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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, everybody :wavey: I'm planning to go all week to Estoril, so I decided to create this thread to post some reports about the matches.

So here it goes for Day1:

Catarina Ferreira vs. Tara Wigan 60 64

I was planning to watch Diatchenko, but I arrived late and I tought she already won (afterall I would have time, but whatever), so went to watch this match. Arrived at 60 *23 and as I tought it wasn't about who would won the match, but who would lost it because it was about who errors first. The good news is Catarina is not a pure moonballer anymore, she was on her BH, now she tries to hit some normal shots most of the time; the bad news is she still doesn't have enough power to make winners and I think she will never have. So, she relies on her consistent, which is not that amazing, but it was enough to win today. I had to wait 10 points to watch the 1st winner, after 9 UEs. Tara had a *42 lead but didn't take advantage of it because she simply didn't know how to do it, just hitting the ball back and wait for an error. From the game I saw, she only hitted 1 winner and Catarina did 3.


Elena Bovina vs. Alexandra Stevenson 76 57 60

Watched both 1st and 2nd set and it was really high quality match for a 1st quali round. Lexy really impressed with her attitude. She was very motivated, fought really hard, not such a bad mover as I was expecting and her slice BH was great, Bovina struggled with that. But overall, since the beginning, I felt it was all about Bovina. When she was on, there was nothing Lexy could do it. That happened all the 3 times Lexy had the break lead in 1st set. Elena always broke back immediatelly with some great points. Which is missing in Elena is consistency.
That's why I guess she still isn't in top100. In the 2nd Lena played really bad until 1-4 15-30, then she wake up and make a comeback until 5-5 40-15*, but she missed those 2 brek points and Lexy with her great serve hold it and wwnt to break Lena for win the 2nd set with some help from Bovina.
In the 3rd, I assume Lexy was tired: she take a toilet break after the 2nd set, because she fought really hard and run a lot.
The bad news about her is her FH really lacks power. She can't take advantge of many short balls she had thanks to her serve.


Arina Rodionova vs. Mandy Minnella 16 60 75

Arrived at 16 30* and like 5 minutes later the 2nd set was done. Minella was an error machine, really struggling with Arina's 2-handed BH slice, mixed with some also 2 handed BH drop shots that Minella couldn't antecipate. Also Arina was in a wall mode, returning everything and she didn't make any single UE during these 3 games.
In the 3rd it was so much more even. Minella tried to mix it a little bit, playing also to Arina's FH, which IMO sucks (lacks power and precision most of the times and some moonballs too, only nice when she slices it) and made some amazing BH dropshots :worship:. Arina kept the same game plan as the 2nd set and tried to kept at the match when she was down a break (happened it 3rd game 1-2* to Mandy). When finally, the moment of truth came to Minella at *5-4 (she had some deuces before on Arina's serves), she was 30-0 up, but some silly errors gave Arina the break (credits also to Arina for not gave up). Same thing happened at 10th game with 2 bps to Minella. Arina survived and now Mindella was going to serve to stay. Sha had like 4 or 5 gps, most wasted by erros (1 was a DF). On 1st MP to Arina, Mandy nets a BH and it's over. Credits to Arina for being such a great fighter, always trying to return the ball (some times she was amazing), but Mandy can really be upset because she seemed the best player, but didn't take advantage of the oportunuty. BTW, a rally which realy sums up the match, happened at 1-1 in the 3rd. Something like 40 shots with some amazing defense from Arina and finished with a drop shot from her. Both were breathless at the end of that point.


Michelle Brito vs. Rika Fujiwara 62 62

Watched until 62 42, before the court change.
Really good news to Michelle fans. Altough Rika isn't a top player, Michelle really improved from last year's defeat to Mamic. She slides well on clay now (but can improve), her 1st serve seems more reliable and powerfull, she tried to open some short angles and not just ball bash and was really focused and motivated. Didn't let Fujiwara to hold serve during the entire match :worship: Rika had 40-15 lead at *1-4 and 40-0 at 62 12*, but Michelle broke anyway. Her return was great (but again, Rika doesn't have a good serve, so who knows if it was just for today). Her shots, most of the times, were strong and accurate, letting Rika without any optins.
Really nice win for Michelle. Let's see how it goes tomorrow.


Well, that's all for day1.

Hope you liked it. Any questions or request, just do it. I'll try to satisfy the most of them.

;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Day2

Ekaterina Ivanova def. Catarina Ferreira 61 61

Once again, my plans to watch Diatchenko were down the toilet. I also wanted to see Ivanova, so I decided to go to this match, hoping an easy win in something like 55/60 (it went for 80)minutes and then to go to watch Vitalia, which was supposed to be more even and last longer.
So, for my surprise, this was much more balanced than the score suggests. Catarina didn't deserve a double breadstick. Something like 6-3 6-3 would be more accurate to demonstrate what happened. Catarina managed fight toe to toe in rallies with Ekaterina :)lol:), the problem is she doesn't have a killer shot, unlike Ekaterina who has an accurate, agressive and great to watch BH. She also used the dropshots a lot that even not that good were enough to win the point because Catarina always arrived late. Her serve can give some quick points sometimes too. Her FH seems more shaky, less powerfull and sometimes off timing. That's why Catarina's serve to her FH gave to the portuguese fast points time to time (which isn't good to Ekaterina, because Catarina's serve simply hasn't anything: no power, no spin, no effect). So, overall Catarina fought and fought really hard all the points, her best quality in court, make some good FHs (and even a BH DTL winner :eek:), but Ekaterina is from another level and on big points she usually showed it.
After that my younger cousin wanted to play "Guitar Hero" so I let him try once, and then we went to watch Diatchenko, but I just saw it leaving the court really angry (I presumed, in that moment, she lost), but still I was brave enough to ask for an autograph :p.


Ekaterina Dzehalevich vs. Yurika Sema 64 62

Immediatelly when I arrived I was surprised with Sema being a lefty. I had no idea. I also saw Corswandt, but he doesn't know who I am :p
Ekaterina (another Ekaterina today :lol:) had a bad start commiting a bunch of errors and quickly Sema had a *3-1 lead. She finally cut the errors, made some great shots, especially on her stronger side, the BH, and rebroke. Her 1st serve is great time to time, her BH too, being her FH not that great, but nice to clay and for this level. The decisive break happened at 4-4, a very long game, had like 6/7 deuces. Then Ekaterina won 3 points in a row after being down 15-30 on her serve to win the set.
The 2nd set was even during the first games, but always seemed that Ekaterina was in control of the match. After 1st break, she went to win with no much problems. I think Yurika's game is not suitable to clay, bening her 2 handed BH very flat and she's not very fast.
Ekaterina's coach / brother, boyfriend, husband or something like that, was there, always fist pumping when she won a point, even on Yurika's DF :tape:
In the end, I got her autograph.


Michelle Brito def. Alexandra Dulgheru 76 46 75

Finally the big match of the day finally started around at 16h30. So, it wasn't that hot, which is probably the only good thing of playing a 3h42min match. :tape:
Unfortunaly, only watched 1st and 2nd sets, because my rid to home was waiting, but totally worthed it. Even my younger cousin, he doesn't get excited with tennis, got nervous and yelling "Vai" (something like "camon") during the match.
By way way far the best match I've watched in qualifying in 3 years of Estoril. Much drama, intensity, great rallies, you can't ask for more on a quali day.
As you can see on stats, serves aren't the main weapons of both. Michelle now can serve above 150km/h sometimes, but her 2nd simply is just to start the point. Alexandra take advantage with some great FH DTL returns during the 2nd set. Alexandra's serve is kind of similar to Michelle, the main difference is she puts some kick on it on both, mixed with flat ones. Same serve speed as Michelle.
The match always followed the same pattern: Michelle ball bashing, ball bashing, with Alexandra defending, defending, but with brains, mixing FH moonballs, BH double-handed slice or flat ones, short top spinned FH, waiting for the opportunity to attack (making a lot of drop shots, not worked in the 1st, but it started in the 2nd, you could see Michelle wasn't that fast moving to the net as the 1st) or simply expectating Michelle's errors.
Michelle's CC BH is so accurate, she barely missed, hitting the left baseline corner so many times, making Alexandra almost half volley a lot.
In the 1st set Michelle had a 5-3 lead, but wasted it with some 3 awful games. Then, it was Alexandra, serving for the set at *6-5, accusing the pressure and letting the opportunity escape. On the TB, Michelle's determination prevailed. On the 4th SP to Michelle, she finally closed with a funny point: both moonballed a couple of times (Michelle moonballing, can you believe it?) and Alexandra came to net after a moonball. She makes a FH CC inconclusive volley that Michelle's take advantage with a great FH DTL passing shot on the run.
In the 2nd set, Michelle faced break points in all her service games, being broken at *3-4 at *4-5. Once again, Alexandra accused the pressure of serving at *5-3, but credits also to Michelle for not making errors. The difference this time, was that Alexandra had Michelle's serve to win the set with a Michelle's too much deep FH (I think it was FH).
A funny thing happened at deuce that game: the umpire calls "correction, the ball was good, replay the point" and Michelle answers "Nobodly called out". But it wasn't the only error from the umpire.
At the 3-3 at the 2nd, it lasted for 6/7 deuces, when it was on the advantage, suddenly the umpire calls 15-30 with Dulgheru leading 4-3* and on Michele's serve, altough anybody could see Alexandra was serving, and so he continued for the next point and called 30-30 when Alexandra DFs and Michelle wins the point on her serve. Everybody was complaining, I was yelling "deuce", and Alexandra simply didn't know what was happening when she was about to serve. :lol: Serious, what the hell??? :help:

So, it's all for today. Hoping to see Iveta vs Neuza, Michelle vs Bovina and ALG vs Parmentier tomorrow.
 

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Day2

Ekaterina Ivanova def. Catarina Ferreira 61 61

Once again, my plans to watch Diatchenko were down the toilet. I also watched to see Ivanova, so I decided to go to this match, hoping an easy win in something like 55/60 (it went for 80)minutes and then to go to watch Vitalia, which was supposed to be more even and last longer.
So, for my surprise, this was much more balanced than the score suggests. Catarina didn't deserve a double breadstick. Something like 6-3 6-3 would be more accurate to demonstrate what happened. Catarina managed fight toe to toe in rallies with Ekaterina :)lol:), the problem is she doesn't have a killer shot, unlike Ekaterina who has an accurate, agressive and great to watch BH. She also used the dropshots a lot that even not that good were enough to win the point because Catarina always arrived late. Her serve can give some quick points sometimes too. Her FH seems more shaky, less powerfull and sometimes off timing. That's why Catarina's serve to her FH gave to the portuguese fast points time to time (which isn't good to Ekaterina, because Catarina's serve simply hasn't anything: no power, no spin, no effect). So, overall Catarina fought and fought really hard all the points, her best quality in court, make some good FHs (and even a BH DTL winner :eek:), but Ekaterina is from another level and on big points she usually showed it.
After that my younger cousin wanted to play "Guitar Hero" so I let him try once, and then we went to watch Diatchenko, but I just saw it leaving the court really angry (I presumed, in that moment, she lost), but still I was brave enough to ask for an autograph :p.


Ekaterina Dzehalevich vs. Yurika Sema 64 62

Immediatelly when I arrived I was surprised with Sema being a lefty. I had no idea. I also saw Corswandt, but he doesn't know who I am :p
Ekaterina (another Ekaterina today :lol:) had a bad start commiting a bunch of errors and quickly Sema had a *3-1 lead. She finally cut the errors, made some great shots, especially on her stronger side, the BH, and rebroke. Her 1st serve is great time to time, her BH too, being her FH not that great, but nice to clay and for this level. The decisive break happened at 4-4, a very long game, had like 6/7 deuces. Then Ekaterina won 3 points in a row after being down 15-30 on her serve to win the set.
The 2nd set was even during the first games, but always seemed that Ekaterina was in control of the match. After 1st break, she went to win with no much problems. I think Yurika's game is not suitable to clay, bening her 2 handed BH very flat and she's not very fast.
Ekaterina's coach / brother, boyfriend, husband or something like that, was there, always fist pumping when she won a point, even on Yurika's DF :tape:
In the end, I got her autograph.


Michelle Brito def. Alexandra Dulgheru 76 46 75

(later)
I was following Catarina's match on the scoreboard and she took more than half of the games to deuce but lost them :(

Looking forward for your report on Michelle's match :)
 

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Besides that I saw both Diatchenko's matches (I believe I was right next to Corswandt in her 2nd round match ;) ) and she was a bit of a mess. When she is on, she is unstoppable, she has incredibly flat shots, which doesn't give her many space to fail. Soler Espinosa was also playing very well, very consistent, spanish style, yet agressive and able to finish off points when having the opportunity. I think Diatchenko is just not patient enough to play on clay but I guess she can do some damage on hardcourts. Her grunt is also very typical, Michelle and Sharapova's style.
 

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Besides that I saw both Diatchenko's matches (I believe I was right next to Corswandt in her 2nd round match ;) ) and she was a bit of a mess. When she is on, she is unstoppable, she has incredibly flat shots, which doesn't give her many space to fail. Soler Espinosa was also playing very well, very consistent, spanish style, yet agressive and able to finish off points when having the opportunity. I think Diatchenko is just not patient enough to play on clay but I guess she can do some damage on hardcourts. Her grunt is also very typical, Michelle and Sharapova's style.
Thanks for the words on Vita! :yeah:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Day3

I'm really tired right now: the heat is really killing me. So the reports will come tomorrow. HEre are the matches I saw today.

Iveta Bensova def. Neuza Silva 64 57 64

Expecting a beatdown from Iveta, like happened last year. Afterall, she just played like 30% of her best during the most of match, commiting a huge amount of errors. In the 1st set, Iveta, after saved/wasted by Neuza 2 bps in the 1st game, took a 4-1* lead but gave her away with some erros, mixed with a couple of good points by Neuza, broking at *4-2. At *4-4, Neuza had 2 bps, but Benesova played nice, also helped with Neuza's anxious and held. At 5-4*, Neuza leading 40-15 and then: DF, UE error, DF, FH UE. What a away to give the 1st set away.
At the 2nd set, many many breaks: Benesova was broken, Neuza was broken, Benesova was broken, Neuza was broken. Iveta started the set trying ti be more agressive on the return going for the winners (with Neuza's 130 km/h average serve speed it's a nice way to play). However, it only worked like 2 out of 10 times :spit: So, changed her mind, kept the ball in play, was agressive time to time and was enough to broke. In her service games she was crap. Neuza wasted a sp at *5-4, but had 2 more chances at *6-5, winning the set with, guess what?, an Iveta's UE.
In the 3rd, Iveta kept the error mode, letting Neuza take a *4-1 lead (also credits to Neuza for being consistent, because she knew Iveta was playing crap). Neuza had a gp, missing it with a FH UE. Iveta eventually broke without making a lot for it, and suddenly she rises her level, knowing Neuza was affected by the missed opoortuny. With Iveta playing like 80%, there wasn't anything Neuza could do, because Iveta simply is better than Neuza: opening the angles, making accurate and powerfull shots, playing near her best. Then,let Neuza simply lose the game to keep her at the match.
Neuza really can be upset, because of her missing opportuny to take a 5-1 lead. She fought really hard until that point, her FH was great sometimes, her BH is always slice and her serve is weak.
Iveta has 2 things than she can be proud after this match: coming back from 1-4* 30-40 and winning evry single game she had gp or bp. Some of them she had more than 2, but she always eventually win it. I think it's impressive in such a long match.

Elena Bovina def. Michelle Brito 60 62

Don't know if she tanked or not, but for everybody who saw the match, it wasn't surprising.
Same game plan for both, ball bashing and looking for winners, the main differences are Bovina has a great serve (the only break point she didn't save, was the only one she didn't place the 1st serve) and mixes her stroke direction. Bovina's serve gave a lot of free points. Michelle's serve also gave Bovina a lot of free points (DFs or return winners from Elena).
Michelle's BH is always CC, which a nice stroke, the problem is it's ALWAYS CC. Right to Bovina's stronger shot. Bovina totally overpower Michelle. Still, a nice game from Michelle when she held at 06 *14 with 3 winners (being one of them a BH DTL, only one of the 2 BH DTL she hitted all match).

Anna-Lena Groenefeld def. Pauline Parmentier 16 63 76

Watched a couple of games in the 1st and the only thing that worked in ALG's game was her serve. The rest was crap :help:.
Then saw from 3-3 in the last set and I must say it was much better. Both players trying to win the points, especially on their serves, being agressive and making some winners. Then at 5-5, Pauline breaks with some great points, exploring ALG lack of speed. Serving for the match, coming from nothing, Pauline starts making stupid errors, you can saw she was nervous, and ALG immediatelly took advantage to break. In that game she made an amazing BH drop shot. In the TB, Pauline seemed she was dead. Simply returning the ball with no power, didn't try anything to win. Deserved win for ALG for being stronger when it really matters.

Kristina Barrois def. Maria João Koehler 76 60 - first set

I must say I really didn't expect this kind of performance from MJK.
She started nervous, not really confident, but then at *0-2 0-40, she really picked her game, blasted 3 winners and eventually hold her serve (which is great,BTW, Barrois many times returned with slice from both sides; I think the best portuguese serve, despite some DFs.) Suddenly, it was other match, with MJK fighting toe to toe with Barrois, making the german many times defend during the points with her BH slice. The main problem from MJK is she doesn't have a net game, otherwise she could have come to the net to finish the points.
After that hold, she went to break Barrois' serve (which wasn't very effective today, but in the TB came up in crucial occasions).
In the next game Barrois tried to break MJK's serve, had 2/3 break points, made some great drop shots, but MJK played great in the bps.
She a letal combination: on the ad size, she serves a slice powerfull serve and then finish the point with a CC FH (she's lefty BTW). Did it many times during the match.
They both hold until 4-4, when Barrois broke, but MJK had the guts to going for her shots, not giving up and broke back. Both hold and they went to a TB. There, both make a DF, but Barrois' 1st serve gave her a couple of quick points which was crucial to win it.
During the 1st set, Barrois' really got upset with the precision and accurate of MJK's shots: deep, powerfull, painting the line sometimes.
This girl definitely has the talent to go top150, at least.

And a few points from:

Sharon Fichman def Arina Rodionova 60 62 - last game

Sharon seemed to know what to do in court. In one the point she moonballs with her BH to Arina's BH and the next stroke she fires a BH DTL to make a winner. Maybe I'll see tomorrow.

Peer/Yan def. Govortsova/Rodionova 62 64 - from 62 *43

Yan was the best player out there with great court sense and knew where to hit. Not much trouble winning it.

Cirstea/Kirilenko def. Ivanova/Yakimova - from 23* to 63 *12

Cirstea/Kirilenko got the break back with 2 DFs from Yakimova. Cirstea and Kirilenko really seemed to be the best players there. Altough, the best point for me was an amazing BH volley from Yakimova: she was coming behind and hits a slice sort CC BH volley behind her body.
 

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Day3

I'm really tired right now: the heat is really killing me. So the reports will come tomorrow. HEre are the matches I saw today.

Iveta Bensova def. Neuza Silva 64 57 64


Elena Bovina def. Michelle Brito 60 62


Anna-Lena Groenefeld def. Pauline Parmentier 16 63 76


Kristina Barrois def. Maria João Koehler 76 60 - first set


And a few points from:

Sharon Fichman def Arina Rodionova 60 62 - last game

Sharon seemed to know what to do in court. In one the point she moonballs with her BH to Arina's BH and the next stroke she fires a BH DTL to make a winner. Maybe I'll see tomorrow.

Peer/Yan def. Govortsova/Rodionova 62 64 - from 62 *43

Yan was the best player out there with great court sense and knew where to hit. Not much trouble winning it.

Cirstea/Kirilenko def. Ivanova/Yakimova - from 23* to 63 *12

Cirstea/Kirilenko got the break back with 2 DFs from Yakimova. Cirstea and Kirilenko really seemed to be the best players there. Altough, the best point for me was an amazing BH volley from Yakimova: she was coming behind and hits a slice sort CC BH volley behind her body.
Looking forward to your reports :)

Mixed feelings for the portuguese players today. Happy for the fight they put on, but devastated that they couldn't win, specially Neuza :sad:
 
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