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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #16
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Full Women's Doubles third-round TV-report

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay in getting back to my full TV-reports on Vera’s Wimbledon 2010 campaign. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, but I hope to finish my Wimbledon 2010 reports before the French Open 2012 begins.

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Women's Doubles: Third-round TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Benešová/Záhlavová Strýcová (Tuesday 29th June 2010)
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+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (IVETA BENEŠOVÁ/BARBORA ZÁHLAVOVÁ STRÝCOVÁ)[12], 6-3 6-2

I saw this match on BBC Red Button. Less spectacular than Vera's first-round Mixed Doubles win on the preceding Friday, this was a solid win over the Czech pair, of whom Iveta did not play well. The Russians went through the match unbroken, scoring one break late in the first set, and two more early in the second.


First set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA *_*_*_*@* 6
BENEŠOV/ZÁHLAVO _*_*_*___ 3

The match started at 16:51 BST. Vera and Barbora were the ones receiving in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Vesnina serving 0-0: Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 15/0. Barbora's deep crosscourt backhand induced Elena to hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/15. Body-jamming first serve induced Iveta to bunt an off-forehand return wide. 30/15. Vera on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Iveta netted a backhand. Held.

Benešová serving 0-1: Elena's deep crosscourt forehand return forced Iveta to mishit a backhand wide. 0/15. Barbora hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Elena's deep crosscourt forehand forced Iveta to net a backhand. 15/30. Vera's deep off-forehand forced Iveta to mishit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Barbora intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner at Elena's feet. 30/40 (BP #2). Barbora off-backhand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Vera netted a backhand off an awkward low ball. Ad Benešová (GP #1). Vera backhand return long. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 1-1: Iveta forehand long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: Barbora hit a searing crosscourt forehand return-winner past Elena at the net. 15/15. Second serve... the Red Button stream that was showing this match suddenly cut out, and I couldn't get it back again for 12 minutes (until 3-2*). 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #1). Held.

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

Vesnina serving 2-2: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Vesnina (GP #1). Held.

Benešová serving 2-3: Barbora crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Vera did well to retrieve Barbora's thunderous off-forehand smash, but Elena netted an easy forehand, and emitted a cute little high-pitched shriek. 30/0. Iveta got away with a short second serve, as Elena mishit a backhand lob-return just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Iveta backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #2). Iveta off-backhand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Barbora on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 3-3: Deep, body-jamming first serve out wide forced Iveta to earth a backhand return. 15/0. Second serve... Vera's crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and fell short, forcing Barbora to run way outside the tramlines to hit a crosscourt backhand; Vera hit an inch-perfect backhand lob-winner over Iveta at the net - much as Barbora tried to run it down. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Iveta to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Elena went after a ball that should have been Vera's, and netted a backhand - not good communication there. 40/30 (GP #3). First serve out wide forced a short, high-bouncing return, which Vera dispatched with a forehand smash-winner down the middle. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 3-4 (new balls): Barbora netted a forehand, and threw her racket. 0/15. First serve out wide + Barbora crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Barbora's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand lob long. 30/30. First serve: Elena netted a makeable backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Iveta mishit a forehand smash long. Deuce #1. A rather awkward lob from Vera induced Iveta to hit a high off-backhand drive-volley long. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #1). Barbora on the third stroke netted a backhand volley. Broken.

Vesnina serving 5-3: Vera dispatched a lob-return with a backhand smash-winner. 15/0. Barbora backhand just long. 30/0. Iveta hit a forehand long - over Vera at the net. 40/0 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Second serve: Barbora's sliced off-forehand return induced Elena to spray a backhand VERY long. 40/15 (SP #2 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Elena's acute crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord, inducing Iveta to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide - a very late call. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won the first set 6-3 at 17:29 BST (38m).


Second set
----------
ZVONARË/VESNINA @*@*_*_* 6
BENEŠOV/ZÁHLAVO ____*_*_ 2

Benešová serving 0-0: Iveta on the third stroke netted a backhand. 0/15. Vera went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/30. Iveta on the third stroke netted a backhand. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera on the fourth stroke hit a deep forehand winner just inside the baseline. Held.

Vesnina serving 1-0: Ace down the middle: 85 mph, on the centre-line. 15/0. After an exchange of lobs, Iveta's off-forehand forced Elena to run right and hit a forehand down the line (accompanied by a shout of "aya"), which Barbora picked off with a lunging backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. A deep, body-jamming return forced Elena to net a backhand. 15/30. Elena, on the third stroke, sprayed a loose crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera used the ‘I’ formation; big first serve down the middle forced Iveta to bunt a very short return, which Vera punished with a hard off-forehand that caught Barbora in no-man's-land, forcing her to earth a forehand half-volley. 30/40 (BP #2). Barbora dumped a forehand volley into the bottom of the net. Deuce #1. Barbora netted a backhand. Ad Vesnina (GP #1). Barbora hit a backhand just long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-2: Elena netted a backhand return. 15/0. Barbora went to the net and hit a backhand volley just long. 15/15. Barbora's deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net a forehand. 30/15. Vera's backhand lob-return forced Iveta to retreat into no-man's-land, where she netted a forehand volley three strokes later. 30/30. Barbora hit a forehand volley long. 40/30 (BP #1). Elena intercepted to hit a stinging backhand volley-winner down the middle. Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 3-0: Elena hit an off-forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Vera backhand long. 15/15. Iveta mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle - just inside the centre-line - forced Barbora to lunge wide and earth a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide induced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Benešová serving 0-4: Vera forehand long. 15/0. Iveta on the third stroke hit a backhand long, and moaned. 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle (Elena just clipped it with her racket). 30/15. Vera's deep return forced Iveta to hit a backhand long; she emitted another moan. 30/30. Barbora intercepted to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #1. Vera crouched down at the net as she picked off Iveta's dipping crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the line. Ad Vera (BP #1). Ace #2: 100 mph, down the middle. Deuce #2. Elena netted a forehand. Ad Iveta (GP #2). Iveta's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to net a forehand. Held.

Vesnina serving 4-1: Deep first serve forced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Barbora hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Elena backhand long. 15/30. Vera on the third stroke hit a high off-forehand drive-volley winner. 30/30. Body-jamming first serve out wide forced Iveta to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Barbora to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-5: Body-jamming serve forced Elena to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. The Russians wasted a challenge. 15/0. Barbora bisected the Russians with an off-forehand smash-winner. 30/0. First serve out wide drove Elena outside the tramlines, but she used the angle for a spectacular short-angled crosscourt forehand return-winner. 30/15. Iveta's off-forehand smash on the third stroke forced Elena to bunt a
forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve right into Elena's hitting-zone: she hit a laser-like short-angled off-backhand return-winner just inside the sideline. She celebrated with a big smile and a fist-pump. 40/30 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle: Vera almost hit a spectacular off-forehand return-winner onto the sideline, but it was just wide. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 5-2 (new balls): Deep first serve induced Iveta to hit a forehand return just long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Barbora to net a backhand return. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Iveta to hit a backhand return long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Second-serve let. Barbora hit a good, deep off-forehand return, but Vera hit a pinpoint backhand lob-winner over the head of Iveta, who surprisingly made no effort to run it down. BBC commentator Matt Chilton: "And that is right in the corner. I think it was more of a mishit than a deliberate lob." Zvonarëva/Vesnina won 6-3 6-2 at 18:01 BST (second set 31m, match 1h10m).

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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 07:56 AM   #17
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Re: Wimbledon 2010: Andrew's TV-reports (full Women's Doubles third round added)

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Old Mar 18th, 2012, 12:09 AM   #18
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Full Women's Doubles quarter-final TV-report

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================-------------------------------------------------------
Women's Doubles: Quarter-final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Williams×2 (Wednesday 30th June 2010)
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+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[1], 3-6 6-3 6-4

Vera and Elena put up an amazing performance to hand the Williams sisters their first doubles-loss of 2010. Some people said that this was an even bigger shock than Venus losing to Tsvetana Pironkova in the singles, because many expected the Williams sisters to win a calendar-year Grand Slam in Women's Doubles.

Indeed, the Williams sisters started the match looking like they could dominate doubles for decades to come, as they combined one sister's big serve with the other's intimidating presence at the net. They won the first set by virtue of a break of Vera's serve in the fourth game.

But the Russians executed great tactics in the second and third sets, such as using the ‘I’ formation on their first serves to keep the Williamses guessing, and intercepting the Williamses' crosscourt shots to hit winning volleys down the middle.

In the second set, the Russians saved a break-point against Vera at *1-1 (30/40), and another three against Elena at *2-2 (30/40 + Ad×2). They then broke Venus for a *4-2 lead, and went on to win the second set by holding serve.

In the third set, Elena faced break-point at *0-1 (30/40), but saved it with an ace down the middle. Then Elena broke Serena for *2-1 with the shot of the match: a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner!

Elena hit a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt to save break-back point against Vera at 1:1 *2-1 (30/40). The rest of the match went with serve, and it was Elena who had the honour of serving it out at *5-4.


First set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA _*___*_*_ 3
WILLIAM/WILLIAM *_*@*_*_* 6

The BBC commentators said that the Williams sisters were virtually invincible in doubles these days, as they have huge serves and groundstrokes, and have improved their movement and positioning.

The match was first on Court 2, and started at 12:15 BST. Vera and Venus were the ones who received serve in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Venus serving 0-0: First serve out wide: Elena netted a backhand return. 15/0. Serena intercepted Vera's crosscourt backhand to hit an off-backhand punch-volley winner. 30/0. Venus on the third stroke netted a forehand. 30/15. Vera netted a forehand under pressure from the Williamses at the net. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, inducing Venus to net a forehand. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera bunted a defensive forehand lob just long off a forehand smash from Serena. Held.

Elena serving 0-1: Venus backhand long. 15/0. Serena's forehand volley induced Vera to earth a backhand volley. 15/15. Elena's deep crosscourt forehand induced Serena to mishit a crosscourt forehand lob wide and long. 30/15. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Venus hit a high backhand volley crosscourt into Vera's midriff, but she picked off an amazing backhand drop-volley winner! Held.

BBC commentator Tracy Austin: "So Vesnina playing the new style of doubles, where they serve and stay back, really rely on those powerful groundstrokes. Zvonarëva going with the ‘I’ formation, making Venus Williams /guess/ which way she's gonna go. Shows good respect for the returner."

Serena serving 1-1: First serve out wide forced a short return; Serena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vesnina to lunge and earth a backhand. 15/0. Serena bisected the Russians with a forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. Virtual ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short floater, which Serena dispatched with an easy little forehand smash-winner. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Serena hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand lob onto the outer sideline, forcing Vera to earth a backhand lob. 0/15. Elena's half-volley backhand lob forced Venus to retreat and hoist a defensive lob, which Vera dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Serena's deep crosscourt forehand return induced Vera to hit a forehand lob long. 15/30. Serena forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Elena on the third stroke intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand return - only to net a forehand volley. Broken.

The Russians are serving and staying back.

Venus serving 3-1: Sliced second serve out wide to the sideline forced Elena to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 15/0. First serve out wide + Serena crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/0. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand into Venus's body at the net, forcing her to net a backhand volley. Vera apologised, although it was a perfectly legitimate shot. 30/15. Serena forced a short floater, and hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Venus went to the net, but Elena hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Elena hit an off-backhand volley at Serena's feet, but Serena picked off a crosscourt forehand reflex-volley winner. Held.

Elena serving 1-4: First serve: Serena hit a makeable backhand return just long. 15/0. Venus backhand volley long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide induced Serena to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera played the ‘I’ formation, leaping up to hit an off-forehand volley-winner on the third stroke. Held.

Serena serving 4-2: Venus bisected the Russians with an easy backhand volley-winner down the line. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide: Vera bunted a backhand return just long. 30/0. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Virtual ace down the middle (Vera stretched wide and clipped it with her racket). Held.

It's very tough to break the Williams sisters in doubles, because they both have huge serves, and the other one is waiting at the net.

Vera serving 2-5 (new balls): Elena used the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley that induced Serena to hit a forehand just long. 15/0. Vera went for a body-jamming serve, but Venus sidestepped to hit an off-forehand return-winner. 15/15. Serena on the third stroke hit an off-forehand volley-winner into Elena's body. 15/30. Venus netted a backhand. 30/30. Elena called "mine" (or whatever they say in Russian) to take a skyscraper-lob, but hit a wild forehand smash long. 30/40 (SP #1 for Williams/Williams). Second serve: Venus hit a forehand return long. Deuce #1. First serve down the middle induced Serena to hit a backhand return long. Ad Vera (GP #1). Elena used the ‘I’ formation to hit an acute-angled crosscourt forehand volley-winner on the third stroke. Held.

Venus serving 5-3: Second serve: Elena hit a penetrating forehand return + deep off-backhand, forcing Venus to net a forehand. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/30. Elena went to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, but Venus's crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and curved into Elena's body, forcing her to hit a powderpuff backhand volley (accompanied by a Kvitová-esque bark), which Serena dispatched with an easy forehand smash-winner down the middle. 15/30. Deep second serve down the middle forced Vera to lunge wide and mishit an off-forehand return wide. 30/30. Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 40/30 (SP #2 for Williams/Williams). Elena's off-backhand volley into Serena's body forced Serena to net a backhand volley. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + Serena off-forehand volley-winner. Ad Venus (SP #3 for Williams/Williams). Serena hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Williams/Williams won the first set 6-3 at 12:47 BST (31m).


Second set
----------
ZVONARË/VESNINA *_*_*@*_* 6
WILLIAM/WILLIAM _*_*___*_ 3

Elena serving 0-0: Elena played a dynamic point, going to the net behind a deep crosscourt backhand to force a weak backhand lob from Serena, which Elena dispatched with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Elena joined Vera at the net, but hit a wild crosscourt forehand volley wide. 15/15. Elena hit forehand long, and waved her hand with a look of frustration on her face. 15/30. Vera used the ‘I’ formation to hit a cute off-forehand drop-volley, forcing Venus to net a backhand lob. 30/30. First serve down the middle - on the centre-line - forced Serena to lunge wide and earth a one-handed backhand lob-return. 40/30 (GP #1). With Vera trying the ‘I’ formation again, Venus netted a backhand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: "Vesnina with an interesting grunt: it's like a karate sound: ‘Aya!’"

Venus serving 0-1: Vera intercepted on the fourth stroke to hit an off-forehand volley-winner. Tracy Austin: "A really terrific return from Vesnina - so far in the tramline that it really opened up the court. Terrific angle." 0/15. Huge first serve out wide forced a floater, which Serena dispatched with a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Venus forehand long. 15/30. In a spectacular point, Elena retrieved Venus's deep crosscourt backhand volley with a half-volley backhand lob; Serena hit a crosscourt forehand smash, which Elena ran outside the tramlines to retrieve with a forehand, but Venus buried it with a high backhand volley-winner crosscourt at a very short, acute angle. 30/30. Elena off-backhand return wide. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle: Vera hit a makeable off-forehand return long. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: First serve down the middle induced Serena to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Serena on the fourth stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/15. Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley onto the sideline: called wide. The Russians challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it was wide by about 2% of the breadth of the sideline! 15/30. Serena moved left at the net too early, and Vera was quick to take advantage with a crosscourt forehand winner - she adjusted mid-shot! 30/30. Serena hit a forehand smash at Elena's feet, forcing her to bunt a backhand lob that actually landed behind her. 30/40 (BP #1). Virtual ace: deep first serve down the middle, on the service-line - Venus just brushed it with her racket. Deuce #1. Elena intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand return to hit a forehand volley-winner that missed Venus by a few centimetres. Ad Vera (GP #1). Serena hit a crosscourt forehand wide, and emitted a cute little squeal. Held.

Serena serving 1-2: Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 15/0. Ace out wide: on the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Serena tried to serve and volley, but Vera's crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand volley. 40/15 (GP #2). Elena on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. Held.

Tracy Austin: "Serena and Venus are on cruise-control; Zvonarëva and Vesnina are at full speed."

Elena serving 2-2: Elena forehand volley long. 0/15. Venus backhand just long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Venus to stretch wide and hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Serena's body-jamming crosscourt forehand volley forced Vera to earth a backhand volley. 30/30. Serena hit a forehand volley into Vera's body, forcing her to net a forehand volley. 30/40 (BP #1). Venus hit an off-forehand wide, accompanied by a lingering groan. Deuce #1. Serena forced a floater, and dispatched it with a forehand volley-winner. Ad Venus (BP #2). Elena's forehand volley into Venus's body forced Venus to net a forehand volley. Deuce #2. Standing close to her right sideline to serve, Elena hit a terrific second serve out wide - just inside the sideline - forcing Serena to run outside the tramlines and hit a down-the-line forehand return would-be winner that was wide by a whisker. Ad Elena (GP #1). First serve: Venus hit a backhand return-winner down the Russians' right sideline. Deuce #3. Serena crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Venus (BP #3). Elena hit an off-backhand winner plumb on the sideline. Deuce #4. Serena on the fourth stroke sprayed a wild forehand long. Ad Elena (GP #2). In a delightful rally, the Williams sisters made Elena hit a sequence of groundstrokes, her karate-grunt getting ever higher pitched; then Vera took over with a delicate backhand lob; Serena drilled a high backhand drive-volley at Vera's feet, but she picked off an amazing off-backhand half-volley winner onto the sideline! (it was called wide by the line-judge, but the umpire overruled it as good, and awarded the point to the Russians without a replay). Held.

Venus serving 2-3: Elena bisected the Williamses with a backhand winner down the middle. 0/15. Second-serve let... Elena's backhand drop-volley forced Serena to run left (parallel to the net) and bunt a one-handed off-backhand wide. 0/30. Serena netted a forehand. Mark Petchey: "I think they've got into Venus and Serena's heads a little bit - they're not quite sure where to go." 0/40 (BP #1). Vera backhand long. 15/40 (BP #2). Deep first serve down the middle induced Elena to net a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #3). Double fault (second serve into the net). Broken.

Tracy Austin: "Zvonarëva's been very good from the back court, and Vesnina has /moved/ particularly well: covering the middle, intercepting balls, excellent racket-work at the net."

Vera serving 4-2: Ace #1: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/0. Vera took the initiative with some good deep groundstrokes, and went to hit a backhand volley, but Elena barged in front of her and netted a forehand volley. 15/15. First serve out wide induced Serena to hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Elena used the ‘I’ formation to jump up and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena intercepted Serena's crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner straight down the middle. Held.

Mark Petchey: "That ‘I’ formation has been very effective against the Williamses today."
Tracy Austin: "It's really disrupting their returns of serve."
Mark Petchey: "They've come out with a strategy, and are executing it well. We saw how well Vesnina moved, but Serena is unsure where to go."
Tracy Austin: "It takes a set to get used to the power of the Williams sisters, but now they've adjusted."

Serena serving 2-5 (new balls): Ace down the middle. 15/0. First serve out wide - deep in the corner - forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob-return wide. 30/0. Elena hit a pinpoint forehand pass-winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/15. Serena stepped in to hit an early backhand winner down the line. 40/15 (GP #1). Elena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Serena to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve + Venus forehand smash + Venus backhand drive-volley winner down the middle. Held.

Elena serving 5-3: Elena's deep crosscourt forehand forced Serena to hit a short lob, which Vera dispatched with an easy crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Vera backhand just long. 30/15. Elena ran down a dropshot and hit a nifty little one-handed backhand winner down the line. 40/15 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Vera stretched wide to hit a crosscourt forehand volley that landed at Venus's feet, forcing her to hit a forehand half-volley long. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won the second set 6-3 at 13:30 BST (second set 44m, match so far 1h15m).


Third set
---------
ZVONARË/VESNINA _*@*_*_*_* 6
WILLIAM/WILLIAM *___*_*_*_ 4

Venus serving 0-0: Deep first serve out wide induced Elena to net a forehand return. 15/0. Body-jamming second serve: Vera hit a pinpoint short-angled off-forehand return-winner just inside the outer sideline! 15/15. Ace #7: out wide: just inside the sideline. 30/15. Serena on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. Held.

It's interesting that Elena has served first for the Russians in every set, even though she served last in the second set.

Elena serving 0-1: Vera on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. Serena's backhand volley rushed Vera into hitting an off-forehand wide. 0/30. First serve down the middle: Serena backhand return long. 15/30. Second serve out wide: Venus hit a cheap off-forehand return just long. 30/30. Vera tried to intercept Venus's crosscourt forehand return, but netted a forehand and sank to her knees. 30/40 (BP #1). Ace down the middle. Deuce #1. Deep first serve down the middle + ‘I’ formation induced Venus to hit a forehand long. Ad Elena (GP #1). Serena crosscourt forehand pass-volley winner. Deuce #2. Body-jamming first serve down the middle forced Serena to net a backhand return. Ad Elena (GP #2). Venus backhand return long.

Vera is now using the ‘I’ formation on every first serve of Elena's, the regular formation on the second serve (which lacks the penetration to give her the time to jump up). The Williams sisters are getting increasingly frustrated.

Serena serving 1-1: Vera's lob forced Venus to run backwards and hit a short forehand smash with her back to the net, which sat up nicely for Elena to hit an off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Elena hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Serena to net a forehand. 0/30. Wide-angled first serve forced Elena to run outside the tramlines and hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide. 15/30. Ace out wide: 106 mph. 30/30. Elena went to the net, and hit a deep backhand volley that forced Serena to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). With the Williams sisters playing on Vera, she worked her team into a commanding position at the net, hit a forehand smash at Venus's feet to force a weak half-volley, which Elena dispatched with a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Broken.

Tracy Austin: "Vesnina plays a lot of doubles, and she's really starting to show her prowess: using all the angles of the court. Zvonarëva not quite as much; she really hits /through/ the court - more of a singles-player."

Vera serving 2-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Serena to lunge wide and bunt a backhand lob-return wide. 15/0. Elena hit a backhand halfway up the net. 15/15. Venus netted a forehand volley. 30/15. Serena hit a huge crosscourt forehand smash: Elena miraculously picked off a forehand half-volley, but Venus was there to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/30. First serve: Serena hit a deep backhand return-winner that clipped the outside edge of the baseline. 30/40 (BP #1). Elena hit a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Serena to net a forehand. Tracy Austin: "That movement from Vesnina at the net distracted Serena, caused the error." Ad Vera (GP #1). Serena on the fourth stroke hit an off-backhand drive-volley winner onto the baseline. Deuce #1. A wonderful rally with both Russians at the net ended with Serena netting a forehand - off a crosscourt forehand from Vera. Ad Vera (GP #2). Elena picked off Venus's crosscourt backhand return to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner - accompanied by her by-now-familiar two-tone karate-grunt. Held.

Venus serving 1-3: Vera intercepted Venus's crosscourt forehand to hit an off-forehand volley, but hit it long and wide. 15/0. An amazing rally ended with Serena reaching over the net to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner - an illegal shot, but neither the officials nor the Russians appeared to notice. 30/0. Ace out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus served and hit a forehand volley down the middle, but left the whole left half of the court wide open for Vera to hit an early off-forehand winner. Mark Petchey: "Very instinctive tennis from Zvonarëva." 40/15 (GP #2). Ace down the middle. Held.

Elena serving 3-2: First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Elena netted a backhand under pressure from the Williamses (particularly Serena) at the net. 15/15. First serve down the middle forced a short return; Elena went to the net behind a deep crosscourt forehand, but Serena hit an acute-angled crosscourt forehand low over the net; Elena netted a crosscourt forehand volley and screamed! 15/30. First serve down the middle forced Venus to hit an off-forehand just wide. 30/30. Vera hit a high off-forehand volley-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena netted a backhand volley. Deuce #1. Ace #3 for the Russians: out wide, right in the corner. Ad Elena (GP #2). Vera's presence at the net induced Venus to net a crosscourt backhand. Held.

The commentators claimed that, were the Russians to win this match, it would be an even bigger shock than Tsvetana Pironkova beating Venus in the singles, as the Williams sisters are tipped by many to win a calendar-year Grand Slam this year.

Serena serving 2-4: Serena hit a pinpoint forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/0. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line (it was called wide, but the Williamses made a successful challenge, and the umpire awarded them the point without a replay). 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus off-backhand winner. Held.

A quick, convincing hold puts the pressure firmly on Vera's shoulders.

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): First serve down the middle forced Serena to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Vera hit a big first serve out wide (just inside the sideline) + forehand smash + forehand punch-volley; Venus hit a forehand down the middle; Elena's off-forehand volley induced Venus to net a backhand. 30/0. Ace #4 for the Russians: out wide, just inside the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). Venus forehand just long. Held.

A very impressive hold by Vera!

Venus serving 3-5: Second serve out wide + Serena off-forehand volley-winner down the middle. 15/0. Venus hit a high off-forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Ace #13 for the Williamses: down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Elena intercepted Venus's crosscourt backhand to hit a backhand volley down the middle + off-forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Ace #14 for the Williamses: down the middle. Held.

The moment of truth for the Russians, and Elena in particular. What will the reputation of the Williams sisters count for now?

Elena serving 5-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Serena to net a backhand return. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Venus to net a forehand return. 30/0. First serve just wide. Elena used up a challenge to show that it was wide by about 15% of the breadth of the sideline. Second serve... Venus off-forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Serena off-backhand winner down the middle. 30/30. Serena hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Elena shouted "vita". 40/30 (MP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina). Deep first serve out wide forced Venus to net a backhand return. Elena jumped for joy, and the Russians hugged each other with big smiles on their faces. Zvonarëva/Vesnina won 3-6 6-3 6-4 at 14:15 BST (third set 43m, match 1h59m).

Tracy Austin: "What's wonderful about this victory is that it's because they played so well. The Williams sisters did not let them win this match. They /really/ took control midway through the second set. They were more aggressive, changed their strategy a bit, disrupted the Williams sisters, and to be able to sustain it for that length of time - phenomenal."
Mark Petchey: "So often, you just feel as though Venus and Serena are going to overpower their opponents, and that's what it looked like in that first set: the Americans were just too good, too strong, serving too well, but all credit to the Russians. They did find a tactic that worked, and they executed it perfectly. Zvonarëva's tournament continues to get better and better."
Tracy Austin: "It was very high-quality: a lot of power, but also a lot of beautiful angles, touch-shots, long rallies."


Vera and Elena's BBC interview
------------------------------

This interview took place just after the players left Court 2.

Pam Shriver: "Vera and Elena, such a great win over the Williams sisters, who'd not lost in a Major since last year's French Open. Vera first: how did you do it?"

Vera: "Erm... I don't know. I think I have to thank my partner, Elena: I think she did a great job. We were just trying to hang in there and fight for every point. It /is/ very difficult to beat them - they're a great team. We knew we just had to try to play our best tennis, and I think we did well today."

Pam Shriver: "Elena, you're probably the least-known of the four on the court, but it seemed like you were playing as great a tennis as anybody was on the court. How did you do that?"

Elena: "Thank you very much. Always when you're playing against the Williamses, it's always a challenge, and you always wanna do your best; you wanna show your best tennis. So, today on the court, me and Vera were just trying to fight for every point. I think the key of the match was that we were serving really well for the whole match."

Pam Shriver: "So you both communicated so well together. Vera, talk about the day before a semi-final of Wimbledon, to be able to be out on a doubles-court, three sets, with the confidence of beating the Williams sisters. What does that do for your singles semi-final?"

Vera: "Tomorrow is another day, and I will prepare myself now for my singles. But just a few hours back, I was just getting ready for my doubles-match. I was not thinking about tomorrow; I was just trying to enjoy the moment, and to enjoy that tough challenge. I think that's it. But after I will go back to the locker-room, then I will start thinking about my match tomorrow."

Pam Shriver: "Well, well done. Yesterday Kim Clijsters; today, you two defeated the Williams sisters for the first time all year long. Congratulations."

Elena: "Thank you very much."

Vera: "Thank you."

The BBC don't usually interview doubles-players - not even after the finals - so this victory was certainly regarded as an extraordinary achievement!

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

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------
Semi-final TV-report: Zvonarëva v Pironkova (Thursday 1st July 2010)
-------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF], 3-6 6-3 6-2

This promised to be a mouth-watering match between two of the most flairsomely talented and attractive players, and it didn't disappoint, as Vera and Tsvetana produced a contest worthy of a Major semi-final.

Tsvetana went onto court fired up, smiling, and ready to embrace the occasion. She played an uninhibitedly brilliant first set, with her explosive first serve and killer backhand in fine form. Even her forehand was a weapon, as she mixed it up by walloping some and slicing others, disrupting Vera's rhythm.

I only saw Tsvetana's quarter-final win over Venus Williams recorded, because it clashed with Vera's quarter-final, but there's nothing like watching her play live against a member of my Eternal Fanship to appreciate how good she really is.

I must confess that enjoyed watching Tsvetana's performance, even though it was threatening to beat Vera. I've admired Tsvetana's beauty for several years now, and promoted her to my demi-fanship in 2008 based on Passion alone, but now I definitely admire her tennis as well. While I'm not planning to induct any more players into my Eternal Fanship for the foreseeable future, Tsvetana certainly laid down a marker for me to consider, the next time I contemplate inducting someone (as of April 2012, Tsvetana is in a group of five players who are my favourites outside my Eternal Fanship).

Vera found herself facing BP×3 at *2-3 (0/40), after Tsvetana had played three good points: the last of them an off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. Vera saved the first BP with an ace out wide, but was beaten by a dead netcord winner on the second.

Vera couldn't recover that break, and in due course, Tsvetana had three SPs at *5-3 (40/0). Vera saved the first with a dropshot-winner (Tsvetana almost ran into the net trying to reach it). Tsvetana wasted the second SP by netting a choky backhand, but got away with a woefully short second serve on the third SP, as Vera netted a backhand several strokes later.

In the second set, Vera raised her level, while Tsvetana's level dropped. A few unforced errors were creeping into Tsvetana's game that she just wasn't making in that fairy-tale first set.

Tsvetana came through a tough service-game of two deuces at 6-3 *1-2, with Vera hitting a cheap forehand long at Deuce #1.

The key game came on Tsvetana's serve at 6-3 *2-3. Vera pegged Tsvetana back to Deuce with an 82mph off-backhand winner, saved a second GP, forced her first BP of the match, and converted it with a great spreading rally, finishing with an off-backhand winner.

And so Vera came to serve for the second set at *5-3. She served it out to 15, finishing with a dead-netcord winner to atone for the one that had broken her serve in the first set.

Starting the third set with power and precision, Vera broke to 30 in the opening game. Tsvetana lost her footing and had a nasty-looking fall just as Vera moved to *1-0 (30/0) with an off-forehand winner, but Tsvetana was okay, and the fall appeared to have distracted Vera as she double-faulted and netted a forehand for 30/30. She nevertheless consolidated the break: 2-0*.

Vera had further BPs at 1:1 2-0* (40/15*), but Vera wasted them with two backhand errors – one forced, one not – and Tsvetana held for 1-2*.

Vera appeared to be faltering as she sprayed a wild off-forehand long at 1:1 *2-1 (30/15), but Tsvetana let her off the hook with two unforced backhand errors, and looked very disappointed.

Vera saved GP at 1:1 3-1* (30/40*) by winning a nailbiting rally with an amazing crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. Vera's dipping crosscourt backhand pass set up BP, which she converted when Tsvetana hit a wild backhand very long: *4-1.

With Vera's grunting sounding increasingly anxious, she found herself facing BP×2 at 1:1 *4-1 (15/40), but Tsvetana made two return-errors – one forced, one not – and then Vera held serve with two backhand winners down the line: the first being a drive-volley.

Tsvetana took one last chance to shine at 1:1 *1-5, hitting a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline, and a beautiful off-backhand winner just inside both sideline and baseline.

Serving for the match at 1:1 *5-2, Vera started by winning an amazing rally with an off-forehand winner! She had her first MP at 40/15, but another amazing rally ended with Tsvetana hitting a dropshot and Vera hitting a makeable forehand pass just long. At 40/30 (MP #2), a first serve out wide + off-forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a backhand.

Vera was very calm and composed throughout the match. The Vera of old would have got upset about the netcord that broke her serve in the first set, and no doubt numerous other issues, but as Simon Reed put it: “She countered the demons that she had within her, and they didn't become a factor at all.”

I hoped and expected that Tsvetana could use her Wimbledon-run as a launching-pad for a much better career than the one she had before Wimbledon 2010. I've never seen her play with so much confidence before; she looks strong mentally, and her game doesn't look like the kind of game that easily dissolves into a stream of unforced errors.


Prematch
--------

I watched this live on BBC Red Button. The first thing I saw was a picture of Marion Bartoli with Tsvetana's name under it!

As they waited to come onto court, Vera had her headphones on, while Tsvetana was standing behind her, jogging from side to side. Vera had her game face on, while Tsvetana had a big smile on her face – there was no doubt that she was ready to embrace the occasion.


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA _*_*___*_ 3
PIRONKOVA *_*_*@*_* 6

The match was first on Centre Court, and started at 13:09 BST.

Tsvetana serving 0-0: Tsvetana backhand just long. 0/15. First serve out wide induced Vera to hit an off-forehand return wide. 15/15. Vera off-backhand wide. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Simon Reed: “It's been one of the shots of the tournament.” 40/15 (GP #1). Virtual ace down the middle: a booming 112 mph first serve that Vera just managed to brush with the very outside edge of her racket-frame. Held.

Vera serving 0-1: Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: right in the corner. 15/0. They had to replay the point because the ball was broken – I've never seen that before! Vera forced a short ball, and hit a down-the-line forehand winner back behind Tsvetana. 30/0. Second serve: Tsvetana netted a backhand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Tsvetana backhand just long. Held.

A good start by both. Tsvetana showed such an explosive first serve in the first game, while Vera is so much on control of the baseline-rally.

Tsvetana serving 1-1: Vera went to the net, forcing Tsvetana to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Tsvetana's deep off-backhand pushed Vera back on her heels, forcing her to net a forehand. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide (113 mph) forced Vera to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, but it was too short: Tsvetana hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 0/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/15. First serve out wide forced a short return down the middle; Vera sidestepped to her left and hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Simon Reed: “This was the kind of shot-making that put Kim Clijsters in her place.” 30/15. Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but it was too short, and right in Tsvetana's hitting-zone for a backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Tsvetana went to the net behind a sliced forehand onto the baseline, but it was just long. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Tsvetana to hit an off-forehand return wide. Held.

Tracy Austin: “When asked about how Pironkova disrupts her opponent, she [Vera] said, ‘I just need to concentrate on myself and execute my game, no matter what the score is.’”

Tsvetana serving 2-2: Vera backhand just long. 15/0. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner back behind Vera. 30/0. Ace #1: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera ran down a dropshot and hit an off-forehand winner close to the sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve out wide just inside the sideline forced Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand return wide. Held.

Simon Reed: “So far, Pironkova is looking the freer of the two out there.”

Vera serving 2-3: Tsvetana went to the net and hit an off-forehand volley, forcing Vera to hit an off-backhand wide. 0/15. Tsvetana's deep backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Tsvetana hit an off-forehand winner just inside the baseline. 0/40 (BP #1). Ace #1: first serve out wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Tsvetana's forehand clipped the netcord and trickled over for a winner. Broken.

Tsvetana serving 4-2: Deep service-winner down the middle. 15/0. Tsvetana netted a backhand. 15/15. Tsvetana's down-the-line backhand forced Vera to earth a running forehand. 30/15. Tsvetana's deep forehand forced Vera to spray a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana chopped a forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #2). Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand just long. Held.

Vera serving 2-5 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Vera went to the net behind a deep sliced forehand, and looked well on top of the point, but a couple of awkward lobs from Tsvetana retrieval forced Vera to retreat and hit a weak backhand volley that sat up nicely for Tsvetana to hit a searing short-angled crosscourt backhand to the sideline, forcing Vera to net a defensive sliced backhand. 15/15. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Vera hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint off-backhand winner back behind Tsvetana: deep in the corner. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Zvonarëva, at this point in a match four years ago, would have just imploded – particularly on that netcord [*2-3 15/40], where she lost the game. Good emotional management from her – new and improved.”

Tsvetana serving 5-3: First serve out wide + off-backhand winner back behind Vera. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to earth a backhand return. 40/0 (SP #1 for Tsvetana). Tsvetana ran down a dropshot, narrowly avoided touching the net, but her backhand was “not up”. 40/15 (SP #2). Tsvetana on the third stroke netted a choky backhand. 40/30 (SP #3). Tsvetana got away with a woefully short second serve: five strokes later, Vera slapped a backhand into the net. Tsvetana won the first set 6-3 at 13:41 BST (31m).

Tsvetana got very choky at 40/15 there. It will be interesting to see how she reacts if she gets to serve for the match.

Vera just isn't coming up with the goods so far, and is making the same tactical mistake as Venus Williams of hitting predominantly to Tsvetana's backhand. I just don't get why she would do that.


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA *_*_*@*_* 6
PIRONKOVA _*_*___*_ 3

Vera serving 0-0: Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Tsvetana netted a backhand. 30/0. Tsvetana forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, and hit a backhand winner down the line. Held.

Tsvetana serving 0-1: Tsvetana's short-angled crosscourt sliced forehand forced Vera to net a forehand. 15/0. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just long. 30/0. Tsvetana hit a forehand smash-winner off a deep lob from Vera that Tsvetana let bounce! 40/0 (GP #1). Tsvetana forehand just long. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: Vera hit a deep second serve onto the service-line, inducing Tsvetana to mishit a forehand return just wide. 15/0. First serve forced a short return; Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Vera got jammed and mishit a forehand, but Tsvetana blasted a crosscourt backhand into the net. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + backhand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. Held.

Tsvetana's level is dropping, while Vera's is rising. A few unforced errors are creeping into Tsvetana's game that she just wasn't making in that fairy-tale first set.

Tsvetana serving 1-2: Vera saw a huge gap down the line, and hit a booming forehand winner into it. 0/15. Tsvetana backhand just long. 0/30. Vera dumped a down-the-line forehand halfway up the net, and emitted a cute little squeak. 15/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to lunge wide and net a forehand return. 30/30. Tsvetana off-backhand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Vera hit a forehand just long, and looked very frustrated. Ad Tsvetana (GP #2). Vera went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Vera hit a backhand onto the baseline, but it was called long. She challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it was wide by about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. Ad Tsvetana (GP #3). First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long. Held.

That game felt really pivotal in establishing who has the momentum in this second set. If Vera loses in straight sets, she'll really rue that missed forehand at Deuce #1 there.

Vera serving 2-2: Tsvetana backhand long. 15/0. Vera tried to jam Tsvetana with a deep first serve, but Tsvetana sidestepped to her right and jammed Vera with an awkward crosscourt backhand return down the middle, inducing Vera to spray an off-backhand wide. 15/15. Tsvetana netted a forehand dropshot, and looked frustrated for her first time in this match. 30/15. Vera went to the net, forcing Tsvetana to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. Held.

Tsvetana is really mixing up the pace on her forehand: walloping some, and slicing others. She's not really hitting those weak steered forehands today.

Tsvetana serving 2-3: Tsvetana backhand winner down the line. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand. 30/0. Vera forced a short ball, and hit a forehand dropshot-winner. 30/15. Vera's down-the-line forehand induced Tsvetana to net a backhand. 30/30. Tsvetana's deep, hard forehand down the line jammed Vera into netting a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera hit an 82mph off-backhand winner. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Tsvetana (GP #2). Tsvetana went for a huge off-forehand winner to the sideline, but it was just wide. Deuce #2. Tsvetana on the third stroke dumped a backhand halfway up the net. Ad Vera (BP #1). Vera played a great spreading rally, finishing with an off-backhand winner. Broken.

And that, incredibly, was Vera's first break-point of the match.

Vera serving 4-2: Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand induced Vera to hit an off-backhand wide. 15/0. Vera spread Tsvetana with a deep down-the-line backhand + penetrating off-forehand into the corner, forcing Tsvetana to net a backhand – and Vera was ready at the net just in case it had gone over. 15/15. Vera forced a floater, went to the net and hit an off-forehand forehand winner. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to bunt a forehand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Tsvetana hit a huge, deep forehand return down the line, forcing Vera to earth a backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide: Tsvetana's backhand return clipped the netcord; inviting Vera to go to the net behind a sliced off-forehand deep into the corner; Tsvetana's down-the-line backhand pass made Vera have to stretch wide to hit a crosscourt forehand volley; Tsvetana ran it down and bunted a very short forehand down the line; Vera hit an easy crosscourt backhand winner into the wide open court. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Everything was going perfectly for her [Tsvetana]; she was in the zone. Zvonarëva has just upped her level a touch.”
Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva is a different player now. She's thinking clearly, moving well, and executing.”

Tsvetana serving 2-5 (new balls): Body-jamming first serve induced Vera to dump a backhand return into the bottom of the net. 15/0. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 30/0. Vera forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Vera serving 5-3: Tsvetana forehand long. 15/0. Tsvetana's crosscourt backhand return induced Vera to net a backhand that she wouldn't normally miss. 15/15. Tsvetana netted a forehand. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a backhand return just long, and challenged Vera's serve: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 20% of the breadth of the service-line. 40/15 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Vera won the second set 6-3 at 14:17 BST (second set 36m, match so far 1h08m).

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva has got that pendulum swinging on her side. She was the favourite before the start, and I guess she is again now, but Pironkova is dangerous – we've seen that.”


Third set
---------
ZVONARËVA @*_*@*_* 6
PIRONKOVA __*___*_ 2

Tsvetana serving 0-0: Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Tsvetana's deep off-forehand induced Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 30/0. Vera hit a deep off-forehand into the corner, forcing Tsvetana to net a backhand. Simon Reed: “She's just missing when Zvonarëva turns on the turbo.” 15/30. Tsvetana's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob long. 30/30. Tsvetana off-forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #1). A well-controlled rally by Vera with good depth ended with Tsvetana hitting a backhand just long. Broken.

Vera serving 1-0: Deep first serve out wide induced Tsvetana to hit a forehand return just long. 15/0. Vera forced a floater and hit an off-forehand smash-winner; Tsvetana had no play on the ball, but lost her footing on the slick green grass behind the brown patch, and had a nasty-looking fall. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve long by a whisker). 30/15. Vera netted a forehand. 30/30. Vera's deep forehand down the line forced Tsvetana to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Service-winner out wide. Held.

Now Tsvetana's the one having to do all the defending, and the exciting thought of Vera in the Wimbledon Women's Singles final is already running through my mind!

Tsvetana serving 0-2: Second serve: Vera slapped a cheap forehand return into the net. 15/0. Tsvetana crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve just long). 15/30. Tsvetana backhand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to slide wide and earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. Deuce #1. Vera forehand just long. Ad Tsvetana (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short return; Tsvetana went to the net behind a rather short off-forehand; Vera sprayed a makeable down-the-line backhand pass wide, and groaned. Held.

Vera had one foot in the final at 2-0* (40/15*), but she has to put that disappointment behind her, and hold onto the one break that she does have. Still a lot of work ahead of her in this match.

Vera serving 2-1: Deep first serve forced Tsvetana to net a forehand return. 15/0. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Vera hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. It's the shot that has worked so well for her this week. 30/15. Vera sprayed a wild off-forehand long. Simon Reed: “The Bulgarians are getting excited, because there /are/ signs that Zvonarëva is faltering here.” 30/30. Vera let a lob bounce... it landed on the sideline... Vera's crosscourt backhand induced Tsvetana to net a backhand, and Tsvetana looked very disappointed. 40/30 (GP #1). Tsvetana dumped a wild backhand return into the net. Held.

Simon Reed: “Zvonarëva is probably more than a little relieved. Her form started to go down in the last seven or eight minutes, but Pironkova was unable to take advantage.”
Tracy Austin: “A few more nerves are creeping in. She must have been thinking, ‘Is this slipping away just a touch?’”

Tsvetana serving 1-3: Tsvetana's crosscourt forehand to the sideline induced Vera to net a forehand dropshot – a very low-percentage shot in that position. 15/0. Vera's deep backhand forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Tsvetana hit a couple of sliced forehands followed by a couple of steered forehands, then hit a backhand just long. 15/30. Tsvetana went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand pass wide. 30/30. Ace #3: out wide: on the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). A nailbiting rally ended with Vera hitting an amazing crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner from the baseline! Deuce #1. Tsvetana went to the net, but Vera's dipping crosscourt backhand forced Tsvetana to bunt a backhand half-volley lob wide. Ad Vera (BP #1). Tsvetana on the fourth stroke hit a wild backhand very long. Broken.

Vera pumped her fist and shouted something in Russian that sounded like “komm-yee-shah”. Simon Reed said that Pironkova was “beside herself”.

Vera serving 4-1: Vera's off-forehand dropshot forced Tsvetana to run forwards and hit a backhand long. 15/0. Vera went to the net, but Tsvetana's short sliced backhand forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Tsvetana's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera back on her heels to hit a backhand wide. 15/30. Tsvetana dominated the rally, forcing Vera to chop a forehand just long. Vera's grunting sounds increasingly anxious! 15/40 (BP #1). Tsvetana netted a cheap forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve out wide forced Tsvetana to net a backhand return. Deuce #1. Vera went to the net and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. Ad Vera (GP #1). Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand winner down the line; Tsvetana looked like she had a play on it but let it go. Held.

Tsvetana serving 1-5: Tsvetana spread Vera, opening up the court with a crosscourt forehand but hitting an off-forehand long. 0/15. Tsvetana hit a deep forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to spray an off-forehand wide. 15/15. Tsvetana hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline. Vera challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 20% of the breadth of the baseline. 30/15. Tsvetana hit a beautiful off-backhand winner just inside both sideline and baseline. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera's forehand return clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. She apologised. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand long. Held.

Vera serving 5-2 (new balls): Vera opened an exhilarating rally with a first serve out wide + off-forehand, then went to the net behind a down-the-line backhand; Tsvetana hit a dipping crosscourt forehand, but Vera picked it off with a deft crosscourt forehand half-volley dropshot; Tsvetana ran it down and bunted a forehand down the line; Vera hoisted a fabulous skyscraper-lob; Tsvetana, running backwards, hit a high backhand volley that made the crowd gasp, but sat up nicely for Vera to hit an off-forehand winner. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Tsvetana to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Tsvetana hit a deep backhand down the middle, inducing Vera to net a forehand. 30/15. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a forehand lob. 40/15 (MP #1 for Vera). In another great rally, Vera's backhand clipped the netcord; Tsvetana hit a sliced forehand dropshot onto the sideline; Vera ran it down but hit a makeable forehand pass just long. 40/30 (MP #2 for Vera). First serve out wide + off-forehand forced Tsvetana to earth a backhand. Vera won 3-6 6-3 6-2 at 14:55 BST (third set 38m, match 1h46m).

Simon Reed: “She countered the demons that she had within her, and they didn't become a factor at all.”

Tracy Austin: “Everybody expected Vera to come out the winner today, and she held strong mentally. For so many years, we've been talking about the talent of Vera Zvonarëva and the expectations. Now she's fulfilling them.”


Vera's BBC interview
--------------------

Phil Jones: “Congratulations. Can you even begin to put into words what this means to you, Vera, to be in your [first] Wimbledon final, your first Grand Slam final?”

Vera: “I'm very excited. I think I'm not realising it at the moment, but it was very tough out there. She's a very young player [Tsvetana was 22 at the time], but a very, very tough opponent. She started so well, and I'm happy the way I was able to hang in the match, and was able to turn it around.”

Phil Jones: “So what was your mindset after losing that first set?”

Vera: “You know, I was just not thinking about it. I was just thinking about what I've got to do. I've got to be a little bit quicker; I've got to play a little bit more aggressive. And that's about it. I was not thinking about... that I lost the first set.”

Phil Jones: “You certainly played some wonderful points in that third set. When you're nearing victory, do the thoughts ever enter your head at that point: that you're on the verge of something historic?”

Vera: “She didn't really give me a chance to think about it, because she was a very tough opponent out there, and I had to concentrate on my game, and I knew if I will give her a little bit of chance, she will take it.”

Phil Jones: “And now for the final: at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world. Just how exciting is this for you?”

Vera: “It is very exciting. It's one of my dreams to be out there.”

Phil Jones: “Congratulations on a wonderful performance. Wish you well in the final.”

Vera: “Thank you.”


Tsvetana's BBC interview
------------------------

Phil Jones: “Well, Tsvetana, I'd normally say ‘commiserations’ at this point, but it seems the wrong word to use, because you played so well; you've had a magnificent tournament. So how do you reflect, first of all, on what you've achieved here.”

Tsvetana: “Yeah, I'm definitely not disappointed. This is the biggest success in my career, reaching the semi-finals in Wimbledon. I also I think that I played well today. I tried my best; I did my shots. Vera was just playing better than me today.”

Phil Jones: “You certainly played tremendously well in that first set, especially. At that point, what are you thinking? You talked yesterday about the focus you needed to keep – you did it against Venus. So what kind of mindset did you take on then?”

Tsvetana: “Well, I tried to do the same thing. Winning the first set, it's a good thing, but it's not enough, of course. You just have to stay focused, and that's what I tried to do. I tried to play every point, you know: point by point, game by game, but at that point, Vera started to play very aggressively, and she started to push me back, and also, I had some troubles with my first serve, which is not very good. And yeah: that's pretty much it.”

Phil Jones: “And in the third set, once she got the break early on, you were still fighting. You were still hanging in there, played some tremendous points. So you still sense you had a chance?”

Tsvetana: “Well, yeah. I just wanted to play until the end. I wanted to play for every point. Of course, you have a lot of chances until the last point is finished.”

Phil Jones: “So now you've reached the semi-finals here, and your career's taken off; it's reached new heights. What next for you? Where do you go from here?”

Tsvetana: “I will play the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, and I have to prepare for the US Open, but before that, I have a few tournaments here in Europe. I just wanna play good. I just wanna enjoy the game. Of course, I want to do also successes bigger than this, but we'll see what happens.”

Phil Jones: “Well, now you've had a taste of it, you want more of it, I'm sure.”

Tsvetana: “Well, yes, of course.”

Phil Jones: “And how is that gonna happen? You've turned it around amazingly well here to reach your Grand Slam semi-final.”

Tsvetana: “Well, I don't know how it's going to happen. I'll just continue to play, and I'm really, really hoping that one day, maybe soon, it will happen again.”

Phil Jones: “You've given us all great pleasure – tremendous performance, knocking out Venus en route, semi-final – so we wish you well going forward. Thanks.”

Tsvetana: “Thank you very much.”

Tsvetana may have started by saying that she wasn't disappointed, but her tone of voice throughout that interview certainly suggested otherwise.


Final analysis
--------------

Lindsay Davenport: “A huge game at 3-2* in the second set. Vera came out a little bit tight, and it's so hard to play a semi-final match when so much is expected of you – she was by far the favourite in this match, even though Pironkova had upset Venus – but once she got ahead *4-2 in the second set, she really seemed to calm down. She played a little bit smarter, a little bit more consistent, and then she never looked back.

“To overcome the mental problems in yourself is much more difficult than a weak shot. A weak forehand you can go work on. It's very tough to work on your mental game. Vera has done the /complete/ opposite, which is so great to see. She's always had so much talent, but she would get so down on herself and very emotional. And now she looks like one of the /most/ composed players on the WTA Tour. Credit to her for staying strong in these tight moments.

“She probably gained a little bit of perspective from being out of the game [Vera struggled with a nasty ankle-injury between April 2009 and January 2010]. Sometimes when you're forced to take a break, you realise how much you love it. You realise, ‘Okay, I really want to make a strong push when I get back healthy. What do I need to do better?’ For her, it was the mental game, and so far, it hasn't been a problem.”

Pam Shriver: “Not only is Zvonarëva playing some great tennis, I've never seen her hold it together mentally like this. She showed that no matter what your past is, you can start each tournament with a new attitude.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #20
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=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------------------------------------
Women’s Doubles: Semi-final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Dulko/Pennetta (Friday 2nd July 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

+ Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina d. (GISELA DULKO [DF]/FLAVIA PENNETTA [DF])[4], 6-3 6-1

Vera and Elena followed up their sensational win over the Williams sisters with another brilliant performance, as they played perfectly in tandem, and had too much power for Gisela and Flavia, who had won Premier doubles-titles together at Miami, Stuttgart and Rome earlier in 2010.

Vera made a full effort in this match, rather than trying to save herself for the Women’s Singles final by not running balls down.

The final scoreline may look very one-sided, but the first seven games were extremely hard-fought, with the Russians wasting 4 BPs in Flavia’s opening service-game (0-0*), and one more against Gisela’s serve before Elena converted their sixth BP of the match with a backhand volley-winner down the middle: *2-1.

Vera saved 4 BPs on her own serve before Flavia broke back with a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle: *2-2. It looked as though the ‘I’ formation – which had done so much damage against the Williams sisters – wasn’t going to work against Gisela and Flavia.

The Russians wasted BP×2 at *2-2 (15/40) before breaking Flavia anyway for *3-2. The Russians wasted BP×3 at 4-2* before Gisela held to make it *4-3.

After that, Gisela and Flavia’s resistance crumbled, as the Russians won seven games in a row to lead 6-3 5-0* before Flavia held serve – incredibly for her first time in the match – to make it a breadstick rather than a bagel.

During those seven games, Vera sealed the first set with a backhand winner down the line, hit a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner to take a 1:0 1-0* lead, and a crosscourt forehand volley-winner to take the 6-3 *5-0 lead.

With Vera serving for the match at *5-1, Elena hit three volley-winners for 40/15, and Vera hit a beautiful rolled crosscourt forehand volley to set up a thunderous crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner for Elena.


First set
---------
ZVONA/VESNI _*@_@*_*@ 6
DULKO/PENNE *__@__*__ 3

The match was first on Court One. Vera/Elena won the toss and elected to receive. Vera and Flavia received in the ad-court for their respective teams. The match started at 13:11 BST.

Flavia serving 0-0: Flavia forehand lob just long. 0/15. Elena hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 0/30. Vera at the net moved to her right too soon, giving Flavia a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Vera spread Flavia with a couple of well-placed volleys, and hit a crosscourt backhand volley winner down the middle. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera backhand just long. Deuce #1. Elena off-backhand wide. Ad Vera (BP #2). Flavia’s crosscourt backhand forced a floater from Vera, and Gisela dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Double fault (second serve long). Ad Vera (BP #3). Vera hit a backhand long, and looked annoyed. Deuce #3. Elena’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Flavia to hit a forehand lob long. Ad Vera (BP #4). Vera crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #4. Gisela intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Ad Flavia (GP #1). Vera backhand return just long. Held.

Four BPs went begging, then Flavia converted the first GP that she had.

Elena serving 0-1: Double fault (second serve just wide). 0/15. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. 15/15. Vera hit an excellent first volley, but Pennetta watched Vera the whole time, and Gisela hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Elena, driven outside the sideline, used the angle for a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle: Flavia hit a body-jamming forehand return, forcing Vera to bunt a backhand volley long. Deuce #1. Service-winner out wide. Ad Elena (GP #2). Elena off-forehand + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Gisela serving 1-1: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Gisela’s down-the-line backhand forced Vera to earth a forehand volley. 15/15. Elena dumped a backhand return into the net. 15/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 30/30. Elena’s depth forced Gisela to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera dumped a cheap backhand return into the net. Deuce #1. Gisela forehand just long. Ad Vera (BP #2). Elena hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. Broken.

Vera serving 2-1: Service-winner out wide: Gisela hit a forehand return into the stands. 15/0. Gisela hit a forehand lob-winner over Elena’s head, and not even the speedy Vera - try as she did - could run it down. 15/15. Flavia forehand volley-winner. 15/30. Elena netted a forehand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera played a nice spreading rally, went to the net, and hit a deep crosscourt forehand that forced Gisela to hit a forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #1). Service-winner down the line. Deuce #1. An aggressive return straight at Elena forced her to net a backhand volley. Ad Flavia (BP #3). An excellent first serve set up Elena’s forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Gisela forced a floater, and hit a forehand smash virtual winner. Ad Flavia (BP #4). Deep first serve down the middle forced Flavia to hit a backhand long. Deuce #3. Gisela hit a deep, error-forcing backhand return. Ad Flavia (BP #5). Flavia hit a forehand punch-volley winner down the middle. Broken.

The ‘I’ formation proved so effective against the Williams sisters, but its limitations were cruelly exposed there.

Flavia serving 2-2: Vera bisected Flavia and Gisela with an off-forehand volley-winner. The Russians dominated the point at the net, forcing Gisela to net a backhand. 0/30. Flavia crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/30. Vera went to the net, forcing Flavia to net a backhand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Elena netted a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). Gisela off-backhand volley-winner. Deuce #1. Elena’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Flavia to net a forehand. Ad Vera (BP #3). Vera punished a short second serve with a deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the outer sideline, forcing Flavia to bunt a defensive backhand lob long. Broken.

Elena is now punctuating her every shot with a karate-like shout of "aya".

Elena serving 3-2: Elena hit a huge crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, and got a loud cheer from the crowd. 15/0. Elena advanced up the court, her crosscourt backhand forcing an error. 30/0. Gisela’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net a forehand right in front of Flavia. 30/15. Flavia hit a down-the-line backhand long and wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke hit a backhand drop-volley winner. Held.

Gisela serving 2-4: Gisela forehand long. 0/15. Gisela crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Vera hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Elena hit a crosscourt forehand smash would-be winner just wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Flavia dispatched a slow ball with an off-forehand volley-winner. 30/40 (BP #3). Flavia dispatched a floater with an off-forehand smash-winner. Deuce #1. Elena crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Gisela (GP #1). Flavia forehand smash-winner. Held.

Three more BPs go begging. The Russians should be up 6-1 *0-0 after this number of games, and even further ahead at this point in time.

Vera serving 4-3 (new balls): Vera hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Flavia serving 3-5: Vera off-forehand smash-winner. 0/15. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Vera forehand just long. Elena crosscourt forehand forced Gisela into error. 30/30. Flavia crosscourt forehand wide. 30/40 (SP #1 for Vera/Elena). Vera hit a backhand winner down the line. Vera/Elena won the first set 6-3 at 13:55 BST (43m).


Second set
----------
ZVONA/VESNI *@*@*_* 6
DULKO/PENNE _____*_ 1

Elena serving 0-0: Gisela crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Flavia forehand return just long. 30/0. Gisela forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera hit a gorgeous short-angled crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner at the net. Held.

Flavia serving 0-1: Elena backhand volley long. 15/0. Flavia hit a forehand winner down the Russians’ right sideline. 15/15. Flavia netted a forehand off a deep forehand from Elena. 15/30. Gisela’s body-jamming crosscourt forehand forced Elena to net an off-backhand. 30/30. Flavia hit a down-the-line forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, forcing Flavia to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Second serve clipped the service-line but was called long, so Flavia challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 5% of the breadth of the line! So, instead of a double fault, Flavia got to replay the point with another first serve. Gisela tried to break up Elena and Flavia’s exchange of crosscourt forehands by intercepting at the net, but she moved to her right too early, and Elena nailed a forehand pass-winner down the line. Ad Vera (BP #1). Vera exchanged a series of off-forehands with Flavia’s crosscourt backhands, until Flavia tried to hit one down the line and sprayed it wide. Broken.

Vera serving 2-0: Deep second serve induced Gisela to hit a backhand return wide. 15/0. Elena intercepted to hit a backhand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. First serve out wide forced a floater, which Elena dispatched with an off-forehand volley-winnerr. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera backhand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #3). Vera’s crosscourt backhand forced Flavia to hit a backhand long. Held.

Gisela serving 0-3: Second serve: Elena hit a deep off-backhand return just inside the sideline, forcing Gisela to earth a forehand. 0/15. Service-winner on the service-line. The Russians wasted a challenge. 15/15. Elena dispatched a short floater with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Gisela went to the net, but Elena’s dipping off-backhand pass forced her to net a forehand volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera pounced on Gisela’s weak down-the-line forehand to hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

So far, the Russians are playing perfectly in tandem, and have too much power for Flavia and Gisela.

Elena serving 4-0: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Gisela netted a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Held.

Flavia serving 0-5: Elena crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/0. Elena hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/15. Gisela intercepted Elena’s crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/15. Vera chopped a forehand volley long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Elena to hit a crosscourt forehand return just long. Held.

And that, incredibly, was Flavia’s first hold of the match.

Vera serving 5-1: First serve long. The Russians wasted a challenge on a first serve that was clearly long. 0/15. Elena hit a backhand reflex-volley winner. 15/15. Elena hit a backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Elena hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (MP #1 for Vera/Elena). Vera hit a beautiful rolled crosscourt forehand volley to set up a thunderous crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner for Elena. Vera/Elena won 6-3 6-1 at 14:19 BST (second set 23m, match 1h07m).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 12:36 AM   #21
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Full Women's Singles final TV-report

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay to this report. I am extremely busy with my job, and my life has been particularly hectic since I posted my Wimbledon 2010 semi-final reports in April.

I wish Vera a full recovery from her recent health-problems, especially the shoulder-injury with which she has withdrawn from the Australian Open 2013.

---------------------------------------
Final TV-report: Zvonarëva v S.Williams (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
---------------------------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 3-6 2-6

Vera didn’t play her best by any means in this, her first Major singles final, but by good serving and aggressive counter-punching, she at least managed to achieve a modicum of scoreline-respectability against the ruthless Williams, who had already won 12 Major singles-titles (including three Wimbledons) from 15 previous finals (losing only to Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova).

The obvious reasons for Williams’s victory were her huge serve and powerful groundstrokes, but she also had quite a bit of success with short-angled groundstrokes to the sidelines. Vera has excellent lateral retrieval, but it’s much tougher for her (and therefore would be for anybody) when she is called upon to move diagonally rather than parallel to the baseline.

I have structured my report as follows:
1. a detailed game-by-game summary of each set;
2. a blow-by-blow description of every single point;
3. transcriptions of the players’ on-court BBC interviews.


1. Game-by-game summary
-----------------------
1.1 First set
-------------

Williams made a strong start, holding to love with the help of a netcord that set up a backhand winner.

Vera at *0-1 made an encouraging start, hitting a backhand drive-volley winner as she held to 30. She showed herself to be a good retriever, who was quite capable of taking the initiative if Williams couldn’t get the first strike in.

Williams at *1-1 double-faulted to trail 15/30, but recovered with an ace... Vera pegged her back to deuce, but netted a silly sliced forehand, and Williams held serve with another ace.

Vera at *1-2 held to 15 with some big serves of her own. Williams at *2-2 held to 30 after Vera tested her with a sliced forehand that drew an error, and a net-approach to which Williams responded with a down-the-line forehand pass-winner.

Vera at *2-3 trailed 0/30 and 30/40, but recovered with three big serves in a row (including her second ace) to hold for 3-3*.

For those first six games, the standard of play was certainly good, with no sign yet of the blowout that many had predicted.

Williams at *3-3 held to 15 with a couple of big serves, an off-forehand drive-volley winner, and an error-forcing net-approach.

Vera at *3-4 hit two big serves to lead 40/15, but served her first double fault at 40/30. Williams wasted one break-point by netting a second-serve return. From Deuce #2, Vera went to the net on consecutive points, but Williams hit an awkward lob and a running forehand pass-winner to score the first break.

Williams, serving for the first set at *5-3, hit two big serves to lead 40/15. She wasted the first set-point with a double fault, and Vera saved the second with an error-inducing short-angled crosscourt backhand return. A serve + smash-winner gave Williams a third set-point, and Vera hit a makeable forehand just wide to lose the first set 3-6 by one single break.


1.2 Second set
--------------

Vera squealed in frustration as she netted a makeable forehand at 0:1 *0-0 30/40 to go a set and a break down.

Williams at *1-0 played a spectacular game to hold to 15 with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline, a down-the-line backhand winner, an off-backhand winner, and a down-the-line backhand volley-winner.

Vera at *0-2 responded with a hold to 15 of her own, with the help of three big serves including her fourth ace.

Williams at *2-1 surpassed even the brilliance of her previous service-game as she held again to 15 with her seventh and eighth aces, a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline, and an off-forehand volley-winner – 8 winners in the last 10 points on her serve!

Vera at *1-3 recovered from 15/40 with a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner to make it deuce, then reached game-point with a wrong-footing crosscourt forehand winner. Sadly, with her anxiety evident in the pitch of her grunting, she then made two errors, surrendered her service-game with a double fault, and waved her arms in frustration.

Williams at *4-1 again held to 15, with two big serves, and two successful forays to the net that ended with forehand smashes (the first a clean winner).

Vera at *1-5 added a modicum of respectability to the scoreline by holding to 15 with the help of a crosscourt backhand winner, a service-winner and an error-forcing net-approach.

Williams at *5-2 served her ninth ace, followed by a second serve that kicked like a mule to force Vera into error, and a forehand smash-winner to reach triple championship-point at 40/0. A nail-biting final rally ended with Williams at the net to hit a high off-forehand drive-volley winner.


2. Point-by-point description
-----------------------------
2.1 First set
-------------
ZVONARËV _*_*_*___ 3
WILLIAMS *_*_*_*@* 6

The match was first on Centre Court. Williams won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 14:12 BST.

Williams serving 0-0: Vera on the sixth stroke hit a backhand long. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide. 30/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). In a longish baseline-rally, Williams’s backhand clipped the netcord and fell short, forcing Vera to run forward and hit a short sliced forehand down the line, enabling Williams to hit a deep down-the-line backhand winner. Held.

Vera serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced a backhand lob-return long. Vera got a loud cheer from the crowd as she avoided the possibility of a Golden Set. 15/0. Vera went to the net, forced a floater, and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams hit a fearsome deep crosscourt backhand return; Vera showed her excellent retrieval-skills to recover, but Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord and landed just inside the sideline for a winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams’s heavy, deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #3). Williams netted a forehand. Held.

Williams serving 1-1: Vera’s deep backhand jammed Williams into hitting a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a down-the-line backhand return wide. 15/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Ace #2: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/30. Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand winner was too much even for Vera’s lateral retrieval. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera’s deep crosscourt return induced Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. Vera dumped an extreme sliced forehand halfway up the net – who’s been watching Tsvetana Pironkova? Ad Williams (GP #2). Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Held.

Vera serving 1-2: Deep first serve down the middle induced Williams to hit a wild off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/0. Williams netted a backhand off a high-bouncing backhand from Vera. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a good forehand approach down Williams’s right sideline, but Williams came up with a stunning running crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve: forehand return long. Held.

Williams serving 2-2: Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 0/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, deep in the corner. 15/15. Williams hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, inducing Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Vera’s sliced forehand bounced very low, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 30/30. First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Vera to bunt a crosscourt backhand wide, accompanied by a cute little moan. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, but her down-the-line backhand approach was found wanting as Williams hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Held.

Vera’s not getting blown away out there, and is looking to take the initiative with deep groundstrokes, approaches to the net, and even the occasional Pironkova-esque sliced forehand!

Vera serving 2-3: Vera mishit a wild forehand wide, as the topspin caused an awkward bounce. 0/15. Vera off-forehand wide. 0/30. Williams on the fourth stroke blasted a crosscourt forehand into the net. 15/30. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/30. Vera hit an off-forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Williams to run into the tramlines, stretch wide and net a forehand. Deuce #1. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. Ad Vera (GP #1). Deep first serve induced Williams to net a backhand. Held.

Unnecessary errors led to the BP, but well recovered, and now Williams has baggage.

Williams serving 3-3: Virtual ace: wide-angled first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams dominated the point with a first serve out wide + deep crosscourt backhand + off-forehand drive-volley winner back behind Vera. 30/0. Ace #5: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand down the line, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, forcing Vera to hit a backhand wide. Held.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Williams netted a forehand – good slide from Vera to retrieve Williams’s off-forehand to the sideline. 15/0. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #3: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to stretch wide and net a one-handed backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Vera sliced a defensive backhand long. Ad Williams (BP #1). First serve just long. Respectable second serve out wide induced Williams to net a backhand return. Williams threw her racket in disgust. Deuce #2. Vera went to the net behind an off-forehand, but Williams hit an awkward crosscourt backhand lob, forcing Vera to net a high backhand volley. That’s where Williams has learned from Anna Chakvetadze! Ad Williams (BP #2). Vera went to the net, but Williams hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. Broken.

I hope those last two points don’t discourage Vera from going to the net. Williams came up with two pretty exceptional shots, and if I were Vera, I’d take a chance on her not being able to keep coming up with them consistently.

Williams serving 5-3: Ace #6: first serve out wide. 15/0. Williams hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to bunt a forehand long. 30/0. Williams crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the line – on the centre-line – forced Vera to bunt a forehand lob-return wide. Vera wasted a challenge, although the delay might help her. 40/15 (SP #1 for Williams). Double fault #3 (second serve long). 40/30 (SP #2 for Williams). Kick second serve: Vera hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return just inside the sideline, inducing Williams to hit a backhand long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a defensive forehand lob-return, which Williams dispatched with a down-the-line forehand smash-winner. Ad Williams (SP #3). Second serve... Vera, on the fourth stroke, hit a makeable off-forehand just wide. Williams won the first set 6-3 at 14:48 BST (36m).


2.2 Second set
--------------
ZVONARËV __*___*_ 2
WILLIAMS @*_*@*_* 6

Vera serving 0-0: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Williams came up with an unbelievable short-angled crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 15/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. 30/15. Vera netted a backhand off a deep, body-jamming crosscourt backhand return. 30/30. Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand bounced low, inducing Vera to dump a backhand halfway up the net. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera netted a makeable forehand, and emitted a long squeal of frustration. Broken.

Williams serving 1-0: Williams netted a backhand. 0/15. Williams went to the net, her crosscourt forehand forced a floater, and she dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Williams ran down a netcord-dropshot and hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 30/15. Williams spread Vera with a short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline + off-backhand winner back behind Vera. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace out wide, but Vera made a successful challenge, so they had to replay the point. Williams went to the net and hit a backhand volley-winner down the line. Held.

Vera serving 0-2: Big first serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Williams hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand return to the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a backhand long. 15/15. Ace #4: first serve out wide, on the sideline. 30/15. Vera’s deep, wrong-footing backhand forced Williams to hit a backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand lob-return long. Held.

Vera stems the tide, but she has yet to find an answer to Williams’s serve in this match.

Williams serving 2-1: Ace #7: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Vera used up a challenge. 15/0. Williams’s footwork let her down as she netted a backhand. 15/15. Ace #8: first serve out wide, just inside the sideline beyond Vera’s outstretched racket. 30/15. Williams hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand volley-winner. Held.

Vera serving 1-3: Williams went to the net behind an off-forehand approach to the sideline, forcing Vera to net a backhand 0/15. Vera had the initiative, but netted a backhand off a high-bouncing ball. 0/30. Vera’s down-the-line forehand forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Williams hit a short-angled off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide: Williams blasted a crosscourt forehand return into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced a short return; Vera hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner right in the corner at 84 mph. Deuce #1. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Williams, who was running to her left. Ad Vera (GP #1). A crosscourt-backhand drill ended with Vera netting one. Deuce #2. Williams’s deep backhand forced Vera to net a forehand. Ad Williams (BP #3). Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Vera waved her arms in frustration. Broken.

Vera’s grunt is increasing in pitch: she sounded increasingly anxious as that last game progressed, and now she has to forget that she’s a set and a double break down, and fight to the bitter end, as is her wont.

BBC commentator Mark Petchey said that when Vera had her wrist-injury, her physiotherapist Jean-Pierre Bruyčre made her go to bed with a CD taped to each hand so that she couldn’t move her wrists. “Every morning, she would have to go to his room like a duck, and tap on his door so that he could untape them.”

Williams serving 4-1: Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to stretch wide and earth a defensive forehand return. 15/0. Williams netted a backhand. 15/15. Virtual ace out wide. 30/15. Williams went to the net and spread Vera, finishing with a forehand smash-winner down the line. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams went to the net, hitting several volleys until a body-jamming forehand smash forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob that landed on her own side of the court. Held.

Vera serving 1-5: Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Deep, body-jamming first serve down the middle forced Williams to mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/0. Vera went to the net behind a deep forehand, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams’s crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Vera bent over and berated herself in Russian. 40/15 (GP #2). Williams netted a backhand. Held.

Well, at least she’s avoided 3-6 1-6. I always think that winning five games is the cut-off point for a scoreline that has a modicum of respectability about it.

Williams serving 5-2 (new balls): Ace #9: first serve down the middle at 122 mph. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide kicked up on Vera, forcing her 8 feet behind the baseline to hit a backhand return long. Vera resisted the temptation to throw her racket. 30/0. Williams forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). A longish rally, during which Vera hit a deep backhand right on the baseline, ended with Williams going to the net and hitting a high off-forehand drive-volley winner. At least I’m pleased that it finished with a winner rather than Vera’s backhand being called long. Williams won 6-3 6-2 at 15:20 BST (second set 31m, match 1h07m).


3. On-court BBC interviews
--------------------------

The on-court interviews were conducted by 1976 French Open champion Sue Barker, who now presents the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage.


3.1 Vera’s interview
--------------------

Vera reacted to her loss by sitting in her chair, blinking back tears. But looking at her going up to receive the silver runner’s-up plate from the Duke of Kent, I would certainly have signed for this at the start of the tournament (although preferably against Maria Sharapova in the final!).

Barker: “Ladies and gentlemen, I know you want to hear from Vera. Tough day, but you have so much to be proud of, and also, you just played today one of the greatest champions of all time.”

Vera: “Yeah. Hello everyone – sorry, I lost my voice a little bit. Yeah, I think, you know, Serena... congratulations: you’re a great player, but you’re also a great champion, so I think you showed great effort and determination throughout the week, and you really deserved to win today.”

The crowd started applauding after Vera said “I think you showed”. I like to believe that they were applauding her graciousness in defeat.

Barker: “And also, I hope that you have proved a lot to yourself: your first Grand Slam final, only the third Russian woman through to the final here. I hope... you know, you have so much to be proud of.”

Vera: “Yeah, definitely.”

The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.

Vera: “I think I’m a little bit disappointed at the moment. You know, maybe I was not able to show my best today, but I think Serena didn’t allow me to show my best – she was playing really well. But, yeah, I think, you know, after a couple of hours, I will look back and I will realise that, you know, this moment, I was dreaming about it since I was a little kid: to be here playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, and now here I am.”

Barker: “And also, I think what people...”

The crowd applauded loudly for a few seconds.

Barker: “I think what people don’t understand is also how special this is, because you’ve had so many injuries, so much time out from competition, now fully fit, and now being able to play at your very best. It must mean so much to you.”

Vera: “Yeah, I think it does, but actually, it means a lot to me that those people in my box over there were here for me today, and also a surgeon who did my surgery last year was able to be come, and my... because of him, I’m able to be here today, because I was really doubting that I was gonna be able to play tennis again. And my team from physio who helped me to recover from it: they’re here; they were supporting me, and really grateful, and everyone here, my coach, and everybody.”

The surgeon to whom she referred was Niek van Dijk, who had removed scar-tissue from her right ankle in November 2009 after a nasty injury at Charleston in April. Her coach at Wimbledon 2010 was Sergey Demekhin.

Barker: “They put you together. You’ve supplied the great tennis. Congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, Vera Zvonarëva!”


3.2 Williams’s interview
------------------------

Barker: “We’ve been here before. The fourth time, for everyone, must be so special. And I think, from your reaction at the end of that, this one is very special.”

Williams: “Yeah, this one’s very special. Hey, Billie: I got you! <laughing>”

By winning her 13th Major singles-title, Williams surpassed the total of 12 won by Billie Jean King, who was watching from the stands.

Williams: “It was number 13 for me now. She’s... you know, it was just amazing to be among such great people, but... yeah.”

Barker: “Just to explain to people: the 13th Grand Slam title means she moves to sixth on the all-time greatest champions’ list – just ahead of Billie Jean. Lucky number 13, eh?”

Williams: “Yeah, it’s actually my lucky number. But, yeah, I’d just again like to congratulate Vera, I mean, what amazing: she’s been through so much in the past year, and everyone should give her a big round of applause, ‘cause she really defines what a champion and never giving up means.”

Barker: “And also, she started so well. I guess you knew that game at 4-3 was key in that first set.”

Williams: “Yeah, it was definitely a key game, and again, I’m just happy to be able to win. Can I say my thank-yous?”

Barker: “Yeah.”

Williams: “Okay. I would like to first and foremost thank my God Jehovah: I’ve really relied on him this tournament. Just thank you so much for allowing me to be here. I thank my dad, my mom, Sasha, Isha – my sisters are here – Lyn, Venus, hey! <laughing> Suzanne, for always supporting me, and everyone that came out. Esther, for keeping me fit, and Jill for always being there for me, so I have really a great team, and, you know, I’m just really happy and I feel so blessed.”

Barker: “Absolutely.”

Williams: “Oh oh oh oh! Sorry! Most of all, I would like to thank you guys for getting me through this. I... the crowd was really amazing, and, you know, to win several times and to still be behind me means so much to me, so thank you so, so, so much.”

Barker: “Do you have any superstitions? I mean: is that a lucky necklace?”

Williams: “Venus gave it to me, ‘cause I didn’t bring any jewellery – believe it or not – to wear, so I don’t wanna give it back.”

The crowd laughed.

Barker: “It looks a bit like the trophy!”

Williams: “The rings are hers, so it’s like... she’s always taken care of me. Still!”

Barker: “Just looking over the tournament: you’ve played so well, haven’t dropped a set. The serve – I’ve gotta talk about the serve. 89 aces, and Martina Navrátilová said earlier today: the greatest serve of all time.”

Williams: “Wow. I honestly never served like this, so, hah hah hah! I just feel like at Wimbledon, whenever I come on this grass, and come and play on this amazing court, I start serving well, and I just definitely want to keep it up! <laughing>”

Barker: “And I’ve gotta say: your dad, Richard, he takes so many photos. Do you ever get any of these?”

Williams: “Yeah, he always sends us tons of photos. Did you get me?”

Richard Williams put his thumb up, and the crowd laughed.

Williams: “So I’ll look over them. So it’s just such a great moment. Yeah, it’s great.”

Barker: “And I know you said before that when you walked down those stairs, past the honours-board, when you first came here to Wimbledon, you wanted to be on that honours-board, and now look at you.”

Williams: “I did, and my dream was able to come true. And everyone’s dream can come true if you stick to it and work hard. So thanks.”

Barker: “Your name will be on there when you walk out there for the fourth time. Ladies and gentlemen, Serena Williams!”

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

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------------------------------
Women’s Doubles: Final TV-report: Zvonarëva/Vesnina v Shvedova/King (Saturday 3rd July 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------------------

- Vera Zvonarëva [EF]/Elena Vesnina lt. Yaroslava Shvedova/Vania King, 6-7 (6/8) 2-6

My abiding memory of Wimbledon 2010 is of Vera sitting in her chair in floods of tears after losing the doubles-final, while Elena Vesnina sat with her, wiping away her tears.

Vera had lost the singles-final to Serena Williams earlier on the same day, and had to start the doubles-final just three hours later.

It was an entertaining doubles-match, with extensive use of the ‘I’ formation (whereby the server’s partner crouches behind the middle of the net, and jumps up to the left or right), plenty of winners both off the ground and at the net, and a couple of excellent lobs. Both teams played with great variety, not giving their opponents any patterns.

The first set was a rollercoaster, with the Russians leading 3-1*, then losing four games in a row to trail 3-5*. They got back to 5-5* as Shvedova choked, only to lose the momentum again. Vera hit a magnificent lob-winner to force a tiebreak in which they had set-point, but she burst into tears after losing that tiebreak.

Vera struggled with her emotions in the second set, forcing Elena to take on an unnatural leadership-role. Vera was broken in the third game, and Elena in the fifth as they handed the title to their delighted opponents.

I have structured my report as follows:
1. a detailed game-by-game summary of each set;
2. a blow-by-blow description of every single point.


1. Game-by-game summary
-----------------------
1.1 First set
-------------

Shvedova made a very sharp start to the match, holding to love in the first game – Williams wasn’t the only big server that Vera faced in a Wimbledon final that day!

After losing the first six points of the match, Elena faced two break-points at *0-1 15/40, but recovered to hold with three big serves and a crosscourt backhand virtual winner.

King at *1-1 was broken to 15, as Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner, and Vera ran down a dropshot to hit a high crosscourt forehand winner.

Vera at *2-1 consolidated the break as she recovered from 15/30 to win a scrappy service-game after one deuce.

Shvedova at *1-3 held to 15, with the help of two crosscourt backhand first-volley winners from King.

With Elena serving at 3-2, Shvedova hit a laser-like backhand return-winner down the line to bring up break-points at 15/40. The Russians saved them, but after one deuce, King broke back with an off-forehand smash-winner. The crowd seemed very amused by Elena’s karate-like shouts of “aya” in lieu of grunting.

Vera played two good points to put King in a *3-3 0/30 hole, but the Russians squandered the next four points rather tamely.

Vera at *3-4 was broken to 30 after a double fault, and winning smashes from both Shvedova and King – and despite two volley-winners by Elena.

Shvedova failed to serve out the set at 5-3 – despite two aces, it seemed that nerves got the better of her, and the Russians broke back to 30.

Elena at *4-5 held to love with two aces, and two unforced errors by Shvedova.

However, the momentum switched again at 5-5 as Elena hit a forehand wide by a whisker, then made two unforced errors, with Shvedova also intercepting to hit a forehand volley-winner as King held to love.

The quality of play rose to a new high in Vera’s service-game at 5-6, as Elena answered Shvedova’s forehand volley-winner with two of her own. At 40/15, King hit a backhand volley-winner, then Vera hit a magnificent crosscourt forehand half-volley lob-winner just inside the baseline!

Everything happened in the tiebreak. Elena put the Russians up *2/0 with a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner and a service-winner, but Shvedova hit a forehand volley-winner down the line, and the Russians made two unforced errors. At *2/3, Vera got down nice and low to fire an off-backhand volley-winner just inside the sideline.

Shvedova at *4/3 lost the point because Elena’s wild passing shot brushed her hair! The Russians recovered from *4/5 to reach set-point at *6/5, but Vera hit a forehand long, then their rackets clashed to put them set-point down at *6/7, and King won the set with an error-forcing forehand volley.

Vera burst into tears at the set-break, and Elena put her arm around her consolingly.


1.2 Second set
--------------

With Elena at *0-0, Vera threw her racket on two points in a row – including the infamous shoulder-clipping incident – as they went 15/30 down, but Elena recovered to hold to 30 courtesy of Vera’s off-forehand smash-winner.

Shvedova at *0-1 held to 30 with the help of a pinpoint down-the-line forehand pass-winner.

With Vera serving at 1-1, Elena intercepted to hit a high crosscourt backhand volley-winner, but Vera hit a double fault and three errors to be broken to 15, her slumping body-language a stark contrast to the constant smiles of Shvedova and King.

King at *2-1 held to 15, courtesy of Shvedova hitting three crosscourt forehand volley-winners – including a drop-volley at game-point.

Elena at *1-3 served an ace for 30/15, but followed that with a double fault. From 40/30, she made two unforced errors – either side of a Shvedova forehand volley-winner – to go a set and two breaks down.

Shvedova at *4-1 held to 15 with an off-forehand smash-winner, a forehand volley-winner by King, and an ace.

Vera at *1-5 had an easy hold to 15, although she looked close to tears again after double-faulting at 40/0.

With King serving for the championship at 5-2, Vera hit an error-forcing volley on the first point, but the Russians made four cheap errors to hand the title to their delighted opponents.


2. Point-by-point description
-----------------------------
2.1 First set
-------------
ZVON/VESN _*@*____@*_*_ 6(6)
SHVE/KING *___*@*@__*_T 7(8)

The match was third on Centre Court, and started at 18:22 BST. One quarter of the court was in sunshine, the rest in shadow. Shvedova wore her sunglasses when looking into the sun, and took them off when not.

Vera and Shvedova were receiving serve in the ad-court for their respective teams.

Shvedova serving 0-0: Ace #1: first serve down the middle. Shvedova and King used the ‘I’ formation straight away. 15/0. Shvedova’s short off-forehand forced Vera to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Service-winner down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). And again. Held.

Wow – Serena Williams wasn’t the only big server that Vera has faced in a Wimbledon final today! A very sharp start by Shvedova.

Elena serving 0-1: Shvedova crossed the net to the right and hit an off-forehand winner. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/30. The Russians used the ‘I’ formation, and won their first point when King netted a forehand. 15/30. Shvedova’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Elena to hit a backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced King to hit a backhand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). Ace #1: first serve out wide, on the sideline. King/Shvedova wasted a challenge: it was well in. Deuce #1. Ace #2: first serve out wide, on the sideline. Ad Elena (GP #1). Elena’s crosscourt backhand clipped King’s racket for a virtual winner; she said “vita”. Held.

King serving 1-1: King crosscourt forehand just wide. 0/15. Elena hit a high crosscourt forehand volley-winner, accompanied by her first “aya” of the match. 0/30. Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a high crosscourt forehand winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Shvedova hit a crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 15/40 (BP #2). King ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand. Broken.

Vera serving 2-1: Shvedova hit a magnificent crosscourt backhand smash-winner! 0/15. Vera stood halfway between the sideline and the centre-line to hit a first serve down the middle, inducing Shvedova to hit an off-forehand return wide. 15/15. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Vera’s deep off-forehand induced Shvedova to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/30. King netted a makeable backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera on the third stroke hit an off-forehand long. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced King to net a forehand return. Ad Vera (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Shvedova to hit a backhand return wide. Held.

Shvedova serving 1-3: King’s crosscourt forehand volley induced Elena to net a forehand. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/15. First serve out wide + King crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/15. Shvedova’s deep backhand down the middle forced Elena to bunt a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve forced a floater, which King dispatched with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Held.

Elena serving 3-2: In an entertaining rally, Vera hit an off-forehand drop-volley, but Shvedova ran it down and hit an excellent crosscourt backhand lob that landed in the tramlines and just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to run back and hit a weak backhand down the line; King hit a floating forehand volley, but Elena got caught in no-man’s-land and slapped a backhand drive-volley into the net. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Elena off-backhand wide. 15/30. Second serve out wide: Shvedova hit a laser-like backhand return-winner down the line past Vera. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera’s deep volley forced King to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #1. King hit a deep crosscourt forehand return forced Elena to hit a forehand wide. Ad Shvedova (BP #3). A long rally ended with King hitting an off-forehand smash-winner. The crowd seemed very amused by Elena’s karate-like shouts of “aya” in lieu of grunting. Broken.

King serving 3-3: Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand that jammed into Shvedova's body at an awkward angle, forcing her to hit a forehand volley long. 0/15. A close-range net-exchange ended with Vera’s forehand volley forcing Shvedova to lunge and net a backhand volley. 0/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Elena to net a forehand. 15/30. Vera netted a backhand. 30/30. Elena netted a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand return. Held.

The BBC commentators observed how Vera twiddles her racket enough to “wear the grip out” when she’s crouching at the net; Sam Smith praised Vera as one of the best Russian volleyers.

Vera serving 3-4 (new balls): Double fault #3 (second serve long). 0/15. Elena popped up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner, and said “vishna”. 15/15. Vera wanted to challenge her first serve being called long, but was too late. Shvedova dispatched a floater with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/30. Elena popped up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Vera netted a backhand, and rolled her head in frustration. 30/40 (BP #1). King dispatched a floater with a crosscourt forehand smash virtual winner. Broken.

I’m loving the extensive use of the ‘I’ formation in this match. It may have its critics, but it keeps the receiver guessing. Shvedova looks uncomfortable with strapping on her left thigh, though.

Shvedova serving 5-3: Shvedova, caught in the last patch of sunlight, hit a down-the-line forehand wide. 0/15. Vera’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Shvedova to hit a backhand wide. 0/30. Ace #2: first serve down the middle. 15/30. Shvedova on the third stroke hit a wild off-forehand volley wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace #3: first serve out wide. The Russians challenged it: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 1% of the breadth of the sideline!! 30/40 (BP #2). Shvedova netted a forehand volley off a mildly awkward crosscourt forehand from Elena, who said that lovely “vita”/“vishna” word that I wish I knew how to spell. Broken.

Serving for the set certainly changed the mental scenery for Shvedova there.

Elena serving 4-5: Shvedova hit a forehand long. 15/0. Ace #3: first serve down the middle + “aya”. 30/0. Ace #4: first serve down the middle + a higher-pitched “aya”. 40/0 (GP #1). Shvedova crosscourt backhand just long. Held.

King serving 5-5: Elena hit a crosscourt forehand wide by a whisker – the umpire herself made a late call. 15/0. Elena forehand just long. 30/0. Shvedova intercepted Elena’s crosscourt forehand to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Elena kicked a ball away in frustration. 40/0 (GP #1). Elena backhand long. Held.

Vera serving 5-6: Shvedova off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Elena bisected her opponents with a forehand volley-winner, and shouted “vita”. 15/15. Elena on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/15. A mildly awkward body-jamming first serve induced Shvedova to net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). King hit an off-backhand volley-winner as Vera didn’t put enough on her body-jamming pass. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera hit a magnificent crosscourt forehand half-volley lob-winner just inside the baseline! BBC commentator Chris Bradnam: “That deceived everybody! Topspin lobs don't get much better than that: off the back foot, aiding and abetting.” Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores (Zvonarëva/Vesnina)/(Shvedova/King)):
{0/0*} Shvedova went to the net behind a short-angled off-backhand slice, but Elena ripped a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner.
{*1/0} Elena hit a first serve down the middle, inducing Shvedova to hit an off-forehand wide. Elena said “vita”.
{*2/0} Shvedova hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Sam Smith: “Not easy to find too many patterns out here. That’s what doubles-teams are looking for: working out exactly how someone returns, things that they can have a guess on. But out here: so much variety, so many different kinds of shots, so many different kinds of plays. I know they use the ‘I’ formation a lot, but using them all different ways, both teams. Nothing really for anyone to say: ‘We’re gonna go there, or we’re gonna go there.’”
{2/1*} Vera netted a horrible backhand return.
{2/2*} Elena netted an off-backhand return.
{*2/3} Vera got down nice and low to fire off an off-backhand volley-winner just inside the sideline.
{*3/3} King’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand just long.
{3/4*} Elena blasted a crosscourt forehand pass-volley long, but it brushed Shvedova’s ponytail, making it technically /her/ error.
{4/4*} Elena, her “aya” now higher-pitched than ever, netted a forehand volley.
{*4/5} Elena hit a down-the-line forehand at Shvedova’s feet, forcing her to net a backhand. Elena said “vita”.
{*5/5} Deep serve out wide induced King to hit a forehand return long. Elena said “vita”.
{6/5*: SP #1 for Zvonarëva/Vesnina} Vera hit a forehand just long, and hit the ball away in frustration.
{6/6*} Vera and Elena hit the same ball, sending it into the net.
{*6/7: SP #1 for Shvedova/King} Vera hit a first serve down the middle; Elena hit an off-forehand drop-volley; Shvedova bunted a backhand down the line, inducing Vera to hit a late crosscourt forehand that sat up nicely for King to hit a forehand volley at Elena’s feet, forcing her to earth a backhand volley. Shvedova/King won the first set 7-6 (8/6) at 19:20 BST (58m).

Sam Smith observed that Shvedova and King had only played eight matches in two tournaments together before Wimbledon 2010. “For a scratch team, they’re combining very nicely. I’d love to ask Shvedova what it was about Vania King that she really wanted to play with her – waited for her for two years!”
Chris Bradnam: “Some players, you just gel with straight away. Other players, you team up and you know it’s not going to happen.”
Sam Smith: “But how did she know that? They haven’t played together!”

Vera burst into tears at the set-break, and Elena put her arm around her consolingly. Vera desperately doesn’t want to lose two Wimbledon finals on the same day. By Wimbledon 2010, she had won three Majors: the US Open 2004 Mixed Doubles, Wimbledon 2006 Mixed Doubles, and the US Open 2006 Women’s Doubles. Since then, she has added the Australian Open 2012 Women’s Doubles.

A strange time for Vera to cry, given that she stayed dry-eyed throughout the Women’s Singles final, and is a long way from actually losing this one yet.


2.2 Second set
--------------
ZVON/VESN *_____*_ 2
SHVE/KING _*@*@*_* 6

Elena serving 0-0: King forehand long. 15/0. Vera hit a crosscourt backhand wide, and threw her racket down with some violence. 15/15. Vera’s forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Vera threw her racket again: it clipped Elena’s right shoulder on the take-back, and it’s amazing that it didn’t break. Some of Vera’s haters love to remind us of that little incident at every opportunity, but Elena didn’t seem to mind it at all. 15/30. King netted a running backhand. 30/30. King dumped a backhand halfway up the net. Vera and Elena slapped hands. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera jumped up from the ‘I’ formation, and hit an off-forehand smash-winner. Held.

A very good job that they held there, because Vera’s really struggling with her emotions. Elena’s not the natural leader of the team, but she’s having to take on a leadership-role now.

Shvedova serving 0-1: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Elena high crosscourt forehand overhead forced King to net a forehand. 15/15. Elena forehand just long. 30/15. King netted a forehand. 30/30. Shvedova hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand pass-winner past Vera. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: Elena intercepted to hit a high crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Shvedova hit a deep backhand return down the middle, forcing Vera to earth a forehand. 15/15. Vera forehand long. Chris Bradnam: “The body-language after every error is a slump.” 15/30. Double fault #4 (second serve long). The Russians wasted a challenge. Chris Bradnam: “Maybe just to buy a little time for Zvonarëva to get herself together here.” 15/40 (BP #1). Vera had to run back for a deep lob, and hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Broken.

There could hardly be a starker contrast between the constant smiles of Shvedova and King, and Vera’s body-language at the moment.

The BBC commentators suggested that Elena should lighten the mood by getting under the towel with Vera.

King serving 2-1: Vera hit a backhand very long. 15/0. Shvedova got up from the ‘I’ formation to hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 30/0. Elena ran outside the tramlines to hit a deep forehand down the middle, forcing King to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Shvedova crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Shvedova crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. Held.

Elena serving 1-3: Service-winner. 15/0. King’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Elena to hit a forehand lob just long. The Russians used up a challenge to show that it was long by a whisker. 15/15. Ace #5: down the middle, on the centre-line. 30/15. Double fault #5 (second serve clipped the netcord; Shvedova and King challenged to show that it was 1 mm long). 30/30. Shvedova netted a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Elena backhand just long. Deuce #1. Shvedova intercepted to hit a forehand volley-winner down the middle. Ad Shvedova (BP #1). Elena netted a forehand. Broken.

Not just a break-point, but a breaking-point.

Shvedova serving 4-1: Shvedova off-forehand smash-winner. Chris Bradnam: “They can’t miss at the moment.” 15/0. King forehand volley-winner down the middle. 30/0. Elena’s deep off-backhand return forced Shvedova to hoist a weak lob; Vera hit an off-forehand smash down the middle; Shvedova overran it and dumped a forehand into the net. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long and wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #4: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Held.

Vera serving 1-5: King netted a high forehand volley-winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Shvedova to net a backhand. 30/0. The Russians left a lob that floated just wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #6 (wild second serve long). Vera looked close to tears again. 40/15 (GP #2). The Russians left a lob from Shvedova... it was just long. Held.

King serving 5-2: Vera’s off-forehand volley forced Shvedova to net a forehand volley. 0/15. Elena backhand long. 15/15. Vera forehand long. 30/15. Vera chopped a forehand return just long. 40/15 (MP #1 for Shvedova/King). First serve out wide: Elena hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Shvedova/King won 7-6 (8/6) 6-2 at 19:56 BST (second set 34m, match 1h33m).

Shvedova and King looked absolutely delighted, bouncing around with huge smiles on their faces, while Vera sat in her chair in floods of tears, her head only partially covered by her towel as Elena sat with her, wiping away her tears. Talk about a fantastic camera-angle!

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