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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 09:41 PM   #15
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Full quarter-final TV-report

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THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
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Quarter-final TV-report: Zvonarëva v Clijsters (Tuesday 29th June 2010)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] d. KIM CLIJSTERS [8], 3-6 6-4 6-2

Vera couldn't have picked a better time to beat Clijsters for her first-ever time in six meetings, as it sets up the mouth-watering semi-final with Tsvetana Pironkova for which I had been wishing ever since Ana Ivanović lost on Day 1. Vera has reached her second-ever Major semi-final (her first coming at the Australian Open 2009 from only her third-ever Major quarter-final.

BBC commentator John McEnroe said that Vera was as calm and emotionally stable as he'd ever seen her on a big occasion. Mark Petchey said that Vera had prevented Clijsters from playing well by serving well.

The match was hard-fought from the start, with Vera's pinpoint down-the-line backhand setting up BP at 0-0* (Ad). Clijsters did well to hold that game, and Vera's beautiful short-angled one-handed backhand punch-volley winner on the stretch at 30/40* deserves a special mention!

Vera saved BP×3 at *1-2 (0/40), and hit a backhand drop-volley winner to set up GP, which she converted to hold for 2-2*.

Vera at *2-3 hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner, an ace down the middle and a high off-forehand punch-volley winner as she held to 15 for 3-3*.

With Clijsters as tight as a drum and haemorrhaging unforced errors, Vera had another BP in a game of five deuces at 3-3*, but Clijsters hit two winners to reach GP. Vera then sprayed a wild crosscourt forehand way long and wide, and emitted a cute little squeal.

Vera reacted to the disappointment of the missed BP by throwing in a bad service-game at *3-4, with a double fault and two unforced errors as Clijsters settled down. Clijsters served out the first set to 30 at *5-3.

In the second set, Vera had BP at 1-0* (40/30*), but Clijsters recovered well to hold serve. This time, Vera put the disappointment behind her by holding to love in the next game, and then breaking for *3-1 as Clijsters's forehand broke down after she led 30/0.

Vera came through a tough service-game of two deuces to make it 3-6 4-1*. She held again for 5-2* after an off-forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline and an off-forehand smash-winner.

A very convincing hold to love by Clijsters forced Vera to serve for the set at *5-3; she was robbed by two dead-netcord winners from Clijsters - one at BP. However, Vera broke in the next game to take the second set 6-4, courtesy of two double faults by Clijsters - one at SP.

In the third set, Vera held to love for 1-0* (sealed with an off-forehand winner), and 2 BPs went begging in a game of four deuces (Clijsters saved them with an ace out wide and a one-two punch).

Vera went 1:1 *1-1 (0/30) down, but recovered with a high off-forehand punch-volley winner, a crosscourt forehand winner, and a forehand smash-winner, and secured a vital hold for 2-1*.

Vera used deep, error-forcing groundstrokes to break for 1:1 *3-1, and held to 15 for 4-1* as Clijsters made a series of cheap errors.

Vera's victory seemed in danger at *4-2 (15/30), and that was probably the key point of the match: Vera went to the net, got away with hitting her first volley straight back to Clijsters, and hit a down-the-line backhand volley-winner on her next stroke. Vera then hit a deep, error-forcing forehand followed by an ace down the middle to hold for 5-2*.

Clijsters opened her *2-5 service-game with a double fault, and Vera hit two error-forcing down-the-line drives (on backhand, one forehand) to set up MP×2 at 40/15*. A nailbiting rally, during which I thought my heart was going to explode, ended with Clijsters hitting an off-forehand winner to save the first MP, but she netted a forehand on the third stroke of the second MP.


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA _*_*_*___ 3
CLIJSTERS *_*_*_*@* 6

The match was first on Centre Court. Clijsters won the toss and elected to serve. There were ominous grey clouds in the sky - I think they're going to need to close the roof in the not-too-distant future! The match started at 13:09 BST.

Clijsters serving 0-0: Clijsters sprayed a forehand long, and already it has started raining. 0/15. Clijsters hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand to force a short one-handed backhand from Vera; Clijsters went to the net and hit a short forehand; Vera hit a delicate backhand lob, forcing Clijsters to retreat to the baseline while Vera went to the net, but Clijsters hit a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the line. BBC commentator John McEnroe: "Vera did the right thing here, but she doesn't have that same spring in her legs to track a shot like that down." 15/15. Second serve out wide: Vera netted a forehand return. 30/15. Vera sprayed a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera hit a deep backhand down the middle - just inside the baseline - forcing Clijsters to hit a backhand just wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera went to the net and hit a beautiful short-angled one-handed backhand punch-volley winner on the stretch. Deuce #1. First serve forced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters went for an off-forehand to the sideline, but it was just wide. Deuce #2. Vera's pinpoint backhand down the line forced Clijsters to net a running forehand. Ad Vera (BP #1). Clijsters picked off Vera's decent attempted forehand pass down the line with a crosscourt backhand punch-volley winner. Deuce #3. Vera on the fourth stroke hit a makeable backhand just wide. Ad Clijsters (GP #4). Deep first serve out wide induced Vera to hit a backhand return just long. Held.

Good resistance by Vera so far.

Vera serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Clijsters to bunt a backhand return long. 15/0. Vera's deep backhand down the middle forced Clijsters to net a backhand. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide induced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Clijsters serving 1-1: Clijsters earthed a backhand off a deep, low-bouncing crosscourt backhand from Vera. 0/15. Clijsters hit a deep crosscourt backhand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to net an early backhand. 15/15. Clijsters went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Second serve: Clijsters hit a stinging crosscourt forehand return just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to bunt a defensive down-the-line forehand that sat up nicely for Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. First serve: Clijsters's deep, body-jamming backhand return down the middle induced Vera to hit an off-forehand wide. 0/30. Clijsters ran down a poor dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide induced Clijsters to earth a mishit backhand return. 15/40 (BP #2). Clijsters on the fourth stroke unforcedly netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP #3). Clijsters netted a cheap forehand. Vera went to the net and hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Ad Vera (GP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Held.

Well recovered from 0/40! Unforced errors are creeping into Clijsters's game since then.

Clijsters serving 2-2: Clijsters hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Vera forehand long. First serve out wide into Vera's hitting-zone: she hit a backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. Clijsters hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. Vera used up a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it was in by about 15% of the breadth of the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera mishit a backhand long. Held.

The rain threatened to come at the end of the last game, but is holding off for now.

Vera serving 2-3: Clijsters went to the net, but her approach was too short: Vera hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Ace down the middle: just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, but mishit an off-forehand volley long, and emitted a cute little yell. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, forcing a floater, which she dispatched with a high off-forehand punch-volley winner. Held.

Clijsters serving 3-3: Clijsters hit a pinpoint off-backhand deep into the corner, forcing Vera to hit a short forehand down the line, which Clijsters dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Serve + deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Clijsters netted an off-forehand. 30/15. Clijsters on the third stroke dumped a backhand into the net. 30/30. Clijsters crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Clijsters on the third stroke netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Clijsters went to the net and hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #2). Vera's forehand return was called long, overruled as good by the umpire, and challenged by Clijsters: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 40% of the breadth of the baseline, so they replayed the point. Vera's deep backhand down the middle induced Clijsters to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #2. Vera hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #3. Clijsters sprayed a wild forehand about 10 feet long. Ad Clijsters (GP #4). Clijsters went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand: Vera hit a forehand pass long, and emitted a cute little squeal. Deuce #4. Clijsters netted a forehand. Ad Vera (BP #1). Clijsters hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. Deuce #5. Clijsters hit a deep backhand winner down the line: on the baseline. Ad Clijsters (GP #5). Vera forced a short floater, but sprayed a wild crosscourt forehand way long and wide, and emitted another cute little squeal. Held.

It's a real shame that Vera couldn't break there. Clijsters is as tight as a drum, haemorrhaging errors right now.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Vera dumped a forehand into the net. 0/15. Clijsters's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/30. Double fault (second serve long). Vera wasted a challenge. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt backhand forced Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Clijsters's short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand wide. Broken.

Now Clijsters has settled down, and Vera's the one making unnecessary errors.

Clijsters serving 5-3: Vera forehand just long. 0/15. Vera netted a backhand, and slapped her hip in frustration. 15/15. Vera retrieved well, but Clijsters forced a floater and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner onto the sideline. Vera wasted her last challenge, but at least it gave her a few extra seconds to recover. 30/15. Vera's deep forehand forced Clijsters to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to net a backhand. 40/30 (SP #1 for Clijsters). Body-jamming second serve induced Vera to hit an off-forehand return just wide. Clijsters won the first set 6-3 at 13:47 BST (37m).

John McEnroe: "Since her comeback, Clijsters is moving as well as before, and is mentally stronger. It's a heck of a combination!"


Second set
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ZVONARËVA *_*@*_*__@ 6
CLIJSTERS _*___*_*@_ 4

Vera serving 0-0: Clijsters backhand just long. 15/0. Virtual ace out wide. 30/0. Another great first serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forced Clijsters to earth a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera netted a makeable forehand. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera's backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Held.

Clijsters serving 0-1: Second serve: backhand return just long. 15/0. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand return forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 15/15. Clijsters's depth forced Vera to hit a forehand just long. 30/15. First serve forced a short return down the middle, but Clijsters slapped a wild off-forehand into the net. 30/30. Vera hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/40 (BP #1). Clijsters went to the net behind a deep off-forehand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand lob long. Deuce #1. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. Ad Clijsters (GP #1). First serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. Held.

That's three games now in which Vera has had BP but not broken. Last time, she played a bad service-game straight after.

Vera serving 1-1: Clijsters netted a backhand. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a backhand. Held.

Clijsters serving 1-2: Clijsters groaned when she thought her backhand was going long, but it landed on the baseline and she dominated the rest of the rally, her off-backhand inducing Vera to chop a defensive forehand long. The commentators discussed whether Clijsters should have lost the point because she groaned as if she'd missed. I say categorically not, because such a rule could easily be twisted into an anti-grunting rule, which is the last thing I want! 15/0. Clijsters hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to mishit an off-forehand halfway up the net and wide. 30/0. Vera's down-the-line backhand forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 30/15. Clijsters hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/30. Clijsters hit a forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Clijsters hit a forehand long. Broken.

Vera serving 3-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 15/0. Second serve: Clijsters dumped a cheap forehand return into the net. 30/0. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/15. Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 30/30. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 40/30 (GP #1). Clijsters went to the net and hit a deep crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner just inside the baseline. Deuce #1. Second serve: Clijsters hit a cheap crosscourt forehand return just wide. Ad Vera (GP #2). Vera went to the net behind an off-forehand; Clijsters hit a crosscourt backhand lob over Vera's left shoulder, forcing her to run back and hit a difficult high backhand volley that bounced very short and sat up nicely for Clijsters to take control with a deep off-forehand approach just inside the baseline + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner from below the height of the net. Deuce #2. First serve out wide + deep forehand down the line forced Clijsters to bunt an off-backhand lob wide. Ad Vera (GP #3). Vera's backhand dropshot forced Clijsters to net a forehand. Held.

John McEnroe: "Vera is really mixing things up nicely with Clijsters, and has found another gear. It's nice to see, in this big match, that she's taking it to her. She's playing within herself, testing Clijsters."
Lindsay Davenport: "The big concern I had, coming into this match, was if Vera was going to be able to hold onto her serve. Only been broken the one time, so really doing an excellent job managing her service-games."

Clijsters serving 1-4: Clijsters backhand just long. 0/15. Second serve: Vera's deep crosscourt backhand return induced Clijsters to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Virtual ace: short-angled first serve out wide, on the sideline. 15/30. Clijsters's deep forehand forced Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 30/30. Clijsters's deep backhand down the line forced Vera to net a running forehand. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to stretch wide and earth a forehand return. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: Vera played a great spreading rally, her deep down-the-line backhand forcing a floater that she dispatched with an off-forehand drive-volley winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Clijsters's deep off-forehand forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Deep first serve forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return just wide. 30/15. Vera went to the net, forced a short floater, let it bounce and hit an off-forehand smash-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Held.

Lindsay Davenport: "Vera's been able to keep her level up, even though Kim's has dropped so significantly. That's not easy to do; sometimes your level rises and falls in conjunction with your opponent."
John McEnroe: "Is it possible that she's taken Kim Clijsters by surprise? You can't assume that Vera's going to let it go after [losing] the first set. All of a sudden, she found this /calm/. This is as confident and as emotionally stable as I've seen her on a big occasion."

Clijsters serving 2-5 (new balls): Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 15/0. Clijsters forced a floater, and dispatched it with a high crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 30/0. Vera crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to earth a forehand. Held.

A very convincing game by Clijsters. Vera can't afford not to serve this out now...

Vera serving 5-3: Vera on the third stroke hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Clijsters's crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner (Vera's forehand was "not up"). 0/30. Vera forced a floater, let it bounce, and made no mistake with an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Clijsters's crosscourt backhand winner forced Vera to slide and do the splits. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera hit a short crosscourt forehand back behind Clijsters, inducing her to hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Clijsters's crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Broken.

Two netcords against Vera in that crucial game have put her really up against it now...

Clijsters serving 4-5: Clijsters hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Vera. 15/0. Clijsters hit the ball very aggressively, but sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 15/30. Vera's deep backhand induced Clijsters to spray an off-forehand wide. 15/40 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera hit a deep crosscourt forehand return onto the sideline, and wasted a challenge. 30/40 (SP #2 for Vera). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Vera won the second set 6-4 at 14:24 BST (second set 36m, match so far 1h14m).

Justice was done for Clijsters's two netcord-winners in the previous game, and better yet, Vera has the advantage of serving first in the third.

Lindsay Davenport: "Two loose forehands and two double faults. That's when you've got to buckle down: make Vera /earn/ the second set. A surprising game by Kim."
John McEnroe: "Just absolute proof that we're all out there as human beings, trying to deal with our inner demons and our nerves. It was unexpected, but it's happened before, and it will happen again to even the best players. I suppose the fact that she had the luxury of the first set under her belt, and had some margin for error, was part of the reason why you saw that really, really poor effort there. At the very least, when you're playing someone who has a history of doing the very thing that you just did there, melting down mentally, you have to force /them/ to beat /you/ at a game like that."


Third set
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ZVONARËVA *_*@*_*@ 6
CLIJSTERS _*___*__ 2

Vera serving 0-0: Second serve out wide: down-the-line forehand return wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle induced Clijsters to net a forehand. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with an off-forehand winner onto the baseline. Held.

Clijsters serving 0-1: Clijsters on the third stroke hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner. 30/15. Vera's deep forehand induced Clijsters to hit a backhand just long. 30/30. Clijsters went to the net, but Vera's awkward lob induced her to hit a high backhand volley long. 30/40 (BP #1). Body-jamming second serve induced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner back behind Vera. Deuce #1. Second serve out wide induced Vera to net a makeable forehand return. Ad Clijsters (GP #1). Vera hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, inducing Clijsters to net a forehand. John McEnroe: "The depth of Vera's groundstrokes have really got Kim on the defensive. She's not quite sure how to handle them." Deuce #2. Vera hit a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner. Ad Vera (BP #2). Ace #2: first serve out wide. Deuce #3. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long. Ad Clijsters (GP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #4. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to hit a backhand long. Held.

Two BPs go begging, just as two MPs go begging for Tsvetana Pironkova at 6-2 5-2* on Court One.

Vera serving 1-1: Vera on the third stroke hit a forehand just long, and wasted a challenge: Hawk-Eye showed that it was long by about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. 0/15. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/30. Vera forced a floater, went to the net and hit a high off-forehand punch-volley winner. 15/30. Serve forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Big first serve down the middle forced a floater; Vera's off-forehand drive-volley forced another floater, which she dispatched with an easy forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke dumped a forehand into the net, and sank to her haunches. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. Ad Vera (GP #2). Vera's crosscourt backhand to the sideline induced Clijsters to dump a backhand into the net. Held.

A vital hold for Vera after wasting two BPs in the previous game.

Lindsay Davenport: "Kim described Vera as a defensive player in her interview yesterday. Zvonarëva's been the opposite today, and that's why she's been successful. She's willing to come in. She's willing to go for her shots more than in the past."
Mark Petchey: "She stepped up to the line and played some of her finest tennis."
John McEnroe: "I've always thought that players should play some doubles to help their confidence at the net, and their /willingness/ to move forward. Vera Zvonarëva has had success in doubles, including the US Open win [Vera won the US Open 2004 Mixed Doubles and US Open 2006 Women's Doubles]. She has really shown some mental fortitude in her belief and willingness, and her technique is very excellent. I can only recall one mistake at net the entire match."

Clijsters serving 1-2: Clijsters hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Vera's deep, body-jamming backhand return down the middle forced Clijsters netted a forehand. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand. 15/30. Vera's deep backhand return down the line forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand return, but hit an off-forehand just wide, and wasted her penultimate challenge. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera's deep backhand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Mark Petchey: "And the Achilles' heel for Clijsters appears once more in the shape of her forehand."
Lindsay Davenport: "Just has really struggled with pulling back, making balls. In the last two days, she's missing forehands by large, large margins."

Vera serving 3-1: Vera hit a deep backhand lob just inside the baseline, forcing Clijsters to hit a crosscourt forehand that clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/0. Clijsters dumped an off-forehand halfway up the net. 30/0. Vera's crosscourt forehand induced Clijsters to dump a forehand halfway up the net. 40/0 (GP #1). Clijsters hit a forehand winner down Vera's right sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera crosscourt forehand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Clijsters hit a loose backhand long. Held.

Clijsters is making cheap error after cheap error now.

I recently learned that Tsvetana Pironkova upset Venus Williams 6-2 6-3, so now the exciting prospect of a mouth-watering Vera v Tsvetana semi-final is coursing through my veins! And the thought of either one of them being in the final is just !

Clijsters serving 1-4: First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Vera forehand just long. 30/0. Vera's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt backhand return induced Clijsters to slice a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 40/30 (GP #3). Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit an off-forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: Vera hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Clijsters. 15/0. Clijsters off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera back on her heels to net a forehand. 15/30. Vera went to the net, got away with hitting her first volley straight back to Clijsters, and hit a down-the-line backhand volley-winner on her next stroke. 30/30. Vera's deep forehand forced Clijsters to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. Held.

A vital hold for Vera. I feared that my mouth-watering Vera v Tsvetana semi-final was slipping away at 15/30, but Clijsters's problems haven't gone anywhere.

Clijsters serving 2-5: Double fault #4 (second serve just long). 0/15. Vera showed off her excellent lateral retrieval, but ended up netting a backhand. 15/15. Vera's pinpoint down-the-line backhand forced Clijsters to hit a wild crosscourt forehand just wide. Clijsters wasted a challenge. 15/30. Vera's deep forehand down the line induced Clijsters to slice a backhand wide. 15/40 (MP #1 for Vera). A nailbiting rally, during which I thought my heart was going to explode, ended with Clijsters hitting an off-forehand winner. 30/40 (MP #2 for Vera). Clijsters on the third stroke netted a forehand. Zvonarëva won 3-6 6-4 6-2 at 14:56 BST (third set 33m, match 1h47m).

Lindsay Davenport (re. Vera): "She's not known as a grass-court player - more success on the slower courts, the clay courts - but she's timing her strokes so well, and the confidence that she must now have."

BBC presenter Rob Curling: "A lot of people will be disappointed about that, because Clijsters is very popular, but I think Vera Zvonarëva could become almost as popular."


Vera's BBC interview
--------------------

Rishi Persad: "Vera, what does your first-ever semi-final appearance here at Wimbledon mean to you?"

Vera: "I'm still excited about the match, but it is definitely one of my dreams to be playing here in the semi-final. I remember being as a kid watching Wimbledon on TV. I'm looking forward to the semi-final, and I'm really excited about my game today."

Persad: "This was your sixth match against Kim Clijsters. You picked a pretty good time to beat her for the first time!"

Vera: "It's amazing, because, like you said, I played her a few times and we always had tough matches, but she was just better than me those days. I was able to hang in there today, and I was able to play some good tennis out there."

Persad: "And how surprised are you to learn that your semi-final opponent is Tsvetana Pironkova and not Venus Williams?"

Vera: "Ooh! Right now, I think women's tennis is at a very high level: there is a lot of competition, and a lot of girls are playing great. So, obviously Venus has a great record here at Wimbledon, and she's always a favourite; she's a great player. But I think there are a lot of players, and I think it's gonna be a very tough match."

Persad: "Best of luck. Well done today."

Vera: "Thank you."

Vera was remarkably calm and composed in that interview, given how excited I was feeling at that moment! She speaks very well: both sweetly and thoughtfully. And she looked absolutely gorgeous, glowing with sweat, with her big, blue eyes, and a dimple in her left cheek when she smiled.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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