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View Full Version : Birmingham 2010: Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (final added 23rd July 2010)


andrewbroad
Jun 17th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 1)

Master-thread for my Birmingham 2010 reports & photos:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=411748

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1. Photos (Wednesday 9th June 2010)
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Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Wednesday's photos are in two volumes (all photos of Maria are in Part 2), while I took photos of posters of Maria in Monday Part 3.


Wednesday Part 2 (Photos 189 to 330)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/11725858-072

Maria Sharapova (72 photos)
Karolina Šprem (20)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (17)
Anna Chakvetadze (15)
Kristina Barrois (13)
Laura Robson (8)
Sally Peers (7)
Angelique Kerber (3)
Sara Errani (2)
Andrea Petković (2)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (1)


Monday Part 3 (Photos 310 to 501)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/11710651-fa8

Maria Sharapova posters (2 photos)
Sandra Záhlavová (31)
Sesil Karatantcheva (31)
Naomi Broady (26)
Katie O'Brien (24)
Yanina Wickmayer (21)
Anna Chakvetadze (15)
Stefanie Vögele (9)
Magdaléna Rybáriková (7)
Angelique Kerber (7)
Michaëlla Krajíček (5)
Alison Riske (5)
Shenay Perry (5)
Karolina Šprem (2)
Alicia Molik (2)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (1)
Maria Kirilenko poster (1)
Aravane Rezaď poster (1)
Sania Mirza poster (1)
Elena Baltacha poster (1)
Anne Keothavong poster (1)

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2. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 1: Wednesday 9th June 2010)
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* MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] v Bethanie Mattek-Sands, *4-0 (40/30) suspended

Rain on Tuesday had left Centre Court in an unfit state, and by the time the groundstaff had made it ready to play, only 25 minutes of play were possible before it was rained off for the day. And 10 of those 25 minutes consisted of Mattek-Sands seeing the trainer to get her right thigh strapped, followed by an argument over whether the court had become too slippery to play on.

I must admit that the way the tournament-organisers protected Centre Court from the rain this year was a shambles: they waited until the rain was too heavy before suspending play on Monday and Wednesday (the more rain gets on the grass, the longer it takes to dry), and the covers don't even cover the whole court after Centre Court was expanded this year. I just hope that this year's problems don't put Maria off coming back here in future years!

Overall, Maria looked close to her blistering best in this match. On Wednesday, she made a solid start, hitting an ace down the middle as she held to 15. She then broke to 15 as Mattek-Sands made an erratic start: *2-0. Mattek-Sands hit two winners to put Maria 15/30 down, but Maria recovered and held to 30. She then hit an off-backhand return-winner and a crosscourt backhand winner as she broke to 30 for *4-0, and with the rain quickly becoming torrential, play was suspended for the day at 40/30.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jun 19th, 2010, 01:10 AM
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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 2)
3. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Kudryavtseva
4. More Birmingham reports coming in July!

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1. Photos (Thursday 10th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Thursday's photos are in three volumes (Maria appears in Parts 2 and 3).


Thursday Part 2 (Photos 153 to 263)
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Due to my DivShare account exceeding its download-limit, my photos will not be available to download until Thursday 24th June 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

http://www.divshare.com/download/11744744-f87

Maria Sharapova (37 photos)
Sania Mirza-Malik (51)
Aravane Rezaď (11)
Karolina Šprem (6)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (5)
Marina Eraković (2)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (2)
Mirjana Lučić (1)

It was so strange to see Maria on Court 1 (Centre Court was unplayable for the whole day) – probably the humblest surroundings she's played in since 2003. Photo 227 is my favourite of the day.


Thursday Part 3 (Photos 264 to 431)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/11745260-4d6

Maria Sharapova (8 photos)
Magdaléna Rybáriková (82)
Aravane Rezaď (30)
Sesil Karatantcheva (25)
Anna Chakvetadze (21)
Mirjana Lučić (13)
Alison Riske (6)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (3)
Angelique Kerber (2)
Li,Na (2)
Alla Kudryavtseva (2)
Yanina Wickmayer (1)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (1)

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2. Second-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Mattek-Sands (Part 2: Thursday 10th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-0 6-3

The match was scheduled to resume second on Centre Court on Thursday, with Maria leading *4-0 (40/30) overnight, but Wednesday's rain and Thursday's cold, windy conditions made Centre Court unplayable all day. They had to resume the match on Court 1 – probably the humblest surroundings that Maria has played in since 2003!

Maria closed out the suspended game amusingly quickly with a service-winner to hold for 5-0*. She hit two forehand winners en route to her first set-point at 40/30*, then saved two game-points before setting up her second set-point with an off-backhand return-winner, and taking the first set 6-0.

Maria kept Mattek-Sands's face red with four backhand winners and some great serving en route to 6-0 3-0*, but Mattek-Sands avoided the double bagel by holding to 30 with a successful serve and volley, then broke back for 2-3* with a lob-winner over Maria's head and three deep returns that forced Maria to make forehand errors.

Maria reinstated her break immediately with a forehand pass-winner and a forehand return-winner. She faced another break-back point at 6-0 *4-2 (30/40), but responded with a service-winner out wide, an ace down the middle, and a forehand punch-volley winner.

Maria, running backwards, hit a tremendous backhand smash-winner to set up her first match-point at 6-0 6-2 (40/30*). She wasted it by missing a second-serve return, then Mattek-Sands hit two service-winners for 3-5*, but Maria served it out to love with a crosscourt forehand winner, a service-winner, an off-forehand pass-winner, and an ace out wide.

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

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3. Third-round eyewitness report: Sharapova v Kudryavtseva (Thursday 10th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-1

This was a rematch of Maria's Wimbledon 2008 second round, where she suffered a shocking 6-2 6-4 loss to Kudryavtseva, who then had the temerity to tell the press that she didn't like Maria's outfit.

Early on, it looked as though history might repeat itself, as Maria trailed *1-3 (15/40), but after saving 3 BPs in that game, she recovered to win 11 of the next 12 games to take her revenge in emphatic fashion.

I missed all but the last game of this match, as I was watching defending champion Magdaléna Rybáriková play a three-setter against Sesil Karatantcheva out on Court 3 (from where I could keep an eye on Maria whilst concentrating on Magda).

As soon as Magda had lost and left the court, I went straight over to Court 1, where Maria was playing for the second time in the day and leading 6-3 5-1*. She completed her victory by breaking to 15, courtesy of an off-forehand return-winner just inside the sideline, and three unforced errors from Kudryavtseva.

My full report – with point-by-point scores and a description of every point in the last game – is on my new website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

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4. More Birmingham reports coming in July!
------------------------------------------

I don't have time to complete any more Birmingham reports this side of Wimbledon, as I now have to go and write my Wimbledon preview, and be utterly dedicated to the most important fortnight of the year!

I am therefore planning to write my remaining Birmingham 2010 reports in the first three weekends after Wimbledon:
* Quarter-finals (ETA 12th July 2010)
* Semi-finals (ETA 19th July 2010)
* Final (ETA 26th July 2010)

The above dates are extremely pessimistic estimates, which I should be able to improve on if I'm not too busy in July.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jul 12th, 2010, 03:04 AM
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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Karatantcheva

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1. Photos (Friday 11th June 2010)
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Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

N.B. At the time I posted this, my DivShare account was 95% up to its monthly download-limit. Once this limit is exceeded, my photos will not be available to download until Saturday 24th July 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

Friday's photos:
http://www.divshare.com/download/11970237-704

Maria Sharapova (51 photos)
Aravane Rezaď (48)
Sesil Karatantcheva (27)
Yanina Wickmayer (24)
Sara Errani (23)
Marina Eraković (19)
Alison Riske (19)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (8)
Laura Robson (3)
Olga Govortsova (3)
Heather Watson (3)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (2)
Cara Black (2)
Lisa Raymond (2)
Chuang,Chia-Jung (2)

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2. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Karatantcheva (Friday 11th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 6-2 6-4

Maria made a blistering start as she broke in the very first game. Karatantcheva played one strong service-game for 1-2*, but Maria broke again for *4-1 with an off-forehand return-winner off a first serve, and a down-the-line backhand winner.

And then Maria completely stopped grunting at *4-1 (30/0)! She held to 30 by running down a dropshot to hit a backhand winner down the line, but it was the first sign that Maria might have been ill – with one of the symptoms being a sore throat! ;)

A bad call at 5-1* (30/30) robbed Maria of a winning forehand return – the umpire overruled it, but ordered them to replay the point: Karatantcheva served an ace, and then held for 2-5*. Maria served out the first set to 30, finishing with an ace out wide followed by a service-winner: 6-2.

Karatantcheva opened the second set with a hold to love, and it looked like Maria was about to do likewise at *0-1 (40/0), but two deep, error-forcing returns and a double fault pegged her back to Deuce. Maria hit two excellent second serves – an ace out wide and a service-winner – to hold for 1-1*.

Maria broke for 6-2 *2-1, courtesy of some error-forcing depth and, at 40/30*, a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline to finish the longest rally of the match.

Maria held for 6-2 3-1* with an excellent love service-game: a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner right in the corner, two aces, and a down-the-line forehand winner. Karatantcheva held for 2-3* with a backhand winner down the line, and Maria for 4-2* after dispatching a short ball with an off-forehand winner.

Karatantcheva held to 30 for 2-6 3-4* – despite Maria forcing two floaters and dispatching them with forehand drive-volley winners. Maria held for 5-3* with four winners: a crosscourt backhand, an ace down the middle, a pinpoint forehand down the line, and another crosscourt backhand. Karatantcheva held to 30, dragging Maria outside the tramlines to give herself an easy crosscourt forehand winner.

Karatantcheva then put up good resistance as Maria served for the match at 6-2 *5-4: a combination of Karatantcheva's depth and Maria making errors on the third stroke of two points gave Karatantcheva three nonconsecutive BPs. Maria saved the first with an ace out wide, the second with a dropshot + passing-shot combination, and the third with a deep, error-forcing forehand after a long rally. Two more forced errors sealed Maria's victory.

Maria said: "It was definitely good to get back out there. I haven't played her in a while – she's having a good career, and playing some good tennis this year."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jul 18th, 2010, 06:41 PM
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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Riske
3. Forthcoming reports

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1. Photos (Saturday 12th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Saturday's photos are in two volumes. All the Maria photos are in Part 1.


Saturday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 137)
---------------

Due to my DivShare account exceeding its download-limit, my photos will not be available to download until Saturday 24th July 2010 – although if you sign up for a (free) DivShare account, it should let you download them immediately.

http://www.divshare.com/download/12033527-e61

Maria Sharapova (63 photos)
Aravane Rezaď (42)
Alison Riske (34)
Li,Na (25)
Michael Joyce (4)
Sarah Riske (3)
Yaroslava Shvedova (1)
Vania King (1)
Alla Kudryavtseva (1)

Photo 035 is a contender for the greatest photo I've ever taken. In a striking example of false perspective, Maria Sharapova had just hit a serve in my direction, and the ball was aligned with her body but much closer to the camera than she was, making it look as though she was, quite literally, seeing the ball the size of a football!

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2. Semi-final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Riske (Saturday 12th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] d. Alison Riske [Q], 6-2 4-6 6-1

Maria was given a run for her money by the world #185, whose big serving, net-rushing and excellent retrieval had seen off former #5 Anna Chakvetadze and current #16 Yanina Wickmayer in the previous two rounds – both those upsets had seen Riske drop the first set but take the second, as she did again against Maria, but Maria showed once again her Major champion's ability to step up a gear in the third set.

Maria served particularly well in this match: 12 aces, only one double fault, and she hit her fastest-ever serve: 121 mph! :worship:

Maria started the match with a down-the-line forehand winner and an easy hold to 15, but Riske showed great serving to hold to love: *1-1. Maria held to 30 with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner and an ace down the middle: 2-1*.

Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line followed by an error-forcing off-forehand return to put Riske in a *1-2 (0/30) hole, and broke to 15 courtesy of a double fault and an unforced backhand error: *3-1.

The next three games went comfortably with serve, Maria hitting two consecutive aces down the middle from *4-2 (30/15). Riske at *2-5 had 30/15 and the initiative in the rally, but sprayed a backhand long; Maria's deep, error-forcing forehand return gave her SP at 40/30*, and Riske netted a forehand to give Maria the first set 6-2.

Maria opened the second set with a hold to love – sealed with an ace out wide. Riske, serving much better than in the first set, held to 30. Maria held to love for 2-1* with two consecutive aces, but as in her previous match, she stopped grunting.

The quality of the tennis rose at 6-2 2-1*: with both girls forcing floaters from each other, Maria hit a high off-forehand winner and a crosscourt backhand winner, but Riske held to 30 with some strong serving and a forehand punch-volley winner: 2-2*. Maria was broken to 15 with a double fault and three errors (two forced): 6-2 2-3*.

Maria won the rally of the match with a crosscourt backhand winner after an amazing get from Riske outside the tramlines as Maria pegged Riske back from 40/15 to Deuce, but a forehand volley-winner gave Riske another GP, which she converted when Maria hit a wild backhand very long: 6-2 *2-4.

Maria held to love with an ace down the middle and two excellent second serves, the second of which set up an off-forehand winner: 6-2 3-4*. Riske held to love with a dropshot + pass-winner combination after Maria had missed three makeable returns: 6-2 *3-5. Maria held to 15 with two service-winners and two aces: 6-2 4-5*.

Maria couldn't stop Riske serving out the second set, despite leading 15/0*, 30/15* (after hitting a crosscourt forehand pass-winner) and 40/30*. Riske saved that BP after good retrieval helped her to win a nailbiting rally, and then Maria netted two groundstrokes – one unforced, one forced – to drop the second set 4-6.

Maria made a strong start to the third set, holding to 15 with her tenth ace, a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner, and two service-winners. She then broke to 15 with two off-forehand winners and a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 1:1 *2-0.

Maria held to 15 with a pinpoint forehand winner down the line for 3-0*, then Riske held to 30 – after Maria's crosscourt forehand winner at 3-0* (15/15) was controversially called wide. 1:1 *3-1.

Maria held to 15 with an off-forehand winner and her eleventh ace, and showed that she had the measure of Riske's net-rushing with a dipping backhand pass down the line at 4-1* (15/0*). Maria broke to 15 with two crosscourt forehand winners, and then served out the match in style: starting with a running backhand winner down the line, and converting her first MP at 1:1 *5-1 (40/15) with her twelfth ace! :worship:

Maria's on-court interview: "She played so many matches, and played so well. I'd never seen her play. She definitely has a great grass-court game. My fastest serve was 120 miles per hour – I'm not sure if that's correct! I've been coming [to Birmingham] for seven years: I love the atmosphere, the warm support."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

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3. Forthcoming reports
----------------------

I'll post my report and photos of the Birmingham final no later than Monday 26th July, and try to bring them forward to Saturday 24th July if possible, as that is when my DivShare account's download-limit will be reset.

My first French Open extended TV-report (1r: Maria Sharapova v Ksenia Pervak) has suffered a delay, as my TV just died (thank God it waited until after Wimbledon!), and I can't start this report until I get a new TV. So I'm giving myself a week's extension for this report (tentatively changing the ETA to 26th July for now), and will try to get back on the schedule detailed in my last Wimbledon report (http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=18115192) once I have my new TV.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jul 23rd, 2010, 04:19 PM
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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Li

---------
1. Photos (Saturday 12th June 2010)
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright Andrew Broad 2010".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don't have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Sunday's photos:
http://www.divshare.com/download/12077963-61e

Maria Sharapova (82 photos)
Li,Na (69)
Cara Black (25)
Lisa Raymond (18)
Liezel Huber (11)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (9)
Michael Joyce (1)

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2. Final eyewitness report: Sharapova v Li (Sunday 13th June 2010)
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- MARIA SHARAPOVA [2,EF] lt. LI,NA [1], 5-7 1-6

There had been signs earlier in the week that Maria may have been coming down with something: she had stopped grunting in both her quarter-final and her semi-final, and she stopped again at 5-5* in the final.

While I haven't found anything to verify that Maria was actually ill, she certainly ran out of gas after losing a tough first set in which she had led 3-1*. She won only 7 points in the second set, in which, astonishingly, all the games were won to either love or 15. :eek:

Credit to Li, though: she was ranked #11 at the time of this tournament, and played even better than that. She's so solid off the ground now, having matured from the go-for-broke player that she was in 2006 (when Maria beat her three times, each for the loss of 6 games).

Maria made a spectacular start to the final, hitting pinpoint forehand and backhand winners down the line, followed by a crosscourt backhand winner to set up BP at 0-0* (40/0*). That was the only BP that she would have in the whole match, and she converted it when Li hit a forehand long: *1-0.

Maria went 0/30 down after a double fault and a Li crosscourt forehand winner, and with both players forcing each other into errors from the baseline, Maria faced a break-back point at 30/40. But she saved it with a service-winner, and consolidated her break with an error-forcing forehand drive-volley: 2-0*.

Li eliminated the possibility of a double bagel by holding to love, with a crosscourt backhand winner to reach 40/0. Maria missed a second-serve return without grunting: *2-1.

Maria faced three more break-back points at *2-1. A double fault and a forehand return-winner put her 30/40 down, which she saved with a deep, error-forcing backhand down the line. She saved two more BPs with service-winners, then hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line to reach GP, which she converted with a low-bouncing, error-forcing crosscourt forehand: 3-1*.

Li held to 15 with a crosscourt backhand winner, a crosscourt forehand winner and a couple of service-winners – including a second serve that was a virtual ace!

Maria blew a *3-2 (30/0) lead with an unforced backhand error and a double fault; Li's off-forehand winner made it 30/40. Maria went to the net, but Li's dipping crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand: 3-3*.

Li held to 15 with an ace down the middle, and two deep, error-forcing forehands onto the baseline: 4-3*.

Li hit a crosscourt forehand winner and a down-the-line backhand winner to put Maria *3-4 (0/30) down, but Maria recovered with a crosscourt forehand virtual winner, a service-winner, and an actual crosscourt forehand winner: 4-4*.

Li held to love as Maria made four errors – three forced, one not.

Serving to stay in the first set at *4-5, Maria faced little resistance from Li as she held to 15 with an error-forcing forehand down the line and a service-winner: 5-5*.

Maria's grunting was conspicuous by its absence as she went to the net and hit a backhand drive-volley, allowing Li to hit a down-the-line forehand pass-winner to reach *5-5 (30/0). Li made two unforced errors, but a long, meaty baseline-rally at 30/30 ended with Li hitting an error-forcing off-forehand, and she converted 40/30 with a down-the-line backhand winner: 6-5*.

Serving to stay in the first set a second time at *5-6, Maria opened with a double fault, and Li reached 40/15* (SP×2) with an off-forehand winner. Maria saved the first SP with a down-the-line forehand winner, and Li was robbed of the second when her crosscourt backhand return was wrongly called wide. Maria then had two GPs, but wasted the first with a double fault, and the second with an unforced backhand error. Li's deep, error-forcing crosscourt backhand gave her a third SP, which she converted when Maria netted a backhand on the third stroke: 5-7.

Li opened the second set by holding to love with a down-the-line forehand winner, an ace out wide and a service-winner: 7-5 1-0*. Maria held to 15 with an ace down the middle, a crosscourt forehand winner and two service-winners: 5-7 1-1*.

Li held to 15 with a crosscourt backhand winner, a down-the-line backhand winner and a service-winner, as Maria failed to make good returns: 7-5 2-1*.

Maria made three forehand errors (two unforced) to go down 5-7 *1-2 (15/40), and Li converted that BP with a crosscourt forehand winner: 7-5 *3-1. Li held to love courtesy of an ace out wide, two service-winners and a missed second-serve return: 7-5 4-1*.

Maria hit a brave, error-forcing second serve on the centre-line for 5-7 *1-4 (15/0), but that was the last point she would win, as she followed it up with her seventh double fault, then two deep, error-forcing returns brought up BP at 5-7 *1-4 (15/40), which Li converted with a crosscourt backhand pass-winner off Maria's weak forehand dropshot: 7-5 *5-1.

Li served out the championship to love with a crosscourt backhand winner, a missed second-serve return, error-forcing depth to set up CP at 7-5 *5-1 (40/0); Maria netted a forehand first-serve return to hand over Magdaléna Rybáriková's Birmingham title to the player who beat Maria in last year's semi-finals and was then beaten by Magda in the final. :hearts:

Li classlessly claimed that she had forgotten she had another match to play after beating Maria in their 2009 semi-final, and said that if there were another match after the 2010 final, she'd probably lose that too. :rolleyes:

Maria was gracious in defeat, and didn't make any excuses:

"I came here to play as many matches as I could on grass. I would have loved to win, but she was the better player today, and she did many things better than me. She returned great. I put her under no pressure whatsoever on her serve.

"Even though the first set was close, I was in trouble from early on, and I gave her too many looks at second serves. I had my opportunities – a few points here and there could have made a difference.

"The goal was to get as many matches as I did; I've played opponents with different types of game. It's always nice to win a tournament, but it doesn't always happen."

My full report – with a description of every point – is on my website:
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/birmingham2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. Replacing my dead TV is taking longer than expected, so I'm giving myself another week's extension on my first French Open 2010 extended TV report (1r: Maria Sharapova v Ksenia Pervak): the ETA is now 2nd August 2010.