi-final draw
------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* Li,Na v DINARA SAFINA [6] (jia you Na!)

---------------------------------------------
5. Semi-final preview: Zvonarëva v Dementieva
---------------------------------------------

Quite a tall order for Vera, as Dementieva leads their head-to-head 3:1:
- 2004 US Open: Dementieva 1-6 6-4 6-3
- 2006 US Open: Dementieva 7-5 6-3
+ 2008 Charleston: Vera 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-3
- 2008 French Open: Vera 6-4 1-6 6-2

It tends to be a particularly emotional match for Vera when she plays Dementieva, who has won their three Grand Slam matches. The US Open 2004 loss was one of Vera's most infamous meltdowns after winning the first set 6-1, and in the French Open 2008 loss, Vera was reduced to racket-smacking frustration in the third set.

26-year-old Dementieva is enjoying something of a resurgence in 2008, having dropped out of the top ten last year. She has an impressive 38:11 win/loss record, highlighted by winning Dubai (beating Ana Ivanović 5-7 6-3 6-3 in the quarter-finals and Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the final), and reaching the Berlin-final with back-to-back wins over Jelena Janković 6-3 2-6 6-3 and Ivanović 6-2 7-5.

Dementieva was also a quarter-finalist at the French Open (by beating Vera), and an unlikely semi-finalist at Wimbledon (by beating Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-7 6-3).

Dementieva is renowned for her notoriously fragile serve, but is a prolific breaker of serve, has big groundstrokes, and I believe her serve has improved too.

Choking has been a big problem for Dementieva this year: she led Dinara Safina 6-4 *5-2 and had a match-point in their French Open quarter-final (which she lost 6-4 6-7 0-6), and looked like she was going to do likewise against Petrova at Wimbledon before getting her act together in the third set.

Dementieva had 'flu after Wimbledon, so her only match before the Olympics was a 6-4 6-2 loss to Dominika Cibulková in her opening match at Montréal. But she has reached the semi-finals of the Olympics with the following results:
1r + Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-1 6-4
2r + Sofia Arvidsson, 6-3 6-4
3r + Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6 (7/3) 6-2
qf + SERENA WILLIAMS [4], 3-6 6-4 6-3

While Vera has had a somewhat easier draw to the semis:
1r + Yan,Zi [s], 6-2 6-0
2r + Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)
3r + Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4
qf + Sybille Bammer, 6-3 3-6 6-3

I'll leave it to Nick Bollettieri to draw a conclusion to this preview:

http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
Dementieva's semi-final opponent will be a fellow Russian: Vera Zvonarëva. She moved through with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory over Sybille Bammer. Dementieva is 3:1 against Zvonarëva, but they have split two matches this year. Have to give Dementieva a slight edge here, but it is going to be close.
<<<

------------------
6. Andrew's wishes (updated after Friday)
------------------

Gold-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Li,Na

Bronze-medal match:
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. DINARA SAFINA [6]

Desired podium:
GOLD: Vera Zvonarëva
SILVER: Li,Na
BRONZE: Elena Dementieva

------------------
7. Women's Doubles
------------------
7.1 Quarter-final results (Friday 15th August)
-------------------------

+ (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8] d. (SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA/DINARA SAFINA)[1], 6-3 5-7 10-8

+ (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4] d. (LINDSAY DAVENPORT/LIEZEL HUBER)[5], 5-7 7-6 (8/6) 8-6

- Flavia Pennetta [DF]/Francesca Schiavone lt. (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[6], 1-6 6-3 5-7

- (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/ELENA VESNINA)[7] lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2], 4-6 0-6

Oh, well - at least Vera gets to conserve more of her energy for the singles! :-o

Unlike Safina, whose marathon doubles-loss finished after 27:35 China-time - the latest known finish at any sporting-event in Olympic history according to the ITF!


7.2 Semi-final draw
-------------------

* (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8] v (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4] (jia you Zi & Jie!)
* (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[6] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2] (davai Alyona i Kateryna!)


7.3 Desired podium (updated on Friday)
------------------

GOLD: my Reason says Yan/Zheng, but my Passion says the Bondarenko-sisters
BRONZE: Medina Garrigues/Ruano Pascual

-----------------------------
8. Order of play for Saturday
-----------------------------

Show Court 1 (start 16:00 China-time = 08:00 GMT = 09:00 BST)
WS sf: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5]
MD bm: (BOB BRYAN/MIKE BRYAN)[1] v Arnaud Clément/Michaël Llodra
WD sf: (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8] v (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4]

I'm disappointed that Vera's semi-final isn't on Centre Court (I would have scheduled it before the Li v Safina semi-final) - unless, of course, they're expecting more rain on Saturday.

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/INF/TE/C58/TE0000Y16.shtml

For those in the UK, there is some tennis scheduled on BBC 1 between 15:45 and 16:30 BST. But I think it's a bl**dy disgrace that there's nothing extra for Freeview-viewers (only for the satellite-, cable- and online versions of BBCi).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)

andrewbroad
Aug 16th, 2008, 10:15 PM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Semi-final results
3. Semi-final scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Dementieva
4. Bronze-medal preview: Zvonarëva v Li
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Women's Doubles
7. Order of play for Sunday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Vera Zvonarëva:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=zvonareva

Search Getty Images for "zvonareva"

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko, Elena Dementieva, Virginia Ruano Pascual and Li,Na:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

---------------------
2. Semi-final results (Saturday 16th August)
---------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] lt. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5], 3-6 6-7 (3/7)
- Li,Na lt. DINARA SAFINA [6], 6-7 (3/7) 5-7

Safina overcame tiredness, an opponent who had thrashed her 6-1 6-1 and 6-2 6-2 in their only previous meetings, a 3-5 deficit in the second set, and a partisan crowd who booed every time someone cheered for Safina.

It's worth remembering that Safina is only there because Anna Chakvetadze didn't want to play, or because of Maria Sharapova's shoulder-injury! :-||

-------------------------------------------------------
3. Semi-final scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Dementieva
-------------------------------------------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] lt. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5], 3-6 6-7 (3/7)

In the early games, neither player could hold serve or even save a break-point. Dementieva held first for 4-2 before winning the first set 6-3.

The second set had more holds, and more break-points saved - mainly by Dementieva, who led *4-2. Vera fought back to *4-4 and had a break-point that would have given her *5-4. She saved a match-point at *4-5 (two according to the ITF, but I only saw one on the scoreboard), but was always behind in the tiebreak.

The match started on Show Court 1 at 16:11 China-time. I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml
and the live-scores thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=353449


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA _@ @__*__ 3
DEMENTIEV @ @ @* *@ 6

Vera serving 0-0: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Dementieva serving 1-0: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 1-1: 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Vera. Deuce #2. Ad Dementieva (BP). Broken.
Dementieva serving 2-1: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15 to 40/40. Ad Vera (BP). Broken.

All BPs converted so far!

Vera serving 2-2: 0/40 (BP). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Dementieva serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). 40/40. Ad Dementieva. Held.

Dementieva holds first! :-(

Vera serving 2-4: 30/0 to 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Vera. Held.
Dementieva serving 4-3: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Vera serving 3-5: 0/30 to 40/30. 40/40. Ad Dementieva (SP #1). Dementieva won the first set 6-3 at 16:52 (41 minutes).


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA @__*__@* * *_ 6(3)
DEMENTIEV _@* *@__* * T 7(7)

Dementieva serving 0-0: 0/40 (3 BPs). 30/40. Broken.
Vera serving 0-1: 0/40 (3 BPs). 30/40. Broken.
Dementieva serving 1-1: 30/0 to 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Vera (BP). Deuce #2. Ad Dementieva. Held.

More BPs being saved now.

Vera serving 2-1: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (2 BPs) to 40/40. Ad Vera. Deuce #2. Ad Vera.

Nice recovery from 15/40! :-)

Dementieva serving 2-2: 0/30 to 30/30. 30/40 (BP). 40/40. Ad Dementieva. Deuce #2. Ad Dementieva. Held.

And another BP goes begging. :-(

Vera serving 2-3: 15/0. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Dementieva serving 4-2: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (2 BPs). 30/40. Broken.

Back to break-and-counterbreak...

Vera serving 3-4: 40/0. Held.
Dementieva serving 4-4: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 to 40/40. Ad Dementieva. Deuce #2. Ad Vera (BP). Deuce #3. Ad Dementieva. Deuce #4. Ad Dementieva. Held.

Tremendous fightback by Vera: 2-4* to 4-4*, and pegged Dementieva back from 40/15 to 40/40. But she then squandered a BP that would have given her *5-4. :sad:

Vera serving 4-5: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (MP #1). 40/40. Ad Vera. Deuce #2. Ad Vera. Deuce #3. Ad Vera. Held.

One MP saved. :-)

Dementieva serving 5-5: 30/0. Scoreboard froze...
Vera serving 5-6: 40/0 to 40/40. Ad Vera. Held.

6-6 tiebreak: 0/0*. *0/1. *1/1. 1/2*. 1/3*. *2/3. *2/4. 3/4*. 3/5*. *3/6 (MP #2). Dementieva won 6-3 7-6 (7/3) at 18:18 (second set 1h26m, match 2h07m).

STATISTICS: Vera broke 4 times from 11 BPs, while Dementieva converted 6 from 13. Highlights for Vera included 21 winners: 16 on the forehand. She also won 10 of 14 points at the net: 6 with volley-winners.


Article
-------

Safina and Dementieva set up all-Russian final
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=19156
>>>
Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina will contest an all-Russian women's singles final at the Olympic Tennis Event on Sunday after the two players scored straight-sets victories in Saturday's semi-finals. Russia is now guaranteed its first-ever Gold Medal in women's tennis.

Dementieva, the Silver-medallist from Sydney, when she lost to Venus Williams in the final, was too strong for her compatriot Vera Zvonarëva, winning 6-3 7-6(3). Zvonarëva managed to save two match-points to force a second-set tiebreak before conceding defeat.
<<<

Dementieva reaches second Olympic final
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214550710.shtml
>>>
Elena Dementieva of Russia defeated teammate Vera Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6(3) in the Women's Singles semi-finals at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre on Saturday 16th August.

Both players started nervously and traded service-breaks for the first five games. Dementieva was the first to hold serve - for 4-2 - and then broke again at 5-3 to take the first set.

The second set was a much tighter affair, full of intense baseline-rallies, which more often than not ended in an error from one of the players. Dementieva faced break-points in all of her service-games, and both players dropped serve twice. Dementieva created two match-points at 5-4, but couldn't find the winning shot.

She got the upper hand in the ensuing tiebreak, and found herself with three more match-points. She hit a blistering forehand down the line that Zvonarëva could not get near to seal her victory.

Dementieva, who won the Silver Medal eight years ago in Sydney, now advances to her second Olympic final, where she will meet teammate Dinara Safina of Russia, who defeated Li,Na of China in the other semi-final: 7-6(3) 7-5.

Russia could sweep the Women's Singles medals in this event, as Zvonarëva will face Li in Sunday's Bronze-medal match.

No NOC has won all three medals in an Olympic Tennis event since Great Britain did so in the 1908 Women's Singles.
<<<

---------------------------------------
4. Bronze-medal preview: Zvonarëva v Li
---------------------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Li,Na

Blimey: I just typed "zvonareva" and "li na" into the head-to-head form at www.wtatour.com (http://www.wtatour.com), and got Vera Zvonarëva v Zeynep Asli Naibi! Let's try again with "na li"...

Li leads their head-to-head 2:1, but Vera won their latest meeting:
- 2006 Doha 1r: Li 6-4 6-4;
- 2007 Indian Wells qf: Li 6-4 7-5 (Vera had beaten Maria Sharapova in the previous round);
+ 2008 Doha sf: Vera 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Li is a go-for-broke player with a big forehand in particular, who tends to dominate matches with either winners or unforced errors. Luckily, Vera has had some practice against this approach against Sybille Bammer in the quarter-finals, so she needs to frustrate Li with her excellent lateral-retrieval skills, making Li feel that she has to go for the sidelines. So I would expect Li's game-plan to be to hit deep down the middle, denying Vera of angles and hitting-space.

Li hasn't played much in recent months, missing the second half of 2007 (after Birmingham) with a right-rib stress-fracture.

But she made a spectacular comeback at Gold Coast 2008, winning the title with wins over world #19 Sybille Bammer, #12 Nicole Vaidišová, #16 Patty Schnyder, and #30 Victoria Azarenka in the final.

Li extended her winning-streak to 7 matches by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, and also reached semi-finals at Antwerp and Doha (beating world #6 Anna Chakvetadze 7-6 6-4 and #4 Jelena Janković 6-3 6-4 before her loss to Vera).

Li missed all of March, April and May with a right-knee injury that required surgery. She came back at Eastbourne and Wimbledon, losing in the second round of both. She then withdrew from Stanford and Los Angeles with her right-knee injury.

Li is currently ranked #42 to Vera's #11, but I'm not too optimistic about this one after the tournament Li's had:
1r + SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3], 7-6 (7/5) 6-4
2r + Ayumi Morita [s], 6-2 7-5
3r + Kaia Kanepi, 4-6 6-2 6-0
qf + VENUS WILLIAMS [7], 7-5 7-5
sf - DINARA SAFINA [6], 6-7 (3/7) 5-7

Whereas Vera has reached the Bronze-medal match against much lesser opposition:
1r + Yan,Zi [s], 6-2 6-0
2r + Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 7-6 (7/4)
3r + Francesca Schiavone, 7-6 (7/4) 6-4
qf + Sybille Bammer, 6-3 3-6 6-3
sf - ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5], 3-6 6-7 (3/7)

Li seems to owe much of her Olympic success to a partisan crowd. They were booing every time someone cheered Safina, and Li even had to tell them to quieten down! So Vera needs to go into this match expecting to be public enemy #1, and not let it get to her.

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Saturday)
------------------

Gold-medal match:
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. DINARA SAFINA [6]

But sadly, Dementieva seems to have talked herself out of beating Safina: "At the moment, she's the hottest player on the Tour, winning everything. She has such a huge streak for the moment. It's going to be a tough match. We played three times this year and I lost all of them. So it's going to be quite a challenge for me."

Bronze-medal match:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Li,Na

Desired podium:
GOLD: Elena Dementieva
SILVER: Dinara Safina
BRONZE: Vera Zvonarëva

------------------
6. Women's Doubles
------------------
6.1 Semi-final results (Saturday 16th August)
----------------------

- (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8] lt. (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4], 4-6 6-7 (5/7)
- (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[6] lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2], 6-4 4-6 1-6


6.2 Desired podium (updated after Saturday)
------------------

GOLD: Medina Garrigues/Ruano Pascual
SILVER: Williams/Williams
BRONZE: my Reason says Yan/Zheng, but my Passion says the Bondarenko-sisters

---------------------------
7. Order of play for Sunday
---------------------------

Note the earlier start-time!!

Show Court 1 (start 14:00 China-time = 06:00 GMT = 07:00 BST)
WS bm: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Li,Na
WD f: (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2]

Once again, Vera gets relegated to Court 1, and I don't thank them for making me have to get up two hours earlier than expected. But it's important to make sure that the tennis finishes on Sunday - I do not wish to have to tell my boss I won't be in on Monday! ;-)

I have only included courts involving members of my Eternal Fanship in singles; the full order of play is at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/INF/TE/C58/TE0000Y17.shtml

For those in the UK with Freeview, there will be highlights of the tennis from 19:30 to 21:30 BST on Channel 302 (assuming that the BBC don't come up with some pathetic excuse to short-change tennis-fans once again).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)

andrewbroad
Aug 17th, 2008, 09:16 PM
==========================
BEIJING 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (Beijing, China; hard (Decoturf II))
========================== http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Final-results
3. Bronze-medal scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Li
4. Gold-medal TV-report: Dementieva v Safina
5. Women's Doubles
6. Goodbye from Andrew

---------
1. Photos
---------

Vera Zvonarëva:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=zvonareva
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214554431.shtml

Search Getty Images for "zvonareva"

Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonarëva:
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214554822.shtml

Evidently, Vera's Bronze Medal means a lot to her (unlike another Olympian earlier these Games, who flounced off the podium and threw his Bronze Medal down in disgust). Bronze is the new Gold!

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Elena Dementieva, Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko, Virginia Ruano Pascual, Yan,Zi and Zheng,Jie:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

----------------
2. Final-results (Sunday 17th August)
----------------

Bronze-medal match (Bronze is the new Gold):
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Li,Na, 6-0 7-5

Gold-medal match (Beauty and the Beast):
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. DINARA SAFINA [6], 3-6 7-5 6-3


Podium
------
GOLD: Elena Dementieva (Russia)
SILVER: Dinara Safina (Russia)
BRONZE: Vera Zvonarëva (Russia)

-------------------------------------------------
3. Bronze-medal scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Li
-------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Li,Na, 6-0 7-5

A very poor performance by Li, who had abysmal winning-percentages on both first and second serve, held serve only twice in the match, and gift-wrapped Vera's victory with 52 unforced errors.

Vera romped through the first set in 18 minutes, but decided to make life difficult for herself in the second, dropping her first two service-games, and allowing Li to hold serve for the first time in the match for 3-1.

Vera fought her way to 4-3*, had break-points that would have put her *5-3 up, but instead, Li held and broke for *5-4. 30/30 felt huge on the scoreboard, but Vera won the next two points, held for 30, and broke to 15 to take the Bronze Medal.

With Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina already in the Gold-medal match, Vera's Bronze ensured a clean sweep of the Women's Singles medals for Russia - the first clean sweep by any country in any Olympic Tennis event for 100 years! (Britain swept the medals for Women's Singles, Men's Indoor Singles and Men's Doubles at the London 1908 Olympics).

Vera's victory makes Russia the clear winner of the Olympic Tennis Event, with 3 medals. Spain and the USA finished with 2 medals each, while Switzerland, Chile, Sweden, China and Serbia finished with 1 medal each.

Vera: "All the Russians were playing so well. It's just amazing that we all were able to do so well here, to get three medals for our country. We're all very proud of it. Russian tennis is at a great level. It's at the highest level."


The match started on Show Court 1 at 14:10 China-time, which was quite a relief, since I had just tuned into the BBC's Olympic coverage (sadly not coVERAge) to see raindrops on its camera! Apparently Court 1 is packed, while Centre Court is empty for the Gold-medal (Dementieva v Safina) match! I followed live scores at:
http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/TE.shtml
and the live-scores thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=353449


First set
---------
ZV *@*@*@ 6
LI ______ 0

Vera serving 0-0: 30/30. 40/30. Held.
Li serving 0-1: 0/30. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15.
Li serving 0-3: 0/40 (3 BPs). 15/40. Broken.

A bit of a delay here...

Vera serving 4-0: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (2 BPs) to 40/40. Ad Vera. Held.
Li serving 0-5: 0/40 (3 SPs). Vera won the first set 6-0 at 14:28 (18 minutes).

Wow - I never expected it to be /this/ easy! :D


Second set
----------
ZV _@__*@*__@*@ 7
LI @ @*___*@___ 5

Vera serving 0-0: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (2 BPs). Broken.
Li serving 1-0: 0/40 (3 BPs). Broken.
Vera serving 1-1: 15/0. 15/40 (2 BPs). 30/40. Broken.
Li serving 2-1: 40/0. Held.

That first set is becoming less and less relevant. :-(

Vera serving 1-3: 0/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Held.

A stabilising hold for Vera.

Li serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/40 (2 BPs). Broken.
Vera serving 3-3: 40/0. Held.

Vera has won 10 of the last 11 points! :D

Li serving 3-4: 0/30. 15/40 (2 BPs) to 40/40. Ad Vera (BP #3). Deuce #2. Ad Li. Deuce #3. Ad Li. Deuce #4. Ad Li. Deuce #5. Ad Li. Held.

3 BPs wasted that would have given Vera *5-3. :tears:

Vera serving 4-4: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (2 BPs). Broken.

Fight, Vera! :mad:

Li serving 5-4: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. This point is /huge/. 30/40 (BP). Broken.

Vera serving 5-5: 0/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Held.
Li serving 5-6: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (2 Bronze-medal points). Vera won the Bronze Medal 6-0 7-5 at 15:19 (second set 51m, match 1h09m).

The BBC tried to avoid showing Vera completely, even in its highlights of the medal-ceremony. But a brief glimpse of the podium at the last second just about put the "vera" in their "coverage"!


Statistics
----------

Vera got 71% of first serve in, winning 56% of the points when she did so, and 60%(!) on second serve. So it actually hindered her that she increased her first-serves-in percentage from the first set to the second, as her winning-percentages on both serves suffered.

The corresponding percentages for Li's serve were 72%, 33% and 40% - those winning-percentages are abysmal, and she didn't win a single point on her second serve in the first set!

They had one ace each and one double fault each. Vera had 3 service-winners to Li's 2.

Vera broke 7 times from 11 BPs (a very good conversion-rate), while Li broke 3 times from 6 BPs (but only held serve twice in the match).

Not so much net-play today: Vera won 2 of 3 points at the net (both with volley-winners), Li 4 of 6 (but no volley-winners).

Vera hit 7 groundstroke-winners (4 forehands + 3 backhands), Li 10 groundstroke-winners (8 forehands + 2 backhands). Vera made 27 unforced errors, Li a monstrous 52.

In points, Vera won 64-41 (first set 25-8, second set 39-33).


Articles
--------

As it happened - Day 8: Sunday 17 August
http://www.itftennis.com/olympics/news/gamewatch.asp?articleid=19162
>>>
(14:07) Because of the rain we've had this week, we have matches on three courts, which raises an interesting logistical question: what happens to the medal-ceremony if the women's Gold/Silver-medal match, which begins in a couple of minutes on Centre Court, finishes in two sets, while the Bronze-medal playoff, which also begins in a couple of minutes on Court 1, goes to three? Do they then delay the medal-ceremony until after the men's final? We will see.

(14:16) At this stage, the podium looks like being an entirely Russian affair, as Zvonarëva leads Li 2-0 on Court 1, but we've got used to Li's powers of hanging in after a slow start.

(14:21) Vera's in a rush to get somewhere. The Russian is 4-0 up against Li,Na in 12 minutes!

(14:30) Throughout her press-conference yesterday after losing to Safina, Li,Na kept saying, "I don't want to think about the Olympics now - it's over." I wonder whether she is therefore mentally absent from the Bronze-medal match on Court 1, because she's yet to win a game. Zvonarëva has just taken the first set 6-0 in just 19 minutes. Very strange, but it means the issue I raised at 14:07 almost certainly won't arise.

(14:40) I've just been watching a bit of the Zvonarëva-Li match just to see what's going wrong for the Chinese woman. She's certainly trying, and she's doing better in the second set, as she's broken to lead 2-1. But she's hitting a lot of shots off the frame. When club-players do that, they can comfort themselves with the thought that they've paid more for the frame than for the strings, but the likes of Li get their rackets and strings free.

(14:42) Yan and Zheng have taken the first set against the Bondarenko-sisters 6-2, so China has one hand on a Bronze medal. And possibly two, as Li leads Zvonarëva 3-1 second set.

(14:55) Looks like Li's fightback has fizzled out. She's lost three games on the run, and Zvonarëva is now two games away from the Bronze.

(15:07) I should know better than to write off Li. She saved several break-points that would have given Zvonarëva a 5-3 lead, but now she leads 5-4 and Zvonarëva has the pressure on her.

(15:19) BRONZE MEDAL VERA ZVONARËVA.

Vera Zvonarëva has defeated Li,Na 6-0 7-5. Characteristically, the match ended on a Li error, her backhand going way beyond Zvonarëva's baseline to ensure the singles-rostrum will be an all-Russian affair.
<<<

Zvonarëva sets up Russian clean sweep
http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports/headlines/tennis/n214554431.shtml
>>>
When Vera Zvonarëva of Russia defeated Li,Na of China 6-0 7-5 in Sunday's Bronze-medal match at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre, Russia became the first NOC to capture all three medals in one event of Olympic Tennis since 1908.

The last time that any NOC won all three medals was in 1908 when Great Britain swept the Women's Singles on home-turf in London.

Prior to compatriots Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva contesting the Beijing 2008 Women's Singles Gold-medal match, Zvonarëva rushed through the first set in 19 minutes as Li won just eight points.

Li broke Zvonarëva three times in the second set, but was unable to hold her own serve to cement the advantage. Zvonarëva won three games in a row to recover from 4-5 down and wrap up the medal.

Russia now has seven medals in Olympic Tennis, including the two won by players competing for the Russian Unified Team in 1992.
<<<

Zvonarëva wins tennis Bronze for Russia (AP)
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva of Russia has beaten Li,Na of China 6-0 7-5 to win the Bronze Medal in the women's singles tennis-competition.

The victory on Sunday means that Russian women will walk away from the Beijing Games with the Gold, Silver and Bronze for tennis-singles.

Fellow Russians Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva were playing later on Sunday in an all-Russian singles-final.

First-time Olympian Zvonarëva, seeded ninth, made the singles-draw only when fellow Russian Maria Sharapova withdrew with a shoulder-injury.
<<<

Dementieva turns tables on Safina in all-Russian clash (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
The Russians ended up sweeping the singles-tournament, as Vera Zvonarëva topped China's Li,Na for the Bronze: 6-0 7-5.

The ninth seed, Zvonarëva converted seven of 11 break-chances, and took advantage of 52 unforced errors by Li.

Prior to the Olympics, the 23-year-old Russian had failed to string together consecutive wins in five tournaments.
<<<

--------------------------------------------
4. Gold-medal TV-report: Dementieva v Safina
--------------------------------------------

+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] d. DINARA SAFINA [6], 3-6 7-5 6-3

I saw the third set on BBCi. It wasn't great tennis: long rallies, very attritional, Dementieva wearing down a tired Safina who was almost in tears in the last game. Safina served 17 double faults including 9 in the third set.

Dementieva looked nervous at times, while Safina looked frustrated, twice throwing her racket, and getting a code-violation for ball-abuse.

Dementieva v Safina is a recipe for choking, and sure enough, Elena let 4-1* in the second set become *4-4, and let 4-1* in the third become 4-3*. But a tired Safina was unable to complete one of her legendary fightbacks this time, and her winning-streak stops at 15 matches.

Dementieva: "To win the Gold Medal is unbelievable. I have been dreaming of this moment since I was just eight years old. I cannot even compare Grand Slam and Olympic Games, because it [the Olympics] is just so much bigger. It' s a dream for every athlete just to be here, but to be an Olympic champion, this is the top of the career. This is, for sure, the best thing that has happened to me in my life and career."

Goldfinger: "This is gold, Mr. Bond. All my life, I've been in love with its colour, its brilliance, its divine heaviness."


Third set
---------
DEMENT *@ @*__@* 6
SAFINA __@__*@__ 3

Dementieva serving 0-0: First serve: Safina netted a forehand return. 15/0. Dementieva played a good spreading rally, her crosscourt forehand to the sideline forcing Safina to net a one-handed backhand. 30/0. First serve down the middle, on the centre-line: Safina bunted a forehand return just long. 40/0. Double fault (second serve long). Dementieva muttered. 40/15. Dementieva's depth forced Safina on the back foot to hit a forehand wide.

Sam Smith: "I do feel that when Safina had a couple of break-points in the first game of the second set, that would have been a great game to win. Just wonder if she lost the match there."

Safina serving 0-1: Safina forced a short return and tried to come in behind a crosscourt backhand, but was barely inside the service-line when Dementieva passed her with a crosscourt backhand. 0/15. Double fault (second serve long). 0/30. First serve out wide: Dementieva netted a forehand return. 15/30. Safina's depth forced Dementieva on her knees to hit a backhand wide. 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. An exchange of crosscourt backhands ended with Safina hitting one long. 40/40. First serve out wide: Dementieva hit a forehand return long, accompanied by a cute, lingering squeal. Ad Safina. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). Deuce #2. Tremendous depth from Dementieva, but she couldn't keep it up, and Safina's off-forehand forced her to net a one-handed backhand. Ad Safina. She hit a poor dropshot, which Dementieva ran down and dispatched with a backhand winner down the line. Deuce #3. Double fault (second serve into the net). Safina threw her racket across the court. Ad Dementieva (BP). Quadruple fault! (second serve long).

Safina received a code-violation for hitting a ball into the crowd, and her demeanour in general is negative and frustrated at the moment, while Dementieva is just getting on with the match like a professional.

Chris Bradnam: "This is the Safina we're used to seeing. Will it self-destruct? Will it ignite a better performance? We're about to find out. Double faults are mounting."

Sam Smith: "This is very one-dimensional: a physical contest."

Chris Bradnam: "Dementieva won Silver in Sydney. I just think she's gonna say, 'I do not want to come second again,' /more/ than Safina."
Sam Smith: "Maybe the only scenario is that Dementieva is 5-2, 5-3 up, and has a meltdown, because closing out for her is a drama."
Chris Bradnam: "As we saw at the French this year against Safina."

Dementieva serving 2-0: Dementieva went for a forehand down the line, but it was just long. Chris Bradnam: "Still looks pretty brittle when she's missing." 0/15. Safina's backhand down the line forced Dementieva to spray a backhand wide. 0/30. Safina went for a big backhand down the line, but it was just long. Safina closed her eyes and looked up. 15/30. Dementieva forehand just long. 15/40 (BP). Second serve clipped the netcord and crawled over for a let. A longish rally ended with Safina netting a forehand dropshot from the baseline. 30/40 (BP #2). Dementieva backhand long.

Dementieva looked nervous in that game.

Sam Smith: "I love the expression on Safina's face: the eyes... she's in her tunnel."
Chris Bradnam: "Dementieva struggling to deal with the lead."

Safina serving 1-2: Safina crosscourt forehand + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Double fault (second serve wide of the centre-line). 15/15. Quadruple fault! (second serve long). Chris Bradnam: "That really must be tough to stomach. She looks a little sick." 15/30. A long rally ended with Dementieva slugging a backhand wide. 30/30. A longish rally ended with Dementieva hitting crosscourt forehand winner. Sam Smith: "Dementieva's the best in the business at those kind of points. On and on - it doesn't matter how many she hits." 30/40 (BP). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Too many double faults from Safina. There's something about the way she blinks when she looks up to serve that reminds me of a cow with flies in its eyes.

After that last double fault, Safina threw her racket against the court really hard and had to change it, but didn't get a code-violation, which would have meant a point-penalty after her previous infraction. The commentators said this was common sense, as it could ruin the final to dock her a point now.

The rules say that a code-violation is optional if the player just throws her racket, but mandatory if she breaks it and has to change it. It's not endangering anyone physically, but could be used as a stalling-tactic if it were tolerated on a regular basis - not to mention setting a bad example to children. Hitting a ball into (or over) the stands has to be an automatic code-violation, though, as it could potentially kill someone.

Sam Smith criticised both players for not coming to the net when they pulled each other out wide and forced floaters. She suggested that if a Williams-sister or even the retired Justine Henin were substituted for either of them, that substitute would carve the other player up.

Dementieva serving 3-1 (new balls): Dementieva on the third stroke hit a forehand long, and yelled. 0/15. Dementieva's big crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced a floater, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Dementieva ran Safina from sideline to sideline, inducing her to net a backhand. 30/15. Safina netted a makeable backhand return, screwed up her face, and looked at her racket in disgust. 40/15. Dementieva appeared to have the initiative with a good serve out wide + deep forehand down the line, but Safina hit a very deep, defensive backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Dementieva to bunt a backhand wide. 40/30. Safina netted a makeable forehand return.

Dementieva's serve has definitely improved from that weak sliced delivery for which I've ridiculed her for the last few years.

Safina serving 1-4: Dementieva crosscourt forehand return just wide. 15/0. Safina on the third stroke dumped a backhand into the net. 15/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner deep in the corner. 30/15. Safina hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: on the sideline. 40/15. Safina played a good spreading rally, working Dementieva from sideline to sideline; Safina came to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner into the open court.

Chris Bradnam: "She's looking composed again."

Dementieva serving 4-2: A long, draining baseline-rally ended with Dementieva hitting a forehand winner down the line. 15/0. A hard, low-bouncing ball from Safina forced Dementieva to crack a backhand just long. 15/15. Dementieva came to the net, but her approach was too weak, and Safina whipped a well-disguised crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/30. Dementieva netted a forehand. 15/40 (BP). Dementieva's depth forced Safina to bunt a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Dementieva forehand long.

Dementieva has an interesting two-tone grunt, but it's not as nice as those of Monica Seles and Lucie Šafářová: their grunts are higher-pitched on the second tone, while Dementieva's is lower-pitched on the second tone.

Safina serving 3-4: A netcord gave Safina the initiative in a very long rally, but she couldn't capitalise; a Safina-moonball gave Dementieva the initiative, and Safina chopped a backhand wide. 0/15. Dementieva mishit a backhand return long. 15/15. Safina netted an unforced backhand, and Dementieva quietly shouted "yes!" 15/30. Safina played an intriguing rally with great depth, and a crosscourt forehand on the baseline induced Dementieva to stop the rally and make an incorrect Hawk-Eye challenge. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP). Service-winner; Safina screamed "come on". 40/40. In a very long rally, Dementieva's depth gave her the initiative, but she was tentative, and ended up spraying a wild backhand wide. Ad Safina. Safina hit a hard backhand followed by a netted backhand dropshot from the baseline. Safina threw her racket up as high as she could and caught it. Deuce #2. Double fault (incorrect Hawk-Eye challenge + second serve long). Ad Dementieva (BP #2). Safina spread Dementieva with a hard backhand down the line + crosscourt backhand, but dumped a backhand in the net, and looked close to tears.

We've seen three ill-advised (and poorly executed) dropshots from Safina this set. It's a sign of tiredness that she's trying to take shortcuts out of these long rallies.

Chris Bradnam: "She's not got much left."

Dementieva serving 5-3: Safina netted a backhand, and fought back tears. 15/0. Dementieva netted a forehand. 15/15. Dementieva pounced on a deep, high-bouncing ball from Safina with a thunderous forehand winner down Safina's forehand-sideline. 30/15. Safina's deep, hard, low-bouncing forehand down the line forced Dementieva to mishit a forehand lob long. 30/30. Deep first serve: forehand return long. 40/30 (Gold-medal point). First serve on the service-line + sharp forehand winner down Safina's forehand-sideline. Dementieva won the Gold Medal 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Chris Bradnam: "Miss Resilient comes good in Beijing."

Dementieva sank to her knees, held out her hands and looked overjoyed. Dementieva and Safina hugged at the net, then Dementieva celebrated with two loud screams, sat down on her chair and looked very emotional. Safina looked devastated.

---------------------------------
5. Women's Doubles: Final-results (Sunday 17th August)
---------------------------------

Bronze-medal match (China Girl):
+ (YAN,ZI [s]/ZHENG,JIE)[8] d. (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[6], 6-2 6-2

Gold-medal match (the Williams/Williams Medal):
- (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[4] lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[2], 2-6 0-6


Podium
------
GOLD: Serena Williams/Venus Williams (USA)
SILVER: Anabel Medina Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual (Spain)
BRONZE: Yan,Zi/Zheng,Jie (China)

----------------------
6. Goodbye from Andrew
----------------------

That's it from me until the Australian Open 2009, in terms of reports on current tournaments. I still have to go back and finish my Birmingham eyewitness reports and photos (click here for my thread (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352747)), and do my Eastbourne eyewitness reports and photos (click here for the forum in which I plan to create my thread in about 7 weeks' time (http://www.tennisforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1107)).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)