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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 09:11 PM   #1
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Birmingham 2007: Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos

===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First round: Mirza v Camerin
3. Second round: Mirza v Santangelo
4. Doubles

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1. Photos
---------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2007 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all the photos I took at Birmingham 2007, in one big zip-file for each day, to:
MON: http://www.divshare.com/download/1002277-6f8 (21 of Sania)
TUE: http://www.divshare.com/download/1012525-599 (0 of Sania)
WED: http://www.divshare.com/download/1031004-107 (7 of Sania)
THU: no play due to rain
FRI: http://www.divshare.com/download/1043659-219 (0 of Sania)
SAT: http://www.divshare.com/download/1049942-b32 (0 of Sania)
SUN: http://www.divshare.com/download/1917585-f12 (0 of Sania)

-------------------------------
2. First round: Mirza v Camerin (Monday 11th June 2007)
-------------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Maria Elena Camerin, 6-3 6-3

A nice match between the beautiful Maria Elena Camerin and her spreading rallies, and the flairsome groundstrokes of Sania Mirza, who is also not unattractive.

But it wasn't /that/ great of a match, as there were only a few shining examples of the spreading or the flairsome power. Maria Elena made an impressive start, but Sania won pretty straightforwardly after recovering from 1-3* (15/30) down in the first set, although she did miss two match-points at 6-3 5-2* as Maria Elena served to stay in the match with all guns blazing.

Maria Elena showed signs of anger throughout the match: throwing and kicking her racket, smacking the court and the netpost with her racket, hitting balls in anger, complaining about line-calls, and swearing in Italian. Sania, by contrast, was pretty reserved, apart from three screams after losing points towards the end of the match.

I saw the whole match on Centre Court. Maria Elena won the toss and chose to serve, and it started at 16:38 BST.


First set
---------
MIRZA _*__@*@*@ 6
CAMER * *@_____ 3

Maria Elena serving 0-0: Sania netted a backhand return. 15/0. Sania forehand return long. 30/0. Maria Elena hit a crosscourt forehand winner behind Sania. 40/0. Maria Elena hit a wild backhand long. 40/15. Maria Elena opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand to set up a crosscourt forehand winner.

Sania serving 0-1: Sania crosscourt backhand winner behind Maria Elena. 15/0. Maria Elena crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Sania forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob long. 40/0. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-1: Sania forehand return long. 15/0. Maria Elena netted a tame backhand. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand wide. 15/30. Service-winner (Sania forehand lob-return just long). 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a backhand. 40/40. Sania forehand just long. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena hit a forehand smash-winner whilst running backwards into no-man's-land. Ad Maria Elena. Sania forehand long.

Sania serving 1-2: Maria Elena's off-forehand forced Sania to earth a backhand. 0/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Maria Elena hit a forehand return halfway up the net. 30/15. Sania backhand long. 30/30. Maria Elena hit a forehand lob-winner over Sania's head. 30/40 (BP). Sania sprayed a backhand wide of the tramlines.

Maria Elena serving 3-1: Sania forehand just wide. 15/0. Maria Elena backhand long. 15/15. Maria Elena deep crosscourt forehand + off-forehand drop-volley winner. 30/15. In what would prove to be the turning-point of the match, Maria Elena hit a forehand halfway up the net. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand and groaned in Italian. 30/40 (BP). Sania backhand return wide. 40/40. Maria Elena forehand just long. Ad Sania (BP #2). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Sania serving 2-3: Sania mishit a forehand long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria Elena backhand just long. 40/15. Maria Elena off-backhand return-winner.

Maria Elena serving 3-3: Sania backhand long. 15/0. Maria Elena sprayed a backhand long. 15/15. Sania hit a forehand return long, and groaned. 30/15. Sania hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Maria Elena's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her own side. 40/40. A long rally of crosscourt backhands ended with Sania hitting a forehand smash-winner. Ad Sania (BP). Double fault.

Sania serving 4-3: Maria Elena forehand wide. 15/0. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forced Maria Elena to earth a backhand. 30/15. Sania forehand smash-winner. 40/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return.

Maria Elena serving 3-5: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Maria Elena forehand just long. 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve quite long). 30/30. Maria Elena backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Sania netted a forehand return. 40/40. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault. Deuce #2. Maria Elena netted a forehand. Ad Sania (SP). Maria Elena hit her first serve into the net, and in my notes it looks like she said "Dia"! She also netted her second serve for her third double fault of the game, and smacked the court with her racket. Sania won the first set 6-3 at 17:17 (39m).


Second set
----------
MIRZA _@* *@* * 6
CAMER @__*___*_ 3

Sania serving 0-0: Sania forehand very long. 0/15. Sania, running backwards, hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Maria Elena backhand return very long. 30/15. Sania backhand wide. 30/30. Maria Elena hit an off-backhand return-winner. 30/40 (BP). Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, inducing Maria Elena to hit a forehand long. Maria Elena complained. 40/40. Service-winner. Maria Elena complained again. Ad Sania. Double fault (second serve just long). Maria Elena netted a forehand return. Ad Sania. She hit a backhand long, and shouted "ah!" Deuce #2. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Maria Elena (BP). Sania hit an off-backhand volley onto the sideline, but it was slow enough to give Maria Elena a crosscourt forehand pass-winner for the first break of the set.

Maria Elena serving 1-0: Sania backhand just long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Sania sprayed a forehand return wide. 30/15. Sania forehand wide. 40/15. Sania hit an off-forehand winner behind Maria Elena. 40/30. Sania hit a good, deep backhand return down the line, forcing Maria Elena to net a forehand. Maria Elena shouted. 40/40. Maria Elena hit a backhand just long, and hit a ball in anger. Ad Sania (BP). Sania netted a backhand return. Deuce #2. Maria Elena forehand wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). A long rally with a loudspeaker-announcement ended with Sania netting a backhand. Deuce #3. Sania backhand return just long. Ad Maria Elena. She netted a forehand. Deuce #4. Sania backhand just wide. Ad Maria Elena. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). Deuce #5. Sania hit an error-forcing off-forehand after forcing a short ball from Maria Elena. Ad Sania (BP #3). Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner after Maria Elena stopped playing the point! She towelled down. Maria Elena seemed to be catching her toss a lot, just as she did against Daniela Hantuchová at Wimbledon 2006.

Sania serving 1-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Her first serve was almost another ace down the middle, but she netted the second to make it a double fault. 15/15. Sania hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Maria Elena's crosscourt forehand forced Sania to hit a forehand lob wide. 30/30. Maria Elena sprayed a forehand return wide. 40/30. Service-winner.

Maria Elena serving 1-2: Maria Elena backhand long. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand return. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Service-winner down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/30. Sania netted a forehand. 40/30. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 2-2: Forehand return just wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Maria Elena serving 2-3: Maria Elena netted a backhand. 0/15. Sania netted a backhand. 15/15. Sania forehand just long. 30/15. Sania netted a backhand. 40/15. Sania backhand winner down the line. 40/30. Double fault. Maria Elena shouted something long in Italian, and received a code-violation for "audible obscenity". The umpires are well-versed in the swearwords of different languages! 40/40. Sania played a spreading rally, culminating with a forehand winner down the line. Ad Sania (BP). Maria Elena hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner, and Sania screamed! Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand that forced Maria Elena to hit a forehand lob wide. Ad Sania (BP #2). Maria Elena played a great spreading rally with a crosscourt backhand winner, and Sania screamed again! Deuce #3. Double fault. Maria Elena kicked her racket away. Ad Sania. Sania hit a backhand that clipped the netcord and landed deep, inducing Maria Elena to net a forehand and put Sania a set and a break up.

Sania serving 4-2: Sania backhand just long. 0/15. Maria Elena netted a forehand return. 15/15. Maria Elena blasted a forehand return very long. 30/15. A high ball from Maria Elena induced Sania to hit a forehand just long. 30/30. Sania backhand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria Elena, driven wide, netted a forehand. 40/40. A long rally ended with Maria Elena netting a backhand. Ad Sania. She netted a backhand. Deuce #2. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Ad Sania. Maria Elena on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long.

Maria Elena serving 2-5 (new balls): Maria Elena banged the netpost with her racket on her way out from the changeover, but channelled her anger into a blazing off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Sania forehand wide. 30/0. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand winner of flairsome power. 30/15. Sania exposed herself at the net, but Maria Elena hit a forehand pass wide. 30/30. Maria Elena netted a forehand on the third stroke. 30/40 (MP #1). Maria Elena saved it positively, forcing a short ball from Sania to hit an off-forehand winner. 40/40. A low ball induced Maria Elena to hit a backhand long. Ad Sania (MP #2). Sania netted a forehand return and screamed! Deuce #2. Off a high, deep ball from Sania, Maria Elena hit a blazing forehand winner down Sania's forehand-line. Ad Maria Elena. Sania backhand return very long.

Sania serving for the match at 5-3: Sania forced a deep defensive lob from Maria Elena, and hit a forehand winner down Maria Elena's forehand line. 15/0. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand winner on the third stroke. 30/0. Sania hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Maria Elena to earth a forehand. 40/0 (MP #3). Sania went for an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. She hit her second serve long for a double fault. 40/15 (MP #4). A brief rally ended with Sania hitting a down-the-line forehand winner of flairsome power. Sania won 6-3 6-3 at 18:07 (second set 50m, match 1h29m), then hit some autographed balls into the stands.


http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=1427
>>>
One of the WTA Tour's most popular players, Sania Mirza, was also in first-round action on Monday. The Indian No.1 is on the comeback-trail after a right-knee ligament injury sidelined her for two months, and with Wimbledon less than two weeks away, the 20-year-old was in typically buoyant mood after her 6-3 6-3 victory over Maria Elena Camerin.

Mirza: "It was a difficult first-round match, so I'm very pleased to come through with a win, and although I don't think I was at my best throughout, I played the important points well. There's always some anxiety when you play your first match on the grass, but as the match progressed, I started to read the bounce and time my shots a lot better."
<<<

-----------------------------------
3. Second round: Mirza v Santangelo (Wednesday 13th June 2007)
-----------------------------------

- Sania Mirza [DF] lt. MARA SANTANGELO [8], 3-6 6-3 6-7 (6/8)

The match was played on Court 1, and started at 11:05 BST. Court 1 provides the most intimate view of all the match-courts at Birmingham, as it is possible for spectators to sit just behind the player's chairs (at a discreet distance, of course!).

This match was attended by a vocal group of Italians cheering for Santangelo, and a vocal group of Indians cheering for Sania. It was the first time I'd ever heard the word "forza" spoken by an Italian (both by Santangelo and her supporters), but the Indians were simply saying "go Sania".

Santangelo played very well - I'm not surprised she went on to reach the semis. She was coming to the net a lot, and volleying like a pro. She was a far cry from the 27th seed at the Australian Open who lost so tamely to Serena Williams in the first round.

Santangelo is objectively quite attractive, with a nice, slender body and sparkling eyes, but I can't really warm to her, because she's not my facial type. Sania is cuter, and has flairsome power on her groundstrokes.

As a demi-fan of Sania, I watched this match from the start to *1-2 in the third set, when Maria Sharapova's match was called onto Centre Court and I had to leave.


First set
---------
MIRZA _*___* *_ 3
SANTA * *@* * * 6

Santangelo serving 0-0: Double fault (second-serve foot-fault). 0/15. Santangelo forehand long. 0/30. Sania forehand wide. 15/30. Backhand return long. 30/30. Santangelo netted a backhand on the third stroke. 30/40 (BP). Backhand return long. 40/40. Forehand return long. Ad Santangelo. Double fault. Deuce #2. Santangelo hit a low-bouncing crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Santangelo. She held.

Sania serving 0-1: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Backhand return wide. 30/0. And again. 40/0. Ace out wide.

Santangelo serving 1-1: Crosscourt forehand return-winner. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Sania forced Santangelo into error with a dipping backhand pass down the line to Santangelo's feet. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Backhand return long.

Sania serving 1-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. Sania netted a forehand. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Sania backhand wide. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner. 40/40. Sania netted a backhand. Ad Santangelo (BP). Sania went for a crosscourt forehand winner, but it was just wide, giving Santangelo the first break.

Santangelo serving 3-1: Santangelo came to the net, forcing Sania to hit a backhand long. 15/0. Sania forehand lob long. 30/0. Santangelo dropshot + high forehand volley-winner. 40/0. Service-winner. 40/15. Service-winner.

Sania serving 1-4: Double fault. 0/15. Backhand return long. 15/15. Ace. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner.

Santangelo serving 4-2: Santangelo high volley-winner. 15/0. Santangelo crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Ace out wide. 30/15. Sania hit a crosscourt forehand wide, and said, "No, no! Ay yay yay!" 40/15. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 2-5 (new balls): Backhand return long. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/15. Sania forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Wild return long.

Santangelo serving 5-3: Santangelo crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Santangelo backhand lob long. 15/15. A hard, deep ball from Sania forced Santangelo to hit a forehand lob wide. 15/30. A meaty rally ended with Santangelo hitting a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Forehand return just long. 40/30 (SP #1). Service-winner out wide. Santangelo won the first set 6-3 at 11:33 (28m).


Second set
----------
MIRZA *@__*@* * 6
SANTA __@*___*_ 3

Sania serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, off a weak ball from Sania. 15/15. Sania off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand winner and shouted "ah!" 40/15. Santangelo hit a short, fading crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Service-winner.

Santangelo serving 0-1: Santangelo forehand long. 0/15. Sania hit a crosscourt backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Santangelo to earth a backhand. 0/30. Sania crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Santangelo backhand winner down the line, just inside the baseline. 30/30. Sania backhand drop-volley winner. 30/40 (BP). Double fault (second serve long). Sania pumped her fist and said "c'mon".

Sania serving 2-0: Sania forehand long. 0/15. Sania netted a forehand. 0/30. A virtual ace out wide clipped the top edge of Santangelo's racket. 15/30. Sania lofted a forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Santangelo broke back with a backhand winner down the line.

Santangelo serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Ace. 15/15. Serve + backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Sania netcord forehand volley-winner - very lucky! 40/30. Sania lofted a forehand return just long.

Sania serving 2-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 40/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 40/15. Santangelo netted a sliced backhand.

The umpire spoke to a linesman about a ballgirl: "Give her a bit of tuition - she's not awake!"

Santangelo serving 2-3: Sania forehand lob long. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Serve + forehand smash, but Sania came up with a crosscourt forehand lob-winner into the corner, just inside the baseline! 30/15. Santangelo crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. 40/15. Sania hit a hard crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Sania forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Sania crosscourt forehand winner. Santangelo shouted "aah!" Ad Sania (BP). Sania broke with a backhand return-winner down the line which put a big smile on my face.

Sania serving 4-2: Sania backhand just long. 0/15. Sania forehand just long. 0/30. The first serve was a fault, but Santangelo mishit a lob-return which sailed out of Court 1 and hit me on the leg! But I decided not to press charges, even though I wanted Sania to win - no harm intended, no harm done. Second serve: Sania crosscourt backhand winner. 15/30. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 30/30. Santangelo netted a forehand volley. 40/30. Santangelo forehand very long.

Santangelo serving 2-5: Sania hit a forehand return halfway up the net. 15/0. Two service-winners. 40/0. Crosscourt forehand return-winner. 40/15. Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner.

Sania serving 5-3: Service-winner. 15/0. Santangelo forehand wide. 30/0. Sania's depth forced Santangelo to hit a backhand long. 40/0 (3 SPs). Santangelo came to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but Sania, on the defensive, hit an amazing netcord backhand pass-winner down the line! Sania won the second set 6-3 at 12:04 (second set 31m, match so far 59m).


Third set
---------
MIRZA _*
SANTA * *

Santangelo serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. A good serve forced a short return; Santangelo crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0. Sania netted a backhand return.

Sania serving 0-1: Santangelo hit a backhand volley long, and grimaced. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Santangelo netted a forehand return. 40/0. Sania netted a backhand on the third stroke. 40/15. Sania hit a forehand volley and retreated; Santangelo forehand volley-winner.

Santangelo serving 1-1: Sania forehand wide. 15/0. Santangelo netted a forehand volley. 15/15. Service-winner out wide: Sania netted a low forehand return. "Forza! Forza!" said Santangelo. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. And again.

Sania serving 1-2: "Would the following players please report to Centre Court ready for play: Maria Sharapova, Lilia Osterloh." These words sent me dashing from Court 1 immediately! ;-)

Santangelo won 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8/6).


Articles
--------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=1433
>>>
Undoubtedly the most exciting match of the day was the three-set thriller between No.8 seed Mara Santangelo and Indian star Sania Mirza. Italy's Santangelo started the match in confident fashion, and with Mirza struggling to deal with her aggressive tennis, it was no surprise when she wrapped up the opening set in under half an hour.

Mirza hit back to take the second set, and when she moved 5-3 ahead in the decider, her place in the third round looked all but assured. However, Santangelo showed tremendous character to fend off two match-points, before edging a tense tiebreak to win an absorbing encounter, 6-3 3-6 7-6(6).
<<<

http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/News/070613Stars.htm
>>>
Out on Court One, No.8 seed Mara Santangelo of Italy survived a scare to defeat Sania Mirza of India 6-3 3-6 7-6(6).

Looking confident off the back of her women's-doubles title at the French Open last week (with Alicia Molik), Santangelo made a strong start to the match, racing to a 4-1 lead courtesy of some erratic serving by Mirza.

The pair exchanged service-breaks in the first four games of the second set, but the Indian rallied with the set squared at 2-2, taking three games in a row and serving out the set to love.

Mirza looked the likely winner midway through the third set, taking a break in the seventh game, then holding serve to lead 5-3. But the more highly-ranked Santangelo fought back, levelling things at 5-5 after a long deuce-game.

The set went to a tense tiebreak that went with serve until the fourteenth point, when Santangelo claimed the mini-break and the match, 8/6 in the tiebreak.
<<<

----------
4. Doubles
----------
4.1 First round
---------------

- (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/SANIA MIRZA [DF])[4] lt. Sun,Tiantian/Meilen Tu, walkover

There were walkovers left, right and centre in the doubles-event, as rain prevented much play on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, leaving the tournament with a huge backlog in both singles and doubles. The organisers wanted to use the indoor-courts, but none of the players had the appropriate footwear.

Daniela pulled out of the doubles on Saturday evening, following the suspension of her singles quarter-final. It's a shame I didn't get to see her play with Sania - another player with groundstrokes of flairsome power!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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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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