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Old Aug 8th, 2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos (Monday to Sunday)

Quick links (they open in new windows):===========
DFS CLASSIC (Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; grass; WTA Tier III)
=========== http://birmingham.lta.org.uk/
Contents
--------

1. My photos
2. First-round results
3. General impressions
4. Practice: Vaidišová v Krajíček
5. First round: Olaru v Poutchek
6. First round: Shvedova v Amanmuradova
7. First round: Rezaď v Elliott
8. First round: O'Brien v Kudryavtseva
9. First round: Niculescu v Tanasugarn
10. First-round doubles: Brémond/Ruano Pascual v Bondarenko x 2
11. Article

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Monday 9th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5131504-de1

Monday's players:

Ioana Raluca Olaru (28)
Alyona Bondarenko (18)
Kateryna Bondarenko (18)
Yaroslava Shvedova (14)
Nicole Vaidišová (13)
Séverine Brémond (13)
Virginia Ruano Pascual (13)
Aravane Rezaď (12)
Katie O'Brien (10)
Monica Niculescu (7)
Yanina Wickmayer (6)
Sunitha Rao (6)
Michaëlla Krajíček (4)
Tatiana Poutchek (3)
Amanda Elliott (3)
MC Vicki Stone (3)
Sabine Lisicki (2)
Alla Kudryavtseva (2)
Akgul Amanmuradova (2)
umpire Eva Asderaki (2)
Petra Kvitová (1)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (1)
Angelique Kerber? (1)

----------------------
2. First-round results (Monday 9th June)
----------------------

What rocked:
+ Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] d. AKGUL AMANMURADOVA [10], 6-3 6-1
+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [13] d. Amanda Elliott [Q], 6-3 2-6 7-6 (8/6)
+ AIKO NAKAMURA [17,S] d. Tzipora Obziler, 7-5 6-3
+ Katie O'Brien d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-0 3-6 7-6 (7/2)

Little did I realise Kudryavtseva would go on to upset Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon! :-o

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Sorana Cîrstea d. Ayumi Morita [s], 6-2 6-0

Unfortunately I missed Aiko, Olga, Sorana and Ayumi, as they were first up and I arrived an hour and a half after the start of play.

What sucked:
- Ioana Raluca Olaru lt. Tatiana Poutchek [Q], 0-6 6-7 (6/8)
- Monica Niculescu [s] lt. Tamarine Tanasugarn, 3-6 4-6
- Olga Puchkova lt. Angelique Kerber, 4-6 3-6

At least Olga did better than she did at Birmingham 2007, when she lost 6-0 6-0 in the first round - also to Kerber.

----------------------
3. General impressions
----------------------

Birmingham was a much lesser event this year, with the field weakened by numerous withdrawals (those of Vera Zvonarëva and Tatiana Golovin being particularly disappointing to me) and the non-entries of Maria Sharapova (who had played here every year from 2003 to 2007), Daniela Hantuchová and Anna Chakvetadze. So I had to make do with a slumping Nicole Vaidišová as my only Eternal Fanship interest.

The players that I watched on Monday were journeywomen, and those that did show their emotions didn't appear to enjoy playing tennis at all: often chewing on wasps, muttering, and throwing their rackets. I guess that's what separates the top players from the journeywomen. These are the kinds of players that raised their levels to give the top seeds such tough matches in the first round of the French Open, but now that they're back to the drudgery of playing fellow journeywomen on outside courts of ITF $25k quality, they look like they'd be happier working in offices than leading the privileged lives of tennis-pros.

The grounds were busier on Monday than I can ever remember: it was hard to find suitable places to sit by the outside courts. It was also extremely hot on Monday (by English standards).

The venue has deteriorated a bit as well: the ice-cream van has now been replaced by an ambulance (possibly in reaction to the terrible accident on the last day of Birmingham 2007, when a woman fell down some steps on Centre Court and sustained serious injuries), and the convenient walkway behind the food-tent to Court 4 is now out of bounds.

It's a shame. I used to love this tournament, but in all probability, it no longer be held at Birmingham after 2009, and this year's weak field has certainly weakened Birmingham's grip on the DFS Classic.

---------------------------------
4. Practice: Vaidišová v Krajíček
---------------------------------

After watching a match on an outside-court, I went to the practice-courts thinking how nice it would be to see Nicole Vaidišová there: my favourite player at Birmingham 2008.

So when Nicole was the first player I spotted as I approached the practice-courts, I couldn't believe it was her at first! I thought perhaps I was just seeing what I wanted to see, and she looked so small... but that was just because she was so far away until I got there.

Nicole was hitting with another blonde girl on the nearest practice-court, so I immediately sat down by Nicole's end of the court, whipped out my camera and started taking photos.

Nicole was with her new coach David Felgate, and while she looked pretty much the same as in 2007, her grunt was now a low bellow like Daniela Hantuchová's.

This went on for about five minutes, then Nicole went to the net and shook hands with the other girl: it was only then that I realised she was Michaëlla Krajíček, and that they must have been playing a practice-set (previous clues being Michaëlla throwing her racket, and the fact that Nicole was grunting).

Nicole had lost 6 matches in a row going into Birmingham, and Michaëlla was in an even worse slump, having lost 12 matches in a row dating back to October 2007. Later in the week, I would have the very great pleasures of watching them both snap their losing-streaks - I guess this practice-match must have done them both good!

I took some more photos of Nicole and Michaëlla as they packed up; Nicole signed some autographs as she left the practice-court and strode off towards the players' enclosure.

--------------------------------
5. First round: Olaru v Poutchek
--------------------------------

- Ioana Raluca Olaru lt. Tatiana Poutchek [Q], 0-6 6-7 (6/8)

This was the most intriguing match of the day for me, as both players showed tons of emotion, and Olaru is cute and slim.

I started paying attention at the beginning of the second set. Poutchek was doing a lot of muttering, even in the first game of the second set, having won the first 6-0. Olaru broke, and came through a game of endless deuces to hold for 2-0.

The Bondarenko-sisters were watching this match from the adjacent court (separated only by a fence) as they waited for their doubles-opponents to arrive. It was quite amusing to watch their heads turning left and right as they watched the rallies.

Olaru continued to lead the second set until 5-3*. Poutchek actually burst into tears in that game, sobbing noisily!

Olaru hit what looked like a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline... but a few seconds later, she was standing with her hands on her hips (I love that pose), talking to the umpire: "You're joking - be honest."

Olaru served for the second set at 5-4, but when she lost that game, she yelled out something in a very emotional tone of voice, and banged the court with her racket.

Poutchek screamed when Olaru hit a forehand smash-winner at *5-6 (40/40), and there was some more emotional yelling from Olaru at *2/4 in the tiebreak, but she hit a forehand smash-winner. 3/4*. Olaru forehand winner down the line. 4/4*... 5/4. Poutchek hit a forehand long, and threw her racket. *6/4 (Olaru SP #1). Olaru hit a forehand volley wide, and yelled. 6/5* (Olaru SP #2). Olaru forehand wide. 6/6*. Olaru forehand return long. *6/7 (Poutchek MP #1). Poutchek hit one forehand smash that I was surprised to see Olaru retrieve with a defensive lob... only to be dispatched by Poutchek with a forehand smash-winner.

---------------------------------------
6. First round: Shvedova v Amanmuradova
---------------------------------------

+ Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] d. AKGUL AMANMURADOVA [10], 6-3 6-1

I couldn't see as much of this match as I would have liked, because it was on Court 2, which is terrible for getting a good vantage-point, although I did get some nice close-ups of the beautiful winner as she came off court (this was before my hotel-encounter with Yaroslava - I'll tell that story in a later report).

From what I could see, Amanmuradova is a very tall, manly player who serves out of a tree, but she was outclassed by Shvedova: for example, I remember one point in which Shvedova pulled Amanmuradova outside the tramlines with an acute-angled crosscourt forehand, then hit a crosscourt sliced backhand that Amanmuradova could only poke into the net. In another point, Shvedova actually managed to get a lob-winner over Amanmuradova's head!

-------------------------------
7. First round: Rezaď v Elliott
-------------------------------

+ ARAVANE REZAĎ [13] d. Amanda Elliott [Q], 6-3 2-6 7-6 (8/6)

This was the first match I watched (being in progress upon my arrival), and I didn't think much of it, to be honest, as the way they were hitting the ball was so laboured - making the ball seem thicker and heavier than usual.

Aravane hit some big crosscourt forehands, but she was a far cry from the 'Razor Rezaď' that beat Ai Sugiyama at the French Open 2006 with lovely smiles and a Seles-like backhand.

Amanda Elliott is a big, muscular girl who looks a lot like Anna-Lena Grönefeld. Aravane couldn't put any pressure on her serve in the third set, and had to save a match-point at 5/6 in the tiebreak before Elliott became the latest Heroic British Failure.

--------------------------------------
8. First round: O'Brien v Kudryavtseva
--------------------------------------

+ Katie O'Brien d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-0 3-6 7-6 (7/2)

In my only visit of the day to Centre Court, I caught the end of this match from *5-6 in the third. The first thing I heard as I queued to come on at the changeover was a series of loud, long grunts from Katie.

It seemed that the key element of Katie's game-plan was her sliced backhand, which kept very low on the grass, and Kudryavtseva couldn't handle it.

At one point, Kudryavtseva yelled out something about a lineswoman that sounded like, "She's sitting in the shade without her glasses."

Third-set tiebreak: 4/1. Katie had the initiative, but hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 4/2. Kudryavtseva backhand wide. 5/2. Kudryavtseva forehand wide. 6/2 (MP #1). Kudryavtseva played a dropshot, but Katie replied with a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner.

In her on-court interview, Katie said, "I love this time of year," but the interview ended with an embarrassing blunder when the MC, Vicki Stone, said, "Ladies and gentlemen: Naomi Cavaday... sorry - Katie O'Brien."

--------------------------------------
9. First round: Niculescu v Tanasugarn
--------------------------------------

- Monica Niculescu [s] lt. Tamarine Tanasugarn, 3-6 4-6

It's always interesting to see what Niculescu will do on a tennis-court, as she is the female Fabrice Santoro: two-handed both sides, and plays a lot of sliced forehands. When she played Jelena Janković at the French Open, she made a big impression with her dropshots.

This time, volleying was a big part of Niculescu's game-plan - especially behind her first serve.

Niculescu didn't appear to enjoy this match at all: she looked like she was chewing on wasps, and on one occasion she held her racket above her head, seemed to think better of throwing it to the ground, but then threw it anyway. On another occasion, she received a code-violation for something I didn't see. At the end, her face was screwed up as though she were eating a lemon, and when she sat down after shaking hands, her face was red with apparent tears.

---------------------------------------------------------------
10. First-round doubles: Brémond/Ruano Pascual v Bondarenko x 2
---------------------------------------------------------------

+ Séverine Brémond/Virginia Ruano Pascual d. (ALYONA BONDARENKO/KATERYNA BONDARENKO)[2], 6-4 6-4

I arrived at Court 2 just in time to see Séverine serving for the match at 6-4 *5-4. Her face is as beautiful as ever, but I'm not keen on the haircut or outfit she was wearing.

I'm very tempted to say that Alyona was the most attractive player I saw on Monday. She too has a beautiful face; a nice, voluptuous figure; and her long, blonde ponytail is a work of art.

The Bondarenko-sisters won the Australian Open, but Mr. Bean said the draw must have been fixed that they had to play such a high-quality team in the first round - "unseeded my a***!"

-----------
11. Article
-----------

Craybas, Amanmuradova lose at DFS Classic (AP)
>>>
Tenth-seeded Akgul Amanmuradova and 14th-seeded Jill Craybas both lost on Monday at the DFS Classic: a grass-court Wimbledon-warmup.

Uzbekistan's Amanmuradova was beaten by Russian qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-1. American Craybas lost 6-0 6-4 to Naomi Cavaday: a hard-hitting 19-year-old British wild card.

Britain's 18-year-old Amanda Elliott was unable to convert her one match-point against 13th-seeded Aravane Rezaď. The Frenchwoman recovered to win 6-3 2-6 7-6 (8/6).

The tournament has been hit by high-profile withdrawals. Maria Sharapova decided not to play due to a persistent shoulder-problem, and defending champion Jelena Janković (arm) and French Open runner-up Dinara Safina (back) also withdrew.

Janković beat Sharapova in last year's final. This time, the 10th-ranked Marion Bartoli — last year's Wimbledon-finalist — is the top seed ahead of Nicole Vaidišová of the Czech Republic.

"It was hard for them [Janković and Safina] to come here after going so far in the French Open. But I am top seed and I expect myself to win the tournament," Bartoli said. "And to get my rhythm before Wimbledon."

Bartoli opens on Wednesday against either Yuan,Meng - who is pushing to become the fourth Chinese player in the top 100 - or Petra Cetkovská of the Czech Republic.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
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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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Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Tuesday

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

1. My photos
2. First-round results
3. Second-round results
4. Practice: Vaidišová v Wickmayer
5. First round: Lisicki v Stosur
6. Second round: Krajíček v Poutchek

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Tuesday 10th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5229165-ae6

Tuesday's players:

Nicole Vaidišová (67)
Sabine Lisicki (44)
Marta Domachowska (28)
Michaëlla Krajíček (22)
Séverine Brémond (34)
Marina Eraković (25)
Stéphanie Dubois (10)
Yanina Wickmayer (8)
coach David Felgate (8)
Ekaterina Makarova (6)
Angelique Kerber (6)
Nathalie Dechy (3)
Tatiana Poutchek (3)
Margit Rüütel (2)
Julie Ditty (1)
Marion Bartoli (1)
Samantha Stosur (1)
MC Vicki Stone (1)

Gotta love the dirty look that Dechy gives Brémond in Photo 088!

----------------------
2. First-round results (Tuesday 10th June)
----------------------

What rocked:
+ Marta Domachowska d. Margit Rüütel [Q], 6-4 6-4
+ Marina Eraković d. Stéphanie Dubois, 6-4 6-4
+ Virginia Ruano Pascual d. Milagros Sequera, 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-1
+ Petra Cetkovská d. Yuan,Meng, 6-2 6-1

What sucked:
- Sabine Lisicki lt. Samantha Stosur [Q], 3-6 4-6
- Séverine Brémond lt. Nathalie Dechy, 5-7 2-6

I remember just one point from Brémond v Dechy: with Dechy one point away from her *5-2 lead in the second, she came to the net and let a Brémond pass get behind her, but somehow dug it out with a shot so short that Brémond netted a forehand volley!

-----------------------
3. Second-round results (Tuesday 10th June)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ MICHAËLLA KRAJÍČEK [8,DF] d. Tatiana Poutchek [Q], 6-2 6-1

What sucked:
- TAMIRA PASZEK [9] lt. Tamarine Tanasugarn, 1-6 0-6
- ARAVANE REZAĎ [13] lt. Bethanie Mattek, 1-6 4-6

----------------------------------
4. Practice: Vaidišová v Wickmayer
----------------------------------

At about 12:50 BST, I saw Nicole Vaidišová walking towards Court 1, where Nathalie Dechy and Séverine Brémond were playing for the honour of becoming Nicole's second-round opponent.

Nicole looked stunning in tight pink shorts and a white, sleeveless top, and I thought she was going to stop and watch the match on Court 1, but by the time I got my camera out, she had disappeared.

However, Nicole reappeared a few minutes later (at 12:57, to be precise). I followed her to the practice-courts, and watched her entire half-hour practice-session with Yanina Wickmayer (who would go on to reach the final).

Nicole and Yanina hit a long series of groundstrokes, and then practised with one of them at the baseline and the other at the net hitting volleys and overheads. Then they practised serving and returning each other's serves, and finally Nicole played a service-game against Wickmayer, in which Nicole hit a backhand pass-winner down the line.

Nicole looked happy in her practice-session, but as Iveta Benešová remarked after beating Nicole at the French Open, "She's happy because she's in love."

Is it love or is it what?
Who's this guy I'm gonna blow away?
What kind of love is he giving you?
I'm a-dizzy's what I'm trying to say
[David Bowie, "Too Dizzy"]

After this practice-session, I followed Nicole back to Court 1, and she sat at the top of the hill to watch Dechy v Brémond. She was with this shorter, older blonde lady whom I presume to be her mother Riana - obviously Nicole didn't inherit her height from her! ;-) But they left before the end of the match.

--------------------------------
5. First round: Lisicki v Stosur
--------------------------------

- Sabine Lisicki lt. Samantha Stosur [Q], 3-6 4-6

18-year-old Sabine Lisicki has been the revelation in women's tennis this year, going from a player I'd barely even heard of to being described by BBC-commentator Sam Smith as "the future of women's tennis". Nick Bollettieri - whose academy she attends - also speaks highly of her, but says she has a tendency to overhit.

This was my first time to see Lisicki play, and despite the loss, I was impressed. She has a big serve and a big backhand, not to mention a pretty face with striking eyes (if rather stocky legs). I foresee a great future for her.

But Lisicki, who hadn't played on grass at WTA Tour level before, was up against a grass-court expert in Samantha Stosur: one of the few serve-and-volleyers left in women's tennis. Stosur was wearing her trademark sunglasses, which is a shame because she has beautiful eyes.

Lisicki was impressive from the very first point of the match, but it was Stosur who broke first, winning the first set on the strength of that break (despite Lisicki holding her last two service-games to love with very impressive serving).

By the end of the first set, Lisicki was having some success with low, dipping passes to Stosur's feet, but at the start of the second set, Lisicki was erratic and ineffective (no more dipping passes), and Stosur played very well as she raced to a 4-0 lead.

But then Stosur went off the boil, and Lisicki staged a terrific fightback, showing more of the brilliance of which I saw glimpses in the first set. Stosur was lucky that she managed to serve it out at 5-4, because Lisicki had the momentum (she won a very quick service-game at 3-5), and the tide was definitely threatening to turn in her favour.


First set
---------

LISICK _*___* *_ 3
STOSUR * *@* * * 6

The match was third on Court 1, and started at 14:35 BST.

Stosur serving 0-0: Lisicki made a thunderous start with a backhand return-winner down the line! 0/15. Stosur netted a backhand. 0/30. Ace out wide. 15/30. Lisicki struck again with a forehand return-winner down the line. 15/40 (BP). Service-winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Backhand return very long. 40/40. Double fault (second serve long). Ad Lisicki (BP #3). Backhand return long. Deuce #2. Sliced backhand lob-return just wide. Ad Stosur. Service-winner.

Lisicki serving 0-1: Big serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Another big serve, and Stosur netted a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Ace out wide. 40/0. Serve + backhand dropshot-winner.

Stosur serving 1-1: Service-winner (Lisicki mishit a forehand return that flew off her racket backwards). 15/0. Stosur forehand just long. 15/15. Lisicki forehand wide. 30/15. Stosur forehand volley-winner. 40/15. Stosur long. 40/30. Lisicki forehand pass-winner down the line. 40/40. Backhand return long. Ad Stosur. Lisicki forehand long.

Lisicki serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve long). 0/15. Lisicki netted a forehand. 0/30. Service-winner. 15/30. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/30. Stosur hit a sliced backhand very low over the net, forcing Lisicki into error. 30/40. Double fault (second serve just long).

Lisicki looked the more impressive player early on, but it's first blood to Stosur.

Stosur serving 3-1: Lisicki found tremendous depth, hit an error-forcing forehand down the line, and said "c'mon". 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Serve + deep error-forcing forehand volley. 30/15. Serve forced a short lob, which Stosur dispatched with a forehand smash-winner. 40/15. Stosur worked her way to the net, and hit a backhand volley-winner.

Lisicki serving 1-4: Lisicki came to the net on a dropshot from Stosur, and hit a forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Stosur netted a forehand. 30/0. Low-bouncing service-winner out wide. 40/0. Ace down the middle.

Stosur serving 4-2: Serve + forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Stosur served & volleyed, but Lisicki hit a lob-winner. 15/15. Stosur forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Backhand return wide. 40/15. Service-winner.

Lisicki serving 2-5: Ace out wide. 15/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Stosur serving 5-3: Lisicki forehand lob long. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Lisicki hit an error-forcing forehand return low over the net at Stosur's feet. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15 (SP). Another hard return at Stosur's feet forced her to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (SP #2). Stosur hit a forehand smash-winner to win the first set 6-3 at 15:04 (29m).


Second set
----------
LISICK ____*@* *_ 4
STOSUR @*@*___* * 6

Lisicki serving 0-0: Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/0. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Stosur hit a deep, error-forcing return. 15/30. Lisicki worked her way to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Lisicki on the third stroke netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Service-winner out wide. 40/40. Lisicki on the third stroke netted a backhand. Ad Stosur. Lisicki forehand wide.

Stosur serving 1-0: Lisicki held her hand up for a long time, then her forehand return forced Stosur to net a backhand. 0/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Lisicki backhand return wide. 30/30. Stosur forced Lisicki to hit a lob long. 40/30. Service-winner.

Lisicki serving 0-2: Lisicki crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Double fault (second serve long). 0/30. Lisicki forehand long. 0/40. Stosur netted a sliced backhand. 15/40. Service-winner out wide. 30/40. Lisicki's backhand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side.

Stosur serving 3-0: Stosur forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Lisicki hit a forehand thirdway up the net. 30/0. Lisicki, driven wide, netted a backhand. 40/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/15. A netcord from Lisicki helped Stosur to hit a forehand volley-winner.

Lisicki serving 0-4: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Serve & volley: Lisicki hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Stosur into error. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Lisicki hit an off-backhand pass-winner.

Stosur serving 4-1: Double fault (second serve long). 0/15. Stosur forehand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Serve + forehand volley just long. 15/30. Lisicki crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/40. Lisicki hit a dipping backhand return at Stosur's feet, forcing her into error.

Lisicki serving 2-4: Lisicki forced Stosur to hit a lob, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve wide). 15/15. Stosur hit an error-forcing down-the-line forehand return. 15/30. Stosur netted a forehand. 30/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Stosur. 40/30. Stosur forehand return-winner down the line. 40/40. Service-winner. Ad Lisicki. Stosur forced a short ball from Lisicki, and had the court open in front of her... but hit a forehand long.

Stosur serving 4-3: Lisicki forehand return just wide. 15/0. Lisicki's dipping pass forced a weak volley from Stosur, giving Lisicki a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Lisicki dumped a backhand return into the net. 40/15. Lisicki went for a big forehand return, but it was long.

Lisicki seemed to be standing further back to receive serve than usual in that game.

Lisicki serving 3-5: Lisicki hit two quick aces that I literally didn't see. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Now Stosur is back serving almost immediately - this time for the match! I actually think this could be Stosur's last chance to win the match, given the form Lisicki has found since 0-4.

Stosur serving 5-4: Service-winner (the incoming Stosur did well to leave Lisicki's return). 15/0. Two-tone grunting from Lisicki now, and she hit a forehand long. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (MP #1). A good backhand return forced Stosur to hit a forehand volley wide. 40/15 (MP #2). Stosur on the third stroke hit a forehand long. 40/30 (MP #3). Whoever wins this point will win the match... Stosur served & volleyed, forcing Lisicki to net a forehand pass. Stosur won 6-3 6-4 at 15:37 (second set 33m, match 1h02m).

Lisicki didn't look at all happy as she stalked off court and walked right past me.

------------------------------------
6. Second round: Krajíček v Poutchek
------------------------------------

+ MICHAËLLA KRAJÍČEK [8,DF] d. Tatiana Poutchek [Q], 6-2 6-1

Michaëlla came into this tournament on a 12-match losing-streak stretching back to October 2007, so I went into this match expecting it to continue, and wondering what she was doing wrong.

Well, Michaëlla hardly did anything wrong in this match, and it was hard to believe she was on such a losing-streak, as she looked just as impressive as she did at Wimbledon 2007, when she reached the quarter-finals and made a demi-fan of me!

Grass is Michaëlla's best surface, as she has a big serve, and flat groundstrokes of flairsome power. She won 's-Hertogenbosch in 2006, and I thought that might be the tournament to snap her losing-streak this year. But she did it one week earlier, much to my delight.

Admittedly Poutchek was a weak opponent, and it would be interesting to see what problems surfaced for Michaëlla against tougher opposition, but Michaëlla definitely won the match with very impressive tennis.


First set
---------
KRAJÍČEK _?@* *@* 6
POUTCHEK ?___*___ 2

The match was on Centre Court, and started around 15:30 BST. I missed the first three games of the match because I had chosen to stay on Court 1 for the end of Lisicki v Stosur.

Poutchek serving 1-1: Michaëlla broke Poutchek as I waited to come onto court at the changeover.

Michaëlla serving 2-1: A long rally ended with Poutchek hitting a forehand wide. 15/0. Poutchek hit a pinpoint sliced backhand down the line, forcing Michaëlla to hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. Michaëlla forehand wide. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner. I realise that the point-descriptions don't agree with the scores in that game, but without a video or a Pensieve, I am unable to pinpoint my mistake.

Poutchek serving 1-3: Michaëlla sliced backhand long. 15/0. Poutchek's depth forced Michaëlla to hit a forehand lob long. 30/0. Poutchek hit a crosscourt forehand winner off a weak bunted crosscourt forehand from Michaëlla. 40/0. Poutchek forehand dropshot-winner.

Michaëlla serving 3-2: Ace down the middle. 15/0. A long rally ended with Poutchek netting a forehand. 30/0. Poutchek hit a backhand long, and muttered as is her wont. 40/0. Michaëlla netted a forehand. 40/15. Serve + off-forehand winner back behind Poutchek.

Poutchek serving 2-4: Michaëlla hit an error-forcing high forehand volley. 0/15. Poutchek netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/30. Poutchek hit an off-backhand wide on the third stroke. 0/40. Poutchek netted a backhand on the third stroke.

Michaëlla serving 5-2: Michaëlla forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Michaëlla came to the net, forcing Poutchek to hit a forehand lob long. 30/0. Poutchek hit a backhand wide, and smacked the court with her racket. 40/0 (SP #1). Michaëlla on the third stroke hit a forehand wide. 40/15 (SP #2). A good serve forced a short return, which Michaëlla dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner.


Second set
----------
KRAJÍČEK _*@*@*@ 6
POUTCHEK *______ 1

Poutchek serving 0-0: Michaëlla ran down a dropshot but hit a forehand long. 15/0. With the wind rising, Poutchek hit a forehand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Poutchek hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, but Michaëlla was right there - I think she left it. 30/30. Michaëlla hit a forehand long, and reacted with a cute "ai". 40/30. Michaëlla forehand long.

Michaëlla serving 0-1: Ace out wide + "c'mon". 15/0. Michaëlla netted a sliced backhand. 15/15. Poutchek netted a forehand return. 30/15. Poutchek forced Michaëlla to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner + "c'mon". 40/30. Poutchek hit a backhand wide, swore loudly and threw her racket.

Poutchek serving 1-1: Michaëlla netted a forehand return. 15/0. Poutchek caught the outside edge of the sideline with an off-backhand winner. 30/0. Michaëlla hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline - my favourite shot of hers. 30/15. Poutchek netted a forehand. 30/30. Poutchek dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 30/40 (BP). A low bounce forced Michaëlla to net a forehand. 40/40. Michaëlla hit a backhand winner down Poutchek's backhand-sideline. Ad Michaëlla (BP #2). Poutchek spread Michaëlla, forcing her to net a backhand on the run. Deuce #2. Michaëlla's deep return forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long. Ad Michaëlla (BP #3). Poutchek backhand wide.

Michaëlla serving 2-1: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Michaëlla forced a defensive lob from Poutchek, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Forehand return long. 40/0. Michaëlla forced a short return, but netted a forehand. 40/15. Michaëlla ran down a dropshot, and her own dropshot forced Poutchek to net a backhand pass.

Poutchek serving 1-3: A low-bouncing serve forced Michaëlla to net a forehand return. 15/0. A long rally ended with Michaëlla at the net and Poutchek hitting a backhand pass wide. 15/15. Poutchek netted a backhand. 15/30. Michaëlla hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. 15/40 (BP). Forehand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). Backhand return long. 40/40. A long rally ended with Poutchek netting a forehand. Ad Michaëlla (BP #3). Poutchek dumped a backhand halfway up the net to hand the double break to Michaëlla.

Michaëlla serving 4-1: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. Michaëlla's deep forehand forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long; she muttered. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Michaëlla's deep forehand forced Poutchek to hit a forehand quarterway up the net. 40/15. Michaëlla ran down a dropshot, and her short-angled crosscourt forehand died away on Poutchek for a virtual winner.

Poutchek serving 1-5: Michaëlla hit a wild forehand wide. 15/0. A low bounce forced Poutchek to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Serve out wide + error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/15. Double fault (second serve *very* long). 30/30. Poutchek forehand long. 30/40 (MP #1). Michaëlla hit a crosscourt backhand + short crosscourt forehand, forcing Poutchek to hit a forehand wide. Michaëlla won 6-2 6-1 to snap her losing-streak at 16:35 BST, and there was a big smile on her face as she waited to shake hands on her first win of 2008.


Article
-------

Krajíček Wins First Match Of Season at Birmingham
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2328
>>>
Some struggled and some rose from the ashes on a mixed day for the seeds at the DFS Classic on Tuesday. The first round came to an end, and the second round kicked off at the Tier III grass-court tournament.

The last 10 first-round matches were all on the day's schedule and of three seeds, two advanced. No.11 seed Casey Dell'Acqua, coming off two of the best weeks of her career at Roland Garros, beat Julie Ditty in her opener, 7-6(5) 6-2, and No.12 seed Kateryna Bondarenko defeated Anne Keothavong, 6-3 6-2. But the No.16 seed, Anastasia Rodionova, fell quietly to Camille Pin: 7-5 7-6(2). The other first-round winners were Petra Cetkovská, Marta Domachowska, Virginia Ruano Pascual, Marina Eraković, Nathalie Dechy, Samantha Stosur and Melinda Czink. Czink, a lucky loser into the draw, was down double set-point at 5-6 in the second set to Vania King, but managed to close it out 6-2 7-6(4).

The first five second-round matches were also played, with the most shocking result being British wildcard Melanie South's 6-3 7-5 win over of No.4-seeded Sybille Bammer; it wasn't her biggest career-win, however, following her win over top-20 player Francesca Schiavone at Wimbledon two years ago. Two more seeds were sent home as No.9 seed Tamira Paszek lost to Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-1 6-0, and No.13 seed Aravane Rezaď was dismissed by Bethanie Mattek 6-1 6-4.

No.8 seed Michaëlla Krajíček beat qualifier Tatiana Poutchek 6-2 6-1, while No.15 seed Ekaterina Makarova outlasted Angelique Kerber 6-7(3) 7-5 7-5.

Krajíček's win was her first of the 2008 WTA Tour season. She was 0:10 coming into Birmingham, but in just under an hour - and by winning 90% of first-serve points - she cruised to victory on a surface she is very comfortable on.

"Of course this is awesome," said Krajíček, who was a quarter-finalist last year at Wimbledon, and has a grass-court title to her name. "I've had some tight matches over the last few months, where I was ahead but just couldn't close them out. I was also injured, which didn't help. But in today's match, I served great and focused really hard from start to finish, and everything went the way I wanted. Grass suits my game as well, so that helped."

That losing-streak has hurt the Dutch teenager's ranking: having débuted in the top 30 in February, she just dropped out of the top 50 this week. But a change in surface and the pay-off from her hard work gives her hope.

"I've been working really hard, and I think I'm back on track now," Krajíček continued. "I thought it would pay off in Paris but it didn't, so I'm happy now. I'm just going to enjoy this today - it was really important for me."

Four more first-round doubles-matches took the court. Among those in action were the top seeds and co-world No.1s - Cara Black and Liezel Huber - who had a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 win over Japanese duo Ayumi Morita and Aiko Nakamura.
<<<

It's sad to see that Michaëlla hasn't played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon - due to a knee-injury - and is now languishing at #135 in the rankings, having been high enough to be seeded at Birmingham before her Wimbledon 2007 quarter-final points came off.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
__________________
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

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

1. My photos
2. Second-round results
3. Second round: Vaidišová v Dechy
4. Second round: Mirza v Eraković
5. Second round: Bartoli v Cetkovská
6. Second round: Shvedova v O'Brien
7. Articles

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Wednesday 11th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5232315-595

Wednesday's players:

Nicole Vaidišová (61)
Sania Mirza (30)
Yaroslava Shvedova (30)
Petra Cetkovská (28)
Marion Bartoli (21)
Katie O'Brien (16)
Sorana Cîrstea (14)
Marta Domachowska (13)
Marina Eraković (13)
Aiko Nakamura (10)
Michaëlla Krajíček (7)
Nathalie Dechy (6)
Ioana Raluca Olaru (4)
MC Vicki Stone (4)
Maria Sharapova poster (1)
Monica Niculescu (1)
Tatiana Poutchek (1)

-----------------------
2. Second-round results (Wednesday 11th June)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] d. Nathalie Dechy, 6-1 6-3

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [5] d. Virginia Ruano Pascual, 7-6 (7/4) 3-6 7-5
+ Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] d. Katie O'Brien, 7-5 1-6 7-5
+ AIKO NAKAMURA [17,S] d. Sorana Cîrstea, 6-4 4-6 6-4
- SANIA MIRZA [6,DF] lt. Marina Eraković, 3-6 0-6
- MARION BARTOLI [1,DF,S] lt. Petra Cetkovská, 7-5 4-6 0-6

I watched the first five games of Nakamura v Cîrstea on Court 2, but it was pretty boring to be honest, so I went to Centre Court to watch Shvedova v O'Brien instead (after having a brief look at Michaëlla Krajíček's doubles-match on Court 3: they're using the no-ad scoring-system for doubles this year).

What sucked:
- Marta Domachowska lt. Camille Pin, 4-6 2-6
- OLGA GOVORTSOVA [7] lt. Melinda Czink, 3-6 6-7 (6/8)

----------------------------------
3. Second round: Vaidišová v Dechy
----------------------------------

+ NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] d. Nathalie Dechy, 6-1 6-3

It seems that Michaëlla Krajíček and Nicole both benefitted from practising against each other on Monday! Michaëlla snapped a 12-match losing-streak on Tuesday, and Nicole snapped her 6-match losing-streak on Wednesday.

Dechy looked like a weak shadow of her former self, but Nicole looked very impressive as she overpowered the French veteran with her huge serves and forehands to win in just 51 minutes.

My full match-report, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, is at:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ten...ngham2008.html

---------------------------------
4. Second round: Mirza v Eraković
---------------------------------

- SANIA MIRZA [6,DF] lt. Marina Eraković, 3-6 0-6

This was Sania's first match since Indian Wells after right-wrist surgery in April, and she turned in an increasingly listless performance.

20-year-old Eraković, who won ITF Surbiton the previous week, deserved her victory. She has a big serve, and hit a lot of sliced backhands as well as two-handed backhands. She's a good-looking girl; I just wish she wouldn't wear a man's tennis-kit.

The match was second on Centre Court. Sania won the toss and elected to receive, and the match started at 13:29 BST.


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

Eraković serving 0-0: Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. 15/0. Eraković netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Sania netted a backhand return. 40/15. Sania netted a backhand.

Sania serving 0-1: It was windy. Eraković hit a wild forehand very wide. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Sania forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Eraković netted a forehand.

Eraković serving 1-1: Sania forehand return long. 15/0. Eraković off-forehand winner. 30/0. Forehand return long. 40/0. Backhand return long.

Sania serving 1-2: Sania netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/15. Sania hit two forehands long. 0/40. Eraković forehand wide. 15/40. Eraković tried a backhand dropshot, but Sania ran it down and hit a forehand winner down the line. 30/40. Sania netted a backhand.

Eraković serving 3-1: Service-winner out wide. 0/15. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner back behind Sania: just inside the sideline. 15/15. Eraković played a great spreading rally, hitting both sidelines with consecutive shots(!) to force Sania into netting a forehand. 30/15. Forehand return long. 40/15. Service-winner down the middle.

Sania serving 1-4: Sania spread Eraković, forcing her to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Eraković hit a deep forehand winner just inside the baseline. 30/15. Eraković forehand long. 40/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner.

Eraković serving 4-2: Sania backhand long. 15/0. Ace down the middle as three geese flew over Centre Court. 30/0. Forehand return wide. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Sania serving 2-5: Sania backhand long. 0/15. Eraković off-forehand wide. 15/15. Eraković netted a sliced backhand. 30/15. Sania forehand long. 30/30. Forehand return long. 40/30. With Eraković mixing sliced and two-handed backhands, Sania netted a forehand. 40/40. Eraković went for a down-the-line forehand winner, but it was wide. Ad Sania. Eraković netted a backhand return.

Eraković serving 5-3: Eraković netted a sliced backhand off a deep, low ball. 0/15. Sania's return forced a short ball, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 0/30. Sania netted a cheap backhand return. 15/30. Sania forehand return wide. 30/30. Service-winner down the middle. 40/30. Serve + off-forehand winner. Eraković won the first set 6-3 at 13:57 (28m).

Sania called for her coach at the set-break. I don't know what he said, but Sania would have done well to keep the ball in play rather than going for so much in that last game, as is her wont. If your young, inexperienced opponent is serving for the set, make her play the ball - give her a chance to get nervous.

(I must admit I thought Eraković was only 18 when I watched her at Birmingham; I got quite a shock when I checked and realised that she's 20 already!)


Second set
----------
MIRZA ______ 0
ERAKO @*@*@* 6

Sania serving 0-0: Sania forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Eraković hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Sania to earth a forehand lob. 15/15. Eraković's forehand down the line forced Sania to hit a forehand wide. 15/30. Eraković crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40. Serve + forehand winner down Eraković's forehand-sideline. 30/40. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Eraković to net a forehand. 40/40. Eraković's off-forehand forced Sania to net a backhand. Ad Eraković. Her deep return forced Sania to hit a forehand long.

Eraković serving 1-0: Sania forehand long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Eraković forehand very long. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/30. Sania dumped a backhand return into the net.

Sania serving 0-2: Sania forehand long. 0/15. Eraković forehand long. 15/15. Sania came to the net: Eraković hit a forehand long, and yelled. 30/15. Eraković forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner back behind Sania. 30/30. Serve + forehand winner down the line. 40/30. Sania forehand long on the third stroke. 40/40. Sania forehand long. Ad Eraković. Double fault (second serve long).

It was now quite windy.

Eraković serving 3-0: Sania backhand wide. 15/0. Sania backhand long. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0. Eraković forehand winner down the line.

Sania serving 0-4: Eraković forehand return wide. 15/0. Sania backhand long. 15/15. Eraković spread Sania, forcing her to net a forehand. 15/30. Service-winner down the middle. 30/30. Eraković backhand long. 40/30. Double fault (second serve long). 40/40. Eraković backhand wide. Ad Sania. Eraković came to the net behind a sliced-backhand approach onto the baseline (it looked long), forcing Sania to net a forehand. Deuce #2. Double fault (second serve into the net). Ad Eraković (BP). She netted a backhand. Deuce #3. Sania forehand very long. Ad Eraković (BP #2). Sania sprayed a forehand wide.

Sania was flexing her wrist at the changeover.

Eraković serving 5-0: Eraković came to the net and hit two volleys (forehand + backhand), but Sania hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/15. Eraković hit a sliced backhand approach down the line wide, and yelled. 0/30. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 15/30. With the wind rising again, Eraković hit an error-forcing off-forehand. 30/30. Serve + error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 40/30 (MP #1). Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. Eraković won 6-3 6-0 at 14:24 (second set 27m, match 55m).

Eraković's on-court interview: "I know Sania has been injured and she just came back, so this was probably a tough match for her. I'm just happy I won, and we'll see what happens next time. I like to play on grass."

It's sad to see that Sania's wrist-surgery does not appear to have been a success; she retired with her wrist-injury at the Olympics, and has pulled out of the US Open.

------------------------------------
5. Second round: Bartoli v Cetkovská
------------------------------------

- MARION BARTOLI [1,DF,S] lt. Petra Cetkovská, 7-5 4-6 0-6

This was a good match for the first two sets, with an intriguing contrast of styles between Marion's heavier, Selesian groundstrokes, and Cetkovská's lightweight, elegant game that included a lot of slices on the backhand and some on the forehand too, and a lot of dropshots. Cetkovská even served for the first set with a set-point at *5-4 (40/30).

But Marion faded badly in the third set; by *0-4, she was just trying to hit a winner on every stroke, and she didn't even sit down at the 0-5* changeover. It could not have been plainer that she wanted to get off court as quickly as possible; what wasn't so obvious from watching it live was that she was in fact injured.

Since Marion didn't show any obvious signs of injury or take a medical time-out, I just assumed she had checked out mentally (having said she needed a break from tennis after her first-round loss at the French Open), but afterwards, she revealed that her bad wrist had flared up in the second set.

Marion has simplified her service-action from the 2007 grass-court season, when she would wrap her fingers very deliberately around the racket-handle and cock her wrist - those features are gone now, along with the energy-bounce before each serve.


First set
---------
BARTOLI *@__*@___@*@ 7
CETKOVS __@*__@*@___ 5

The match was third on Centre Court, in cold, windy conditions. Cetkovská won the toss and chose to receive, and play started at 14:52 BST.

Marion serving 0-0: Service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Marion backhand long. 15/30. Cetkovská forehand long. 30/30. Cetkovská forehand return wide. 40/30. Cetkovská forehand long.

Cetkovská serving 0-1: Cetkovská netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/15. Cetkovská tried a forehand dropshot, but it gave Marion a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Cetkovská netted a forehand on the third stroke. 15/30. Marion netted a forehand return. 30/30. Double fault (second serve long). 30/40. Cetkovská netted a forehand on the third stroke.

Marion serving 2-0: Marion crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Cetkovská's deep return forced Marion to hit a backhand wide. 0/30. Cetkovská backhand dropshot + crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 0/40. Marion backhand long.

Just as I was about to put my camera away, Cetkovská took her overtop off! She has wonderful smooth shoulders as well as a pretty face.

Cetkovská serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Marion forehand wide. 15/15. Marion dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Marion hit a backhand return-winner down Cetkovská's backhand-sideline. 40/30. Marion down-the-line forehand wide.

Marion serving 2-2: Marion netted a forehand. 0/15. In a long rally, Marion hit a two-handed forehand volley but retreated from the net, and eventually hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. 15/15. Marion came to the net and hit a forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Serve out wide + backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 40/15. Double fault (second serve wide). 40/30. Serve + crosscourt forehand + forehand volley-winner down the line.

A serve-and-volley game by Marion!

Cetkovská serving 2-3: Marion hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Cetkovská. 0/15. Cetkovská dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 0/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/40 (BP). Cetkovská sliced backhand down the line + off-forehand winner. 15/40 (BP #2). Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 30/40 (BP #3). Marion forehand wide. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Cetkovská. She netted a forehand on the third stroke. Deuce #2. Marion hit a low-bouncing backhand winner down the line. Ad Marion (BP #4). Marion forehand long. Deuce #3. Marion forehand return-winner down the line. Ad Marion (BP #5). Cetkovská backhand dropshot + crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Deuce #4. Marion worked her way to the net, forcing Cetkovská to net a backhand. Ad Marion (BP #6). Cetkovská sliced backhand wide.

Marion serving 4-2: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Marion hit an error-forcing backhand dropshot. 15/15. Cetkovská forehand wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/30. Serve out wide + off-backhand winner back behind Cetkovská. 40/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/40. Marion hit a deep crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Marion. Cetkovská hit a forehand winner down Marion's forehand-sideline. Deuce #2. A close-range exchange ended with Cetkovská hitting a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Ad Cetkovská (BP). Service-winner down the middle. Deuce #3. A deep return with a bad bounce forced Marion to earth a backhand. Ad Cetkovská (BP #2). Serve out wide + no-bounce crosscourt backhand winner. Deuce #4. Marion netted a deep forehand volley, but Cetkovská hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. Ad Cetkovská (BP #3). Marion opened up the court and went for an off-backhand winner, but it was just wide.

Cetkovská serving 3-4: Ace out wide. 15/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner back behind Marion. 30/0. A low bounce forced Marion to net a backhand. 40/0. Ace down the middle.

Marion serving 4-4: Cetkovská forehand long. 15/0. Cetkovská ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Marion came to the net, but Cetkovská hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand pass. 15/30. Cetkovská sliced a backhand pass into the bottom of the net, and moaned. 30/30. Cetkovská forced Marion to hit a forehand lob long. 30/40. Cetkovská spread Marion vertically: her dropshot + lob + dropshot combination forcing Marion to hit a forehand wide.

Marion had a coaching-session with her father: Dr. Walter Bartoli.

Cetkovská serving 5-4: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Cetkovská's forehand down the line clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/15. Cetkovská netted a running backhand. 30/15. Marion netted a forehand. 30/30. Marion forehand long. 40/30 (SP). Cetkovská sliced a backhand just wide - it would have been a winner - off a low ball from Marion. 40/40. Cetkovská forehand wide on the third stroke. Ad Marion (BP). With the wind rising, Cetkovská's deep crosscourt forehand forced Marion to net a forehand. Deuce #2. Marion spread Cetkovská, forcing her to net a forehand. Ad Marion (BP #2). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Marion serving 5-5: Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord, and was just long). 0/15. Marion forehand netcord-winner. 15/15. Marion spread Cetkovská, forcing her to slice a forehand wide. 30/15. Cetkovská netted a forehand return. 40/15. Cetkovská netted a backhand return.

Cetkovská serving 5-6: Marion's defensive lob induced Cetkovská to hit a forehand long. 0/15. Cetkovská forehand long. 0/30. Cetkovská netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/40. Cetkovská slapped a forehand into the net to lose the first set 7-5 at 15:41 (49m).

Cetkovská's turn to see her coach.


Second set
----------
BARTOLI __*@*__@__ 4
CETKOVS @*___*@ @* 6

Marion serving 0-0: Marion ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Marion netted a forehand. 15/15. Cetkovská forced Marion to earth a forehand. 15/30. Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Marion forehand wide. 30/40. Marion did her only energy-bounce of the match, but it didn't help: she served a double fault (second serve into the net).

Cetkovská serving 1-0: Marion opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/15. Cetkovská forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Marion's return forced Cetkovská to earth a backhand. 15/30. Cetkovská backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Forehand return wide. 40/30. Marion crosscourt forehand return-winner. 40/40. Marion spread Cetkovská, forcing her to hit a forehand lob wide (Marion hit a forehand smash anyway!). Ad Marion (BP). A meaty rally ended with Cetkovská hitting a backhand dropshot-winner. Deuce #2. Cetkovská dropshot + forehand pass-winner down the line: on the baseline. Ad Cetkovská. Marion punished a second serve with a blazing crosscourt backhand return-winner. Deuce #3. Marion took the initiative, but netted a backhand volley. Ad Cetkovská. Marion backhand dropshot-winner. Deuce #4. Crosscourt backhand return wide. Ad Cetkovská. Marion netted a running forehand.

Marion serving 0-2: Marion hit a deep, error-forcing backhand. 15/0. Marion backhand long. 15/15. Forehand return long. 30/15. Marion netted a backhand. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP). Marion opened up the court, and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 40/40. Cetkovská forced a short ball from Marion, and hit a forehand winner down Marion's forehand-sideline. Ad Cetkovská (BP #2). Serve + deep error-forcing crosscourt forehand. Cetkovská yelled and muttered. Deuce #2. Ace out wide. Ad Marion. Cetkovská netted a backhand.

More coaching for Marion.

Cetkovská serving 2-1: She netted a backhand on the third stroke. 0/15. Cetkovská played a spreading rally, ending with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Cetkovská netted a backhand. 30/30. Marion hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Cetkovská. 30/40. Cetkovská netted a sliced backhand.

Marion serving 2-2: Ace out wide: on the sideline. 15/0. Cetkovská sliced backhand long. 30/0. A deep, low-bouncing crosscourt forehand return forced Marion to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Cetkovská forehand winner down the line. 30/30. Marion pounced on a high, floating sliced backhand to hit a backhand volley-winner down the line. 40/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Marion. Cetkovská forehand long.

Cetkovská serving 2-3: Marion backhand wide. 15/0. Cetkovská's low-bouncing sliced backhand forced Marion to net a backhand. 30/0. Marion hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/15. Cetkovská got down well to a low ball, hitting a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: on the sideline. 40/15. Service-winner.

Marion serving 3-3: Cetkovská forced a lob, let it bounce, and hit a forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/30. Cetkovská worked her way to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 0/40. Marion backhand long.

Cetkovská saw her coach at the changeover.

Cetkovská serving 4-3: Cetkovská netted a backhand. 0/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/30. Cetkovská worked her way to the net, forcing Marion to hit a crosscourt pass wide. 15/30. Marion's low-bouncing return forced Cetkovská to net a forehand. 15/40. Cetkovská sliced a backhand wide.

Marion serving 4-4: Cetkovská forehand return just wide. 15/0. Double fault (second serve wide). 15/15. Cetkovská forehand long. 30/15. Cetkovská netted a sliced backhand. 40/15. Double fault (second serve wide). 40/30. Marion backhand just long. 40/40. Cetkovská crosscourt sliced backhand + crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Cetkovská (BP). She netted a forehand return, and muttered. Deuce #2. Marion netted a backhand. Ad Cetkovská (BP #2). Cetkovská off-forehand + crosscourt forehand virtual winner.

Cetkovská serving 5-4: Marion hit a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner from no-man's-land. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Cetkovská crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. 30/15. Marion backhand return very long. 40/15 (SP #1). Service-winner out wide. Cetkovská won the second set 6-4 at 16:28 (second set 47m, match so far 1h36m).


Third set
---------
BARTOLI ______ 0
CETKOVS @*@*@* 6

Marion serving 0-0: Cetkovská hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner that clipped the netcord. 0/15. Marion netted a backhand. 0/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/40. Marion crosscourt forehand wide.

Cetkovská serving 1-0: Marion forehand long. 15/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Cetkovská on the third stroke hit a backhand dropshot wide from the baseline. 30/15. Serve out wide + well-held crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Ace out wide.

Marion serving 0-2: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Marion crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Cetkovská forehand pass-winner down the line. 30/15. Marion crosscourt backhand wide. 30/30. Cetkovská netted a backhand return. 40/30. Double fault (second serve long). 40/40. Ace down the middle. Ad Cetkovská (BP). She hit a crosscourt backhand winner off a short ball from Marion.

Cetkovská serving 3-0: Marion netted a backhand volley. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Service-winner.

Marion serving 0-4: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Double fault (second serve long). 15/30. Marion on the third stroke hit a forehand very long. 15/40. Service-winner down the middle. 30/40 (BP). Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Marion. On the third stroke, Marion hit a backhand very long. Deuce #2. Marion on the third stroke hit a backhand very long. Ad Cetkovská (BP #2). A low return forced Marion to hit a backhand wide.

Marion was just trying to hit a winner on every stroke of that game. She didn't even sit down at the changeover; just walked straight down to the other end and stood there waiting.

Cetkovská serving 5-0: Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 15/0. Good off-forehand return + off-forehand winner back behind Cetkovská. 15/15. Marion netted a forehand return. 30/15. Marion netted a backhand. 40/15 (MP #1). Marion netted a forehand return. Cetkovská won 5-7 6-4 6-0 at 16:46 (third set 18m, match 1h54m). Marion didn't shake the umpire's hand.

Cetkovská's on-court interview: "I'm very, very happy. Yeah, I was not feeling very well at the beginning, but very good at the end."


Articles
--------

Bartoli a major doubt for Wimbledon [Teletext 495->497]
>>>
Bartoli an injury-doubt [Teletext 497]

Top seed Marion Bartoli is an injury-doubt for Wimbledon after crashing out of the DFS Classic at Birmingham.

The world No.10, who was runner-up at Wimbledon last year, aggravated a wrist-injury during the second set of her 5-7 6-4 6-0 defeat to Petra Cetkovská.

Bartoli said: "My wrist has bothered me since the French Open. It's really painful, and it's really not a situation where I want to stay on court."
<<<

Marion Bartoli Questionable for Wimbledon After Losing in Birmingham
Posted by Aaress Lawless
http://www.onthebaseline.com/2008/06...in-birmingham/
>>>
Last year's Wimbledon-finalist Marion Bartoli may skip the 2008 Championships because of a wrist-injury.

Bartoli was upset in the second round of the DFS Classic on Wednesday before hinting that she may miss the next Grand Slam.

"It's been bothering me since before the French Open," said Bartoli in comments published by the AP.

"I've been having treatment, but it's tendinitis, and there is only so much you can do for that. It seems like 2008 doesn't want me to be in great shape. I am always having something: some illness or injury."

It has been a disappointing 2008 season for Bartoli, who said that she will skip Wimbledon "if it's not getting better."

"Missing a Grand Slam, especially Wimbledon, is a huge disappointment," added the top seed in Birmingham.

After losing to Petra Cetkovská in her opening match 5-7 6-4 6-0, Bartoli's 2008 match-record fell to 8:14.
<<<

-----------------------------------
6. Second round: Shvedova v O'Brien
-----------------------------------

+ Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] d. Katie O'Brien, 7-5 1-6 7-5

This match was first on Centre Court; I arrived just too late to come on in the changeover with O'Brien leading 5-4*, so I went away for a while, and when I came back, Shvedova was taking a medical time-out - having just broken for *6-5.

After a lengthy evaluation on her back, Shvedova left the court for three minutes of treatment (she was gone much longer than that), came back and served out the first set.

O'Brien raced through the second set 6-1 as Shvedova's level dropped, but then surprisingly called for her coach (on-court coaching is allowed at Birmingham this year). I don't know what she wanted to ask ("How do I not choke?"?), but it certainly didn't seem to do her any good, as Shvedova took a 5-2* lead in the third.

O'Brien fought back to 5-5 (including a point with an amazing lob-winner), and that's when I decided to start writing point-descriptions:

Shvedova serving 5-5: O'Brien crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. Ace out wide. 15/15. O'Brien backhand wide. 30/15. O'Brien took the initiative, but netted a backhand dropshot. 40/15. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline.

O'Brien serving 5-6: O'Brien netted a sliced backhand on the third stroke. 0/15. I was distracted by a bee buzzing around my ear. 0/30. Shvedova forehand lob long. 15/30. Service-winner out wide. 30/30. Shvedova off-forehand winner. 30/40 (MP #1). Shvedova hit a deep shot onto the baseline, forcing O'Brien to earth a forehand. O'Brien was so angry about it not being called long that she whacked a ball into the back fence. Shvedova won 7-5 1-6 7-5 at 13:15 (just over two hours).

O'Brien: "I might have frozen on big points. I was a bit pensive, and wasn't swinging the way I'm capable of."

-----------
7. Articles
-----------

Bartoli loses at Birmingham, may miss Wimbledon (AP)
>>>
Top-seeded Marion Bartoli lost her opening match of the DFS Classic on Wednesday, and may miss Wimbledon because of a wrist-injury.

Bartoli, the Wimbledon runner-up last year, was upset 5-7 6-4 6-0 by the 52-ranked Petra Cetkovská. Bartoli, ranked 10th, said her wrist-injury has hampered her play.

"It's been bothering me since before the French Open," Bartoli said. "I've been having treatment, but it's tendinitis, and there is only so much you can do for that. It seems like 2008 doesn't want me to be in great shape. I am always having something: some illness or injury."

Bartoli, who also lost to Casey Dell'Acqua of Australia in the first round of the French Open, said she may miss Wimbledon "if it's not getting better."

"Missing a Grand Slam, especially Wimbledon, is a huge disappointment," she said.

Bartoli came from a break down to win the first set 7-5, and was close to victory at 4-4 in the second. But she appeared to give up after going down 4-5, dropping the last eight games quickly.

Bartoli sent groundstrokes long or wide, and served four double faults in her last two service-games.

Asked why she did not retire, Bartoli said: "I always try to be fair with everyone, and by retiring it becomes like, 'Why can't you find a solution?' For the crowd, it is better to go on in the match, and for my opponent, she doesn't feel she has beaten me if I pull out."

Other seeds to lose were No.11 Casey Dell'Acqua, No.6 Sania Mirza and No.7 Olga Govortsova.

Dell'Acqua lost 6-2 3-6 6-3 to 18-year-old Yanina Wickmayer, Mirza lost 6-3 6-0 to Marina Eraković, and Govortsova fell 6-3 7-6 to Melinda Czink, who got into the draw as a lucky loser.

Wickmayer is already being touted as a successor to her compatriot Justine Henin, who retired last month. She plays Michaëlla Krajíček: the 19-year-old sister of former Wimbledon-champion Richard Krajíček.
<<<

Brits battle but bow out in Birmingham
http://www.lta.org.uk/News/All-news-...in-Birmingham/
>>>
British stars Katie O'Brien and Naomi Cavaday posted impressive performances in the second round of the DFS Classic at Birmingham, putting up valiant three-set resistance against more-highly-ranked opponents.

British No.2 Katie O'Brien put up the fight of her life against Russian Yaroslava Shvedova, taking the second set of their match before succumbing 5-7 6-1 5-7.

"I just froze a bit on some of the big points," said the 22-year-old from Yorkshire, "There were some points where I was able to hit freely like I have been for the rest of this week, but at other times, I was really tense."

O'Brien said she was happy to have received a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon. "Obviously I'd like to get into Wimbledon through my ranking, but it's a huge opportunity to get a wild card," she said, "I'm just really looking forward to getting there and giving it my best shot."

Naomi Cavaday, the British No.5, took the fight to Sunitha Rao in their second-round encounter, forcing her more-highly-ranked opponent to grind out a tough one-hour+48-minute match 4-6 6-3 6-1.

"I'm a bit disappointed: the things I can normally rely on didn't seem to be there today, but at the same time, some of the things I've been working hard on - especially the grass-court things - worked really well," said 19-year-old Cavaday from Kent.

"In the first, I was able to dig in at the right times and take the set, but then she started to find her rhythm; she's got a big serve and she's powerful, and once she got her nose in front, she just ran away with it a bit."

While O'Brien and Cavaday are out of the WTA Tour event, Melanie South remains to fly the British flag, taking on No.17 seed Aiko Nakamura in the second match on Centre Court on Thursday. She is the first British woman since Julie Pullin in 2002 to reach the third round of the DFS Classic.

No.1 seed Marion Bartoli crashed out in the second round to Petra Cetkovská 7-5 4-6 0-6, scarcely winning a point in the third set after inflaming a wrist-injury she sustained in Strasbourg.

Bartoli, who gallantly played on although visibly incapacitated in the third set, said: "I don't like to retire during the match unless I really have to; I like to be fair to my opponent. [I feel] quite sad; last year I was able to play more, but it was hard on my body."

No.3 seed Nicole Vaidišová's second-round match went true to form, the Czech cruising to into the third round with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy in 51 minutes.

The Bondarenko-sisters from Ukraine also progressed through their second-round matches. No.5 seed Alyona was forced to fight out a tough three-setter against Virginia Ruano Pascual, clinching it after two hours and 23 minutes: 7-6 (4) 3-6 7-5.

Kateryna followed her sister onto Court 2, making lighter work of her clash with Sam Stosur of Australia and enjoying a straight-sets victory: 6-3 6-2.

Sania Mirza lost her second-round contest against rising New Zealand star Marina Eraković. No.6 seed Mirza, playing her first match since she had wrist-surgery in March, found it tough going against Eraković: the Women's Singles winner in Surbiton last week.

"I'm just happy to be out there playing and competing right now," said the popular Indian player following her 3-6 0-6 loss. "I'm not expecting anything right now; I am just happy to be healthy."

Thursday sees Alyona Bondarenko open up the centre-court action against Sunitha Rao, followed by South and Nakamura, with Tamarine Tanasugarn facing Bethanie Mattek in the third match, and Nicole Vaidišová rounding things off against Ekaterina Makarova.
<<<

http://tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx
>>>
Mirza loses 6-3 6-0 to Eraković at Birmingham: her comeback-event after wrist-surgery in April. "I'm only here to get matches. I still feel pain in the wrist," she said. "It doesn't matter that I'm not winning at the moment; the fact is I'm back."

Bartoli loses 5-7 6-4 6-0 to Cetkovská at Birmingham, and says wrist-tendinitis may cause her to miss Wimbledon, where she is the defending finalist. "I've been having treatment, but it's tendinitis, and there is only so much you can do for that. It seems like 2008 doesn't want me to be in great shape. I am always having something: some illness or injury," she said. "Missing a Grand Slam, especially Wimbledon, [would be] a huge disappointment."
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
__________________
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 Thursday

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

1. My photos
2. Third-round results
3. Third round: Vaidišová v Makarova
4. Third round: Krajíček v Wickmayer
5. Articles

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Thursday 12th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5241248-20f

Thursday's players:

Nicole Vaidišová (45)
Michaëlla Krajíček (33)
groundstaff (24)
Ekaterina Makarova (23)
Alyona Bondarenko (19)
Marina Eraković (16)
Yanina Wickmayer (15)
Yaroslava Shvedova (8)
MC Vicki Stone (4)
Melanie South (1)

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Thursday 12th June)
----------------------

After five frustrating hours in which it looked like the only entertainment of the day was going to come from a group of barefooted groundstaff making a song and dance of sweeping the water off the covered courts, and using such 21st-century technology as towels and vacuum-cleaners to dry them once uncovered, the third round was, amazingly, completed on time.

What rocked:
+ NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] d. EKATERINA MAKAROVA [15], 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-4
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [5] d. Sunitha Rao [Q], 3-6 7-5 6-1
+ Petra Cetkovská d. Camille Pin, 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Marina Eraković d. Yaroslava Shvedova [Q], 6-3 6-4

What sucked:
- MICHAËLLA KRAJÍČEK [8,DF] lt. Yanina Wickmayer, 3-6 4-6
- AIKO NAKAMURA [17,S] lt. Melanie South [WC], 6-2 4-6 4-6

------------------------------------
3. Third round: Vaidišová v Makarova
------------------------------------

+ NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] d. EKATERINA MAKAROVA [15], 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-4

A tough match for Nicole, played on a cold, windy evening against a left-handed opponent who served very well - although Nicole did make a lot of cheap return-errors, which would return to haunt her in the quarter-finals.

Apparently, 20-year-old Ekaterina is no relation to the beautiful Elena Makarova of the 1990s. Ekaterina is kind of cute, with a classic Russian ponytail, but she's as thin as a whippet, and her crooked nose mars an otherwise pretty face. Could she grow on me?

The first set resembled one of those serve-dominated men's matches on grass in the mid-1990s, albeit with an exchange of breaks as Makarova broke for *5-4 but failed to serve it out. Nicole looked very upset when she lost the set on a tiebreak in which she had led 4/1*.

Nicole broke at the start of the second set, and although she got complacent, she still managed to get a double break and win the set 6-2.

Nicole led *5-2 in the third set, but threw away her first chance to serve out the match with two double faults in a row. But she managed it at *5-4, despite missing an easy volley at 30/15 and putting her hand over her mouth.

My full match-report, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, is at:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ten...ngham2008.html

------------------------------------
4. Third round: Krajíček v Wickmayer
------------------------------------

- MICHAËLLA KRAJÍČEK [8,DF] lt. Yanina Wickmayer, 3-6 4-6

Michaëlla played much worse than she did in her second-round match - possibly hampered by an undisclosed injury for which she took an off-court medical time-out at 3-4* in the second set. She looked weak against eventual finalist Wickmayer, who played much better than Tatiana Poutchek had played against Michaëlla. Wickmayer served very well, and frequently forced Michaëlla into errors on Michaëlla's defensive shots.

The match was scheduled first on Court 1, but was moved to Court 4 after rain delayed the start of play for five hours and they decided to spread the third-round matches out over all five match-courts. This was a shame, as Court 1 abuts a large, public terrace, which is great for a close-up view, whereas Court 4 can only be viewed from one corner, on level ground, and there were several spectators in front of me (including Mr. Bean).

You'll probably get a clearer view of the match by reading my point-descriptions than I did by watching it live and writing them!

Wickmayer won the toss and chose to serve, and the match started at 15:58 BST.


First set
---------
KRAJÍČEK _* *___*_ 3
WICKMAYE * * *@* * 6

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Michaëlla backhand lob long. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 30/30. Wickmayer netted a backhand off a short return. 30/40. Serve + forehand winner down the line. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Wickmayer. Michaëlla forehand long.

One break-point goes begging already.

Michaëlla serving 0-1: Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 0/15. Ace out wide. 15/15. Wickmayer forehand long. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Michaëlla forehand just wide. 40/30. Michaëlla backhand drop-volley winner.

Wickmayer serving 1-1: Wickmayer forehand wide. 0/15. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/30. Michaëlla netted a backhand return. 15/30. Michaëlla netted a backhand off an awkward low ball. 30/30. A long rally ended with Wickmayer hitting a forehand wide. 30/40. Wickmayer forehand volley-winner + fist-pump + "c'mon!" 40/40. Michaëlla netted a backhand. Ad Wickmayer. Michaëlla's backhand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side.

0/30 and another break-point wasted.

Michaëlla serving 1-2: Wickmayer crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Michaëlla defensive one-handed backhand long. 15/30. Wickmayer forehand return wide. 30/30. Michaëlla error. 30/40 (BP). Wickmayer off-backhand wide; Michaëlla said a loud "c'mon". 40/40. Wickmayer netted a forehand return. Ad Michaëlla. Wickmayer took the initiative with a deep return at Michaëlla's feet, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #2. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Michaëlla. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand return wide.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 0/15. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand winner back behind Michaëlla. 15/15. Michaëlla long. 30/15. Michaëlla lob long. 40/15. Michaëlla hit a crosscourt forehand just wide, and didn't like the call.

Michaëlla serving 2-3: A good serve forced a floater, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Double fault (second serve long). 30/15. Michaëlla down-the-line forehand wide. 30/30. Wickmayer forced Michaëlla to hit a forehand lob wide. 30/40. Wickmayer came to the net, forcing Michaëlla to net a crosscourt forehand pass. First blood to Wickmayer.

Wickmayer serving 4-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a running forehand, and yelped. 15/15. Michaëlla netted a forehand. 30/15. Wickmayer forehand long. 30/30. Michaëlla on the run hit a forehand just long, and again looked unhappy. 40/30. Wickmayer got the better of a rally featuring two lobs.

Michaëlla serving 2-5: Two service-winners out wide. 30/0. Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Wickmayer backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. Michaëlla came to the net and hit an off-forehand drop-volley winner. 40/30. Ace down the middle.

Wickmayer serving 5-3: Forehand return long. 15/0. Backhand return long. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Michaëlla. 40/0. Michaëlla backhand lob-return long. Wickmayer won the first set 6-3 at 16:38 (40 minutes).

Michaëlla had one of the on-court coaching-sessions that were allowed at Birmingham 2008.


Second set
----------
KRAJÍČEK _@__* * *_ 4
WICKMAYE @ @* * * * 6

Michaëlla serving 0-0: Michaëlla on the third stroke hit a forehand long. 0/15. Wickmayer's backhand down the line forced Michaëlla to earth a forehand. 0/30. Wickmayer went for a crosscourt backhand return-winner - but it was just wide. 15/30. Michaëlla netted a backhand. 15/40. Michaëlla off-backhand volley-winner. 30/40. A long rally ended with Michaëlla netting a backhand, prompting a loud yell of "ˇvamos!" from Wickmayer.

Wickmayer serving 1-0: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 0/15. Michaëlla crosscourt backhand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/30. Michaëlla crosscourt backhand winner. 15/40. Double fault (second serve long).

There was now a cold breeze, and a hint of raindrops.

Michaëlla serving 1-1: Michaëlla on the third stroke hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/15. Michaëlla served & volleyed with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Michaëlla backhand long. 15/30. Michaëlla tried to serve & volley again, but missed a forehand volley. 15/40. Michaëlla reinstated Wickmayer's break with a wild forehand very long on the third stroke. Michaëlla raised her racket as if to throw it.

Wickmayer serving 2-1: Wickmayer served & volleyed, forcing Michaëlla to net a backhand pass on the fourth stroke. 15/0. A good serve forced a short return, which Wickmayer dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Michaëlla came to the net, forcing Wickmayer to net a backhand. 30/15. Big serve + forehand + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Michaëlla dumped a forehand return halfway up the net to give Wickmayer clear daylight in the scoreline.

Michaëlla serving 1-3: Michaëlla followed up a good serve with a deep crosscourt forehand, whose low bounce forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 15/0. Service-winner down the middle. 30/0. Wickmayer went for a big crosscourt forehand return, but put it wide. 40/0. Michaëlla tried to serve & volley, but a dipping return at her feet forced her to hit a forehand volley wide. 40/15. Serve + off-backhand appeared to give Michaëlla the initiative, but Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand forced Michaëlla to earth a forehand. 40/30. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand long. Michaëlla celebrated the hold with a loud "c'mon".

Wickmayer serving 3-2: Wickmayer played a spreading rally with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Michaëlla netted a forehand. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Wickmayer punished a weak return with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Michaëlla serving 2-4: Double fault (second serve just long). There was a long pause from Michaëlla. 0/15. Michaëlla hit a big crosscourt forehand winner off a low ball from Wickmayer! 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Michaëlla held with a forehand smash-winner.

Michaëlla played her best tennis in that game, but then got the trainer on. The evaluation-period entailed some stretching, and Michaëlla lying on a towel behind the umpire's chair while Wickmayer hit some practice-serves. Michaëlla then took an off-court medical time-out.

Wickmayer serving 4-3: Service-winner. 15/0. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Ace. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. Wickmayer backhand long. 40/30. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner.

Michaëlla serving 3-5: Michaëlla came to the net, but Wickmayer hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Michaëlla went for a big forehand winner down the line, but put it long; Michaëlla screamed! 0/30. Wickmayer on the fourth stroke hit a crosscourt forehand long. 15/30. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline; Michaëlla said "c'mon". 30/30. Wickmayer netted a forehand return. 40/30. Virtual ace out wide.

Wickmayer serving 5-4: Serve out wide + down-the-line forehand winner on the sideline. 15/0. Wickmayer opened up the court, and hit a backhand winner down the line. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0 (MP #1). Michaëlla earthed a forehand return. Wickmayer won 6-3 6-4 at 17:21 (second set 43m, match 1h23m).

-----------
5. Articles
-----------

Vaidišová, Bondarenko reach Birmingham quarters (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Nicole Vaidišová really had to work to end her quarter-final slump.

The third-seeded Vaidišová reached a quarter-final for the first time in more than four months with a 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia at the DFS Classic on Thursday.

By turning away an upset-bid, Vaidišová kept alive a showing at this $200,000 grasscourt-event, in which she ended a six-match losing-streak earlier in the week.

After dropping just four games against Nathalie Dechy, Vaidišová had a much more difficult time against Makarova, who was one of the players who handed the Czech a loss during her dubious losing-streak.

"It was a little rough today; but it's always great to win despite not playing your best tennis," said Vaidišová, who last reached the quarters at Sydney in January. "I'm just going to continue to try to play my best moving into my next match."

Also needing to rally from a set down was fifth seed Alyona Bondarenko, who rallied for a 3-6 7-5 6-1 triumph over Indian qualifier Sunitha Rao.

After losing the first set, Bondarenko fought off two points that would have dropped her behind 2-4 in the second before securing her fourth quarter-final appearance in her last six tournaments.

Next up for the Ukrainian will be Marina Eraković of New Zealand: a 6-3 7-5 winner over Russian qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova.

Alyona's sister Kateryna also moved into the round of eight, as the 12th seed captured a 4-6 6-4 7-5 triumph over Melinda Czink of Hungary.

Among the other seeded players in action, eighth-seeded Michaëlla Krajíček and No.17 Aiko Nakamura were both upset.

Krajíček was dispatched by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer 6-3 6-4, while Nakamura fell to British wild card Melanie South 2-6 6-4 6-4.

With the victory, South became only the third Brit to reach the quarter-finals here.

"I started off a little bit nervous, but I had belief in myself," South said. "Nakamura is very experienced, but I kept serving well. I have a very aggressive game and it paid off. When it got to match-point and Nakamura was serving, I decided to go for it. I'll learn from it in the future, and hopefully I'll even be able to close the match out a game earlier."

Also, American Bettanie Mattek posted a 6-4 6-2 victory over Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand to set up a matchup with Vaidišová.
<<<

Wickmayer defeats Krajíček at DFS Classic (AP)
>>>
Belgian 18-year-old Yanina Wickmayer earned her second straight victory over a seeded player, defeating No.8 Michaëlla Krajíček 6-3 6-4 on Thursday at the DFS Classic, to reach her first WTA Tour quarter-final.

Two weeks after playing in her first Grand Slam and drawing the praise of recently-retired compatriot Justine Henin, Wickmayer reached the last eight in only her fourth event on the main women's tour.

She next will face a partisan crowd when she meets Melanie South: a British wild-card entry who beat Aiko Nakamura 2-6 6-4 6-4 to become the first Briton to reach the DFS quarter-finals in 16 years.

In other matches on Thursday, No.3 Nicole Vaidišová wasted a 4/1 lead in the first-set tiebreak, and had to rally for a 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Makarova.

The other remaining seeds are the Bondarenko-sisters from Ukraine, both of whom had to come from behind to reach the quarter-finals and set up a sibling-showdown in the semis if they both win one more match.

No.5 Alyona Bondarenko had to recover from a set and a break down to beat Sunitha Rao 3-6 7-5 6-1, while her younger sister, Kateryna, the 12th seed, beat Melinda Czink 4-6 6-4 7-5.
<<<

Vaidišová and South battle into DFS Classic quarters
http://www.lta.org.uk/News/All-news-...uarter-finals/
>>>
Nicole Vaidišová had to fight hard to overcome Elena Makarova of Russia in their third-round match, while Melanie South delighted Edgbaston Priory crowds, reaching the quarter-finals of the DFS Classic in Birmingham.

Vaidišová, seeded No.3, made a slow start in her match against Makarova, before prevailing 6-7 6-2 6-2.

The tall Czech took a while to find her feet in the first set, struggling before succumbing 5/7 in a tiebreak. She made lighter work of things in the second set, levelling the scoreboard in just 28 minutes.

The third set was a neck-and-neck affair until the fifth game, when Vaidišová broke at 15/40 to lead 3-2. Thereafter it was plain sailing for the No.19-ranked player in the world.

"I feel good about today: it was a hard match, and it's always good to go through when you don't play your best tennis and you still find a way to win."

Vaidišová's quarter-final opponent is Bethanie Mattek, who scored an impressive win over seasoned grasscourt-competitor Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand: 6-4 6-2. "I've never played Bethanie before, so it's someone new to play," she said of her American opponent.

Before Vaidišová took to the court, South, from Surrey, became the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1992 to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA Tour event with a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory over world No.78 Aiko Nakamura of Japan.

The 22-year-old was understandably delighted with her result. "I started off a little nervous, but after I lost the first set, I still had the belief that I could turn it around," she said.

"She was hitting a lot of lines in the first set, but I've got an aggressive game and I knew I should be the one attacking.

"This means everything to me - I've worked hard all year with my coach and my fitness-coach. It's amazing; I'm really pleased. I came in here believing I could do well here on grass."

South, who's now bidding to equal Durie's semi-final appearance in 1992, was brimming with confidence for her quarter-final contest against Yanina Wickmayer.

"She's aggressive and she'll be looking to hit a lot of balls, but I believe I can beat anyone here. I've got the game on grass, and I think I can beat her.

"I want to go a round further and build on my performance here this week. Obviously I've got to take it a match at a time and see how I go tomorrow, but I love the pressure out there and I hope to take it - and the confidence from this win - through to my next match."

Elsewhere, Alyona Bondarenko overcame a stiff challenge from Sunitha Rao of India, running out the winner 3-6 7-5 1-6 in a hard-hitting marathon that the No.5 seed was lucky to escape from in two hours and four minutes. She faces Petra Cetkovská in the quarter-finals.

She was joined in the quarters by sister Kateryna, who prevailed in her own three-set battle against lucky loser Melinda Czink 4-6 6-4 7-5. She remains on course to meet her elder sister in the semi-finals if she can get past New Zealand up-and-comer Marina Eraković in their quarter-final.
<<<

Down To Three Seeds as Quarter-final Line-Up Set
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2331
>>>
Three top-eight seeds remained after the second round, and now there are just two left after the third round, as Michaëlla Krajíček became the latest upset-victim at the DFS Classic on Thursday. Nicole Vaidišová and Alyona Bondarenko nearly joined her on the sidelines.

Krajíček, the No.8 seed, who won her first match of the season on Wednesday, was ousted in straight sets on Thursday by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer: 6-3 6-4. Wickmayer now moves into her first career WTA Tour quarter-final.

Third seed Vaidišová snapped out of a six-match losing-streak earlier in the week, and on Thursday moved into the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 6-7(5) 6-2 6-4 victory over No.15 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who handed Vaidišová one of the losses in that dubious streak. Fifth seed Bondarenko was in all sorts of trouble against Indian qualifier Sunitha Rao, going down 3-6 2-3 and facing two points for a 3-6 2-4 deficit, but battled back to win in a see-saw three-setter: 3-6 7-5 6-1.

"It was a little rough today; but it's always great to win despite not playing your best tennis," Vaidišová said. "I'm just going to continue to try to play my best moving into my next match."

Other seeds in action were No.12 seed Kateryna Bondarenko - a 4-6 6-4 7-5 winner over lucky loser Melinda Czink - and No.17-seeded Aiko Nakamura, who fell to British wildcard Melanie South 2-6 6-4 6-4.

"I started off a little bit nervous, but I had belief in myself," said South, who reached her first ever Tour quarter-final. "Nakamura is very experienced, but I kept serving well. I have a very aggressive game and it paid off. When it got to match-point and Nakamura was serving, I decided to go for it. I'll learn from it in the future, and hopefully I'll even be able to close the match out a game earlier."

South will face Wickmayer in the quarter-finals in the hopes of becoming just the third British player to reach the final four in this event's history. Anne Hobbs achieved the feat in 1984, and Jo Durie did it in 1992.

"I believe I can beat anyone here," South continued. "I have a good game on grass, and I have a good serve. But so does Wickmayer."

In other matches, Petra Cetkovská beat Camille Pin 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3, Marina Eraković beat qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 7-5, and Bethanie Mattek beat Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4 6-2.

All four quarter-finals will take the courts at the Edgbaston Priory Club on Friday, pitting Vaidišová against Mattek, South against Wickmayer, Alyona Bondarenko against Eraković, and Kateryna Bondarenko against Cetkovská.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
__________________
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 Friday

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

1. My photos
2. Quarter-final results
3. Quarter-final: Vaidišová v Mattek
4. Articles

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Friday 13th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5276164-5fe

Friday's players:

Alyona Bondarenko (41 photos)
Kateryna Bondarenko (37)
Nicole Vaidišová (31)
Bethanie Mattek (25)
Petra Cetkovská (24)
Marina Eraković (23)
unidentified player (23)
MC Vicki Stone (11)
Yanina Wickmayer (6)
Michaëlla Krajíček (5)
Melanie South (3)
Monica Niculescu (2)
Tamira Paszek (1)

------------------------
2. Quarter-final results (Friday 13th June)
------------------------

Czeching out:
- NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] lt. Bethanie Mattek, 3-6 0-6
- Petra Cetkovská lt. KATERYNA BONDARENKO [12], 6-7 (3/7) 2-6

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Marina Eraković d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [5], 6-4 7-5

Meh:
+ Yanina Wickmayer d. Melanie South [WC], 6-4 6-3

------------------------------------
3. Quarter-final: Vaidišová v Mattek
------------------------------------

- NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [3,EF] lt. Bethanie Mattek, 3-6 0-6

Nicole may have broken her losing-streak two rounds previously, but instead of improving, her form actually deteriorated from match to match, and from set to set.

In cold, windy conditions on Friday the 13th, Nicole self-destructed in a hail of unforced errors: particularly her returns of serve, and particularly her forehand. Nicole didn't move her feet properly, and struggled with short balls from Mattek that she would punish when playing well. All Mattek did was to keep the ball in play, to a good depth, and not make any errors herself.

The first set went with serve until *2-3, and Nicole seemed to be playing better than Mattek until she threw in a bad service-game to get broken for 2-4*.

When Mattek served for the first set at 5-3, Nicole hit three forehand winners to get to 15/40, but then squandered three break-points before Mattek converted her first set-point.

It was hard to believe that the second set was going to be a bagel, even with Nicole's previous tanking efforts in the last three months. I expected Nicole to at least hold serve, but the errors flowed thicker and faster from her racket, and there was a touch of panic in the dropshot she attempted from the baseline at *0-4 (0/15).

It's so sad to see a young lady with so much talent simply frittering it away. Nicole looked upset when she lost, and I'm glad she was upset, because at least it shows that she still cares about her tennis after Iveta Benešová's, "She's happy because she's in love," comment after beating Nicole at the French Open.

So what's the way out of this slump? Getting rid of her boyfriend would be a start, but if they're adamant they want to stay together, they should at least spend all their time together with him serving so that she can work on her returns! ;-)

I'm writing this after Nicole's second-round loss at the US Open - she has now lost five of her last six matches. It seems to me that she is now at the crossroads of her career: she can either get her act together and have a brilliant career - perhaps even winning some Grand Slam titles - or she can continue this slump until she's ranked in the 600s in a couple of years' time, like it was with Jelena Dokić (who is now back up to #187, but still stuck in the rut of the ITF Women's Circuit). What's it going to be, Nicole?

My full match-report, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, is at:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ten...ngham2008.html

-----------
4. Articles
-----------

American Bethanie Mattek upsets Vaidišová to reach semis (AP)
>>>
American Bethanie Mattek reached the second semi-final of her career, upsetting third-seeded Nicole Vaidišová 6-3 6-0 in the DFS Classic quarter-finals on Friday.

Mattek, a 23-year-old from Miami, next plays teenager Yanina Wickmayer, who defeated Briton Melanie South 6-4 6-3 in their quarter-final match. The only other semi-final for Mattek was at Cincinnati in 2005, and she has not won a WTA tournament.

The other semi-final will be between 12th-seeded Kateryna Bondarenko and Marina Eraković, who defeated Bondarenko's older sister Alyona in the quarter-finals.

Vaidišová, ranked 19th in the world, failed to convert three break-chances while trailing 3-5 in the first set. She lost that game, and then the 81st-ranked Mattek swept the second set.

Wickmayer, an 18-year-old Belgian, will be playing in her first WTA Tour semi-final. She had to face the pressure of a crowd that favoured her opponent on Friday.

"I was playing in front of a crowd with not many people on my side," Wickmayer said. "I was a little lucky when my opponent missed on one or two important points in the first set, but I hit the ball much better in the second set, and I fought very hard."
<<<

Mattek beats Vaidišová to reach Edgbaston semi-finals (Reuters)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin)
>>>
Nicole Vaidišová was blasted out of the Edgbaston WTA tournament by American Bethanie Mattek on Friday, losing their quarter-final 6-3 6-0.

The third seed and former world number-seven was bundled out in 52 minutes as her poor run of form continued. Before arriving in Birmingham for the Wimbledon warm-up, the Czech had lost in the first round of her previous five tournaments.

Fifth seed Alyona Bondarenko from the Ukraine also fell, losing 6-4 7-5 to New Zealand's Marina Eraković, meaning only one seed has reached the semi-finals.

That honour went to Bondarenko's sister Kateryna, who beat Petra Cetkovská of the Czech Republic 7-6 6-2.

Briton Melanie South's run came to an end when she lost 6-4 6-3 to Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.

"My game-plan was just to make her play every point," world number 81 Mattek said on the tournament's website <www.lta.org.uk>. "I knew she hadn't had a lot of wins recently, and I wanted to stop her taking the initiative out there."

Mattek, who has never won a Tour title, faces Wickmayer in the semi-finals, with 12th seed Bondarenko up against Croatia-born Eraković.

This year's tournament has been hit hard by withdrawals, including Maria Sharapova and Jelena Janković.
<<<

Britain's last hope falls in Birmingham (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Great Britain's dry spell at the DFS Classic will continue.

Wild card Melanie South dropped a 6-4 6-3 decision to Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer in the quarter-finals of the grasscourt-event on Friday, ending hopes of a British semi-finalist.

South was bidding to become just the third local player to reach the final four in the event's history. Anne Hobbs achieved the feat in 1984, and Jo Durie is the last to do it back in 1992.

The Tier III event also ended in disappointment for third-seeded Nicole Vaidišová, who was upset by unseeded American Bethanie Mattek: 6-3 6-0.

"I think Bethanie played a great match, but I didn't," Vaidišová said. "It has been a good week, though. I think I just played a better player today than the ones I played earlier in the week, and I wasn't able to have the same result."

A native of the Czech Republic, Vaidišová was hoping to get her season untracked here as she came in mired in a six-match losing-streak.

After a first-round bye, she move through the next two rounds to reach the quarters, where she was the highest-seeded player remaining.

The 81st-ranked Mattek, who is two wins away from her first career singles-title, was anything but intimated by Vaidišová. The 23-year-old was never broken during the encounter, closing things out in a tidy 53 minutes.

"I know [Vaidišová] hasn't had a lot of wins recently, so I really just wanted to make her play every point, and on my end stay aggressive," Mattek said. "I was standing pretty close to the baseline and putting pressure on her.

"So even when I wasn't hitting it as hard as she was, she was forced into some mistakes. I came out with a game-plan, and I'm happy it worked today."

Mattek and Wickmayer will clash in the semi-finals, with the winner booking a spot in her first WTA-level final.

"I had a lot of obstacles to overcome today," the 18-year-old Wickmayer said of her win. "It's my first tournament on my own as my dad had to go home sick, and it was the first time on Centre Court here. I had a crowd that wasn't cheering for me. I dealt with it well."

The semi-final on the other side of the draw was nearly a family-affair, but fifth seed Alyona Bondarenko failed to join sister Kateryna in the round of four.

The 12th-seeded Kateryna Bondarenko advanced with a 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 win over unseeded Czech Petra Cetkovská, who had toppled top seed Marion Bartoli in the second round.

Hot-handed Marina Eraković put an end to thoughts of an all-Bondarenko semi-final, however, with a 6-4 7-5 upset of Alyona.

The 20-year-old New Zealander, gunning for her first WTA final-appearance, also surprised sixth seed Sania Mirza in the second round.

"It was a tough day today, but I think it was the best match I've played so far this week," Eraković said. "It was up and down for us both, but I was able to win the crucial games.

"Tomorrow I'll be playing her sister, and I know her well from the juniors, so it'll be another tough match."
<<<

Kiwi Eraković into Birmingham semi-finals (AFP)
>>>
New Zealand's Marina Eraković reached her third semi-final of 2008 on Friday when she defeated fifth-seeded Ukrainian Alyona Bondarenko 6-4 7-5 at the WTA grasscourt-event here.

"It was a tough day, but I think it was the best match I've played so far this week," Eraković said.

"It was up and down for us both, but I was able to win the crucial games. On Saturday, I'll be playing her sister, and I know her well from the juniors, so it'll be another tough match."

Eraković is now through to her third semi-final of the year, having gone this far at her home-event of Auckland, and at Memphis.

Twelfth seed Kateryna Bondarenko came back from 2-4 down to win a tight first set, then cruised against Czech girl Petra Cetkovská 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 to reach her first semi-final.

Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer also made the last four by seeing off British wildcard Melanie South 6-4 6-3.

Third-seeded Czech Nicole Vaidišová slumped to unseeded Bethanie Mattek of the United States in just 52 minutes: 6-3 6-0.

After top seed Marion Bartoli's second-round loss and French Open runner-up Dinara Safina - who was to be the No.2 seed - pulling out of the event before it even started due to a low-back injury, Vaidišová was hoping to go all the way as the highest seed remaining as of the third round.

But Mattek had other ideas, moving into her second career semi-final.

"I know she hasn't had a lot of wins recently, so I really just wanted to make her play every point, and on my end stay aggressive," Mattek said.
<<<

Teenage Wickmayer into Birmingham semis (AP)
>>>
Yanina Wickmayer beat Melanie South 6-4 6-3 on Friday in the DFS Classic to reach her first semi-final match on the WTA Tour.

"I was playing in front of a crowd with not many people on my side," the 18-year-old Belgian said. "I was a little lucky when my opponent missed on one or two important points in the first set, but I hit the ball much better in the second set, and I fought very hard."

South stumbled on a key point in the first set when leading 3-4. At 30/30 on her serve, South lashed a high-bouncing ball on top of the net, and it then landed out. Wickmayer converted the resulting break-point.

The Belgian failed to convert four break-points in the sixth game of the second set, but utilised heavy running forehands to break through for 5-3 and close out the match.

Wickmayer next plays another surprise semi-finalist: 81st-ranked Bethanie Mattek, who beat third-seeded Nicole Vaidišová 6-3 6-0.

Trailing 3-5 in the first set, Vaidišová missed two break-chances and lost seven straight games.
<<<

South and Vaidišová wave goodbye to DFS Classic
http://www.lta.org.uk/News/All-news-...o-DFS-Classic/
>>>
Melanie South of Surrey and tournament No.3 seed Nicole Vaidišová waved goodbye to the DFS Classic on Friday, losing in their quarter-final matches.

American Bethanie Mattek overcame a 62 ranking-place deficit to overhaul Vaidišová, whom she'd lost to in their only previous meeting at Indian Wells 2007, claiming their contest 6-3 6-0.

Mattek took just 52 minutes to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Tour event, and was delighted with her result. "My game-plan was just to make her play every point," said the 23-year-old. "I knew she hadn't had a lot of wins recently, and I wanted to stop her taking the initiative out there, and to really be aggressive myself.

"I served well today, and stood in on my returns, and put her under a lot of pressure so that she eventually made mistakes."

This was Mattek's best performance on grass, having lost in the first round of Wimbledon in 2007, and the world No.81 said she hoped this was a sign of success to come.

"I love grass, and I think it suits my game because I like to play aggressively. There aren't many tournaments on grass, but it's fun to come and play here once a year; I really enjoy it."

Vaidišová was gracious in defeat, praising Mattek. "Bethanie played a great match," said the world No.19. "It wasn't a great match for me. I definitely had chances to come back and didn't take them. I was tired and sore, and nothing really worked as I wanted it to today. But at the end of the day, I played a better player."

World No.154 Melanie South put up a valiant fight in her quarter-final match against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium at the DFS Classic, falling 6-4 6-3. South, from Surrey, had her chances leading 4-2 lead in the first set. But Wickmayer's determination dragged her back into the match, and the world No.85 eventually ran out the winner.

After the match, South complimented the way Wickmayer had played. "She played a great match, and she's had some good wins here too this week, so she was very confident," said 22-year-old South. "I definitely had my chances, but I got a bit over excited on those points, and that's something I'm going to go away and work on."

And on the LTA's 'Think Pink' day, which encourages girls to play tennis, South had some advice for youngsters thinking about taking up the sport saying, "You have to be dedicated and motivated, but it's definitely a great game to play, so I think girls should just go for it."

The LTA's head-coach of women's tennis, Nigel Sears, was full of praise for South's performance. "Mel's got wildcards into Eastbourne and Wimbledon, and she really deserves those opportunities. Her ranking is on the rise, she's feeling very positive, and she will take away a lot of confidence for this week."

Belgian Wickmayer was proud of a win secured in challenging circumstances, saying, "I had a lot of obstacles to overcome today. This is my first tournament on my own as my father went home sick, it was my first time on Centre Court here, and I was playing in front of a crowd who weren't cheering for me. I think I dealt with everything very well."

No.12 seed Kateryna Bondarenko made a slow start against Petra Cetkovská, trailing 2-4 in their quarter-final before grinding out the match 7-6 (7/3) 6-2. Meanwhile, Marina Eraković put paid to hopes of an all-sister semi-final by beating No.5 seed Alyona Bondarenko 6-4 7-5.

Eraković held a match-point at 5-4 in the second set, but Bondarenko steadied to level the match at 5-5. However, the elder sister was unable to maintain her momentum, and a delighted Eraković avoided a tiebreak to close out the match.

"I think it was the best I've played all week," said the Croatian-born New Zealander. "It was up and down for both of us, but I managed to win the crucial games."

And she said she was looking forward to her semi-final - second on Centre Court on Saturday - saying, "I know Kateryna from my junior-days, and she plays similar to her sister, so it will be another tough match."

Saturday's first semi-final sees Wickmayer take on Mattek, with play scheduled to begin at 12pm - weather permitting. The world's No.1 doubles-pair - Cara Black and Liezel Huber - are also in action on day six of the tournament, playing the fourth match on Centre Court, facing Yaroslava Shvedova and Tamarine Tanasugarn.
<<<

Mattek Ousts Vaidišová; Bondarenkos One-For-Two
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2333
>>>
Three seeds were still alive as of the quarter-finals, but going into the semi-finals, just one will be left standing after Nicole Vaidišová and Alyona Bondarenko were both bundled out of the tournament by unseeded opponents. Kateryna Bondarenko made it through, however.

Third seed Vaidišová was the first to go, succumbing to unseeded Bethanie Mattek in just 52 minutes: 6-3 6-0. After top seed Marion Bartoli's second-round loss and Dinara Safina - who was to be the No.2 seed - pulling out of the event before it even started due to a low-back injury, Vaidišová was hoping to go all the way as the highest seed remaining as of the third round. But Mattek had other ideas, moving into her second career WTA Tour semi-final, after going this far at Cincinnati in 2005.

"I know she hasn't had a lot of wins recently, so I really just wanted to make her play every point, and on my end stay aggressive," Mattek said. "I was standing pretty close to the baseline and putting pressure on her, so even when I wasn't hitting it as hard as she was, she was forced into some mistakes. I came out with a game-plan, and I'm happy it worked today."

"I think Bethanie played a great match, but I didn't," said Vaidišová, who had lost six matches in a row prior to her first two wins this week in Birmingham. "It has been a good week, though. I think I just played a better player today than the ones I played earlier in the week, and I wasn't able to have the same result."

Mattek now has four top-twenty scalps to her name, having beaten then-No.19 Jelena Janković at Cincinnati in 2005, then-No.18 Flavia Pennetta at Los Angeles in 2006, then-No.13 Tatiana Golovin at Memphis this year, and now the current No.19.

In the last match of the day, fifth seed Alyona Bondarenko was sent packing by Marina Eraković 6-4 7-5. After the younger Eraković took a 6-4 4-2 lead, it appeared as though the more experienced Bondarenko was fighting back, winning the next three games to go up 5-4 on serve; but the New Zealander regrouped and ended up clinching the victory in straight sets anyway.

"It was a tough day today, but I think it was the best match I've played so far this week," Eraković said. "It was up and down for us both, but I was able to win the crucial games. Tomorrow I'll be playing her sister, and I know her well from the juniors, so it'll be another tough match."

Eraković is now through to her third semi-final of the year, having gone this far at her home event of Auckland and at Memphis.

In the other two quarter-finals, No.12 seed Kateryna Bondarenko came back from 2-4 down to win a tight first set, then cruised against Petra Cetkovská 7-6(3) 6-2 to reach her first career Tour singles semi-final; Yanina Wickmayer sent the last British player standing home, beating wildcard Melanie South 6-4 6-3.

"I had a lot of obstacles to overcome today: it's my first tournament on my own as my dad had to go home sick, and it was the first time on Centre Court here," Wickmayer said. "I had a crowd that wasn't cheering for me; I dealt with it well."
<<<

Getting To Know... Marina Eraković
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2334
>>>
It's been a compelling year so far on the WTA Tour, with some interesting movements in the rankings, and one player to keep an eye on for the future is Croatian-born New Zealand resident Marina Eraković.

The 20-year-old has had an impressive 2008, making her career début in the top 100 in March, and rising to a current career-high No.64. So far this year, Eraković has reached the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland – her first at Tour-level – and won ITF Women's Circuit events in Mildura, Australia and Surbiton, England, bringing her ITF career singles-title tally to nine.
Eraković's successes haven't gone unnoticed, and she has been tipped to be one of the next big things in women's tennis.

We caught up with Marina in Birmingham to talk about life on the Tour.

Q. What has been the key to your success this year?
A. I think the hard work I did last year and at the end of the year has meant I can relax more and enjoy my matches, which has helped me to secure more successes.

Q. How did you first get involved in tennis?
A. My dad got me into tennis. I first started playing recreationally when I was about five or six years old in Split, Croatia, and I would join my older sister on the tennis-court, and it just grew from there.

Q. Where were you born and raised?
A. I was born in Split in Croatia, but we moved away and I grew up in New Zealand. I love it there, and I've had such a lot of support from the New Zealanders. But I do go back to Croatia about once a year to visit family; I normally go after Wimbledon. It's nice to go back, and it's a good holiday-spot.

Q. Who were your tennis-heroes when you were growing up?
A. I've always admired Monica Seles. I loved the way she was always so focused and showed such determination; when I was growing up, I always wanted to be like that. I also liked Pete Sampras because he consistently won!

Q. What are the good and bad points of being a professional tennis-player?
A. I'm doing something I love; I get to see the world and meet new people. But the downside is that I'm always away from home; last year, I was away for nine months. And sometimes I wake up and I can't even remember which country I'm in!

Q. How do you cope with the language-barriers?
A. Well, I know former Yugoslavian as well as English, and other languages I just tend to pick up as I'm touring. In fact, friends on the Tour usually tell me the rude words. Also, hand-signals seem to go a long way!

Q. Who are your good friends on the Tour?
A. I know some friends from back in the junior-days; I generally spend time with Michaëlla Krajíček, Monica Niculescu, and I generally hang out with the Aussies.

Q. What's your favourite Tour-stop?
A. I don't just have one favourite; I like a few: the US Open in New York, Québec City, Bali, Auckland of course as it's near to home, and Wimbledon.

Q. What's the strangest thing that's happened to you on the Tour?
A. I've lost my bag twice, and both times I have ended up winning those tournaments! I found that very strange, especially the second time that it happened. It was annoying when I lost my bag in Beijing, though, as I never got it back, and it had all my nice clothes and my favourite possessions in it, too.

Q. Are you a very superstitious?
A. Not so much anymore. I always like to have a song in my head when I go on court, but it can be any song I've heard off the radio. When I was younger and I'd win a match, I'd make sure I'd wear the same top for the rest of my matches. It would be washed each time of course!

Q. If you could play any tennis-player, past or present, who would it be?
A. Well, since she was my hero growing up, I'd have to say Monica Seles. I just wonder what it's like to be on the other side of the net to her, and to see her determination. I'd also like to play against Martina Hingis: I liked her because she always played such a clever game; I'd like to know what it's like structuring a point against her.

Q. What are your goals for the future?
A. I'd like to break into the top 50. I also hope to play at the Olympics in Beijing; that would be amazing. Other than that, I just hope to keep playing and to stay healthy.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
__________________
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 Saturday

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

1. My photos
2. Semi-final: Wickmayer v Mattek
3. Semi-final: Eraković v K.Bondarenko
4. Doubles semi-final: Brémond/Ruano Pascual v King/Kudryavtseva
5. Doubles semi-final: Black/Huber v Shvedova/Tanasugarn
6. My close encounter with Yaroslava Shvedova!
7. Articles

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Saturday 14th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5317806-7e8

Saturday's players:

Yanina Wickmayer (44 photos)
Yaroslava Shvedova (39)
Séverine Brémond (39)
Kateryna Bondarenko (36)
Marina Eraković (34)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (26)
Virginia Ruano Pascual (24)
Bethanie Mattek (23)
Cara Black (22)
Liezel Huber (15)
MC Vicki Stone (11)
Alla Kudryavtseva (7)
Vania King (6)
Alyona Bondarenko (5)
umpire Eva Asderaki (5)

---------------------------------
2. Semi-final: Wickmayer v Mattek
---------------------------------

+ Yanina Wickmayer d. Bethanie Mattek, 7-5 7-6 (7/2)

Mattek was taking far more initiative than she did in beating Nicole Vaidišová in the quarter-finals; she was coming to the net and volleying well. But Wickmayer played better, and her good serve was probably what made the difference.

FIRST SET

Wickmayer, who had showed no sign of nerves in beating Michaëlla Krajíček and Melanie South in the previous two rounds, led *5-2 in the first set, but gave both breaks back to make it 5-5* - her first nerves of the week.

Wickmayer was lucky not to be defaulted when a return flew backwards off her racket and hit someone in the face. Indeed, she was lucky not to be facing a manslaughter-charge if that someone had happened to be a poor old biddy on the brink of the tomb!

SECOND SET

Mattek was lucky not to get a code-violation when she SAT DOWN at the change of ends leading *1-0 in the second set, while Wickmayer /did/ get a code-violation for hitting a ball over Stand D on being broken for 1-3*. Indeed, she was lucky not to be facing a manslaughter-charge if that ball had happened to hit a poor old biddy on the brink of the tomb!

Mattek led 4-1* after two long deuce-games, but it was Wickmayer's turn to come back in a set as she hit some great form.

Wickmayer hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner and a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner as she held for 2-4*. She hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner to start a long deuce-game that saw her break back for *3-4.

During that game, Wickmayer said something that began with "ceci" - "Ceci n'est pas une pipe?"

Wickmayer held to love for 4-4*, Mattek held for *4-5, and Wickmayer held for 5-5*.

Mattek serving 5-5: 15/30. Wickmayer off-forehand pass-winner. 15/40 (BP). Mattek crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Mattek's crosscourt forehand forced Wickmayer to hit a down-the-line forehand pass wide. 40/40... Deuce #2. Mattek hit a wild off-forehand wide. Ad Wickmayer (BP #3). Mattek took the initiative with a serve out wide, but hit a crosscourt forehand volley just wide.

Wickmayer serving 6-5: Two unforced errors. 0/30. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Mattek came to the net, forcing Wickmayer to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40. Serve out wide forced a defensive lob-return; Wickmayer hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 30/40. Wickmayer on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Wickmayer/Mattek):
{0/0*} Mattek netted a crosscourt backhand.
{*1/0} Mattek backhand very long.
{*2/0} Mattek forehand down the line just wide.
{3/0*} Mattek served & volleyed with a crosscourt forehand volley into the corner, but Wickmayer hit a superb lob-winner over Mattek's head.
{4/0*} Mattek ace down the middle.
{*4/1} Mattek netted a forehand.
{*5/1} Mattek backhand just wide.
{6/1*: MP #1} Serve out wide + backhand volley-winner into the open court.
{6/2*: MP #2} Mattek tried to serve & volley, but hit a forehand first volley long. Wickmayer won 7-5 7-6 (7/2).

Wickmayer's on-court interview: "I was up 4-1 a few weeks ago [I think she was referring to her win over Mattek in the final of ITF Indian Harbour Beach]. But I got it back together. I was better on important points."

--------------------------------------
3. Semi-final: Eraković v K.Bondarenko
--------------------------------------

- Marina Eraković lt. KATERYNA BONDARENKO [12], 3-6 2-6

A poor match, as Eraković - who had beaten Kateryna's sister Alyona in the previous round - was a bundle of nerves, and failed to find her form until 3-6 *1-5, when she did play one great game, saving a match-point.

But my abiding memory of Birmingham 2008 is Eraković's shout of "my goodness!" after a certain error towards the end of this match.

FIRST SET

Kateryna Bondarenko dominated the match from the start, outplaying Eraković with spreading rallies for a *4-0 lead. Eraković got one break back, and held for 2-4* with great serving. Bondarenko let 30/0 become 30/30 with two choky shots, but still managed to hold for 5-2*, prompting a shout of "NO!" from Eraković.

Eraković held for 3-5*, but couldn't stop Bondarenko serving out the first set to 30 - sealed with a service-winner. Eraković was so rattled that she went to the wrong end of the court after the set-break.

SECOND SET

With Eraković hitting predominantly sliced backhands, Bondarenko broke for *1-0 and held for 2-0* after a long and audibly frustrating return-game for Eraković. Eraković held for 1-2* with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline, but Bondarenko held and broke for *4-1.

Bondarenko serving 4-1: 15/30. Bondarenko hit a backhand dropshot-winner. 30/30. Eraković hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and shouted "my goodness!" 40/30. Eraković hit an off-forehand wide, and kicked her racket across the court.

Eraković serving 1-5: Eraković hit some hard forehands + dropshot + off-forehand pass-volley winner. 15/0. Bondarenko crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Eraković sprayed an off-forehand wide. 15/30. Bondarenko netted a forehand return. 30/30. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand virtual winner. 30/40 (MP #1). Eraković saved the match-point with two big crosscourt forehands + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/40. Bondarenko netted a forehand return. Ad Eraković. An amazing rally with them both at the net ended with Eraković hitting an off-forehand volley wide.

Bondarenko serving 5-2: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Bondarenko hit an off-backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Eraković forehand long. 30/15. Eraković netted a forehand return. 40/15 (MP #2). A long rally ended with Bondarenko running down a dropshot and netting a backhand. 40/30 (MP #3). Another long rally ended with Bondarenko hitting a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Eraković to earth a forehand. Bondarenko won 6-3 6-2.

Bondarenko's on-court interview: "I played my game. Yeah, for sure [it was revenge for Eraković beating Alyona]. She [Alyona] has helped me today."

Indeed, Alyona was sitting behind Kateryna's changeover-chair, just as Kateryna had sat behind Alyona's during Alyona's quarter-final loss to Eraković. But Alyona didn't come onto court to coach Kateryna as Kateryna had coached her during that quarter-final; Alyona just sat there wearing a hoodie, watching the ball go from side to side.

----------------------------------------------------------------
4. Doubles semi-final: Brémond/Ruano Pascual v King/Kudryavtseva
----------------------------------------------------------------

+ Séverine Brémond/Virginia Ruano Pascual d. Vania King/Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-4 4-6 [10/8]

The beautiful duo beat the not-so-beautiful but smiling duo, and only just beat the rain, as it was drizzling during the match-tiebreak, and the groundstaff were on standby to cover the courts. It got to 8/8 - a situation where whoever won the next point would have match-point.

--------------------------------------------------------
5. Doubles semi-final: Black/Huber v Shvedova/Tanasugarn
--------------------------------------------------------

+ CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER [1] d. Yaroslava Shvedova/Tamarine Tanasugarn, 5-7 6-4 [10/4]

That Saturday greatly boosted my opinion of Yaroslava Shvedova. Indeed, the sight of her running around a small green field for an hour or so, and frequently smiling, was probably the highlight of the day for me. Cara is cute, but I could hardly take my eyes off Yaroslava - a tall, leggy, brown-haired girl with a pretty face and a divine ponytail - all match.

In the match-tiebreak, Black/Huber led 8/0 before Shvedova/Tanasugarn got on the scoreboard - and they got a huge cheer when they did so. Then one thing led to another, and they won four points in a row before Black/Huber made an end of things after changing ends at 8/4. It's a shame I couldn't have seen Yaroslava in the final.

----------------------------------------------
6. My close encounter with Yaroslava Shvedova!
----------------------------------------------

When I returned to my hotel, with Yaroslava Shvedova on my mind after that doubles semi-final, the receptionist actually volunteered to me the information that she was staying in that very hotel!!! He said something like, "I'll console her for her loss when she comes in later."

It was only then that I realised I had almost certainly interacted with Yaroslava on Tuesday morning!!!

On Tuesday morning (I think), I was standing outside my hotel-room, about to go downstairs and out of the hotel, when a tall, leggy, brown-haired girl, wearing (I think) a skimpy shirt, shorts and flip-flops, walked past me in the corridor and went downstairs right in front of me.

So I followed her downstairs, and noticed that she had a tattoo on the back of her neck (as does Yaroslava, I realised on Saturday). Of course I didn't see her face, because she was walking away from me.

She went through the front door, and it closed and locked behind her. I went up to the front door (from the inside), and at that moment, she suddenly decided to come back into the hotel. I thought, "It must be okay to let her in, because she just came from this hotel," so I let her in as I went out, and she said, "Thanks."

Even then, I didn't see her face, so I had no idea who she was, and at the time, it didn't mean anything to me beyond the usual slight thrill of having interacted with an attractive girl.

But when the receptionist told me on Saturday evening that Yaroslava was staying there, I suddenly remembered that chance-encounter, and I was like, "Wow - it might have been her! It might actually have been her!"

And the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it really was her, and that I came closer that day to meeting a tennis-pro than I ever had before!! (depending on whether your definition of "meeting a tennis-pro" includes taking photos at close range, talking with their fathers as I did with Djambuli Chakvetadze at Eastbourne 2006, or them smiling at me at close range as Yuliana Fedak did at Birmingham 2007).

-----------
7. Articles
-----------

Bondarenko closes on first title (Eurosport/Reuters)
>>>
Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko beat Marina Eraković of New Zealand 6-3 6-2 to reach the final of the Edgbaston Classic, where she will face fellow WTA Tour final-débutante Yanina Wickmayer.

Bondarenko, the 12th seed, will battle it out with Wickmayer for the title after the Belgian recorded a 7-5 7-6 win over American Bethanie Mattek.

"It's my first final and I'm really excited," Wickmayer said. "I'm going to go out there and have some fun."

The 18-year-old Wickmayer has climbed more than 300 places in the world-rankings in the last 12 months. She would break into the top 60 with victory on Sunday.
<<<

Wickmayer, Bondarenko reach first WTA final in Birmingham (AP)
>>>
Yanina Wickmayer reached her first WTA Tour final, defeating Bethanie Mattek 7-5 7-6 (7/2) on Saturday at the DFS Classic: a Wimbledon warm-up.

The 18-year-old Belgian used a strong serve to overcome the 81st-ranked American. She will play 12th-seeded Kateryna Bondarenko, who also reached her first WTA final by beating Marina Eraković of New Zealand 6-3 6-2.

Wickmayer's win continued the momentum that has helped her climb more than 400 places in a year.

"I started the week pretty well, and have played better tennis every day," she said. "My strokes are getting better [on grass], and that gives me confidence."

Wickmayer led the first set 5-1, only for Mattek to rally to 5-5 by going to the net.

Wickmayer recovered to take the set, but then fell 1-4 behind in the second set. The Belgian again recovered, and pressured Mattek's serve to induce two double faults at deuce in the seventh game.

Wickmayer needed a tiebreak to win with some thunderous drives and one crushing topspin lob.

Bondarenko, the only seeded player left in the last four after a week of upsets, won eight out of nine of her service-games.

She took an early lead and dominated the match.

"This is the best I have played on grass," Bondarenko said. "But it's not my best performance. It has exceeded my expectations, and there will be no pressure for me in the final."
<<<

Wickmayer and Bondarenko to contest DFS Classic final
http://www.lta.org.uk/News/All-news-...Classic-final/
>>>
Yanina Wickmayer and Kateryna Bondarenko will both be making their first tilt at a WTA Tour title when they step on court for Sunday's DFS Classic singles-final.

Wickmayer secured her place in the final courtesy of a see-sawing match that saw the Belgian take a 5-2 lead in the first set courtesy of some erratic hitting by Bethanie Mattek, only for Wickmayer to go 'walkabout' and allow the American to level at 5-5.

Wickmayer managed to fight the shift in momentum and see out the set 7-5, but Mattek soon confirmed her resurgence by advancing to a 4-1 lead in the second.

Wickmayer has learned something about fightbacks this week, and she put that knowledge into practice: levelling the match at 4-4 before taking a 5-4 lead.

But Mattek, having found her feet on grass this week, was not about to fold without one final show of resistance, taking the match to a tiebreak. However, she was able to make little impression there, winning just two points to concede the match 7-5 7-6 (7/2) in one hour and 49 minutes.

Wickmayer, who beat two seeded players en route to the final, attributed her success this week to a renewed enjoyment of the game. "Sometimes I get too into playing and I forget about having fun on court," said the 18-year-old. "This week, I remembered how to have fun. I started the week playing pretty well, and I've played better every day. It's great preparation for the next couple of weeks."

While disappointed, Mattek praised her opponent, saying, "She came out on fire and played very well, and took every opportunity she was given."

In the final, Wickmayer takes on another first-time finalist: Kateryna Bondarenko, who avenged her sister's quarter-final loss to Marina Eraković in today's second semi-final.

The determined serve-volley tactics that had served Eraković so well during the week failed to make an impression on stoic baseliner Bondarenko: at 21 the younger of the Bondarenkos.

The No.12 seed took four straight games before allowing the New Zealander onto the scoreboard, claiming the first set 6-3.

Watched by sister Alyona, Kateryna made even quicker work of the second set, taking a 5-1 lead and allowing Eraković just one more game before securing her final-spot with a fist-pump and a cry of "yes". The scoreline: 6-3 6-2.

"I like the grass," said Bondarenko after the match. "It's nice to play here, and if I serve well, I have more chances to win. It's great to play in a final; I'm just excited to be there."

And Bondarenko sounded a warning for her younger opponent, saying: "I am playing much better than I have in previous years on grass, but I'm not playing the best I can play yet."

Tomorrow's final, which begins at 1pm, will be the second time Wickmayer and Bondarenko have faced each other - their last contest coming in Fed Cup earlier in the year on a clay-court.

On that occasion, Wickmayer ran out the winner 7-6(5) 6-1, however Bondarenko is the more highly-ranked opponent at No.69 in the world, and will be keen to claim a singles-title to add to the two WTA Tour titles she's amassed with her sister - including the Australian Open Women's Doubles title in January this year.
<<<

First-Time Finalists Meet for DFS Classic Singles-Title
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2337
>>>
Two of the game's rising stars have reached their very first WTA Tour singles-finals, as Kateryna Bondarenko and Yanina Wickmayer won their respective semi-finals in straight sets at the $200,000 DFS Classic in Birmingham on Saturday.

Bondarenko, at No.12 the only seed remaining as of the semi-final round, was a comprehensive 6-3 6-2 winner over Marina Eraković. Eraković had upset No.5 seed Alona Bondarenko in the quarter-finals, and was looking for the family-double on Saturday, but Kateryna was in no mood for letting that happen, reeling off the first four games of the match with the loss of just three points, and barely looking back during the 58-minute rout.

"I'm always sad when she loses, but that's tennis: one day you win, and one day you lose," Bondarenko said on her sister's loss the day before. "I wasn't really thinking of revenge, but I guess that's what happened today. But it's always nice to play here. It's easier for me to play on grass, because if you serve well, you have a better chance to win, and I've been serving well.

Wickmayer followed with a much tighter 7-5 7-6(2) victory over fellow unseeded player Bethanie Mattek. It was a see-saw affair with Wickmayer coming out on top both times: in the first set, she was up 5-1 before Mattek closed the gap, but Wickmayer closed it out anyway; in the second set, it was Mattek's turn to take the early lead, going ahead 4-1, but the Belgian rebounded to clinch it in straight sets.

"I've been playing better every day; this is a special surface, and the more you play on it, the better you get," Wickmayer said. "I pulled back a little bit when I was ahead, and she played aggressively to get back into it. We've had matches like this before. She can come back from behind by playing like this, but I know when things get close, I just have to hang in there to close it out."

Both Bondarenko and Wickmayer will be playing in their first-ever Tour singles-final, but for Bondarenko, it may have been a longer time coming. She has been playing on the Tour for a few years now, and had reached six quarter-finals previously but never went further; Wickmayer is playing in just her fourth career Tour main draw, and had never reached a quarter-final.

Wickmayer also won the pair's only prior encounter: in Fed Cup in February.

"I'm excited to play in the final against Yanina," Bondarenko said. "I think it'll be a different match to Fed Cup. I'll treat it just like any other match. That was on clay and this is on grass. And although I still don't feel like it's my best surface, I feel like I've been playing better on grass than I did in the years before. It's hard to get used to it, because it's such a short season."

"It's my first final on the Tour, and I'm so excited," Wickmayer said. "It's a big match, but we have big matches throughout our careers. A few years ago, the final of a $10,000 event was a big match. You grow. I'm one of the youngest players here, and so I'm really excited about having a chance to win the title."

Both doubles semi-finals were also played on Saturday. Top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber moved a step closer to another title with a 5-7 6-4 [10/4] match-tiebreak victory over Yaroslava Shvedova and Tamarine Tanasugarn; Séverine Brémond and Virginia Ruano Pascual beat Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva in the other semi-final in a match-tiebreak as well: 6-4 4-6 [10/8].
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
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Andrew's eyewitness reports & photos for Sunday

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

1. My photos
2. Final: Wickmayer v K.Bondarenko
3. Doubles-final: Black/Huber v Brémond/Ruano Pascual

------------
1. My photos
------------

Permission to copy my Birmingham photos is granted provided that:
(a) no money is exchanged;
(b) they are labelled as "Copyright 2008 Andrew Broad".
Please let me know if you do use them on another website.

I have uploaded all my photos for Sunday 15th June 2008, in one big zip-file, to:
http://www.divshare.com/download/5326914-2e8

Sunday's players:

Yanina Wickmayer (54 photos)
Kateryna Bondarenko (46)
Séverine Brémond (35)
Cara Black (26)
Virginia Ruano Pascual (21)
Alyona Bondarenko (19)
Liezel Huber (12)
umpire Eva Asderaki (6)
MC Vicki Stone (2)

----------------------------------
2. Final: Wickmayer v K.Bondarenko
----------------------------------

The name's Bondarenko...

+ KATERYNA BONDARENKO [12] d. Yanina Wickmayer, 7-6 (9/7) 3-6 7-6 (7/4)

An excellent match between two of the Tour's lesser lights, who were both appearing in their first WTA singles-final.

The first set went completely with serve, and even in the tiebreak, it was hard to separate the two players. Bondarenko had the first two set-points at *6/4, then Wickmayer had one at 7/6*, but three forehand errors later, it was Bondarenko who took the first set.

The second set began with three breaks, but after the second game, Wickmayer disappeared from my field of vision by the back fence at Stand D (in which I was sitting). Umpire Eva Asderaki asked, "Are you okay?", and so (I think) did Bondarenko.

Then, having broken again for *2-1, Wickmayer limped to the changeover clutching her right knee. Then, at 0/30, she asked for the trainer "after this game", and finally got to see her at the *3-2 changeover. After a very long evaluation-period with the trainer and a doctor, the 3-minute medical time-out began, and Wickmayer got her right knee strapped.

When play resumed, Wickmayer was screaming in pain and hobbling between points, but Bondarenko was afflicted by the wounded-tiger syndrome of playing an injured opponent, not only failing to break back but losing the second set on her serve at *3-5.

The third set contained the best tennis of the match, with Wickmayer moving freely again and hitting brilliant winners at times, while Bondarenko was solid, and has an impressive backhand. There were some great rallies that drew laughter from the crowd during them and loud applause after them.

Bondarenko led 2-0* and *3-2 with two separate breaks, but Wickmayer fought back from both those deficits, and from *3-3, the rest of the match went with serve to take us into a final-set tiebreak, which was tight until *3/4, then three Wickmayer forehand errors handed Bondarenko her first WTA singles-title.


First set
---------
BONDARENK _* * * * * *T 7(9)
WICKMAYER * * * * * *__ 6(7)

The match started on Centre Court at 13:04 BST.

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Bondarenko netted a backhand on the fourth stroke. 15/0. Bondarenko on the fourth stroke hit a forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/30. Bondarenko forehand just wide. 30/30. A long rally ended with Wickmayer hitting a forehand long; she hit a ball in anger. 30/40 (BP). Bondarenko netted a backhand. 40/40. Bondarenko sprayed a forehand return very long. Ad Wickmayer. Bondarenko hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #2. Forehand return wide. Ad Wickmayer. Ace out wide.

Bondarenko serving 0-1: Wickmayer netted a forehand off a short ball. 15/0. Wickmayer netted two more forehands. 40/0. Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Wickmayer serving 1-1: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a backhand. 15/30. Bondarenko long. 30/30. Wickmayer hit an error-forcing off-forehand just inside the sideline. 40/30. A long rally ended with Wickmayer pouncing on a short ball to hit a crosscourt backhand winner; she pumped her fist and said "c'mon".

Bondarenko serving 1-2: Second serve: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/0. Wickmayer sprayed a forehand wide. 30/0. Bondarenko netted a forehand. 30/15. Bondarenko hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Wickmayer. 40/15. Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand was called wide but overruled, so they played a let: Wickmayer punished a weak ball with a hard crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Wickmayer wasted a good serve out wide by netting a backhand dropshot on the third stroke. 40/40. Bondarenko off-backhand just wide. Ad Wickmayer (BP). She hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #2. Wickmayer crosscourt backhand wide. Ad Bondarenko. Wickmayer hit a forehand return-winner down Bondarenko's forehand-sideline. Deuce #3. Wickmayer netted a forehand. Ad Bondarenko. Wickmayer forehand long.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Bondarenko punished a poor dropshot with a down-the-line forehand winner onto the sideline. 0/15. Bondarenko punished Wickmayer's lack of depth with a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Serve + short-angled off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/30. Bondarenko's short-angled crosscourt backhand forced Wickmayer into error. 15/40 (BP #1). A short ball from Bondarenko invited Wickmayer to the net, where she hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/40 (BP #2). A long rally ended with Wickmayer saving the break-point with a crosscourt forehand-winner and a "c'mon". 40/40. Bondarenko hit a low crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Ad Bondarenko (BP #3). A meaty rally ended with Wickmayer hitting a crosscourt forehand winner; huge applause from the crowd. Deuce #2. Bondarenko dumped a forehand halfway up the net. Ad Wickmayer. Bondarenko netted a backhand.

No breaks so far, but they've both had break-points, including three for Bondarenko in that last game - Wickmayer saved them all with winners!

Bondarenko serving 2-3: Wickmayer netted a forehand return. 15/0. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/15. Wickmayer off-backhand winner. 15/30. Bondarenko hit a deep crosscourt forehand into the corner, forcing Wickmayer to hit a forehand wide. 30/30. Ace down the middle. 40/30. Wickmayer backhand long.

Wickmayer serving 3-3: Bondarenko forehand long. 15/0. Bondarenko mishit a late crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Wickmayer forehand wide. 15/30. Wickmayer hit a big serve out wide, and watched a backhand lob-return land just wide. 30/30. Bondarenko forehand very long. 40/30. Bondarenko down-the-line backhand just wide.

Bondarenko serving 3-4: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Backhand return long. 30/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/15. Quadruple fault! (second serve just long). 30/30. Bondarenko's deep approach forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 40/30. Virtual ace down the middle.

Wickmayer serving 4-4: She netted a forehand. 0/15. Bondarenko forehand just long. 15/15. Wickmayer backhand wide. 15/30. Service-winner out wide. 30/30. Bondarenko played a good spreading rally, until Wickmayer ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line! 40/30. Wickmayer went to the net: her forehand smash forced Bondarenko to net a backhand.

Bondarenko serving 4-5: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Wickmayer backhand lob long. 30/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Bondarenko hit a dropshot, but Wickmayer returned the favour with a backhand dropshot-winner! 40/15. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Serve out wide + backhand winner down the line.

It's windy now.

Wickmayer serving 5-5: Bondarenko backhand long. 15/0. Wickmayer down-the-line forehand + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Service-winner out wide: just inside the service-line. 40/0. Service-winner down the middle: Bondarenko's forehand return flew backwards into Stand D, where she had one very vocal fan!

Bondarenko serving 5-6: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Wickmayer dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 15/15. Bondarenko dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 15/30. Bondarenko's off-forehand forced Wickmayer to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Forehand return long. 40/30. Wickmayer netted a backhand.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Bondarenko/Wickmayer):
{0/0*} Bondarenko forehand long.
{*0/1} Wickmayer off-forehand winner.
{*1/1} Wickmayer netted an easy forehand smash.
{2/1*} Wickmayer hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand.
{2/2*} Wickmayer netted a backhand.
{*3/2} Wickmayer netted a backhand off Bondarenko's deep forehand on the baseline, which Wickmayer said was long.
{*4/2} Bondarenko service-winner out wide.
{5/2*} Wickmayer forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner.
{5/3*} Bondarenko crosscourt backhand long.
{*5/4} Wickmayer netted a forehand.
{*6/4: Bondarenko SP #1} Bondarenko's short second serve gave Wickmayer the initiative, and she went on to hit a crosscourt forehand winner.
{6/5*: Bondarenko SP #2} Bondarenko forced a floater from Wickmayer... and hit a wild forehand volley wide.
{6/6*} Wickmayer took the initiative with an off-forehand onto the baseline that was called long by the crowd, but Wickmayer kept her concentration to hit a backhand dropshot-winner.
{*6/7: Wickmayer SP #1} She wasted it by hitting a forehand wide.
{*7/7} Wickmayer netted a forehand.
{8/7*: Bondarenko SP #3} Wickmayer netted a forehand off a short ball from Bondarenko, who won the first set 7-6 (9/7) at 14:07 (1h03m).


Second set
----------
BONDARENK _@__* *__ 3
WICKMAYER @ @* * *@ 6

Bondarenko serving 0-0: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Wickmayer took the initiative and went to the net, forcing Bondarenko to hit a backhand pass wide. 15/30. Wickmayer punished a short ball with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40. Double fault (second serve into the net).

Wickmayer serving 1-0: Bondarenko's short-angled backhand forced Wickmayer to net a backhand. 0/15. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand + virtual backhand winner down the line. 0/30. Bondarenko's off-backhand return forced Wickmayer to net a forehand. 0/40. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand winner.

Bondarenko serving 1-1: Wickmayer suffered the nasty fall in which she injured her right knee, and Bondarenko netted a backhand. Wickmayer was down for quite a while; the umpire and (I think) Bondarenko asked her if she was okay. I couldn't see her, because she was right in front of the Stand-D fence; apparently she was in tears. 0/15. Wickmayer's crosscourt forehand caught the outside edge of the baseline, forcing Bondarenko to hit a forehand lob long. 0/30. Bondarenko hit a wild forehand wide and long. 0/40. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand wide.

Wickmayer limped to the changeover, clutching her right knee.

No breaks in the first set, but three in a row at the start of the second! A break to love is very surprising, given the nastiness of Wickmayer's fall - I think Bondarenko must have been distracted by that.

Wickmayer serving 2-1: Bondarenko, driven wide, hit a forehand winner down the line. 0/15. Wickmayer forehand long. She called for the trainer "after this game". 0/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). Wickmayer sank to her knees, clutching her right one. 0/40 (BP #1). Backhand return long. 15/40 (BP #2). Bondarenko off-backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #3). Wickmayer hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 40/40. Bondarenko hit an off-backhand into the corner, tried to hit another one back behind Wickmayer, but put it wide. Ad Wickmayer. Bondarenko pegged her back with an off-forehand winner. Deuce #2. Ace down the middle. Ad Wickmayer. Bondarenko ran down a dropshot, but put an off-forehand wide.

Another astonishing turn of events, Bondarenko wasting three break-points from 0/40! I can only think she's suffering from the wounded-tiger syndrome of playing an injured opponent.

Wickmayer took a medical time-out to get her right knee massaged. The doctor came on too. The actual three-minute time-out didn't start until after a very long evaluation. Wickmayer got her right knee strapped.

Bondarenko serving 1-3: Wickmayer down-the-line backhand long. 15/0. Ace. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. Wickmayer forehand long.

Wickmayer serving 3-2: Bondarenko hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 0/15. Wickmayer dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 0/30. Forehand return wide. 15/30. Forehand return long. Wickmayer screamed in pain. 30/30. Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/40. Bondarenko forehand long. Ad Wickmayer. Service-winner.

Again, Bondarenko seems unable to cope with playing an injured opponent, wasting a 0/30 opening while Wickmayer screamed in pain.

Bondarenko serving 2-4: She hit a backhand long, and yelled. 0/15. Wickmayer hit a backhand dropshot; Bondarenko ran it down but hit a forehand airshot! 0/30. Bondarenko hit an error-forcing off-forehand into the corner. 15/30. Serve + body-jamming backhand down the line forced Wickmayer to net a backhand. 30/30. Wickmayer backhand long. 40/30. Bondarenko hit a backhand long, and yelled again. 40/40. Wickmayer backhand just long. Ad Bondarenko. Serve out wide + off-backhand winner.

Bondarenko continues to suffer from wounded-tiger syndrome, but this time it's Wickmayer who wastes a 0/30 opening.

Wickmayer serving 4-3: She hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 0/15. A good serve forced a short return, which Wickmayer dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Bondarenko went to the net, forcing Wickmayer to hit a forehand wide. 15/30. Wickmayer went to the net, but her high-bouncing dropshot enabled Bondarenko to hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/40. Wickmayer forehand just long. Ad Bondarenko (BP #3). She netted a backhand. Deuce #2. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand virtual winner, but stumbled, her bad knee obviously hurting. Ad Wickmayer. Bondarenko netted a backhand.

One has to admire Wickmayer's grit, defying the pain to save those three break-points. The pain doesn't seem to have affected her game that much.

Bondarenko serving 3-5: Bondarenko on the third stroke dumped a forehand quarterway up the net. 0/15. Bondarenko on the third stroke netted a backhand, and yelled in Russian. 0/30. Virtual ace out wide. 15/30. Wickmayer's short-angled crosscourt backhand return forced Bondarenko to net a backhand. 15/40 (SP #1). Bondarenko forehand down the line wide. Wickmayer won the second set 6-3 at 14:56 (second set 49m including the lengthy injury-break; match so far 1h52m).


Third set
---------
BONDARENK @*__@__* * *T 7(7)
WICKMAYER __*@ @* * *__ 6(4)

Wickmayer came out early from the set-break. It was windy.

Wickmayer serving 0-0: Bondarenko netted a sliced forehand. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 15/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). Wickmayer muttered and shouted. 15/40. Bondarenko backhand long. 30/40. Double fault (second serve wide).

Three double faults in that game, and now Bondarenko's having to wait to serve while Wickmayer fiddles with her racket by the back fence.

Bondarenko serving 1-0: Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/0. Wickmayer's forehand clipped the netcord and landed just wide. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Bondarenko on the third stroke netted a forehand. 40/15. Service-winner out wide: on the sideline.

Wickmayer serving 0-2: Bondarenko netted a backhand. 15/0. Bondarenko crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Bondarenko off-backhand wide. 30/15. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 30/30. A deep ball from Wickmayer forced a floater from Bondarenko, which Wickmayer dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 40/30. Off-forehand return wide.

Bondarenko serving 2-1: Bondarenko netted a forehand volley. 0/15. A low bounce from Wickmayer forced Bondarenko to hit a forehand long. 0/30. Service-winner down the middle. 15/30. Wickmayer off-forehand winner. 15/40. Bondarenko netted a forehand.

Wickmayer serving 2-2: Wickmayer crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. A great rally ended with Wickmayer netting a forehand. 0/30. Bondarenko forehand long. 15/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Virtual ace out wide. 40/40. Wickmayer on the third stroke hit an off-backhand wide. Ad Bondarenko (BP #3). Wickmayer hit a backhand long, and threw her racket.

Bondarenko serving 3-2: Wickmayer crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand winner on the sideline. 0/30. Ace out wide. 15/30. Bondarenko hit a second serve onto the service-line(!), but Wickmayer later painted the sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Forehand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). Bondarenko saved it with a backhand winner down the line. 40/40. Bondarenko netted a forehand. Ad Wickmayer (BP #3). Bondarenko forehand long.

It's not every game that starts with four winners in a row!

Wickmayer serving 3-3: Serve + off-backhand winner. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 15/15. Wickmayer hit an error-forcing backhand down the line, back behind Bondarenko. 30/15. Crosscourt backhand return just wide. 40/15. Wickmayer, driven wide, netted a forehand. 40/30. Wickmayer hit a crosscourt backhand winner, and pumped her fist.

Bondarenko serving 3-4: Wickmayer netted a backhand. 15/0. Wickmayer netted a forehand. 30/0. Wickmayer hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Wickmayer down-the-line backhand wide.

Wickmayer serving 4-4: A very long rally, with Bondarenko grunting louder and louder, ended with Wickmayer dumping a forehand halfway up the net. 0/15. Bondarenko ran down a dropshot, but netted a forehand. 15/15. Bondarenko went to the net, but Wickmayer ripped a crosscourt backhand pass-winner that drew loud applause. 30/15. Wickmayer on the third stroke netted a forehand. 30/30. Bondarenko netted a backhand. 40/30. Forehand return wide.

Bondarenko serving 4-5: Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Bondarenko forehand wide. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Wickmayer netted a backhand. 40/15. Wickmayer crosscourt forehand just wide.

Wickmayer serving 5-5: Bondarenko forehand long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15. Forehand return long.

Bondarenko serving 5-6: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Bondarenko hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0. Wickmayer forehand winner down the line. 40/15. Wickmayer's mishit forehand turned into a very high lob that landed in, but Bondarenko dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner.

Not much pressure on Bondarenko in the two games in which she served to stay in the match.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Bondarenko/Wickmayer):
{0/0*} Bondarenko netted a backhand.
{*0/1} Wickmayer went to the net, but Bondarenko hit a forehand pass-winner down the line (I thought it was wide, but it was certainly Bondarenko who won the point).
{*1/1} Bondarenko crosscourt backhand just wide.
{1/2*} Wickmayer double fault (second serve very long).
{2/2*} Bondarenko went to the net, but Wickmayer ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line.
{*2/3} Wickmayer forehand return just wide.
{*3/3} Wickmayer crosscourt backhand just wide.
{4/3*} Wickmayer forehand long.
{5/3*} Bondarenko off-backhand wide.
{*5/4} Wickmayer dumped a forehand return into the net.
{*6/4: CP #1} Wickmayer netted a forehand. Bondarenko won 7-6 (9/7) 3-6 7-6 (7/4) at 15:52 (third set 56m, match 2h48m).

An erratic finish to an otherwise excellent match. Wickmayer didn't shake Eva Asderaki's hand, which is a shame because Asderaki is the cutest umpire I know, and had shown concern for Wickmayer when she had that nasty fall.


On-court interviews
-------------------

Kateryna Bondarenko: "Thank you. Sorry Yanina, but it was a tough match and well played. I'd like to thank the LTA, DFS, Sony Ericsson, my sponsor from Ukraine, my sister Alyona, and my family. She always supports me. I was a little bit nervous when I was losing my serve in the second set, but it's a game."

Yanina Wickmayer: "Not good [the injury]. I was fighting and trying, but I've never had that much pain on a tennis-court. I'd like to thank Sony Ericsson, the LTA and DFS. It's a great tournament. I'd like to thank Kateryna, although I'm not that happy that she won today! I had a lot of fun on the court today, even though I lost."


Articles
--------

Bondarenko earns first title at Birmingham (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Former Wimbledon junior-champion Kateryna Bondarenko claimed her first WTA Tour title after an epic duel with Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer in the final of the DFS Classic on Sunday.

The 12th seed from Ukraine needed two tiebreaks to gain a 7-6 (9/7) 3-6 7-6 (7/4) victory over Wickmayer, whose movement for most of the match was restricted due to a knee-injury.

Wickmayer, who found herself elevated to the top woman in Belgium following the shocking retirement of Justine Henin, battled all the way in her début in the Wimbledon-warmup tournament, ending up in an enthralling match that lasted 12 minutes short of three hours.

The 18-year-old picked up the injury in the second game of the second set, and needed a medical timeout before continuing in obvious discomfort.

The youngster Wickmayer, who has been dubbed the 'Belgian Sharapova' in her native country, tried to win as many points as possible on her big serve, but a tally of nine double faults proved costly.

The Ukrainian Bondarenko, who beat Ana Ivanović in the girl's final at Wimbledon 2004, won the Women's Doubles title at the Australian Open this year with older sister Alyona, but had never previously been past the quarter-finals of a singles-event.

Yet she always looked more secure on her own serve, with Wickmayer having to save three break-points in the fifth game of the first set, in which both players displayed superb defense.

With neither player managing to break serve, the first set went to a tiebreak, which proved just as close before Bondarenko managed to win the deciding point off Wickmayer's serve.

Wickmayer put the disappointment behind her to achieve the first break of the final in the opening game of the second set, but quickly lost the advantage.

After looking so solid on their serve in the first set, the first three games of the second set all went against serve - two of them to love - and Wickmayer was forced to save two more break-points to open up a 3-1 lead.

Wickmayer then soldiered on after treatment to her right knee, and twice broke her opponent to level the match.

It was a similar story in the third set, with four of the opening six games going against serve, before both players regained their touch to force another tiebreak.

The high standard was maintained right to the end, which came when Wickmayer put a forehand into the net on match-point.

Bondarenko earned $31,000 with the win.
<<<

Bondarenko claims 1st WTA singles-title (AP)
>>>
Kateryna Bondarenko claimed her first WTA Tour singles-title on Sunday with a 7-6 (9/7) 2-6 7-6 (7/4) victory over Yanina Wickmayer in the final of the DFS Classic.

Bondarenko, a 21-year-old Ukrainian who won the Australian Open doubles-championship with her sister Alyona, won a long battle of groundstrokes in the Wimbledon-warmup.

She escaped from set-point down in the first when Wickmayer pulled a forehand drive wide.

In the second set, Wickmayer broke down in tears after injuring her knee while playing a backhand from deep behind the baseline.

"I have never felt that much pain on a tennis-court before," said Wickmayer, an 18-year-old Belgian who was at a tournament on her own for the first time. "But I am not a quitter."

A trainer wrapped her knee during the 15-minute break that followed.

Though the injury diminished Wickmayer's court-coverage, and may have contributed to nine double faults, it forced her to attack with more groundstrokes.

She managed to hold the one-break advantage she had, and added a second break in the final game of the second set to level the match. But she couldn't hold off Bondarenko's rally in the final set.

"I tried to move her around all the time, but still she was running really well," Bondarenko said. "It's difficult but important to stay focused when you know your opponent is injured."

Bondarenko gained and then lost a break, but began moving the ball around to test Wickmayer's injury.

She also held serve at 4-5 and 5-6 - when the pressure was greatest - and pressured Wickmayer into overhitting a backhand in the deciding tiebreak.

That was enough for Bondarenko to close out the tiebreak 7/4 and to celebrate with her sister.

"I was shouting at Alyona sometimes," Bondarenko said of her older sister. "But she is used to it. She tells me what to do, and I yell at her: 'I am doing it.'"

Bondarenko, who won the Wimbledon Girls' Singles title four years ago - beating Ana Ivanović along the way - now hopes to do well in the senior-event starting on 23rd June, after playing in the Netherlands next week.

Wickmayer also hoped to play in the Dutch grass-court tournament, depending on how her knee recovered.

"I have never had a knee-injury before, so I have no idea what it is," she said.
<<<

Bondarenko captures maiden title in Birmingham (Reuters)
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Miles Evans)
>>>
Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko won her first WTA Tour title when she squeezed past Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 3-6 7-6 in the final of the Edgbaston Classic on Sunday.

Wickmayer, who injured her knee in the second set, battled for almost three hours before a forehand error on match-point cost her the match.

"It feels great. I finally have my own title," a jubilant Bondarenko, the 12th seed, was quoted as saying on the tournament's website <www.lta.org.uk>.

"I never expected it to be on grass. It was a really tough match. I think we both played really well. I just got lucky in the tiebreak."

Wickmayer, who has taken over the mantle as Belgian number-one following the surprise retirement of Justine Henin last month, blamed her defeat on her lack of experience, but hoped her injury would not ruin the rest of her grasscourt-season.

"She played better in the tiebreaks; she's older and she has more experience," said the 18-year-old.

"I'm not a quitter, but I am in a lot of pain. I've never hurt my knee before, so I have no idea what's wrong with it. I just know it hurts."
<<<

Bondarenko claims maiden-title at DFS Classic
http://www.lta.org.uk/News/All-news-...t-DFS-Classic/
>>>
Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine celebrated her first WTA Tour title when she beat Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (9/7) 3-6 7-6 (7/4) at the DFS Classic.

Birmingham tennis-fans were treated to a battle of ballistic backhands and fearsome forehands, with both girls bringing their attacking games to Centre Court.

The first set was a closely-fought affair, with both women unleashing a dazzling array of winners off their groundstrokes.

The resulting tiebreak was no less hotly contested, with Bondarenko edging the set nine points to seven.

Wickmayer was not about to let her first WTA Tour final slip away from her, though, and came out fighting in the second set, advancing to a 3-1 lead.

Leading 3-2, Wickmayer's charge was halted as she called for the tournament-doctor to attend to a knee-injury. Following a regulation injury time-out, the Belgian returned to the court with her right leg heavily strapped.

Bondarenko worked hard to take advantage of Wickmayer's incapacitation, moving the ball from corner to corner, much to the Belgian's frustration. But 18-year-old Wickmayer battled gallantly, her heavy serving leaving the younger Bondarenko-sister flailing at her returns.

Somehow Wickmayer held on, despite visibly limping between points, to extend the match to a deciding set.

Bondarenko took the end-of-set break to regroup, and came out firing at the beginning of the third set, taking a 2-0 lead. Wickmayer levelled at 2-2, with the pair then exchanging service-breaks to take the score to 3-3.

The set went with serve from there on in, taking to match to a well-justified deciding tiebreak. Again, the women stunned the crowd with the incredible power and depth of their groundstrokes.

In the end, it was a Wickmayer double fault and two loose forehands that awarded Bondarenko the prized Maud Watson trophy.

Bondarenko was emotional after the match saying, "It feels great. I finally have my own title; it's just great."

She said her opponent's injury had not affected her focus, even after losing the second set. "I was trying not to think about it, because when you think about it, you lose for sure.

"I tried to move her all the time, but she was still running well. I stayed focused and just tried to avoid stupid mistakes, and in the end, it worked."

Clearly disappointed, Wickmayer paid tribute to her opponent, saying, "She played better in the tiebreaks; she's older and she has more experience."

And Wickmayer said she hoped that the injury wouldn't affect the remainder of her grass-court campaign, saying: "I'm not a quitter, but I am in a lot of pain. I've never hurt my knee before, so I have no idea what's wrong with it. I just know it hurts."
<<<

Bondarenko Wins First Title in Birmingham
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2342
>>>
Before this week, Kateryna Bondarenko had an 0:6 record in quarter-finals. And facing a player in that round who had just notched her first top-ten win earlier in the week, many would have guessed that trend to continue. But she wasn't intimidated, and after prevailing in that match in straight sets, she went all the way to the title, capturing the DFS Classic with a riveting championship-win over newcomer Yanina Wickmayer on Sunday.

Bondarenko played her first main draws on the WTA Tour in 2003, and had since been to quarter-finals twice in 2005 (Memphis, Tashkent), once in 2006 (Tashkent), twice in 2007 (Doha, Stuttgart), and once earlier this year (Paris [Indoors]). After a pair of easy victories in the first and second round here, Bondarenko - the No.12 seed at the Tier III event - was pushed to the limit in the third round, but reached her seventh career quarter-final anyway with a 4-6 6-4 7-5 win against Melinda Czink.

Against Petra Cetkovská, things didn't look so great. Not only did she fall behind 2-4 in the first set, but Cetkovská has really been on a roll, reaching her first Grand Slam fourth round at Roland Garros, and taking out this event's top seed - Marion Bartoli - earlier in the week. But after a slow start, Bondarenko's power-game kicked into gear, taking her to a 7-6(3) 6-2 victory.

In her first career semi-final, she crushed Marina Eraković 6-3 6-2; Eraković had taken out sister Alyona - the No.5 seed this week - a day before in the quarter-finals.

On the other half of the draw, and playing in just her fourth career main draw on the Tour (all this year, and her best previous showing being the second round of Antwerp), Wickmayer was blazing a trail of her own, taking out a pair of seeds - Casey Dell'Acqua and Michaëlla Krajíček, the No.11 and No.8 seeds, respectively - as well as the last Brit standing: Melanie South - en route to her first Tour final.

The final, which lasted two hours and 48 minutes, went to Bondarenko in a third-set tiebreak: 7-6(7) 3-6 7-6(4). The two held tightly to their service-games in the first set, with four of four break-points slipping by; the tiebreak was a see-saw affair with Bondarenko going up 6/4, Wickmayer going up 7/6, then Bondarenko eventually closing it out 9/7.

Wickmayer earned a routine second-set win and, after a few exchanges of breaks early on, the match reverted to the first-set pattern again, with six straight holds leading to the deciding tiebreak, where the more experienced Ukrainian prevailed.

"It feels great - finally I have my own title!" said Bondarenko, who was being cheered on from the sidelines by Alyona. "I didn't expect my first one to come on grass. In the important points against Yanina, I was just trying to make as few mistakes as possible. I was trying to move her around, but she was still running very well, despite her injury. I'm hoping to do well at Wimbledon now, but I'm very focused on my next tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch."

"I think I played well; even though my knee hurt a lot, I kept on fighting," said Wickmayer, who injured her right knee badly in the second set, but continued the match - much to the delight and endearment of the crowd.

"I'm not a quitter. I've never had a knee-injury, and we'll have to look at it now and see what it is, but I'm hoping to still play in 's-Hertogenbosch and of course Wimbledon. My movement is really important for my game, so it's tough to play without it."

Bondarenko's biggest junior-achievement also came on grass, as she won the Wimbledon Girls' Singles title in 2004 (beating Shahar Pe'er in the quarter-finals, Krajíček in the semi-finals, and Ana Ivanović in the final).

Wickmayer was Belgium's No.2 just a few weeks ago when Justine Henin was still No.1 in the world; upon Henin taking immediate retirement and removing herself from the rankings, Wickmayer assumed the Belgian No.1 spot.

Just six of the 16 seeds that started out this week made it to their projected third-round berths, and only three of them made it to the quarter-finals: namely the Bondarenko-sisters and No.3 seed Nicole Vaidišová (who lost in that round to Bethanie Mattek). It was a typical first week on a new surface, as many of the favourites couldn't find their bearings just yet on the slick, low-bouncing surface.

Cara Black and Liezel Huber won their fourth Tour doubles-title of the year following the singles-final, taking out first-time pairing Séverine Brémond and Virginia Ruano Pascual in just 58 minutes: 6-2 6-1. They are now 4:2 in finals this season, also winning crowns at Antwerp, Dubai and Berlin; they are also an impressive 16:8 lifetime in finals, which includes 3:0 at Majors.
<<<

-----------------------------------------------------
3. Doubles-final: Black/Huber v Brémond/Ruano Pascual
-----------------------------------------------------

+ (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1] d. Séverine Brémond/Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-2 6-1

A one-sided doubles-match involving three attractive players in Séverine, Cara and Virginia. Liezel Huber is not to be confused with the cute Anke Huber of the 1990s - Liezel's maiden-name is Horn.

They used the no-ad scoring-system (at 40/40, the receiving pair choose whether the next point is played to the deuce-court or the ad-court, and whoever wins it wins the game), and had the match gone to three sets, they would have played a match-tiebreak (first to 10 points and leading by two clear points) instead of a proper third set.

Séverine and Cara were the players who received serve in the ad-court.


First set
---------
BLACK/HUBER * *@* *@ 6
BRÉMO/RUANO _*___*__ 2

The match started on Centre Court at 16:26 BST.

Huber serving 0-0: Double fault (second serve long). 0/15. Serve out wide + backhand dropshot-winner. 15/15. Virginia forehand winner down the line (I thought it was just wide, but she definitely won the point). 15/30. Service-winner out wide. 30/30. Cara backhand smash-winner. 40/30. Séverine crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 40/40. Séverine and Virginia chose to receive in the deuce-court, and Virginia hit a forehand lob just long.

Séverine serving 0-1: Cara off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Virginia on the third stroke hit a forehand smash-winner down the middle. 15/15. Séverine on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/30. Huber hit an error-forcing backhand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Séverine saved it with a beautiful crosscourt forehand lob-winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Cara backhand return long. 40/40 (BP #3). Black and Huber chose to receive from the deuce-court, and Séverine escaped with an ace out wide: on the sideline.

So the eventual 6-2 6-1 scoreline could have been even more lopsided, had Séverine not escaped from 15/40 there! :-o

Cara serving 1-1: Séverine backhand lob just long. 15/0. Séverine netted a forehand return. 30/0. Huber said, "Heh! Heh! Heh!" as she ran down a lob behind her, but Séverine put her out of her misery with an off-forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Virginia forehand lob-return long.

Virginia serving 1-2: Huber forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Cara netted a backhand volley. 15/15. Virginia netted a forehand. 15/30. Séverine forehand lob long. 15/40. Cara scored the first break with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner.

Huber serving 3-1: Huber netted an awkward body-jamming ball. 0/15. Séverine backhand return long. 15/15. Virginia crosscourt forehand wide. 30/15. Cara backhand volley-winner down the middle. 40/15. Cara forehand smash-winner.

Séverine serving 1-4: Huber forehand return long. 15/0. Cara's deep crosscourt backhand return forced Séverine to hit a forehand wide. 15/15. Virginia forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Cara netted a backhand return. 40/15. Huber backhand return long.

Cara serving 4-2: Séverine backhand lob wide. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Virginia's crosscourt forehand return clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 30/15. Cara netted a high forehand volley-winner. 30/30. A great rally ended with Virginia hitting a forehand volley long. 40/30. Séverine forehand lob long.

Virginia serving 2-5: Huber forehand return long. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Virginia forehand pass-winner down the middle. 30/15. Double fault (second serve wide). 30/30. Huber backhand drop-volley winner. 30/40 (SP #1). Huber backhand volley long. 40/40 (SP #2). Black and Huber chose to receive from the deuce-court, and Cara's forehand smash forced Virginia to hit a forehand lob that landed in the bottom of the net. Black/Huber won the first set 6-2 at 16:58 (32 minutes).


Second set
----------
BLACK/HUBER *@* *@* 6
BRÉMO/RUANO ___*___ 1

Huber serving 0-0: Virginia's down-the-line forehand pass induced Cara and Liezel to clash rackets. 0/15. Cara hit an error-forcing backhand volley. 15/15. Huber forehand smash-winner. 30/15. Cara on the third stroke hit a forehand volley-winner. 40/15. Virginia blasted a down-the-line forehand return very wide.

Séverine serving 0-1: Séverine netted a forehand pass. 0/15. Huber forehand volley-winner down the middle. 0/30. Virtual ace down the middle. 15/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/40. Cara on the fourth stroke hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle.

Cara serving 2-0: Séverine and Virginia dominated the point at the net, and Virginia hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Cara forehand volley long. 15/30. Cara and Liezel dominated the point at the net; Séverine backhand pass very long. 30/30. Cara netted a backhand volley on the third stroke. 30/40 (BP #1). Séverine ran down a dropshot, but netted a forehand. 40/40 (BP #2). Séverine and Virginia chose to receive from the deuce-court, and Séverine hit a forehand pass long.

Virginia serving 0-3: Cara forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Huber backhand return long. 15/15. Séverine hit an error-forcing backhand drop-volley. 30/15. Virginia crosscourt forehand lob-winner. 40/15. Virginia off-forehand lob-winner.

Huber serving 3-1: Huber down-the-line forehand volley + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Séverine netted a backhand return. 30/0. Cara netted a forehand volley on the third stroke. 30/15. Service-winner out wide caught the outside edge of the service-line. 40/15. Virginia hit a crosscourt forehand long, and said "adios".

Séverine serving 1-4: Huber forehand return just long. 15/0. Virginia forehand smash-winner. 30/0. Séverine off-forehand wide and long. 30/15. Virginia netted a high forehand volley. 30/30. Virginia off-forehand volley-winner. 40/30. Séverine dumped a forehand into the net off a short ball. 40/40. Black and Huber chose to receive from the deuce-court, and Cara broke with a high off-forehand volley-winner.

Cara serving 5-1: Huber off-forehand volley-winner down the middle. 15/0. Serve + Huber crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/0. Virginia forehand very long. 40/0 (CP #1). Huber off-forehand volley-winner. Black/Huber won 6-2 6-1 at 17:25 (second set 27 minutes, match 59 minutes).


On-court interviews
-------------------

Séverine Brémond: "It was a great first week anyway, playing with Virginia."
Virginia Ruano Pascual: "We won first round, then went through the tournament."

Cara Black: "It's a great year. The DFS Classic is great practice for Wimbledon."
Liezel Huber: "Tough opponents, great weather."
Cara Black: "Liezel bosses me around, so that's why."
Liezel Huber: "Virginia is always giggling. Just have fun out there."


Article
-------

World No.1s, Spanish Duo Win Birmingham, Barcelona
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...ContentID=2344
>>>
For one top-seeded team it was a dream, and for the other it was a nightmare, as the doubles-finals in Birmingham and Barcelona took place over the weekend. At the end of the day, Cara Black and Liezel Huber won their 16th WTA Tour title together, while Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Arantxa Parra Santonja won their second.

At the Tier III DFS Classic in Birmingham, top seeds and co-world No.1s Black and Huber were barely tested, losing their only set of the week in the semi-finals to the unseeded pair of Yaroslava Shvedova and Tamarine Tanasugarn.

In the final, they pulled off a 6-2 6-1 rout in less than an hour against first-time pairing Séverine Brémond and Virginia Ruano Pascual, who ousted No.2 seeds Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round. Black and Huber walked away with their fourth title of the year (following Tier II triumphs at Antwerp and Dubai, and a Tier I crown at Berlin) and the 16th of their illustrious partnership.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
(see profile or signature for links)
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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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