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FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; red clay; Major)
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Contents
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1. First-round result: Zvonarëva v Domínguez Lino
2. Second-round result: Zvonarëva v Lisicki
3. Third-round result: Zvonarëva v Rodionova
4. Fourth-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Pavlyuchenkova

Master thread for my French Open 2011 reports:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=435447

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1. First-round result: Zvonarëva v Domínguez Lino (Monday 23rd May 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [3,EF] d. Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 6-3 6-3

BBC commentator Sam Smith: “It takes almost as long to say that name as Zvonarëva spent on the court! [1h20m]”

Archive of point-by-point scores for Monday:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=19598384

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2. Second-round result: Zvonarëva v Lisicki (Wednesday 25th May 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [3,EF] d. Sabine Lisicki [Q,DF], 4-6 7-5 7-5

Vera survived an almighty scare, first having to recover from 4-6 *4-5 (30/30), and then facing match-point at 1:1 *2-5 (30/40).

Lisicki, who suffered from cramping and dizziness in the third set, looked absolutely devastated, but it’s great to see that she is getting her /very/ promising career back on track after the terrible ankle-injury that she suffered at Indian Wells 2010.

Archive of point-by-point scores for Wednesday:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=19611545

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3. Third-round result: Zvonarëva v Rodionova (Friday 27th May 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [3,EF] d. Anastasia Rodionova, 6-2 6-3

This was sweet revenge for Vera’s second-round exit from the French Open 2010.

Archive of point-by-point scores for Friday:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=19626737

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4. Fourth-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Pavlyuchenkova (Sunday 29th May 2011)
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- VERA ZVONARËVA [3,EF] lt. ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [14], 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 2-6

This is a bitterly disappointing loss for me, as Vera led 0:0 5-2*, had a set-point at 0:0 6-5* (40/30*), and led 1:1 *2-1 with five game-points. Perhaps feeling the pressure of being the top seed left in a wide open draw whilst still seeking her first Major singles-title, Vera seemed really inhibited today, and lacked the aggression that I’ve come to expect since I induced her into my Eternal Fanship six years ago.

Vera said: “There is no mental problem. I think every time I was taking the risk, I wasn’t so consistent. That’s why I was playing a little bit too passive. When you play less than 50% of your potential, it’s very tough to win the fourth round of a Grand Slam [sic].”

While disappointing from a Vera fan’s perspective, at least this was yet another enthralling women’s encounter to capture the public’s imagination, being full of both power and finesse (there were eight dropshots in the match). There are so many wonderful players to watch in women’s tennis these days.

Pavlyuchenkova is a great shotmaker, whose huge crosscourt forehands frequently found the sidelines, but she doesn’t move well, is still carrying some puppy-fat, and is certainly not renowned for her mental strength, so I’m really surprised that Vera’s superior physical condition and experience didn’t win out in the end.

Pavlyuchenkova said: “I think maybe in the past, or last year, I wouldn’t have believed I can win this match against that top player. I remember last year against Serena Williams, it was the third set and she broke me once, and then I didn’t really believe that I could come back. It was 6-1 in the third for her. This time, I think that was the main key.”

Vera has had a disappointing clay-court season overall, perhaps because she’s been distracted by preparing her thesis (“Sport as an instrument to raise Russia’s competitiveness in the world”) for her master’s degree from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Moscow. After her second-round win at Brussels on 18th May 2011, she said: “After Miami, I went home and practised indoors on a fast surface. That kind of threw me off, as I had to travel to Stuttgart and Madrid right away, and never got used to it.”

Vera also lost Sergey Demekhin, who coached her from April 2010 to April 2011, because she wanted to work with other coaches but he didn’t. Vera said, “The team should be a single entity rather than a group of individuals with their own ambitions,” but Demekhin said, “I have my own vision of her tennis, so when a new person [Karen Krotov] joined our team, I didn’t want to take responsibility for his actions. That is why I decided to leave this team, because I don’t want to harm Vera.”


First set
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ZVONARËVA __*@*@*___*__ 6(4)
PAVLYUCHE @*_____*@*_*T 7(7)

The match was first on Court Philippe Chatrier, and started at 11:13 CEST.

Zvonarëva serving 0-0: Vera unforcedly dumped a forehand halfway up the net. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Pavlyuchenkova went to the net, but Vera hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner onto the baseline. 15/30. Pavlyuchenkova forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Pavlyuchenkova hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Broken.

Sam Smith said that Pavlyuchenkova started aggressively like this against Vera at Stuttgart, but Vera turned things round by achieving greater depth. She’s not achieving that yet today.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 1-0: Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Vera dumped a backhand into the net off a loopy crosscourt backhand from Pavlyuchenkova. 30/0. Pavlyuchenkova hit a forehand long off a short, weak ball from Vera. 30/15. Vera’s deep off-forehand return forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a backhand long. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Vera outside the alley to net a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Held.

Though it didn’t pay off there, the 30/15 point looks like a good formula against Pavlyuchenkova’s serve: deep returns will take that big follow-up groundstroke away from her.

Zvonarëva serving 0-2: Vera’s crosscourt forehand induced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova up-the-line backhand wide. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Pavlyuchenkova to earth a forehand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova dumped a cheap forehand into the net. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 2-1: First serve down the middle forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob-return wide. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova blasted a wild forehand long. 15/15. Pavlyuchenkova on the third stroke netted a backhand. 15/30. Vera hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to net an early backhand. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera went to the net behind a deep approach, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to bunt a forehand long. Broken.

Sam Smith compared Vera with Novak Ðoković: “She’s an unbelievable athlete. She’s a great mover. She’s got this wonderful mix of offence and defence. She’s got a very good backhand.”

Zvonarëva serving 2-2: Vera on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. Vera’s searing crosscourt backhand forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a left-handed forehand lob that sat up nicely for Vera to hit an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Pavlyuchenkova netted a forehand. 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova hit a backhand long off another deep ball from Vera. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova isn’t a great defender like Vera, so she has to rely on aggression, and she’s all too erratic at the moment. For Vera, the key is to keep a good depth on her groundstrokes.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 2-3: Pavlyuchenkova netted a forehand. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova netted a backhand off a mildly awkward deep, body-jamming crosscourt backhand return. 0/30. Vera forced a short ball, and hit a down-the-line backhand winner onto the baseline. 0/40 (BP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to earth a forehand. 15/40 (BP #2). Pavlyuchenkova netted a backhand after a good spreading rally by Vera. Broken.

Sam Smith: “She’s a great girl, Zvonarëva: so intelligent, academic, really thinks about the world. We’ve never really got to know her, because she’s been so long in the shadow of Sharapova, Myskina and Kuznetsova, but she could bring so much to the women’s tour. She’s just a little guarded in interviews: she doesn’t talk too much about her life or anything.”

Zvonarëva serving 4-2: First serve down the middle + short-angled off-backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Vera off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Pavlyuchenkova dominated the rally and hit a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to hit a forehand wide. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Pavlyuchenkova forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova forced a slow if rather deep ball, and dumped a horrendous backhand into the net. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 2-5 (new balls): Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. 30/0. Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner – fantastic movement and racket-control. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova netted a backhand off a deep forehand up the line from Vera. 30/30. Vera backhand just long. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera forced a short ball, hit a backhand winner down the line, and pumped her fist. Deuce #1. Vera hit a backhand long off a hard, deep ball from Pavlyuchenkova. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (GP #2). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 5-3: Double fault #1 (second serve long). 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova forced a short lob, let it bounce and hit an easy crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 0/30. Vera on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/40 (BP #1). Pavlyuchenkova sprayed a backhand long and wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Vera’s crosscourt backhand forced Pavlyuchenkova to net a defensive sliced backhand. 30/40 (BP #3). Pavlyuchenkova hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline, and celebrated with a cute little yell of “c’mon”. Broken.

A poor service-game by Vera, and Pavlyuchenkova connected with some winners.

Sam Smith: “They’re very aware of each other out there: two Russians. There in each other’s heads.”

Pavlyuchenkova serving 4-5: Pavlyuchenkova mishit a backhand into the net. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova hit an off-forehand deep into the corner, forcing Vera to net a defensive sliced backhand. 15/15. First serve forced a short return; Pavlyuchenkova dispatched it with a huge crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to net a backhand. Held.

A worrying change of momentum, as Pavlyuchenkova is finding easy power now, and finding the lines.

Zvonarëva serving 5-5: Pavlyuchenkova’s crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Vera to chop a forehand into the net. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand winner. 0/30. Pavlyuchenkova hit an off-forehand winner just wide. 15/30. Pavlyuchenkova forced a defensive lob, but hit a wild crosscourt forehand smash wide. 30/30. Vera’s depth forced Pavlyuchenkova to bunt a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera, driven wide, hit a superb backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 5-6: Pavlyuchenkova forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 30/0. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand long and wide. 30/15. Vera hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/30. Pavlyuchenkova hit a huge crosscourt forehand would-be winner just wide. 30/40 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva). Pavlyuchenkova saved it with a deep crosscourt forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to hit a defensive forehand lob that landed long by a whisker. Deuce #1. Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to earth a backhand. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and emitted another cute, high-pitched yell of “c’mon”. Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Zvonarëva/Pavlyuchenkova):
{*0/0} In a long baseline-rally, Vera kept good depth, but then dropped one short, and Pavlyuchenkova’s crosscourt backhand forced Vera to net a backhand.
{0/1*} Pavlyuchenkova punished another underlength ball with a huge off-forehand, forcing Vera to bunt a backhand long.
{0/2*} A low-bouncing serve from Pavlyuchenkova forced Vera to net a late forehand.
{*0/3} First serve out wide: Pavlyuchenkova netted a makeable backhand return.
{*1/3} Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline.
{1/4*} Pavlyuchenkova hit a down-the-line backhand just wide.
{2/4*} Pavlyuchenkova off-forehand winner.
{*2/5} Vera, driven wide, hit a pinpoint forehand down the line, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to earth a backhand.
{*3/5} Vera netted a forehand, rolled her eyes and sank to her knees.
{3/6*: SP #1 for Pavlyuchenkova} Vera’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Pavlyuchenkova to spray a backhand wide.
{4/6*: SP #2 for Pavlyuchenkova} Pavlyuchenkova went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Pavlyuchenkova won the first set 7-6 (7/4) at 12:11 CEST (58m).

Vera got really tight there. Her aggression was only at Woźniacki level until *2/5, and after that, it was too little, too late. And credit to Pavlyuchenkova for being a great ball-striker.


Second set
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ZVONARËVA @*@*_*_* 6
PAVLYUCHE ____*_*_ 2

Pavlyuchenkova serving 0-0: Pavlyuchenkova’s crosscourt forehand forced Vera to earth a forehand. 15/0. Vera off-backhand forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt forehand winner deep into the corner and back behind Vera, who swang her racket but couldn’t connect. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova netted a backhand. 30/30. Vera hit a defensive lob over Pavlyuchenkova’s left shoulder, inducing her to hit an awkward off-forehand smash wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 1-0: Vera went to the net, and though she didn’t close in well, she hit a lovely crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Pavlyuchenkova netted a forehand. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova unforcedly netted a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/30 (GP #2). Service-winner out wide: just inside the sideline. Held.

Sam Smith: “If it becomes a mental battle, Zvonarëva will probably win. If it becomes a physical battle, deep in the third, Zvonarëva will probably win. Pavlyuchenkova has to turn this into a hitting match.”

Pavlyuchenkova serving 0-2: First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Vera netted a forehand. 30/15. Vera hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to stretch and hit a forehand long. 30/30. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera’s dropshot forced Pavlyuchenkova to net a forehand – not a great mover. Deuce #1. Pavlyuchenkova sprayed a forehand very long off a testing crosscourt forehand from Vera. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #1). A nail-biting rally, in which a Vera lob seemed to go into slow motion before it landed on the baseline, ended with Pavlyuchenkova hitting a backhand lob long. Broken.

Sam Smith said that that could be the match for Vera, as she’s firmly in control of this set now, and in much better physical condition than Pavlyuchenkova for the third.

Zvonarëva serving 3-0 (new balls): Vera forced a short ball, and hit an error-forcing off-forehand. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova backhand long. 30/0. Vera’s deep forehand forced Pavlyuchenkova to bunt a backhand lob long. 40/0 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova hit a cheeky crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). Pavlyuchenkova hit a big crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 40/30 (GP #3). Pavlyuchenkova’s short-angled crosscourt backhand to the sideline forced Vera to hit a defensive sliced backhand just long. Deuce #1. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #4). Pavlyuchenkova went for a huge off-forehand to the sideline, but it was just wide. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 0-4: Vera backhand long. 15/0. Pavlyuchenkova, driven wide, hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Pavlyuchenkova netted a forehand. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova went to the net, and though she had to retreat to no-man’s-land, she hit a high backhand crosscourt drive-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova forced a floater, let it bounce (having missed a smash at 0:0 5-5* 30/15*) and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 4-1: Pavlyuchenkova netted a backhand return. 15/0. Vera’s pinpoint backhand down the line forced Pavlyuchenkova to net a forehand. 30/0. Vera forced a short, weak lob, and hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 40/0 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 1-5: Vera ran down a poor dropshot and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. First serve out wide + backhand winner up the line. 15/15. Vera forced a floater, but sprayed an off-backhand drive-volley wide. 30/15. Vera’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 30/30. Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve wide). Deuce #1. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt forehand winne. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball, hit it straight back to Vera, but Vera hit a crosscourt backhand, and sank to her knees again. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 5-2: Vera crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. And again. 0/30. Vera caught Pavlyuchenkova in no-man’s-land with a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/30. Vera’s deep forehand forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit one long. 30/30. Vera’s crosscourt backhand kicked up on Pavlyuchenkova like a Nadal forehand, inducing her to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand wide. Zvonarëva won the second set at 12:48 CEST (second set 36m, match so far 1h34m).


Third set
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ZVONARËVA _*@_____ 2
PAVLYUCHE *[email protected]*@*@ 6

Pavlyuchenkova took a bathroom-break, thus the third set didn’t start until 12:53 CEST.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 0-0: Pavlyuchenkova hit a short-angled off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Vera’s deep forehand return forced Pavlyuchenkova to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/15. Vera hit a deep, low-bouncing backhand down the line, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to net a forehand. 30/30. Pavlyuchenkova sprayed an off-backhand very long and wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s deep backhand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. Deuce #1. Pavlyuchenkova hit an “unbelievable” down-the-line backhand winner onto the sideline. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (GP #1). Vera pushed Pavlyuchenkova way behind the baseline with a topspin backhand, and hit an off-backhand winner off the resulting short ball. Deuce #2. Vera hit a deep backhand onto the baseline to force a short ball, which she dispatched with another off-backhand winner. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #2). Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt backhand virtual winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #3. Pavlyuchenkova hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Vera. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (GP #2). Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball, hit a forehand smash-winner down the middle, pumped her fist and emitted another cute, high-pitched yell of “c’mon”. Held.

Two break-points go begging, but at least we’re now seeing what BBC commentator David Mercer had been missing: both girls playing well at the same time.

Zvonarëva serving 0-1: First serve forced a short return, which Vera dispatched with a backhand winner down the line. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Vera forehand winner down the line. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #2 down the middle. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 1-1: Pavlyuchenkova forehand long. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt forehand would-be winner almost on the junction of sideline and baseline, but a late call, confirmed by the umpire checking the mark, indicated that it was wide. 0/30. Vera went to the net, Pavlyuchenkova hit a dipping crosscourt forehand, but Vera picked it off superbly with a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand winner. 15/40 (BP #2). Vera forced a short lob, let it bounce and hit an off-forehand winner. Broken.

David Mercer: “We all know what talent Pavlyuchenkova’s got, but I’m not sure she’s going to win the Majors.”
Sam Smith: “It’s the mind. She’s not top ten between the ears. Zvonarëva hasn’t played well in terms of her level, but she’s putting together a very good match.”

Zvonarëva serving 2-1: Pavlyuchenkova blasted an off-backhand wide. 15/0. Vera hit a backhand long off a pretty hard, deep ball from Pavlyuchenkova. 15/15. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Service-winner down the middle. 40/30 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s deep backhand forced Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #1. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to hit a crosscourt forehand long and wide. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #2). Pavlyuchenkova forced a short lob, let it bounce and hit a forehand smash-winner down the line. Deuce #2. Pavlyuchenkova’s deep backhand forced Vera to hit a backhand long. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (BP #1). Vera hit a deep, body-jamming first serve onto the service-line, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to hit a backhand return long. Deuce #3. Vera hit a big off-backhand, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to earth a forehand. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #3). Vera went to the net, but caught Pavlyuchenkova’s backhand below the height of the net, forcing her to net a forehand volley. Deuce #4. First serve down the middle induced Pavlyuchenkova to hit an off-backhand return wide. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #4). Vera played a good spreading rally to force a short ball, but didn’t do enough with a crosscourt forehand; three strokes later, Pavlyuchenkova hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Vera to run outside the alley and chop a forehand long. Deuce #5. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #5). Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball and hit an off-backhand winner. Deuce #6. Pavlyuchenkova’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (BP #2). Second serve on the service-line: Pavlyuchenkova hit a huge crosscourt backhand return-winner onto the sideline. Broken.

Five game-points go begging, the momentum’s in Pavlyuchenkova’s favour now, but I have faith that Vera’s superior physical condition and experience will win out in the end.

Pavlyuchenkova serving 2-2 (new balls): Pavlyuchenkova netted a forehand. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova forced a short ball and hit an off-forehand winner. 15/15. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand return wide. 30/15. Vera backhand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova’s depth forced Vera to hit a backhand very long. Held.

Vera may be behind now, but the way Pavlyuchenkova is stretching her legs during the changeover is an encouraging sign for Vera fans.

Zvonarëva serving 2-3: Vera crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Pavlyuchenkova hit a deep, error-forcing backhand down the line. 0/30. Pavlyuchenkova’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to bunt a forehand long. 0/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint backhand winner down the line: right in the corner. 15/40 (BP #2). Pavlyuchenkova’s deep forehand forced Vera to hit a backhand long. Broken.

Pavlyuchenkova went for her shots and made them, but can she keep this up in a third set against Vera?

Pavlyuchenkova serving 4-2: Vera backhand long. 15/0. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/0. Vera chopped a crosscourt forehand wide. She’s now lost 11 of the last 12 points. 40/0 (GP #1). Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Pavlyuchenkova opened up the court but netted a backhand. Her nerves are beginning to jangle. 40/30 (GP #3). Pavlyuchenkova hit a pinpoint backhand winner onto the baseline. Held.

Pavlyuchenkova is in the ascendancy, but she started to look nervous at the end of that game, and has choked before, so it’s not over till the fat lady sings.

Zvonarëva serving 2-5: Vera hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Pavlyuchenkova to net a forehand. 15/0. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Kicking serve forced Pavlyuchenkova to mishit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Pavlyuchenkova nailed a huge crosscourt forehand winner into the corner from a pretty deep position. 30/30. Pavlyuchenkova hit a crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. 30/40 (MP #1 for Pavlyuchenkova). First serve into the net. Vera hit a deep backhand onto the baseline; Pavlyuchenkova hit an off-forehand just wide. Deuce #1. Low-bouncing first serve down the middle forced Pavlyuchenkova to earth a backhand return. Ad Vera (GP #1). Vera netted a forehand. Deuce #2. Pavlyuchenkova pounced on a short ball to hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (MP #2). First serve into the net. Pavlyuchenkova hit a big backhand return down the line... just long. Deuce #3. Vera netted a forehand off a low-bouncing crosscourt forehand from Pavlyuchenkova. Ad Pavlyuchenkova (MP #3). A nail-biting rally ended with Vera hitting a forehand moonball long and wide. Pavlyuchenkova won 7-6 (7/4) 2-6 6-2 at 13:41 CEST (third set 52m, match 2h27m).

David Mercer: “Now Seeds 1, 2 and 3 are out, and this tournament is even more wide open.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 
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