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Old Jun 17th, 2012, 10:58 PM   #1
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (+Thursday 14th June 2012)

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

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

1. Tuesday 12th: First round: Hlaváčková v Krajíček
2. Tuesday 12th: First round: Robson v Min
3. Wednesday 13th: Second round: Eraković v Robson
4. Wednesday 13th: Second round: U.Radwańska v Lisicki
5. Wednesday 13th: Second round: Czink v Hantuchová
6. Thursday 14th: Third round: Falconi v U.Radwańska
7. Thursday 14th: Doubles: Kops-Jones/Spears v Hantuchová/Lisicki

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


1. First round: Hlaváčková v Krajíček (Tuesday 12th June 2012)

- Michaëlla Krajíček [DF] lt. Andrea Hlaváčková, 2-6 7-6 (8/6) 0-4 retired (viral illness)

Krajíček was my third-favourite player in the tournament when it started. She’s a very pleasant player to watch, with a big serve, flairsome groundstrokes, and a willingness to go to the net. I’ve been a demi-fan of Krajíček since her quarter-final at Wimbledon 2007.

Hlaváčková played well, with some big serves and pinpoint groundstrokes of her own, but she just doesn’t inspire me as Krajíček does.

I didn’t expect much of Krajíček after she had knee-surgery in May. Apparently that went miraculously well, hence her early return to action.

Krajíček didn’t look in great shape physically, carrying a few extra pounds, and with strapping on her right knee. She certainly didn’t look happy on the court, taking two medical time-outs and moving gingerly by the end. I wasn’t surprised that she retired – although I was when I later learned that her reason for retirement wasn’t her knee.

The first set was one-sided until Hlaváčková served for it at 5-2, but a four-deuce struggle set the scene for a much more competitive second set, which went with serve until the tiebreak.

Hlaváčková had match-point at 1:0 6-6 6/5*, but Krajíček saved it sensationally: drawn to the net by a dropshot, she picked off Hlaváčková’s attempted pass with an off-backhand volley-winner.

Having already taken a medical time-out at 0:1 5-4*, Krajíček had a lengthy conversation with the trainer and a doctor after winning the second set. After that, I was on high alert for Krajíček’s retirement, which came when she went 0-4* down, by which time she was moving slowly and clearly suffering.


2. First round: Robson v Min (Tuesday 12th June 2012)

+ Laura Robson [DF] d. Grace Min [Q], 6-4 6-1

For the first set at least, this was high-quality tennis between two 18-year-olds who are trying to make their mark on the WTA Tour after successful junior careers. The match was played at a breakneck pace, in terms of both power and the time that they took between points.

Robson won the Girls’ Singles title as a 14-year-old at Wimbledon 2008, and, on grass at least, is still the most impressive player I know who was born in 1994 or later. She served amazingly well in this match, and has plenty of power on her groundstrokes too.

Min hit some impressive groundstroke-winners of her own, but these were few and far between, as Robson was just too good for Min, who fell apart in the second set.


3. Second round: Eraković v Robson (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- Laura Robson [DF] lt. Marina Eraković, 4-6 6-3 4-6

A disappointing and frankly rather tedious match, though I like both girls. Robson was only a shadow of the impressive player that she was in the previous round: her lateral movement was poor, and she couldn’t put much pressure on Eraković’s service-games.

The first set was decided by a single break against Robson in the third game, who then looked in dire straits at 0:1 *1-1 15/40. She saved those break-points with an ace and a forehand winner, then seized the momentum to break for *3-1 and ultimately take the second set.

But Eraković raised her game at the start of the third set, and Robson double-faulted for 0-2*. She fought back to 2-2*, and had a couple of break-points to have led *3-2, but Eraković saved them with forehand winners, and went on to break Robson as she served to stay in the match at *4-5.


4. Second round: U.Radwańska v Lisicki (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- SABINE LISICKI [2,EF] lt. Urszula Radwańska, 3-6 4-6

In terms of the style of play, this was the best match of the tournament, as both girls played some attractive all-court tennis with a very high level of skill.

Sadly, Sabine was ill during this match, and actually stopped in the middle of a game (0:1 0-1* 0/30*) to see the doctor. She looked dreadful throughout the match, and this translated into a catalogue of unforced errors, although she did hit some great shots too.

This loss was a major setback for Sabine, as she was the defending champion at Birmingham, and is now preparing to defend her Wimbledon semi-final on a five-match losing streak that stretches back to her retirement from Charleston with a left-ankle injury.


5. Second round: Czink v Hantuchová (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [3,EF] lt. Melina Czink, 5-7 6-7 (5/7)

This match was a farce. Originally scheduled sixth on Centre Court, it was moved to Court 4 after a rain-delay caused the prior match to start late. I decided to stay on Centre Court watching Sabine Lisicki open the defence of her title against Urszula Radwańska. When Sabine had finished losing, I went straight to Court 4 to find Daniela just starting the second set. I couldn’t get a seat due to the large crowd, so I had to watch what remained of the match leaning over a wall.

Daniela was playing her first match since Fed Cup in April, in which she aggravated a stress-fracture in her left foot. She led 5-3* in the second set, but after some good play by Czink, Daniela double-faulted to make it 5-5*, and a series of errors in the tiebreak sealed her fate.


6. Third round: Falconi v U.Radwańska (Thursday 14th June 2012)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--
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 : Jun 21st, 2013 at 10:51 PM. Reason: edit Title
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #2
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Tuesday

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

1. Photos
2. First-round eyewitness report: Krajíček v Hlaváčková
3. First-round eyewitness report: Robson v Min


1. Photos (Tuesday 12th June 2012)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as “Copyright Andrew Broad 2012”.
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don’t have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Tuesday’s photos are in five volumes.


Tuesday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 094)

Download Part 1

Iveta Benešová (54 photos)
Garbińe Muguruza Blanco (12)
Casey Dellacqua (11)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (10)
Tara Moore (10)
Bojana Jovanovski (6)

Part 1 covers the first matches on the outside courts: Benešová v Moore, Dellacqua v Muguruza Blanco, and Jovanovski v Larcher de Brito.

The builders had been very busy between Birmingham 2011 and 2012: the outside courts had new concrete stands, with a walkway overlooking them, replacing the old grassy area. Sadly, the terrace to the side of Court 1 is now out of bounds, although I suppose that’s much better for the players in terms of security and eliminating the distraction of spectators in that area.


Tuesday Part 2 (Photos 095 to 217)

Download Part 2

Michaëlla Krajíček (86 photos)
Andrea Hlaváčková (39)
Olivia Rogowska (6)
Elena Vesnina (4)

Part 2 covers Krajíček v Hlaváčková on Court 2 (my match-report is in Section 2), along with a few photos of the early stages of Vesnina v Rogowska on the adjacent Court 3.


Tuesday Part 3 (Photos 218 to 378)

Download Part 3

Sabine Lisicki (70 photos)
Daniela Hantuchová (29)
Urszula Radwańska (17)
Heather Watson (15)
Chang,Kai-Chen (12)
Christina McHale (11)
Stéphanie Dubois (10)
Mona Barthel (9)
Zhčng,Jié (8)
Roberta Vinci (7)
Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (6)
Ekaterina Makarova (5)
Samantha Murray (5)
Alison Riske (4)
Misaki Doi (4)
Vera Dushevina (2)
Irina Falconi (2)

Part 3 features Lisicki, Hantuchová and several other players practising, and also some matches on the outside courts including Murray v Radwańska and Lertcheewakarn v Doi.

A new permanent Centre Court was partially constructed [Photo 218] and due to open in 2013.


Tuesday Part 4 (Photos 379 to 524)

Download Part 4

Laura Robson (54 photos)
Sabine Lisicki (45)
Grace Min (33)
Tamira Paszek (9)
Marina Eraković (8)
Michelle Larcher de Brito (7)
Melinda Czink (7)
Anna Tatishvili (2)
Francesca Schiavone (2)
Jeremy Bates (1)
Judy Murray (coach) (1)
Vicki Stone (MC) (1)

Part 4 covers Robson v Min on Centre Court, Lisicki and several other players practising, and a few photos from Czink v Tatishvili on Court 4.


Tuesday Part 5 (Photos 525 to 619)

Download Part 5

Paula Ormaechea (39 photos)
Heather Watson (25)
Stéphanie Dubois (9)
Alison Riske (9)
Alexandra Cadanţu (8)
Irina Falconi (7)
Tímea Babos (4)
Vicki Stone (MC) (2)

Part 5 features Ormaechea v Watson on Centre Court, Dubois practising, and a few photos from Babos v Riske and Falconi v Cadanţu on the outside courts.


2. First-round eyewitness report: Krajíček v Hlaváčková (Tuesday 12th June 2012)

- Michaëlla Krajíček [DF] lt. Andrea Hlaváčková, 2-6 7-6 (8/6) 0-4 retired (viral illness)

Krajíček was my third-favourite player in the tournament when it started. She’s a very pleasant player to watch, with a big serve, flairsome groundstrokes, and a willingness to go to the net. I’ve been a demi-fan of Krajíček since her quarter-final at Wimbledon 2007.

Hlaváčková played well, with some big serves and pinpoint groundstrokes of her own, but she just doesn’t inspire me as Krajíček does.

I didn’t expect much of Krajíček after she had surgery on her right knee in May. Apparently that went miraculously well, hence her early return to action.

Krajíček didn’t look in great shape physically, carrying a few extra pounds, and with strapping on her right knee. She certainly didn’t look happy on the court, taking two medical time-outs and moving gingerly by the end. I wasn’t surprised that she retired – although I /was/ when I later learned that her reason for retirement wasn’t her knee.

The first set was one-sided until Hlaváčková served for it at 5-2, but a four-deuce struggle set the scene for a much more competitive second set, which went with serve until the tiebreak.

Hlaváčková had match-point at 1:0 6-6 6/5*, but Krajíček saved it sensationally: drawn to the net by a dropshot, she picked off Hlaváčková’s attempted pass with an off-backhand volley-winner.

Having already taken a medical time-out at 0:1 5-4*, Krajíček had a lengthy conversation with the trainer and a doctor after winning the second set. After that, I was on high alert for Krajíček’s retirement, which came when she went 0-4* down, by which time she was moving slowly and clearly suffering.


First set
KRAJÍČEK __*___*_ 2
HLAVÁČKO @*_*@*_* 6


The match was second on Court 2, and started at 12:20 BST. It was cold, slightly windy, and increasingly uncomfortable for me as they have replaced the old stand with a concrete monstrosity that has one big step for spectators to sit on, although it does have the advantage that passers-by have a much better view of the outside courts than in previous years.

Krajíček serving 0-0: First serve forced Hlaváčková to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Double fault #1. 15/15. Second serve: Hlaváčková netted a backhand return. 30/15. Hlaváčková, on the fourth stroke, hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 30/30. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP #1). Hlaváčková hit an off-forehand winner deep into the corner. Broken.

Hlaváčková serving 1-0: Ace #1: first serve out wide. 15/0. Hlaváčková’s deep forehand just inside the baseline forced a floater, which she dispatched with a forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Ace #2: first serve out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Hlaváčková hit a good first serve out wide, but netted a backhand off an awkward crosscourt backhand return. 40/15 (GP #2). Hlaváčková opened up the court with an off-forehand, but netted a crosscourt forehand. 40/30 (GP #3). First serve out wide + pinpoint off-forehand winner deep into the corner. Held.

Krajíček serving 0-2: Hlaváčková’s deep forehand return forced Krajíček to earth a forehand. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to net a backhand return. 15/15. Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to net a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + forehand dropshot + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 2-1: First serve out wide forced a short return, which Hlaváčková dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Hlaváčková went to the net, forcing Krajíček to hit a crosscourt forehand pass wide. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve wide left). 30/15. Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 30/30. Hlaváčková’s deep crosscourt backhand bounced low, forcing Krajíček to net a sliced backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Hlaváčková went to the net, forcing Krajíček to net a forehand. Held.

Krajíček serving 1-3: Hlaváčková hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner deep into the corner. 0/15. First serve forced Hlaváčková to net a forehand return. 15/15. Deep second serve: Hlaváčková hit a deep crosscourt backhand return-winner onto the baseline. 15/30. Hlaváčková hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand return-winner onto the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Hlaváčková serving 4-1: Hlaváčková served and volleyed, but Krajíček hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Krajíček, driven wide, netted a forehand. 15/15. Krajíček netted a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/15. Hlaváčková hit an off-forehand winner back behind Krajíček. 40/15 (GP #1). Krajíček hit a low-bouncing backhand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #2). Hlaváčková went to the net, forcing Krajíček to hit a forehand lob long. Held.

Krajíček serving 1-5: Hlaváčková forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. Hlaváčková hit a forehand just long. 15/15. Krajíček served and volleyed, and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner on the fifth stroke. 30/15. Ace #2: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line (it was initially called wide, but overruled as good – titanium pigment flew up). 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve induced Hlaváčková to net a forehand return. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 5-2 (new balls): Hlaváčková hit an off-forehand just wide. 0/15. Hlaváčková hit a backhand winner down the line. 15/15. First serve down the middle forced Krajíček to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 30/15. Krajíček’s deep off-forehand return forced Hlaváčková to net a backhand. 30/30. A short ball from Krajíček hit the centre-line and shot through on Hlaváčková, forcing her to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Hlaváčková’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Krajíček to net a backhand. Deuce #1. Hlaváčková’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Krajíček to net a forehand. Ad Hlaváčková (SP #1). Krajíček forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Krajíček drew Hlaváčková to the net with a dropshot, then hit an off-forehand volley-winner. Ad Krajíček (BP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Krajíček to net a backhand return. Deuce #3. And again. Ad Hlaváčková (SP #2). First serve out wide forced a short return, but Hlaváčková sprayed a forehand just long. Deuce #4. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Ad Hlaváčková (SP #3). Hlaváčková’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Krajíček to slice a backhand wide. Hlaváčková won the first set 6-2 at 12:53 BST (33m).


Second set
KRAJÍČEK *_*_*_*_*_*_T 7(8)
HLAVÁČKO _*_*_*_*_*_*_ 6(6)


Krajíček serving 0-0: Ace #3: first serve out wide. 15/0. Hlaváčková hit a backhand long. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #4 (second serve long). 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to earth a forehand return. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 0-1: First serve out wide + deep crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. First serve out wide + deep crosscourt forehand forced Krajíček to hit a forehand long (with Hlaváčková at the net). 30/0. First serve out wide: Krajíček hit a forehand return-winner down the line: on the baseline. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Hlaváčková dispatched with a forehand winner down the line, back behind Krajíček. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve out wide: Krajíček hit a forehand return-winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #2). My notes say that Krajíček’s deep crosscourt backhand return forced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand long, but that can’t be right, because Hlaváčková won the point. Held.

Krajíček serving 1-1: Ace #4: second serve out wide. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide induced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. Krajíček went to the net, and hit an off-forehand drop-volley winner. One of the previous two point-descriptions must be wrong, because the score was 30/15. First serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve: Hlaváčková dumped a backhand return near the bottom of the net. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 1-2: First serve out wide forced a short return, which Hlaváčková dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Body-jamming first serve forced Krajíček to net a forehand return. 30/0. Krajíček hit an off-forehand return + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. First serve out wide induced Krajíček to net a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #4: first serve down the middle clipped the centre-line with a puff of titanium pigment. Held.

Krajíček serving 2-2: Second serve forced a short return, which Krajíček dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Second serve out wide: Hlaváčková hit an off-forehand return-winner. 15/15. Krajíček’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand long. 30/15. Hlaváčková netted a backhand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Krajíček served and volleyed behind her first serve, but her weak off-forehand volley sat up nicely for Hlaváčková to hit a pinpoint backhand pass-winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to net a backhand return. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 2-3: Double fault #3 (second serve just long). 0/15. Hlaváčková opened up the court with a deep crosscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 15/15. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 30/15. Hlaváčková hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/30. Deep first serve forced Krajíček to net a backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace #5: first serve out wide. Held.

Krajíček serving 3-3: Krajíček netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/15. Hlaváčková hit a forehand just long. 15/15. Service-winner: deep first serve down the middle. 30/15. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Double fault #5 (second serve long and just wide). 40/30 (GP #2). Ace #5: first serve down the middle clipped the centre-line with a puff of titanium pigment. Held.

Hlaváčková serving 3-4: Hlaváčková hit a crosscourt backhand, but was pinned to her backhand-sideline as Krajíček hit a sliced backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 0/15. Hlaváčková hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/30. Ace #6: deep first serve down the middle. 15/30. Ace #7: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line with a puff of titanium pigment. 30/30. Ace #8: first serve down the middle. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace #9: first serve out wide, just inside the service-line. Held.

Krajíček serving 4-4 (new balls): First serve out wide: forehand return just wide. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: backhand return long. 30/0. Double fault #6 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Hlaváčková’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Krajíček to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/30. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Krajíček asked for the trainer. Krajíček’s off-forehand forced Hlaváčková to net a backhand. Held.

At 13:26 BST, Krajíček took a medical time-out. At the time, I thought it was something to do with her right knee (the one on which she had surgery), but now I believe that it concerned the viral illness with which she would retire. The match resumed at 13:31 BST (5m).

Hlaváčková serving 4-5: Hlaváčková hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. First serve out wide: Krajíček netted a backhand return. 30/0. Ace #10: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Krajíček sprayed a backhand long off a short ball. Held.

Krajíček serving 5-5: Deep first serve down the middle forced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand lob-return long. 15/0. Krajíček’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle: Hlaváčková netted a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint backhand winner down the line. Held.

Krajíček looked unhappy, and was moving gingerly. She spoke to the umpire again.

Hlaváčková serving 5-6: First serve out wide: Krajíček netted a forehand return. 15/0. Hlaváčková hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside both the baseline and the sideline. 30/0. Double fault #4 (second serve long). 30/15. Ace #11: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Krajíček blasted a forehand return very long. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Krajíček/Hlaváčková): *0/0. Krajíček went to the net, and hit a one-handed backhand pass-volley winner down the middle: it clipped the baseline with a puff of titanium pigment. 1/0*. Hlaváčková netted a nervous-looking backhand on the third stroke. 2/0*. Krajíček forced a short lob, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. *3/0. Double fault #7 (second serve into the net). *3/1. A long rally ended with Krajíček netting a backhand. 3/2*. Deep first serve out wide forced Krajíček to earth a backhand return. 3/3*. Ace #12: first serve down the middle clipped the centre-line with a puff of titanium pigment. *3/4. Hlaváčková netted a backhand. *4/4. Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to hit a forehand return long. 5/4*. Ace #13: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 5/5*. Ace #14: first serve down the middle. *5/6 (MP #1 for Hlaváčková). In a nail-biting rally, Krajíček ran down a dropshot, and saved the match-point with a backhand volley-winner off Hlaváčková’s attempted pass. *6/6. Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to hit a forehand return long. 7/6* (SP #1 for Krajíček). Hlaváčková sprayed a wild backhand very long. Krajíček won the second set 7-6 (8/6) at 13:49 BST (second set 56m, match so far 1h29m).


Third set
KRAJÍČEK ____ 0 retired
HLAVÁČKO *@*@ 4


Between sets, Krajíček consulted the trainer again, while Hlaváčková went to the bathroom. The match resumed at 13:54 BST (5m).

Hlaváčková serving 0-0: Hlaváčková’s dropshot induced Krajíček to net a backhand. 15/0. Hlaváčková hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, went to the net and hit a forehand drop-volley, but Krajíček hit a backhand lob-winner over her head. 15/15. Krajíček forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. 15/30. Second serve out wide: Krajíček netted a backhand return. 30/30. Hlaváčková hit a forehand winner down the line, but Krajíček didn’t even move for it. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Krajíček netted a backhand return. Held.

Krajíček serving 0-1: Second serve out wide: crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Ace #6: first serve out wide, just inside the sideline. 30/0. First serve out wide: off-backhand return wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Hlaváčková hit a deep backhand return down the line, forcing Krajíček to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Hlaváčková hit a forehand return-winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #3). Hlaváčková hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #1. With Krajíček stuck in no-man’s-land, Hlaváčková hit a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner that clippde the sideline with a puff of titanium pigment. Ad Hlaváčková (BP #1). Double fault #8 (second serve long). Broken.

Hlaváčková serving 2-0: Forehand return just long. 15/0. Krajíček’s crosscourt forehand return jammed into Hlaváčková’s body, forcing her to dump a forehand halfway up the net. 15/15. First serve out wide: crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. First serve forced a short return, which Hlaváčková dispatched with a pinpoint off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). Hlaváčková slipped, which may have distracted Krajíček as she netted a forehand. Held.

Krajíček emerged from the changeover late and slowly.

Krajíček serving 0-3: Double fault #9 (second serve long). 0/15. Double fault #10 (second serve long). Krajíček gave a wry smile. 0/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Hlaváčková to hit a backhand return long. 15/30. First serve forced a short return, which Krajíček dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Ace #7: first serve down the middle. 40/30 (GP #1). Hlaváčková hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #1. Double fault #11 (second serve into the net). Ad Hlaváčková (BP #1). Krajíček hit a forehand long off a short ball. Broken.

Hlaváčková serving 4-0 (new balls): Hlaváčková won 6-2 6-7 (6/8) 4-0 (Krajíček retired with a viral illness) at 14:09 BST (third set 20m, match 1h49m).


3. First-round eyewitness report: Robson v Min (Tuesday 12th June 2012)

+ Laura Robson [DF] d. Grace Min [Q], 6-4 6-1

For the first set at least, this was high-quality tennis between two 18-year-olds who are trying to make their mark on the WTA Tour after successful junior careers. The match was played at a breakneck pace, in terms of both power and the time that they took between points.

Robson won the Girls’ Singles title as a 14-year-old at Wimbledon 2008, and, on grass at least, is still the most impressive player I know who was born in 1994 or later. She served amazingly well in this match, and has plenty of power on her groundstrokes too.

Min hit some impressive groundstroke-winners of her own, but these were few and far between, as Robson was just too good for Min, who fell apart in the second set.


First set
ROB _*_*@*_*_* 6
MIN *_*___*_*_ 4


The match started at 16:47 BST.

Min serving 0-0: Double fault #1 (second serve long). 0/15. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 0/30. Second serve: backhand return long. 15/30. Robson’s deep crosscourt backhand return forced Min to hit a backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve forced Robson to net a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve: backhand return long. Deuce #1. Robson hit a running forehand long. Ad Min (GP #1). Robson’s deep forehand return forced Min to hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. Deep first serve forced Robson to net a forehand return. Ad Min (GP #2). Second serve out wide: Robson hit a forehand return-winner down the line. Deuce #3. Robson, stretched wide, netted a forehand. Ad Min (GP #3). Robson netted a forehand. Held.

My first impression of Robson in this match was that she was powerful but hit and miss.

Robson serving 0-1: First serve + deep backhand down the line forced Min to net a backhand. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Min to earth a backhand return. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Min to hit a forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, which Robson dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Min serving 1-1: Min netted a backhand on the third stroke. 0/15. Ace #1: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/15. Min hit a backhand dropshot-winner from behind the baseline. 30/15. Second serve: backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + deep forehand winner down the line. Held.

Robson serving 1-2: First serve out wide forced Min to stretch and hit a forehand return wide right. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide. 30/0. Robson forced a short return, but netted a forehand. 30/15. Robson hit a first serve out wide, but netted a cheap forehand on the third stroke. 30/30. Min went to the net, but hit a forehand volley wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace #2: first serve out wide, on the sideline. Held.

Min serving 2-2: First serve + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Robson. 15/0. A long rally ended with Min netting a backhand. 15/15. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Min netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/40 (BP #1). Robson hit an off-forehand return-winner. Broken.

Robson serving 3-2: Deep first serve forced Min to hit a forehand lob-return long. 15/0. Robson netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/15. First serve forced a short return, which Robson dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Ace #3: first serve out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Min’s deep return forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). Deuce #1. Ace #4: first serve out wide. Ad Robson (GP #3). Robson forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner back behind Min. Held.

Min serving 2-4: Robson hit an off-forehand winner back behind Min. 0/15. First serve forced a short return; Min’s off-forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to hit a down-the-line forehand return wide. 30/15. Min’s deep forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson hit another forehand long. Held.

Robson serving 4-3 (new balls): Robson’s deep off-forehand forced Min to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Virtual ace out wide. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Min to hit a forehand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). Min hit another forehand return long. Held.

Min serving 3-5: First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 15/0. Min’s depth forced Robson to hit a backhand long. 30/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Robson. 40/0 (GP #1). A deep shot from Robson jammed into Min’s body, forcing her to hit an off-forehand wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve forced Robson to earth a backhand return. Held.

Robson serving 5-4: Robson went to the net behind a deep forehand, forcing Min to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Ace #5: first serve out wide. 30/0. Robson forced a short ball, and hit a forehand dropshot with wicked spin: it clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 40/0 (SP #1 for Robson). Ace #6: first serve out wide. Robson won the first set 6-4 at 17:16 BST (29m).


Second set
ROB @*@_@*@ 6
MIN ___@___ 1


Both girls requested to see their coaches during the set-break.

Min serving 0-0: Robson’s deep backhand forced Min to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Robson’s deep forehand forced Min to hit another backhand long. 0/30. Min forced a short ball, and hit an off-forehand that forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Robson to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). Deuce #1. Robson’s deep backhand forced Min to net a backhand. Ad Robson (BP #1). Min hit an off-forehand wide. Broken.

Robson serving 1-0: Ace #7: first serve out wide. 15/0. Robson’s depth forced Min to hit a backhand long. 30/0. First serve + off-forehand winner deep into the corner. 40/0 (GP #1). Min hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Second serve: short return: Robson hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Min serving 0-2: Robson’s deep backhand return forced Min to hit a forehand long. 0/15. Robson dominated the rally and went to the net, forcing Min to hit a forehand long. 0/30. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the baseline and shot through. 0/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to hit a forehand return long. 15/40 (BP #2). Robson hit another forehand long. 30/40 (BP #3). Robson’s deep backhand forced Min to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Robson serving 3-0: Min’s depth forced Robson to hit a forehand very long. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Min to earth a backhand return. 15/15. Robson netted a backhand on the third stroke. 15/30. Robson ran down a lob, but hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Min’s deep forehand return forced Robson to hit a forehand long. Broken.

Min serving 1-3: First serve out wide forced Robson to net a backhand return. 15/0. First serve: Robson hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 15/15. Robson’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Min to hit a forehand long. 15/30. Robson hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Min hit a forehand long. Broken.

Robson serving 4-1: Robson’s depth induced Min to spray a forehand very long. 15/0. Body-jamming first serve forced Min to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Double fault #2 (second serve long). 30/15. Min hit a deep return down the middle, forcing Robson to hit an off-forehand wide. 30/30. Min netted a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Min hit a backhand long. Held.

Min serving 1-5 (new balls): Robson’s deep forehand forced Min to hit a forehand long. 0/15. Double fault #4 (second serve wide of the centre-line). 0/30. Min sprayed an off-forehand wide. 0/40 (MP #1 for Robson). Robson hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Robson won 6-4 6-1 at 17:38 BST (second set 22m, match 51m).

Robson said in her on-court interview: “I thought in the second set I made more returns, waited for the right shots to go for.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Wednesday

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

1. Photos
2. Second-round eyewitness report: Eraković v Robson
3. Second-round eyewitness report: U.Radwańska v Lisicki
4. Second-round eyewitness report: Czink v Hantuchová


1. Photos (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as “Copyright Andrew Broad 2012”.
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don’t have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Wednesday’s photos are in five volumes.


Wednesday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 094)

Download Part 1

Elena Vesnina (26 photos)
Laura Robson (17)
Christina McHale (16)
Ekaterina Makarova (9)
Marina Eraković (8)
Sesil Karatantcheva (7)
Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (4)
Alicja Rosolska (4)
Daniela Hantuchová posters (3)
Misaki Doi (3)
Sabine Lisicki posters (2)
Anastasia Rodionova (2)
Kaia Kanepi poster (1)

Part 1 consists of various players practising on Wednesday morning, and some posters by the entrance to the grounds.


Wednesday Part 2 (Photos 095 to 216)

Download Part 2

Sania Mirza (31 photos)
Daniela Hantuchová (30)
Iveta Benešová (29)
Yaroslava Shvedova (20)
Bojana Jovanovski (8)
Urszula Radwańska (6)
Alla Kudryavtseva (6)
Elena Vesnina (4)
Christina McHale (2)
Alexandra Cadanţu (1)

Part 2 covers the Mirza/Shvedova v Benešová/Kudryavtseva doubles match, and an early-afternoon practice session featuring Daniela Hantuchová and others.


Wednesday Part 3 (Photos 217 to 264)

Download Part 3

Laura Robson (27 photos)
Marina Eraković (26)
Hsieh,Su-Wei (1)
Vera Dushevina (1)

Part 3 covers the Robson v Eraković match (and the Hsieh v Dushevina handshake).


Wednesday Part 4 (Photos 265 to 390)

Download Part 4

Sabine Lisicki (96 photos)
Urszula Radwańska (47)

Part 4 covers the Lisicki v Radwańska match.


Wednesday Part 5 (Photos 391 to 444)

Download Part 5

Daniela Hantuchová (45 photos)
Melinda Czink (14)
Hsieh,Su-Wei (1)
Alexandra Panova (1)

Part 5 covers the Hantuchová v Czink match (and the Hsieh v Panova handshake).


2. Second-round eyewitness report: Eraković v Robson (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- Laura Robson [DF] lt. Marina Eraković, 4-6 6-3 4-6

A disappointing and frankly rather tedious match, though I like both girls. Robson was only a shadow of the impressive player that she was in the previous round: her lateral movement was poor (that was my impression at the end of the first set), and she couldn’t put much pressure on Eraković’s service-games.

The first set was decided by a single break against Robson in the third game, and she then looked in dire straits at 0:1 *1-1 15/40. She saved those break-points with an ace and a forehand winner, then seized the momentum to break for *3-1, and took the second set with a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the baseline with a puff of titanium pigment.

But Eraković raised her game at the start of the third set, and Robson double-faulted for 0-2*. She fought back to 2-2*, had a couple of break-points in that game, but Eraković saved them with forehand winners, and went on to break Robson as she served to stay in the match at *4-5.


First set
ROBSON *___*_*_*_ 4
ERAKOV _*@*_*_*_* 6


The match was third on Court 1, and started at 14:34 BST.

Robson serving 0-0: Robson off-forehand wide. 0/15. Eraković forehand long. 15/15. Deep first serve: forehand return long. 30/15. Second serve... Eraković’s depth forced Robson to hit a skyscraper lob just wide. 30/30. Sorry, I missed this point. 40/30 (GP #1). Robson netted a forehand on the third stroke. Deuce #1. Robson, driven wide, hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. Ad Robson (GP #2). Robson hit a pinpoint off-backhand winner just inside the sideline, back behind Eraković. Held.

Eraković serving 0-1: Eraković forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Second serve: backhand return long. 30/0. Robson’s deep return forced Eraković to hit a forehand just wide. 30/15. Forehand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve long). 40/30 (GP #2). First serve: down-the-line forehand return long and wide. Held.

Robson serving 1-1: Robson forehand just long. 0/15. Deep second serve: backhand return long. 15/15. Robson forehand long. 15/30. Robson forehand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 30/40 (BP #2). Robson hit a down-the-line forehand winner. Deuce #1. Robson hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand winner. Ad Robson (GP #1). Eraković’s deep forehand forced Robson to hit a backhand long. Deuce #2. Robson hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. Ad Eraković (BP #3). Double fault #1 (second serve long). Robson hit a ball into the ground in frustration. Broken.

Eraković serving 2-1: Eraković’s depth forced Robson to net a forehand. 15/0. Double fault #2 (second serve long). 15/15. Robson hit a backhand just long. 30/15. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 30/30. Eraković went to the net, forcing Robson to hit a backhand lob long. 40/30 (GP #1). Eraković’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Robson to net a forehand. Held.

It started to drizzle during that game.

Robson serving 1-3: Deep first serve: crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Eraković’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Robson to net a forehand. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Eraković to bunt a forehand long. 30/15. Robson hit a backhand volley just long. 30/30. Robson’s depth forced Eraković to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace #2: first serve out wide. Held.

Eraković serving 3-2: Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to bunt a backhand return long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to net a forehand return. 30/0. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Eraković hit a deep off-forehand winner back behind Robson. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson’s depth forced Eraković to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Robson to net a forehand return. Held.

Robson serving 2-4: Eraković, running wide, netted a backhand. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Eraković to hit a crosscourt backhand lob-return wide. 30/0. Double fault #2. 30/15. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Eraković’s deep forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide, on the service-line: forehand return long. Held.

Eraković serving 4-3 (new balls): Eraković hit an off-forehand winner deep into the corner. 15/0. Robson’s deep off-backhand forced Eraković to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Robson hit an off-forehand return-winner. 30/30. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep serve: off-backhand return wide. Held.

Robson serving 3-5: Deep first serve: forehand return wide. 15/0. Deep first serve: Eraković netted a forehand return. 30/0. Eraković’s deep off-forehand forced Robson to stretch wide and bunt a forehand into the net. 30/15. Robson spread Eraković, and hit an off-forehand winner into the gap thus created. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... Eraković hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Eraković dumped a forehand into the net. Held.

Eraković serving 5-4: Second serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return just long. 40/0 (SP #1 for Eraković). Virtual ace down the middle: Robson just clipped it with her racket. Eraković won the first set 6-4 at 15:15 BST (41m).

Both girls consulted their coaches during the set-break.


Second set
ROBSON *_*@*_*_* 6
ERAKOV _*___*_*_ 3


Robson serving 0-0: Robson netted a forehand. 0/15. Robson forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Robson’s dropshot clipped the netcord, inducing Eraković to hit a backhand long. 30/15. First serve out wide: backhand lob-return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #4: first serve down the middle. Held.

Eraković serving 0-1: First serve: Robson netted a forehand return. 15/0. Deep first serve: backhand return long. 30/0. Robson’s depth forced Eraković to hit an off-forehand wide. 30/15. Robson backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve: Robson netted a backhand return. Held.

Robson serving 1-1: Second serve... Robson ran down a dropshot, but hit an off-forehand wide, and groaned. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/15. Robson netted a forehand. 15/30. Eraković’s deep return forced Robson to hit an off-forehand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace #5: first serve out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Robson hit a down-the-line forehand winner. Deuce #1. Forehand return long. Ad Robson (GP #1). Deep second serve out wide: forehand return long. Held.

Eraković serving 1-2: Eraković’s depth forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Deep second serve: Robson hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Eraković sprayed a wild forehand very long and wide. 15/30. Robson’s depth forced Eraković to net a backhand. 15/40 (BP #1). Eraković’s deep off-forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Double fault #5 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Robson serving 3-1: Ace #6: second serve down the middle. 15/0. Eraković forehand long. 30/0. Double fault #3 (second serve long). 30/15. Eraković sprayed a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Eraković to hit a forehand long. Held.

Eraković serving 1-4: Service-winner. 15/0. Eraković hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Eraković hit an off-forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Service-winner out wide. Held.

Robson serving 4-2 (new balls): Eraković dumped a backhand halfway up the net. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: Eraković netted a backhand return. 30/0. Double fault #4 (second serve long). 30/15. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Eraković hit an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Ace #7: first serve out wide. Held.

Eraković serving 2-5: Eraković’s deep off-forehand forced Robson to hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 15/0. Eraković’s depth forced Robson to net a backhand. 30/0. Robson hit a forehand just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Backhand return just long. Held.

Robson serving 5-3: Eraković forehand long. 15/0. Body-jamming first serve: forehand return long. 30/0. Eraković’s deep forehand forced Robson to net a forehand. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle: forehand lob-return long. 40/15 (SP #1 for Robson). Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the baseline with a puff of titanium pigment. Robson won the second set 6-3 at 15:49 BST (second set 34m, match so far 1h15m).


Third set
ROBSON __@*_*_*__ 4
ERAKOV *@__*_*_*@ 6


Eraković serving 0-0: Deep first serve out wide: Robson netted a backhand return. 15/0. First serve: backhand lob-return long. 30/0. Robson netted a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Robson’s depth forced Eraković to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve: Robson netted a backhand return. Held.

Robson serving 0-1: Eraković hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/15. Eraković hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/30. A low-bouncing ball from Robson forced Eraković to net a sliced backhand. 30/30. Robson forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #1). Double fault #5: second serve just long. Broken.

Eraković had clearly raised her game since losing the second set.

Eraković serving 2-0: Backhand return long. 15/0. Robson hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 15/15. Eraković netted a sliced backhand. 15/30. Robson’s short sliced backhand forced Eraković to hit a backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Robson’s depth forced Eraković to hit a backhand long. Broken.

Robson serving 1-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Eraković. 30/0. Robson’s deep sliced backhand forced Eraković to hit a backhand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Robson, on the third stroke, hit a forehand very long. 40/15 (GP #2). Eraković hit an off-forehand onto the baseline, but it was called long. Held.

Eraković serving 2-2: Robson netted a forehand off a low-bouncing ball from Eraković. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: backhand return long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. 30/15. First serve: forehand return very long. 40/15 (GP #1). Robson hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/30 (GP #2). Robson went to the net, forcing Eraković to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Eraković (GP #3). Robson hit a crosscourt forehand to open up the court for an off-forehand winner that clipped the sideline with a puff of titanium pigment. Deuce #2. Eraković’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Robson to net a forehand. Ad Eraković (GP #4). Robson hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #3. Robson punished a second serve with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Robson (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #4. Double fault #6 (second serve into the net). Ad Robson (BP #2). Eraković hit an off-forehand winner back behind Robson. Deuce #5. Eraković hit another off-forehand winner back behind Robson: this time onto the sideline. Ad Eraković (GP #5). First serve out wide: crosscourt forehand return wide. Held.

Robson serving 2-3: Robson crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Robson went to the net, forcing Eraković to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Eraković’s depth induced Robson to hit a backhand that clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/30. Second serve... Eraković netted a sliced backhand. 30/30. Double fault #6 (second serve long). 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint down-the-line forehand winner. Deuce #1. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. Ad Robson (GP #1). Deep first serve: forehand return long. Held.

Eraković serving 3-3 (new balls): Eraković forced a short ball, but her forehand clipped the netcord and fell wide. 0/15. Second serve: backhand return long. 15/15. Backhand return long. 30/15. Ace #2: deep first serve out wide, just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Robson earthed a backhand return. Held.

Robson serving 3-4: First serve out wide: Eraković netted a forehand return. 15/0. Robson’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Eraković to earth a forehand. 30/0. Robson hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Double fault #7 (second serve long). 30/30. Deep first serve: forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Eraković hit a down-the-line backhand return long and wide. Held.

Eraković serving 4-4: Second serve: backhand return very long. 15/0. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Eraković dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Eraković earthed a sliced backhand. 30/15. Eraković’s deep off-forehand forced Robson to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: backhand return long. Held.

Robson serving 4-5: Robson hit an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Eraković crosscourt forehand wide. 30/0. Robson netted a forehand. 30/15. Robson, on the third stroke, hit a forehand long. 30/30. Eraković hit a series of sliced backhands until Robson netted a backhand. 30/40 (MP #1 for Eraković). Eraković’s depth forced Robson to hit a crosscourt forehand just wide; Robson yelled. Eraković won 6-4 3-6 6-4 at 16:34 BST (third set 45m, match 2h00m).


3. Second-round eyewitness report: U.Radwańska v Lisicki (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- SABINE LISICKI [2,EF] lt. Urszula Radwańska, 3-6 4-6

In terms of the style of play, this was the best match of the tournament, as both girls played some attractive all-court tennis with a very high level of skill.

Sadly, Sabine was ill during this match, and actually stopped in the middle of a game (0:1 0-1* 0/30*) to see the doctor. The next day’s Birmingham Mail quoted Sabine: “I had some breathing problems. It’s the first time I’ve had it; I’ll have to speak to the doctors.”

Sabine looked dreadful throughout the match, and this translated into a catalogue of unforced errors, although she did hit some great shots too (especially at 0:0 *1-4, when she hit four brilliant winners in a row, and at 0:1 *0-2, when she hit three in a row).

This loss looked like a major setback for Sabine, as she was the defending champion at Birmingham, and it left her preparing to defend her Wimbledon semi-final on a five-match losing streak that stretched back to her retirement from Charleston with a left-ankle injury. Who would have thought that she would go on to upset world number one Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of Wimbledon?


First set
RADWAŃS *@_@*_*_* 6
LISICKI __@__*_*_ 3


The match was fifth on Centre Court. Radwańska won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 18:42 BST.

Radwańska serving 0-0: First serve out wide: Sabine hit a down-the-line forehand return-winner just inside the baseline. 0/15. Sabine netted a forehand on the fourth stroke. 15/15. Deep first serve: forehand return just long. 30/15. Radwańska hit a backhand long on the fifth stroke. 30/30. Sabine forced a short ball, but sprayed a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Radwańska spread Sabine with a first serve out wide + crosscourt forehand, forcing Sabine to net a forehand. Held.

Lisicki serving 0-1: Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 15/0. Radwańska’s deep forehand forced Sabine to hit a backhand long. 15/15. With both girls at the net, Sabine hit a forehand volley, but Radwańska hit an off-forehand pass-volley winner. 15/30. Sabine backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Sabine forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Sabine got away with a short second serve, as Radwańska – on the fourth stroke – dumped a backhand into the net. Deuce #1. Radwańska hit a forehand dropshot down the line, forcing Sabine to net a backhand. Ad Radwańska (BP #3). Radwańska hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand dropshot, forcing Sabine to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. Broken.

Radwańska serving 2-0: Sabine’s off-forehand return forced a short ball, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner back behind Radwańska. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide: backhand return very long. 15/15. Second serve... Radwańska netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/30. Sabine hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve: Sabine’s off-backhand return forced Radwańska to net a forehand. Broken.

Lisicki serving 1-2: Sabine hit a forehand winner down the line, onto the sideline. 15/0. Sabine earthed a forehand dropshot. 15/15. Radwańska, on the fourth stroke, hit an off-forehand winner. 15/30. Sabine hit a backhand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Sabine netted a backhand. Broken.

Radwańska serving 3-1: Sabine’s deep forehand return forced Radwańska to net a forehand. 0/15. Radwańska’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 15/15. Sabine netted a backhand return. 30/15. Sabine ran down a dropshot, but hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Radwańska hit a makeable forehand return long. Held.

Lisicki serving 1-4: Sabine hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand winner. 15/0. Ace #2: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve + pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. Held.

Radwańska serving 4-2: Sabine netted a backhand return. 15/0. Sabine hit a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 15/15. Forehand return long. 30/15. Radwańska netted a backhand on the third stroke. 30/30. First serve forced a short return, but Radwańska sprayed an off-forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve down the middle forced Sabine to stretch wide and net a forehand return. Deuce #1. Radwańska hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot, followed by a crosscourt forehand pass-winner into the wide open court. Ad Radwańska (GP #1). Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Radwańska hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Sabine to net a one-handed backhand. Ad Radwańska (GP #2). Radwańska went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but Sabine hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. Deuce #3. Sabine netted a forehand return. Ad Radwańska (GP #3). Sabine hit a deep off-backhand into the corner, forcing Radwańska to net a forehand. Deuce #4. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. Ad Radwańska (GP #4). Deep first serve out wide forced Sabine to bunt a backhand return long. Held.

Sabine changed her racket during the changeover.

Lisicki serving 2-5 (new balls): Sabine’s depth forced Radwańska to net a backhand on the fourth stroke. 15/0. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 30/0. Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). Radwańska went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Radwańska hit a deep forehand return down the middle, forcing Sabine to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #3). Sabine’s deep backhand forced Radwańska to mishit a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Radwańska serving 5-3: First serve out wide + off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/0. Sabine complained about a bad ball. Second serve... Sabine netted a forehand. 40/0 (SP #1 for Radwańska). Ace #2: first serve out wide clipped the sideline with a puff of titanium pigment. Radwańska won the first set 6-3 at 19:15 BST (33m).


Second set
RADWAŃS @*_*_*_*_* 6
LISICKI __*_*_*_*_ 4


Lisicki serving 0-0: Double fault #1 (second serve wide of the sideline). 0/15. Radwańska netted a backhand volley. 15/15. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Sabine forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. 30/30. Sabine netted a sliced backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Radwańska forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

Radwańska serving 1-0: First serve: Sabine netted a backhand return. 15/0. Deep first serve: forehand return long. 30/0. At 19:21 BST, Sabine went to her chair and sat down. The umpire said: “The trainer and doctor have been called to the court.” They arrived after a long wait. The doctor measured Sabine’s pulse and used a stethoscope. Play resumed at 19:29 BST (8m). Sabine netted a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Second serve... Sabine went to the net, and hit a beautiful crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Radwańska netted a forehand dropshot. 40/30 (GP #2). Radwańska’s deep forehand forced Sabine to earth a backhand. Held.

Lisicki serving 0-2: Sabine forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. Sabine hit an off-forehand winner, but Radwańska complained: “Are you kidding me? The ball was out like this!” 30/0. First serve out wide + pinpoint forehand winner down the line, on the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide: forehand return long. Held.

Radwańska serving 2-1: First serve: Sabine netted a forehand return. 15/0. First serve out wide forced a short return... but Sabine hit an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Sabine ran down a dropshot, and hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 15/30. Radwańska hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/30. Radwańska forced a short ball, and hit a deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Sabine to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide of the sideline). Deuce #1. Sabine hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Lisicki (BP #1). Sabine hit a down-the-line backhand just wide, and reacted with a cute little squeak. Deuce #2. Deep first serve out wide forced Sabine to earth a forehand return. Ad Radwańska (GP #2). Sabine’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Radwańska to hit a forehand long. Deuce #3. Sabine’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Radwańska to net a forehand. Ad Lisicki (BP #2). Radwańska forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. Deuce #4. Radwańska forehand long. Ad Lisicki (BP #3). Radwańska forced a short ball, and hit a deep crosscourt backhand that forced Sabine to net a backhand. Deuce #5. Deep first serve out wide: forehand return long. Ad Radwańska (GP #3). Sabine netted a backhand. Held.

Lisicki serving 1-3: Sabine went to the net, but Radwańska’s deep lob forced Sabine to retreat; Radwańska went to the net and hit a down-the-line backhand drop-volley winner. 0/15. Sabine forced a short ball, and hit a deep crosscourt forehand that forced Radwańska to net a forehand. 15/15. Sabine netted a forehand. 15/30. Second serve: Radwańska netted a makeable backhand return. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Radwańska to stretch wide and net a backhand (forehand?) return. 40/30 (GP #1). Sabine sprayed a backhand very long. Deuce #1. Deep first serve: Radwańska netted a forehand return. Ad Lisicki (GP #2). I got distracted and missed this point – sorry. Held.

Sabine saw the doctor again at the changeover.

Radwańska serving 3-2: Sabine’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Radwańska to net a backhand. 0/15. Sabine dumped a backhand return halfway up the net. 15/15. Sabine dominated the rally, but hit an off-forehand wide. 30/15. Radwańska spread Sabine, her deep crosscourt backhand forcing Sabine to hit an off-backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve: Sabine hit a booming down-the-line forehand return-winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Sabine hit a backhand just long (it shot through on Radwańska, who was on her knees). Held.

Lisicki serving 2-4: Ace #4: first serve down the middle. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Radwańska’s deep off-backhand forced Sabine to net a forehand. 30/15. Sabine hit a down-the-line forehand winner that clipped the netcord. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #5: first serve out wide. Held.

It was getting colder and darker, with a hint of rain.

Radwańska serving 4-3 (new balls): Radwańska went to the net, forcing Sabine to hit a forehand lob that was called long (though it was actually in). 15/0. Sabine hit an off-backhand winner deep into the corner, and said “c’mon”. 15/15. Raindrops were falling. First serve out wide: Sabine netted a forehand return. 30/15. Radwańska mildly spread Sabine, inducing her to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Sabine’s forehand clipped the netcord, and dropped dead for a winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Radwańska netted a backhand, and shouted. Deuce #1. Deep first serve out wide – just inside both the sideline and the service-line – forced Sabine to net a forehand return. Ad Radwańska (GP #3). Sabine mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Lisicki serving 3-5: Second serve: Sabine netted a backhand return. 0/15. Sabine opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, and hit an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Deep second serve onto the sideline: forehand return long. Sabine said: “Komm jetzt!” 30/15. Sabine hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Radwańska to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Radwańska to earth a backhand return. Held.

Radwańska serving 5-4: Second serve: Sabine netted a forehand return. 15/0. First serve: Sabine netted a backhand return. 30/0. Sabine sprayed a forehand long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Radwańska). First serve just long. Second serve: Sabine bravely held onto her title by hitting an off-forehand return-winner just inside the baseline. 40/15 (MP #2 for Radwańska). Virtual ace: first serve out wide clipped the top of Sabine’s racket. Radwańska won 6-3 6-4 at 20:08 BST (second set 53m, match 1h26m).

Radwańska said in her on-court interview: “She was a very tough opponent, so strong. Of course I believed – I won Nottingham [the ITF grass-court tournament the week before]. I lost focus, but I tried to play my best – and I did.”


4. Second-round eyewitness report: Czink v Hantuchová (Wednesday 13th June 2012)

- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [3,EF] lt. Melinda Czink, 5-7 6-7 (5/7)

This match was a farce. Originally scheduled sixth on Centre Court, it was moved to Court 4 after a rain-delay caused the prior match to start late. It was cold and dark, with a hint of rain.

I’m sorry, but when I heard that Daniela had been moved to Court 4, I decided to stay on Centre Court watching Sabine Lisicki open the defence of her title against Urszula Radwańska. When Sabine had finished losing, I went straight to Court 4 to find Daniela just starting the second set. I couldn’t get a seat due to the large crowd, so I had to watch what remained of the match leaning over a wall.

Daniela was playing her first match since Fed Cup in April, in which she aggravated a stress-fracture in her left foot. She led 5-3* in both sets. In the first set, she squandered five set-points. In the second set, Czink played well from *3-5, but Daniela double-faulted to make it 5-5*, and a series of errors in the tiebreak sealed her fate.


First set
CZINK *_*_*___*@*@ 7
HANTU _*_*_*@*____ 5


The match started at 19:27 BST.

Czink serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve... 40/30 (GP #2). Held.

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

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

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

Czink serving 2-2: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. Second serve... 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Hantuchová serving 2-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Second serve... Held.

Czink serving 3-3: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Hantuchová serving 4-3 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Hantuchová (GP #3). Held.

Czink serving 3-5: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (SP #1 for Hantuchová). 30/40 (SP #2 for Hantuchová). Deuce #1. Ad Czink (GP #1). Second serve... Deuce #2. Ad Hantuchová (SP #3). Deuce #3. Ad Hantuchová (SP #4). Deuce #4. Ad Czink (GP #2). Held.

Hantuchová serving 5-4: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (SP #5 for Hantuchová). Deuce #1. Ad Czink (BP #1). Broken.

Czink serving 5-5: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Hantuchová serving 5-6: 0/15. 0/30. Second serve... 0/40 (SP #1 for Czink). Czink won the first set 7-5 at 20:11 BST (44m).


Second set
CZINK *___*_*_*@*_T 7(7)
HANTU _*@*_*_*___*_ 6(5)


Czink serving 0-0: I joined the match at 15/0. Czink netted a backhand. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Daniela hit a forehand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #5. Held.

Hantuchová serving 0-1: Ace #2: first serve out wide. 15/0. Daniela hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 30/15. Daniela hit a forehand long. 30/30. First serve: Czink netted a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Czink netted a forehand return. Held.

Czink serving 1-1: On the third stroke, Czink hit a backhand long. 0/15. Daniela hit a backhand return long. 15/15. First serve out wide: crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Czink forehand long. 30/30. Ace #6: first serve out wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve out wide: Daniela hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner. Deuce #1. On the third stroke, Czink netted a forehand. Ad Hantuchová (BP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Broken.

Hantuchová serving 2-1: Second serve... on the third stroke, Daniela hit a backhand long. 0/15. Czink’s deep return forced Daniela to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Daniela hit an off-forehand winner. 15/30. Daniela’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Czink to net a backhand. 30/30. First serve out wide: forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Czink hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Czink serving 1-3 (new balls): Daniela backhand long. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide induced Daniela to net a backhand return. 30/0. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #7: second serve down the middle. Held.

Czink consulted her coach during the changeover.

Hantuchová serving 3-2: Second serve... Daniela hit a backhand just long (Czink jumped to avoid it). 0/15. On the third stroke, Daniela netted a forehand. 0/30. Czink’s deep backhand down the middle induced Daniela to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/40 (BP #1). Daniela hit an off-backhand winner. 15/40 (BP #2). Czink crosscourt backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #3). Czink mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #1. Czink’s depth induced Daniela to hit a backhand long. Ad Czink (BP #4). Deep first serve forced Czink to hit a forehand return long. Deuce #2. Backhand return just long. Ad Hantuchová (GP #1). My notes say, “Czink backhand long,” but that can’t be right. Deuce #3. First serve out wide: Czink hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner. Ad Czink (BP #5). Daniela hit an off-backhand winner onto the baseline. Deuce #4. On the fourth stroke, Czink netted a backhand. Ad Hantuchová (GP #2). First serve forced a short return; Daniela hit an off-forehand winner. Held.

Czink serving 2-4: Czink hit a backhand winner down Daniela’s backhand sideline. 15/0. First serve out wide: backhand lob-return long. 30/0. Daniela’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Czink to net a forehand. 30/15. Daniela spread Czink with a crosscourt forehand + down-the-line forehand winner. 30/30. Double fault #3 (second serve just long). 30/40 (BP #1). Ace #8: first serve down the middle. Deuce #1. Czink’s depth induced Daniela to hit a forehand long on the fourth stroke. Ad Czink (GP #1). Daniela hit a backhand long. Held.

Hantuchová serving 4-3: Second serve down the middle: Czink netted a backhand return. 15/0. Czink hit a deep return onto the baseline, forcing Daniela to hit a skyscraper-lob that landed just inside the baseline, but Czink dumped a forehand smash into the net. 30/0. First serve out wide: Czink netted a backhand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Czink hit a backhand just long. Held.

Czink serving 3-5: First serve down the middle forced Daniela to net a backhand return. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Daniela to earth a backhand return. 30/0. Czink’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Daniela to net a sliced backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Daniela hit an off-forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Second serve down the middle: Daniela netted a backhand return. Held.

Hantuchová serving 5-4: Czink’s deep crosscourt backhand return forced Daniela to net a forehand. 0/15. Slow first serve out wide: Czink hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 0/30. Czink backhand long. 15/30. Czink’s depth induced Daniela to net a forehand. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 30/40 (BP #2). Double fault #2 (second serve long). Broken.

Czink serving 5-5: Deep first serve down the middle forced Daniela to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Ace #9: short-angled first serve out wide, just inside the sideline. 30/0. Czink hit an off-forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #10: first serve down the middle clipped the centre-line with a puff of titanium pigment. Held.

Hantuchová serving 5-6: Backhand return long. 15/0. A deep, low ball from Czink forced Daniela to net a forehand. 15/15. Daniela hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Daniela hit another crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #4: first serve out wide. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Czink/Hantuchová):
{*0/0} Double fault #4 (second serve long).
{0/1*} Czink hit a crosscourt backhand winner.
{1/1*} Czink hit a forehand winner down Daniela’s backhand sideline.
{*2/1} Double fault #5 (second serve into the net).
{*2/2} Daniela’s deep backhand return forced Czink to hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
{2/3*} After a long rally, Czink’s deep backhand forced Daniela to net a backhand.
{3/3*} Deep first serve down the middle forced Czink to net a forehand return.
{*3/4} First serve out wide: Daniela hit a backhand return long.
{*4/4} Czink’s backhand drive-volley forced Daniela to hit a crosscourt forehand wide.
{5/4*} Daniela sprayed a wild forehand long.
{6/4*: MP #1 for Czink} First serve down the middle: Czink earthed a backhand return.
{*6/5: MP #2 for Czink} Deep first serve down the middle forced Daniela to net a backhand return. Czink won 7-5 7-6 (7/5) at 21:03 BST (second set 52m, match 1h36m).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 10:51 PM   #4
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Thursday

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

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


1. Photos (Thursday 14th June 2012)

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as “Copyright Andrew Broad 2012”.
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

Since I don’t have time to upload hundreds of photos a day individually, I have uploaded each batch of photos as a large zip-file (approximately as many megabytes as photos).

Thursday’s photos are in five volumes.


Thursday Part 1 (Photos 001 to 049)

Download Part 1

Marina Eraković (29 photos)
Ekaterina Makarova (24)

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


Thursday Part 2 (Photos 050 to 191)

Download Part 2

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

Part 2 features Daniela and Sabine practising together.


Thursday Part 3 (Photos 192 to 240)

Download Part 3

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

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


Thursday Part 4 (Photos 241 to 378)

Download Part 4

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

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


Thursday Part 5 (Photos 379 to 467)

Download Part 5

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. Over and out

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

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

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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