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Old Jan 13th, 2013, 11:54 PM   #28
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Full Women's Doubles final TV-report for Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Shvedova/King

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THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
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Women’s Doubles: Final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Shvedova/King (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
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- Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina lt. Yaroslava Shvedova/Vania King, 6-7 (6/8) 2-6

My abiding memory of Wimbledon 2010 is of Vera Zvonarëva sitting in her chair in floods of tears after losing the doubles-final, while Elena Vesnina sat with her, wiping away her tears.

Vera had lost the singles-final to Serena Williams earlier on the same day, and had to start the doubles-final just three hours later.

It was an entertaining doubles-match, with extensive use of the ‘I’ formation (whereby the server’s partner crouches behind the middle of the net, and jumps up to the left or right), plenty of winners both off the ground and at the net, and a couple of excellent lobs. Both teams played with great variety, not giving their opponents any patterns.

The first set was a rollercoaster, with the Russians leading 3-1*, then losing four games in a row to trail 3-5*. They got back to 5-5* as Shvedova choked, only to lose the momentum again. Vera hit a magnificent lob-winner to force a tiebreak in which they had set-point, but she burst into tears after losing that tiebreak.

Vera struggled with her emotions in the second set, forcing Elena to take on an unnatural leadership-role. Vera was broken in the third game, and Elena in the fifth as they handed the title to their delighted opponents.

I have structured my report as follows:
1. a detailed game-by-game summary of each set;
2. a blow-by-blow description of every single point.


1. Game-by-game summary
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1.1 First set
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Shvedova made a very sharp start to the match, holding to love in the first game – Williams wasn’t the only big server that Vera faced in a Wimbledon final that day!

After losing the first six points of the match, Elena faced two break-points at *0-1 15/40, but recovered to hold with three big serves and a crosscourt backhand virtual winner.

King at *1-1 was broken to 15, as Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner, and Vera ran down a dropshot to hit a high crosscourt forehand winner.

Vera at *2-1 consolidated the break as she recovered from 15/30 to win a scrappy service-game after one deuce.

Shvedova at *1-3 held to 15, with the help of two crosscourt backhand first-volley winners from King.

With Elena serving at 3-2, Shvedova hit a laser-like backhand return-winner down the line to bring up break-points at 15/40. The Russians saved them, but after one deuce, King broke back with an off-forehand smash-winner. The crowd seemed very amused by Elena’s karate-like shouts of “aya” in lieu of grunting.

Vera played two good points to put King in a *3-3 0/30 hole, but the Russians squandered the next four points rather tamely.

Vera at *3-4 was broken to 30 after a double fault, and winning smashes from both Shvedova and King – and despite two volley-winners by Elena.

Shvedova failed to serve out the set at 5-3 – despite two aces, it seemed that nerves got the better of her, and the Russians broke back to 30.

Elena at *4-5 held to love with two aces, and two unforced errors by Shvedova.

However, the momentum switched again at 5-5 as Elena hit a forehand wide by a whisker, then made two unforced errors, with Shvedova also intercepting to hit a forehand volley-winner as King held to love.

The quality of play rose to a new high in Vera’s service-game at 5-6, as Elena answered Shvedova’s forehand volley-winner with two of her own. At 40/15, King hit a backhand volley-winner, then Vera hit a magnificent crosscourt forehand half-volley lob-winner just inside the baseline!

Everything happened in the tiebreak. Elena put the Russians up *2/0 with a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner and a service-winner, but Shvedova hit a forehand volley-winner down the line, and the Russians made two unforced errors. At *2/3, Vera got down nice and low to fire an off-backhand volley-winner just inside the sideline.

Shvedova at *4/3 lost the point because Elena’s wild passing shot brushed her hair! The Russians recovered from *4/5 to reach set-point at *6/5, but Vera hit a forehand long, then their rackets clashed to put them set-point down at *6/7, and King won the set with an error-forcing forehand volley.

Vera burst into tears at the set-break, and Elena put her arm around her consolingly.


1.2 Second set
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With Elena at *0-0, Vera threw her racket on two points in a row – including the infamous shoulder-clipping incident – as they went 15/30 down, but Elena recovered to hold to 30 courtesy of Vera’s off-forehand smash-winner.

Shvedova at *0-1 held to 30 with the help of a pinpoint down-the-line forehand pass-winner.

With Vera serving at 1-1, Elena intercepted to hit a high crosscourt backhand volley-winner, but Vera hit a double fault and three errors to be broken to 15, her slumping body-language a stark contrast to the constant smiles of Shvedova and King.

King at *2-1 held to 15, courtesy of Shvedova hitting three crosscourt forehand volley-winners – including a drop-volley at game-point.

Elena at *1-3 served an ace for 30/15, but followed that with a double fault. From 40/30, she made two unforced errors – either side of a Shvedova forehand volley-winner – to go a set and two breaks down.

Shvedova at *4-1 held to 15 with an off-forehand smash-winner, a forehand volley-winner by King, and an ace.

Vera at *1-5 had an easy hold to 15, although she looked close to tears again after double-faulting at 40/0.

With King serving for the championship at 5-2, Vera hit an error-forcing volley on the first point, but the Russians made four cheap errors to hand the title to their delighted opponents.


2. Point-by-point description
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2.1 First set
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ZVON/VESN _*@*____@*_*_ 6(6)
SHVE/KING *___*@*@__*_T 7(8)

The match was third on Centre Court, and started at 18:22 BST. One quarter of the court was in sunshine, the rest in shadow. Shvedova wore her sunglasses when looking into the sun, and took them off when not.

Vera and Shvedova were receiving serve in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Shvedova serving 0-0: Ace #1: first serve down the middle. Shvedova and King used the ‘I’ formation straight away. 15/0. Shvedova’s short off-forehand forced Vera to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Service-winner down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). And again. Held.

Wow – Serena Williams wasn’t the only big server that Vera has faced in a Wimbledon final today! A very sharp start by Shvedova.

Elena serving 0-1: Shvedova crossed the net to the right and hit an off-forehand winner. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/30. The Russians used the ‘I’ formation, and won their first point when King netted a forehand. 15/30. Shvedova’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Elena to hit a backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced King to hit a backhand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. King/Shvedova wasted a challenge: it was well in. Deuce #1. Ace #2: first serve out wide, on the sideline. Ad Elena (GP #1). Elena’s crosscourt backhand clipped King’s racket for a virtual winner; she said “vita”. Held.

King serving 1-1: King crosscourt forehand just wide. 0/15. Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner, accompanied by her first “aya” of the match. 0/30. Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a high crosscourt forehand winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Shvedova hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 15/40 (BP #2). King ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand. Broken.

Vera serving 2-1: Shvedova hit a magnificent crosscourt backhand smash-winner! 0/15. Vera stood halfway between the sideline and the centre-line to hit a first serve down the middle, inducing Shvedova to hit an off-forehand return wide. 15/15. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Vera’s deep off-forehand induced Shvedova to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/30. King netted a makeable backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke hit an off-forehand long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced King to net a forehand return. Ad Vera (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Shvedova to hit a backhand return wide. Held.

Shvedova serving 1-3: King’s crosscourt forehand volley induced Elena to net a forehand. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/15. First serve out wide + King crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Shvedova’s deep backhand down the middle forced Elena to bunt a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve forced a floater, which King dispatched with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Held.

Elena serving 3-2: In an entertaining rally, Vera hit an off-forehand drop-volley, but Shvedova ran it down and hit an excellent crosscourt backhand lob that landed in the tramlines and just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to run back and hit a weak backhand down the line; King hit a floating forehand volley, but Elena got caught in no-man’s-land and slapped a backhand drive-volley into the net. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Elena off-backhand wide. 15/30. Second serve out wide: Shvedova hit a laser-like backhand return-winner down the line past Vera. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera’s deep volley forced King to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #1. King hit a deep crosscourt forehand return forced Elena to hit a forehand wide. Ad Shvedova (BP #3). A long rally ended with King hitting an off-forehand smash-winner. The crowd seemed very amused by Elena’s karate-like shouts of “aya” in lieu of grunting. Broken.

King serving 3-3: Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand that jammed into Shvedova's body at an awkward angle, forcing her to hit a forehand volley long. 0/15. A close-range net-exchange ended with Vera’s forehand volley forcing Shvedova to lunge and net a backhand volley. 0/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Elena to net a forehand. 15/30. Vera netted a backhand. 30/30. Elena netted a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand return. Held.

The BBC commentators observed how Vera twiddles her racket enough to “wear the grip out” when she’s crouching at the net; Sam Smith praised Vera as one of the best Russian volleyers.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Double fault #3 (second serve long). 0/15. Elena popped up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner, and said “vishna”. 15/15. Vera wanted to challenge her first serve being called long, but was too late. Shvedova dispatched a floater with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Elena popped up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Vera netted a backhand, and rolled her head in frustration. 30/40 (BP #1). King dispatched a floater with a crosscourt forehand smash virtual winner. Broken.

I’m loving the extensive use of the ‘I’ formation in this match. It may have its critics, but it keeps the receiver guessing. Shvedova looks uncomfortable with strapping on her left thigh, though.

Shvedova serving 5-3: Shvedova, caught in the last patch of sunlight, hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/15. Vera’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Shvedova to hit a backhand wide. 0/30. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 15/30. Shvedova on the third stroke hit a wild off-forehand volley wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace #3: first serve out wide. The Russians challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 1% of the breadth of the sideline!! 30/40 (BP #2). Shvedova netted a forehand volley off a mildly awkward crosscourt forehand from Elena, who said that lovely “vita”/“vishna” word that I wish I knew how to spell. Broken.

Serving for the set certainly changed the mental scenery for Shvedova there.

Elena serving 4-5: Shvedova hit a forehand long. 15/0. Ace #3: first serve down the middle + “aya”. 30/0. Ace #4: first serve down the middle + a higher-pitched “aya”. 40/0 (GP #1). Shvedova crosscourt backhand just long. Held.

King serving 5-5: Elena hit a crosscourt forehand wide by a whisker – the umpire herself made a late call. 15/0. Elena forehand just long. 30/0. Shvedova intercepted Elena’s crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Elena kicked a ball away in frustration. 40/0 (GP #1). Elena backhand long. Held.

Vera serving 5-6: Shvedova off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Elena bisected her opponents with a forehand volley-winner, and shouted “vita”. 15/15. Elena on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/15. A mildly awkward body-jamming first serve induced Shvedova to net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). King hit an off-backhand volley-winner as Vera didn’t put enough on her body-jamming pass. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera hit a magnificent crosscourt forehand half-volley lob-winner just inside the baseline! BBC commentator Chris Bradnam: “That deceived everybody! Topspin lobs don't get much better than that: off the back foot, aiding and abetting.” Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores (Zvonarëva/Vesnina)/(Shvedova/King)):
{0/0*} Shvedova went to the net behind a short-angled off-backhand slice, but Elena ripped a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner.
{*1/0} Elena hit a first serve down the middle, inducing Shvedova to hit an off-forehand wide. Elena said “vita”.
{*2/0} Shvedova hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Sam Smith: “Not easy to find too many patterns out here. That’s what doubles-teams are looking for: working out exactly how someone returns, things that they can have a guess on. But out here: so much variety, so many different kinds of shots, so many different kinds of plays. I know they use the ‘I’ formation a lot, but using them all different ways, both teams. Nothing really for anyone to say: ‘We’re gonna go there, or we’re gonna go there.’”
{2/1*} Vera netted a horrible backhand return.
{2/2*} Elena netted an off-backhand return.
{*2/3} Vera got down nice and low to fire off an off-backhand volley-winner just inside the sideline.
{*3/3} King’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand just long.
{3/4*} Elena blasted a crosscourt forehand pass-volley long, but it brushed Shvedova’s ponytail, making it technically /her/ error.
{4/4*} Elena, her “aya” now higher-pitched than ever, netted a forehand volley.
{*4/5} Elena hit a down-the-line forehand at Shvedova’s feet, forcing her to net a backhand. Elena said “vita”.
{*5/5} Deep serve out wide induced King to hit a forehand return long. Elena said “vita”.
{6/5*: SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina} Vera hit a forehand just long, and hit the ball away in frustration.
{6/6*} Vera and Elena hit the same ball, sending it into the net.
{*6/7: SP #1 for Shvedova/King} Vera hit a first serve down the middle; Elena hit an off-forehand drop-volley; Shvedova bunted a backhand down the line, inducing Vera to hit a late crosscourt forehand that sat up nicely for King to hit a forehand volley at Elena’s feet, forcing her to earth a backhand volley. Shvedova/King won the first set 7-6 (8/6) at 19:20 BST (58m).

Sam Smith observed that Shvedova and King had only played eight matches in two tournaments together before Wimbledon 2010. “For a scratch team, they’re combining very nicely. I’d love to ask Shvedova what it was about Vania King that she really wanted to play with her – waited for her for two years!”
Chris Bradnam: “Some players, you just gel with straight away. Other players, you team up and you know it’s not going to happen.”
Sam Smith: “But how did she know that? They haven’t played together!”

Vera burst into tears at the set-break, and Elena put her arm around her consolingly. Vera desperately doesn’t want to lose two Wimbledon finals on the same day. By Wimbledon 2010, she had won three Majors: the US Open 2004 Mixed Doubles, Wimbledon 2006 Mixed Doubles, and the US Open 2006 Women’s Doubles. Since then, she has added the Australian Open 2012 Women’s Doubles.

A strange time for Vera to cry, given that she stayed dry-eyed throughout the Women’s Singles final, and is a long way from actually losing this one yet.


2.2 Second set
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ZVON/VESN *_____*_ 2
SHVE/KING _*@*@*_* 6

Elena serving 0-0: King forehand long. 15/0. Vera hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and threw her racket down with some violence. 15/15. Vera’s forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Vera threw her racket again: it clipped Elena’s right shoulder on the take-back, and it’s amazing that it didn’t break. Some of Vera’s haters love to remind us of that little incident at every opportunity, but Elena didn’t seem to mind it at all. 15/30. King netted a running backhand. 30/30. King dumped a backhand halfway up the net. Vera and Elena slapped hands. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera jumped up from the ‘I’ formation, and hit an off-forehand smash-winner. Held.

A very good job that they held there, because Vera’s really struggling with her emotions. Elena’s not the natural leader of the team, but she’s having to take on a leadership-role now.

Shvedova serving 0-1: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Elena high crosscourt forehand overhead forced King to net a forehand. 15/15. Elena forehand just long. 30/15. King netted a forehand. 30/30. Shvedova hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand pass-winner past Vera. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: Elena intercepted to hit a high crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Shvedova hit a deep backhand return down the middle, forcing Vera to earth a forehand. 15/15. Vera forehand long. Chris Bradnam: “The body-language after every error is a slump.” 15/30. Double fault #4 (second serve long). The Russians wasted a challenge. Chris Bradnam: “Maybe just to buy a little time for Zvonarëva to get herself together here.” 15/40 (BP #1). Vera had to run back for a deep lob, and hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Broken.

There could hardly be a starker contrast between the constant smiles of Shvedova and King, and Vera’s body-language at the moment.

The BBC commentators suggested that Elena should lighten the mood by getting under the towel with Vera.

King serving 2-1: Vera hit a backhand very long. 15/0. Shvedova got up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Elena ran outside the tramlines to hit a deep forehand down the middle, forcing King to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Shvedova crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Shvedova crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Held.

Elena serving 1-3: Service-winner. 15/0. King’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to hit a forehand lob just long. The Russians used up a challenge to show that it was long by a whisker. 15/15. Ace #5: down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/15. Double fault #5 (second serve clipped the netcord; Shvedova and King challenged to show that it was 1 mm long). 30/30. Shvedova netted a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena backhand just long. Deuce #1. Shvedova intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Ad Shvedova (BP #1). Elena netted a forehand. Broken.

Not just a break-point, but a breaking-point.

Shvedova serving 4-1: Shvedova off-forehand smash-winner. Chris Bradnam: “They can’t miss at the moment.” 15/0. King forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. Elena’s deep off-backhand return forced Shvedova to hoist a weak lob; Vera hit an off-forehand smash down the middle; Shvedova overran it and dumped a forehand into the net. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long and wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #4: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Held.

Vera serving 1-5: King netted a high forehand volley-winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Shvedova to net a backhand. 30/0. The Russians left a lob that floated just wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #6 (wild second serve long). Vera looked close to tears again. 40/15 (GP #2). The Russians left a lob from Shvedova... it was just long. Held.

King serving 5-2: Vera’s off-forehand volley forced Shvedova to net a forehand volley. 0/15. Elena backhand long. 15/15. Vera forehand long. 30/15. Vera chopped a forehand return just long. 40/15 (MP #1 for Shvedova/King). First serve out wide: Elena hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Shvedova/King won 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 at 19:56 BST (second set 34m, match 1h33m).

Shvedova and King looked absolutely delighted, bouncing around with huge smiles on their faces, while Vera sat in her chair in floods of tears, her head only partially covered by her towel as Elena sat with her, wiping away her tears. Talk about a fantastic camera-angle!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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Last edited by andrewbroad : Jan 14th, 2013 at 12:09 AM. Reason: minor correction
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