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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. UK TV-alert
3. First-round draw
4. Vera Zvonarëva preview
5. Order of play for Wednesday

Master thread for my Australian Open 2010 reports:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399696

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

Where to look at many players:
* http://www.tennis.com/galleries/index.aspx
* http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery
* http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/photos.html
* http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/photos/

Where to search for specific players:
* http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/profiles.html
* http://news.yahoo.com/
* http://www.fotosports.com/
* Getty Images

--------------
2. UK TV-alert
--------------

The evening-sessions on Rod Laver Arena will be televised on BBC Red Button from 08:00 GMT each day of the tournament (digital viewers press Red or tune into Freeview 301).

This coverage will be followed by highlights on a continuous loop (from 17:00 GMT, or 19:00 GMT on Freeview, with daily variations).

Additionally, all Andy Murray's matches will be televised live on either BBC 1 or BBC 2 (the next such programme is on BBC 2 on Wednesday at 08:00 GMT). I think it's quite possible that bits of other matches might be shown in these programmes if Murray's match starts late or finishes early, as was occasionally the case when the BBC used to do this for Tim Henman.

I urge all BBC viewers who care about women's tennis to lodge a complaint whenever the BBC uses men's tennis as an excuse not to show the women's match on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session (as it did on Tuesday, and appears set to do again on Wednesday):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/homepage/

There will also be tennis on BBC 1 at 13:00 GMT on Saturday 23rd January.

Sources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/6102132.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/default.stm

Daily details of the BBC Red Button schedule:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/5345480.stm

-------------------
3. First-round draw
-------------------
Key
---

[Q] qualifier
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
Selesian
(* ?x v ?y) I prefer ?x to win
(my loyalty is to ?x) I like both players, but prefer ?x
(my Reason says ?x, but my Passion says ?y) I prefer ?x in tennis-terms, but want ?y to win because she's more attractive
(my Passion says ?x, but my Reason says ?y) I find ?x more attractive, but want ?y to win because I prefer her game


3.1 Top quarter: Vera Zvonarëva
-------------------------------

* SERENA WILLIAMS [1] won
* Petra Kvitová won
* Andrea Petković won
* CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [32] won

* SABINE LISICKI [21,DF] won
* Alberta Brianti won
* Kristina Barrois won
* SAMANTHA STOSUR [13] won

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Kristína Kučová (my loyalty is to VERA)
* Iveta Benešová v Chang,Kai-Chen (pojďme Iveta!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] won
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [20,DF] won

* ELENA VESNINA [28] v Tathiana Garbin (davai Elena!)
* Yaroslava Shvedova v Kimiko Date Krumm (davai Yaroslava!)
* Stefanie Vögele v Melinda Czink (hopp Stefanie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF] v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro [WC] (davai Vika!)


3.2 Second quarter: Daniela Hantuchová
--------------------------------------

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [4] v Aleksandra Wozniak (kom så Caro!)
* Tamira Paszek v Julia Görges (my Passion says Julia, but my Reason says Tamira)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v Galina Voskoboeva (aide Tsvetana!)
* Lucie Hradecká v SHAHAR PE'ER [29] (my Passion says Shahar, but my Reason says Lucie)

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [22,EF] v Viktoriya Kutuzova (my loyalty is to DANIELA)
* Jarmila Groth [WC] v Sofia Arvidsson [Q]
* Ágnes Szávay v Stéphanie Dubois (Ágnes's sexier body just edges Stéphanie's prettier face for me ;))
* Marina Eraković v LI,NA [16] (go Marina!)

* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [10] won
* Alla Kudryavtseva won
* Julie Coin won
* FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [17] won

* Karolina Šprem [DF] won
* Casey Dell'Acqua [WC] won
* Sybille Bammer won
* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] won


3.3 Third quarter
-----------------

* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [5] won
* Justine Henin [WC] won
* Sorana Cîrstea won
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [27] won

* Ekaterina Makarova won
* Sara Errani won
* Yanina Wickmayer [Q] won
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] won

* KIM CLIJSTERS [15] won
* Tamarine Tanasugarn won
* Kaia Kanepi won
* NADIA PETROVA [19] won

* ARAVANE REZAÏ [26] won
* Angelique Kerber [Q] won
* Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3] won


3.4 Bottom quarter
------------------

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [8] won
* Katie O'Brien won
* Polona Hercog won
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] won

* MARÍA JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ SÁNCHEZ [24] won
* Zheng,Jie won
* Sandra Záhlavová won
* MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] won

* Maria Kirilenko [DF] won
* Yvonne Meusburger [Q] won
* Roberta Vinci won
* Vania King won

* KATERYNA BONDARENKO [30] won
* Elena Baltacha won
* Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová won
* DINARA SAFINA [2] won

-------------------------
4. Vera Zvonarëva preview
-------------------------

Vera Zvonarëva is a cute and flairsomely talented player, whom I admire for her beautifully-produced groundstrokes of flairsome power, for the way she combines amazing lateral-retrieval abilities with powerful hitting, and most of all for her tremendous fighting spirit.

Vera was on a tremendous upward surge in early 2009, breaking new ground with her first-ever Major singles semi-final at the Australian Open and her first-ever Premier singles-title at Indian Wells, and rising to a new career-high of #5 in the rankings. She also won an International title at Pattaya City, and her 18:2 win/loss record coming out of Indian Wells was the best of any player on the WTA Tour for the year up to that point.

But on 16th April 2009, Vera suffered a very nasty right-ankle injury while playing at Charleston. She missed the rest of the clay-court season (including the French Open), returned to action at Eastbourne two months later, but it proved to be too soon, as she struggled with her movement, and although she won two matches at Wimbledon, her ankle flared up and she withdrew before her third-round match.

After taking another month off, Vera returned to action again, but although her results were respectable - a quarter-final at Los Angeles, fourth round at the US Open (where she suffered one of her infamous emotional meltdowns after missing six match-points in the second set) and a quarter-final at Beijing (where she avenged her US Open loss to world #10 Flavia Pennetta, but blew a 6-3 5-1* lead against Marion Bartoli) - they paled in comparison to her form before the injury, as she struggled with her right ankle and secondary injuries to both knees.

Vera narrowly failed to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships, but went to Doha as the first alternate, substituted for the injured Dinara Safina, and lost a dramatic match to Caroline Wozniacki before she, in turn, pulled out of the tournament, and underwent surgery to remove scar-tissue from her right ankle on 11th November.

Vera started 2010 with a 6-2 6-2 win over #83-ranked Selesian player Ayumi Morita in a women's singles rubber of the Hong Kong Tennis Classic semi-finals. But her right ankle swelled up after that match, so she didn't play singles in the final (which Russia won 6-4 6-3), although she did play mixed doubles (she and Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost 6-4 6-3 to Caroline Wozniacki/Stefan Edberg).

Vera retired from her first-round match at Sydney at *3-3 (15/30) in the first set against Elena Vesnina. Vera said: "My ankle is just not ready to play a full match after spraining it slightly in Hong Kong, but I should be 100% in time for the Australian Open. Just needed a few more days before my first match in Sydney."

Although the above quote is somewhat reassuring, I'm still very worried about Vera as she prepares to defend her Australian Open semi-final. I'm worried that she has come back too soon after surgery, and most of all, I'm worried that she may be risking long-term damage to her right ankle by trying to play before she's ready.

I don't blame Vera for wanting to play the Australian Open, and I wish her all the best for that, but I trust that she'll take the best medical advice if her ankle flares up again in Melbourne. Vera has a long year ahead of her, and I can't wait to see how she'll do when this injury is behind her.


4.1 First-round preview
-----------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Kristína Kučová

Kristína Kučová is a 19-year-old Selesian player (two hands on both sides) who won the US Open 2007 Girls' Singles title, and rose from #217 to #104 in the rankings last year.

Kristína compiled a 37:31 singles-record in 2009, playing mainly on the ITF circuit. She was runner-up at ITF La Palma in March, and reached the semi-finals of ITF Johannesburg in May with a win over Wimbledon 2007 quarter-finalist Michaëlla Krajíček.

Kristína reached the semi-finals of ITF Brno in June, then reached the second round of Wimbledon as a lucky loser, beating #224-ranked fellow Selesian Aiko Nakamura 2-6 6-3 6-3 in the first round before losing 6-3 6-3 to #17 Amélie Mauresmo.

Kristína reached the final of ITF Pozoblanco in July, albeit by the retirement of #143 Anastasia Rodionova in the semis. She reached the semi-finals of ITF Zagreb, upset #78 Alexandra Dulgheru in the first round of qualifying for New Haven, and reached the semi-finals of ITF Athens in October with wins over #76 Stefanie Vögele and #55 Petra Kvitová.

Kristína started 2010 by attempting to qualify for Auckland: she beat #126 Renata Voráčová 6-1 7-5 in the first round of qualifying, but lost 3-6 6-3 6-1 to #103-ranked fellow Selesian Monica Niculescu in the second qualifying-round. Kristína then lost 6-4 6-7 6-0 to #128 Ksenia Pervak in the first round of qualifying for Hobart.

Vera has never played Kristína before, but her recent 6-2 6-2 win over another Selesian - Ayumi Morita at Hong Kong - bodes well for this one, provided that Vera's right ankle is ready.

I predict that Vera will win this match easily, but I worry about how her ankle will react. She might well have to withdraw before her second-round match (or even do a 'Wozniacki' and retire at a set and 5-0 up so that Kristína could play the second round while Vera would face a match-fixing witch-hunt).


4.2 Later rounds
----------------

The second round would bring #45 Iveta Benešová or #94 Chang,Kai-Chen.

Ana Ivanović [20] is the projected seed for the third round, with #36 Gisela Dulko the other strong possibility. Vera's head-to-head against Ana is tied at 4:4, which includes a 6-1 6-2 win for Vera at the Australian Open 2007, and her victory in the Indian Wells 2009 final.

The fourth round should bring Victoria Azarenka [7]. Vera is 4:0 against Vika.

Serena Williams [1] is the obvious quarter-final opponent, but with Serena coming out of the Sydney-final with a leg-injury, I think Sabine Lisicki [21] might make it instead.

Potential semi-final opponents include Caroline Wozniacki [4] and Venus Williams [6].

Potential final-opponents include Dinara Safina [2], Svetlana Kuznetsova [3], Elena Dementieva [5], Jelena Janković [8], Maria Sharapova [14], Kim Clijsters [15] and unranked Justine Henin.

------------------------------
5. Order of play for Wednesday
------------------------------

Show Court 3 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 1r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Kristína Kučová
MS 2r: FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ [11] v Marsel Ilhan [LL]
WS 2r: ARAVANE REZAÏ [26] v Angelique Kerber [Q]
WS 2r: Sorana Cîrstea v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [27]

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
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6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Andrew's first-round report

===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Contents
--------

1. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v K.Kučová
2. Second-round draw and preview
3. Order of play for Thursday

------------------------------------------------------
1. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v K.Kučová (Wednesday 20th January 2010)
------------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Kristína Kučová , 6-2 6-0

For the first six games, it looked like it was going to be a tough match against the world #108, as Vera broke for *3-1 but was broken back immediately for 3-2*. After that, however, she didn't lose another game, and wrapped up victory after just 56 minutes.

Kristína's serves were extremely slow. I didn't realise she was only 5'4".

Vera had a big black support on her right ankle - a sad reminder of Wimbledon 2009, when she pulled out before her third-round match.


First set
---------
ZVONAR * *@ @*@ 6
KUČOVÁ _*[email protected]___ 2

The match was first on Court 7, and started at 11:13 AEDT.

Vera serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 40/30. Held.
Kristína serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Held.
Vera serving 1-1: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Kristína serving 1-2: 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Vera serving 3-1: 15/0. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Kristína serving 2-3: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 4-2: 40/0. Held.
Kristína serving 2-5: 0/30. Vera won the first set 6-2 at 11:41 AEDT (28m).


Second set
----------
ZVONAR *@*@*@ 6
KUČOVÁ ______ 0

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

Kristína serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-0: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. Held.

Kristína serving 0-3: 15/0. 15/40 (BP×2). Deuce #1. Ad Kristína. Deuce #2. Ad Vera (BP #3). Broken.

Vera serving 4-0: 40/0. 40/30. Held.
Kristína serving 0-5: 15/0. 15/40 (MP #1). Vera won 6-2 6-0 at 12:09 AEDT (second set 28m, match 56m).

And now I can give my undivided attention to Daniela Hantuchová, who has just lost a deucy first set 3-6 to Viktoriya Kutuzova...


Statistics
----------

Vera had a positive W:UE ratio of 28:23 to Kristína's 4:17 (3 of Kristína's winners came in the second set).

Vera got 64% of first serves in, winning 85% of the points when she did so, and 33% on second serve.

Kristína got 54% of first serves in, winning 45% when she did so, and 16% on second serve (including none at all in the second set).

Vera served much faster than Kristína: fastest 105-97 mph, average first serve 101-88 mph, average second serve 89-75 mph. Kristína has a very slow serve by WTA standards!

Vera served 6 aces and 5 double faults, Kristína no aces and 4 double faults.

Vera converted 6 of 9 BPs, Kristína 1 of 4.

Vera won 9 of 14 points at the net (64%) - 5 of 9 in the first set (56%), 4 of 5 (80%) in the second set. This suggests that Kristína hit some good passing-shots in the first set.

Kristína won 2 of 2 points at the net (100%) - both in the second set.

In points, Vera won 56-27 (first set 28-14, second set 28-13).

Conclusion: Kristína was out of her depth, but I hope she will appreciate the lesson.

--------------------------------
2. Second-round draw and preview
--------------------------------
2.1 Top half: Vera Zvonarëva & Daniela Hantuchová
-------------------------------------------------

* Petra Kvitová v SERENA WILLIAMS [1]
* CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [32] v Andrea Petković
* SABINE LISICKI [21,DF] v Alberta Brianti (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* SAMANTHA STOSUR [13] v Kristina Barrois (go Sam!)

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Iveta Benešová (my loyalty is to VERA)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [20,DF] v Gisela Dulko [DF] (my Passion says Gisela, but my Reason says Ana)
* Yaroslava Shvedova v Tathiana Garbin (davai Yaroslava!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF] v Stefanie Vögele (my Passion says Stefanie, but my Reason says Vika)

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [4] v Julia Görges (my loyalty is to Caro)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v SHAHAR PE'ER [29] (my loyalty is to Tsvetana)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [22,EF] v Sofia Arvidsson [Q] (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Ágnes Szávay v LI,NA [16] (hajra Ágnes!)

* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [10] v Alla Kudryavtseva
* FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [17] v Julie Coin (better the devil I know)
* Karolina Šprem [DF] v Casey Dell'Acqua [WC] (my loyalty is to Karolina)
* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v Sybille Bammer


2.2 Bottom half
---------------

* Justine Henin [WC] won
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [27] won
* Sara Errani won
* Yanina Wickmayer [Q] won

* KIM CLIJSTERS [15] won
* NADIA PETROVA [19] won
* Angelique Kerber [Q] won
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3] won

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [8] won
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] won
* Zheng,Jie won
* MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] won

* Maria Kirilenko [DF] won
* Roberta Vinci won
* Elena Baltacha won
* DINARA SAFINA [2] won


2.3 Preview: Zvonarëva v Benešová
---------------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Iveta Benešová

Iveta is a tricky left-handed player ranked #45, who tends to beat lower-ranked players but not trouble the big names. She did beat a #10-ranked Vera back in Charleston 2005, but that was in the middle of Vera's slump. Vera is much more consistent these days. :)

Vera leads their head-to-head 2:1:
+ 2002 Palermo: Vera won 6-2 7-6 (7/5)
- 2005 Charleston: Iveta won 6-4 4-6 7-5
+ 2008 Rome: Vera won 7-5 4-6 7-5

Iveta, who will turn 27 on 1st February, went 29:27 in 2009.

Iveta reached the Hobart final without dropping a set, but lost 7-5 6-1 to #49 Petra Kvitová. She went out in the second round of the Australian Open: 6-4 6-1 to #4 Elena Dementieva.

Iveta was a semi-finalist at Acapulco and Monterrey, and a quarter-finalist at Miami (albeit without beating a top-20 player). After a poor clay-court season (her favourite surface), she reached the third round of the French Open, but was thrashed 6-0 6-2 by defending champion Ana Ivanović.

Iveta reached the semi-finals of Prague, and the quarter-finals of Tokyo (beating #18 Virginie Razzano in the first round), where she pushed eventual champion Maria Sharapova hard in a 6-4 7-5 loss.

Other than the aforementioned highlights, though, Iveta suffered a lot of first- and second-round losses in 2009.

Iveta made a bad start to 2010, losing in the first round of Brisbane to #55 Andrea Petković, and in the first round of Hobart to #26 Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Iveta has reached the second round here with a 7-5 6-2 win over #94 Chang,Kai-Chen.

Conclusion: Iveta is not on good form, but could be dangerous if Vera's right ankle reacts badly to her first-round match - especially as Vera doesn't have the usual day off to recover.

-----------------------------
3. Order of play for Thursday
-----------------------------

Court 18 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 2r: Michael Berrer v Denis Istomin
WS 2r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Iveta Benešová
WD 1r: Janković/Perry v Krajíček [DF]/Cibulková
MD 1r: Kunitsyn/Sela v Chiudinelli/Troicki

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
·
6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Andrew's second-round report

===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Contents
--------

1. Second-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Benešová
2. Third-round draw and preview
3. Order of play for Saturday

-------------------------------------------------------
1. Second-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Benešová (Thursday 21st January 2010)
-------------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Iveta Benešová, 6-0 6-3

Another easy win for Vera, who led 6-0 3-0* (40/0*) before Iveta lit the scoreboard.

Iveta actually had 40/15 in two of her service-games in the first set, and two break-points in a game of five deuces at 0-4*, but Vera was really stingy about winning every single game.

Iveta managed to hold her last three service-games, saving break-points in every single one (including Vera's first match-point at 5-2*). Vera had a tough time serving out the match at *5-3: she had to save a break-point, and needed three more match-points.


First set
---------
ZVONARËV *@*@*@ 6
BENEŠOVÁ ______ 0

The match was second on Court 18, and started at 13:57 AEDT.

Vera serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 40/30. Held.
Iveta serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Vera (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-0: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. 40/30. Held.
Iveta serving 0-3: 0/40 (BP). Broken.

Vera serving 4-0: 15/0. 15/30. 40/30. Deuce #1. Ad Iveta (BP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Iveta (BP #2). Deuce #3. Ad Vera. Deuce #4. Ad Vera. Deuce #5. Ad Vera. Held.

Almost broken there - a touch of complacency, perhaps?

Iveta serving 0-5: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Vera (SP #1). Vera won the first set 6-0 at 14:29 AEDT (32m).

Vera is so stingy today. I'm not sure I want the gothic beauty that is Iveta to be double-bagelled.


Second set
----------
ZVONARËV *@* * * * 6
BENEŠOVÁ ___* * *_ 3

Vera serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Iveta serving 0-1: 0/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-0: 40/0. Held.
Iveta serving 0-3: 0/40 (BP×3). Deuce #1. Ad Iveta. Deuce #2. Ad Iveta. Held.

Well done, Iveta.

Vera serving 1-3: 0/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Vera. Held.

If Vera doesn't get a move on, I'll have to follow her live scores simultaneously with Daniela Hantuchová's again, because Victoria Azarenka has just completed a 6-4 6-0 victory over Stefanie Vögele!

Iveta serving 1-4: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Vera (BP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Iveta. Held.

Vera serving 4-2: 0/15. 40/15. Held.

Iveta serving 2-5: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (MP #1). Deuce. Ad Iveta. Held.

Daniela's match started during that last game...

Vera serving 5-3: 0/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (MP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Vera (MP #3). Deuce #2. Ad Iveta (BP). Deuce #3. Ad Vera (MP #4). Vera won 6-0 6-3 at 15:15 AEDT (second set 46m, match 1h18m).


Statistics
----------

Vera got 56% of first serves in, winning 72% of the points when she did so, and 57% on second serve. It seems that she went for bigger serves in the second set, as her first-serves-in percentage dropped while her winning-percentages improved.

Iveta got 57% of first serves in, winning only 52% of the points when she did so, and 35% on second serve. These percentages improved dramatically from dismal (50%, 40% and 20%) for the first set.

Vera hit 3 aces and 2 double faults, Iveta one ace and 3 double faults.

Service-speeds are not available for this match.

According to the official statistics, Vera made only 4 unforced errors, Iveta 6, and there isn't a row for winners. :unsure:

Vera broke 4 times from 10 BPs; Iveta had 3 BPs but couldn't convert.

In points, Vera won 72-46 (first set 32-18, second set 40-28).

-------------------------------
2. Third-round draw and preview
-------------------------------
2.1 Third-round draw
--------------------

* CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [32] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1]
* SAMANTHA STOSUR [13] v Alberta Brianti (go Sam!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Gisela Dulko [DF] (my loyalty is to VERA)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF] v Tathiana Garbin (davai Vika!)

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [4] v SHAHAR PE'ER [29] (my loyalty is to Caro)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [22,EF] v LI,NA [16] (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [10] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [17]
* Casey Dell'Acqua [WC] v VENUS WILLIAMS [6] (go Casey!)

* Justine Henin [WC] won
* Yanina Wickmayer [Q] won
* NADIA PETROVA [19] won
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [3] won

* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] won
* Zheng,Jie won
* Maria Kirilenko [DF] won
* DINARA SAFINA [2] won


2.2 Preview: Zvonarëva v Dulko
------------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Gisela Dulko [DF]

A mouth-watering match-up between two of the most attractive players. Vera leads their head-to-head 4:1, although it's been nearly four years since their last meeting:
- 2001 ITF Civitanova sf: Gisela won 6-3 6-4
- 2002 ITF Naples 2r: Vera won 6-0 6-3
- 2004 Memphis qf: Vera won 6-3 6-4 (and went on to win the title)
- 2004 Wimbledon 3r: Vera won 6-4 6-2
- 2006 Berlin 1r: Vera won 3-6 6-2 6-2

Gisela is a good clay-courter with a terrific all-round game, who is also very solid on other surfaces: she beat Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2009, and Ana Ivanović in the second round here.

Gisela has a lovely forehand of depth and accuracy, but has a relatively weak two-handed backhand, and has difficulty handling weight of shot from her opponents. But I wrote that in 2004, when Gisela was a rather frail-looking 19-year-old girl, and she is much stronger now. When she beat Maria at Wimbledon, she served with pinpoint accuracy, setting up many one-two punches (serve + forehand winner), and tired Maria out with numerous dropshots.

Gisela went 31:21 in singles in 2009, and rose from #51 to #36 in the rankings (her highest has been #26 in 2005).

Gisela reached the quarter-finals of Hobart 2009 with a 6-3 6-3 win over #24 Zheng,Jie, but lost 6-4 6-4 to #41 Iveta Benešová. She lost 6-3 7-5 to #2 Serena Williams in the second round of the Australian Open.

Gisela was runner-up at Bogotá, beating #67 Edina Gallovits 6-2 6-3 in the semi-finals, but losing 6-3 6-2 to #66 María José Martínez Sánchez in the final.

She reached the quarter-finals of Monterrey, and third rounds at Indian Wells and Miami - the latter by beating #3 Jelena Janković 6-4 7-6 (7/5)! But she lost again to Benešová in the third round: 6-3 6-2.

Gisela reached the quarter-finals of Stuttgart by beating #8 Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-3, but lost to #9 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2.

After three relatively disappointing tournaments on clay, Gisela reached the third round of the French Open, beating #61 Tamira Paszek 6-1 6-3, #51 Anna-Lena Grönefeld 7-6 0-6 6-2, and losing 6-4 6-2 to #19 Dominika Cibulková.

At Eastbourne, Gisela was thrashed 6-3 6-1 by #12 Marion Bartoli in the first round. She beat #60 Maria Sharapova 6-2 3-6 6-4 in the second round of Wimbledon, but lost 3-6 6-3 6-4 to #10 Nadia Petrova in the third round.

Gisela reached the semi-finals of Båstad with wins over #29 Sorana Cîrstea and #12 Dominika Cibulková - both on third-set tiebreaks - then lost to #54 María José Martínez Sánchez.

Gisela suffered first-round losses at Palermo and Cincinnati and New Haven, with a second-round loss in Toronto qualifying in between. She reached the fourth round of the US Open, but was thrashed 6-0 6-0 by #52 Kateryna Bondarenko.

Gisela's 2009 season ended with a loss to #39 Iveta Benešová in the second round of Tokyo, after which she was sidelined with a left-adductor injury. She lost two exhibitions to Maria Sharapova in December.

Gisela started 2010 with two losses in the Hong Kong Tennis Classic: 6-1 to world #7 Victoria Azarenka in a women's singles rubber of the semi-finals, and 7-5 6-3 [10/4] to #35 Zheng,Jie in the a women's singles rubber of the Silver-Group final.

Gisela then reached the quarter-finals of Hobart with wins over #37 Melinda Czink 6-4 6-2, and #182 Tamira Paszek 6-1 0-6 7-6 (7/5), before losing to #26 Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1 5-7 6-1.

Gisela's route to the third round:
1r + #138 Zuzana Kučová [Q], 6-0 5-7 7-5
2r + #21 ANA IVANOVIĆ [20,DF], 6-7 (6/8) 7-5 6-4

Vera's route to the third round:
1r + #108 Kristína Kučová , 6-2 6-0
2r + #45 Iveta Benešová, 6-0 6-3

Conclusion: Despite Gisela's famous wins over Maria at Wimbledon and Ana here, her form is not that good, and neither is her head-to-head against Vera. Vera has been ruthlessly efficient in her first two wins here, but she'll face a much stronger opponent in Gisela. Will Vera's right ankle be up to the challenge? Will Gisela have enough left in the tank after her two three-setters, or will she fold in the third round as at Wimbledon 2009?

Oh, and we were gone
Hanging out with your dwarf-men
We were so turned on
By your lack of conclusions

[David Bowie, "The Bewlay Brothers"]

-----------------------------
3. Order of play for Saturday
-----------------------------

Margaret Court Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 3r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v Gisela Dulko [DF]
MS 3r: NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO [6] v JUAN MÓNACO [30]
MS 3r: FERNANDO VERDASCO [9] v Stefan Koubek [Q]
XD 1r: (KLEYBANOVA/MIRNYI)[6] v Rodionova/Hanley
XD 1r: Dell'Acqua/Kerr v Hradecká /Čermák

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. It was cool to see Vera with the penguins at Melbourne Aquarium on Friday!
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Andrew's third-round report

===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Contents
--------

1. Third-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Dulko
2. Fourth-round draw and preview
3. Andrew's wishes
4. Order of play for Monday

---------------------------------------------------
1. Third-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Dulko (Saturday 23rd January 2010)
---------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF], 6-1 7-5

It looked like Vera was in for another easy win, as Gisela played a dreadful first set with a W:UE ratio of 3:18 and an abysmal first serve (29% in, 25% won).

Gisela improved considerably to make the second set competitive. The first four games were breaks and counterbreaks, then Gisela saved break-point as she held for 3-2*.

Games continued to go with serve, with Vera wasting a break-point at 4-4* (40/30*), and Gisela held for 5-4* after two deuces. Vera held to 15 and broke to love for *6-5, and needed two nonconsecutive match-points to seal a place in the fourth round that I would certainly have signed for at the beginning of the week, after her premature comeback from ankle-surgery at Hong Kong and Sydney.


First set
---------
ZVONA *@* *@* 6
DULKO ___*___ 1

The match was first on Margaret Court Arena, and started at 11:33 AEDT after a rain-delay.

Vera serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/30. 40/30. Deuce #1. Ad Vera. Deuce #2. Ad Gisela (BP #1). Deuce #3. Ad Gisela (BP #2). Deuce #4. Ad Vera. Held.

Gisela serving 0-1: 0/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-0: 40/0. Held.

Long delay at this changeover (c.11:46 - 11:50 AEDT) - a bit more rain, apparently.

Gisela serving 0-3: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Vera serving 3-1: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Gisela serving 1-4: 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Vera serving 5-1: 0/15. 40/15 (SP #1). Vera won the first set 6-1 at 12:03 AEDT (30m).


Second set
----------
ZVONA @ @__* * *@* 7
DULKO [email protected] @* * *___ 5

Gisela serving 0-0 (new balls): 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP×2). Deuce #1. Ad Gisela. Deuce #2. Ad Gisela. Deuce #3. Ad Gisela. Deuce #4. Ad Vera (BP #3). Broken.

Vera serving 1-0: 15/0. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Gisela serving 1-1: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Vera serving 2-1: 0/40 (BP). Broken.

Gisela serving 2-2: 15/0. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Deuce #1. Ad Gisela. Deuce #2. Ad Gisela. Deuce #3. Ad Gisela. Held.

Vera serving 2-3: 40/0. Held.
Gisela serving 3-3: 40/0. 40/30. Held.
Vera serving 3-4: 40/0. Held.

Gisela serving 4-4: 15/0. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Deuce #1. Ad Gisela. Deuce #2. Ad Gisela. Held.

Vera serving 4-5 (new balls): 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Gisela serving 5-5: 0/40 (BP). Broken.

Vera serving 6-5: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (MP #1). Deuce. Ad Vera (MP #2). Vera won 6-1 7-5 at 13:04 AEDT (second set 1h01m, match 1h31m).


Statistics
----------

Vera's W:UE ratio was 22:28, while Gisela's was an abysmal 11:41. The first set was of particularly low quality (Vera 5:7, Gisela 3:18), while the second set was much better if you prefer winners to lack of UEs (Vera 17:21, Gisela 8:23).

Vera got only 52% of her first serves in, but won 70% of the points when she did so, and 61% on second serve. Her first-serves-in percentage dipped from 61% for the first set to 43% for the second, while her second-serve winning-percentage also deteriorated: from an impressive 73% to 53%.

Gisela got 57% of her first serves in, winning 53% of the points when she did so, and 37% on second serve. Her first-serve percentages improved from abysmal (29% in, 25% won) in the first set to respectable (64% in, 56% won) in the second.

Gisela had the fastest serve - 107 mph to Vera's 104 mph - but Vera's serves were faster on average: first serve 98-93 mph, second serve 83-81 mph.

Vera served one ace and 5 double faults (4 in the second set), Gisela 2 aces and 8 double faults (5 in the second set) - which is too high for 9 service-games.

Vera broke 5 times from 10 BPs (2 of 3 in the first set, 3 of 7 in the second), Gisela twice from 4 BPs (0 of 2 in the first set, 2 of 2 in the second).

Vera won an impressive 19 of 22 points at the net (86%), especially in the second set (14 of 16 = 88%), while Gisela was more selective with a higher success-rate: 10 of 11 (91%). Perhaps Gisela should have come in more (she won 6 of 6 in the second set).

In points, Vera won 76-52 (first set 29-13, second set 47-39).

--------------------------------
2. Fourth-round draw and preview
--------------------------------
2.1 Fourth-round draw
---------------------

* SAMANTHA STOSUR [13] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1] (go Sam!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF] (my loyalty is to VERA)
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [4] v LI,NA [16] (kom så Caro!)
* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [17]

* Justine Henin [WC] won
* NADIA PETROVA [19] won
* Zheng,Jie won
* Maria Kirilenko [DF] won


2.2 Preview: Zvonarëva v Azarenka
---------------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF]

An intriguing showdown, as Vera leads their head-to-head 4:0, but only one of those victories has come after the then-19-year-old Vika's amazing transformation at the start of 2009:
+ 2007 Indian Wells 3r: Vera won 6-3 6-3
+ 2007 Luxembourg qf: Vera won 6-1 7-6 (7/5)
+ 2008 Prague final: Vera won 7-6 (7/2) 6-2
+ 2009 Indian Wells sf: Vera won 6-3 6-3

Vika reminds me a lot of Maria Sharapova with her big, sharp groundstrokes, an almost-identical song-grunt, and of course being tall, slim and blonde. She has power, precision, touch, wonderful short-angled crosscourt backhands to the sideline, and hits plenty of winners.

Vika made a demi-fan of me the first time I saw her play: against Safina in the quarter-finals of the French Open 2009. I don't know if I'll ever have the passion to induct her into my Eternal Fanship, and in fact, having eight active players in my Eternal Fanship has made my soul dangerously unstable, so I dare not induct any more players until some of my active ones retire (or someone VERY special comes along).

Vika's obvious weakness is that she gets very emotional when things aren't going her way, but I am convinced that she has a terrific future. She certainly has the talent to win Majors and become world #1 (hopefully in that order).

Vika enjoyed an amazing 2009, compiling a remarkable singles-record of 45:15, and rising from #15 to #7 in the rankings (briefly touching a career-high #6 in October).

Vika started 2009 by winning her first WTA singles-title at Brisbane, thrashing #17 Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-1 in the final.

Vika was outplaying #2 Serena Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open when she was sadly forced to retire, leading 6-3 *2-4, with dizziness and gastrointestinal illness. If it wasn't for that, I truly believe that she would have beaten Serena, and, perhaps, gone on to win her first Major title then and there!

Vika won Memphis with a 6-1 6-3 win over #12 Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Caro went on to have an even better 2009 than Vika, but Vika's victory here was a sign that her career will be more stellar than Caro's, because Vika has the weapons that Caro lacks.

At Indian Wells, Vika beat #2 Dinara Safina 6-7 6-1 6-3 to set up a semi-final with none other than Vera, who won 6-3 6-3. Vera and Vika emerged from this match sharing the best win/loss record on the WTA Tour for 2009 up to that point: 17:2. Vera made the record her own by winning the final for her first-ever Premier singles-title.

Vika then won her own first Premier singles-title at Miami, beating #8 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 2-6 7-5 in the semi-finals, and thrashing #1 Serena Williams 6-3 6-1 in the final.

Vika's results tailed off a bit in the clay-court season, with a second-round loss to #34 Gisela Dulko at Stuttgart. She then thrashed #11 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-2 en route to the semi-finals of Rome, where she lost 6-2 6-4 to #8 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

After a third-round loss at Madrid, Vika reached her first Major quarter-final at the French Open by trouncing defending champion Ana Ivanović 6-2 6-3. She then lost 1-6 6-4 6-2 to #1 Dinara Safina, who turned the match around by achieving better depth on her groundstrokes to force errors from Vika.

Vika also reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with an ill-tempered 7-6 2-6 6-3 victory over #10 Nadia Petrova, but was thrashed 6-2 6-3 by #2 Serena Williams.

Vika lost her opening match at Los Angeles to #61 Maria Sharapova: 6-7 6-4 6-2. She also lost 7-5 7-6 to #5 Jelena Janković in the third round of Cincinnati, and 7-5 4-6 6-1 to unranked Kim Clijsters in the second round of Toronto.

Vika suffered a disappointing 4-6 6-2 6-2 loss to #28 Francesca Schiavone in the third round of the US Open. She then lost 7-6 4-6 7-6 to #16 Li,Na in the quarter-finals of Tokyo, and 6-3 6-7 7-5 to #15 Maria Sharapova in a second-round marathon at Beijing (Vika led *5-2 in the third set).

Vika qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships at Doha, and was eliminated at the round-robin stage: she thrashed #8 Jelena Janković 6-2 6-3, but lost 1-6 6-4 7-5 to #4 Caroline Wozniacki, and retired cramping whilst trailing #10-ranked alternate Agnieszka Radwańska 6-4 5-7 1-4.

Vika started 2010 with the Hong Kong Tennis Classic, thrashing #36 Gisela Dulko 6-1 in a women's singles rubber of the semi-finals. Vera and Vika were due to meet in the Gold-Group final, but due to Vera's ankle swelling up, that rubber was not played, so Vika could do nothing to prevent Team Russia beating Team Europe 2:1.

Vika reached the semi-finals of Sydney, starting with a 3-6 6-2 7-5 win over #22 Sabine Lisicki, whom I hold in the same high esteem as I hold Vika. Vika struggled past #64 Kimiko Date Krumm 6-1 5-7 7-5 and #24 Dominika Cibulková 2-6 6-2 7-5, and was thrashed 6-3 6-1 by #5 Elena Dementieva in the semis.

If Vera's route to the fourth round has been ruthlessly efficient, then Vika's has been even more so:
1r + #116 Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro [WC], 6-2 6-0
2r + #74 Stefanie Vögele, 6-4 6-0
3r + #62 Tathiana Garbin, 6-0 6-2

Vera's route:
1r + #108 Kristína Kučová , 6-2 6-0
2r + #45 Iveta Benešová, 6-0 6-3
3r + #36 Gisela Dulko [DF], 6-1 7-5

Vika has dropped just 8 games to Vera's 11, but Vera has beaten a higher-ranked player in every round than Vika has beaten.

Conclusion: Vera leads 4:0, but Vika's career has been going much better than Vera's since their last meeting - mainly due to Vera being hampered by her right-ankle injury, which has held up well so far here. I'm pessimistic about Vera's chances because her preparation for the Australian Open went so badly, and because of Vika's immense talent, but bad preparation becomes less relevant in the second week of a Major when you're a top-ten player, and Vera has two obvious advantages over Vika: experience, and confidence from their head-to-head. It's a tough one to call.

------------------
3. Andrew's wishes
------------------

VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF]:
4r + VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF]
qf + SAMANTHA STOSUR [13]
sf + CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [4]
_f + Maria Kirilenko [DF]

---------------------------
4. Order of play for Monday
---------------------------

Rod Laver Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 08:00 GMT)
WS 4r: VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [17]
MS 4r: NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO [6] v FERNANDO VERDASCO [9]
WS 4r: SAMANTHA STOSUR [13] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1]
|
Rod Laver Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS 4r: ROGER FEDERER [1] v LLEYTON HEWITT [22]
WS 4r: VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] v VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF]

Wow - I'm amazed that they put Vera v Vika on the RLA evening-session instead of Samantha v Serena! I guess the order-of-play committee must have copped a lot of flak after several women's matches on the RLA evening-session in the first week turned out to be uncompetitive. Or maybe Samantha and/or Serena didn't want to be still out there at 2 a.m.?

In any case, I'm delighted that Vera v Vika is in that slot, because that means it will be televised on BBC Red Button!! The BBC has specifically promised to show Vera v Vika!! :D

That would already be a huge improvement on 2009, when all that the BBC showed of Vera all year was the third set of her first-round match against Briton Georgie Stoop at Wimbledon. The BBC didn't televise Vera at the AO 2009 at all, even though she reached the semi-finals! :fiery:

I can foresee only three possible excuses that the BBC might have for not showing Vera v Vika:

(a) The BBC decides to switch to Hisense Arena to show Tsonga v Almagro after showing Federer v Hewitt, in the same way that it cheated us out of Wozniacki v Pe'er on Saturday. :fiery: This could only happen if Federer v Hewitt finished prematurely (as in retirement) and Tsonga v Almagro were severely delayed - a combination of events that seems highly improbable, given that there is no "not before" time for Tsonga on Monday as there was on Saturday.

(b) Federer v Hewitt finishes well after 23:00 AEDT, so they decide that it's too late for Vera v Vika to start. This seems fairly improbable, given Federer's track-record against Hewitt, although it does worry me that Monday's evening-session starts at 19:30 AEDT rather than 19:00 AEDT as on previous days this year. :scared:

(c) Vera gives Vika a walkover (or vice versa). This is always a worry in the back of my mind, because it happened at Hong Kong three weeks ago, and then Vera retired from Sydney with her right-ankle injury. :sad:

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Discussion Starter #5
Andrew's fourth-round TV-report

===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Azarenka

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

Zvonarëva, Vera [EF]:
- http://www.zvonareva.ru/gallery/
- http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/galleries/players/wta260142.html
- http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/search?p=zvonareva&ei=UTF-8
- http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/gallery/20100122/australian-open-friday-gallery_2256674_1940937?imageNo=3#picture
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8476361.stm

Various players including Vera:
- http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399164
- http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399770
- http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399889
- http://sapronov-tennis.org/?p=gallery&id=130
- http://lovesummertennis.blogspot.com/

-----------------------------------------------
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Azarenka (Monday 25th January 2010)
-----------------------------------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] lt. VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF], 6-4 4-6 0-6

Yes: the BBC showed it! :D

It's hard to decide where to start my summary of this delightful, very strange, up-and-down match, in which Vera led 6-4 *4-2... then lost every game left in the match.

The quality of the tennis was fantastic from the start. Vika showed beautiful flowing groundstrokes, and played wonderful spreading rallies, while Vera provided the perfect foil with her excellent lateral retrieval and aggressive counterpunching. Between them, they hit plenty of groundstroke-winners and volley-winners, and each girl hit a fantastic lob-winner while the other was at the net.

The first set was a tennis-comedy, as the crowd were mimicking Vika's long, high-pitched grunts - they were the ones whom the umpire told to be quiet during the rallies! :lol:

Until *3-3 in the first set, my enjoyment of the match - purely in terms of the high calibre of play from both girls - could not have been higher. After that, they made more errors.

Vera saved a break-point at *0-0, and another at *3-3. She had two break-points of her own at 4-3* (40/15*), then had to save three more at *4-4. But there were no breaks until Vika threw in an awful service-game at *4-5, handing the first set to Vera on a double fault.

At this stage, Vika was in a terrible state; she was self-destructing with wild errors, and Vera seemed far too solid, experienced and savvy as she went 6-4 1-0* up.

But Vika began to look dangerous again as she held for 1-1*; her spreading forced Vera to do a lot of running, which made me worry about Vera's injured right ankle.

When Vika played a terrible service-game to go 4-6 1-3* down, the commentators were talking about her like she already lost the match.

In a game of five deuces at *3-1 (40/15), Vera had four game-points that would have given her a 4-1* lead. Vika saved the first three well, and on the fourth, Vika's off-backhand winner was called wide; Vera was already sitting down for the changeover as Vika issued a challenge, but Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 10% of the width of the sideline!!

Vika went on to win that game, as Vera double-faulted to suffer her first break of the match: *2-3. Vera was getting jittery as she approached the winning-post, although Vika seemed to have blown her chance to get back into the match as she played a bad service-game to get broken for 2-4*.

But Vera tightened up and was broken to love for 4-3*. In the next game, Vika suddenly began to play much better, and when she held for 4-4*, as her spreading began to outweigh Vera's retrieving, I sensed that the match could slip away from Vera.

When Vika broke for *5-4, the unforced errors that had marred her performance had vanished, while Vera had become passive, and she was the one hitting loose shots.

With Vika serving to win her first set against Vera after losing their first nine sets, Vera saved one set-point with a backhand pass that looked long but wasn't called (and Vika was out of challenges), but Vika converted her second set-point with a huge, error-forcing crosscourt forehand.

In a game of seven deuces at the start of the third set, Vera saved four break-points from 0/40, and wasted four game-points, then Vika converted her fifth break-point by forcing a floater and dispatching it with a forehand drive-volley winner.

BBC commentator Sam Smith said of Vera: "Her game and her mind seem to have fragmented over the last half-hour."

After that, I got the impression that Vera had run out of gas - she hasn't been able to train properly since her ankle-surgery in November. When she was broken for 0-3*, she walked to the changeover with a look of despair on her face, and by 0-5*, she was gasping noisily with every shot she hit.

On Vika's match-point at *5-0 (40/30), Vera earned a stay of execution by appealing to Hawk-Eye to show that her backhand that was called long caught the outside edge of the baseline by about 2%, but when they replayed the point, she hit another backhand long, and this time did not challenge.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date (pessimistic estimate: 28th February), following my TV-reports for Vera's quarter-final and semi-final from the Australian Open 2009.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Full fourth-round TV-report

===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
First round (Monday 25th January 2010)
-----------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [9,EF] lt. VICTORIA AZARENKA [7,DF], 6-4 4-6 0-6

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of Vika's on-court interview, and of selected commentary - to my website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/zvona/australian_open2010.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 
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