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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 09:32 PM   #1086
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Birmingham 2011: Andrew's quarter-final eyewitness reports & 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. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Lisicki

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1. Photos (Friday 10th 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).

Should my Divshare download-limit be exceeded, it will be reset on 16th December 2011.

Friday’s photos are in four volumes, with Magda only in Part 3.


Friday Part 3 (Photos 254 to 376)
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http://www.divshare.com/download/16364301-ea6

Magdaléna Rybáriková (95 photos)
Sabine Lisicki (50)

Part 3 features the Rybáriková v Lisicki quarter-final – my favourite match of Birmingham 2011 in terms of both tennis and beauty.

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2. Quarter-final eyewitness report: Rybáriková v Lisicki (Friday 10th June 2011)
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- MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [14,EF] lt. Sabine Lisicki [DF], 6-7 (1/7) 4-6

In terms of two players both playing well at the same time, this was the best match that I have seen since Nicole Vaidišová v Ana Ivanović at Wimbledon 2007. It was certainly worthy of more than an International quarter-final – I don’t think anyone who appreciates fine tennis would have been disappointed had this been a Wimbledon final. That’s the kind of audience that it deserved.

Both girls have big serves, and Sabine likes to hit dropshots as early in the rally and as often as possible. They had numerous fantastic rallies, with Magda out-Lisickiing Sabine on some occasions, and Sabine outfoxing Magda on others, as they both tried to pin each other back and then hit dropshots, and Magda hit some fantastic high volleys. Both girls were extremely determined, with Magda shouting even after forced errors, and Sabine running into the side fence as she tried to retrieve one Magda smash!

There were no breaks in the first set, although Sabine recovered from *2-2 (15/40) with two actual aces and a virtual ace, and Magda from *4-5 (15/30) with some good first serves of her own.

Sabine dominated the tiebreak with the help of two groundstroke winners and two aces (one at set-point), and sadly for Magda fans, there was little chance that she would be able to recover from going a break down at the start of the second with Sabine playing and serving so well, and so it proved. Magda continued to play well on her own service-games, but couldn’t put pressure on Sabine’s.

When Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand winner deep into the corner from a deep position to break for 1:0 *5-2, it looked like the final nail in Magda’s coffin, but Sabine threw her a lifeline by double-faulting for 5-3* (Sabine’s only double fault of the match), and Magda held for 4-5* with the help of a fantastic off-forehand smash-winner running backwards, an ace and a crosscourt forehand winner.

Magda rallied from 0:1 4-5* 0/30* to 40/30*, but an unforced error and Sabine’s pinpoint forehand winner down the line gave Sabine her first match-point. Magda saved it by winning a nail-biting meaty baseline-rally, then had two break-points, but Sabine saved them with a deep first serve and a forehand smash-winner, and sealed victory with the help of two more big first serves.

While I certainly wasn’t happy that Magda lost to Sabine, who was supposed to play her part in a great match but lose gracefully, I wasn’t devastated either. It was wonderful to see Sabine back playing so well after the terrible ankle-injury that derailed her career at Indian Wells 2010, and she was just 13 days away from joining Magda in my Eternal Fanship.


First set
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RYBÁRIK _*_*_*_*_*_*_ 6
LISICKI *_*_*_*_*_*_T 7

The match was fourth on Centre Court. Magda won the toss and elected to receive, and the match started at 16:50 BST.

Lisicki serving 0-0: A long opening rally ended with Sabine running down a dropshot to hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner for a virtual winner. 30/0. Sabine, on the third stroke, hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Sabine, on the third stroke, hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Second serve: Magda netted a backhand return. Held.

Rybáriková serving 0-1: Sabine netted a forehand return. 15/0. Second serve: backhand return just long. 30/0. First serve: Sabine blasted a forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve: Sabine netted a backhand return. Held.

Lisicki serving 1-1: First serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/0. Sabine tried to serve and volley behind a first serve out wide, but dumped a crosscourt forehand volley into the net, and emitted a high-pitched yell. 15/15. Sabine, on the third stroke, hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. Sabine, on the third stroke, hit a backhand just long. 30/30. Ace #1: first serve out wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve... one of Magda’s trademark jumping crosscourt backhands induced Sabine to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Sabine’s depth forced Magda to hit a forehand just long. Ad Lisicki (GP #2). First serve down the middle forced Magda to earth a forehand return. Held.

Rybáriková serving 1-2: First serve out wide forced Sabine to net a forehand return. 15/0. Magda, on the third stroke, hit a forehand dropshot to draw Sabine to the net, and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve: Sabine netted a backhand return. Held.

Lisicki serving 2-2: Second serve... Magda pinned Sabine back behind the baseline, then hit a forehand dropshot-winner. 0/15. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 15/15. Second serve... Magda hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Sabine to hit a forehand very long. 15/30. Magda’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Sabine to net a forehand. 15/40 (BP #1). Virtual ace: first serve down the middle. 30/40 (BP #2). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Deuce #1. Ace #4: first serve out wide. Ad Lisicki (GP #1). Sabine’s depth forced Magda to hit a sliced off-backhand wide. Held.

15/40 and three huge serves – Sabine would enjoy a similar recovery from double match-point down against Lǐ,Nŕ at Wimbledon 13 days later.

Rybáriková serving 2-3: First serve out wide + cheeky forehand dropshot-winner with wicked sidespin to the right. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: backhand return long. 30/0. Magda sliced a backhand long. 30/15. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Magda netted a forehand on the third stroke, and muttered. 40/30 (GP #2). Magda drew Sabine to the net with a dropshot, then hit a forehand lob-winner. Held.

Lisicki serving 3-3: Sabine forehand just long. 0/15. Kick second serve out wide: backhand return long. 15/15. Second serve... Magda’s dropshot bounced too high... Sabine hit a forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Sabine netted a forehand on the third stroke. 30/30. Magda went to the net, but Sabine hit an awkward lob over Magda’s left shoulder, forcing her to run left and hit an off-backhand volley just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Magda netted a forehand return. Held.

Rybáriková serving 3-4 (new balls): Magda served and volleyed with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Sabine forehand just long. 30/0. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Magda caught two bad tosses. Ace #4: first serve down the middle. Held.

Lisicki serving 4-4: Second serve... Sabine’s deep, defensive lob proved awkward for Magda, who netted a forehand smash. 15/0. Sabine went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 30/0. Second serve... Magda’s depth pinned Sabine back behind the baseline; Magda hit a forehand dropshot-winner. 30/15. Ace #5: first serve down the middle, just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Rybáriková serving 4-5: Second serve... Sabine pinned Magda back behind the baseline, then hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner. 0/15. Magda, on the third stroke, hit an off-forehand dropshot, forcing Sabine to net a backhand; Sabine emitted a high-pitched yelp, and then smiled. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve just long). 15/30. First serve out wide forced Sabine to net a backhand return. 30/30. Sabine forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #1). Magda netted a forehand on the third stroke. Deuce #1. Sabine’s forehand return clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Ad Rybáriková (GP #2). First serve out wide, deep in the corner, forced Sabine to hit a backhand lob-return long. Held.

Lisicki serving 5-5: Magda hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Sabine to net a forehand. 0/15. Ace #6: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/15. Magda hit an off-forehand just wide, and yelled. 30/15. Sabine hit an off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Magda to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Magda ran down a dropshot, but hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. Held.

Rybáriková serving 5-6: Sabine’s deep crosscourt forehand return induced Magda to net a forehand. 0/15. Sabine hit a forehand just long. 15/15. Sabine hit a forehand long and wide. 30/15. Sabine hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner. 30/30. First serve out wide: Sabine hit a forehand return long, and sank to her haunches. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Rybáriková/Lisicki):
{0/0*} Magda hit a forehand just long.
{*0/1} Sabine hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline.
{*0/2} Sabine’s short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Magda to net a forehand.
{0/3*} Sabine hit an off-backhand winner back behind Magda.
{0/4*} Ace #7: first serve down the middle, just inside the service-line.
{*0/5} Magda’s depth pinned Sabine back behind the baseline; Magda hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner.
{*1/5} Sabine’s deep, mildly awkward forehand return induced Magda to net a forehand.
{1/6*: SP #1 for Lisicki} Ace #8: first serve down the middle. Lisicki won the first set 7-6 at 17:36 BST (46m).

Magda got her coach Martin Hromec to come onto court and talk to her at the set-break.


Second set
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RYBÁRIK __*_*__@*_ 4
LISICKI @*_*_*@__* 6

Rybáriková serving 0-0: Magda, on the third stroke, netted a forehand dropshot. 0/15. Magda’s first serve was out, but she complained that it was “clearly on the line”. Second serve... Magda’s dropshot induced Sabine to net a forehand dropshot. 15/15. Magda went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Magda ran down a dropshot, but netted a forehand. 30/30. Sabine forced a short ball, dispatched it with an off-forehand winner, and said, “C’mon!” 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve: backhand return long. Deuce #1. Magda forced a short floater and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner; Sabine ran right up to the side fence in an attempt to reach it! Ad Rybáriková (GP #1). Second serve... Sabine forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #2. Sabine ran down a dropshot, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. Ad Lisicki (BP #2). Magda, on the third stroke, hit an off-forehand wide. Broken.

Lisicki serving 1-0: Magda netted an off-backhand volley. 15/0. Ace #9: first serve out wide; Sabine said, “C’mon!” 30/0. Sabine’s depth forced Magda to hit a backhand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Magda to net a backhand return. Sabine said, “Okay.” Held.

Rybáriková serving 0-2: Second serve... Sabine ran down a dropshot and hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner. 0/15. Kick second serve out wide: backhand return long. 15/15. Magda went to the net, but Sabine’s crosscourt forehand forced her to hit a half-volley forehand and retreat; Sabine hit another crosscourt forehand, forcing Magda to hit a forehand long. 15/30. Ace #5: first serve out wide. 30/30. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Sabine’s pinpoint backhand down the line forced Magda to net a forehand. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand volley-winner back behind Sabine. Ad Rybáriková (GP #2). First serve out wide forced Sabine to net a backhand return. Held.

Lisicki serving 2-1 (new balls): First serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/0. Body-jamming serve: Magda netted a makeable backhand return. 30/0. Sabine mishit a forehand dropshot into the net. 30/15. Magda netted a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Sabine hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Rybáriková serving 1-3: Sabine hit an off-forehand wide, and emitted a high-pitched yelp. 15/0. Sabine hit a deep forehand lob just inside the baseline; Magda ran around her backhand and hit a forehand very long. 15/15. Second serve... Sabine hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Magda to hit an off-forehand wide. 15/30. Magda went to the net, but Sabine’s lob forced her to retreat; Magda ran around her backhand and dumped a forehand into the net. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. 30/40 (BP #2). Sabine hit a backhand just long. Deuce #1. Second serve... Magda hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot; Sabine ran it down but netted a backhand. Ad Rybáriková (GP #1). Second serve: Sabine hit a forehand return long; Magda had to jump out of the way to avoid it. Held.

Lisicki serving 3-2: First serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/0. Magda hit a down-the-line forehand long. 30/0. Second serve... Magda forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Sabine’s dropshot induced Magda to hit a forehand long; Sabine said, “Komm jetzt!” while Magda groaned. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #10: first serve out wide. Sabine said, “C’mon!” Held.

Rybáriková serving 2-4: Magda went to the net, but Sabine hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Second serve... Sabine’s dropshot forced Magda to net a sliced backhand. 0/30. Magda hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/40 (BP #1). Sabine, from a deep position, drilled a crosscourt forehand winner deep into the corner, and said, “C’mon!” Broken.

Lisicki serving 5-2: Virtual ace: first serve out wide. 15/0. Magda’s crosscourt forehand dropshot drew Sabine to the net-post; Magda hit an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Magda hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Sabine to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Sabine netted a forehand dropshot. 15/40 (BP #1). Magda hit a crosscourt forehand just wide, and yelled. 30/40 (BP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Broken.

Rybáriková serving 3-5: Second serve... Magda, on the third stroke, hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Magda forced a floater and, running backwards, hit a magnificent off-forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Ace #6: first serve down the middle. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Magda dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + off-forehand volley forced Sabine to net a backhand. Held.

The official statistics say that Magda only served one ace in the second set, but I saw two: at *0-2 15/30 and *3-5 15/15.

Magda got her coach Martin Hromec to come onto court and talk to her at the changeover. Sabine got her coach – her father Dr Richard Lisicki – to come onto court and talk to her at the changeover.

Lisicki serving 5-4: Sabine hit an off-backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Magda to net a forehand; Magda yelled. 15/0. Magda hit an off-forehand return just wide. 30/0. Magda’s sliced off-backhand approach forced Sabine to net a forehand. 30/15. Second serve... a nail-biting rally culminated with Magda hitting an off-backhand deep into the corner – just inside the sideline – that forced Sabine to hit a forehand lob long. 30/30. Second serve... Magda hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Sabine to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Magda hit a sliced backhand just long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + pinpoint forehand winner down the line; Sabine said, “Komm jetzt!” Ad Lisicki (MP #1). A nail-biting baseline rally, with both girls hitting huge groundstrokes, ended with Sabine hitting a crosscourt forehand just wide. Deuce #2. Magda’s deep forehand approach forced Sabine to hit a crosscourt backhand wide; Magda pumped her fist. Ad Rybáriková (BP #2). Deep first serve out wide: Magda netted a backhand return, and said, “No!” Deuce #3. Second serve... Sabine sprayed a wild forehand long. Ad Rybáriková (BP #3). First serve down the middle forced Magda to bunt back a defensive forehand lob-return, which Sabine dispatched with an off-forehand smash-winner; Sabine said, “C’mon!” Deuce #4. First serve out wide + short-angled crosscourt forehand drive-volley forced Magda to net a forehand. Ad Lisicki (MP #2). First serve out wide: Magda netted a backhand return. Lisicki won 7-6 6-4 at 18:22 BST (second set 46m, match 1h32m).

Sabine’s on-court interview: “It just means so much: not just a match, but a semi-final on the WTA. It’s great to be back on grass. I’m so sad that I couldn’t be back last year. She was serving amazingly. I’ve won all my tiebreaks so far this year [in the tournament]. Every point on grass can be a deciding point.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
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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