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Old Jun 24th, 2013, 06:27 PM   #1249
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Birmingham 2013: Andrew's summary reports

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

I don’t have time to finish my full point-by-point reports or post my photos until after Wimbledon, so for now, here’s a brief summary of each Magda match for which a full report is forthcoming:

1. First round: Melanie South
2. Second round: Mathilde Johansson
3. Third round: Kirsten Flipkens
4. Quarter-final: Madison Keys
5. Semi-final: Donna Vekić

Master-thread for my Birmingham 2013 reports & photos:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=555009


1. First round: Melanie South (Monday 10th June 2013)

+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [16,EF] d. Melanie South [WC], 6-4 6-2

After a bit of a shaky start that saw her facing three break-points at 0:0 *0-1, Magda comfortably saw off the British wild card with a beautiful performance.

Magda is a joy to watch, because all her strokes look as smooth as silk, and she has such a unique flair:
  • She hit her groundstrokes sweetly and with pinpoint precision, as several of her shots clipped the lines with puffs of titanium pigment.
  • She played an all-court game, sometimes serving and volleying, or otherwise going to the net. She hit some delectable drop-volleys.
  • She hit a mixture of two-handed backhands and sliced backhands, even hitting a clean winner with the latter.
Magda also got a loud cheer from the crowd by retrieving a ball that had got stuck behind the board that displays the speed of the last serve.


2. Second round: Mathilde Johansson (Wednesday 12th June 2013)

+ MAGDALENA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [16,EF] d. Mathilde Johansson, 7-5 6-7 (4/7) 6-4

I watched this match from its resumption from the rain-delay at 1:1 *3-2 (having chosen to watch Daniela Hantuchová and Sabine Lisicki’s Centre Court matches before the rain-delay, when I thought that it would be too difficult to get a seat on Court 4).

Magda almost choked against one of the biggest chokers on the WTA tour, as she failed to serve out the match at 1:0 *5-4, and again at 1:1 5-3*. She looked very worried coming out of the rain-delay, but it was Johansson who ended up frustrated: shouting in French and throwing her racket as Magda pegged her back from 1:1 *4-5 30/0 to close out the match in that game, inducing a series of errors with her depth and some sliced backhands.


3. Third round: Kirsten Flipkens (Thursday 13th June 2013)

+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [16,EF] d. KIRSTEN FLIPKENS [1], 7-6 (7/5) 6-2

The top-seeded Flipkens was ripe for the upset, as she was struggling with a knee-injury, and had only just scraped past #155-ranked Ajla Tomljanović 4-6 6-4 7-5 on Wednesday evening.

Magda duly obliged with one of the finest performances of her career that I’ve seen at Birmingham: plenty of winners, big serves, volleys, dropshots, and sliced backhands to mess up Flipkens’s rhythm.

The match was played in the humble setting of Court 1, which was an insult to both the top seed and the former champion, especially as the new Centre Court is so close that everything said by the umpire and the MC can be heard on the outside courts.

Magda does seem to be easily distracted by external noises. At one point, a spectator was talking loudly into his mobile phone; Magda stared at him, prompting the umpire to admonish him.

Magda broke serve in the opening game, and hence served for the first set at *5-4, but Flipkens found her best tennis of the match to break back, and then to earn five set-points on Magda’s serve at *5-6. Magda saved all five with clean winners, despite the distraction of Sorana Cîrstea’s on-court interview booming out across the outside courts as she prepared to face the fifth.

The noise from Centre Court appeared to annoy Magda more than Flipkens, and may have contributed to Magda going 0/4* down in the tiebreak. However, she won six points in a row to reach double set-point, and converted the second.

In the second set, Magda faced two break-points at *2-2 15/40, but saved them both with service-winners. She broke for *4-2 with a dropshot-winner from the baseline, held for 5-2* with four service-winners, and let an erratic Flipkens beat herself in the last game.


4. Quarter-final: Madison Keys (Friday 14th June 2013)

+ MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [16,EF] d. Madison Keys, 6-3 6-0

Sadly, this match was moved to Court 3 after the tournament lost four hours of play to rain, but Magda had a nice, easy win against the young American, who was probably tired after two third-set tiebreaks earlier in the week, and couldn’t handle Magda’s unusual mixture of big serves, big forehands, sliced backhands, dropshots and net-play.

Magda’s only hiccup came when she served for the first set at *5-2, and was distracted when the peg that attaches the bottom of the net to the centre-point of the court came undone. She dropped that service-game, but then won every game left in the match.


5. Semi-final: Donna Vekić (Saturday 15th June 2013)

- MAGDALÉNA RYBÁRIKOVÁ [16,EF] lt. Donna Vekić [DF], 6-7 (5/7) 6-1 3-6

This was a very entertaining match with some great rallies, though it also had two rain-delays (at 0:0 *4-3 and 0:1 *5-1).

Vekić is the best 16-year-old that I’ve seen in a decade – probably since Maria Sharapova in 2003. She has a good serve and big groundstrokes, and also threw in a little bit of variety such as dropshots in this match.

I thought that Magda would unsettle Vekić with her unusual mixture of two-handed and sliced backhands, baseline-play and net-play, but most of the time, it seemed that Magda was trying to match Vekić’s blistering pace with some of her own. Magda’s sliced backhands did little to hurt Vekić, and although Magda did enjoy some success at the net, she struggled to handle the pace of Vekić’s groundstrokes there at other times.

The first set was tight and well-contested; Magda made some crucial errors from 4/4* in the tiebreak.

The match turned on Vekić’s service-game at 1:0 *0-1, where she squandered three game-points, served three double faults, and Magda broke after five deuces – partly thanks to a backhand drop-volley winner.

Magda saved break-points at 0:1 *2-0 15/40 with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner and another crosscourt forehand winner, then stormed through the second set 6-1, hitting several winners as Vekić went off the boil.

At 1:1 0-0* 30/0*, they played an amazing rally in which Magda slipped, hit a forehand while she was still on her knees, but ended up netting a backhand volley. That was perhaps the turning-point, as Vekić came through a tough service-game of two deuces.

At 1:1 *2-3 30/40, they played another amazing rally, in which Vekić hit a testing down-the-line backhand pass off a forehand smash from Magda, who then picked off a marvellous forehand dropshot-winner.

It was all in vain, however, as Vekić still went on to break in that game, and, in due course, to serve for the match at 1:1 *5-3. Magda had a break-back point but hit a crosscourt forehand just wide, and, after two deuces, Vekić sealed victory with a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
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Last edited by andrewbroad : Jun 24th, 2013 at 06:36 PM. Reason: minor correction
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