There are two points from Maria's Beijing final in this Sunday's Trans World Sport
, which - for those in the UK - is repeated with sign-language at 5:05am on Thursday night (Friday morning) on Channel 4. (Trans World Sport
may also be televised in other countries.) The tennis is 12 minutes into the programme.
"Two years ago, Russia's Maria Kirilenko was featured on Trans World Sport
as a potential tennis-champion. However, the eighteen-year-old has struggled to make the transition from talented junior to successful pro, losing in her only WTA Tour singles final.
"But, in the final of the WTA China Open in Beijing, she faces Germany's Anna-Lena Grönefeld. Both players look to battle it out from the baseline, until a single break of serve helps the unseeded Russian take the first set 6-3."
Grönefeld serving 3-3 (30/40):
Serve down the middle; Maria return down the middle; Grönefeld forehand moonball down the line; Maria backhand moonball; Grönefeld crosscourt forehand; Maria forehand down the middle; Grönefeld hit a backhand dropshot and went to the net, and Maria came up with a forehand pass-winner down the line - onto the sideline.
"Despite dominating the second set, it's not until the ninth game that Kirilenko finally breaks her opponent's serve again. She goes on to take a 6-3 6-4 victory for her maiden WTA Tour title, and a cheque for ninety-three thousand dollars."
Grönefeld serving 3-6 4-5 (30/40):
Serve out wide; Maria backhand return; Grönefeld backhand down the middle; Maria backhand down the middle; Grönefeld crosscourt forehand; Maria hit a forehand down the line - onto the baseline - forcing Grönefeld to hit a short defensive lob backhand down the line; Maria crosscourt forehand; Grönefeld short forehand down the line; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand to get Grönefeld on the run, forcing her to hit a one-handed backhand lob; Maria ran back to hit a forehand; Grönefeld crosscourt backhand; Maria backhand lob; Grönefeld hit an aggressive crosscourt forehand, forcing Maria to chop back a floating crosscourt forehand, but Grönefeld hit a forehand volley long, and Maria threw up her arms in triumph.
These two points are not really representative of Maria's all-court talent. The Maria that I saw storming to a 3-0 lead against Roberta Vinci at Birmingham 2004 would have taken Grönefeld's lobs out of the air with spectacular crosscourt high forehand volleys, rather than getting bogged down in these long rallies.
Dr. Andrew Broad