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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
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1. Introduction
2. First-round result
3. Second-round result
4. Third-round TV-report
5. Fourth-round result
6. Quarter-final result
7. Semi-final result
8. My complaint to the BBC

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1. Introduction
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Unfortunately for tennis, I had to work during the Australian Open, so I didn't have time to write detailed daily reports like I have in previous years. But I did watch some of Vera's third-round match on BBC television; this report documents my first impression of it.

A complete archive of point-by-point scores for all the Australian Open 2011 women's matches can be found here:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=426590

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2. First-round result (Tuesday 18th January 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. Sybille Bammer, 6-2 6-1

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3. Second-round result (Thursday 20th January 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. Bojana Jovanovski, 2-6 6-3 6-1

Bojana Jovanovski is the youngest player in the top 100, and probably the most important player whom I've yet to see play. I've read that she hits the ball very hard, and that Vera was in tears during the first set.

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4. Third-round TV-report (Saturday 22nd January 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [31,EF], 6-3 7-6 (9/7)

The BBC started showing this match from 6-3 5-5*, with Vera just having failed to serve it out at *5-4.

As befits two members of my Eternal Fanship, it was an amazing match in terms of the quality of the rallies, with Lucie attacking for all she was worth with her left-handed groundstrokes of flairsome power, and Vera making incredible ‘gets’ as well as showing her own flairsome power.

Lucie was hitting the ball as well as ever, but her movement is not as good as it was in 2007. Back then, she used to run like the wind, but against Vera, she was struggling to reach wide balls, particularly to her backhand sideline.

Vera broke to 30, but was again broken to 30 as she served for the match at *6-5. I think she was feeling the pressure of winning her first Major singles-title after being runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open 2010, but Lucie is a brilliant player.

Then they played a nail-biting tiebreak, with Lucie going from 2/0* to *2/2 to 4/2*, from *5/3 to 5/5*, and having set-points at *6/5 and 9/8*, while Vera had match-points at *7/6 and 8/7*.

Vera at *9/9 hit a crosscourt backhand winner that clipped the sideline but was called wide. Vera didn't hear the call, and turned away thinking she'd hit a winner, but the umpire told her it had been called out, and Vera immediately said "challenge". Hawk-Eye showed that it had indeed clipped the sideline, so the umpire awarded the point to Vera. Lucie argued that they should replay the point, but the umpire ruled that it had been a clear winner.

So Vera had her third match-point at 10/9*. In one last breath-taking rally, Lucie went to the net, but Vera hit an inch-perfect backhand lob just inside the baseline; Lucie ran it down, but all she could do was hit a backhand halfway up the net.

If Lucie was still upset about the Hawk-Eye challenge on the penultimate point, she didn't show it. I can imagine a lot of players stomping off court in a huff after losing in such circumstances, but not so our adorable Lucie. It was nice to see her watching the Berdych v Ðoković quarter-final, too.

I'll post a full point-by-point report of this match here later this year – after my full reports of Vera's Wimbledon 2010 matches.

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5. Fourth-round result (Monday 24th January 2011)
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Vera overcame a worrying slide from 0:0 *2-0 to *2-4 to see off Iveta Benešová 6-4 6-1.

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6. Quarter-final result (Wednesday 26th January 2011)
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Vera saw off Petra Kvitová 6-2 6-4 to reach her second Australian Open semi-final, although she had a worrying wobble from 1:0 *3-1 to 3-4*, when they played through the double distraction of a distant gun-salute to mark Australia Day, and an elderly spectator fainting.

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7. Semi-final result (Thursday 27th January 2011)
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I had high hopes of Vera reaching her third consecutive Major final, given her 3:1 record against Kim Clijsters in 2010, and given how sluggish Clijsters had been in her previous three matches.

But the third seed upset the second seed 6-3 6-3 with her sharpest performance since her 6-0 6-0 annihilation of Dinara Safina in the first round, while Vera's W:UE ratio of 14:21 was no match for Clijsters's 18:18.

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8. My complaint to the BBC
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Target: https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

I am writing to complain about the BBC's omission to televise any of the women's singles quarter-finals or semi-finals of the Australian Open tennis between Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th January 2011, and also the BBC's omission to televise the women's singles semi-finals in any year after 2006.

I understand that these matches were in the day-session, while the BBC has only promised to cover the evening-sessions of the Australian Open, but it's simply not acceptable to miss the semi-finals of a Major, especially when the BBC has proved that it can make exceptions by televising Andy Murray's day-session matches throughout the Australian Open.

It is completely unacceptable that a player can reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open but not be televised by the BBC, especially when that player happens to be the top seed and world number one, as was the case with Caroline Woźniacki this year.

While I greatly appreciate the daily coverage of the Australian Open on BBC Red Button since 2006, I am dismayed by how male-dominated this coverage has been over the years. Since the women are now earning equal prize-money at the Majors, they deserve equal TV-coverage.

The Australian Open is one of only three BBC-televised tennis-tournaments that feature women's tennis (outside of the Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games). The BBC therefore has a fundamental responsibility to deliver the most important matches to fans of women's tennis who rely on the BBC for coverage. Tennis Videos International has closed now, and we don't all have access to Eurosport!

While I am satisfied that the BBC currently meets this responsibility for the French Open and Wimbledon, its Australian Open coverage remains, quite frankly, an insult to the women's game. The BBC sends out a clear message that the women's matches aren't worth watching – or are at best a sideshow, which the commentators hope will finish as quickly as possible so that they can get on with the ‘main’ event – and therefore treats women as second-class citizens.

BBC commentator Andrew Cotter provided the most explicit examples of this misogyny in the two Australian Open 2011 matches involving Lucie Šafářová, and it is no excuse that these happened to be scheduled immediately prior to matches involving Andy Murray.

In the dramatic third set of the second-round match between Lucie Šafářová and Klára Zakopalová, Mr Cotter twice advised viewers to go and make themselves a cup of tea and come back in 20 minutes.

In the ultrahigh-quality third-round match between Lucie Šafářová and Vera Zvonarëva, Mr Cotter said that people all over the UK would be pressing their snooze-buttons if it were to go to a third set, before later conceding that he was addressing a wider audience than just Andy Murray fans.

You might argue that the majority of viewers want to watch the men (I challenge that call), but you must not underestimate the BBC's power to brainwash people into biased preferences. Therefore, the BBC needs to take a more responsible attitude towards promoting gender-equality in tennis.

My suggestion for the Australian Open in future years is to show the women's quarter-finals and semi-finals either live on the Red Button, or recorded after the live coverage of the evening-sessions, as was the case for the women's semi-finals on Thursday 26th January 2006.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Andrew's full third-round TV-report

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

After an extremely busy 2011, I am finally getting round to writing up my full TV-reports of Australian Open 2011 matches involving members of my Eternal Fanship that were televised by the BBC. This included some of Vera's third-round match, but not her fourth round, quarter-final or semi-final.

Sadly, after daily coverage of the evening-sessions of the Australian Open 2006–2011, the BBC plans to televise only the finals (and one men's semi-final) of the Australian Open 2012.

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Third-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Šafářová (Saturday 22nd January 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [31,EF], 6-3 7-6 (9/7)

The BBC started showing this match from 6-3 5-5*, with Vera having just failed to serve it out at *5-4. Although only three games remained, this coVERAge lasted 34 minutes, including the epic tiebreak.

As befits two members of my Eternal Fanship, it was an amazing match in terms of the quality of the rallies, with Lucie attacking for all she was worth with her left-handed groundstrokes of flairsome power, and Vera making incredible ‘gets’ as well as showing her own flairsome power.

Lucie was hitting the ball as well as ever, but her movement was not as good as it was in 2007. Back then, she used to run like the wind, but against Vera, she was struggling to reach wide balls, particularly to her backhand sideline.

Vera broke to 30, but was again broken to 30 as she served for the match at *6-5. I think she was feeling the pressure of winning her first Major singles-title after being runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, but Lucie is a brilliant player.

Then they played a nail-biting tiebreak, with Lucie going from 2/0* to *2/2 to 4/2*, from *5/3 to 5/5*, and having set-points at *6/5 and 9/8*, while Vera had match-points at *7/6 and 8/7*.

Vera at *9/9 hit a crosscourt backhand winner that clipped the sideline but was called wide. Vera successfully challenged the call; Lucie argued that they should replay the point, but the umpire ruled that it had been a clear winner.

So Vera had her third match-point at 10/9*. In one last breath-taking rally, Lucie went to the net, but Vera hit an inch-perfect backhand lob onto the baseline; Lucie ran it down, but all she could do was hit a backhand into the bottom of the net.


First set
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ŠAFÁŘOVÁ _*_*___*_ 3
ZVONARËV *_*_*@*_* 6

The match was first on the Rod Laver Arena, and started at 11:12 AEDT.

Zvonarëva serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Šafářová serving 0-1: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Zvonarëva serving 1-1: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). 40/30 (GP #3). Held.

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

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

Šafářová serving 2-3: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 4-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Held.

Šafářová serving 2-5 (new balls): 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva). 15/40 (SP #2 for Zvonarëva). 30/40 (SP #3 for Zvonarëva). Deuce #1. Ad Šafářová (GP #1). Held.

Zvonarëva serving 5-3: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (SP #4 for Zvonarëva). Zvonarëva won the first set 6-3 at 11:46 AEDT (34m).


Second set
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ŠAFÁŘOVÁ *___*_*@[email protected][email protected]_ 6(9)
ZVONARËV _*@*_*[email protected][email protected]_T 7(11)

Šafářová serving 0-0: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

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

Šafářová serving 1-1: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #3). Broken.

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

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

Zvonarëva serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

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

Zvonarëva serving 4-3 (new balls): 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Šafářová serving 4-4: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Šafářová (GP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #1). Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 5-4: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Šafářová serving 5-5: Second serve... Vera's backhand was called long but overruled as good, so the umpire ordered them to replay the point. Lucie challenged the overrule: Hawk-Eye showed that the ball had clipped one millimetre of the breadth of the baseline! Second serve... a baseline-rally ended with Lucie dumping a forehand into the net. 0/15. Short-angled first serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Double fault (second serve long by a whisker). 15/30. Deep first serve out wide: Vera's searing crosscourt backhand return forced Lucie to mishit a down-the-line forehand wide. John Lloyd criticised Lucie for not hoisting it back crosscourt instead. 15/40 (BP #1). A baseline-rally ended with Lucie hitting a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/40 (BP #2). Double fault (tentative second serve into the net). Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 6-5: First serve deep into the corner forced a lob-return; Vera hit an off-forehand drive-volley, but Lucie stretched wide to hit a testing forehand pass down the line, which Vera picked off with delectable crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner from an awkward low position. 15/0. Lucie's deep backhand forced a short ball, which she dispatched with a blistering crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Lucie's short crosscourt forehand induced Vera to hit a backhand just long. 15/30. First serve long by a whisker. Second serve... in a long baseline-rally, Vera withstood some fierce groundstrokes from Lucie, neutered the pace with a defensive sliced forehand, but Lucie's deep crosscourt forehand induced Vera to spray a down-the-line backhand wide of the tramlines. Vera emitted a yell of frustration. 15/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Lucie hit three consecutive groundstrokes just inside the baseline, but Vera hit an off-backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Lucie to stretch wide and earth a backhand. Lucie emitted a cute little groan. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera, on the fifth stroke, hit a backhand just long. Broken.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Šafářová/Zvonarëva):
{*0/0} Vera, on the fourth stroke, hit a forehand just long.
{1/0*} Vera, on the third stroke, hit a rather wild crosscourt backhand just wide, and emitted a cute little squeal.
{2/0*} Vera's first serve out wide, deep in the corner, forced Lucie to stretch wide and net a backhand. John Lloyd said that Lucie's movement was "not particularly good".
{*2/1} Vera broke up a long baseline-rally with a deep backhand moonball, followed by a short crosscourt forehand; she drew Lucie to the net with a backhand half-volley dropshot from the baseline, and hit an inch-perfect half-volley forehand lob-winner over Lucie's head!
{*2/2} Lucie hit a deep first serve down the middle + off-forehand winner back behind Vera.
{3/2*} Vera hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, but Lucie ran outside the tramlines to hit a fantastic crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, forcing Vera to bunt back a defensive backhand lob; Lucie let it bounce and hit an off-forehand to the sideline, forcing Vera to run way outside the tramlines to bunt back a very short forehand, which Lucie dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner.

John Lloyd: "Šafářová seems to have found her range. There was a period when she was a bit erratic, and she always hits the ball with a lot of pace, but was making a lot of errors. Since she was way down in that second set, she's found her rhythm and is attacking on the right balls, and Zvonarëva can't get her out of that /groove/ she's got into."

{4/2*} Vera caught her toss, and missed her first serve very long. However, a good, deep second serve forced a short return; Vera hit a hard crosscourt forehand into the corner to force a short, defensive lob, which she dispatched with an easy crosscourt forehand winner.
{*4/3} Lucie went for an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. She hit a short, shaky second serve that brushed the netcord. Vera stood three feet inside the baseline to receive, but Lucie hit a much better second serve out wide + down-the-line forehand, forcing Vera to bunt a forehand long.
{*5/3} Vera dominated the rally with superior depth, forcing two defensive lobs from Lucie; the latter landed on the service-line just inside Vera's backhand sideline; Vera let it bounce, and dispatched it with a pinpoint forehand smash-winner down the line: just inside the sideline.
{5/4*} Deep, body-jamming first serve forced Lucie to mishit an off-backhand return wide.
{5/5*} Vera freely chose to hit a couple of high-bouncing balls, and paid the price as Lucie took the initiative with a stinging off-forehand just inside the sideline; Vera bunted back a defensive floater; Lucie's forehand clipped the netcord, inducing Vera to dump a forehand halfway up the net. Vera yelled in frustration as Lucie celebrated with a discreet fist-pump.
{*6/5: SP #1 for Šafářová} Vera mixed up the pace in a long baseline-rally; Lucie's forehand clipped the netcord and sat up nicely for Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand that induced Lucie to stretch wide and net a backhand. Lucie emitted a cute little yell. John Lloyd suggested that that netcord had robbed Lucie of the set.

{*6/6} A long baseline-rally ended with Lucie hitting a forehand just long. She wasted a challenge: it was long by approximately the breadth of the baseline.
{6/7*: MP #1 for Zvonarëva} Lucie saved it with a huge crosscourt forehand that clipped the outside edge of the sideline for a winner!
{7/7*} Vera's first serve appeared to clip the netcord, but no one noticed, and Lucie hit a backhand return long.
{*7/8: MP #2 for Zvonarëva} First serve out wide + off-forehand forced Vera to hoist a defensive forehand lob that was high and awkward for Lucie with the sun in her eyes; she hit a forehand smash right back to Vera, leaving a dangerous gap to her left, but Vera mishit an off-forehand pass wide.
{*8/8} In the longest rally of the match (32 strokes), Lucie had Vera grunting at her loudest as Vera retrieved a series of thunderbolts until Lucie finally pressed home her initiative with an acute crosscourt backhand deep into the corner followed by a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to stretch wide and bunt a backhand into the bottom of the net. Lucie celebrated with a huge fist-pump as Vera finished the point with her left knee and left hand on the ground.
{9/8*: SP #2 for Šafářová} In another long baseline-rally, Lucie tried to take the initiative, but Vera hit a series of defensive sliced backhands; Lucie forced a short ball but sprayed a backhand long, and doubled over in frustration.

Andrew Cotter: "Šafářová bullying the point, creeping up the court, in control... and misses her chance."
John Lloyd: "Great defensive play from Zvonarëva. It's not often you see her bossed around in rallies like she has been today at certain times. She's having to stretch and hit squash-shots just to bunt the ball back in court, and Šafářová missed probably the easiest shot in that whole rally."

{9/9*} At the end of a meaty baseline-rally, Vera hit a crosscourt backhand winner that clipped the sideline but was called wide. Vera didn't hear the call, and turned away thinking that she'd hit a winner, but the umpire shouted "Vera!" and told her that it had been called out, and Vera immediately said "challenge". Hawk-Eye showed that it had indeed clipped the sideline (about 60% of the breadth), so the umpire awarded the point to Vera. Lucie argued that they should replay the point, but the umpire rightly ruled that it had been a clear winner. It's funny how some players seem to have the memory of a goldfish after a successful challenge against them!
{*9/10: MP #3 for Zvonarëva} Lucie hit a first serve out wide, and went to the net behind a searing down-the-line forehand that she knew would force a floater from Vera, but Lucie didn't do enough with a forehand punch-volley; Vera hit an inch-perfect backhand lob onto the baseline; Lucie ran it down, but all she could do was hit a backhand into the bottom of the net. Zvonarëva won 6-3 7-6 (11/9) at 13:13 AEDT (second set 1h26m, match 2h00m).

Vera and Lucie shook hands at the net, and kissed each other's cheeks. If Lucie was still upset about the Hawk-Eye challenge on the penultimate point, she didn't show it. I can imagine a lot of players stomping off court in a huff after losing in such circumstances, but not so my adorable Lucie.

Andrew Cotter: "We remain unconvinced by Vera Zvonarëva on her performances so far. She's a powerful player, but is there enough craft to her game? Again, we saw a problem that she's suffered from in the past on the big points: closing things out."
John Lloyd: "In this match, Šafářová was the more aggressive, but Zvonarëva is a very solid player, defends well and gets a lot of balls back."


Vera's on-court interview
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Craig Willis: "Congratulations: that was a heck of a tiebreak, with some outstanding rallies in it."

Vera: "Yeah, definitely. Lucie is a great player. We've both been on the Tour for a few years now, but actually it was our first match against each other. We practise a lot together, and I really think she's a very good player, and I just had to hang in there and try to fight for every point."

Willis: "I was going to say: it's amazing that over all the years you two have been on the Tour, that you've never met!"

Vera: "Yeah, definitely. We actually play doubles together, and all this, but this one was our first single match. I think it was a very good match for me today, and I'm really happy to be through to the next round."

Willis: "And it's a little warmer today on Centre Court than it was when you had your first match – does that suit you?"

Vera: "Yeah, I like to play in the heat – it is never a problem for me. I'm really just enjoying the atmosphere here on the Rod Laver."

Willis: "Well done today, Vera – congratulations. Through to the fourth round of the Australian Open championship. Our number-two seed advances!"

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 
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