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Old Aug 1st, 2011, 10:12 PM   #1071
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Birmingham 2011: Andrew's first-round eyewitness report & photos

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AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
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Contents
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1. Photos
2. First-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Webley-Smith

Master-thread for my Birmingham 2011 reports:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=437257

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1. Photos (Monday 6th June 2011)
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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 2011”.
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).

Monday’s photos are in two volumes, with Magda only in Part 1.


Monday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 179)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/15428793-eac

Magdaléna Rybáriková (69 photos)
Daniela Hantuchová (24)
Chanelle Scheepers (23)
Emily Webley-Smith (14)
Andrea Hlaváčková (13)
Naomi Broady (11)
Heather Watson (11)
Olga Govortsova (8)
Sandra Záhlavová (7)
Arantxa Parra Santonja (4)
Romina Sarina Oprandi (4)
Marina Eraković (3)
Sara Errani (2)
Alison Riske (2)
Mirjana Lučić (2)
Sarah Gronert (2)
Sorana Cîrstea (1)
Kirsten Flipkens (1)
Ekaterina Makarova (1)
Caroline García (1)
Anna Tatishvili (1)
Chan,Yung-Jan (1)
Alexandra Stevenson (1)
Virginie Razzano (1)
Samantha Murray (1)

Magda (Photos 105–179) looked ethereally beautiful in a peachy-pink shirt, shiny glasslike ear-rings, and long, loose ponytail. Photos 164–166 show her pulling a white ribbon from her skirt and putting it in the bin. Unfortunately my camera let me down at the end of the match, leaving me with just Photo 179 as she left the court.

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2. First-round eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Webley-Smith (Monday 6th June 2011)
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+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [14,EF] d. Emily Webley-Smith [WC], 6-4 6-3

Whether due to first-match nerves or the difficult transition from clay to grass, Magda looked out of sorts in this match.

Magda served very well, but was erratic with her groundstrokes, didn’t go to the net as much as she usually does, and had some external distractions such as a string in her skirt coming loose, having to ask a ballboy to hold an umbrella over her at a changeover, and a ballboy running straight into her and jarring her left hand! Magda had a lot to mutter about.

So it was providential that she only had to play a British wild card ranked #247, who was so unaccustomed to playing on Centre Court that she walked onto court prematurely instead of waiting for the MC to welcome the players.

Webley-Smith also has a big serve, some prowess at the net, and the ability to punish short balls with groundstroke-winners. Magda had a lot of trouble putting pressure on Webley-Smith’s service-games (at 0:0 3-2*, Webley-Smith saved two break-points with the help of two big first serves). The first set went with serve until 5-4*, when Magda forced four errors to break to 15 for the set.

At 1:0 1-0*, Magda pegged Webley-Smith back from 40/15 to Deuce with a forehand pass-winner down the line, and Webley-Smith quadruple-faulted to give Magda *2-0. Webley-Smith closed from *0-3 to *2-3, but threw in a sloppy service-game to give Magda *4-2, and Magda held onto that break to get across the finish-line.

Magda would have to play a lot better if she was to progress further in this tournament, but that is another story, and shall be told at another time.


First set
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RYBÁRIKOVÁ *_*_*_*_*@ 6
WEBLEY-SMI _*_*_*_*__ 4

The match was second on Centre Court. Webley-Smith won the toss and elected to receive. The match started at 12:57 BST in slightly windy conditions.

Rybáriková serving 0-0: First serve out wide forced Webley-Smith to net a forehand return. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Webley-Smith to net a backhand return. 30/0. Magda played a good spreading rally, finishing with a crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 0-1: First serve out wide forced Magda to net a forehand return. 15/0. First serve forced a short return, which Webley-Smith dispatched with a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 30/0. Second serve... Magda hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve: Magda’s deep forehand return forced Webley-Smith to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced Magda to earth a backhand return. Held.

Rybáriková serving 1-1: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 30/0. Magda on the third stroke hit a crosscourt sliced backhand just wide. 30/15. Magda’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Webley-Smith to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Foot-fault. Magda muttered. Second serve: Webley-Smith’s low-bouncing return induced Magda to net a backhand. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 1-2: Second serve out wide: Magda mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Magda to net a backhand return. 30/0. Magda netted a backhand dropshot. 40/0 (GP #1). Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Magda hit a dropshot-return, but Webley-Smith replied with an off-forehand dropshot-winner that died before Magda hit her second dropshot. Held.

Rybáriková serving 2-2: First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Magda off-forehand wide. 15/15. Webley-Smith forced a floater, and dispatched it with a high forehand volley-winner. 15/30. First serve: Webley-Smith mishit a backhand return that flew backwards into Stand D. 30/30. Magda hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve forced Webley-Smith to net a forehand return. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 2-3: Magda hit a crosscourt backhand winner off a deep ball behind her. 0/15. First serve forced Magda to net a backhand return. 15/15. Second serve out wide: Magda netted a backhand return, and muttered. 30/15. Second serve... Magda’s sliced backhand induced Webley-Smith to net a forehand. 30/30. Webley-Smith netted a backhand on the third stroke. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve forced Magda to earth a forehand return. Webley-Smith said “c’mon”. Deuce #1. Webley-Smith went to the net, but Magda hit a sliced backhand pass-winner down the line. Ad Rybáriková (BP #2). First serve + off-forehand winner back behind Magda. Deuce #2. First serve out wide forced Magda to earth a forehand return. Ad Webley-Smith (GP #1). First serve forced Magda to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Rybáriková serving 3-3: First serve forced a short return, which Magda dispatched with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Magda hit an amazing sliced backhand down the line: it landed plumb on the junction of baseline and sideline, forcing Webley-Smith to hit a forehand long. 30/0. First serve forced Webley-Smith to hit a forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Webley-Smith to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 3-4 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Magda to net a forehand return. 15/0. Second serve... Webley-Smith went to the net, but Magda hit a down-the-line forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Webley-Smith went to the net again, this time to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Second serve... Webley-Smith punished a short ball with an off-forehand dropshot-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Webley-Smith went to the net, and hit a down-the-line backhand volley just wide – off a Magda crosscourt backhand pass that was going wide! 40/30 (GP #2). Webley-Smith hit a sliced backhand halfway up the net. Deuce #1. Second serve... Magda hit an off-backhand wide. Ad Webley-Smith (GP #3). Magda’s backhand clipped the netcord and fell wide. Held.

The weather had changed since the start of the match. It was now cold and windy, with a hint of rain.

Rybáriková serving 4-4: Webley-Smith hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand, but Magda used the angle against her as she hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 30/0. Magda hit an off-forehand winner back behind Webley-Smith. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve... Magda ran around her backhand to hit an off-forehand wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Ace #3: first serve out wide, on the sideline. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 4-5: Magda ran down a dropshot and hit an off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Webley-Smith to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Magda’s crosscourt backhand return forced Webley-Smith to net a backhand. 0/30. Magda went to the net, forcing Webley-Smith to hit a forehand lob just long. 0/40 (SP #1 for Rybáriková). In a great rally, Webley-Smith hit a sliced backhand that bounced very low; Magda hit a sliced backhand and went to the net, but Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt backhand lob-winner. 15/40 (SP #2 for Rybáriková). Second serve... Magda’s low-bouncing backhand induced Webley-Smith to hit a backhand long. Rybáriková won the first set 6-4 at 13:32 BST (35m).


Second set
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RYBÁRIKOVÁ *@*__@*_* 6
WEBLEY-SMI ___*@__*_ 3

Rybáriková serving 0-0: Magda on the third stroke hit an off-backhand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Foot-fault. Second serve: Webley-Smith’s deep backhand return forced Magda to net a forehand. 15/15. Ace #4: first serve down the middle. 30/15. With both players at the net, Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt forehand pass-volley winner. 30/30. Webley-Smith’s deep off-forehand forced Magda to hit a backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Magda went to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, forcing Webley-Smith to hit a down-the-line forehand long. Deuce #1. Ace #5: first serve down the middle. Ad Rybáriková (GP #1). Second serve: backhand return just long. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 0-1: Ace #1: first serve out wide. 15/0. Magda hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot just wide. 30/0. Magda’s sliced backhand skimmed over the grass like a stone over water, its low bounce forcing Webley-Smith to net a forehand. 30/15. Webley-Smith hit a deep, low-bouncing backhand down the line, forcing Magda to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Webley-Smith hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Webley-Smith went to the net, but Magda hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Deuce #1. Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell back on Webley-Smith’s side). Ad Rybáriková (BP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell back on Webley-Smith’s side). Broken.

Rybáriková serving 2-0: First serve down the middle forced Webley-Smith to hit a backhand return wide and long. 15/0. Second serve... Magda mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Magda crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Magda hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner (Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt backhand winner, but it was not up). 30/30. Magda hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Magda went to the net, and handled Webley-Smith’s dipping pass with a superb crosscourt forehand half-volley winner. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 0-3: Deep first serve forced Magda to net a forehand return. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Webley-Smith punished a short ball with an off-forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... Magda went to the net and hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Magda hit one of her trademark jumping backhands, then hit a forehand long. Held.

Magda was not happy with the short time that Webley-Smith was taking between points. Magda put her hand up before the last two serves.

Rybáriková serving 3-1: Webley-Smith hit a down-the-line forehand winner that clipped the netcord. 0/15. Second serve: Webley-Smith’s deep return induced Magda to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/30. Webley-Smith punished a short ball with a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Magda netted a backhand. Broken.

The weather had changed again. It was now hot, sunny and quite still. Magda asked a ballboy to hold an umbrella over her at the changeover, and left her chair early.

Webley-Smith serving 2-3: Second serve: Magda netted a backhand return. 15/0. Double fault #4 (second serve very long). 15/15. Magda’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Webley-Smith to net a forehand. 15/30. Webley-Smith forehand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Webley-Smith hit a down-the-line forehand wide. Broken.

That was, as BBC commentator Sam Smith would have put it, a complete donation.

A ballboy ran straight into Magda! She flexed her left hand.

Rybáriková serving 4-2 (new balls): Magda hit a sliced backhand long. 0/15. Ace #6: first serve down the middle clipped the outside edge of the centre-line. 15/15. With the wind rising again, Magda’s deep topspin forehand forced Webley-Smith to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Webley-Smith to net a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #7: first serve down the middle. Held.

Webley-Smith serving 2-5: With an emergency alarm going off in the middle of the rally, Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/0. Ace #2: first serve out wide. 15/15. Second serve: Magda hit a wild crosscourt backhand return long and wide, and muttered. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... Webley-Smith went to the net behind a deep sliced backhand, forcing Magda to hit an off-backhand wide. Held.

Rybáriková serving 5-3: Magda’s first serve was overruled as good... Second serve: Webley-Smith netted a cheap backhand return. 15/0. Webley-Smith slapped a makeable backhand return into the net. 30/0. Webley-Smith went to the net; Magda hit a crosscourt forehand pass just wide. Magda argued with the umpire, then muttered to herself. 30/15. Webley-Smith hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and shrugged her shoulders. 40/15 (MP #1 for Rybáriková). Magda netted a backhand dropshot. 40/30 (MP #2 for Rybáriková). Kick second serve out wide, deep into the corner, forced Webley-Smith to net a backhand return. Rybáriková won 6-4 6-3 at 14:08 BST (second set 36m, match 1h11m).

Magda gave an on-court interview, but sadly her microphone wasn’t working, so all that I heard her say was “first title” – she won her first WTA singles-title at Birmingham 2009. The interviewer said that it was a tough match, then asked her whether she thought she could repeat, then said something that sounded like, “It’s not gonna happen,” as if he were repeating what she said. I might be wrong, of course...

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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