Andrew's TV-reports (added full Women's Doubles final report) - Page 2 - TennisForum.com
TennisForum.com   Wagerline.com MensTennisForums.com TennisUniverse.com
TennisForum.com is the premier Women's Tennis forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.Please Register - It's Free!
Reply

Old Nov 29th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #16
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Andrew's full second-round TV-report for Chakvetadze v S.Williams

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Second round (Thursday 24th June 2010)
------------

- Anna Chakvetadze [EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 0-6 1-6

I saw this match on BBC television, and have just uploaded my full TV-report – including a detailed point-by-point description, and transcriptions of selected commentary – to my website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/cha...ledon2010.html

I apologise for posting this report much later than I said I would. I've had one thing after another to deal with since Wimbledon, and with a new job starting in December, I am becoming busier and busier.

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 

Old Apr 11th, 2011, 08:13 PM   #17
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full second-round TV-report for Sharapova v Olaru

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay in getting round to this report. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, and my website is no longer online, since Sqweebs closed down its free hosting-service in January. So I’m posting my reports here, at a lower level of detail than originally planned, with the goal of finishing Wimbledon 2010 before Wimbledon 2011 begins.

-----------------------------------------
Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Olaru (Thursday 24th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1 6-4

In the most entertaining match of Wimbledon 2010 so far, Maria dominated Olaru until 6-1 2-0* with her usual display of big serves, huge groundstrokes and drive-volleys, as Olaru struggled to cope with the speed of the grass.

Then Olaru relaxed and played some brilliant tennis: big serves, forehand winners, volley-winners. Maria was in danger of losing control of the match when Olaru broke back for 4-4, but after a tremendous game of three deuces on Olaru’s serve, Maria cranked up the pressure; Olaru double-faulted to give Maria *5-4, and she converted her third of three match-points at 40/0.

Maria embarrassed not only her opponent, but also a couple of line-judges with her successful Hawk-Eye challenges.


First set
---------
OLARU ___*___ 1
SHARA *@*_*@* 6

The match was first on Court One. Maria won the toss and chose to serve. Olaru chose the far side.

Tracy Austin said that no one’s talking about Maria as a Wimbledon 2010 title-contender, but she’s always dangerous with her big serve and big groundstrokes.

The match started at 13:10 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Olaru to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Maria backhand just long. 15/15. Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 30/15. Maria forehand just long. 30/30. Maria netted a forehand off a mildly awkward sliced backhand from Olaru. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner deep into the corner. Tracy Austin: “A couple of safer shots from Maria until she gets the exact one that she wants, then she goes bigger. She got down break-point by going big too soon.” Deuce #1. Olaru netted a forehand. Ad Maria (GP #1). Olaru hit an off-forehand just wide, and used Hawk-Eye to show that it was wide by a hair’s breadth! Olaru smiled as she changed ends. Held.

Olaru serving 0-1: Ace #1: down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/0. Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Olaru, pushed back on her heels, hit a down-the-line backhand into the tramlines. Sam Smith: “Doesn’t have the biggest game, Ioana Raluca Olaru. Would prefer the feel of the red clay under her feet – slower surface. This is a bit quick for her.” 15/30. Maria on the fourth stroke nailed an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria on the fourth stroke hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Olaru. Tracy Austin: “That last serve, 89 mph, is not gonna get the job done. Just not enough pace to disturb Maria Sharapova.” Held.

Olaru is struggling to cope with the speed of the grass.

Tracy Austin: “Olaru’s index-finger is underneath the racket, so it’s really an extreme Western grip.”

Maria serving 2-0: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Maria dominated the rally, forced a short floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Maria on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Olaru’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/30. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. Held.

Olaru serving 0-3: Olaru went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Maria went to the net, forcing Olaru to net a forehand. 30/15. Second serve: Maria nailed a backhand return-winner onto the baseline. 30/30. Maria went to the net, forcing Olaru to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Second-serve ace down the middle: right in the corner! Deuce #1. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand winner just inside the baseline. Ad Maria (BP #2). First serve down the middle – on the centre-line – forced Maria to stretch wide and earth a forehand return. Tracy Austin: “What’s good about the last couple of serves is that they’ve had some nice /slice/ on them, which is so effective on grass.” Deuce #2. Maria hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. Ad Olaru (GP #1). Maria on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand winner. Tracy Austin: “You just can’t afford to hit those shots down the middle of the court with nothing on them. So much pressure on opponents to go for better depth, better angles.” Deuce #3. Deep sliced serve out wide forced Maria to hit a forehand return long. Tracy Austin: “Slice just makes the ball stay down a little bit longer on the grass.” Sam Smith: “It’s a good effort to get some slice with that grip!” Ad Olaru (GP #2). Deep first serve forced Maria to net a backhand. Held.

Olaru is taking a lot of time between points on her serve. The commentators made a big deal of the fact that she has just avoided the double bagel, which she suffered at the fair hands of Victoria Azarenka here last year.

Maria serving 3-1: Ace down the middle. Maria forced Olaru to earth a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Maria’s deep forehand volley down the middle forced Olaru to turn and net a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Olaru’s deep return forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced a short ball, and hit a deep backhand down the line: just inside the baseline, forcing Olaru to earth a forehand. Held.

Olaru serving 1-4: First serve: Maria’s deep down-the-line forehand return forced Olaru to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Maria’s piercing off-forehand forced a short floater from Olaru, which Maria dispatched with an easy crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Maria spread Olaru, her short-angled crosscourt backhand forcing Olaru to hit a one-handed backhand long. Sam Smith: “The young Romanian, who’s only won eight matches this year, is really struggling against the power of Maria Sharapova.” 0/40 (BP #1). Olaru’s high-bouncing crosscourt forehand induced Maria to net a forehand. Tracy Austin: “Looking at the two players’ serves, there’s a massive difference: obviously in the speed, but look at the knee-bend. Olaru doesn’t use any knees or lower body whatsoever, whereas Sharapova /propels/ herself up into the serve.” 15/40 (BP #2). Olaru forced a short ball, but hit a forehand long. She has to pick off the low-hanging fruit, because there’s not much of it around. Held.

Maria serving 5-1: First serve out wide forced Olaru to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Maria went to the net, and hit a delectable crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. She’s won 11 of 11 points at the net so far. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to bunt a forehand long – and Maria was looking to serve and volley. 40/0 (SP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to earth a forehand return. Maria won the first set 6-1 at 13:42 (32m).


Second set
----------
OLARU __*_*_*@__ 4
SHARA @*_*_*__@* 6

Olaru serving 0-0 (new balls): Olaru went to the net, forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful off-forehand punch-volley winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve wide). Olaru wasted a challenge. 15/15. Olaru went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand to the sideline, but Maria anticipated it well, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner that was halfway between being a passing-shot and being a lob. 15/30. Maria went to the net and hit a beautiful backhand drop-volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria’s forehand winner down the line was called long, but Maria embarrassed the line-judge with a Hawk-Eye challenge that showed that it was a couple of inches inside the baseline! Olaru argued that Hawk-Eye had picked up the wrong shot. The umpire awarded the point to Maria without a replay.

Tracy Austin: “Maria looks in good shape. She looks fit; she’s moving well; striking the ball cleanly. She hits the ball so /flat/, so when it moves through the grass, it’s tough to track down.”

Maria serving 1-0: Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Maria’s deep forehand down the line forced a floater, which she dispatched with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle: 110 mph, on the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Huge first serve down the middle forced Olaru to lunge wide and earth a forehand return. Held.

Olaru serving 0-2: First serve down the middle induced Maria to hit a backhand return wide. 15/0. Body-jamming serve induced Maria to net a forehand return. Sam Smith: “Feeding on the scraps now, the Romanian.” 30/0. Olaru’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Maria to hit a backhand long. Tracy Austin: “Just a little /too/ flat there.” 40/0 (GP #1). Maria embarrassed another line-judge with a challenge that showed that Olaru’s first serve was a couple of inches long. Second serve: Maria dumped a cheap forehand return into the net. Held.

Maria serving 2-1: Double fault #2 (second serve long). 0/15. Olaru’s deep crosscourt forehand caught Maria standing too far in, forcing her to net a forehand. 0/30. Deep first serve out wide forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/30. Maria forehand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Deep second serve forced Olaru to bunt a forehand just wide – a leave that would have embarrassed Maria, had it just dropped in. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve down the middle forced Olaru to chop a forehand return very long. Deuce #1. Olaru chipped a deep forehand return just inside the baseline, forcing Maria to hit a forehand long. Tracy Austin: “I consider that an unforced error. Yes, she was pushed back, it was deep, but it wasn’t that hard. She certainly should have been able to get that ball back in.” Ad Olaru (BP #1). Second-serve ace down the middle: on the service-line. Deuce #2. Second serve: Olaru hit a makeable forehand return long. Ad Maria (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to bunt a forehand lob-return wide. Held.

Tracy Austin thinks Maria hits the ball 30–40% harder than Olaru. She also observed that Maria had abandoned her habit of tucking two strands of hair behind her ears before every serve.

Olaru serving 1-3: Olaru went to the net, drove Maria way outside the tramlines with a short-angled crosscourt backhand, and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Big first serve forced a short return, which Olaru dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 30/0. Virtual ace down the middle (Maria just clipped it with her racket). 40/0 (GP #1). First serve forced a floater, but Olaru tried to hit a backhand volley from just inside the baseline, putting it wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Olaru opened up the court and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

A brilliant game by Olaru – much better than anything she had shown previously in this match! There was a nice close-up of Olaru’s shirt hiking up to show her belly-button as she served. Is this the start of a fightback?

Maria serving 3-2: Maria went to the net and hit a backhand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to chop a forehand return into the net. 30/0. Olaru forced a floater, and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 30/15. Olaru forced a short floater by the sideline, but dumped a horrendous crosscourt backhand into the net. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Held.

Olaru serving 2-4: Maria on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand return. 30/0. Deep, body-jamming second serve forced a short return, which Olaru dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 40/30 (GP #3). Olaru finally got the time-violation that had been coming throughout this match. She looked annoyed, but opened up the court and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Time-violations are counted separately from code-violations (such as swearing or breaking a racket) in terms of the second violation bringing a point-penalty.

Maria serving 4-3: Maria forced a short ball and hit an easy forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot but netted a forehand. 15/15. Olaru chopped a forehand return just long. Tracy Austin: “Not feeling that she has time for a bigger swing.” 30/15. Olaru’s off-forehand forced Maria to net a backhand. 30/30. Second serve: Olaru netted a cheap off-backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Olaru hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Maria to hit a forehand long. Deuce #1. Maria’s crosscourt backhand was called wide, and her Hawk-Eye challenge confirmed it. Ad Olaru (BP #1). Olaru forced a short ball, and hit an off-forehand winner. Broken.

For the first time in the match, I’m starting to worry about Maria’s chances of reaching the third round for the first time since 2007. Olaru is playing much better since going a set and a break down, and could be a threat if she can maintain this form.

Tracy Austin: “Olaru really seems to be handling the /pace/ now. She’s adjusted to the ball coming to her quicker. Quicker backswing, staying down better.”

Olaru serving 4-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to earth a backhand return. 15/0. Big first serve down the middle – just inside the centre-line – forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Maria hit a deep backhand down the middle, plumb on the baseline, forcing Olaru to bunt an off-backhand wide. 30/15. Maria hit an off-forehand return deep into the corner, forcing Olaru to net a backhand. Maria said “c’mon”. 30/30. Big first serve down the middle forced Maria to stretch wide and net a backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a down-the-line backhand drive-volley winner. Deuce #1. Olaru dumped a forehand halfway up the net, and doubled over in frustration. Sam Smith: “Sharapova cranking up the pressure here.” Ad Maria (BP #1). Deep second serve forced a slow forehand return that sat up nicely for Olaru to hit a forehand winner down the line. Tracy Austin: “It’s really amazing Maria’s not reading that one up the ‘T’ on the Ad-side a little bit better. Olaru really prefers that serve: it’s the one that she feels more comfortable going to, especially under pressure.” Deuce #2. Maria dominated the rally, forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Ad Maria (BP #2). Maria hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Deuce #3. Olaru, stretched, hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Double fault #3 (second serve wide of the centre-line). Broken.

Huge serving from Olaru at the start of that game, but Maria showed once again that she is mistress of the decisive moments, and it’s a shame that the best – and key – game of the match ended on a double fault.

Maria serving 5-4 (new balls): Ace #6: first serve out wide. 15/0. Heavy second serve induced Olaru to mishit a backhand return short and weak; Maria dispatched it with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to hit a forehand return long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Olaru hit a deep backhand return just inside the baseline, inducing Maria to hit an off-forehand wide. 40/15 (MP #2 for Maria). Olaru’s crosscourt forehand induced Maria to net a makeable forehand. 40/30 (MP #3 for Maria). A short second serve induced Olaru to hit a backhand return long. Maria won 6-1 6-4 at 14:34 BST (second set 51m, match 1h24m).

Sam Smith: “For most of that match, she looked utterly convincing.”
Tracy Austin: “It’s good for Maria to be tested. Daniela Hantuchová in the next round would be a notch up from Olaru.”


Maria’s first BBC interview
---------------------------

This interview took place immediately after Maria left the court. She was still wearing her sun-visor, and glistening with sweat.

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Congratulations, Maria. The first set a breathe [sic]. How hard was it to adjust to the fight in the second set.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, it was definitely a challenge, and she stepped it up and started playing really well, and er, you know, I’m just happy that I was able to close it off. You know, definitely made a few errors, er, you know, in the second set that er, you know, I shouldn’t, shouldn’t really make, but erm, I’m happy that I got through.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Is there anything missing from your game for you to really go on and challenge for this title?”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, just got to keep being aggressive, and you know, look to come in and, you know, in the second set, I just became a little bit more tentative, and erm, you know, wasn’t going, er... my shots weren’t going through the court as much as I would like them to, but erm, but it got better.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “You’ve come back from this really bad shoulder-injury. What perspective has that given you on your tennis, Maria?”

Maria Sharapova: “Well, it’s just... it’s a thrill to be back, and, you know, last year on this day, I was going back home, er, you know, I lost in the second round, so, you know, I was definitely thinking about that in the last game. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going home, you know. I’m here to contend; I’m here to win the tournament.’ So erm, you know, I was happy to get through.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Congratulations.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you.”


Maria’s second BBC interview
----------------------------

By this time, Maria had showered and changed into a stripy blue T-shirt that went nicely with the bright blue wall behind her.

Rishi Persad: “But Maria, watching the match, it seemed a different approach in the two sets: first set quite aggressive, second set less so.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, and I think that’s why she got back in the match, and erm, was able to come back. I really gave her that opening, and erm, you know, she, she broke me, and I was fortunate to get a break back and, erm, and close out the match.”

Rishi Persad: “I suppose you have to be glad to be through to the third round after the last couple of Wimbledon tournaments that you’ve played in.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, I am. I’m really thrilled, and erm, last year I was packing my bags at this time, so erm, I was really aware of that, and erm, was fortunate to get that win today, and erm, give myself an opportunity to play another match.”

Rishi Persad: “What do you think the difference is between Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon /this/ year compared to last year?”

Maria Sharapova: “Erm, to be honest, last year I was really trying to get my feet on the ground, and see where I was, erm, physically and mentally. I’d been out of the game for so long, and erm, you know, coming back, just trying to see if my shoulder can handle many matches, where my game was, and it was... it just depended day by day how I was feeling, and erm, this year’s definitely different, and I’ve been fortunate to play many matches in the last few weeks, erm, which has been good, and erm, you know, coming here, playing well.”

Rishi Persad: “Well done today. By the way, has there been much chat about the Queen’s presence here in the locker-room?”

Maria Sharapova: “Erm, I haven’t heard too much, because I was getting ready for my match, but erm, it seemed like a few players got to meet her, which is wonderful, and erm, I think it’s great. It’s been, I believe, 33 years since she’s been here, and for her to be part of, you know, Wimbledon’s tradition. When you think of Wimbledon and you think of what it means to us, and of the tradition that’s behind the tournament, erm, you really think of royalty, and to see her here is wonderful.”

Rishi Persad: “And, final question: what do you make of what’s happening on Court 18 between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner?”

Maria Sharapova: “Oh... to be honest, I’d be checking myself into the local hospital right now! <laughing> Erm, it’s incredible. Erm, it really... it’s really great for the game, and to see them – just to know that they still have to go back out there and finish the match, and they still have six more to go if they want to win the tournament, is pretty surreal, and erm, I mean, I feel for them and their bodies, but what they’ve done is really heroic.”

Rishi Persad: “Well thank you very much for talking to us.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank...”

Rishi Persad: “Best of luck for the rest of the tournament.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you.”


Articles
--------

Ruthless Serena into third round (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8759063.stm
>>>
Maria Sharapova reached the third round with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win over Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania.

The Russian 16th seed and 2004 champion breezed through the first set, but Olaru made the second more of a battle.

She broke back in the eighth game to level the set, but handed the advantage back to the Russian in the following game with a double fault.

Sharapova will play Czech Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová in the third round.

Záhlavová Strýcová dropped the first set against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchová before battling back to beat the 24th seed 1-6 6-2 6-4.

She will face an increasingly confident Sharapova, who is returning to something like her old form after a long-term shoulder-injury.

“I made some errors, but I’m happy that I made it through,” Sharapova said after her second-round win.

“I’ve got to keep being aggressive. In the second set, I was bit tentative, but it got better. It’s a thrill to be back. Last year, I lost in the second round, and I was thinking about that, and there’s no way I was going home. I’m here to contend, and I’m here to win the tournament.”
<<<

Steady progress for Sharapova [skytext 480->482]
>>>
Maria Sharapova is safely into the third round of Wimbledon after a straight-sets victory over Romania’s Ioana Raluca Olaru on Number One court.

The No.16 seed – the Ladies’ champion in 2004 – won 6-1 6-4 to set up a clash with Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, who beat Daniela Hantuchová.

Sharapova made short work of the first set, but faced stiffer resistance in the second, with her unseeded opponent breaking the Russian in the eighth game.

However, Olaru handed the initiative straight back in the next game, dropping her serve with a double fault.

The break enabled Sharapova to serve out the match and stay on course for a fourth-round meeting with defending champion Serena Williams.

Sharapova, 23, said: “It was definitely a challenge, and she stepped it up. I’m happy I was able to close it off.

“I made some errors, but I’m happy that I made it through. I’ve got to keep being aggressive. In the second, I was a bit tentative, but it got better. It’s a thrill to be back.”
<<<

Sharapova Shakes Wimbledon Jinx (www.wtatour.com)
>>>
Having fallen in the same round the last two years, Maria Sharapova snapped a Wimbledon second-round jinx on Thursday, defeating young Romanian Ioana Raluca Olaru in straight sets: 6-1 6-4.

With her power game in full flow – she hit 29 winners in the match – Sharapova, the champion at The Championships in 2004 and this year’s No.16 seed, made quick work of the 21-year-old Olaru, whose imperfect record against top-20 players stretched to 0:14 – winning only one set in those 14 matches.

“I kind of backed up and let her back in the match,” said Sharapova, who gave a break back in the second set before closing it out. “I knew that coming into this match that last year I was on the plane the next day. I really thought about it, especially toward the end of the match. So I was really excited to get through.”

Sharapova had been stopped in the second round here in 2008 (by Alla Kudryavtseva) and 2009 (by Gisela Dulko). Before those last two losses, she had never lost in the first week of the grass court Major.

Two major storylines emerged over the last 24 hours or so: the Queen’s visit to the All-England Club, and the marathon men’s match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. Sharapova was asked about both of them in press.

“It’s wonderful and great for our sport [that] she was able to take some time from her really busy schedule and be a part of Wimbledon,” Sharapova said of Queen Elizabeth II, who was visiting the tournament for the first time in 33 years, and just the fourth time overall. “To see her here supporting the tournament was great. I didn’t get an opportunity to meet her – I had a match to play – but I’m sure I’ll see highlights of her watching the match. It will be pretty cool to see.”

And on the Mahut v Isner drama, which picked up at 2:2 59-59 on Thursday? “It’s amazing what they’ve done,” the 23-year-old said. “They’ve created some crazy news around the world, which is great for the sport. Even for people who don’t have any interest in tennis, they read about it and see how amazing it is. It’s heroic. I’d be checking myself into the local hospital.”
<<<

Injury-free Sharapova bounces back (Vicki Hodges, The Daily Telegraph – UK)
>>>
[The Siberian is fit again, and set to break the Williams sisters’ stronghold]

Maria Sharapova lingered on Court One for a brief moment longer than usual. Blowing her customary kisses to every corner, savouring the adulation and occasion as if it was her first time on a Wimbledon show-court.

In fact, it was Serena Williams who was shunned by the All England Lawn Club, scheduled third on Court Two for her second-round contest against Anna Chakvetadze.

If the reigning champion and world No.1, who needed just 49 minutes on Thursday night to dispatch a player ranked No.5 in the world just three years ago 6-0, 6-1, felt aggrieved, she did not show it.

A date in front of the Queen on Centre would have been special, but Williams has received her fair share of affection from SW19’s masses down the years. The timing of her match at least enabled her to execute her much-rehearsed curtsey in a figure-hugging white dress and tailored jacket in front of Her Majesty at lunch.

No, this was Sharapova’s chance to shine again on the big stage, and didn’t it feel good.

The Siberian’s straightforward 6-1 6-4 win over the unseeded Ioana Raluca Olaru saw her advance past the second round in west London for the first time since 2007.

Sharapova had not long returned from a nine-month lay-off following shoulder-surgery when she lost to Gisela Dulka last year. The 23-year-old also suffered her earliest exit at a Major when 154th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva shot her down in straight sets in 2008.

Sharapova used to be known for her style and good looks; now she is shackled by talk of her right shoulder.

“We’re professional athletes. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Everything feels perfect.’ Maybe when we’re very young,” Sharapova said.

“But at this point in our careers, when we play tennis on a daily basis, we practise, we play matches, it’s impossible to feel fit. That’s the way it goes.”

An injury-free Sharapova has underlined her credentials to break the Williams sisters’ stronghold at Wimbledon again.

Sharapova who powered her way past Serena Williams for her first Major and Wimbledon title, is potentially one win away – against Czechia’s Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová – from setting up a repeat of the 2004 final – a scenario that seemed a long way off 12 months ago for the 16th seed, who has averaged a Major win every two years since her maiden success.

“I knew coming into this match that last year I was on the plane the next day after I lost,” Sharapova said. “I really thought about it, especially towards the end of the match.”

That could explain the only stumble she encountered against Olaru, her serve broken in the eighth game of the second set before putting the seal on a dominant display.

“As far as physically and fitness-wise [sic], I feel really good,” Sharapova added. “It feels a lot better than I did last year when I was sitting here.”

Serena Williams can sympathise with Sharapova’s injury-troubles. The American sat out three months of the season with a knee-injury after winning the Australian Open in January.

It was not all bad. Williams utilised the time to hone her manicure-skills at “nail-school”. Sharapova, meanwhile – the world’s highest-earning sportswoman – spent her time away from the courts getting richer, spreading her ‘Maria Inc.’ brand worldwide.

“I’ve set myself up well for things I can do after my tennis-career. But that never really crossed my mind. I was always gearing up to get back.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with different people in different industries that have made my life interesting, fun and creative.”

The fun and games can wait. Sharapova, for now, is just relieved to get back to her day-job.
<<<

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 23rd, 2011, 02:08 PM   #18
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full Mixed Doubles first-round TV-report for Zvonarëva/Sa v Robson/J. Murray

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay in getting round to my full TV-reports on Vera’s Wimbledon 2010 campaign. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, and my website is no longer online, since Sqweebs closed down its free hosting-service in January. So I’m posting my reports here, at a lower level of detail than originally planned, with the goal of finishing Wimbledon 2010 before Wimbledon 2011 begins.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Mixed Doubles: First-round TV-report: Zvonarëva/Sa v Robson/J. Murray (Friday 25th June 2010)
---------------------------------------------------------------------

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Andre Sa d. Laura Robson [DF]/Jamie Murray, 6-3 6-3

An entertaining doubles-match, played at the breakneck pace of a James Bond film – no lengthy discussions between points for these four!

Vera showed the kind of brilliance that made her a Mixed Doubles champion at Wimbledon 2006 (with Andy Ram): big forehand drives, backhand winners down the line, numerous punch-volley winners, a couple of drop-volley winners, dipping passing-shots, and a winning lob. Such was their confidence in her that she received serve in the ad-court! And she looked very fetching in a bare-shouldered top!

Vera seems to have chosen a good partner: Sa served well (there were no breaks against Vera/Sa in the match), and hit some blinding volleys. I think they have what it takes to win Vera’s second Wimbledon title!

16-year-old Robson played well, but was let down by an erratic partner in Jamie Murray, who was broken in the last game of the first set (Vera/Sa were already up a break from Robson’s first service-game), and suffered the only break of the second set.

Jamie Murray is no longer the force that won the Wimbledon 2007 Mixed Doubles (with Jelena Janković), so Robson would do well to choose a better partner next time. She reached the Hopman Cup final with Jamie’s brother Andy, but I don’t suppose Andy would be up for playing Mixed Doubles at the Majors.

The only moment of concern for Vera came when she was serving at 6-3 *4-2 (40/0), but lost four points in a row to give the Britons a BP. Had they converted it, the momentum could have swung in their favour.


First set
---------
ZV/SA _*@*_*_*@ 6
MU/RO *___*_*__ 3

The match was dynamically scheduled fourth on Centre Court, and started at 19:01 BST.

Both Robson and Murray are left-handed. Robson received in the deuce-court, which is normal for the woman in Mixed Doubles, while Vera received in the ad-court, which is a very bold statement!

Murray serving 0-0: Robson hit a forehand smash-winner (Vera tried jumping for it at the back of the court). Service-winner. Held.

Sa serving 0-1: Double fault (second serve wide). 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to hit a backhand lob long. 15/15. A net-rally ended with Vera hitting a backhand volley wide, and there was a nice smile on Robson’s face. 15/30. A dipping return forced Sa to net a backhand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace down the middle. 30/40 (BP #2). Sa on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand half-volley winner. Deuce #1. Deep second serve out wide forced Robson to net a backhand return. Ad Sa (GP #1). A deep ball forced Sa to hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Vera on the third stroke hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner down the middle off Robson’s return. Virginia Wade: “Pace does not worry Zvonarëva.” Ad Sa. Sa’s off-forehand volley forced Murray to run outside the tramlines and net a left-handed forehand.

Robson serving 1-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Sa to bunt a backhand return long. 15/0. A deep ball induced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Murray intercepted Sa’s return to hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Murray hit a wonderful short-angled crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera bisected the Britons with a “really clever” forehand volley to force a floater from Robson, on which Sa pounced to hit a forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera’s down-the-line backhand return forced a short backhand volley from Murray, which Sa dispatched with a sliced off-backhand pass-winner back behind Murray. Deuce #1. Vera cut off Robson’s crosscourt backhand to hit a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle. Ad Vera/Sa (BP #1). Vera nailed a huge forehand winner down the Britons’ right sideline. Broken.

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva has had a couple of hiccups in her career, and each time, it’s been the Mixed Doubles that has sorted it out. She won the Mixed Doubles here in 2006 with Ram when she was on the crest of a slump, and a couple of years earlier won the US Open with Bob Bryan, and that lifted her. Her career has been up and down. She’s an emotional young lady.”
Virginia Wade: “There were those couple of years for Zvonarëva when she had been playing really well, and then she would get so upset on the court. We all remember a match she played on the stadium of the US Open, where she was a set and a break up, but when she sat at the changeover, she was crying into her towel, and went on to lose that match. In the last couple of years, she has calmed right down and played so well, and then she had a terrible injury last year in April.”

Vera serving 2-1: Robson hit an off-forehand wide off a deep ball. 15/0. Murray went to the net, but Vera hit a dipping crosscourt backhand to his feet, forcing him to net a backhand half-volley. 30/0. Murray hit a crosscourt forehand straight into Sa’s body, forcing him into error. 30/15. Murray hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 30/30. Murray, running wide at the net, netted a backhand volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray backhand return just long. Held.

Murray serving 1-3: Vera at the net hit an awkward low backhand volley wide. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand return. 30/0. Murray tried to serve and volley, but Sa’s dipping crosscourt forehand return forced him to net a backhand volley. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide: Vera hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner past Robson at the net. 30/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Sa to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Sa serving 3-2: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Sa’s deep forehand volley forced Murray to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: 115 mph, on the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve long). Deep serve out wide forced Robson to hit a backhand return wide.

Robson serving 2-4: Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Robson dominated the point and hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Vera hit a beautiful crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. 30/15. Vera hit a down-the-line backhand return winner. 30/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to hit a forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Murray went to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. Held.

Simon Reed: “Robson looks born for the big stage. Her temperament is very good.”

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): Sa hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Murray backhand return long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to hit a backhand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep service-winner out wide. Held.

Murray serving 3-5: Murray on the third stroke netted a forehand volley off a dipping return. 0/15. Vera hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 0/30. Murray on the third stroke netted a backhand volley. 0/40 (GP #1 for Vera/Sa). Robson’s forehand smash forced a floater that sat up nicely for Murray to... net a forehand smash. Held. Vera/Sa won the first set 6-3 at 19:33 BST (31m).

Vera is playing brilliantly – even the commentators admit that she is the best player on the court right now. Robson is playing well, but is being let down by an erratic partner.


Second set
----------
ZV/SA *@*_*_*_* 6
RO/MU ___*_*_*_ 3

Sa serving 0-0: Deep, body-jamming first serve forced Robson to net a backhand return, but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed that it was just long. Sa’s deep crosscourt forehand volley forced Robson to hit a backhand lob wide. 15/0. Sa forced Murray to hit a backhand lob long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to net a forehand return. Held.

Murray serving 0-1: Vera’s depth forced Murray to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Murray crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Sa’s dipping forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/30. Robson left a lob from Vera that landed just inside the baseline for a winner! 15/40 (BP #1). Sa hit a stinging forehand return-winner down the line. Broken.

Vera serving 2-0: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. Murray hit a deep backhand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Ace out wide. 15/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Murray to hit a forehand long. 30/30. Murray at the net overran Vera’s crosscourt forehand, netting a forehand pass. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve out wide induced Murray to net a forehand return. Held

Well recovered from 0/30!

Robson serving 0-3: A great rally ended with Robson hitting a crosscourt forehand virtual winner past Vera. 15/0. The Britons wasted a challenge on a serve that was way wide. Murray, driven into the tramlines, hit a backhand long. 15/15. Robson’s off-forehand induced Sa to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Murray on the third stroke tipped a backhand drop-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Murray dispatched a floater with a forehand smash-winner. Held.

Sa serving 3-1: Ace out wide. 15/0. Murray dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera’s crosscourt backhand drop-volley forced Murray to hit a running forehand long. Held.

It’s great to see Vera laughing with her partner at the changeover. Virginia Wade described her as usually “businesslike” and shy.

Murray serving 1-4: Robson on the third stroke hit a crisp off-backhand punch-volley winner. 0/15. Murray ran down a short floater and hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 30/0. Murray hit a backhand virtual winner past Vera. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace out wide. Vera and Sa wasted a challenge. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: First serve out wide forced a short return that sat up nicely for Sa to hit a forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Robson netted a forehand volley. Simon Reed: “Normally, she has very quick hands.” 30/0. Sa on the third stroke hit a backhand volley-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Murray’s deep off-backhand return forced Vera to earth a backhand. 40/15 (GP #2). Murray intercepted Vera’s crosscourt forehand and hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #3). Murray hit a error-forcing forehand return down the middle. Deuce #1. Robson’s deep crosscourt backhand return induced Vera to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Murray (BP #1). Sa pounced on a floating return to hit a backhand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner. Ad Vera (GP #4). First serve out wide + Sa crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Robson serving 2-5 (new balls): Robson netted a backhand three strokes after Vera hit a lovely acute-angled crosscourt backhand volley. 0/15. Serve + Murray forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Sa to net a forehand return. 30/15. Murray intercepted Vera’s crosscourt backhand to hit a sharp forehand volley-winner down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Murray hit an off-forehand volley-winner. Held.

Sa serving 5-3: Deep ace out wide. 15/0. Murray’s dipping crosscourt forehand pass forced Sa to net an awkward low backhand volley. 15/15. Deep second serve induced Robson to hit a forehand return wide. 30/15. Vera’s off-backhand into Robson’s body forced her to net a backhand volley. Vera apologised to her. Ace out wide. Vera/Sa won 6-3 6-3 at 20:03 BST (second set 29m, match 1h01m).

Virginia Wade: “Vera Zvonarëva was really the outstanding player there. She was absolutely superb. It’s not as if Andre Sa let her down in any way at all: he was sharp and good and quick. Zvonarëva is still in all three events, so she’s having a super Wimbledon. She has tremendous instinct in singles and doubles.”


Article
-------

Robson’s sights on junior crown after doubles exit (Sandy Macaskill, The Daily Telegraph – UK)
>>>
“Body is in pieces but the mind is strong – keep the dream alive,” Jamie Murray proclaimed on Twitter on Friday, before he and Laura Robson took to a Centre Court finally sheathed in shadow for the first round of their Mixed Doubles.

Pretty stirring stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Sadly, Andre Sa and Vera Zvonarëva are not followers of his social networking site – or, if they are, they are not that easily swayed – for they killed the dream stone-dead on Friday night.

Robson had already departed the first round of the ladies’ doubles the day before, while Murray had gone out of the men’s – he and his partner Jonny Marray put up quite a fight, going down in five sets to Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjić, the decider lasting 28 games (is that all?).

But this performance confirmed what his post had revealed, that the match had taken its toll. The British pair was thrashed in straight sets: 6-3 6-3.

At least, perhaps, it will be a relief to Kathy Robson. Her daughter might still have a hankering for Marat Safin, but let’s not forget, Murray has previous with his Mixed Doubles partners.

He famously whittled away the hours en route to winning the title back in 2007 by flirting happily with his partner Jelena Janković, until – rumour has it – her mother warned him away.

Of course, in reality, this partnership was never going to be like that, the 16-year-old Robson grinning at Murray like he was her older brother as they emerged on court, Murray loping in that curious way of his, Robson bounding alongside. Even so, the chemistry was off.

Sure, there were the high-fives between every point, the whispered strategy behind mouths obscured by a ball, but none of the instinctive communication successful doubles-pairings need.

Going for the same volleys, not knowing who was going forward and who back, or side to side, for that matter. Pretty basic stuff. Murray didn’t even let the lady leave court first.

The signs were ominous from the off. For starters, it took five minutes for Murray, sporting a crew-cut that a Marine would be proud of, to hold the first service-game of the match.

Robson was clearly nervous, at one point patting a dreadful volley into the net after Zvonarëva chased down a delightfully angled drop-shot from Murray, a point that should never have been lost.

Then they were unable to break, even though Sa was serving so slowly that his first effort rarely topped out at over 115 mph. No need for him to lighten up when it was Robson’s turn to face, then.

The first set disappeared in the blink of an eye, the second even faster. Robson’s serve was broken as Zvonarëva, drawing a bead on her opponent’s serve, whipped a forehand return down the line for a *2-1 lead in the first set.

From there, it was all downhill for their opponents, the Brazilian and Russian taking the match in a minute over the hour.

<snip>
<<<

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 24th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #19
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full third-round TV-report for Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================------------------------------------
Third-round TV-report: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová (Saturday 26th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, 7-5 6-3

This was a fascinating match, as Záhlavová Strýcová is one of the most emotional and extreme tactical players I’ve ever seen. She mixed up the pace, depth and spins of her shots, and put Maria in all sorts of awkward positions. Záhlavová Strýcová hit numerous dropshots until Maria started reading them, and gave Maria a lot of trouble with dipping passing-shots.

It was an unconvincing performance by Maria, and the way her forehand broke down in this match is serious cause for concern ahead of her next match against Serena Williams, although the challenge that Záhlavová Strýcová presented was completely different to the one that Williams will present.

Ultimately, Maria had too much firepower for Záhlavová Strýcová, whose emotions got in the way at the decisive moments: not least at *5-6 (15/30), when she threw a wobbler when her first serve was called wide, then double-faulted to go SP×2 down.

Maria’s so much better conditioned to handle these pressure-cooker situations, so although she continued to struggle in the second set, the outcome was never in doubt after the aforementioned double fault.

There was an interesting subplot with Hawk-Eye challenges in this match. Maria made several correct challenges in this match: Záhlavová Strýcová got annoyed that Maria was making these challenges, while Maria was annoyed that she had to make these challenges, as the resulting overrules often meant having to replay a point that she would have won already but for a bad call. Záhlavová Strýcová, on the other hand, ran out of challenges in both sets.

Maria’s grunting was exceptionally loud in this match. Perhaps it was just because she had to work really hard to win points, but BBC commentator Simon Reed suggested that she was deliberately raising the volume because she could see that Záhlavová Strýcová was getting upset about it.

Maria made a very bad start to the match, playing a terrible service-game to be broken straight away. She broke straight back courtesy of two double faults, but was broken again for 1-2* as Záhlavová Strýcová mixed power with numerous dropshots, and retrieved very well: making Maria feel a need to hit very close to the lines.

Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner and a crosscourt backhand winner as she broke back for *2-2, then scored the first hold of the match for 3-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová came through a tough service-game to hold for 3-3*, then Maria started to read Záhlavová Strýcová’s dropshots, hitting winners off two of them as she held for 4-3*. Záhlavová Strýcová tried to convince the umpire that Maria had touched the net after running down a dropshot.

Maria saved BP at *4-4 (30/40) before coming through a two-deuce service-game to hold to 5-4*. Then they played a mammoth-game of three deuces on Záhlavová Strýcová’s serve: she saved two SPs bravely, going to the net both times.

Maria held to love for 6-5*, reached 40/15* on a double fault as I have already mentioned, and took the first set 7-5 when Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a forehand halfway up the net (and threw her racket).

Záhlavová Strýcová’s body-language looked positive when she broke for 5-7 *1-0, but that soon changed when Maria made yet another successful challenge, and broke back for *1-1. The next three games went with serve: *3-2.

They played a five-deuce marathon, with Maria needing 6 BPs to break for *4-2 – sealed with a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. Maria then came through a four-deuce service-game, saving a BP before holding for 5-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová looked very positive as she held to love for 3-5*, but Maria then served out the match to love – sealed with a pinpoint ace down the middle.


First set
---------
SHARAPOVA _@_@*_*_*_*@ 7
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @_@__*_*_*__ 5

The match was second on Court One, and started at 15:22 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Maria’s forehand clipped the netcord and sat up nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 0/30. Maria on the third stroke hit a wild off-forehand wide. 0/40 (BP #1). Maria went to the net, and did well to leave Záhlavová Strýcová’s forehand pass down the middle, which was just long. It could so easily have clipped Maria’s racket. 15/40 (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and shouted “c’mon”. Broken.

A very bad start for Maria, and already her chances of beating Serena Williams on Monday are diminishing.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-1: Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a cheap forehand long. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 15/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria dumping a horrendous forehand into the net. 30/15. Maria, her grunt rising in pitch, hit an off-forehand winner into the corner. 30/30. Maria hit a pinpoint forehand down the line, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Tracy Austin said that Maria’s lay-off with an elbow-injury earlier this year was devastating to her emotionally.

Tracy Austin: “Záhlavová Strýcová is a feisty competitor. She’s very quick about the court, will get a lot of balls back in play.”
Simon Reed: “Apparently she has to warm her serve up longer and longer in this comeback.”

Some very heavy breathing could be heard in the BBC’s coverage. It turned out that a ball-boy was crouching right by the effects-microphone. It’s hard work being a ball-person!

Maria serving 1-1: Maria on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová drew Maria to the net with a dropshot, but Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand lob long. 30/30. Maria forced a short ball, but hit a laserlike off-forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová’s forehand dropshot forced Maria to net a forehand. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová dominated the point with a good return + deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Maria to net a backhand. Broken.

Maria is struggling to overpower Záhlavová Strýcová, who retrieves very well, and mixes it up with a lot of dropshots as well as power. She’s making Maria feel that Maria has to hit a very close to the lines. I’m beginning to understand how Záhlavová Strýcová beat Daniela Hantuchová in the previous round.

Simon Reed: “Confidence is elusive, but Záhlavová Strýcová seems to have it now, despite having a terrible year.”

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-1: Maria forced a short ball, but dumped an off-backhand into the net. 15/0. Maria’s deep return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand return. 15/15. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a forehand. 15/30. A meaty rally ended with Maria taking out her frustration with a high crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria dumped a forehand into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Deep body-jamming serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

Maria serving 2-2: Záhlavová Strýcová mishit a crosscourt backhand just wide, and yelled in frustration. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová forehand long. 30/0. Serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

And that, incredibly, was the first hold of the match. Maria’s going to have to hold serve much more reliably if she is to have any chance against Serena Williams, who has looked almost invincible on serve in her first three rounds.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a pinpoint forehand down the line, but Maria challenged and showed that it was wide by about 2% of the breadth of the sideline. 0/15. Maria ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand. 15/15. Second serve: forehand return long. 30/15. Deep serve out wide: Maria nailed a deep backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide (she said “late” just after hitting it). 40/30 (GP #1). In a long baseline rally, Záhlavová Strýcová mixed up the depth and spins on her shots, but netted a crosscourt backhand. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Maria ran down a short-angled crosscourt forehand and hit a forehand winner down the line. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová’s short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Maria to net a forehand. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Maria hit a wild forehand long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová is mixing up the pace, depth and spins of her shots extremely well, and Maria is getting very frustrated.

Maria serving 3-3: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a short down-the-line forehand just wide. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot, hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and Záhlavová Strýcová tried to convince the umpire that Maria had touched the net, which she very nearly did: when Maria’s winner bounced for the second time, she was standing on tiptoes with her racket-arm stretched over the net, but no part of Maria or her racket was actually touching the net. 30/0. Maria hit a deep crosscourt forehand onto the baseline, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to mishit a forehand just wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria ran down a dropshot and hit an off-backhand winner. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová’s becoming too predictable with her dropshots now. She’s going to have to use them much more sparingly from now on.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 3-4 (new balls): Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a forehand into the net, and muttered that she was distracted by Maria’s screaming. 0/15. Maria hit a backhand long. 15/15. Maria forced a floater, but didn’t close into the net, and netted a backhand volley. 30/15. Maria’s backhand was called long, but she called upon Hawk-Eye to show that it was good, so they had to replay the point. With a loud shriek, Maria hit a blazing backhand winner onto the baseline, and Záhlavová Strýcová challenged in vain. Záhlavová Strýcová is getting very emotional. 30/30. Maria went to the net, but Záhlavová Strýcová’s dipping crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand half-volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide induced Maria to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Maria serving 4-4: Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Maria to spray a forehand long. 0/15. Maria went to the net and hit a backhand volley-winner onto the sideline. Záhlavová Strýcová smiled, and shouted “why?” The luck does seem to be going with Maria at the moment. 15/15. Maria hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline, and Záhlavová Strýcová bent over in frustration, but sensibly didn’t risk her last challenge. 30/15. Maria’s first serve clipped the netcord and landed on the service-line, but was called long. She made a successful challenge to show that it clipped that line, and so she got another first serve. Maria netted a forehand. 30/30. Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria’s crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand long. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a forehand, threw her racket, and muttered. Ad Maria (GP #1). Maria hit a down-the-line forehand would-be winner just wide. Deuce #2. Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Ad Maria (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a backhand long. Held.

Maria’s grunting is exceptionally loud now – even for her. Simon Reed suggested that she was deliberately upping the volume because she can see that Záhlavová Strýcová is getting upset about it (and a lot of other things). There’s a real personality-clash in this match, which makes for an entertaining subplot.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 4-5: Záhlavová Strýcová crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Záhlavová Strýcová tried to serve and volley, but didn’t get to the net quickly enough for Maria’s short, dipping return, and so she dumped a short-angled crosscourt backhand volley into the net. 30/30. Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner, but Záhlavová Strýcová ran it down and hit a backhand pass just out of Maria’s reach, forcing her to net a forehand volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria’s depth forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a backhand long. Záhlavová Strýcová yelled in frustration. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep forehand down the line forced Záhlavová Strýcová to stretch wide and earth a backhand. Ad Maria (SP #1). Záhlavová Strýcová’s crosscourt forehand approach forced Maria to net a forehand. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net and hit a high forehand volley down the middle, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand lob wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová ran around her backhand, got jammed, and dumped a forehand halfway up the net. And Maria just bunted her return back to see if Záhlavová Strýcová could handle the lack of pace! Deuce #3. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria’s down-the-line forehand pass forced her to lunge wide, net a backhand volley and fall over. Deuce #4. Maria on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand winner onto the baseline. Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her last challenge to show that it was plumb on the line. Ad Maria (SP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net behind a deep first serve out wide, and dispatched the floater it forced with an off-forehand volley-winner. Deuce #5. Second serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #4). Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep serve forced Maria to hit a backhand lob long. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Right before Strýcová goes to hit the second serve on the deuce-court, Sharapova moves over to her left, looking like she’s giving her more room to hit to the forehand; the ball goes up, and she moves back to the right.”

Maria serving 5-5: First serve out wide: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a down-the-line forehand winner onto the baseline, but Maria challenged it to show that it was wide. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Maria shouted “c’mon”. 30/0. First serve forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner – lovely footwork to get into position. 40/0 (GP #1). Záhlavová Strýcová forced a short ball, but put a forehand just long (she’s out of challenges). Held.

Tracy Austin: “She says she shoulder’s feeling fine, 100%. It took her a while to get back to full strength. Any time you have rotator-cuff surgery on your right shoulder, and you rely so much on your big serve... there was a /huge/ amount of concern of whether she was going to come back 100%. She had surgery in New York with quite an experienced surgeon: Dr. Altchek – did a lot of research on who the best surgeon was going to be.”

There were several shouts of “c’mon Barbora” from the crowd.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 5-6: Body-jamming crosscourt forehand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net an off-backhand and sink to her knees. 0/15. Maria’s roaring backhand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt back a short, weak forehand; another searing backhand from Maria forced Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a forehand lob. 0/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a forehand return wide. 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová threw a wobbler when her first serve was called a let, and rather predictably went on to serve a double fault (dumping her second serve into the net). She muttered in Czech. 15/40 (SP #3 for Maria). Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a horrendous mishit forehand halfway up the net. Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket. Maria won the first set 7-5 at 16:26 BST (1h04m).

Záhlavová Strýcová fought so hard in that set, but just cracked emotionally at the crucial moment. Maria’s so much better conditioned to handle these pressure-cooker situations.


Second set
----------
SHARAPOVA _@*_*@*_* 6
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @__*___*_ 3

Tracy Austin: “Would be nice for Maria to see her streak away with this second set easily, because she really needs to elevate the level of her game. If she wins this, next up for her is Serena Williams. She’ll have to play better than this.”

Maria serving 0-0: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, and Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her first challenge of the set, having run out of them in the first set. Real mind-games going on with challenges in this match. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 30/40 (BP #2). Maria forehand just long. Broken.

Záhlavová Strýcová jogged to her chair looking quite pleased with herself, then had a word with the umpire. Is she complaining about Maria’s grunting?

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-1: Maria’s dipping crosscourt forehand + crosscourt backhand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a backhand volley. 0/15. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner, and once again had to call on Hawk-Eye to show that it was good. Záhlavová Strýcová hit a ball against the ground, and looked extremely upset. 0/30. Maria threw in a short sliced backhand, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand. 0/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to earth a backhand lob-return. 15/40 (BP #2). Maria off-forehand virtual return-winner. Broken.

Maria serving 1-1: Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep backhand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a forehand. 0/15. Maria netted a horrendous forehand off a mildly awkward deep ball. Tracy Austin: “You can tell when someone’s losing a little confidence in a shot: they slow down the racket-head speed instead of hitting it with conviction and letting the arm move through freely.” 0/30. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley off a forehand lob that was going wide, then hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline. Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket. 15/30. Maria forced a floater and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line, and Záhlavová Strýcová smiled. 30/30. Maria hit a deep forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle: just inside both the centre-line and the service-line. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová read notes from a book at the changeover. She’s a very tactical player, so the book has several pages. I’d be fascinated to read it (even if I’d have to spend a few weeks studying Czech first).

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-2: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a deep short-angled crosscourt forehand + short-angled crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Maria backhand long. 30/0. Double fault (second serve just long). Záhlavová Strýcová said “aiee!” 30/15. Záhlavová Strýcová’s short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Maria outside the tramlines to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a down-the-line forehand long. Held.

Maria serving 2-2 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to stretch wide and net a forehand. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria hit a “beautifully balanced” backhand pass-winner down the line. Tracy Austin: “It’s tough to come in on the backhand wing of Sharapova, particularly when she has so much room to hit into. Open stance.” 30/0. Deep second serve forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand return just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner: Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket at it (not a legal shot, even if it would have got the ball back – the racket has to be in the player’s hand). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: Záhlavová Strýcová’s crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord THREE TIMES and dropped dead for a winner! Well, I guess she was due for some luck, as Maria does seem to have had all the luck so far. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner. 15/15. Záhlavová Strýcová hit a forehand long, and yelled. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/30. With Maria retreating from the net after hitting a short, weak forehand, Záhlavová Strýcová netted a makeable down-the-line backhand, and emitted a long, high-pitched shriek. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep backhand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand. Ad Maria (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová forced a floater, and dispatched it with a deep forehand smash-winner just inside the baseline, forcing Maria to net a backhand. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand pass wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Deep 102mph first serve forced Maria to net a forehand. Deuce #3. Second serve out wide: Maria’s deep forehand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a backhand. Ad Maria (BP #4). Maria forced a floater but netted an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Deuce #4. Maria hit a deep crosscourt backhand virtual winner, and celebrated with a massive fist-pump. Ad Maria (BP #5). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #5. Záhlavová Strýcová forced a short return, but dumped a forehand into the net. Ad Maria (BP #6). Maria hit a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. Broken.

Tracy Austin: “[Maria is] really struggling on that forehand. She’s using all arm, and not uncoiling. You really want to turn a lot and have your left hand out in front, but then you’ve got to /uncoil/: that right side’s got to come around, and it’s not on her forehand. That’s going to make it harder on her shoulder as well.”

Maria serving 4-2: Maria netted a forehand. Maria is coughing – I hope it’s not a recurrence of the illness I suspect her of having had at Birmingham. 0/15. Maria sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. Tracy Austin: “She really just yanked up on that forehand completely.” 0/30. First serve out wide + deep forehand drive-volley virtual winner. Záhlavová Strýcová yelled in frustration. 15/30. Maria hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand wide. 30/30. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short return, but Maria netted a horrendous off-forehand that should have been an easy put-away. Deuce #1. Ace #2: down the middle. Ad Maria (GP #2). Maria went to the net, but her volleys sat up very nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner that Maria had to dodge out of the way of. Deuce #2. Maria went to the net, but hit a forehand volley long. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #1). Maria hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line – just inside the baseline – after her crosscourt backhand barely cleared the net earlier in the rally. Deuce #3. First serve out wide forced a very short return, which sat up nicely for Maria to hit an easy crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Maria (GP #3). Maria went to the net, but a dipping pass forced her to hit a backhand volley that sat up nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Deuce #4. Maria’s deep off-forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a backhand lob. Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her last challenge. Ad Maria (GP #4). Maria forced a very short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. She reacted with a loud “c’mon” and a shaking fist-pump. Held.

This match has been like pulling teeth for Maria, but suddenly her lead looks very commanding.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-5: First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 15/0. Maria forced a floater, but hit a horrendous crosscourt backhand drive-volley wide. Tracy Austin: “She’s just not the same athlete as Venus [Williams], Serena [Williams], Kim Clijsters or Justine Henin. So it was an awkward shot, and she couldn’t adjust the body. She’s a very /grooved/ tennis-player.” 30/0. First serve out wide forced Maria into the tramlines to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

A very good hold for Záhlavová Strýcová, and her body-language looked very positive as she skipped back to the baseline to receive.

Maria serving 5-3: Záhlavová Strýcová off-backhand wide. 15/0. Maria went to the net; Záhlavová Strýcová hit a dipping forehand pass to Maria’s feet, but Maria pulled off an amazing half-volley backhand dropshot-winner. 30/0. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a backhand. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Ace down the middle: just inside the centre-line. Maria won 7-5 6-3 at 17:17 BST (second set 51m, match 1h55m). The hand-shake was a cursory slap.


Maria’s BBC interview
---------------------

This interview took place immediately after Maria left the court. She drank some pink liquid from a large bottle marked “evian”.

Phil Jones: “Well done, Maria. A really gutsy performance out there today, and you’re into the second week of Wimbledon, where I think you feel you truly belong.”

Maria Sharapova: “It’s great to be in that second week. It always means you’ve won a few rounds, and er, you know, the tougher ones are ahead of you.”

Phil Jones: “Well, you won here in 2004. Every couple of years since, you’ve won a Grand Slam [sic]. Do you think the omens are good for this year, the way you’re playing?”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, it’s been... it’s been good so far, but I, you know, I can’t worry about that. I just gotta go out and take it one match at a time, and not... not think about years or days, or... you know.”

Phil Jones: “And you’ve got to step it up next round, because it’s Serena Williams, obviously, in the last 16. Your thoughts on that?”

Maria Sharapova: “Well, it’ll be... it’ll be a really tough match. She’s the defending champion, and playing really well, so erm, it’ll be tough, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Phil Jones: “Well, you certainly played so well today that I’m sure she’ll be looking at the draw with interest herself. Well done.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you very much.”


Articles
--------

Sharapova ready for huge test [skytext 480->484]
>>>
Maria Sharapova is hopeful that she will be able to combat the big hitting of Serena Williams in Monday’s big fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.

Defending champion Williams has looked in great form in this year’s tournament so far, winning the opening set of each of her matches 6-0.

But, asked if she could live with the power of Williams, Sharapova said: “Tennis is not just about power. On grass, it’s a big key to the game, but I don’t think it’s everything.”

The last time the pair met on grass was in the 2004 final, when a 17-year-old Sharapova sensationally won 6-1 6-4.

But she added: “It’s tough to take anything away from that match, as it was many years ago. I don’t really think about yesterday or the day before.

“There are always wonderful memories but, when you step out on the court, it’s new. You’ve got to start from scratch; the score is 0-0.”

Williams, who has won the Wimbledon title three times, agrees that the 2004 encounter will have little bearing on Monday’s clash.

“I just remember I was really nervous,” she said. “I think I put too much pressure on myself. It didn’t work out, and that was that.”

<<<

Wozniacki and Sharapova advance (BBC Sport: digitext)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8764986.stm
>>>
Third seed Caroline Wozniacki and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova passed tough third-round tests in straight sets to make the last 16 at Wimbledon.

<snip Wozniacki>

Sharapova shook off a tenacious Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová 7-5 6-3 to set up a match against Serena Williams.

It will be the first meeting between Sharapova and Williams at Wimbledon since the Russian upset her as a fast-rising 17-year-old in the 2004 final.

<snip Wozniacki>

Sharapova showed the sort of steely resolve during big points that her compatriot lacked.

The 23-year-old lost her opening service-game in both sets, but each time fought her way back to overhaul an aggressive Záhlavová Strýcová.

The Czech had kept the umpire busy with a series of challenges and complaints before her racket bore the brunt of her frustration as she found the net at set-point down in the 12th.

Sharapova moved ahead in the second set with a hard-earned break in the sixth and, after facing down a break-point in the following game, clinched the contest with an ace.

“I love playing against her,” said Sharapova of her match against Williams.

“She is the defending champion. She is great on this surface. She has won numerous Grand Slams [sic]. If there is a challenge ahead of you, it is definitely playing against her, and I enjoy that.”

<snip other matches>
<<<

Sharapova loses attitude and wins new admirers (Oliver Brown, The Sunday Telegraph – UK)
>>>
[Russian is far removed from stroppy teenager of old as she wins through despite high error-count]

Mercifully, Maria Sharapova is losing her affectations. At Wimbledons past, she has irked many with her grand royal waves, stroppy put-downs, and feathery white outfits that would have looked better on a swan.

It seems that winning a Major at 17 can do that to a girl.

Of course, she still conducted her victory press-conference last night with a certain hauteur, matching her Nike gym top with a designer bag so capacious that it was technically a sack. She also scrupulously refused to say anything whatsoever of interest about herself, her game or her opponent.

It used to be worse. Any question of the vaguest impudence was once treated with the type of disdain a teenage girl might muster if her mother scorned her boyfriend. But her demeanour on court at least showed a greater spontaneity, and fewer ostentatious hair-flicks.

No, it was Sharapova’s third-round victim who had the attitude-problem.

Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová could barely lose a point without flouncing in disgust, or making another ludicrous Hawk-Eye challenge.

The pity for the Czech was that her play appeared good enough to beat Sharapova, who made 35 unforced errors – a total she can ill afford to repeat if she has any hope of beating Serena Williams tomorrow.

It may be too romantic to expect Sharapova to emulate her exploits of 2004, when she outwitted the weapons of Williams with her balletic 17 year-old’s poise. Most expect her to be marmalised by the American, and even she had the modesty to concede that her relationship with the world No.1 “would only be a rivalry if I won more”.

Reflecting on that age of innocence six years ago, Sharapova said: “There are always wonderful memories. But when you step out on court, it’s new. You’ve got to start from scratch. The score is 0-0.

“At that age, when you’re just playing a few tournaments, not many people know about you or your game. I’ve been around the Tour for many years. So I think Serena and I know each other’s games pretty well.”

Sharapova has endured a truncated season as a result of a troublesome shoulder-injury, and her movement continues to be somewhat staccato. So it was against Záhlavová Strýcová, her unseeded adversary, but she still produced the decisive shots when called upon to seal a 7-5 6-3 triumph.

The crowd on Court One were effusive in their applause, confirming the impression that Sharapova had come full circle since she was embraced at Wimbledon as the siren of Siberia, referred to by some as ‘Maria Supernova’.

After two seasons on the periphery of the game, though, and much time in injury-bays, she appears to have rediscovered her glow.

Sharapova needed all her patience to thwart Záhlavová Strýcová. The first four games of the match all ended in breaks of serve, but a tiebreak was averted when the Czech pitched a forehand into the net to fall behind.

Still Sharapova was not safe, finding herself broken early in the second set, only to reclaim the advantage immediately. Again she broke in the sixth game, and had to hold the lead with increasing desperation as her net-play faltered, forcing her to defend another break-point.

The coup de grâce was emphatic, though, as she served an ace down the centre of the ‘T’ for an invigorating win. Sharapova cannot be judged just by how she discharges her work on court, though. Her popularity is inextricably linked as much to her personality.

There is feverish interest among the commentators here, for distance, in her boyfriend Sasha Vujačić: the Slovenian player for the LA Lakers basketball team. Vujačić is expected at Wimbledon imminently.

Then there is her forthcoming visit to her homeland of Belarus – to inspect the legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster – to consider. Even if she is swept away by Williams, she can still find much to keep her humble.
<<<

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old May 24th, 2011, 02:29 AM   #20
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full fourth-round TV-report for Zvonarëva v Janković

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================---------------------------
Fourth-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Janković (Monday 28th June 2010)
--------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4], 6-1 3-0 (30/15) retired (low-back injury)

It’s unfortunate that Janković was injured, but I’m very pleased with Vera’s form going into her first Wimbledon singles quarter-final – just the third Major singles quarter-final she’s ever reached in her career, following the French Open 2003 and her Australian Open 2009 semi-final.

Vera was on fire in this match, and richly deserved her victory. She hit several pinpoint backhand winners down the line, and numerous other winners (finishing with a total of 18).

Vera was taken to Deuce in her opening service-game, but held, and then broke to 30 with the help of an off-forehand dropshot-winner and a forehand drive-volley winner. She served a quadruple fault from *2-0 (40/0), but made up for it with an ace out wide for 3-0*.

Vera hit a crosscourt backhand winner, but otherwise took advantage of two Janković backhand errors and a double fault to break again for *4-0. She recovered from 15/40 to Deuce, but was broken for 4-1*.

Vera broke for *5-1 with the help of a pinpoint backhand winner down the line, then served out the first set to 15 with an off-forehand winner, a stunning forehand winner down the line, and an ace down the middle at set-point.

The first game of the second set was the best in the match, as they hit five winners between them, and Vera eventually broke for 6-1 *1-0 after four deuces. Vera held for 2-0* with an off-backhand winner and an ace down the middle.

Janković quadruple-faulted to go down 1-6 *0-2 (0/40), and sprayed a wild backhand very long at 30/40, giving Vera 6-1 *3-0.

Janković took a medical time-out, lying face down on a towel to get her lower back massaged. The next game began with Vera serving two aces down the middle, with a double fault in between, then Janković shook hands with Vera at 6-1 *3-0 (30/15).

Janković was in tears, while Vera looked wonderfully sympathetic – she’s one of the most compassionate players I’ve ever known.

Vera said: “To be honest, I wasn’t paying any attention to what was going on on the other side. I didn’t notice anything until she called the trainer to the court. I’m not sure what it was. She said something was bothering her. I wish her a quick recovery, and I hope it’s not serious.”


First set
---------
ZVONARËV *@*@_@* 6
JANKOVIĆ ____@__ 1

The match was first on Court 12, and started at 12:16 BST.

Vera serving 0-0: Vera on the third stroke hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 0/15. Janković off-forehand just wide. 15/15. Janković’s deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob wide. 15/30. Janković netted a forehand. 30/30. Janković hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Ace #1: first serve out wide. Ad Vera (GP #1). Second serve... a longish baseline-rally ended with Janković hitting a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Virginia Wade: “I’m expecting this to be a real catfight, this match. In many ways, these two players are similar, because they both have phenomenal instinct off the ground. They just have such good timing off their groundstrokes. Zvonarëva /can/ be a little more aggressive.”

Janković serving 0-1: Janković went to the net behind a deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/0. A great rally culminated with Vera hitting a deep down-the-line backhand onto the baseline, pushing Janković close to the back fence, where she slipped and fell after bunting a forehand that clipped the netcord, and Vera was there to hit an off-forehand dropshot-winner. She held up her left palm in apology, as Janković was still sitting where she had fallen; she got up rather gingerly. 15/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to hit a backhand return wide. 30/15. Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and hit a down-the-line forehand drive-volley winner that just clipped the outside edge of the sideline. Virginia Wade: “The ability of Vera Zvonarëva to really /hit/ that forehand, and then sneak in and hit shots like that, might make a difference.” 30/30. Vera hit a searing backhand down the line for a virtual winner: right in the corner. 30/40 (BP #1). Janković crosscourt forehand just wide. Broken.

Virginia Wade: “Something both of these players do so well is move their opponent around, really to the extremities of the court. Zvonarëva is hitting the ball a little bit earlier.”

Vera serving 2-0: Vera’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Janković to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Janković went for a big backhand down the line, but it was just wide. 30/0. Service-winner down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve just long). 40/15 (GP #2). Quadruple fault (second serve long again). Virginia Wade: “In Zvonarëva’s game, literally the one weakness she has is that there’s not a great deal of confidence with the second serve.” 40/30 (GP #3). Ace #2: first serve out wide, on the service-line. Held.

Virginia Wade: “[Janković is] being beaten by slightly faster balls that Vera can produce. They both are absolutely fantastically instinctive off the ground, and have such good timing. They’re as good as it gets, both of these two. I really love the way they move to the ball, get their preparation early, and strike the ball on the rise usually. The problem for Janković is that when it gets tight, she’ll not be able to hit /through/ her forehand. Zvonarëva /can/ hit through her forehand. They both have a few little temperamental weaknesses, and Zvonarëva used to go nuts on the court for no reason at all.”

Janković serving 0-3: Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, and hit a crosscourt backhand winner into the space she created. 0/15. Deep first serve forced a short return, giving Janković an easy crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to net a backhand return. 30/15. Janković on the third stroke hit a backhand just long. 30/30. Janković netted a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). Broken.

Vera serving 4-0: Vera’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Janković to spray a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/0. First serve out wide: Janković hit an off-forehand return-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Janković’s down-the-line forehand forced a short ball that sat up nicely for Janković to hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Vera. 15/30. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 15/40 (BP #1). Serve + off-forehand deep into the corner forced Janković to stretch wide and earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve out wide + off-backhand winner deep in the corner. Deuce #1. Janković’s deep forehand down the line forced Vera to hit a backhand long. Ad Janković (BP #3). Vera went to the net, but Janković’s dipping forehand down the line forced her to net a low backhand volley. Broken.

Virginia Wade: “I can’t work out technically why she serves double faults, because there’s nothing wrong with her service-action. Zvonarëva had had some injuries earlier in her career. In 2007, she had something [a wrist-injury] that kept her off the Tour for a while. But she came back so strong, and much much calmer, in 2008. She got to the final of the season-ending championships, then was doing really well at the beginning of 2009. And then she got to Charleston, and she had a horrible twisted ankle with a fracture, and that completely put her back again. Now she’s finally beginning to find confidence and play well again.”

Janković serving 1-4: Second serve: Vera crosscourt forehand return wide. 0/15. Janković on the third stroke hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Janković went to the net behind a deep crosscourt backhand on the service-line, forcing Vera to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Off-forehand return + pinpoint backhand winner down the line: right in the corner. 30/30. Vera hit a deep, body-jamming forehand, forcing Janković to hit a wild off-backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). Broken.

Vera serving 5-1: Vera opened up the court with an off-backhand, and hit an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Vera, driven wide by a short-angled forehand onto the sideline from Janković, hit a stunning forehand winner down the line! Barry Davies: “She was practically in the front row when she played that!” Virginia Wade: “You’re admiring the placement from both girls. Zvonarëva anticipated, but it still didn’t look like she could get there.” Deep first serve out wide (on the service-line) forced Janković to hit a forehand return wide. 40/0 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera on the third stroke hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 40/15 (SP #2 for Vera). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Vera won the first set 6-1 at 12:40 BST (24m).

Virginia Wade: “Absolutely excellent first set. Janković worked out and got stronger, but I’m happy to say that she’s decided that wasn’t the right way to go. It was making her muscle-bound, and now she’s got back to her lithe condition.”


Second set
----------
ZVONARËV @*@ 3
JANKOVIĆ ___ 0 retired

Janković serving 0-0: First serve out wide + off-backhand back behind Vera forced Vera to stretch wide and net a forehand. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand + pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/15. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. Janković on the third stroke netted a backhand. 30/30. Janković hit a stunning backhand winner down the line: right in the corner. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). Deuce #1. Vera on the fourth stroke hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. Ad Vera (BP #1). Vera’s return clipped the baseline... after a longish rally, she went to the net behind a down-the-line forehand, but Janković hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. Barry Davies: “Janković thought that she won that rally twice.” Deuce #2. First serve: Vera’s deep backhand return down the middle forced Janković to hit an off-forehand wide. Ad Vera (BP #2). Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). Broken.

So far, Vera is playing brilliantly, Janković very poorly apart from the occasional good point. It’s getting late early.

Vera serving 1-0: Janković backhand long. 15/0. Vera forced a short ball, and hit an off-backhand winner. 30/0. Ace #4: first serve down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Janković to net a backhand return. Held.

Virginia Wade: “I think Janković is beginning to think that she’s hurting.”
Barry Davies: “Mentally or anatomically?”
Virginia Wade: “I was thinking... she’s obviously strained a muscle in her leg, and when you’re doing as badly as this, it begins to get into your head.”

Janković serving 0-2: Janković forehand long. 0/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). Janković asked the umpire to see the trainer. He said she could wait until the changeover. 0/30. Quadruple fault (second-serve foot-fault). 0/40 (BP #1). Janković forced a floater, and dispatched it with a deep off-forehand forehand smash, forcing Vera to net a backhand. 15/40 (BP #2). First serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40 (BP #3). Janković on the fourth stroke sprayed a wild backhand very long. Broken.

Barry Davies: “It’s something close to an /annihilation/ at this stage.”
Virginia Wade: “I’m assuming that Janković’s leg is hurting, but Zvonarëva is as ruthless as can be. Now Zvonarëva hasn’t always made smooth sailing out of her tennis-life. We all remember a match that she played at the US Open 2004: she was a set and a break up against Dementieva, and suddenly she changed ends and she’s got her head in her towel and she’s sobbing! And she went on to lose the match. So she can have terrible mental nightmares. She’s definitely improved in that category.”

Janković took a medical time-out, lying face down on a towel to get her lower back massaged.

Barry Davies: “However unfortunate for her opponent, that’s tough on Zvonarëva. She has to think about it for an extra time.”

There was a nice lingering close-up of Vera’s ankles as the TV-camera tried to get a look at the scar from her right-ankle surgery last November.

Vera serving 3-0: Ace #5: first serve down the middle. 15/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/15. Ace #6: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Janković went to the net to shake hands with Vera. Vera won 6-1 3-0 (30/15) (Janković retired with a low-back injury) at 12:59 BST (second set 18m, match 43m). Janković was in tears, while Vera looked wonderfully sympathetic.

Virginia Wade: “I think Zvonarëva is actually hitting really good form right at the right moment. Her next opponent will be the winner of Clijsters and Henin. If it’s Clijsters, we’ll see some absolutely amazing groundstrokes from the two of them. If it’s Henin, we’ll see a lot of variety. Whoever comes through, it should be a great match tomorrow.”


Article
-------

No.4 seed Janković pulls out [skytext 483]
>>>
Jelena Janković became a high-ranking casualty in the Ladies’ Singles at Wimbledon when she was forced to retire from her fourth-round match against Russia’s Vera Zvonarëva.

The No.4 seed from Serbia was trailing 0-3 in the second set – after losing the first 1-6 – when she decided to call it a day.

Janković won just 17 points in a first set that lasted only 24 minutes on Court 2, before being broken twice at the start of the second.

The No.21-seeded Zvonarëva, who is through to the last eight at SW19 for the first time, will now face Belgium’s Kim Clijsters in the last eight.

Zvonarëva said: “To be honest, I wasn’t paying any attention to what was going on on the other side. I didn’t notice anything until she called the trainer to the court.

“I’m not sure what it was. She said something was bothering her. I wish her a quick recovery, and I hope it’s not serious.”
<<<

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 18th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #21
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full fourth-round TV-report for Sharapova v S.Williams

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================-----------------------------
Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v S.Williams (Monday 28th June 2010)
----------------------------------------------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 6-7 (9/11) 4-6

Maria played much better than she did in the previous round against Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, but really should have won at least the first set, as she had three set-points in the tiebreak.

The standard of play was so high: huge, deep serves, and anything short got punished. Williams was going for too much too soon in the rallies, which were therefore very short – in complete contrast to Maria’s third-round match. At least tiredness would not be a factor!

Williams made a ridiculous start, serving four aces in the opening game as she held to 30. Maria played a good service-game of her own to hold to 15, but Williams served two more aces as she held for 2-1*.

Knowing that she couldn’t afford to hit short second serves against Williams, Maria hit two double faults long as she was broken to love for 1-3*. But she became the first player to break Williams’s serve this Wimbledon, hitting a beautiful off-forehand drive-volley winner, and going on to level at 3-3*.

With games going with serve, Maria served to save the first set at *4-5 and *5-6, and hit a couple of amazing return-winners at 5-5* – sadly not rewarded with a break.

The tiebreak was Maria’s personal 9/11. She recovered from 1/3* with a hellacious crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline at *2/3, hit an off-forehand winner at 4/3*, and had 3 SPs (*6/4 and 8/7*) but wasted them with forced and unforced errors. Maria also saved Williams’s first 2 SPs (*6/7 and *8/9), but couldn’t do anything about the ace on the third.

The second set was an anticlimax, as Maria again threw in a bad service-game with two double faults to get broken for 1-2*, but this time there was no break back, and Williams finished with an incredible 19 aces.

Williams said: “She returned really well. It forced me to serve really well. She’s in it for every point. Even on match-point, she’s trying 200%.”

Maria said: “I played really well, and had my chances. If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning it. She served extremely well – some of the best she served against me. I gave her a run for her money, but that was really the difference.”

So yet another Wimbledon went by without Maria regaining the title she won as a 17-year-old – or even reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 (when she reached the semi-finals for the third year in a row). Once a regular in Major semi-finals, she would go into the US Open 2010 having not reached a Major quarter-final for 15 months.


Prematch article
----------------

Sharapova shows no fear over Serena clash (Oliver Brown, The Daily Telegraph – UK, Monday 28th June 2010)
>>>
This Wimbledon has already staged more dramatic flights of fancy than the local Polka children’s theatre.

As Andy Roddick reminded assembled journalists last Friday night, if we are struggling for storylines here, we should be looking for another job.

Today, here’s another one: on Centre Court, it is 2004 revisited, as Maria Sharapova submits herself to another gruelling duel with Serena Williams.

To study that encounter is to be reminded instantly of their final six years ago, when Sharapova’s trademark screams were drowned out only by rapturous acclaim for the 17 year-old en route to her first Wimbledon title.

The Russian seemed an ingénue then, a coquettish teenager who was so obliging to photographers that, upon winning her last point against Williams, she strode into the crowd and collapsed into the arms of crying father Yuri.

Monday afternoon’s fourth-round meeting appears a little early for the re-enactment of such a storied rivalry. Truth be told, there has been less equality between the pair in recent years, and emphatically not when they contested another Major final in 2007. At the Australian Open, Williams betrayed a cold intent through her power-play, bullying her way to an avenging victory over Sharapova for the loss of just three games.

That change in the dynamic has lasted, with Williams having reclaimed the world No.1 ranking, and Sharapova only the 23rd seed, in a reflection of the ragged form that has accompanied her bothersome shoulder-injury. But she did not perceive a draw against her nemesis this early in the second week as premature.

“I love playing against her,” Sharapova said. “She’s the defending champion. She’s great on this surface. She has won numerous Slams [sic]. If there’s a challenge ahead of you, it’s definitely playing against her – and I enjoy that.”

Williams, supremely indifferent about reminders of her 6-1 6-4 loss on the same stage, was equally generous. “I don’t think it’s too early,” she said. “It is what it is. You obviously have to be ready. She’s really good, especially on grass.”

Williams was patently not herself on that strange Saturday afternoon, and has been back to her uncompromising best so far this year.

In the three early rounds, she has won each first set 6-0. If that were not frightening enough, listen to her service-statistics from a third-round dismembering of the hapless Dominika Cibulkova: 20 aces, 37 of 43 service-points won, a first set wrapped up in 18 minutes.

“Serving that well feels awesome,” Williams said. “I serve well at Wimbledon for some reason. I wish I could serve like this [at] every tournament.”

Sharapova is grateful to be serving at all after all the physiotherapy she has had on her shoulder, and wise enough not to be thinking dreamily of 2004. “That was our last meeting on grass. It’s tough to take anything away from that match, as it was so many years ago.”

Exuding a confidence about her future, she explained: “You know this will be a new day. I look back, and it’s difficult to compare yourself to what you were. It’s a different time in my career.”

So, a new day, but, in the daunting shape of Williams, the same old roadblock lies ahead.
<<<


First set
---------
SHARAPOV _*__@*_*_*_*_ 6(9)
WILLIAMS *_*@__*_*_*_T 7(11)

The match was second on Centre Court, and started at 14:53 BST.

Williams serving 0-0: Ace out wide: deep in the corner. Barry Davies: “Number 45 of the championship.” 15/0. Maria’s deep off-forehand return just inside the baseline forced Williams to net a backhand. 15/15. Ace out wide. 30/15. Ace out wide: just inside the service-line. 40/15 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 40/30 (GP #2). Ace down the middle. Held.

Awesome serving by Williams: four aces in a game! There’s not much Maria can do about that, so she needs to hold serve reliably today.

Tracy Austin: “One big difference in this match will be the movement of the two players. Serena is just about one of the best movers on the grass and on the Tour, along with sister Venus. Maria, when she gets in a defensive position, it’s tough to bring the point back to neutral.”

Maria serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit an off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. The first extended rally of the match ended with Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand inducing Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the baseline forced Maria to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Body-jamming second serve forced Williams to net a backhand. Held.

Good serving by Maria, and she becomes the first opponent of Williams to avoid a first-set bagel so far this Wimbledon.

Williams serving 1-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Ace out wide: deep in the corner and just inside the sideline. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to block a backhand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). A would-be ace out wide was called wide. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Williams to spray a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced Williams to retreat with a deep backhand lob just inside the baseline, but couldn’t capitalise, and Williams hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Maria serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve just long; Maria wasted a challenge). 0/15. Second serve: Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the baseline forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 0/40 (BP #1). First serve down the middle: Williams hit a crosscourt forehand winner deep in the corner. Broken.

Maria knows she can’t afford to hit short second serves against Williams, hence the two second serves long.

Williams serving 3-1: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Second serve: Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Ace #7: out wide, just inside the service-line. 30/15. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell back on Williams’s side). 30/30. Williams netted an off-backhand off a very short return, and emitted a high-pitched yell. 30/40 (BP #1). Williams on the third stroke hit a backhand just long. Held.

Maria becomes the first player to break Williams’s serve this Wimbledon.

Maria serving 3-2: First serve out wide + deep crosscourt forehand back behind Williams forced Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand long and wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep second serve out wide: Williams hammered a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. Maria bent over and said “c’mon”. Held.

Tremendous fightback by Maria. The standard of play is so high: huge, deep serves, and anything short gets punished. Williams is going for too much too soon in the rallies.

Williams serving 3-3: First serve: Maria hit a stunning crosscourt backhand return-winner. 0/15. First serve down the middle + off-forehand winner back behind Maria. 15/15. Would-be ace out wide called let. Ace out wide: on the sideline. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Body-jamming second serve out wide induced Maria to net an off-backhand return. Held.

Maria serving 3-4 (new balls): First serve out wide: Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand return-winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Williams blasted a forehand long. 30/0. Second serve out wide: off-backhand return-winner. 30/15. Ace #1: down the middle: just inside the service-line. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep second serve: Williams hit a makeable backhand return just long. Held.

Williams serving 4-4: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline, but it was called wide. Maria issued a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it caught the sideline by 7 mm! 0/15. Williams hit a down-the-line backhand wide, and there was an anxious look on her face. 0/30. Deep second serve: Maria hit a wild backhand return long. 15/30. Big second serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace out wide: just inside the service-line. Held.

A 0/30 opening goes begging, despite Maria receiving second serves on the next two points. It would have been so cool if she could have won this set 6-4.

Maria serving 4-5: 112mph first serve out wide: Williams forehand return long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a backhand. 30/0. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle – just inside the service-line – forced Williams to lunge wide and net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Williams to spray a forehand long. Held.

Williams continues to be erratic when she can’t get the first strike.

Williams serving 5-5: Double fault (second serve just long). Williams hit the dead ball behind her back, and it hit the umpire’s chair, to the amusement of the crowd. 0/15. Williams went to the net, and picked off Maria’s crosscourt forehand with a forehand drop-volley winner. Ace down the middle. 30/15. First serve out wide: Maria hit a blazing short-angled crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/30. Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Maria to run outside the tramlines and hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a blazing short-angled crosscourt backhand return-winner! Deuce #1. Williams’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Maria to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Williams (GP #2). Deep second serve into the corner forced Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Two amazing return-winners by Maria, but sadly no break. Barry Davies: “The entertainment-level has risen considerably.”

Maria serving 5-6: First serve down the middle forced Williams to stretch wide and earth a backhand return. 15/0. Maria’s deep backhand down the line – just inside the baseline – forced Williams to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/0. First serve out wide forced a short return, but Maria dumped a cheap forehand into the net. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams off-backhand wide. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Sharapova has raised the level of her game from her last match. Drastic change. She is just going for it, and she has found her range. She’s the one with less pressure.”

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Sharapova/Williams):
{0/0*} Ace down the middle.
{*0/1} Ace down the middle.
{*1/1} Double fault #4 (second serve just long).
{1/2*} Maria went to the net, but her down-the-line forehand volley gave Williams a crosscourt backhand pass-winner just inside the sideline. This point was selected for the BBC’s highlights-show Today at Wimbledon, with John Inverdale claiming that it was the best point of the entire Championships! Well, no.
{1/3*} Maria’s deep forehand return down the line forced Williams to hit a backhand just long.
{*2/3} Deep first serve down the middle + hellacious crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline.
{*3/3} Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
{4/3*} Maria’s off-forehand winner clipped the netcord and landed just inside the sideline.
{5/3*} Maria hit a makeable backhand return long.
{*5/4} Maria’s deep forehand forced Williams to net a backhand.
{*6/4: SP #1 for Maria} A brief rally ended with Maria unforcedly netting a forehand.
{6/5*: SP #2 for Maria} Second serve... Williams hit a pinpoint backhand onto Maria’s right sideline, forcing her to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide.
{6/6*} Deep first serve out wide forced a short return; Williams hit a backhand approach right to Maria’s forehand, but Maria hit a makeable down-the-line forehand pass wide.
{*6/7: SP #1 for Williams} Second serve out wide: Williams dumped a cheap backhand return into the net.
{*7/7} Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return.
{8/7*: SP #3 for Maria} Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a forehand return long.
{8/8*} First serve down the middle forced Maria to hit an off-backhand wide.
{*8/9: SP #2 for Williams} First serve into the net. Brave second serve out wide forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide.
{*9/9} Double fault (wild second serve very long).
{9/10*: SP #3 for Williams} Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. Williams won the first set 7-6 (11/9) at 15:50 BST (57m). She celebrated with a shout of “yes”.

Tracy Austin: “I have not seen Maria Sharapova serve this big since she’s been back from the shoulder-surgery – particularly on a consistent basis. It’s a good sign: it means that all doubt about her arm has been erased.”


Second set
----------
SHARAPOV *___*_*_*_ 4
WILLIAMS _*@*_*_*_* 6

Maria serving 0-0: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Maria went to the net and hit a forehand drive-volley that jammed Williams into netting a forehand volley. 30/0. First serve out wide, but Maria netted a forehand. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. Held.

Williams serving 0-1: First serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Maria poked back a short off-forehand return, but Williams slapped a wild backhand into the net. 30/30. Ace #14: down the middle, just inside the service-line. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve forced a very short return; Williams ran it down and hit a forehand winner down the line. Held.

Maria serving 1-1: Deep first serve down the middle: backhand return long. 15/0. Williams’s deep forehand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the top of the net). 15/30. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, but Maria’s forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Broken.

A set and a break down now, but Maria recovered from 1-3* in the first set, so she’s not out of this match yet.

Williams serving 2-1 (new balls): First serve out wide forced a short return, which Williams dispatched with a deep forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. Maria’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Williams dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams forced a short return but dumped a forehand into the net – poor footwork. 40/30 (GP #2). Williams ran down a dropshot-return in plenty of time, but unbelievably dumped a forehand into the net. Tracy Austin: “I think she saw Sharapova out of the corner of her eye going to the left, and tried to cut it too fine.” Deuce #1. First serve out wide: Maria netted a makeable forehand return, and looked “furious with herself”. Ad Williams (GP #3). Deep second serve on the service-line induced Maria to net a backhand return. Held.

Maria serving 1-3: Maria went to the net behind a short-angled crosscourt backhand to the sideline, hit an impressive crosscourt forehand volley from below the height of the net, which landed deep in the corner; on the 4:3 TV-screen that I had at the time, it looked like Williams ripped a running crosscourt forehand pass-winner, but it must have gone wide. 15/0. Maria tried to serve and volley, but dumped an awkward low off-forehand volley into the net. 15/15. Body-jamming serve forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Williams’s deep forehand down the line induced Maria to net a backhand – really should have made it, though. 30/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. Held.

Williams serving 3-2: Body-jamming second serve induced Maria to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Maria went to the net and hit a deep forehand down the line, but Maria hit an amazing half-volley backhand lob-winner just inside the baseline!! 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria’s off-forehand return forced a short return, but Maria hit a wild off-forehand wide. Tracy Austin: “She could have gone for a beautiful angle. Today, she really seems excited about going for everything with power. Quick points.” 40/15 (GP #1). Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Maria to bunt a forehand long. Held.

Maria serving 2-4: Deep first serve forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 15/0. First serve out wide, but a short, low-bouncing return induced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. 30/15. Williams hit a backhand return just long. But she made a successful challenge, so they had to replay the point. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #2). Maria went to the net, forcing Williams to hit a forehand lob just wide. Held.

Williams serving 4-3: Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 15/0. Ace #17: down the middle, short on the centre-line. 30/0. Ace #18: down the middle, just inside the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to stretch wide and net a forehand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: “She skips up to the line – always such positive body-language, never giving anything away about the disappointment of where she is in a match.”

Maria serving 3-5: Deep first serve down the middle – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a forehand return. 15/0. Williams’s deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a forehand. 15/15. First serve out wide: Williams hit a stunning crosscourt forehand return-winner just inside the baseline – Maria was right there, but the angle was too acute for her to get her racket on it. 15/30. Maria hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 30/30. Deep 111mph first serve down the middle forced Williams to earth a backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: “I’m sure if you asked Serena whether she’s returning serve well today, she probably wouldn’t think she is – but she’s got to give some of that credit to Sharapova. Her fastest serve today was 116 mph. The fastest of her career was a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham: 121 mph for Sharapova.”

Williams serving 5-4: Ace out wide: right in the corner. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to net a backhand return. Barry Davies: “Still trying to believe.” 30/0. Maria hit a thunderous deep backhand return down Williams’s left sideline and went to the net, but hit a backhand drive-volley wide. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). Would-be ace down the middle just long. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 40/15 (MP #2 for Williams). First serve out wide + off-forehand forced Maria to hit an off-backhand wide. Williams won 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 at 16:30 BST (second set 39m, match 1h36m).

Barry Davies: “It started as wham-bang, then got better.”
Tracy Austin: “Maria will be disappointed today, but when she reflects on this match, she’ll realise that she is going forward in her comeback.”


Williams’s BBC interview
------------------------

PHIL JONES: “Well, tremendous performance, Serena, against a top-class player in Maria. You pulled out a champion’s performance, it seemed.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Yeah, I guess. She played really well, and I just wasn’t able to do as well as I wanted to do, but I thought she played so well today, and she’s really doing good.”

PHIL JONES: “The thing is: when you’re down, as you were in that tiebreak – two set-points against you – you pull on that champion’s know-how, that determination, and pull yourself out of it.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “I know. I don’t know how I do it. I was just like, ‘Okay, Serena, like, you haven’t been doing great, you just like, relax,’ and I was able to do that, and come through.”

PHIL JONES: “Does this place help you? You’ve been here, you’ve been a champion so many times.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Yeah. I mean: yeah. And the crowd was great, and I was really happy that they were out there, rooting really hard for me.”

PHIL JONES: “So it’s onwards and upwards now. Nŕ Lǐ in the quarter-finals – what about that?”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Well, I definitely expect a much tougher match, so I have to keep being ready, and she’s such a good player, so we always have such tough matches, so we’ll see what happens.”

PHIL JONES: “Well done today on getting through.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Thank you.”


Maria’s BBC interview
---------------------

INTERVIEWER: “So, are you gonna take some satisfaction away from this year’s Wimbledon, or a little bit of frustration?”

MARIA SHARAPOVA: “Well, look: I mean: I’m a competitor and I love to win, and there’s only one winner at the end of the tournament, and I really, really want it to be me, but today’s situation didn’t happen, and that’s the way it goes, but I’m certainly not leaving here disappointed that I lost. I know that I went out there and did what I could do, and today just wasn’t enough.”


Postmatch articles
------------------

Serena halts Sharapova charge [skytext 480]
>>>
Serena Williams won a dramatic first-set tiebreak to set her on the way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 7-6 (11/9) 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova on Centre Court.

The match started in the brutal fashion that had been expected – with both players blasting fierce groundstrokes.

Williams was the first to show as she powered her way to a break of serve in the fourth game, but the Russian rallied to break back in the fifth.

There were no further breakthroughs, and a tense tiebreak ensued, with Williams gaining an early mini-break – only to throw it away.

Sharapova wasted two set-points, allowing Williams back into it – and the American seized her chance with an emphatic set-clinching ace.

One break proved enough in the second, as a deflated Sharapova surrendered serve in the third game to allow Williams to coast home.

Williams said: “She returned really well. It forced me to serve really well. She’s in it for every point. Even on match-point, she’s trying 200%.

“Honestly, I feel like I’ve had tough matches this whole trip. I’ve played some players who have been among the best in this tournament.”

Sharapova added: “I played really well, and had my chances. If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning it.

“She served extremely well – some of the best she served against me. I gave her a run for her money, but that was really the difference.”
<<<

Serena ends Sharapova challenge (David Ornstein, BBC Sport)
Williams praises beaten Sharapova
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8768816.stm
>>>
Defending champion Serena Williams came through her first genuine test to see off a resurgent Maria Sharapova and reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.

The American top seed beat her Russian opponent 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 to set up a last-eight meeting with China’s Lǐ,Nŕ.

Sharapova, who overcame Williams in the 2004 final, bounced back from an early break of serve, but squandered three set-points in the first-set tiebreak.

Williams then broke once in the second before serving out for a 96-minute win.

“She played really well, and is really doing good,” the world number-one, who remains on course to meet sister Venus in the final, told BBC Sport.

“I don’t know how I pull myself out of situations like that tiebreak – I was just able to relax. The crowd was great, and I was really happy [that] they were rooting really hard for me.”

Williams said before the match that she was not entirely happy with her current form but, on this evidence, she has little cause for concern as she continues her bid for a 13th Major title.

While ninth seed Lǐ is sure to pose a threat following her 6-3 6-2 win against seventh seed Agnieszka Radwańska, Williams has won four of their previous five meetings.

And, if she can reproduce the performance-level that got her past Sharapova, a semi-final berth should beckon.

“She served extremely well: the best she’s ever served against me, and that was the difference,” Sharapova said of Williams, who sent down 19 aces, and won 84% of points on her first serve.

“I had a few looks at her serve, but when they’re coming out at 120 mph it’s pretty hard to do anything about it. She wins the majority of matches by serving well, so you’ve got to win your own service-games to stand any chance.

“I did that today, but not well enough. I played really well, and had my chances in the first set. I felt really good, and gave her a run for her money.

“I’m in a much better place than I was last year, playing well and feeling great.”

Williams and Sharapova were meeting at Wimbledon for the first time since the 2004 final, when the Russian triumphed as a 17-year-old to become the second-youngest SW19 champion in the Open Era.

It was an eagerly-anticipated encounter, and although the pair arrived to a sparsely-populated Centre Court – the crowd having filtered out after Roger Federer’s victory over Jürgen Melzer – there was soon not a seat to be had.

And it was easy to see why, as Williams opened with a flurry of aces, and Sharapova responded by offering a commanding service-hold of her own in the second game.

It was the first time in this year’s tournament that Williams had conceded a game in the opening set, and she responded with another three aces before cranking up the pressure on her opponent’s serve.

Sharapova went long, and then netted to fall 0/40 down in the fourth game, and Williams wasted no time in wrapping up the break with a crunching forehand return.

But the three-time Major champion – fully recovered from the shoulder-injury that saw her miss nine months and drop to 126th in the world in May 2009 – was in no mood to be rolled over, and hit straight back when Williams lifted a backhand beyond the baseline.

For long periods, this was not one for the purists, with no quarter asked or given by either woman, but they played out a gripping tiebreak, and Sharapova will be left to rue her missed opportunities.

After hitting back from an early mini-break, and then coming up with a stinging forehand winner to move 5/3 ahead, Williams netted a backhand to bring up 6/4 and two set-points.

Two wayward forehands put paid to Sharapova’s hopes on that occasion, and she wasted a third opportunity at 8/7, going into the tramlines with a forehand return.

A double fault at 9/9 gave Williams her third opening, and the 28-year-old showed all her experience to seal the set with a thumping ace.

There was, again, precious little to chose between the players in the second, but Sharapova, 23, seemed to lose her concentration in the third game, and was duly punished.

Another double fault and netted forehand saw Williams break to 15, and she never looked back, reeling off unstoppable deliveries and winners before taking the second of three break-points when Sharapova put a backhand wide.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. I don’t have time to finish Vera Zvonarëva’s Wimbledon 2010 reports before Wimbledon 2011, so I now plan to post her quarter-final, semi-final and final reports – in singles and doubles – in July and August 2011.
__________________
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

Last edited by andrewbroad : Jun 18th, 2011 at 10:20 PM.
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 18th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #22
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full quarter-final TV-report for Zvonarëva v Clijsters

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================-----------------------------
Quarter-final TV-report: Zvonarëva v Clijsters (Tuesday 29th June 2010)
----------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] d. KIM CLIJSTERS [8], 3-6 6-4 6-2

Vera couldn't have picked a better time to beat Clijsters for her first-ever time in six meetings, as it sets up the mouth-watering semi-final with Tsvetana Pironkova for which I had been wishing ever since Ana Ivanović lost on Day 1. Vera has reached her second-ever Major semi-final (her first coming at the Australian Open 2009 from only her third-ever Major quarter-final.

BBC commentator John McEnroe said that Vera was as calm and emotionally stable as he'd ever seen her on a big occasion. Mark Petchey said that Vera had prevented Clijsters from playing well by serving well.

The match was hard-fought from the start, with Vera's pinpoint down-the-line backhand setting up BP at 0-0* (Ad). Clijsters did well to hold that game, and Vera's beautiful short-angled one-handed backhand punch-volley winner on the stretch at 30/40* deserves a special mention!

Vera saved BP×3 at *1-2 (0/40), and hit a backhand drop-volley winner to set up GP, which she converted to hold for 2-2*.

Vera at *2-3 hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner, an ace down the middle and a high off-forehand punch-volley winner as she held to 15 for 3-3*.

With Clijsters as tight as a drum and haemorrhaging unforced errors, Vera had another BP in a game of five deuces at 3-3*, but Clijsters hit two winners to reach GP. Vera then sprayed a wild crosscourt forehand way long and wide, and emitted a cute little squeal.

Vera reacted to the disappointment of the missed BP by throwing in a bad service-game at *3-4, with a double fault and two unforced errors as Clijsters settled down. Clijsters served out the first set to 30 at *5-3.

In the second set, Vera had BP at 1-0* (40/30*), but Clijsters recovered well to hold serve. This time, Vera put the disappointment behind her by holding to love in the next game, and then breaking for *3-1 as Clijsters's forehand broke down after she led 30/0.

Vera came through a tough service-game of two deuces to make it 3-6 4-1*. She held again for 5-2* after an off-forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline and an off-forehand smash-winner.

A very convincing hold to love by Clijsters forced Vera to serve for the set at *5-3; she was robbed by two dead-netcord winners from Clijsters - one at BP. However, Vera broke in the next game to take the second set 6-4, courtesy of two double faults by Clijsters - one at SP.

In the third set, Vera held to love for 1-0* (sealed with an off-forehand winner), and 2 BPs went begging in a game of four deuces (Clijsters saved them with an ace out wide and a one-two punch).

Vera went 1:1 *1-1 (0/30) down, but recovered with a high off-forehand punch-volley winner, a crosscourt forehand winner, and a forehand smash-winner, and secured a vital hold for 2-1*.

Vera used deep, error-forcing groundstrokes to break for 1:1 *3-1, and held to 15 for 4-1* as Clijsters made a series of cheap errors.

Vera's victory seemed in danger at *4-2 (15/30), and that was probably the key point of the match: Vera went to the net, got away with hitting her first volley straight back to Clijsters, and hit a down-the-line backhand volley-winner on her next stroke. Vera then hit a deep, error-forcing forehand followed by an ace down the middle to hold for 5-2*.

Clijsters opened her *2-5 service-game with a double fault, and Vera hit two error-forcing down-the-line drives (on backhand, one forehand) to set up MP×2 at 40/15*. A nailbiting rally, during which I thought my heart was going to explode, ended with Clijsters hitting an off-forehand winner to save the first MP, but she netted a forehand on the third stroke of the second MP.


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA _*_*_*___ 3
CLIJSTERS *_*_*_*@* 6

The match was first on Centre Court. Clijsters won the toss and elected to serve. There were ominous grey clouds in the sky - I think they're going to need to close the roof in the not-too-distant future! The match started at 13:09 BST.

Clijsters serving 0-0: Clijsters sprayed a forehand long, and already it has started raining. 0/15. Clijsters hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand to force a short one-handed backhand from Vera; Clijsters went to the net and hit a short forehand; Vera hit a delicate backhand lob, forcing Clijsters to retreat to the baseline while Vera went to the net, but Clijsters hit a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the line. BBC commentator John McEnroe: "Vera did the right thing here, but she doesn't have that same spring in her legs to track a shot like that down." 15/15. Second serve out wide: Vera netted a forehand return. 30/15. Vera sprayed a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera hit a deep backhand down the middle - just inside the baseline - forcing Clijsters to hit a backhand just wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera went to the net and hit a beautiful short-angled one-handed backhand punch-volley winner on the stretch. Deuce #1. First serve forced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters went for an off-forehand to the sideline, but it was just wide. Deuce #2. Vera's pinpoint backhand down the line forced Clijsters to net a running forehand. Ad Vera (BP #1). Clijsters picked off Vera's decent attempted forehand pass down the line with a crosscourt backhand punch-volley winner. Deuce #3. Vera on the fourth stroke hit a makeable backhand just wide. Ad Clijsters (GP #4). Deep first serve out wide induced Vera to hit a backhand return just long. Held.

Good resistance by Vera so far.

Vera serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Clijsters to bunt a backhand return long. 15/0. Vera's deep backhand down the middle forced Clijsters to net a backhand. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide induced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Clijsters serving 1-1: Clijsters earthed a backhand off a deep, low-bouncing crosscourt backhand from Vera. 0/15. Clijsters hit a deep crosscourt backhand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to net an early backhand. 15/15. Clijsters went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand return long. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Second serve: Clijsters hit a stinging crosscourt forehand return just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to bunt a defensive down-the-line forehand that sat up nicely for Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. First serve: Clijsters's deep, body-jamming backhand return down the middle induced Vera to hit an off-forehand wide. 0/30. Clijsters ran down a poor dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide induced Clijsters to earth a mishit backhand return. 15/40 (BP #2). Clijsters on the fourth stroke unforcedly netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP #3). Clijsters netted a cheap forehand. Vera went to the net and hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Ad Vera (GP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Held.

Well recovered from 0/40! Unforced errors are creeping into Clijsters's game since then.

Clijsters serving 2-2: Clijsters hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Vera forehand long. First serve out wide into Vera's hitting-zone: she hit a backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. Clijsters hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. Vera used up a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it was in by about 15% of the breadth of the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera mishit a backhand long. Held.

The rain threatened to come at the end of the last game, but is holding off for now.

Vera serving 2-3: Clijsters went to the net, but her approach was too short: Vera hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Ace down the middle: just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, but mishit an off-forehand volley long, and emitted a cute little yell. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, forcing a floater, which she dispatched with a high off-forehand punch-volley winner. Held.

Clijsters serving 3-3: Clijsters hit a pinpoint off-backhand deep into the corner, forcing Vera to hit a short forehand down the line, which Clijsters dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Serve + deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Clijsters netted an off-forehand. 30/15. Clijsters on the third stroke dumped a backhand into the net. 30/30. Clijsters crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Clijsters on the third stroke netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Clijsters went to the net and hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #2). Vera's forehand return was called long, overruled as good by the umpire, and challenged by Clijsters: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 40% of the breadth of the baseline, so they replayed the point. Vera's deep backhand down the middle induced Clijsters to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #2. Vera hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #3. Clijsters sprayed a wild forehand about 10 feet long. Ad Clijsters (GP #4). Clijsters went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand: Vera hit a forehand pass long, and emitted a cute little squeal. Deuce #4. Clijsters netted a forehand. Ad Vera (BP #1). Clijsters hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. Deuce #5. Clijsters hit a deep backhand winner down the line: on the baseline. Ad Clijsters (GP #5). Vera forced a short floater, but sprayed a wild crosscourt forehand way long and wide, and emitted another cute little squeal. Held.

It's a real shame that Vera couldn't break there. Clijsters is as tight as a drum, haemorrhaging errors right now.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Vera dumped a forehand into the net. 0/15. Clijsters's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/30. Double fault (second serve long). Vera wasted a challenge. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt backhand forced Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Clijsters's short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand wide. Broken.

Now Clijsters has settled down, and Vera's the one making unnecessary errors.

Clijsters serving 5-3: Vera forehand just long. 0/15. Vera netted a backhand, and slapped her hip in frustration. 15/15. Vera retrieved well, but Clijsters forced a floater and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner onto the sideline. Vera wasted her last challenge, but at least it gave her a few extra seconds to recover. 30/15. Vera's deep forehand forced Clijsters to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to net a backhand. 40/30 (SP #1 for Clijsters). Body-jamming second serve induced Vera to hit an off-forehand return just wide. Clijsters won the first set 6-3 at 13:47 BST (37m).

John McEnroe: "Since her comeback, Clijsters is moving as well as before, and is mentally stronger. It's a heck of a combination!"


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA *_*@*_*__@ 6
CLIJSTERS _*___*_*@_ 4

Vera serving 0-0: Clijsters backhand just long. 15/0. Virtual ace out wide. 30/0. Another great first serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forced Clijsters to earth a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera netted a makeable forehand. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera's backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Held.

Clijsters serving 0-1: Second serve: backhand return just long. 15/0. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand return forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 15/15. Clijsters's depth forced Vera to hit a forehand just long. 30/15. First serve forced a short return down the middle, but Clijsters slapped a wild off-forehand into the net. 30/30. Vera hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/40 (BP #1). Clijsters went to the net behind a deep off-forehand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand lob long. Deuce #1. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. Ad Clijsters (GP #1). First serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. Held.

That's three games now in which Vera has had BP but not broken. Last time, she played a bad service-game straight after.

Vera serving 1-1: Clijsters netted a backhand. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a backhand. Held.

Clijsters serving 1-2: Clijsters groaned when she thought her backhand was going long, but it landed on the baseline and she dominated the rest of the rally, her off-backhand inducing Vera to chop a defensive forehand long. The commentators discussed whether Clijsters should have lost the point because she groaned as if she'd missed. I say categorically not, because such a rule could easily be twisted into an anti-grunting rule, which is the last thing I want! 15/0. Clijsters hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to mishit an off-forehand halfway up the net and wide. 30/0. Vera's down-the-line backhand forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 30/15. Clijsters hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/30. Clijsters hit a forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Clijsters hit a forehand long. Broken.

Vera serving 3-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 15/0. Second serve: Clijsters dumped a cheap forehand return into the net. 30/0. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/15. Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 30/30. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 40/30 (GP #1). Clijsters went to the net and hit a deep crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner just inside the baseline. Deuce #1. Second serve: Clijsters hit a cheap crosscourt forehand return just wide. Ad Vera (GP #2). Vera went to the net behind an off-forehand; Clijsters hit a crosscourt backhand lob over Vera's left shoulder, forcing her to run back and hit a difficult high backhand volley that bounced very short and sat up nicely for Clijsters to take control with a deep off-forehand approach just inside the baseline + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner from below the height of the net. Deuce #2. First serve out wide + deep forehand down the line forced Clijsters to bunt an off-backhand lob wide. Ad Vera (GP #3). Vera's backhand dropshot forced Clijsters to net a forehand. Held.

John McEnroe: "Vera is really mixing things up nicely with Clijsters, and has found another gear. It's nice to see, in this big match, that she's taking it to her. She's playing within herself, testing Clijsters."
Lindsay Davenport: "The big concern I had, coming into this match, was if Vera was going to be able to hold onto her serve. Only been broken the one time, so really doing an excellent job managing her service-games."

Clijsters serving 1-4: Clijsters backhand just long. 0/15. Second serve: Vera's deep crosscourt backhand return induced Clijsters to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Virtual ace: short-angled first serve out wide, on the sideline. 15/30. Clijsters's deep forehand forced Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 30/30. Clijsters's deep backhand down the line forced Vera to net a running forehand. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to stretch wide and earth a forehand return. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: Vera played a great spreading rally, her deep down-the-line backhand forcing a floater that she dispatched with an off-forehand drive-volley winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Clijsters's deep off-forehand forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Deep first serve forced Clijsters to hit a backhand return just wide. 30/15. Vera went to the net, forced a short floater, let it bounce and hit an off-forehand smash-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Held.

Lindsay Davenport: "Vera's been able to keep her level up, even though Kim's has dropped so significantly. That's not easy to do; sometimes your level rises and falls in conjunction with your opponent."
John McEnroe: "Is it possible that she's taken Kim Clijsters by surprise? You can't assume that Vera's going to let it go after [losing] the first set. All of a sudden, she found this /calm/. This is as confident and as emotionally stable as I've seen her on a big occasion."

Clijsters serving 2-5 (new balls): Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 15/0. Clijsters forced a floater, and dispatched it with a high crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 30/0. Vera crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to earth a forehand. Held.

A very convincing game by Clijsters. Vera can't afford not to serve this out now...

Vera serving 5-3: Vera on the third stroke hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Clijsters's crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner (Vera's forehand was "not up"). 0/30. Vera forced a floater, let it bounce, and made no mistake with an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Clijsters's crosscourt backhand winner forced Vera to slide and do the splits. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera hit a short crosscourt forehand back behind Clijsters, inducing her to hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Clijsters's crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Broken.

Two netcords against Vera in that crucial game have put her really up against it now...

Clijsters serving 4-5: Clijsters hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Vera. 15/0. Clijsters hit the ball very aggressively, but sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 15/30. Vera's deep backhand induced Clijsters to spray an off-forehand wide. 15/40 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera hit a deep crosscourt forehand return onto the sideline, and wasted a challenge. 30/40 (SP #2 for Vera). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Vera won the second set 6-4 at 14:24 BST (second set 36m, match so far 1h14m).

Justice was done for Clijsters's two netcord-winners in the previous game, and better yet, Vera has the advantage of serving first in the third.

Lindsay Davenport: "Two loose forehands and two double faults. That's when you've got to buckle down: make Vera /earn/ the second set. A surprising game by Kim."
John McEnroe: "Just absolute proof that we're all out there as human beings, trying to deal with our inner demons and our nerves. It was unexpected, but it's happened before, and it will happen again to even the best players. I suppose the fact that she had the luxury of the first set under her belt, and had some margin for error, was part of the reason why you saw that really, really poor effort there. At the very least, when you're playing someone who has a history of doing the very thing that you just did there, melting down mentally, you have to force /them/ to beat /you/ at a game like that."


Third set
---------
ZVONARËVA *_*@*_*@ 6
CLIJSTERS _*___*__ 2

Vera serving 0-0: Second serve out wide: down-the-line forehand return wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle induced Clijsters to net a forehand. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with an off-forehand winner onto the baseline. Held.

Clijsters serving 0-1: Clijsters on the third stroke hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner. 30/15. Vera's deep forehand induced Clijsters to hit a backhand just long. 30/30. Clijsters went to the net, but Vera's awkward lob induced her to hit a high backhand volley long. 30/40 (BP #1). Body-jamming second serve induced a short return, which Clijsters dispatched with an off-forehand winner back behind Vera. Deuce #1. Second serve out wide induced Vera to net a makeable forehand return. Ad Clijsters (GP #1). Vera hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, inducing Clijsters to net a forehand. John McEnroe: "The depth of Vera's groundstrokes have really got Kim on the defensive. She's not quite sure how to handle them." Deuce #2. Vera hit a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner. Ad Vera (BP #2). Ace #2: first serve out wide. Deuce #3. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long. Ad Clijsters (GP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Clijsters to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #4. First serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner. Ad Clijsters (GP #3). Clijsters's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to hit a backhand long. Held.

Two BPs go begging, just as two MPs go begging for Tsvetana Pironkova at 6-2 5-2* on Court One.

Vera serving 1-1: Vera on the third stroke hit a forehand just long, and wasted a challenge: Hawk-Eye showed that it was long by about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. 0/15. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/30. Vera forced a floater, went to the net and hit a high off-forehand punch-volley winner. 15/30. Serve forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Big first serve down the middle forced a floater; Vera's off-forehand drive-volley forced another floater, which she dispatched with an easy forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke dumped a forehand into the net, and sank to her haunches. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Clijsters to net a forehand return. Ad Vera (GP #2). Vera's crosscourt backhand to the sideline induced Clijsters to dump a backhand into the net. Held.

A vital hold for Vera after wasting two BPs in the previous game.

Lindsay Davenport: "Kim described Vera as a defensive player in her interview yesterday. Zvonarëva's been the opposite today, and that's why she's been successful. She's willing to come in. She's willing to go for her shots more than in the past."
Mark Petchey: "She stepped up to the line and played some of her finest tennis."
John McEnroe: "I've always thought that players should play some doubles to help their confidence at the net, and their /willingness/ to move forward. Vera Zvonarëva has had success in doubles, including the US Open win [Vera won the US Open 2004 Mixed Doubles and US Open 2006 Women's Doubles]. She has really shown some mental fortitude in her belief and willingness, and her technique is very excellent. I can only recall one mistake at net the entire match."

Clijsters serving 1-2: Clijsters hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Vera's deep, body-jamming backhand return down the middle forced Clijsters netted a forehand. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand. 15/30. Vera's deep backhand return down the line forced Clijsters to net a forehand. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand return, but hit an off-forehand just wide, and wasted her penultimate challenge. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera's deep backhand forced Clijsters to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Mark Petchey: "And the Achilles' heel for Clijsters appears once more in the shape of her forehand."
Lindsay Davenport: "Just has really struggled with pulling back, making balls. In the last two days, she's missing forehands by large, large margins."

Vera serving 3-1: Vera hit a deep backhand lob just inside the baseline, forcing Clijsters to hit a crosscourt forehand that clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/0. Clijsters dumped an off-forehand halfway up the net. 30/0. Vera's crosscourt forehand induced Clijsters to dump a forehand halfway up the net. 40/0 (GP #1). Clijsters hit a forehand winner down Vera's right sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera crosscourt forehand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Clijsters hit a loose backhand long. Held.

Clijsters is making cheap error after cheap error now.

I recently learned that Tsvetana Pironkova upset Venus Williams 6-2 6-3, so now the exciting prospect of a mouth-watering Vera v Tsvetana semi-final is coursing through my veins! And the thought of either one of them being in the final is just !

Clijsters serving 1-4: First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Vera forehand just long. 30/0. Vera's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera's deep crosscourt backhand return induced Clijsters to slice a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 40/30 (GP #3). Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit an off-forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: Vera hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Clijsters. 15/0. Clijsters off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Clijsters's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera back on her heels to net a forehand. 15/30. Vera went to the net, got away with hitting her first volley straight back to Clijsters, and hit a down-the-line backhand volley-winner on her next stroke. 30/30. Vera's deep forehand forced Clijsters to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. Held.

A vital hold for Vera. I feared that my mouth-watering Vera v Tsvetana semi-final was slipping away at 15/30, but Clijsters's problems haven't gone anywhere.

Clijsters serving 2-5: Double fault #4 (second serve just long). 0/15. Vera showed off her excellent lateral retrieval, but ended up netting a backhand. 15/15. Vera's pinpoint down-the-line backhand forced Clijsters to hit a wild crosscourt forehand just wide. Clijsters wasted a challenge. 15/30. Vera's deep forehand down the line induced Clijsters to slice a backhand wide. 15/40 (MP #1 for Vera). A nailbiting rally, during which I thought my heart was going to explode, ended with Clijsters hitting an off-forehand winner. 30/40 (MP #2 for Vera). Clijsters on the third stroke netted a forehand. Zvonarëva won 3-6 6-4 6-2 at 14:56 BST (third set 33m, match 1h47m).

Lindsay Davenport (re. Vera): "She's not known as a grass-court player - more success on the slower courts, the clay courts - but she's timing her strokes so well, and the confidence that she must now have."

BBC presenter Rob Curling: "A lot of people will be disappointed about that, because Clijsters is very popular, but I think Vera Zvonarëva could become almost as popular."


Vera's BBC interview
--------------------

Rishi Persad: "Vera, what does your first-ever semi-final appearance here at Wimbledon mean to you?"

Vera: "I'm still excited about the match, but it is definitely one of my dreams to be playing here in the semi-final. I remember being as a kid watching Wimbledon on TV. I'm looking forward to the semi-final, and I'm really excited about my game today."

Persad: "This was your sixth match against Kim Clijsters. You picked a pretty good time to beat her for the first time!"

Vera: "It's amazing, because, like you said, I played her a few times and we always had tough matches, but she was just better than me those days. I was able to hang in there today, and I was able to play some good tennis out there."

Persad: "And how surprised are you to learn that your semi-final opponent is Tsvetana Pironkova and not Venus Williams?"

Vera: "Ooh! Right now, I think women's tennis is at a very high level: there is a lot of competition, and a lot of girls are playing great. So, obviously Venus has a great record here at Wimbledon, and she's always a favourite; she's a great player. But I think there are a lot of players, and I think it's gonna be a very tough match."

Persad: "Best of luck. Well done today."

Vera: "Thank you."

Vera was remarkably calm and composed in that interview, given how excited I was feeling at that moment! She speaks very well: both sweetly and thoughtfully. And she looked absolutely gorgeous, glowing with sweat, with her big, blue eyes, and a dimple in her left cheek when she smiled.

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:31 PM   #23
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full Women's Doubles third-round TV-report for Vera Zvonarëva

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay in getting back to my full TV-reports on Vera’s Wimbledon 2010 campaign. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, but I hope to finish my Wimbledon 2010 reports before the French Open 2012 begins.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Women's Doubles: Third-round TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Benešová/Záhlavová Strýcová (Tuesday 29th June 2010)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (IVETA BENEŠOVÁ/BARBORA ZÁHLAVOVÁ STRÝCOVÁ)[12], 6-3 6-2

I saw this match on BBC Red Button. Less spectacular than Vera's first-round Mixed Doubles win on the preceding Friday, this was a solid win over the Czech pair, of whom Iveta did not play well. The Russians went through the match unbroken, scoring one break late in the first set, and two more early in the second.


First set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA *_*_*_*@* 6
BENEŠOV/ZÁHLAVO _*_*_*___ 3

The match started at 16:51 BST. Vera and Barbora were the ones receiving in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Vesnina serving 0-0: Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 15/0. Barbora's deep crosscourt backhand induced Elena to hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/15. Body-jamming first serve induced Iveta to bunt an off-forehand return wide. 30/15. Vera on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Iveta netted a backhand. Held.

Benešová serving 0-1: Elena's deep crosscourt forehand return forced Iveta to mishit a backhand wide. 0/15. Barbora hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Elena's deep crosscourt forehand forced Iveta to net a backhand. 15/30. Vera's deep off-forehand forced Iveta to mishit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Barbora intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner at Elena's feet. 30/40 (BP #2). Barbora off-backhand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Vera netted a backhand off an awkward low ball. Ad Benešová (GP #1). Vera backhand return long. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 1-1: Iveta forehand long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: Barbora hit a searing crosscourt forehand return-winner past Elena at the net. 15/15. Second serve... the Red Button stream that was showing this match suddenly cut out, and I couldn't get it back again for 12 minutes (until 3-2*). 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #1). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-2: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Vesnina serving 2-2: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Vesnina (GP #1). Held.

Benešová serving 2-3: Barbora crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Vera did well to retrieve Barbora's thunderous off-forehand smash, but Elena netted an easy forehand, and emitted a cute little high-pitched shriek. 30/0. Iveta got away with a short second serve, as Elena mishit a backhand lob-return just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Iveta backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #2). Iveta off-backhand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Barbora on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 3-3: Deep, body-jamming first serve out wide forced Iveta to earth a backhand return. 15/0. Second serve... Vera's crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and fell short, forcing Barbora to run way outside the tramlines to hit a crosscourt backhand; Vera hit an inch-perfect backhand lob-winner over Iveta at the net - much as Barbora tried to run it down. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Iveta to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Elena went after a ball that should have been Vera's, and netted a backhand - not good communication there. 40/30 (GP #3). First serve out wide forced a short, high-bouncing return, which Vera dispatched with a forehand smash-winner down the middle. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 3-4 (new balls): Barbora netted a forehand, and threw her racket. 0/15. First serve out wide + Barbora crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Barbora's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand lob long. 30/30. First serve: Elena netted a makeable backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Iveta mishit a forehand smash long. Deuce #1. A rather awkward lob from Vera induced Iveta to hit a high off-backhand drive-volley long. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #1). Barbora on the third stroke netted a backhand volley. Broken.

Vesnina serving 5-3: Vera dispatched a lob-return with a backhand smash-winner. 15/0. Barbora backhand just long. 30/0. Iveta hit a forehand long - over Vera at the net. 40/0 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Second serve: Barbora's sliced off-forehand return induced Elena to spray a backhand VERY long. 40/15 (SP #2 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Elena's acute crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord, inducing Iveta to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide - a very late call. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won the first set 6-3 at 17:29 BST (38m).


Second set
----------
ZVONARË/VESNINA @*@*_*_* 6
BENEŠOV/ZÁHLAVO ____*_*_ 2

Benešová serving 0-0: Iveta on the third stroke netted a backhand. 0/15. Vera went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/30. Iveta on the third stroke netted a backhand. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera on the fourth stroke hit a deep forehand winner just inside the baseline. Held.

Vesnina serving 1-0: Ace down the middle: 85 mph, on the centre-line. 15/0. After an exchange of lobs, Iveta's off-forehand forced Elena to run right and hit a forehand down the line (accompanied by a shout of "aya"), which Barbora picked off with a lunging backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. A deep, body-jamming return forced Elena to net a backhand. 15/30. Elena, on the third stroke, sprayed a loose crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera used the ‘I’ formation; big first serve down the middle forced Iveta to bunt a very short return, which Vera punished with a hard off-forehand that caught Barbora in no-man's-land, forcing her to earth a forehand half-volley. 30/40 (BP #2). Barbora dumped a forehand volley into the bottom of the net. Deuce #1. Barbora netted a backhand. Ad Vesnina (GP #1). Barbora hit a backhand just long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-2: Elena netted a backhand return. 15/0. Barbora went to the net and hit a backhand volley just long. 15/15. Barbora's deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net a forehand. 30/15. Vera's backhand lob-return forced Iveta to retreat into no-man's-land, where she netted a forehand volley three strokes later. 30/30. Barbora hit a forehand volley long. 40/30 (BP #1). Elena intercepted to hit a stinging backhand volley-winner down the middle. Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 3-0: Elena hit an off-forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Vera backhand long. 15/15. Iveta mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle - just inside the centre-line - forced Barbora to lunge wide and earth a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide induced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Benešová serving 0-4: Vera forehand long. 15/0. Iveta on the third stroke hit a backhand long, and moaned. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle (Elena just clipped it with her racket). 30/15. Vera's deep return forced Iveta to hit a backhand long; she emitted another moan. 30/30. Barbora intercepted to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #1. Vera crouched down at the net as she picked off Iveta's dipping crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the line. Ad Vera (BP #1). Ace #2: 100 mph, down the middle. Deuce #2. Elena netted a forehand. Ad Iveta (GP #2). Iveta's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to net a forehand. Held.

Vesnina serving 4-1: Deep first serve forced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Barbora hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Elena backhand long. 15/30. Vera on the third stroke hit a high off-forehand drive-volley winner. 30/30. Body-jamming first serve out wide forced Iveta to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Barbora to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-5: Body-jamming serve forced Elena to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. The Russians wasted a challenge. 15/0. Barbora bisected the Russians with an off-forehand smash-winner. 30/0. First serve out wide drove Elena outside the tramlines, but she used the angle for a spectacular short-angled crosscourt forehand return-winner. 30/15. Iveta's off-forehand smash on the third stroke forced Elena to bunt a
forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve right into Elena's hitting-zone: she hit a laser-like short-angled off-backhand return-winner just inside the sideline. She celebrated with a big smile and a fist-pump. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle: Vera almost hit a spectacular off-forehand return-winner onto the sideline, but it was just wide. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 5-2 (new balls): Deep first serve induced Iveta to hit a forehand return just long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Barbora to net a backhand return. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Second-serve let. Barbora hit a good, deep off-forehand return, but Vera hit a pinpoint backhand lob-winner over the head of Iveta, who surprisingly made no effort to run it down. BBC commentator Matt Chilton: "And that is right in the corner. I think it was more of a mishit than a deliberate lob." Zvonarëva/Vesnina won 6-3 6-2 at 18:01 BST (second set 31m, match 1h10m).

--
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

Last edited by andrewbroad : Mar 5th, 2012 at 08:36 PM.
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18th, 2012, 12:02 AM   #24
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full Women's Doubles quarter-final TV-report for Vera Zvonarëva

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================-------------------------------------------------------
Women's Doubles: Quarter-final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Williams×2 (Wednesday 30th June 2010)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[1], 3-6 6-3 6-4

Vera and Elena put up an amazing performance to hand the Williams sisters their first doubles-loss of 2010. Some people said that this was an even bigger shock than Venus losing to Tsvetana Pironkova in the singles, because many expected the Williams sisters to win a calendar-year Grand Slam in Women's Doubles.

Indeed, the Williams sisters started the match looking like they could dominate doubles for decades to come, as they combined one sister's big serve with the other's intimidating presence at the net. They won the first set by virtue of a break of Vera's serve in the fourth game.

But the Russians executed great tactics in the second and third sets, such as using the ‘I’ formation on their first serves to keep the Williamses guessing, and intercepting the Williamses' crosscourt shots to hit winning volleys down the middle.

In the second set, the Russians saved a break-point against Vera at *1-1 (30/40), and another three against Elena at *2-2 (30/40 + Ad×2). They then broke Venus for a *4-2 lead, and went on to win the second set by holding serve.

In the third set, Elena faced break-point at *0-1 (30/40), but saved it with an ace down the middle. Then Elena broke Serena for *2-1 with the shot of the match: a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner!

Elena hit a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt to save break-back point against Vera at 1:1 *2-1 (30/40). The rest of the match went with serve, and it was Elena who had the honour of serving it out at *5-4.


First set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA _*___*_*_ 3
WILLIAM/WILLIAM *_*@*_*_* 6

The BBC commentators said that the Williams sisters were virtually invincible in doubles these days, as they have huge serves and groundstrokes, and have improved their movement and positioning.

The match was first on Court 2, and started at 12:15 BST. Vera and Venus were the ones who received serve in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Venus serving 0-0: First serve out wide: Elena netted a backhand return. 15/0. Serena intercepted Vera's crosscourt backhand to hit an off-backhand punch-volley winner. 30/0. Venus on the third stroke netted a forehand. 30/15. Vera netted a forehand under pressure from the Williamses at the net. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, inducing Venus to net a forehand. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera bunted a defensive forehand lob just long off a forehand smash from Serena. Held.

Elena serving 0-1: Venus backhand long. 15/0. Serena's forehand volley induced Vera to earth a backhand volley. 15/15. Elena's deep crosscourt forehand induced Serena to mishit a crosscourt forehand lob wide and long. 30/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Venus hit a high backhand volley crosscourt into Vera's midriff, but she picked off an amazing backhand drop-volley winner! Held.

BBC commentator Tracy Austin: "So Vesnina playing the new style of doubles, where they serve and stay back, really rely on those powerful groundstrokes. Zvonarëva going with the ‘I’ formation, making Venus Williams /guess/ which way she's gonna go. Shows good respect for the returner."

Serena serving 1-1: First serve out wide forced a short return; Serena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vesnina to lunge and earth a backhand. 15/0. Serena bisected the Russians with a forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short floater, which Serena dispatched with an easy little forehand smash-winner. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Serena hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand lob onto the outer sideline, forcing Vera to earth a backhand lob. 0/15. Elena's half-volley backhand lob forced Venus to retreat and hoist a defensive lob, which Vera dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Serena's deep crosscourt forehand return induced Vera to hit a forehand lob long. 15/30. Serena forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Elena on the third stroke intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand return - only to net a forehand volley. Broken.

The Russians are serving and staying back.

Venus serving 3-1: Sliced second serve out wide to the sideline forced Elena to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 15/0. First serve out wide + Serena crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/0. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand into Venus's body at the net, forcing her to net a backhand volley. Vera apologised, although it was a perfectly legitimate shot. 30/15. Serena forced a short floater, and hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Venus went to the net, but Elena hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Elena hit an off-backhand volley at Serena's feet, but Serena picked off a crosscourt forehand reflex-volley winner. Held.

Elena serving 1-4: First serve: Serena hit a makeable backhand return just long. 15/0. Venus backhand volley long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide induced Serena to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera played the ‘I’ formation, leaping up to hit an off-forehand volley-winner on the third stroke. Held.

Serena serving 4-2: Venus bisected the Russians with an easy backhand volley-winner down the line. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: Vera bunted a backhand return just long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Virtual ace down the middle (Vera stretched wide and clipped it with her racket). Held.

It's very tough to break the Williams sisters in doubles, because they both have huge serves, and the other one is waiting at the net.

Vera serving 2-5 (new balls): Elena used the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley that induced Serena to hit a forehand just long. 15/0. Vera went for a body-jamming serve, but Venus sidestepped to hit an off-forehand return-winner. 15/15. Serena on the third stroke hit an off-forehand volley-winner into Elena's body. 15/30. Venus netted a backhand. 30/30. Elena called "mine" (or whatever they say in Russian) to take a skyscraper-lob, but hit a wild forehand smash long. 30/40 (SP #1 for Williams/Williams). Second serve: Venus hit a forehand return long. Deuce #1. First serve down the middle induced Serena to hit a backhand return long. Ad Vera (GP #1). Elena used the ‘I’ formation to hit an acute-angled crosscourt forehand volley-winner on the third stroke. Held.

Venus serving 5-3: Second serve: Elena hit a penetrating forehand return + deep off-backhand, forcing Venus to net a forehand. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/30. Elena went to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, but Venus's crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and curved into Elena's body, forcing her to hit a powderpuff backhand volley (accompanied by a Kvitová-esque bark), which Serena dispatched with an easy forehand smash-winner down the middle. 15/30. Deep second serve down the middle forced Vera to lunge wide and mishit an off-forehand return wide. 30/30. Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 40/30 (SP #2 for Williams/Williams). Elena's off-backhand volley into Serena's body forced Serena to net a backhand volley. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + Serena off-forehand volley-winner. Ad Venus (SP #3 for Williams/Williams). Serena hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Williams/Williams won the first set 6-3 at 12:47 BST (31m).


Second set
----------
ZVONARË/VESNINA *_*_*@*_* 6
WILLIAM/WILLIAM _*_*___*_ 3

Elena serving 0-0: Elena played a dynamic point, going to the net behind a deep crosscourt backhand to force a weak backhand lob from Serena, which Elena dispatched with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Elena joined Vera at the net, but hit a wild crosscourt forehand volley wide. 15/15. Elena hit forehand long, and waved her hand with a look of frustration on her face. 15/30. Vera used the ‘I’ formation to hit a cute off-forehand drop-volley, forcing Venus to net a backhand lob. 30/30. First serve down the middle - on the centre-line - forced Serena to lunge wide and earth a one-handed backhand lob-return. 40/30 (GP #1). With Vera trying the ‘I’ formation again, Venus netted a backhand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: "Vesnina with an interesting grunt: it's like a karate sound: ‘Aya!’"

Venus serving 0-1: Vera intercepted on the fourth stroke to hit an off-forehand volley-winner. Tracy Austin: "A really terrific return from Vesnina - so far in the tramline that it really opened up the court. Terrific angle." 0/15. Huge first serve out wide forced a floater, which Serena dispatched with a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Venus forehand long. 15/30. In a spectacular point, Elena retrieved Venus's deep crosscourt backhand volley with a half-volley backhand lob; Serena hit a crosscourt forehand smash, which Elena ran outside the tramlines to retrieve with a forehand, but Venus buried it with a high backhand volley-winner crosscourt at a very short, acute angle. 30/30. Elena off-backhand return wide. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle: Vera hit a makeable off-forehand return long. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: First serve down the middle induced Serena to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Serena on the fourth stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley onto the sideline: called wide. The Russians challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it was wide by about 2% of the breadth of the sideline! 15/30. Serena moved left at the net too early, and Vera was quick to take advantage with a crosscourt forehand winner - she adjusted mid-shot! 30/30. Serena hit a forehand smash at Elena's feet, forcing her to bunt a backhand lob that actually landed behind her. 30/40 (BP #1). Virtual ace: deep first serve down the middle, on the service-line - Venus just brushed it with her racket. Deuce #1. Elena intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand return to hit a forehand volley-winner that missed Venus by a few centimetres. Ad Vera (GP #1). Serena hit a crosscourt forehand wide, and emitted a cute little squeal. Held.

Serena serving 1-2: Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 15/0. Ace out wide: on the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Serena tried to serve and volley, but Vera's crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand volley. 40/15 (GP #2). Elena on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. Held.

Tracy Austin: "Serena and Venus are on cruise-control; Zvonarëva and Vesnina are at full speed."

Elena serving 2-2: Elena forehand volley long. 0/15. Venus backhand just long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Venus to stretch wide and hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Serena's body-jamming crosscourt forehand volley forced Vera to earth a backhand volley. 30/30. Serena hit a forehand volley into Vera's body, forcing her to net a forehand volley. 30/40 (BP #1). Venus hit an off-forehand wide, accompanied by a lingering groan. Deuce #1. Serena forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand volley-winner. Ad Venus (BP #2). Elena's forehand volley into Venus's body forced Venus to net a forehand volley. Deuce #2. Standing close to her right sideline to serve, Elena hit a terrific second serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forcing Serena to run outside the tramlines and hit a down-the-line forehand return would-be winner that was wide by a whisker. Ad Elena (GP #1). First serve: Venus hit a backhand return-winner down the Russians' right sideline. Deuce #3. Serena crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Venus (BP #3). Elena hit an off-backhand winner plumb on the sideline. Deuce #4. Serena on the fourth stroke sprayed a wild forehand long. Ad Elena (GP #2). In a delightful rally, the Williams sisters made Elena hit a sequence of groundstrokes, her karate-grunt getting ever higher pitched; then Vera took over with a delicate backhand lob; Serena drilled a high backhand drive-volley at Vera's feet, but she picked off an amazing off-backhand half-volley winner onto the sideline! (it was called wide by the line-judge, but the umpire overruled it as good, and awarded the point to the Russians without a replay). Held.

Venus serving 2-3: Elena bisected the Williamses with a backhand winner down the middle. 0/15. Second-serve let... Elena's backhand drop-volley forced Serena to run left (parallel to the net) and bunt a one-handed off-backhand wide. 0/30. Serena netted a forehand. Mark Petchey: "I think they've got into Venus and Serena's heads a little bit - they're not quite sure where to go." 0/40 (BP #1). Vera backhand long. 15/40 (BP #2). Deep first serve down the middle induced Elena to net a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #3). Double fault (second serve into the net). Broken.

Tracy Austin: "Zvonarëva's been very good from the back court, and Vesnina has /moved/ particularly well: covering the middle, intercepting balls, excellent racket-work at the net."

Vera serving 4-2: Ace #1: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/0. Vera took the initiative with some good deep groundstrokes, and went to hit a backhand volley, but Elena barged in front of her and netted a forehand volley. 15/15. First serve out wide induced Serena to hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Elena used the ‘I’ formation to jump up and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner straight down the middle. Held.

Mark Petchey: "That ‘I’ formation has been very effective against the Williamses today."
Tracy Austin: "It's really disrupting their returns of serve."
Mark Petchey: "They've come out with a strategy, and are executing it well. We saw how well Vesnina moved, but Serena is unsure where to go."
Tracy Austin: "It takes a set to get used to the power of the Williams sisters, but now they've adjusted."

Serena serving 2-5 (new balls): Ace down the middle. 15/0. First serve out wide - deep in the corner - forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob-return wide. 30/0. Elena hit a pinpoint forehand pass-winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/15. Serena stepped in to hit an early backhand winner down the line. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Serena to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve + Venus forehand smash + Venus backhand drive-volley winner down the middle. Held.

Elena serving 5-3: Elena's deep crosscourt forehand forced Serena to hit a short lob, which Vera dispatched with an easy crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Vera backhand just long. 30/15. Elena ran down a dropshot and hit a nifty little one-handed backhand winner down the line. 40/15 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Vera stretched wide to hit a crosscourt forehand volley that landed at Venus's feet, forcing her to hit a forehand half-volley long. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won the second set 6-3 at 13:30 BST (second set 44m, match so far 1h15m).


Third set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA _*@*_*_*_* 6
WILLIAM/WILLIAM *___*_*_*_ 4

Venus serving 0-0: Deep first serve out wide induced Elena to net a forehand return. 15/0. Body-jamming second serve: Vera hit a pinpoint short-angled off-forehand return-winner just inside the outer sideline! 15/15. Ace #7: out wide: just inside the sideline. 30/15. Serena on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. Held.

It's interesting that Elena has served first for the Russians in every set, even though she served last in the second set.

Elena serving 0-1: Vera on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. Serena's backhand volley rushed Vera into hitting an off-forehand wide. 0/30. First serve down the middle: Serena backhand return long. 15/30. Second serve out wide: Venus hit a cheap off-forehand return just long. 30/30. Vera tried to intercept Venus's crosscourt forehand return, but netted a forehand and sank to her knees. 30/40 (BP #1). Ace down the middle. Deuce #1. Deep first serve down the middle + ‘I’ formation induced Venus to hit a forehand long. Ad Elena (GP #1). Serena crosscourt forehand pass-volley winner. Deuce #2. Body-jamming first serve down the middle forced Serena to net a backhand return. Ad Elena (GP #2). Venus backhand return long.

Vera is now using the ‘I’ formation on every first serve of Elena's, the regular formation on the second serve (which lacks the penetration to give her the time to jump up). The Williams sisters are getting increasingly frustrated.

Serena serving 1-1: Vera's lob forced Venus to run backwards and hit a short forehand smash with her back to the net, which sat up nicely for Elena to hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Elena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Serena to net a forehand. 0/30. Wide-angled first serve forced Elena to run outside the tramlines and hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide. 15/30. Ace out wide: 106 mph. 30/30. Elena went to the net, and hit a deep backhand volley that forced Serena to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). With the Williams sisters playing on Vera, she worked her team into a commanding position at the net, hit a forehand smash at Venus's feet to force a weak half-volley, which Elena dispatched with a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Broken.

Tracy Austin: "Vesnina plays a lot of doubles, and she's really starting to show her prowess: using all the angles of the court. Zvonarëva not quite as much; she really hits /through/ the court - more of a singles-player."

Vera serving 2-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Serena to lunge wide and bunt a backhand lob-return wide. 15/0. Elena hit a backhand halfway up the net. 15/15. Venus netted a forehand volley. 30/15. Serena hit a huge crosscourt forehand smash: Elena miraculously picked off a forehand half-volley, but Venus was there to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/30. First serve: Serena hit a deep backhand return-winner that clipped the outside edge of the baseline. 30/40 (BP #1). Elena hit a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Serena to net a forehand. Tracy Austin: "That movement from Vesnina at the net distracted Serena, caused the error." Ad Vera (GP #1). Serena on the fourth stroke hit an off-backhand drive-volley winner onto the baseline. Deuce #1. A wonderful rally with both Russians at the net ended with Serena netting a forehand - off a crosscourt forehand from Vera. Ad Vera (GP #2). Elena picked off Venus's crosscourt backhand return to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner - accompanied by her by-now-familiar two-tone karate-grunt. Held.

Venus serving 1-3: Vera intercepted Venus's crosscourt forehand to hit an off-forehand volley, but hit it long and wide. 15/0. An amazing rally ended with Serena reaching over the net to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner - an illegal shot, but neither the officials nor the Russians appeared to notice. 30/0. Ace out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus served and hit a forehand volley down the middle, but left the whole left half of the court wide open for Vera to hit an early off-forehand winner. Mark Petchey: "Very instinctive tennis from Zvonarëva." 40/15 (GP #2). Ace down the middle. Held.

Elena serving 3-2: First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Elena netted a backhand under pressure from the Williamses (particularly Serena) at the net. 15/15. First serve down the middle forced a short return; Elena went to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, but Serena hit an acute-angled crosscourt forehand low over the net; Elena netted a crosscourt forehand volley and screamed! 15/30. First serve down the middle forced Venus to hit an off-forehand just wide. 30/30. Vera hit a high off-forehand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena netted a backhand volley. Deuce #1. Ace #3 for the Russians: out wide, right in the corner. Ad Elena (GP #2). Vera's presence at the net induced Venus to net a crosscourt backhand. Held.

The commentators claimed that, were the Russians to win this match, it would be an even bigger shock than Tsvetana Pironkova beating Venus in the singles, as the Williams sisters are tipped by many to win a calendar-year Grand Slam this year.

Serena serving 2-4: Serena hit a pinpoint forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/0. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line (it was called wide, but the Williamses made a successful challenge, and the umpire awarded them the point without a replay). 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus off-backhand winner. Held.

A quick, convincing hold puts the pressure firmly on Vera's shoulders.

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Vera hit a big first serve out wide (just inside the sideline) + forehand smash + forehand punch-volley; Venus hit a forehand down the middle; Elena's off-forehand volley induced Venus to net a backhand. 30/0. Ace #4 for the Russians: out wide, just inside the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus forehand just long. Held.

A very impressive hold by Vera!

Venus serving 3-5: Second serve out wide + Serena off-forehand volley-winner down the middle. 15/0. Venus hit a high off-forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Ace #13 for the Williamses: down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Elena intercepted Venus's crosscourt backhand to hit a backhand volley down the middle + off-forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Ace #14 for the Williamses: down the middle. Held.

The moment of truth for the Russians, and Elena in particular. What will the reputation of the Williams sisters count for now?

Elena serving 5-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Serena to net a backhand return. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Venus to net a forehand return. 30/0. First serve just wide. Elena used up a challenge to show that it was wide by about 15% of the breadth of the sideline. Second serve... Venus off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Serena off-backhand winner down the middle. 30/30. Serena hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Elena shouted "vita". 40/30 (MP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Deep first serve out wide forced Venus to net a backhand return. Elena jumped for joy, and the Russians hugged each other with big smiles on their faces. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won 3-6 6-3 6-4 at 14:15 BST (third set 43m, match 1h59m).

Tracy Austin: "What's wonderful about this victory is that it's because they played so well. The Williams sisters did not let them win this match. They /really/ took control midway through the second set. They were more aggressive, changed their strategy a bit, disrupted the Williams sisters, and to be able to sustain it for that length of time - phenomenal."
Mark Petchey: "So often, you just feel as though Venus and Serena are going to overpower their opponents, and that's what it looked like in that first set: the Americans were just too good, too strong, serving too well, but all credit to the Russians. They did find a tactic that worked, and they executed it perfectly. Zvonarëva's tournament continues to get better and better."
Tracy Austin: "It was very high-quality: a lot of power, but also a lot of beautiful angles, touch-shots, long rallies."


Vera and Elena's BBC interview
------------------------------

This interview took place just after the players left Court 2.

Pam Shriver: "Vera and Elena, such a great win over the Williams sisters, who'd not lost in a Major since last year's French Open. Vera first: how did you do it?"

Vera: "Erm... I don't know. I think I have to thank my partner, Elena: I think she did a great job. We were just trying to hang in there and fight for every point. It /is/ very difficult to beat them - they're a great team. We knew we just had to try to play our best tennis, and I think we did well today."

Pam Shriver: "Elena, you're probably the least-known of the four on the court, but it seemed like you were playing as great a tennis as anybody was on the court. How did you do that?"

Elena: "Thank you very much. Always when you're playing against the Williamses, it's always a challenge, and you always wanna do your best; you wanna show your best tennis. So, today on the court, me and Vera were just trying to fight for every point. I think the key of the match was that we were serving really well for the whole match."

Pam Shriver: "So you both communicated so well together. Vera, talk about the day before a semi-final of Wimbledon, to be able to be out on a doubles-court, three sets, with the confidence of beating the Williams sisters. What does that do for your singles semi-final?"

Vera: "Tomorrow is another day, and I will prepare myself now for my singles. But just a few hours back, I was just getting ready for my doubles-match. I was not thinking about tomorrow; I was just trying to enjoy the moment, and to enjoy that tough challenge. I think that's it. But after I will go back to the locker-room, then I will start thinking about my match tomorrow."

Pam Shriver: "Well, well done. Yesterday Kim Clijsters; today, you two defeated the Williams sisters for the first time all year long. Congratulations."

Elena: "Thank you very much."

Vera: "Thank you."

The BBC don't usually interview doubles-players - not even after the finals - so this victory was certainly regarded as an extraordinary achievement!

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 1st, 2012, 06:15 PM   #25
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full semi-final TV-report for Zvonarëva v Pironkova

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------
Semi-final TV-report: Zvonarëva v Pironkova (Thursday 1st July 2010)
-------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF], 3-6 6-3 6-2

This promised to be a mouth-watering match between two of the most flairsomely talented and attractive players, and it didn't disappoint, as Vera and Tsvetana produced a contest worthy of a Major semi-final.

Tsvetana went onto court fired up, smiling, and ready to embrace the occasion. She played an uninhibitedly brilliant first set, with her explosive first serve and killer backhand in fine form. Even her forehand was a weapon, as she mixed it up by walloping some and slicing others, disrupting Vera's rhythm.

I only saw Tsvetana's quarter-final win over Venus Williams recorded, because it clashed with Vera's quarter-final, but there's nothing like watching her play live against a member of my Eternal Fanship to appreciate how good she really is.

I must confess that enjoyed watching Tsvetana's performance, even though it was threatening to beat Vera. I've admired Tsvetana's beauty for several years now, and promoted her to my demi-fanship in 2008 based on Passion alone, but now I definitely admire her tennis as well. While I'm not planning to induct any more players into my Eternal Fanship for the foreseeable future, Tsvetana certainly laid down a marker for me to consider, the next time I contemplate inducting someone (as of April 2012, Tsvetana is in a group of five players who are my favourites outside my Eternal Fanship).

Vera found herself facing BP×3 at *2-3 (0/40), after Tsvetana had played three good points: the last of them an off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. Vera saved the first BP with an ace out wide, but was beaten by a dead netcord winner on the second.

Vera couldn't recover that break, and in due course, Tsvetana had three SPs at *5-3 (40/0). Vera saved the first with a dropshot-winner (Tsvetana almost ran into the net trying to reach it). Tsvetana wasted the second SP by netting a choky backhand, but got away with a woefully short second serve on the third SP, as Vera netted a backhand several strokes later.

In the second set, Vera raised her level, while Tsvetana's level dropped. A few unforced errors were creeping into Tsvetana's game that she just wasn't making in that fairy-tale first set.

Tsvetana came through a tough service-game of two deuces at 6-3 *1-2, with Vera hitting a cheap forehand long at Deuce #1.

The key game came on Tsvetana's serve at 6-3 *2-3. Vera pegged Tsvetana back to Deuce with an 82mph off-backhand winner, saved a second GP, forced her first BP of the match, and converted it with a great spreading rally, finishing with an off-backhand winner.

And so Vera came to serve for the second set at *5-3. She served it out to 15, finishing with a dead-netcord winner to atone for the one that had broken her serve in the first set.

Starting the third set with power and precision, Vera broke to 30 in the opening game. Tsvetana lost her footing and had a nasty-looking fall just as Vera moved to *1-0 (30/0) with an off-forehand winner, but Tsvetana was okay, and the fall appeared to have distracted Vera as she double-faulted and netted a forehand for 30/30. She nevertheless consolidated the break: 2-0*.

Vera had further BPs at 1:1 2-0* (40/15*), but Vera wasted them with two backhand errors – one forced, one not – and Tsvetana held for 1-2*.

Vera appeared to be faltering as she sprayed a wild off-forehand long at 1:1 *2-1 (30/15), but Tsvetana let her off the hook with two unforced backhand errors, and looked very disappointed.

Vera saved GP at 1:1 3-1* (30/40*) by winning a nailbiting rally with an amazing crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. Vera's dipping crosscourt backhand pass set up BP, which she converted when Tsvetana hit a wild backhand very long: *4-1.

With Vera's grunting sounding increasingly anxious, she found herself facing BP×2 at 1:1 *4-1 (15/40), but Tsvetana made two return-errors – one forced, one not – and then Vera held serve with two backhand winners down the line: the first being a drive-volley.

Tsvetana took one last chance to shine at 1:1 *1-5, hitting a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline, and a beautiful off-backhand winner just inside both sideline and baseline.

Serving for the match at 1:1 *5-2, Vera started by winning an amazing rally with an off-forehand winner! She had her first MP at 40/15, but another amazing rally ended with Tsvetana hitting a dropshot and Vera hitting a makeable forehand pass just long. At 40/30 (MP #2), a first serve out wide + off-forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a backhand.

Vera was very calm and composed throughout the match. The Vera of old would have got upset about the netcord that broke her serve in the first set, and no doubt numerous other issues, but as Simon Reed put it: “She countered the demons that she had within her, and they didn't become a factor at all.”

I hoped and expected that Tsvetana could use her Wimbledon-run as a launching-pad for a much better career than the one she had before Wimbledon 2010. I've never seen her play with so much confidence before; she looks strong mentally, and her game doesn't look like the kind of game that easily dissolves into a stream of unforced errors.


Prematch
--------

I watched this live on BBC Red Button. The first thing I saw was a picture of Marion Bartoli with Tsvetana's name under it!

As they waited to come onto court, Vera had her headphones on, while Tsvetana was standing behind her, jogging from side to side. Vera had her game face on, while Tsvetana had a big smile on her face – there was no doubt that she was ready to embrace the occasion.


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA _*_*___*_ 3
PIRONKOVA *_*_*@*_* 6

The match was first on Centre Court, and started at 13:09 BST.

Tsvetana serving 0-0: Tsvetana backhand just long. 0/15. First serve out wide induced Vera to hit an off-forehand return wide. 15/15. Vera off-backhand wide. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Simon Reed: “It's been one of the shots of the tournament.” 40/15 (GP #1). Virtual ace down the middle: a booming 112 mph first serve that Vera just managed to brush with the very outside edge of her racket-frame. Held.

Vera serving 0-1: Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: right in the corner. 15/0. They had to replay the point because the ball was broken – I've never seen that before! Vera forced a short ball, and hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Tsvetana. 30/0. Second serve: Tsvetana netted a backhand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Tsvetana backhand just long. Held.

A good start by both. Tsvetana showed such an explosive first serve in the first game, while Vera is so much on control of the baseline-rally.

Tsvetana serving 1-1: Vera went to the net, forcing Tsvetana to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Tsvetana's deep off-backhand pushed Vera back on her heels, forcing her to net a forehand. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide (113 mph) forced Vera to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, but it was too short: Tsvetana hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 0/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/15. First serve out wide forced a short return down the middle; Vera sidestepped to her left and hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Simon Reed: “This was the kind of shot-making that put Kim Clijsters in her place.” 30/15. Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but it was too short, and right in Tsvetana's hitting-zone for a backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Tsvetana went to the net behind a sliced forehand onto the baseline, but it was just long. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Tsvetana to hit an off-forehand return wide. Held.

Tracy Austin: “When asked about how Pironkova disrupts her opponent, she [Vera] said, ‘I just need to concentrate on myself and execute my game, no matter what the score is.’”

Tsvetana serving 2-2: Vera backhand just long. 15/0. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner back behind Vera. 30/0. Ace #1: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera ran down a dropshot and hit an off-forehand winner close to the sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve out wide just inside the sideline forced Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand return wide. Held.

Simon Reed: “So far, Pironkova is looking the freer of the two out there.”

Vera serving 2-3: Tsvetana went to the net and hit an off-forehand volley, forcing Vera to hit an off-backhand wide. 0/15. Tsvetana's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Tsvetana hit an off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. 0/40 (BP #1). Ace #1: first serve out wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Tsvetana's forehand clipped the netcord and trickled over for a winner. Broken.

Tsvetana serving 4-2: Deep service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Tsvetana netted a backhand. 15/15. Tsvetana's down-the-line backhand forced Vera to earth a running forehand. 30/15. Tsvetana's deep forehand forced Vera to spray a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana chopped a forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #2). Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand just long. Held.

Vera serving 2-5 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Vera went to the net behind a deep sliced forehand, and looked well on top of the point, but a couple of awkward lobs from Tsvetana retrieval forced Vera to retreat and hit a weak backhand volley that sat up nicely for Tsvetana to hit a searing short-angled crosscourt backhand to the sideline, forcing Vera to net a defensive sliced backhand. 15/15. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Vera hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint off-backhand winner back behind Tsvetana: deep in the corner. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Zvonarëva, at this point in a match four years ago, would have just imploded – particularly on that netcord [*2-3 15/40], where she lost the game. Good emotional management from her – new and improved.”

Tsvetana serving 5-3: First serve out wide + off-backhand winner back behind Vera. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to earth a backhand return. 40/0 (SP #1 for Tsvetana). Tsvetana ran down a dropshot, narrowly avoided touching the net, but her backhand was “not up”. 40/15 (SP #2). Tsvetana on the third stroke netted a choky backhand. 40/30 (SP #3). Tsvetana got away with a woefully short second serve: five strokes later, Vera slapped a backhand into the net. Tsvetana won the first set 6-3 at 13:41 BST (31m).

Tsvetana got very choky at 40/15 there. It will be interesting to see how she reacts if she gets to serve for the match.

Vera just isn't coming up with the goods so far, and is making the same tactical mistake as Venus Williams of hitting predominantly to Tsvetana's backhand. I just don't get why she would do that.


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA *_*_*@*_* 6
PIRONKOVA _*_*___*_ 3

Vera serving 0-0: Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Tsvetana netted a backhand. 30/0. Tsvetana forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, and hit a backhand winner down the line. Held.

Tsvetana serving 0-1: Tsvetana's short-angled crosscourt sliced forehand forced Vera to net a forehand. 15/0. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just long. 30/0. Tsvetana hit a forehand smash-winner off a deep lob from Vera that Tsvetana let bounce! 40/0 (GP #1). Tsvetana forehand just long. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: Vera hit a deep second serve onto the service-line, inducing Tsvetana to mishit a forehand return just wide. 15/0. First serve forced a short return; Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Vera got jammed and mishit a forehand, but Tsvetana blasted a crosscourt backhand into the net. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + backhand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. Held.

Tsvetana's level is dropping, while Vera's is rising. A few unforced errors are creeping into Tsvetana's game that she just wasn't making in that fairy-tale first set.

Tsvetana serving 1-2: Vera saw a huge gap down the line, and hit a booming forehand winner into it. 0/15. Tsvetana backhand just long. 0/30. Vera dumped a down-the-line forehand halfway up the net, and emitted a cute little squeak. 15/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to lunge wide and net a forehand return. 30/30. Tsvetana off-backhand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Vera hit a forehand just long, and looked very frustrated. Ad Tsvetana (GP #2). Vera went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Vera hit a backhand onto the baseline, but it was called long. She challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it was wide by about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. Ad Tsvetana (GP #3). First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long. Held.

That game felt really pivotal in establishing who has the momentum in this second set. If Vera loses in straight sets, she'll really rue that missed forehand at Deuce #1 there.

Vera serving 2-2: Tsvetana backhand long. 15/0. Vera tried to jam Tsvetana with a deep first serve, but Tsvetana sidestepped to her right and jammed Vera with an awkward crosscourt backhand return down the middle, inducing Vera to spray an off-backhand wide. 15/15. Tsvetana netted a forehand dropshot, and looked frustrated for her first time in this match. 30/15. Vera went to the net, forcing Tsvetana to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. Held.

Tsvetana is really mixing up the pace on her forehand: walloping some, and slicing others. She's not really hitting those weak steered forehands today.

Tsvetana serving 2-3: Tsvetana backhand winner down the line. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand. 30/0. Vera forced a short ball, and hit a forehand dropshot-winner. 30/15. Vera's down-the-line forehand induced Tsvetana to net a backhand. 30/30. Tsvetana's deep, hard forehand down the line jammed Vera into netting a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera hit an 82mph off-backhand winner. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Tsvetana (GP #2). Tsvetana went for a huge off-forehand winner to the sideline, but it was just wide. Deuce #2. Tsvetana on the third stroke dumped a backhand halfway up the net. Ad Vera (BP #1). Vera played a great spreading rally, finishing with an off-backhand winner. Broken.

And that, incredibly, was Vera's first break-point of the match.

Vera serving 4-2: Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to hit an off-backhand wide. 15/0. Vera spread Tsvetana with a deep down-the-line backhand + penetrating off-forehand into the corner, forcing Tsvetana to net a backhand – and Vera was ready at the net just in case it had gone over. 15/15. Vera forced a floater, went to the net and hit an off-forehand forehand winner. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to bunt a forehand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana hit a huge, deep forehand return down the line, forcing Vera to earth a backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide: Tsvetana's backhand return clipped the netcord; inviting Vera to go to the net behind a sliced off-forehand deep into the corner; Tsvetana's down-the-line backhand pass made Vera have to stretch wide to hit a crosscourt forehand volley; Tsvetana ran it down and bunted a very short forehand down the line; Vera hit an easy crosscourt backhand winner into the wide open court. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Everything was going perfectly for her [Tsvetana]; she was in the zone. Zvonarëva has just upped her level a touch.”
Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva is a different player now. She's thinking clearly, moving well, and executing.”

Tsvetana serving 2-5 (new balls): Body-jamming first serve induced Vera to dump a backhand return into the bottom of the net. 15/0. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 30/0. Vera forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Vera serving 5-3: Tsvetana forehand long. 15/0. Tsvetana's crosscourt backhand return induced Vera to net a backhand that she wouldn't normally miss. 15/15. Tsvetana netted a forehand. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a backhand return just long, and challenged Vera's serve: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 20% of the breadth of the service-line. 40/15 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Vera won the second set 6-3 at 14:17 BST (second set 36m, match so far 1h08m).

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva has got that pendulum swinging on her side. She was the favourite before the start, and I guess she is again now, but Pironkova is dangerous – we've seen that.”


Third set
---------
ZVONARËVA @*_*@*_* 6
PIRONKOVA __*___*_ 2

Tsvetana serving 0-0: Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Tsvetana's deep off-forehand induced Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 30/0. Vera hit a deep off-forehand into the corner, forcing Tsvetana to net a backhand. Simon Reed: “She's just missing when Zvonarëva turns on the turbo.” 15/30. Tsvetana's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob long. 30/30. Tsvetana off-forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #1). A well-controlled rally by Vera with good depth ended with Tsvetana hitting a backhand just long. Broken.

Vera serving 1-0: Deep first serve out wide induced Tsvetana to hit a forehand return just long. 15/0. Vera forced a floater and hit an off-forehand smash-winner; Tsvetana had no play on the ball, but lost her footing on the slick green grass behind the brown patch, and had a nasty-looking fall. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve long by a whisker). 30/15. Vera netted a forehand. 30/30. Vera's deep forehand down the line forced Tsvetana to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Service-winner out wide. Held.

Now Tsvetana's the one having to do all the defending, and the exciting thought of Vera in the Wimbledon Women's Singles final is already running through my mind!

Tsvetana serving 0-2: Second serve: Vera slapped a cheap forehand return into the net. 15/0. Tsvetana crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve just long). 15/30. Tsvetana backhand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to slide wide and earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. Deuce #1. Vera forehand just long. Ad Tsvetana (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short return; Tsvetana went to the net behind a rather short off-forehand; Vera sprayed a makeable down-the-line backhand pass wide, and groaned. Held.

Vera had one foot in the final at 2-0* (40/15*), but she has to put that disappointment behind her, and hold onto the one break that she does have. Still a lot of work ahead of her in this match.

Vera serving 2-1: Deep first serve forced Tsvetana to net a forehand return. 15/0. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Vera hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. It's the shot that has worked so well for her this week. 30/15. Vera sprayed a wild off-forehand long. Simon Reed: “The Bulgarians are getting excited, because there /are/ signs that Zvonarëva is faltering here.” 30/30. Vera let a lob bounce... it landed on the sideline... Vera's crosscourt backhand induced Tsvetana to net a backhand, and Tsvetana looked very disappointed. 40/30 (GP #1). Tsvetana dumped a wild backhand return into the net. Held.

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva is probably more than a little relieved. Her form started to go down in the last seven or eight minutes, but Pironkova was unable to take advantage.”
Tracy Austin: “A few more nerves are creeping in. She must have been thinking, ‘Is this slipping away just a touch?’”

Tsvetana serving 1-3: Tsvetana's crosscourt forehand to the sideline induced Vera to net a forehand dropshot – a very low-percentage shot in that position. 15/0. Vera's deep backhand forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Tsvetana hit a couple of sliced forehands followed by a couple of steered forehands, then hit a backhand just long. 15/30. Tsvetana went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand pass wide. 30/30. Ace #3: out wide: on the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). A nailbiting rally ended with Vera hitting an amazing crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner from the baseline! Deuce #1. Tsvetana went to the net, but Vera's dipping crosscourt backhand forced Tsvetana to bunt a backhand half-volley lob wide. Ad Vera (BP #1). Tsvetana on the fourth stroke hit a wild backhand very long. Broken.

Vera pumped her fist and shouted something in Russian that sounded like “komm-yee-shah”. Simon Reed said that Pironkova was “beside herself”.

Vera serving 4-1: Vera's off-forehand dropshot forced Tsvetana to run forwards and hit a backhand long. 15/0. Vera went to the net, but Tsvetana's short sliced backhand forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera back on her heels to hit a backhand wide. 15/30. Tsvetana dominated the rally, forcing Vera to chop a forehand just long. Vera's grunting sounds increasingly anxious! 15/40 (BP #1). Tsvetana netted a cheap forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve out wide forced Tsvetana to net a backhand return. Deuce #1. Vera went to the net and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. Ad Vera (GP #1). Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand winner down the line; Tsvetana looked like she had a play on it but let it go. Held.

Tsvetana serving 1-5: Tsvetana spread Vera, opening up the court with a crosscourt forehand but hitting an off-forehand long. 0/15. Tsvetana hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to spray an off-forehand wide. 15/15. Tsvetana hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. Vera challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a beautiful off-backhand winner just inside both sideline and baseline. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera's forehand return clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. She apologised. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand long. Held.

Vera serving 5-2 (new balls): Vera opened an exhilarating rally with a first serve out wide + off-forehand, then went to the net behind a down-the-line backhand; Tsvetana hit a dipping crosscourt forehand, but Vera picked it off with a deft crosscourt forehand half-volley dropshot; Tsvetana ran it down and bunted a forehand down the line; Vera hoisted a fabulous skyscraper-lob; Tsvetana, running backwards, hit a high backhand volley that made the crowd gasp, but sat up nicely for Vera to hit an off-forehand winner. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Tsvetana hit a deep backhand down the middle, inducing Vera to net a forehand. 30/15. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a forehand lob. 40/15 (MP #1 for Vera). In another great rally, Vera's backhand clipped the netcord; Tsvetana hit a sliced forehand dropshot onto the sideline; Vera ran it down but hit a makeable forehand pass just long. 40/30 (MP #2 for Vera). First serve out wide + off-forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a backhand. Vera won 3-6 6-3 6-2 at 14:55 BST (third set 38m, match 1h46m).

Simon Reed: “She countered the demons that she had within her, and they didn't become a factor at all.”

Tracy Austin: “Everybody expected Vera to come out the winner today, and she held strong mentally. For so many years, we've been talking about the talent of Vera Zvonarëva and the expectations. Now she's fulfilling them.”


Vera's BBC interview
--------------------

Phil Jones: “Congratulations. Can you even begin to put into words what this means to you, Vera, to be in your [first] Wimbledon final, your first Grand Slam final?”

Vera: “I'm very excited. I think I'm not realising it at the moment, but it was very tough out there. She's a very young player [Tsvetana was 22 at the time], but a very, very tough opponent. She started so well, and I'm happy the way I was able to hang in the match, and was able to turn it around.”

Phil Jones: “So what was your mindset after losing that first set?”

Vera: “You know, I was just not thinking about it. I was just thinking about what I've got to do. I've got to be a little bit quicker; I've got to play a little bit more aggressive. And that's about it. I was not thinking about... that I lost the first set.”

Phil Jones: “You certainly played some wonderful points in that third set. When you're nearing victory, do the thoughts ever enter your head at that point: that you're on the verge of something historic?”

Vera: “She didn't really give me a chance to think about it, because she was a very tough opponent out there, and I had to concentrate on my game, and I knew if I will give her a little bit of chance, she will take it.”

Phil Jones: “And now for the final: at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world. Just how exciting is this for you?”

Vera: “It is very exciting. It's one of my dreams to be out there.”

Phil Jones: “Congratulations on a wonderful performance. Wish you well in the final.”

Vera: “Thank you.”


Tsvetana's BBC interview
------------------------

Phil Jones: “Well, Tsvetana, I'd normally say ‘commiserations’ at this point, but it seems the wrong word to use, because you played so well; you've had a magnificent tournament. So how do you reflect, first of all, on what you've achieved here.”

Tsvetana: “Yeah, I'm definitely not disappointed. This is the biggest success in my career, reaching the semi-finals in Wimbledon. I also I think that I played well today. I tried my best; I did my shots. Vera was just playing better than me today.”

Phil Jones: “You certainly played tremendously well in that first set, especially. At that point, what are you thinking? You talked yesterday about the focus you needed to keep – you did it against Venus. So what kind of mindset did you take on then?”

Tsvetana: “Well, I tried to do the same thing. Winning the first set, it's a good thing, but it's not enough, of course. You just have to stay focused, and that's what I tried to do. I tried to play every point, you know: point by point, game by game, but at that point, Vera started to play very aggressively, and she started to push me back, and also, I had some troubles with my first serve, which is not very good. And yeah: that's pretty much it.”

Phil Jones: “And in the third set, once she got the break early on, you were still fighting. You were still hanging in there, played some tremendous points. So you still sense you had a chance?”

Tsvetana: “Well, yeah. I just wanted to play until the end. I wanted to play for every point. Of course, you have a lot of chances until the last point is finished.”

Phil Jones: “So now you've reached the semi-finals here, and your career's taken off; it's reached new heights. What next for you? Where do you go from here?”

Tsvetana: “I will play the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, and I have to prepare for the US Open, but before that, I have a few tournaments here in Europe. I just wanna play good. I just wanna enjoy the game. Of course, I want to do also successes bigger than this, but we'll see what happens.”

Phil Jones: “Well, now you've had a taste of it, you want more of it, I'm sure.”

Tsvetana: “Well, yes, of course.”

Phil Jones: “And how is that gonna happen? You've turned it around amazingly well here to reach your Grand Slam semi-final.”

Tsvetana: “Well, I don't know how it's going to happen. I'll just continue to play, and I'm really, really hoping that one day, maybe soon, it will happen again.”

Phil Jones: “You've given us all great pleasure – tremendous performance, knocking out Venus en route, semi-final – so we wish you well going forward. Thanks.”

Tsvetana: “Thank you very much.”

Tsvetana may have started by saying that she wasn't disappointed, but her tone of voice throughout that interview certainly suggested otherwise.


Final analysis
--------------

Lindsay Davenport: “A huge game at 3-2* in the second set. Vera came out a little bit tight, and it's so hard to play a semi-final match when so much is expected of you – she was by far the favourite in this match, even though Pironkova had upset Venus – but once she got ahead *4-2 in the second set, she really seemed to calm down. She played a little bit smarter, a little bit more consistent, and then she never looked back.

“To overcome the mental problems in yourself is much more difficult than a weak shot. A weak forehand you can go work on. It's very tough to work on your mental game. Vera has done the /complete/ opposite, which is so great to see. She's always had so much talent, but she would get so down on herself and very emotional. And now she looks like one of the /most/ composed players on the WTA Tour. Credit to her for staying strong in these tight moments.

“She probably gained a little bit of perspective from being out of the game [Vera struggled with a nasty ankle-injury between April 2009 and January 2010]. Sometimes when you're forced to take a break, you realise how much you love it. You realise, ‘Okay, I really want to make a strong push when I get back healthy. What do I need to do better?’ For her, it was the mental game, and so far, it hasn't been a problem.”

Pam Shriver: “Not only is Zvonarëva playing some great tennis, I've never seen her hold it together mentally like this. She showed that no matter what your past is, you can start each tournament with a new attitude.”

--
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

Last edited by andrewbroad : Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 15th, 2012, 07:54 PM   #26
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full Women's Doubles semi-final TV-report for Vera Zvonarëva

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------------------------------------
Women’s Doubles: Semi-final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Dulko/Pennetta (Friday 2nd July 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (GISELA DULKO [DF]/FLAVIA PENNETTA [DF])[4], 6-3 6-1

Vera and Elena followed up their sensational win over the Williams sisters with another brilliant performance, as they played perfectly in tandem, and had too much power for Gisela and Flavia, who had won Premier doubles-titles together at Miami, Stuttgart and Rome earlier in 2010.

Vera made a full effort in this match, rather than trying to save herself for the Women’s Singles final by not running balls down.

The final scoreline may look very one-sided, but the first seven games were extremely hard-fought, with the Russians wasting 4 BPs in Flavia’s opening service-game (0-0*), and one more against Gisela’s serve before Elena converted their sixth BP of the match with a backhand volley-winner down the middle: *2-1.

Vera saved 4 BPs on her own serve before Flavia broke back with a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle: *2-2. It looked as though the ‘I’ formation – which had done so much damage against the Williams sisters – wasn’t going to work against Gisela and Flavia.

The Russians wasted BP×2 at *2-2 (15/40) before breaking Flavia anyway for *3-2. The Russians wasted BP×3 at 4-2* before Gisela held to make it *4-3.

After that, Gisela and Flavia’s resistance crumbled, as the Russians won seven games in a row to lead 6-3 5-0* before Flavia held serve – incredibly for her first time in the match – to make it a breadstick rather than a bagel.

During those seven games, Vera sealed the first set with a backhand winner down the line, hit a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner to take a 1:0 1-0* lead, and a crosscourt forehand volley-winner to take the 6-3 *5-0 lead.

With Vera serving for the match at *5-1, Elena hit three volley-winners for 40/15, and Vera hit a beautiful rolled crosscourt forehand volley to set up a thunderous crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner for Elena.


First set
---------
ZVONA/VESNI _*@_@*_*@ 6
DULKO/PENNE *__@__*__ 3

The match was first on Court One. Vera/Elena won the toss and elected to receive. Vera and Flavia received in the ad-court for their respective teams. The match started at 13:11 BST.

Flavia serving 0-0: Flavia forehand lob just long. 0/15. Elena hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 0/30. Vera at the net moved to her right too soon, giving Flavia a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Vera spread Flavia with a couple of well-placed volleys, and hit a crosscourt backhand volley winner down the middle. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera backhand just long. Deuce #1. Elena off-backhand wide. Ad Vera (BP #2). Flavia’s crosscourt backhand forced a floater from Vera, and Gisela dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Double fault (second serve long). Ad Vera (BP #3). Vera hit a backhand long, and looked annoyed. Deuce #3. Elena’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Flavia to hit a forehand lob long. Ad Vera (BP #4). Vera crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #4. Gisela intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Ad Flavia (GP #1). Vera backhand return just long. Held.

Four BPs went begging, then Flavia converted the first GP that she had.

Elena serving 0-1: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. 15/15. Vera hit an excellent first volley, but Pennetta watched Vera the whole time, and Gisela hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Elena, driven outside the sideline, used the angle for a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle: Flavia hit a body-jamming forehand return, forcing Vera to bunt a backhand volley long. Deuce #1. Service-winner out wide. Ad Elena (GP #2). Elena off-forehand + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Gisela serving 1-1: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Gisela’s down-the-line backhand forced Vera to earth a forehand volley. 15/15. Elena dumped a backhand return into the net. 15/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 30/30. Elena’s depth forced Gisela to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera dumped a cheap backhand return into the net. Deuce #1. Gisela forehand just long. Ad Vera (BP #2). Elena hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. Broken.

Vera serving 2-1: Service-winner out wide: Gisela hit a forehand return into the stands. 15/0. Gisela hit a forehand lob-winner over Elena’s head, and not even the speedy Vera - try as she did - could run it down. 15/15. Flavia forehand volley-winner. 15/30. Elena netted a forehand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera played a nice spreading rally, went to the net, and hit a deep crosscourt forehand that forced Gisela to hit a forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner down the line. Deuce #1. An aggressive return straight at Elena forced her to net a backhand volley. Ad Flavia (BP #3). An excellent first serve set up Elena’s forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Gisela forced a floater, and hit a forehand smash virtual winner. Ad Flavia (BP #4). Deep first serve down the middle forced Flavia to hit a backhand long. Deuce #3. Gisela hit a deep, error-forcing backhand return. Ad Flavia (BP #5). Flavia hit a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle. Broken.

The ‘I’ formation proved so effective against the Williams sisters, but its limitations were cruelly exposed there.

Flavia serving 2-2: Vera bisected Flavia and Gisela with an off-forehand volley-winner. The Russians dominated the point at the net, forcing Gisela to net a backhand. 0/30. Flavia crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/30. Vera went to the net, forcing Flavia to net a backhand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Elena netted a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). Gisela off-backhand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Elena’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Flavia to net a forehand. Ad Vera (BP #3). Vera punished a short second serve with a deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the outer sideline, forcing Flavia to bunt a defensive backhand lob long. Broken.

Elena is now punctuating her every shot with a karate-like shout of "aya".

Elena serving 3-2: Elena hit a huge crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, and got a loud cheer from the crowd. 15/0. Elena advanced up the court, her crosscourt backhand forcing an error. 30/0. Gisela’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net a forehand right in front of Flavia. 30/15. Flavia hit a down-the-line backhand long and wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Held.

Gisela serving 2-4: Gisela forehand long. 0/15. Gisela crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Vera hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Elena hit a crosscourt forehand smash would-be winner just wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Flavia dispatched a slow ball with an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/40 (BP #3). Flavia dispatched a floater with an off-forehand smash-winner. Deuce #1. Elena crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Gisela (GP #1). Flavia forehand smash-winner. Held.

Three more BPs go begging. The Russians should be up 6-1 *0-0 after this number of games, and even further ahead at this point in time.

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): Vera hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Flavia serving 3-5: Vera off-forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Vera forehand just long. Elena crosscourt forehand forced Gisela into error. 30/30. Flavia crosscourt forehand wide. 30/40 (SP #1 for Vera/Elena). Vera hit a backhand winner down the line. Vera/Elena won the first set 6-3 at 13:55 BST (43m).


Second set
----------
ZVONA/VESNI *@*@*_* 6
DULKO/PENNE _____*_ 1

Elena serving 0-0: Gisela crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Flavia forehand return just long. 30/0. Gisela forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera hit a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner at the net. Held.

Flavia serving 0-1: Elena backhand volley long. 15/0. Flavia hit a forehand winner down the Russians’ right sideline. 15/15. Flavia netted a forehand off a deep forehand from Elena. 15/30. Gisela’s body-jamming crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net an off-backhand. 30/30. Flavia hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, forcing Flavia to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Second serve clipped the service-line but was called long, so Flavia challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 5% of the breadth of the line! So, instead of a double fault, Flavia got to replay the point with another first serve. Gisela tried to break up Elena and Flavia’s exchange of crosscourt forehands by intercepting at the net, but she moved to her right too early, and Elena nailed a forehand pass-winner down the line. Ad Vera (BP #1). Vera exchanged a series of off-forehands with Flavia’s crosscourt backhands, until Flavia tried to hit one down the line and sprayed it wide. Broken.

Vera serving 2-0: Deep second serve induced Gisela to hit a backhand return wide. 15/0. Elena intercepted to hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. First serve out wide forced a floater, which Elena dispatched with an off-forehand volley-winnerr. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera backhand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #3). Vera’s crosscourt backhand forced Flavia to hit a backhand long. Held.

Gisela serving 0-3: Second serve: Elena hit a deep off-backhand return just inside the sideline, forcing Gisela to earth a forehand. 0/15. Service-winner on the service-line. The Russians wasted a challenge. 15/15. Elena dispatched a short floater with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Gisela went to the net, but Elena’s dipping off-backhand pass forced her to net a forehand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera pounced on Gisela’s weak down-the-line forehand to hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

So far, the Russians are playing perfectly in tandem, and have too much power for Flavia and Gisela.

Elena serving 4-0: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Gisela netted a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Flavia serving 0-5: Elena crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/0. Elena hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/15. Gisela intercepted Elena’s crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/15. Vera chopped a forehand volley long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Elena to hit a crosscourt forehand return just long. Held.

And that, incredibly, was Flavia’s first hold of the match.

Vera serving 5-1: First serve long. The Russians wasted a challenge on a first serve that was clearly long. 0/15. Elena hit a backhand reflex-volley winner. 15/15. Elena hit a backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Elena hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (MP #1 for Vera/Elena). Vera hit a beautiful rolled crosscourt forehand volley to set up a thunderous crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner for Elena. Vera/Elena won 6-3 6-1 at 14:19 BST (second set 23m, match 1h07m).

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 26th, 2012, 12:20 AM   #27
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full final TV-report for Zvonarëva v S.Williams

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay to this report. I am extremely busy with my job, and my life has been particularly hectic since I posted my Wimbledon 2010 semi-final reports in April.

I wish Vera a full recovery from her recent health-problems, especially the shoulder-injury with which she has withdrawn from the Australian Open 2013.

---------------------------------------
Final TV-report: Zvonarëva v S.Williams (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
---------------------------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 3-6 2-6

Vera didn’t play her best by any means in this, her first Major singles final, but by good serving and aggressive counter-punching, she at least managed to achieve a modicum of scoreline-respectability against the ruthless Williams, who had already won 12 Major singles-titles (including three Wimbledons) from 15 previous finals (losing only to Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova).

The obvious reasons for Williams’s victory were her huge serve and powerful groundstrokes, but she also had quite a bit of success with short-angled groundstrokes to the sidelines. Vera has excellent lateral retrieval, but it’s much tougher for her (and therefore would be for anybody) when she is called upon to move diagonally rather than parallel to the baseline.

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;
3. transcriptions of the players’ on-court BBC interviews.


1. Game-by-game summary
-----------------------
1.1 First set
-------------

Williams made a strong start, holding to love with the help of a netcord that set up a backhand winner.

Vera at *0-1 made an encouraging start, hitting a backhand drive-volley winner as she held to 30. She showed herself to be a good retriever, who was quite capable of taking the initiative if Williams couldn’t get the first strike in.

Williams at *1-1 double-faulted to trail 15/30, but recovered with an ace... Vera pegged her back to deuce, but netted a silly sliced forehand, and Williams held serve with another ace.

Vera at *1-2 held to 15 with some big serves of her own. Williams at *2-2 held to 30 after Vera tested her with a sliced forehand that drew an error, and a net-approach to which Williams responded with a down-the-line forehand pass-winner.

Vera at *2-3 trailed 0/30 and 30/40, but recovered with three big serves in a row (including her second ace) to hold for 3-3*.

For those first six games, the standard of play was certainly good, with no sign yet of the blowout that many had predicted.

Williams at *3-3 held to 15 with a couple of big serves, an off-forehand drive-volley winner, and an error-forcing net-approach.

Vera at *3-4 hit two big serves to lead 40/15, but served her first double fault at 40/30. Williams wasted one break-point by netting a second-serve return. From Deuce #2, Vera went to the net on consecutive points, but Williams hit an awkward lob and a running forehand pass-winner to score the first break.

Williams, serving for the first set at *5-3, hit two big serves to lead 40/15. She wasted the first set-point with a double fault, and Vera saved the second with an error-inducing short-angled crosscourt backhand return. A serve + smash-winner gave Williams a third set-point, and Vera hit a makeable forehand just wide to lose the first set 3-6 by one single break.


1.2 Second set
--------------

Vera squealed in frustration as she netted a makeable forehand at 0:1 *0-0 30/40 to go a set and a break down.

Williams at *1-0 played a spectacular game to hold to 15 with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline, a down-the-line backhand winner, an off-backhand winner, and a down-the-line backhand volley-winner.

Vera at *0-2 responded with a hold to 15 of her own, with the help of three big serves including her fourth ace.

Williams at *2-1 surpassed even the brilliance of her previous service-game as she held again to 15 with her seventh and eighth aces, a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline, and an off-forehand volley-winner – 8 winners in the last 10 points on her serve!

Vera at *1-3 recovered from 15/40 with a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner to make it deuce, then reached game-point with a wrong-footing crosscourt forehand winner. Sadly, with her anxiety evident in the pitch of her grunting, she then made two errors, surrendered her service-game with a double fault, and waved her arms in frustration.

Williams at *4-1 again held to 15, with two big serves, and two successful forays to the net that ended with forehand smashes (the first a clean winner).

Vera at *1-5 added a modicum of respectability to the scoreline by holding to 15 with the help of a crosscourt backhand winner, a service-winner and an error-forcing net-approach.

Williams at *5-2 served her ninth ace, followed by a second serve that kicked like a mule to force Vera into error, and a forehand smash-winner to reach triple championship-point at 40/0. A nail-biting final rally ended with Williams at the net to hit a high off-forehand drive-volley winner.


2. Point-by-point description
-----------------------------
2.1 First set
-------------
ZVONARËV _*_*_*___ 3
WILLIAMS *_*_*_*@* 6

The match was first on Centre Court. Williams won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 14:12 BST.

Williams serving 0-0: Vera on the sixth stroke hit a backhand long. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). In a longish baseline-rally, Williams’s backhand clipped the netcord and fell short, forcing Vera to run forward and hit a short sliced forehand down the line, enabling Williams to hit a deep down-the-line backhand winner. Held.

Vera serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced a backhand lob-return long. Vera got a loud cheer from the crowd as she avoided the possibility of a Golden Set. 15/0. Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams hit a fearsome deep crosscourt backhand return; Vera showed her excellent retrieval-skills to recover, but Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and landed just inside the sideline for a winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams’s heavy, deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Williams netted a forehand. Held.

Williams serving 1-1: Vera’s deep backhand jammed Williams into hitting a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a down-the-line backhand return wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Ace #2: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/30. Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand winner was too much even for Vera’s lateral retrieval. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera’s deep crosscourt return induced Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Vera dumped an extreme sliced forehand halfway up the net – who’s been watching Tsvetana Pironkova? Ad Williams (GP #2). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Deep first serve down the middle induced Williams to hit a wild off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/0. Williams netted a backhand off a high-bouncing backhand from Vera. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a good forehand approach down Williams’s right sideline, but Williams came up with a stunning running crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve: forehand return long. Held.

Williams serving 2-2: Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 0/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, deep in the corner. 15/15. Williams hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, inducing Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Vera’s sliced forehand bounced very low, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 30/30. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Vera to bunt a crosscourt backhand wide, accompanied by a cute little moan. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, but her down-the-line backhand approach was found wanting as Williams hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Held.

Vera’s not getting blown away out there, and is looking to take the initiative with deep groundstrokes, approaches to the net, and even the occasional Pironkova-esque sliced forehand!

Vera serving 2-3: Vera mishit a wild forehand wide, as the topspin caused an awkward bounce. 0/15. Vera off-forehand wide. 0/30. Williams on the fourth stroke blasted a crosscourt forehand into the net. 15/30. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/30. Vera hit an off-forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Williams to run into the tramlines, stretch wide and net a forehand. Deuce #1. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. Ad Vera (GP #1). Deep first serve induced Williams to net a backhand. Held.

Unnecessary errors led to the BP, but well recovered, and now Williams has baggage.

Williams serving 3-3: Virtual ace: wide-angled first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams dominated the point with a first serve out wide + deep crosscourt backhand + off-forehand drive-volley winner back behind Vera. 30/0. Ace #5: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand down the line, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand wide. Held.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Williams netted a forehand – good slide from Vera to retrieve Williams’s off-forehand to the sideline. 15/0. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #3: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to stretch wide and net a one-handed backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Vera sliced a defensive backhand long. Ad Williams (BP #1). First serve just long. Respectable second serve out wide induced Williams to net a backhand return. Williams threw her racket in disgust. Deuce #2. Vera went to the net behind an off-forehand, but Williams hit an awkward crosscourt backhand lob, forcing Vera to net a high backhand volley. That’s where Williams has learned from Anna Chakvetadze! Ad Williams (BP #2). Vera went to the net, but Williams hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. Broken.

I hope those last two points don’t discourage Vera from going to the net. Williams came up with two pretty exceptional shots, and if I were Vera, I’d take a chance on her not being able to keep coming up with them consistently.

Williams serving 5-3: Ace #6: first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to bunt a forehand long. 30/0. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the line – on the centre-line – forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob-return wide. Vera wasted a challenge, although the delay might help her. 40/15 (SP #1 for Williams). Double fault #3 (second serve long). 40/30 (SP #2 for Williams). Kick second serve: Vera hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return just inside the sideline, inducing Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a defensive forehand lob-return, which Williams dispatched with a down-the-line forehand smash-winner. Ad Williams (SP #3). Second serve... Vera, on the fourth stroke, hit a makeable off-forehand just wide. Williams won the first set 6-3 at 14:48 BST (36m).


2.2 Second set
--------------
ZVONARËV __*___*_ 2
WILLIAMS @*_*@*_* 6

Vera serving 0-0: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Williams came up with an unbelievable short-angled crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. 30/15. Vera netted a backhand off a deep, body-jamming crosscourt backhand return. 30/30. Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand bounced low, inducing Vera to dump a backhand halfway up the net. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera netted a makeable forehand, and emitted a long squeal of frustration. Broken.

Williams serving 1-0: Williams netted a backhand. 0/15. Williams went to the net, her crosscourt forehand forced a floater, and she dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Williams ran down a netcord-dropshot and hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 30/15. Williams spread Vera with a short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline + off-backhand winner back behind Vera. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace out wide, but Vera made a successful challenge, so they had to replay the point. Williams went to the net and hit a backhand volley-winner down the line. Held.

Vera serving 0-2: Big first serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Williams hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return to the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/15. Vera’s deep, wrong-footing backhand forced Williams to hit a backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand lob-return long. Held.

Vera stems the tide, but she has yet to find an answer to Williams’s serve in this match.

Williams serving 2-1: Ace #7: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Vera used up a challenge. 15/0. Williams’s footwork let her down as she netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #8: first serve out wide, just inside the sideline beyond Vera’s outstretched racket. 30/15. Williams hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand volley-winner. Held.

Vera serving 1-3: Williams went to the net behind an off-forehand approach to the sideline, forcing Vera to net a backhand 0/15. Vera had the initiative, but netted a backhand off a high-bouncing ball. 0/30. Vera’s down-the-line forehand forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Williams hit a short-angled off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide: Williams blasted a crosscourt forehand return into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced a short return; Vera hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner at 84 mph. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Williams, who was running to her left. Ad Vera (GP #1). A crosscourt-backhand drill ended with Vera netting one. Deuce #2. Williams’s deep backhand forced Vera to net a forehand. Ad Williams (BP #3). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Vera waved her arms in frustration. Broken.

Vera’s grunt is increasing in pitch: she sounded increasingly anxious as that last game progressed, and now she has to forget that she’s a set and a double break down, and fight to the bitter end, as is her wont.

BBC commentator Mark Petchey said that when Vera had her wrist-injury, her physiotherapist Jean-Pierre Bruyčre made her go to bed with a CD taped to each hand so that she couldn’t move her wrists. “Every morning, she would have to go to his room like a duck, and tap on his door so that he could untape them.”

Williams serving 4-1: Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and earth a defensive forehand return. 15/0. Williams netted a backhand. 15/15. Virtual ace out wide. 30/15. Williams went to the net and spread Vera, finishing with a forehand smash-winner down the line. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams went to the net, hitting several volleys until a body-jamming forehand smash forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob that landed on her own side of the court. Held.

Vera serving 1-5: Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Deep, body-jamming first serve down the middle forced Williams to mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/0. Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams’s crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Vera bent over and berated herself in Russian. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams netted a backhand. Held.

Well, at least she’s avoided 3-6 1-6. I always think that winning five games is the cut-off point for a scoreline that has a modicum of respectability about it.

Williams serving 5-2 (new balls): Ace #9: first serve down the middle at 122 mph. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide kicked up on Vera, forcing her 8 feet behind the baseline to hit a backhand return long. Vera resisted the temptation to throw her racket. 30/0. Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). A longish rally, during which Vera hit a deep backhand right on the baseline, ended with Williams going to the net and hitting a high off-forehand drive-volley winner. At least I’m pleased that it finished with a winner rather than Vera’s backhand being called long. Williams won 6-3 6-2 at 15:20 BST (second set 31m, match 1h07m).


3. On-court BBC interviews
--------------------------

The on-court interviews were conducted by 1976 French Open champion Sue Barker, who now presents the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage.


3.1 Vera’s interview
--------------------

Vera reacted to her loss by sitting in her chair, blinking back tears. But looking at her going up to receive the silver runner’s-up plate from the Duke of Kent, I would certainly have signed for this at the start of the tournament (although preferably against Maria Sharapova in the final!).

Barker: “Ladies and gentlemen, I know you want to hear from Vera. Tough day, but you have so much to be proud of, and also, you just played today one of the greatest champions of all time.”

Vera: “Yeah. Hello everyone – sorry, I lost my voice a little bit. Yeah, I think, you know, Serena... congratulations: you’re a great player, but you’re also a great champion, so I think you showed great effort and determination throughout the week, and you really deserved to win today.”

The crowd started applauding after Vera said “I think you showed”. I like to believe that they were applauding her graciousness in defeat.

Barker: “And also, I hope that you have proved a lot to yourself: your first Grand Slam final, only the third Russian woman through to the final here. I hope... you know, you have so much to be proud of.”

Vera: “Yeah, definitely.”

The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.

Vera: “I think I’m a little bit disappointed at the moment. You know, maybe I was not able to show my best today, but I think Serena didn’t allow me to show my best – she was playing really well. But, yeah, I think, you know, after a couple of hours, I will look back and I will realise that, you know, this moment, I was dreaming about it since I was a little kid: to be here playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, and now here I am.”

Barker: “And also, I think what people...”

The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.

Barker: “I think what people don’t understand is also how special this is, because you’ve had so many injuries, so much time out from competition, now fully fit, and now being able to play at your very best. It must mean so much to you.”

Vera: “Yeah, I think it does, but actually, it means a lot to me that those people in my box over there were here for me today, and also a surgeon who did my surgery last year was able to be come, and my... because of him, I’m able to be here today, because I was really doubting that I was gonna be able to play tennis again. And my team from physio who helped me to recover from it: they’re here; they were supporting me, and really grateful, and everyone here, my coach, and everybody.”

The surgeon to whom she referred was Niek van Dijk, who had removed scar-tissue from her right ankle in November 2009 after a nasty injury at Charleston in April. Her coach at Wimbledon 2010 was Sergey Demekhin.

Barker: “They put you together. You’ve supplied the great tennis. Congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, Vera Zvonarëva!”


3.2 Williams’s interview
------------------------

Barker: “We’ve been here before. The fourth time, for everyone, must be so special. And I think, from your reaction at the end of that, this one is very special.”

Williams: “Yeah, this one’s very special. Hey, Billie: I got you! <laughing>”

By winning her 13th Major singles-title, Williams surpassed the total of 12 won by Billie Jean King, who was watching from the stands.

Williams: “It was number 13 for me now. She’s... you know, it was just amazing to be among such great people, but... yeah.”

Barker: “Just to explain to people: the 13th Grand Slam title means she moves to sixth on the all-time greatest champions’ list – just ahead of Billie Jean. Lucky number 13, eh?”

Williams: “Yeah, it’s actually my lucky number. But, yeah, I’d just again like to congratulate Vera, I mean, what amazing: she’s been through so much in the past year, and everyone should give her a big round of applause, ‘cause she really defines what a champion and never giving up means.”

Barker: “And also, she started so well. I guess you knew that game at 4-3 was key in that first set.”

Williams: “Yeah, it was definitely a key game, and again, I’m just happy to be able to win. Can I say my thank-yous?”

Barker: “Yeah.”

Williams: “Okay. I would like to first and foremost thank my God Jehovah: I’ve really relied on him this tournament. Just thank you so much for allowing me to be here. I thank my dad, my mom, Sasha, Isha – my sisters are here – Lyn, Venus, hey! <laughing> Suzanne, for always supporting me, and everyone that came out. Esther, for keeping me fit, and Jill for always being there for me, so I have really a great team, and, you know, I’m just really happy and I feel so blessed.”

Barker: “Absolutely.”

Williams: “Oh oh oh oh! Sorry! Most of all, I would like to thank you guys for getting me through this. I... the crowd was really amazing, and, you know, to win several times and to still be behind me means so much to me, so thank you so, so, so much.”

Barker: “Do you have any superstitions? I mean: is that a lucky necklace?”

Williams: “Venus gave it to me, ‘cause I didn’t bring any jewellery – believe it or not – to wear, so I don’t wanna give it back.”

The crowd laughed.

Barker: “It looks a bit like the trophy!”

Williams: “The rings are hers, so it’s like... she’s always taken care of me. Still!”

Barker: “Just looking over the tournament: you’ve played so well, haven’t dropped a set. The serve – I’ve gotta talk about the serve. 89 aces, and Martina Navrátilová said earlier today: the greatest serve of all time.”

Williams: “Wow. I honestly never served like this, so, hah hah hah! I just feel like at Wimbledon, whenever I come on this grass, and come and play on this amazing court, I start serving well, and I just definitely want to keep it up! <laughing>”

Barker: “And I’ve gotta say: your dad, Richard, he takes so many photos. Do you ever get any of these?”

Williams: “Yeah, he always sends us tons of photos. Did you get me?”

Richard Williams put his thumb up, and the crowd laughed.

Williams: “So I’ll look over them. So it’s just such a great moment. Yeah, it’s great.”

Barker: “And I know you said before that when you walked down those stairs, past the honours-board, when you first came here to Wimbledon, you wanted to be on that honours-board, and now look at you.”

Williams: “I did, and my dream was able to come true. And everyone’s dream can come true if you stick to it and work hard. So thanks.”

Barker: “Your name will be on there when you walk out there for the fourth time. Ladies and gentlemen, Serena Williams!”

--
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
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 13th, 2013, 10:54 PM   #28
country flag andrewbroad
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
andrewbroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: England
Posts: 6,962
andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute andrewbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Full Women's Doubles final TV-report for Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Shvedova/King

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------------------------------
Women’s Doubles: Final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Shvedova/King (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------------------

- 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
-----------------------
1.1 First set
-------------

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
--------------

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
-----------------------------
2.1 First set
-------------
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
--------------
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
__________________
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

Last edited by andrewbroad : Jan 13th, 2013 at 11:09 PM. Reason: minor correction
andrewbroad is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Copyright (C) Verticalscope Inc
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBCredits v1.4 Copyright ©2007, PixelFX Studios