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View Full Version : Birmingham 2008: Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (third round added)


andrewbroad
Aug 23rd, 2008, 11:45 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. My photos
2. Practice: VaidiöovŠ v KrajŪček
3. Second round: KrajŪček v Poutchek

Master-reports for Birmingham 2008:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352747

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

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos in one big zip-file for each day:
Monday: http://www.divshare.com/download/5131504-de1 (4 of MichaŽlla)
Tuesday: http://www.divshare.com/download/5229165-ae6 (22 of MichaŽlla)
Wednesday: http://www.divshare.com/download/5232315-595 (7 of MichaŽlla)

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2. Practice: VaidiöovŠ v KrajŪček (Monday 9th June)
---------------------------------

After watching a match on an outside-court, I went to the practice-courts thinking how nice it would be to see Nicole VaidiöovŠ there: my favourite player at Birmingham 2008.

So when Nicole was the first player I spotted as I approached the practice-courts, I couldn't believe it was her at first! I thought perhaps I was just seeing what I wanted to see, and she looked so small... but that was just because she was so far away until I got there.

Nicole was hitting with another blonde girl on the nearest practice-court, so I immediately sat down by Nicole's end of the court, whipped out my camera and started taking photos.

Nicole was with her new coach David Felgate, and while she looked pretty much the same as in 2007, her grunt was now a low bellow like Daniela HantuchovŠ's.

This went on for about five minutes, then Nicole went to the net and shook hands with the other girl: it was only then that I realised she was MichaŽlla KrajŪček, and that they must have been playing a practice-set (previous clues being MichaŽlla throwing her racket, and the fact that Nicole was grunting).

Nicole had lost 6 matches in a row going into Birmingham, and MichaŽlla was in an even worse slump, having lost 12 matches in a row dating back to October 2007. Later in the week, I would have the very great pleasures of watching them both snap their losing-streaks - I guess this practice-match must have done them both good!

I took some more photos of Nicole and MichaŽlla as they packed up; Nicole signed some autographs as she left the practice-court and strode off towards the players' enclosure.

------------------------------------
3. Second round: KrajŪček v Poutchek (Tuesday 10th June)
------------------------------------

+ MICHAňLLA KRAJÕČEK [8,DF] d. Tatiana Poutchek [Q], 6-2 6-1

MichaŽlla came into this tournament on a 12-match losing-streak stretching back to October 2007, so I went into this match expecting it to continue, and wondering what she was doing wrong.

Well, MichaŽlla hardly did anything wrong in this match, and it was hard to believe she was on such a losing-streak, as she looked just as impressive as she did at Wimbledon 2007, when she reached the quarter-finals and made a demi-fan of me!

Grass is MichaŽlla's best surface, as she has a big serve, and flat groundstrokes of flairsome power. She won 's-Hertogenbosch in 2006, and I thought that might be the tournament to snap her losing-streak this year. But she did it one week earlier, much to my delight.

Admittedly Poutchek was a weak opponent, and it would be interesting to see what problems surfaced for MichaŽlla against tougher opposition, but MichaŽlla definitely won the match with very impressive tennis.


First set
---------
KRAJÕČEK _?@* *@* 6
POUTCHEK ?___*___ 2

The match was on Centre Court, and started around 15:30 BST. I missed the first three games of the match because I had chosen to stay on Court 1 for the end of Lisicki v Stosur.

Poutchek serving 1-1: MichaŽlla broke Poutchek as I waited to come onto court at the changeover.

MichaŽlla serving 2-1: A long rally ended with Poutchek hitting a forehand wide. 15/0. Poutchek hit a pinpoint sliced backhand down the line, forcing MichaŽlla to hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. MichaŽlla forehand wide. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner. I realise that the point-descriptions don't agree with the scores in that game, but without a video or a Pensieve, I am unable to pinpoint my mistake.

Poutchek serving 1-3: MichaŽlla sliced backhand long. 15/0. Poutchek's depth forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand lob long. 30/0. Poutchek hit a crosscourt forehand winner off a weak bunted crosscourt forehand from MichaŽlla. 40/0. Poutchek forehand dropshot-winner.

MichaŽlla serving 3-2: Ace down the middle. 15/0. A long rally ended with Poutchek netting a forehand. 30/0. Poutchek hit a backhand long, and muttered as is her wont. 40/0. MichaŽlla netted a forehand. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner back behind Poutchek.

Poutchek serving 2-4: MichaŽlla hit an error-forcing high forehand volley. 0/15. Poutchek netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/30. Poutchek hit an off-backhand wide on the third stroke. 0/40. Poutchek netted a backhand on the third stroke.

MichaŽlla serving 5-2: MichaŽlla forehand smash-winner. 15/0. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Poutchek to hit a forehand lob long. 30/0. Poutchek hit a backhand wide, and smacked the court with her racket. 40/0 (SP #1). MichaŽlla on the third stroke hit a forehand wide. 40/15 (SP #2). A good serve forced a short return, which MichaŽlla dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner.


Second set
----------
KRAJÕČEK _*@*@*@ 6
POUTCHEK *______ 1

Poutchek serving 0-0: MichaŽlla ran down a dropshot but hit a forehand long. 15/0. With the wind rising, Poutchek hit a forehand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Poutchek hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, but MichaŽlla was right there - I think she left it. 30/30. MichaŽlla hit a forehand long, and reacted with a cute "ai". 40/30. MichaŽlla forehand long.

MichaŽlla serving 0-1: Ace out wide + "c'mon". 15/0. MichaŽlla netted a sliced backhand. 15/15. Poutchek netted a forehand return. 30/15. Poutchek forced MichaŽlla to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner + "c'mon". 40/30. Poutchek hit a backhand wide, swore loudly and threw her racket.

Poutchek serving 1-1: MichaŽlla netted a forehand return. 15/0. Poutchek caught the outside edge of the sideline with an off-backhand winner. 30/0. MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline - my favourite shot of hers. 30/15. Poutchek netted a forehand. 30/30. Poutchek dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 30/40 (BP). A low bounce forced MichaŽlla to net a forehand. 40/40. MichaŽlla hit a backhand winner down Poutchek's backhand-sideline. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #2). Poutchek spread MichaŽlla, forcing her to net a backhand on the run. Deuce #2. MichaŽlla's deep return forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). Poutchek backhand wide.

MichaŽlla serving 2-1: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. MichaŽlla forced a defensive lob from Poutchek, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Forehand return long. 40/0. MichaŽlla forced a short return, but netted a forehand. 40/15. MichaŽlla ran down a dropshot, and her own dropshot forced Poutchek to net a backhand pass.

Poutchek serving 1-3: A low-bouncing serve forced MichaŽlla to net a forehand return. 15/0. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla at the net and Poutchek hitting a backhand pass wide. 15/15. Poutchek netted a backhand. 15/30. MichaŽlla hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. 15/40 (BP). Forehand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). Backhand return long. 40/40. A long rally ended with Poutchek netting a forehand. Ad MichaŽlla (BP #3). Poutchek dumped a backhand halfway up the net to hand the double break to MichaŽlla.

MichaŽlla serving 4-1: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. MichaŽlla's deep forehand forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long; she muttered. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. MichaŽlla's deep forehand forced Poutchek to hit a forehand quarterway up the net. 40/15. MichaŽlla ran down a dropshot, and her short-angled crosscourt forehand died away on Poutchek for a virtual winner.

Poutchek serving 1-5: MichaŽlla hit a wild forehand wide. 15/0. A low bounce forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Serve out wide + error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/15. Double fault (second serve *very* long). 30/30. Poutchek forehand long. 30/40 (MP #1). MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt backhand + short crosscourt forehand, forcing Poutchek to hit a forehand wide. MichaŽlla won 6-2 6-1 to snap her losing-streak at 16:35 BST, and there was a big smile on her face as she waited to shake hands on her first win of 2008.


Article
-------

KrajŪček Wins First Match Of Season at Birmingham
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2328
>>>
Some struggled and some rose from the ashes on a mixed day for the seeds at the DFS Classic on Tuesday. The first round came to an end, and the second round kicked off at the Tier III grass-court tournament.

No.8 seed MichaŽlla KrajŪček beat qualifier Tatiana Poutchek 6-2 6-1, while No.15 seed Ekaterina Makarova outlasted Angelique Kerber 6-7(3) 7-5 7-5.

KrajŪček's win was her first of the 2008 WTA Tour season. She was 0:10 coming into Birmingham, but in just under an hour - and by winning 90% of first-serve points - she cruised to victory on a surface she is very comfortable on.

"Of course this is awesome," said KrajŪček, who was a quarter-finalist last year at Wimbledon, and has a grass-court title to her name. "I've had some tight matches over the last few months, where I was ahead but just couldn't close them out. I was also injured, which didn't help. But in today's match, I served great and focused really hard from start to finish, and everything went the way I wanted. Grass suits my game as well, so that helped."

That losing-streak has hurt the Dutch teenager's ranking: having dťbuted in the top 30 in February, she just dropped out of the top 50 this week. But a change in surface and the pay-off from her hard work gives her hope.

"I've been working really hard, and I think I'm back on track now," KrajŪček continued. "I thought it would pay off in Paris but it didn't, so I'm happy now. I'm just going to enjoy this today - it was really important for me."
<<<

It's sad to see that MichaŽlla hasn't played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon - due to a knee-injury - and is now languishing at #135 in the rankings, having been high enough to be seeded at Birmingham before her Wimbledon 2007 quarter-final points came off.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)

DutchieGirl
Aug 25th, 2008, 01:44 AM
135? After USO she's down to about 170. :p

Sander.
Aug 25th, 2008, 05:21 AM
:eek:

andrewbroad
Dec 26th, 2008, 11:30 PM
===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. My photos
2. Third round: KrajŪček v Wickmayer
3. Articles

Master-reports for Birmingham 2008:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=352747

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

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Thursday 12th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5241248-20f

Thursday's players:

Nicole VaidiöovŠ (45)
MichaŽlla KrajŪček (33)
groundstaff (24)
Ekaterina Makarova (23)
Alyona Bondarenko (19)
Marina Eraković (16)
Yanina Wickmayer (15)
Yaroslava Shvedova (8)
MC Vicki Stone (4)
Melanie South (1)

------------------------------------
2. Third round: KrajŪček v Wickmayer (Thursday 12th June)
------------------------------------

- MICHAňLLA KRAJÕČEK [8,DF] lt. Yanina Wickmayer, 3-6 4-6

MichaŽlla played much worse than she did in her second-round match - possibly hampered by an undisclosed injury for which she took an off-court medical time-out at 3-4* in the second set. She looked weak against eventual finalist Wickmayer, who played much better than Tatiana Poutchek had played against MichaŽlla. Wickmayer served very well, and frequently forced MichaŽlla into errors on MichaŽlla's defensive shots.

The match was scheduled first on Court 1, but was moved to Court 4 after rain delayed the start of play for five hours and they decided to spread the third-round matches out over all five match-courts. This was a shame, as Court 1 abuts a large, public terrace, which is great for a close-up view, whereas Court 4 can only be viewed from one corner, on level ground, and there were several spectators in front of me (including Mr. Bean).

You'll probably get a clearer view of the match by reading my point-descriptions than I did by watching it live and writing them!

Wickmayer won the toss and chose to serve, and the match started at 15:58 BST.


First set
---------
KRAJÕČEK _* *___*_ 3
WICKMAYE * * *@* * 6

Wickmayer serving 0-0: MichaŽlla backhand lob long. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 30/30. Wickmayer netted a backhand off a short return. 30/40. Serve + forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Wickmayer. MichaŽlla forehand long.

One break-point goes begging already.

MichaŽlla serving 0-1: Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 0/15. Ace out wide. 15/15. Wickmayer forehand long. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. MichaŽlla forehand just wide. 40/30. MichaŽlla backhand drop-volley winner.

Wickmayer serving 1-1: Wickmayer forehand wide. 0/15. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/30. MichaŽlla netted a backhand return. 15/30. MichaŽlla netted a backhand off an awkward low ball. 30/30. A long rally ended with Wickmayer hitting a forehand wide. 30/40. Wickmayer forehand volley-winner + fist-pump + "c'mon!" 40/40. MichaŽlla netted a backhand. Ad Wickmayer. MichaŽlla's backhand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side.

0/30 and another break-point wasted.

MichaŽlla serving 1-2: Wickmayer crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. MichaŽlla defensive one-handed backhand long. 15/30. Wickmayer forehand return wide. 30/30. MichaŽlla error. 30/40 (BP). Wickmayer off-backhand wide; MichaŽlla said a loud "c'mon". 40/40. Wickmayer netted a forehand return. Ad MichaŽlla. Wickmayer took the initiative with a deep return at MichaŽlla's feet, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #2. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad MichaŽlla. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand return wide.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 0/15. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand winner back behind MichaŽlla. 15/15. MichaŽlla long. 30/15. MichaŽlla lob long. 40/15. MichaŽlla hit a crosscourt forehand just wide, and didn't like the call.

MichaŽlla serving 2-3: A good serve forced a floater, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Double fault (second serve long). 30/15. MichaŽlla down-the-line forehand wide. 30/30. Wickmayer forced MichaŽlla to hit a forehand lob wide. 30/40. Wickmayer came to the net, forcing MichaŽlla to net a crosscourt forehand pass. First blood to Wickmayer.

Wickmayer serving 4-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a running forehand, and yelped. 15/15. MichaŽlla netted a forehand. 30/15. Wickmayer forehand long. 30/30. MichaŽlla on the run hit a forehand just long, and again looked unhappy. 40/30. Wickmayer got the better of a rally featuring two lobs.

MichaŽlla serving 2-5: Two service-winners out wide. 30/0. Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Wickmayer backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. MichaŽlla came to the net and hit an off-forehand drop-volley winner. 40/30. Ace down the middle.

Wickmayer serving 5-3: Forehand return long. 15/0. Backhand return long. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner back behind MichaŽlla. 40/0. MichaŽlla backhand lob-return long. Wickmayer won the first set 6-3 at 16:38 (40 minutes).

MichaŽlla had one of the on-court coaching-sessions that were allowed at Birmingham 2008.


Second set
----------
KRAJÕČEK _@__* * *_ 4
WICKMAYE @ @* * * * 6

MichaŽlla serving 0-0: MichaŽlla on the third stroke hit a forehand long. 0/15. Wickmayer's backhand down the line forced MichaŽlla to earth a forehand. 0/30. Wickmayer went for a crosscourt backhand return-winner - but it was just wide. 15/30. MichaŽlla netted a backhand. 15/40. MichaŽlla off-backhand volley-winner. 30/40. A long rally ended with MichaŽlla netting a backhand, prompting a loud yell of "°vamos!" from Wickmayer.

Wickmayer serving 1-0: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 0/15. MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/30. MichaŽlla crosscourt backhand winner. 15/40. Double fault (second serve long).

There was now a cold breeze, and a hint of raindrops.

MichaŽlla serving 1-1: MichaŽlla on the third stroke hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/15. MichaŽlla served & volleyed with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. MichaŽlla backhand long. 15/30. MichaŽlla tried to serve & volley again, but missed a forehand volley. 15/40. MichaŽlla reinstated Wickmayer's break with a wild forehand very long on the third stroke. MichaŽlla raised her racket as if to throw it.

Wickmayer serving 2-1: Wickmayer served & volleyed, forcing MichaŽlla to net a backhand pass on the fourth stroke. 15/0. A good serve forced a short return, which Wickmayer dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. MichaŽlla came to the net, forcing Wickmayer to net a backhand. 30/15. Big serve + forehand + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. MichaŽlla dumped a forehand return halfway up the net to give Wickmayer clear daylight in the scoreline.

MichaŽlla serving 1-3: MichaŽlla followed up a good serve with a deep crosscourt forehand, whose low bounce forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Wickmayer went for a big crosscourt forehand return, but put it wide. 40/0. MichaŽlla tried to serve & volley, but a dipping return at her feet forced her to hit a forehand volley wide. 40/15. Serve + off-backhand appeared to give MichaŽlla the initiative, but Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand forced MichaŽlla to earth a forehand. 40/30. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand long. MichaŽlla celebrated the hold with a loud "c'mon".

Wickmayer serving 3-2: Wickmayer played a spreading rally with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. MichaŽlla netted a forehand. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Wickmayer punished a weak return with a crosscourt forehand winner.

MichaŽlla serving 2-4: Double fault (second serve just long). There was a long pause from MichaŽlla. 0/15. MichaŽlla hit a big crosscourt forehand winner off a low ball from Wickmayer! 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. MichaŽlla held with a forehand smash-winner.

MichaŽlla played her best tennis in that game, but then got the trainer on. The evaluation-period entailed some stretching, and MichaŽlla lying on a towel behind the umpire's chair while Wickmayer hit some practice-serves. MichaŽlla then took an off-court medical time-out.

Wickmayer serving 4-3: Service-winner. 15/0. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Ace. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. Wickmayer backhand long. 40/30. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner.

MichaŽlla serving 3-5: MichaŽlla came to the net, but Wickmayer hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. MichaŽlla went for a big forehand winner down the line, but put it long; MichaŽlla screamed! 0/30. Wickmayer on the fourth stroke hit a crosscourt forehand long. 15/30. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline; MichaŽlla said "c'mon". 30/30. Wickmayer netted a forehand return. 40/30. Virtual ace out wide.

Wickmayer serving 5-4: Serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner on the sideline. 15/0. Wickmayer opened up the court, and hit a backhand winner down the line. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0 (MP #1). MichaŽlla earthed a forehand return. Wickmayer won 6-3 6-4 at 17:21 (second set 43m, match 1h23m).

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3. Articles
-----------

Wickmayer defeats KrajŪček at DFS Classic (AP)
>>>
Belgian 18-year-old Yanina Wickmayer earned her second straight victory over a seeded player, defeating No.8 MichaŽlla KrajŪček 6-3 6-4 on Thursday at the DFS Classic, to reach her first WTA Tour quarter-final.

Two weeks after playing in her first Grand Slam and drawing the praise of recently-retired compatriot Justine Henin, Wickmayer reached the last eight in only her fourth event on the main women's tour.
<<<

Down To Three Seeds as Quarter-final Line-Up Set
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2331
>>>
Three top-eight seeds remained after the second round, and now there are just two left after the third round, as MichaŽlla KrajŪček became the latest upset-victim at the DFS Classic on Thursday.

KrajŪček, the No.8 seed, who won her first match of the season on Wednesday, was ousted in straight sets on Thursday by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer: 6-3 6-4. Wickmayer now moves into her first career WTA Tour quarter-final.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad