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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 11:35 PM   #61
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Day 4 - Tuesday - 1R

Peng d. Bartoli 6-0, 1-6, 6-4


Whole match.

Not bad at all, but as the score indicates Peng and Bartoli never really played well at the same time.

Early on Bartoli's current high % CC power pushing wasn't working at all and her attempts at aggressive ROS were mostly misfiring; her shots just didn't have much in them. Peng's footwork is famously bad, yet still considerably better than Bartoli's, and she can play some defense on clay, moonball when required, and was aiming for the corners for easy winners without taking all that many risks (Bartoli remains one of the players against whom it is easier to hit winners against from the baseline - extremely easy to wrongfoot) - her BH DTL was doing a lot of damage. Accordingly, Bartoli lost the first set in about 20 mins.

Bartoli finally realised she couldn't rally, and had to start on top of every single point; accordingly, she began stepping inside the court and moving forward to finish points off with drive volleys. Turned the match around and took the second set.

Third set both players were firing aces and holding serve easily; eventually Bartoli blinked first and giftwrapped the decisive break with a DF. There was some seriously boneheaded shot selection from Peng while serving at *4-3, but she held in the end and later serve out the match with ease.

Oprandi d. Bertens 6-3, 6-3

From 2-1 in the first to the end.

Bertens seems to be a B-list claycourt power player - big serve, deep, flat shots off both sides. Doesn't seem to have overwhelming firepower (she wasn't hitting through Oprandi), but seems comfortable on clay: slides, makes use of defensive slices and isn't entirely hopeless in touch shot exchanges at the net. However, either her game is still a bit rough or she was having a bad day at the office - was too erratic throughout, and her attitude wasn't the best; at *3-1 down in the second she gave up on the match, which didn't prevent the closing stages of that set from being a mix of (some) gutsy winners and (many) godawful wild errors from both.

Oprandi was a surprise - besides the usual stuff (outrageous dropshot winners from 3 meters behind the baseline, dropshot winners on ROS, apparently last ditch scooped up squash shots and defensive slices that are both extremely accurate and very tricky to handle and allowed her to deal with Bertens' pace with some ease), her ground game was far from lacking in accuracy and weight - she was trading blow for blow with Bertens from the baseline, and nearly always being more consistent. Only her ROS seemed a bit lazy at times.

Kanepi d. Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3

From 2-1 in the second.

Didn't see enough to draw any conclusions re: Mladenovic, other than the fact that she's very photogenic and that she commendably insisted on playing right at the baseline. Bit I saw her BH seemed flatter and more penetrating than her FH, which she was hitting with more spin and margin, but I heard that her FH is actually her weapon of choice.

Kanepi was having a good FH day and serving big. Had a good go at nearly all of Mladenovic's 2nd serves.

Schiavone d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

First two sets.

Old skool claycourt tennis - but high on endless moonball rallies and low on actual cute stuff. I remember watching a much more entertaining match featuring the whole Ye Olde Claycourte Bag of Tricks between Garbin and Mamic at this very same court (Centralito) some years ago. This was just boring, no matter how often both managed to loop the ball up CC into the corners during those endless rallies.

Puig d. Görges 7-6(3), 6-2

Whole match.

Match featured all of Görges' well known flaws, only amplified. Return game was completely ineffective throughout (couldn't get a damned BH ROS in to save her life) to the extent that you had to wonder if she was even bothering to contest Puig's service games, couldn't even loop up her BH to keep herself in rallies, threw away the TB with a bunch of sloppy errors.

Puig plays like an Asian player - very agile due to a low centre of gravity, scrambles a lot, hits flat. Was clever enough to exploit Görges' limitations on return, and made good use of her ability to rally at a much faster pace.

U. Radwanska d. Cibulkova 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Last two sets.

Hard fought, well contested match. Few points won outright with serve (both returned quite well).

Despite U-Rad's excellent defensive skills, Cibulkova managed to hit through her on occasion. However Cibulkova's usual MO was to crank up the pace of the rally and/or open angles into U-Rad's FH side until U-Rad's FH cracked. This was laborious given how consistent U-Rad can be, and there were a lot of lengthy, tough rallies as Cibulkova's rally BH was both more consistent and hit deeper than the usual. Somewhat surprisingly, U-Rad prevailed by digging in and keeping herself in those grueling rallies rather than throwing cute stuff back at Cibulkova.

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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 11:45 PM   #62
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes










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Old May 1st, 2013, 03:02 AM   #63
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Shvedbarilescu's gonna like your comment on Oprandi
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Old May 1st, 2013, 03:15 AM   #64
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Those pictures of Kristina are really nice! Thanks for the reports.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 04:07 AM   #65
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Interesting that you say Puig plays like an Asian player. Hopefully that means she can translate her form to the grass season with success.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 04:53 AM   #66
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Dropshot Dame gets a good review
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Old May 1st, 2013, 06:05 AM   #67
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xepher View Post
Shvedbarilescu's gonna like your comment on Oprandi
Corswandt, to his credit, has actually always liked Romina at least as much, very possibly even more than, than me. In fact I'd say Corswandt was a fan of Romina's before me.

He has always written about her with a nice combination of humour, warmth and admiration.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:02 AM   #68
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Thanks for all your guys reports and photographs!

I'm so sad Aravane lost, but it sounds like she's hitting the ball fairly well? I just hope she can get herself into better shape.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:39 AM   #69
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Corswandt, you're so kind in your reports! Feeling alright?
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Old May 1st, 2013, 11:37 AM   #70
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brena View Post
Corswandt, you're so kind in your reports.
If you say so. Personally, I think that snark on steroids is so 2009.

Typing in reports from memory leads to forgetting to mention some stuff. Like say yesterday - astonishingly, Dominguez Lino managed to hit at least a couple of BH passing shots with that fug thing of hers.

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Old May 1st, 2013, 12:20 PM   #71
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Great reports as always. Especially love those comments on Romina's unique game.

But it's your description of Robson as "pachydermic" that's going to stick in my mind forever and ever.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 02:22 PM   #72
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

FUCK YES Junkulescu is OUT.

Watching Puig - clever kid, really knows how to play on clay.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:03 PM   #73
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Day 5 - Wednesday - 2R

Venue was packed today (national holiday), in a way I don't remember ever seeing it even on the halcyon days of Federer. At around noon, an endless torrent of people began filling up the venue to the extent that soon there were lines everywhere, and the Kuznetsova match in Court 1 was full capacity.

Kanepi d. Cirstea 6-1, 6-2

Whole match.

Kanepi hits a heavier, though not necessarily faster, ball than Cirstea, with much more margin in terms of placement and net clearance. She served well again, and overall worked the points with more purpose than Cirstea, exposing her poor lateral movement and the stiff footwork that makes her BH such a liability when she's forced to move to hit it. Cirstea was hitting a flatter, more penetrating ball than Kanepi on occasion, granted, but what was the point if she wasn't stringing those shots together in any way and couldn't hit through Kanepi, who can play a measure of defense but is very far from being the Tour's fastest player?

Cirstea was simply awful in the second set.

Kuznetsova d. Voskoboeva 6-4, 6-4

Whole match.

Not poorly played, but not particularly intense or engaging either despite the presence of a huge crowd by Broke Ass Portugal Open standards.

A measured, collected performance from Kuznetsova - it was actually Voskoboeva who was going for the wilder, lower % shots, and sometimes hitting through Kuznetsova with some ease with deep, flat, penetrating shots. I've seen Voskoboeva play here much worse before than she did today, but it was perhaps too much to ask for her to serve and hit Kuznetsova off the court consistently for the full length of a match, particularly when her BH is so unreliable. Kuznetsova also hit a few of her trademark WHOA! winners out of nowhere, but wasn't moving Voskoboeva around enough in rallies. However she did seem to make better decisions than her opponent in picking the right moment to go for cute stuff such as dropshots.

Vesnina d. Niculescu 6-4, 6-4

Last 3 games.

Vesnina close out the match in style, playing the way you should against Junkulescu. The key is good shot selection and fast decision making during the points. Vesnina was hitting her BH superbly, and wom nearly all the points I saw by rifling cleanly struck BHs right to the corners to finish the point outright or to earn the chance to make her way to the net and intercept Junkulescu's junk with drive or conventional volleys.

Relieved that Junkulescu was no longer polluting the Broke Ass Portugal Open draw, I ran into adjacent Centralito just in time to watch the beginning of

Puig d. Schiavone 6-3, 6-2

Whole match.

Schiavone had nothing left in the tank after 6-7 games, that was obvious to everyone. Still, credit where credit is due: Puig really knows how to play on clay and handled Schiavone's immense variety of shot superbly. Her BH in particular not only held up under Schiavone's barrage of junk, it also allowed Puig to counterattack - Puig bent her knees to have a go at Schiavone's slices, and was never pushed back by her moonballs as she was able to keep herself at the baseline and still take the ball early and hit it back flat and deep (quite impressive even before considering her size). With her FH on the other hand she mostly just looped back whatever Schiavone sent her way, and she missed a number of crucial, apparently easy putaways with it.

Morita d. U. Radwanska 6-2, 6-3

Whole match.

Morita easily succeeded where Scrubulkova had failed yesterday - cranking up the pace of the rallies until U-Rad could no longer keep up with her. Most of the points consisted of just that - Morita's metronomic flat, deep, accurate hitting moving U-Rad from side to side until she could no longer scoop up the ball or botched a drive FH. The difference between Scrubulkova yesterday and Morita today was that Morita quickly stepped inside the baseline as soon as U-Rad dropped one of those soft, fly swatting FHs of hers short. U-Rad didn't make enough use of cute stuff to disrupt Morita's relentless turbo grinding, and when she did she either botched the touch shots she attempted or Morita got there on time - so maybe this wasn't a viable alternative game plan after all.

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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:18 PM   #74
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Couldn't get any decent photo of Cirstea yesterday due to poor lighting. Took this one in Court Central today.



Portraiture, which I don't do as often as I once did:



Adorable Monica Puig without her leggings:



Polish sexxyness:


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Old May 1st, 2013, 07:29 PM   #75
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Re: Broke Ass Portugal Open 2013 - brief notes

Romina's inimitable lazy ass returning stance:



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