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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 11:51 PM   #4
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Thursday

AEGON CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA International)
Contents

1. Photos
2. Singles: Third-round eyewitness report: Falconi v U.Radwańska
3. Doubles: First-round eyewitness report: Kops-Jones/Spears v Hantuchová/Lisicki
4. Over and out


1. Photos (Thursday 14th June 2012)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as “Copyright Andrew Broad 2012”.
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 five volumes.


Thursday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 049)

Download Part 1

Marina Eraković (29 photos)
Ekaterina Makarova (24)

Part 1 features the third-round match between Eraković and Makarova.


Thursday Part 2 (Photos 050 to 191)

Download Part 2

Daniela Hantuchová (90 photos)
Sabine Lisicki (61)
Tamira Paszek (1)

Part 2 features Daniela and Sabine practising together.


Thursday Part 3 (Photos 192 to 240)

Download Part 3

Andrea Hlaváčková (31 photos)
Zhčng,Jié (23)

Part 3 features the third-round match between Hlaváčková and Zhčng.


Thursday Part 4 (Photos 241 to 378)

Download Part 4

Urszula Radwańska (59 photos)
Daniela Hantuchová (52)
Sabine Lisicki (49)
Irina Falconi (19)
Raquel Kops-Jones (4)
Abigail Spears (4)

Part 4 features the third-round match between Radwańska and Falconi [Section 2], and the Hantuchová/Lisicki v Kops-Jones/Spears doubles-match [Section 3].


Thursday Part 5 (Photos 379 to 467)

Download Part 5

Daniela Hantuchová (52 photos)
Mona Barthel (21)
Sorana Cîrstea (14)
Alexandra Cadanţu (2)

Part 5 features Daniela practising with two coaches. I was impressed by her dedication: I found her practising within an hour of her doubles-loss, and she didn’t leave for 55 minutes, the last few of which she spent serving in the rain after all the other players had left.


2. Singles: Third-round eyewitness report: Falconi v U.Radwańska (Thursday 14th June 2012)

- Urszula Radwańska lt. Irina Falconi, 5-7 3-6

I decided to report on this match because Urszula was my favourite player left in the singles after a disastrous Wednesday. She’s an attractive all-court player, but still has serious problems with controlling her emotions. She had been calm and professional against Sabine Lisicki on Centre Court on Wednesday evening, but was upset by the conditions in which she was forced to play Falconi.

The outside courts were in a dreadful state after the rain earlier in the week. Court 2 was more like a sandpit than a grass-court; I could actually see sand flying off the ball. It was also very windy; every strong gust would blow a big cloud of sand across the courts.

Urszula frequently complained in an emotional tone of voice about having to play in such “ridiculous” conditions, especially after she fell over trying to reach one of Falconi’s many dropshots. Urszula looked very frustrated, sometimes close to tears, while Falconi quietly got on with the business of winning the match.


First set
FALCONI _*__@*@_@_@* 7
RADWAŃS *_*@___@_@__ 5


The match was third on Court 2. Urszula won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 14:33 BST – at this time, it was the only match in progress on the outside courts.

Radwańska serving 0-0: First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 15/0. Urszula on the third stroke hit an off-backhand wide. 15/15. Off-backhand return wide. 30/15. Urszula on the third stroke netted a backhand. 30/30. A longish rally ended with Falconi netting a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Urszula hit an off-forehand deep into the corner + crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Held.

Falconi serving 0-1: Falconi hit a backhand dropshot to draw Urszula to the net, and passed her with an off-backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Urszula netted a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Falconi netted a forehand on the third stroke. 30/15. Urszula netted a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... Urszula hit a forehand very long. Held.

Radwańska serving 1-1: Falconi netted a backhand. 15/0. Falconi went to the net, but Urszula’s lob forced her to run back and hit a backhand lob long. 30/0. A big cloud of sand blew across the court. Falconi netted a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Urszula’s dropshot forced Falconi to net a backhand. Held.

Falconi serving 1-2: Urszula hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: it clipped the outside edge of the sideline with a puff of titanium pigment. 0/15. Urszula dumped a backhand dropshot into the bottom of the net. 15/15. Urszula went to the net, forcing Falconi to hit a forehand lob long. 15/30. Falconi hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Falconi hit a forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #1). Falconi’s forehand dropshot forced Urszula to earth a backhand. Deuce #1. The wind rose. Urszula ran down a dropshot, and hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner just inside the sideline. Ad Radwańska (BP #2). Falconi went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Falconi forehand long. Ad Radwańska (BP #3). Falconi sprayed an off-forehand wide. Broken.

Radwańska serving 3-1: Urszula netted a backhand on the fifth stroke. 0/15. Falconi forehand just long. 15/15. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 30/15. Falconi hit an off-forehand return deep into the corner, forcing Urszula to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Falconi forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Urszula netted a backhand. Broken.

Falconi serving 2-3: Ace #1: first serve out wide. 15/0. Second serve... Urszula’s deep backhand forced Falconi to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide, but off-forehand wide. 15/30. Falconi forced a short return, but hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Falconi’s deep down-the-line backhand forced Urszula to net a forehand. 30/40 (BP #2). Falconi hit a deep forehand down the middle, forcing Urszula to net a backhand. Deuce #1. Falconi’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Urszula to net a forehand. Ad Falconi (GP #1). Urszula netted a backhand. Held.

Radwańska serving 3-3: Second serve... Urszula forced a short ball, but dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 0/15. First serve out wide forced Falconi to hit a backhand return long. 15/15. Falconi backhand long. 30/15. Falconi hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/30. Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the baseline with a puff of titanium pigment. Urszula complained in a loud, emotional voice. 30/40 (BP #1). Falconi netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Deep first serve down the middle forced Falconi to hit a backhand return long. Ad Radwańska (GP #1). Urszula hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Deuce #2. Falconi’s crosscourt forehand induced Urszula to slip; Falconi hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Falconi (BP #2). Urszula netted a backhand dropshot. Broken.

Urszula was clearly getting upset after the close call at 30/30 and slipping at Deuce #2.

Falconi serving 4-3 (new balls): Falconi went to the net behind a pinpoint off-forehand dropshot, but hit a wild forehand volley long. 0/15. Falconi netted a backhand. 0/30. Urszula hit an off-backhand winner that clipped the sideline with a puff of titanium pigment. 0/40 (BP #1). Falconi went to the net, but Urszula passed her with a crosscourt forehand winner. Broken.

Radwańska serving 4-4: Falconi hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 0/15. A long rally ended with Urszula netting a backhand; she yelled. 0/30. Urszula hit a forehand dropshot, but Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner onto the sideline. 0/40 (BP #1). Falconi backhand long. 15/40 (BP #2). Second serve... Falconi hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner. Broken.

Falconi serving 5-4: Falconi forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Urszula to hit a forehand return wide and long. 30/0. Falconi backhand long. 30/15. Falconi off-forehand wide. 30/30. Falconi hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Urszula hit an off-forehand just wide. Deuce #1. Falconi hit a down-the-line backhand winner. Ad Falconi (GP #1). Falconi crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #2. Falconi off-forehand wide. Ad Radwańska (BP #2). Falconi netted a forehand. Broken.

By now, the Hantuchová/Lisicki v Kops-Jones/Spears doubles-match had started on the adjacent Court 3. I tried my best to follow both matches simultaneously until the end of the first set here, but inevitably I missed a few points.

Radwańska serving 5-5: 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Falconi went to the net behind an acute crosscourt forehand, but Urszula hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/15. Falconi hit a forehand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). Falconi hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner onto the sideline. 40/30 (GP #2). Falconi hit an off-forehand dropshot just inside the sideline; Urszula hit a backhand dropshot just wide and long, and yelled. Deuce #1. Forehand return long. Ad Radwańska (GP #3). Falconi hit an off-forehand winner. Deuce #2. First serve out wide: Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Falconi (BP #1). Urszula hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Deuce #3. Urszula hit an off-forehand just wide, and said “no!” Ad Falconi (BP #2). A deep, low-bouncing ball from Urszula forced Falconi to hit a forehand long. Deuce #4. Urszula’s off-forehand forced Falconi to hit a backhand lob long. Ad Radwańska (GP #4). Falconi hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. Deuce #5. Urszula backhand long. Ad Falconi (BP #3). Falconi’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Broken.

Falconi serving 6-5: 15/0. Urszula hit an off-backhand return-winner. 15/15. Falconi hit a forehand long. 15/30. Falconi netted a backhand dropshot from the baseline. 15/40 (BP #1). Falconi’s deep off-forehand forced Urszula to hit a backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Urszula hit a backhand long, bent over and yelled. Deuce #1. Urszula hit a forehand winner down the line. Ad Radwańska (BP #3). Urszula hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and again bent over and yelled. Deuce #2. Ad Falconi (SP #1). Falconi netted a backhand. Deuce #3. Urszula tried to take the initiative with a short-angled crosscourt backhand, but Falconi hit a backhand winner down the line. Ad Falconi (SP #2). I’m sorry I missed the set-point. Falconi won the first set 7-5 at 15:39 BST (1h06m).


Second set
FALCONI @*@__*_*@ 6
RADWAŃS ___@*_*__ 3


At the end of the first set, I decided to give my undivided attention to Hantuchová/Lisicki v Kops-Jones/Spears, which was going very quickly and already in the second set. That match finished at 16:11 BST, by which time Falconi was leading 1:0 *3-2 Ad.

Radwańska serving 0-0: The scoreboard froze at 15:39 BST. The scoreboard resumed at 15:45 BST (5m). 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Falconi serving 1-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Radwańska serving 0-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Second serve... Ad Radwańska (GP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Falconi (BP #2). Broken.

Falconi serving 3-0: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Radwańska serving 1-3 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Falconi serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Radwańska (BP #3). Deuce #2. Ad Falconi (GP #1). Urszula slipped over, went to the umpire and said “ridiculous”. Held.

Radwańska serving 2-4: Down-the-line forehand return wide. 15/0. Falconi forehand long. 30/0. Falconi backhand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Falconi to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide. Held.

Falconi serving 4-3: Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Urszula’s depth forced Falconi to net a forehand. 15/15. Falconi sprayed an off-forehand wide. 15/30. Urszula hit a backhand return long, doubled over and groaned. 30/30. A big cloud of sand blew across the court. Ace #2: first serve out wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Urszula’s depth forced Falconi to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. A short ball from Falconi forced Urszula to slice a backhand long. Ad Falconi (GP #2). Falconi hit a short dropshot that hardly bounced; Urszula reached it but netted a backhand. Held.

Radwańska serving 3-5: Falconi hit an off-forehand winner; Urszula muttered in Polish. 0/15. Falconi netted a sliced forehand. 15/15. Urszula hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Falconi forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline. 40/30 (GP #2). Urszula, driven wide, netted a forehand with a loud groan. Deuce #1. Urszula netted a forehand dropshot after struggling to run for what I assume was a dropshot from Falconi. Ad Falconi (MP #1). Urszula netted a backhand. Falconi won 7-5 6-3 at 16:28 BST (second set 49m, match 1h55m).


3. Doubles: First-round eyewitness report: Kops-Jones/Spears v Hantuchová/Lisicki (Thursday 14th June 2012)

- Daniela Hantuchová [EF]/Sabine Lisicki [EF] lt. RAQUEL KOPS-JONES/ABIGAIL SPEARS [4], 0-6 3-6

How fitting that the only two members of my Eternal Fanship at Birmingham 2012 should have teamed up in the doubles! I had a wonderful time watching them hitting together on the near practice-court earlier in the day.

Sabine had struggled with breathing difficulties in her singles-loss the day before, but on Thursday she looked much healthier and happier; she was even smiling when she was serving at 0-6 *0-1; she looked very pleased when she won that game.

The outside courts were in a dreadful state after the rain earlier in the week. They were more like sandpits than grass-courts; I could actually see sand flying off the ball. It was also very windy; every strong gust would blow a big cloud of sand across the courts.

Daniela and Sabine were playing doubles together for only the second time, and were beaten by an established team who simply played better together than my girls did, with a lot of winning volleys and smashes.


First set
KOPS-J/SPEARS *@*@*@ 6
HANTUC/LISICK ______ 0


The match was fourth on Court 3. The Americans won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 15:14 BST.

I actually watched this match from the adjacent Court 2, where I was already following the Irina Falconi v Urszula Radwańska singles-match (I would have preferred to move to Court 3, but the crowd looked too dense). I decided to report on both matches simultaneously during the first set before giving this match my undivided attention in the second, so I apologise in advance for missing some points.

Sabine and Spears were receiving in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Kops-Jones serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Sabine hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner. 15/15. Sabine went to the net, but earthed a forehand volley off an awkward low ball at her feet. 30/15. Sabine hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 30/30. Sabine hit a forehand pass-volley winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. 40/40 (BP #2). Deciding point: receiver’s choice. Sabine netted a backhand return. Held.

Lisicki serving 0-1: Service-winner. 15/0. Kops-Jones hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Daniela hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Spears bisected Daniela and Sabine with a backhand winner down the middle. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Ace #1: first serve out wide. 40/40 (BP #3). Spears hit a crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. Broken.

Spears serving 2-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Sabine netted a forehand return. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Kops-Jones hit an off-backhand volley-winner. Held.

Hantuchová serving 0-3: 15/0. Spears hit a forehand lob long. 30/0. Daniela forehand long. 30/15. Daniela off-backhand wide. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner. 40/40 (BP #2). Daniela crosscourt backhand wide. Broken.

Kops-Jones serving 4-0: Daniela hit a down-the-line forehand return-winner. 0/15. Kops-Jones hit an error-forcing forehand smash. 15/15. Spears hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Daniela netted a forehand smash. Held.

Lisicki serving 0-5: Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/15. 0/30. Spears hit a forehand lob long. 15/30. Sabine netted a backhand. 15/40 (SP #1 for Kops-Jones/Spears). Daniela’s backhand volley forced Kops-Jones to net a backhand. 30/40 (SP #2 for Kops-Jones/Spears). Kops-Jones hit a forehand smash-winner. Kops-Jones/Spears won the first set 6-0 at 15:33 BST (19m).


Second set
KOPS-J/SPEARS *__@*_*@* 6
HANTUC/LISICK _*@__*___ 3


Spears serving 0-0: Double fault #1. 0/15. Kops-Jones hit an error-forcing forehand smash. 15/15. 30/15. Ace #1. 40/15 (GP #1). Kops-Jones hit an off-forehand winner. Held.

Lisicki serving 0-1 (new balls): Deep first serve forced Kops-Jones to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. American depth forced Sabine to hit a backhand lob long. 15/15. They removed one of the scoreboards, because the noise that it was making in the wind was distracting the players. Sabine bisected the Americans with a forehand winner down the middle. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Sabine netted a forehand on the third stroke. 40/30 (GP #2). Spears hit a backhand long, and Sabine looked very pleased! Held.

Kops-Jones serving 1-1: Daniela netted a backhand. 15/0. Daniela hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 15/15. Spears hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 30/15. Sabine hit an off-backhand return-winner. 30/30. Daniela hit a down-the-line forehand return-winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Sabine painted the sideline with an off-forehand pass-winner. Broken.

Hantuchová serving 2-1: Sabine netted a backhand first volley, and put her hand on her face. 0/15. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Spears hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/30. Daniela netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Daniela hit a backhand lob-winner. 40/40 (BP #2). Spears hit a forehand smash-winner down the middle. Broken.

Spears serving 2-2: Second serve... Spears netted a backhand volley. 0/15. Spears hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. American pace forced Sabine to hit a crosscourt backhand volley wide. 30/15. Sabine hit a forehand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Spears netted a forehand smash. 40/30 (GP #2). Spears hit a forehand smash-winner. Held.

Lisicki serving 2-3: Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Spears to net a forehand return. 15/15. Clouds of sand blew across the court. Service-winner. 30/15. Spears crosscourt backhand long. 30/30. Kops-Jones hit a forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Sabine hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/40 (BP #1). Second serve... Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. Held.

Kops-Jones serving 3-3: Sabine backhand long. 15/0. Sabine netted a backhand return. 30/0. Spears hit a backhand volley long. 30/15. Spears hit another backhand volley long. 30/30. Spears dispatched a short European lob with a forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Spears hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Held.

Hantuchová serving 3-4: First serve out wide forced Kops-Jones to net a forehand return. 15/0. Kops-Jones hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Kops-Jones forehand long. 30/15. Sabine went to the net, but earthed a backhand volley off an awkward low ball at her feet. 30/30. There was a big gust of wind. Sabine netted a forehand volley. 30/40 (BP #1). Daniela netted a forehand on the third stroke. Broken.

Spears serving 5-3: First serve out wide forced Daniela to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Sabine, stretched wide, hit a backhand return wide. 30/0. European depth forced Spears to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Spears hit an error-forcing forehand smash. 40/15 (MP #1 for Kops-Jones/Spears). Kops-Jones dispatched a short European lob with a forehand smash-winner. Kops-Jones/Spears won 6-0 6-3 at 16:11 BST (second set 38m, match 57m).


4. Over and out

I went home on Thursday night, because all my favourite players were out of the tournament, and I had a big work deadline looming at the worst possible time in the tennis-calendar.

Therefore, this is my last report from Birmingham 2012. I will be posting my Birmingham 2013 reports and photos over the coming months.

--
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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