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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
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First-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Riske (Monday 20th June 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. Alison Riske, 6-0 3-6 6-3

I was worried when I saw that Vera had drawn Riske in the first round.

Riske can be extremely dangerous on grass, as she is ultra-aggressive, with a big serve and an all-court game. She reached the semi-finals of Birmingham 2010 by beating Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer, then took a set off the great Maria Sharapova.

In the first set, Vera was at her delightful best: smooth, flairsome, plenty of winners, and making every stroke look like part of a masterpiece.

Riske was too passive in the first set, but then decided to start going to the net. Initially, Vera responded with an excellent lob and two great passing-shots, but Riske came through a tough service-game to hold for 0:1 1-0*.

Vera threw in a sloppy service-game to get broken for 1:0 2-4*, and Riske made her pay for it as she played fearlessly to take the second set.

Vera got her act together at the start of the third set, breaking for *2-0 with the help of a pinpoint off-backhand winner and a dipping pass at Riske’s feet.

After Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner at 1:1 *2-0 0/0, BBC commentator Lindsay Davenport said: “The backhand is the best shot in Zvonarëva’s game. It starts with good shoulder turn. Great legs; she gets down well. And then at the end, left wrist, and the pace that she’s able to generate by whipping that wrist around the ball.”

Vera led 1:1 *2-0 30/0, but made two unforced errors when she had the initiative in the rallies, and another to get broken back for 2-1*. At this point, I was only 50% sure that she would win.

Vera was in big trouble at 1:1 *2-2 30/40, but saved herself with a deep second serve ON THE SERVICE-LINE, and Riske netted a makeable backhand return.

Riske recovered from 1:1 *3-4 0/30 with a brave foray to the net and then an off-forehand winner, and also saved 30/40 with a magnificent short-angled crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline.

But Riske then got nervous, making two unforced errors from 1:1 *3-4 Deuce #2, and Vera at *5-3 served out the match to love with two aces: one at match-point.


First set
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RISKE ______ 0
ZVONA @*@*@* 6

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

Riske serving 0-0: Big first serve forced Vera to lunge wide and earth a backhand return. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Second serve... a long baseline-rally, in which Vera kept excellent depth, ended with Riske netting a forehand. 15/30. Second serve... Vera hit a crosscourt forehand smash that looked like it would be a winner but came back as a floater, which she dispatched with an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide: forehand return long. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve + forehand just long. Broken.

Riske has a big first serve, but if she cannot immediately capitalise, Vera is too solid in the rallies.

Zvonarëva serving 1-0: Vera went to the net and hit a backhand drive-volley + beautiful crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. First serve + backhand into the net. 15/15. Vera’s deep forehand down the line induced Riske to knock a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Big first serve forced Riske to net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera hit a big off-backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Riske to bunt a forehand long. Held.

Lindsay Davenport: “Zvonarëva does such a good job of being on balance, even when she’s on the run.”
Nick Mullins: “That double-handed backhand is a /real/ weapon. It’s not just the movement of Zvonarëva is so impressive, but also the depth of shots: really clipping the baseline.”
Lindsay Davenport: “She has got herself in incredible shape: very strong, very lean. She can hit the ball anywhere, and another thing she does in rallies is: she redirects.”

Riske serving 0-2: First serve out wide: Vera used the angle for a stunning crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. First serve + crosscourt backhand deep into the corner forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Vera’s deep, body-jamming backhand return forced Riske to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Vera forehand long. 30/30. Riske hit a backhand just long off a wicked slice from Vera. 30/40 (BP #1). Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand winner, and hit a forehand winner down the line. Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 3-0: First serve down the middle + off-forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Vera forehand long. 15/15. Riske went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/30. Vera forced a floater and dispatched it with a pinpoint off-forehand smash-winner just inside the sideline! 30/30. First serve down the middle forced Riske to earth a forehand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Short second serve: Riske hit a cheap forehand return long. Held.

Riske serving 0-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to bunt an off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. 30/0. Riske backhand long. 30/15. Riske netted a backhand. 30/30. Vera hit a deep down-the-line backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Riske to lunge wide and bunt a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Riske hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Vera to bunt a down-the-line forehand wide. Deuce #1. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). Ad Zvonarëva (BP #2). Vera got away with a rather average dropshot, as Riske ran it down but hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Broken.

During the changeover, Lindsay Davenport was talking about Riske like she’d already lost the match.

Zvonarëva serving 5-0: Riske hit a down-the-line backhand wide off a mildly difficult deep ball from Vera. 15/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/15. Vera forced a short return, but dumped a forehand into the net. 15/30. Riske netted a forehand. 30/30. Ace down the middle. 40/30 (SP #1 for Zvonarëva). First serve down the middle forced Riske to hit a forehand return long. Zvonarëva won the first set 6-0 at 13:35 BST (26m).

The commentators said that Vera had been “economic” and “stingy” in the first set. Lindsay Davenport: “She looks like she’s timing the ball beautifully. She only got 59% of first serves in, but everything else is looking very good.”


Second set
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RISKE *_*_*@*_* 6
ZVONA _*_*___*_ 3

Riske serving 0-0: Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Riske went to the net, and picked off a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/15. They played a let because a ballgirl had an accident. Riske drew a huge cheer with a short-angled crosscourt forehand volley-winner from below the height of the net. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Riske went to the net, Vera hoisted a high backhand lob, and Riske hit a crosscourt forehand smash just wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Riske went to the net, but Vera ran down a deep ball in the corner and whipped a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Deuce #1. Deep first serve on the service-line forced Vera to net a forehand return. Vera wasted a Hawk-Eye challenge. Ad Riske (GP #3). Riske went to the net, but again, Vera hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Deuce #2. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand volley-winner. Ad Riske (GP #4). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand volley onto the sideline... Vera, running outside the alley, almost squeezed a forehand pass-winner onto the sideline, but it was wide by a whisker. Held.

Riske deserved that game, as she has changed her tactics to go to the net a lot more. It’s very risky, though, as Vera has great lobs and passing-shots. She gave a big smile when that last ball was called out!

Zvonarëva serving 0-1 (new balls): Ace down the middle. 15/0. Vera netted a backhand. 15/15. Vera forehand long. 15/30. Riske netted a backhand. 30/30. Riske crosscourt backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net, gave Riske a chance to pass her, but ended up hitting a forehand pass-volley winner into the open court. Held.

Riske serving 1-1: Riske went to the net and cut off a beautiful crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Vera backhand return long. 30/0. Riske left a ball that landed on the line, forcing herself to earth a backhand. 30/15. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner onto the baseline. Vera wasted another Hawk-Eye challenge. 40/15 (GP #1). Riske went to the net behind her first serve, forcing Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Riske hit a backhand winner down the line. Held.

Riske is taking more risks now, and they’re paying off.

Zvonarëva serving 1-2: Ace down the middle? Just wide. Second serve... Vera hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Riske to earth a backhand. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Riske to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Vera blasted a down-the-line backhand just wide. 30/15. Riske’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to spray a forehand very long. 30/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Riske to earth a backhand lob-return. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera’s deep forehand down the line forced Riske to net a backhand. Held.

BBC commentator Nick Mullins: “Zvonarëva might not mind that she’s being given a runaround, after a first set that was a fashion-parade.”

Riske serving 2-2: Ace down the middle: on the centre-line, just inside the service-line. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to earth a backhand return. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Riske followed a first serve out wide, forcing Vera to hit a down-the-line backhand return wide. Held.

Riske is playing much better now. In that game, she looked like the player who stunned Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer to reach the semi-finals of Birmingham 2010, where she took a set off the great Maria Sharapova.

Zvonarëva serving 2-3: Double fault #2 (second serve long). 0/15. Riske backhand just long. 15/15. Second serve gave Riske the initiative; she went to the net, forced a floater, and hit an off-forehand smash-winner. 15/30. The players amused the crowd by engaging in a rally after not hearing the first serve being called long. Second serve... Vera forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera sprayed an off-forehand wide. Broken.

This is starting to get worrying. Riske is playing aggressively and fearlessly in this second set, so I’m not sure that Vera could afford to throw in a sloppy service-game like that.

Riske serving 4-2: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Vera backhand long. 15/15. Riske’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/15. Deep serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Second serve on the service-line, forcing Vera to hit a forehand long. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 2-5: Riske mishit a makeable crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Vera went to the net, her deep forehand volley forcing Riske to bunt a forehand lob long. 30/0. Second serve: Riske’s short-angled crosscourt forehand return forced Vera to earth a forehand. 30/15. Second serve... Vera hit a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, forcing Riske to bunt a running forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, inducing Riske to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. Held.

Riske serving 5-3: Riske netted a forehand off a deep ball from Vera. 0/15. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 15/15. Riske went to the net and hit a deep backhand volley-winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15 (SP #1 for Riske). Riske dropped her toss and smiled. First serve down the middle + off-forehand volley-winner – but the first serve was called long. Double fault (second serve long). 40/30 (SP #2 for Riske). After a nail-biting baseline-rally, Vera dumped a forehand into the top of the net. Riske won the second set 6-3 at 14:15 BST (second set 40m, match so far 1h06m).


Third set
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RISKE [email protected]*_*___ 3
ZVONA *@__*_*@* 6

Zvonarëva serving 0-0: First serve out wide forced a very short return, which Vera dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Riske to earth a backhand return. 30/0. First serve out wide: Riske hit a down-the-line forehand return-winner. 30/15. Riske went to the net and hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand volley onto the sideline, forcing Vera to net a backhand. 30/30. Riske blasted an easy forehand return very long. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net and hit a pinpoint forehand volley-winner down the line: just inside the baseline. Held.

Nick Mullins: “That was a little bit like the Vera of the first set. There’s a lovely anger on her face sometimes, and the look on her face says: ‘I shouldn’t be here.’”

Riske serving 0-1 (new balls): Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to earth a backhand return. 15/0. First serve out wide forced a floater, but Riske sprayed a crosscourt forehand smash wide. 15/15. Vera hit a pinpoint off-backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/30. Riske crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Riske went to the net, but a dipping pass at her feet forced her to hit a forehand half-volley long. Broken.

Zvonarëva serving 2-0: First serve down the middle + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. First serve: backhand return long. 30/0. Vera went to the net, looked in control of the rally, but put an awkward crosscourt forehand volley wide. 30/15. First serve forced a very short return, but Vera dumped a forehand into the net. 30/30. In a stunning rally, Vera went to the net, but got caught in no-man’s-land, stranded in her right half of the court as Riske pulled off a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. Nick Mullins: “She looked like she was on the end of the hook for so much of that rally, but in the end, it was the fish that won.” 30/40 (BP #1). Vera forced a short ball, but dumped a backhand into the net. Broken.

Vera and I will have nightmares about that game if she goes on to lose this match, because she led 30/0, then made three unforced errors in points where she had the initiative.

Riske serving 1-2: Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Riske backhand long. 15/15. Riske forced a short floater, and hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Vera hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Riske to run back from the net, turn around and earth a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Riske forced a short ball, and hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand winner deep into the corner. Held.

Nick Mullins: “It will be delicious to see how the second seed reacts to this. It’s hard to see who /is/ the second seed at the moment.”

Zvonarëva serving 2-2: Vera forehand long. 15/0. Riske hit a deep backhand down the line, forcing Vera to earth a forehand lob. 15/15. Riske hit a crosscourt forehand virtual return-winner. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Riske to net a backhand return. 30/30. Vera sprayed a forehand long off a short, slow ball. 30/40 (BP #1). Second serve on the service-line: Riske netted a makeable backhand return. Deuce #1. Ace down the middle. Ad Zvonarëva (GP #1). First serve: backhand return just long. Held.

If Vera goes on to win this match, that 30/40 point will have been the key. Just a few millimetres longer, or a good return from Riske, and she’d be 2-3* down now.

Riske serving 2-3: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/15. Riske forced a short ball, and hit a backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Riske pounced on a short ball, her crosscourt backhand to the sideline forcing Vera to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand long. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 3-3: Riske hit an off-forehand just wide. 15/0. Riske netted a makeable backhand return. 30/0. First serve down the middle induced Riske to net a backhand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Riske went to the net, and handled a dipping pass with a remarkable crosscourt forehand half-volley winner. 40/15 (GP #2). First serve forced Riske to hit a backhand return very long. Held.

Riske serving 3-4: Riske went to the net, but Vera made her hit an awkward high backhand volley, which landed short and sat up nicely for Vera to hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/15. Double fault (second serve just wide of the centre-line; Riske wasted a Hawk-Eye challenge). 0/30. Riske went to the net, forcing Vera to hit a backhand lob long. 15/30. Riske hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline to force a short ball, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Riske had the initiative but put a forehand long – guided it. 30/40 (BP #1). Riske, driven wide, hit a magnificent short-angled crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. Deuce #1. Riske netted a backhand. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #2). Vera backhand just long. Vera looked agitatedly towards her box, and decided not to challenge. Deuce #2. Riske hit a nervous forehand just long. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #3). Vera’s depth induced Riske to hit a backhand long. Broken.

What a game! Riske’s risks at 0/30 and 30/40 paid off, but she’s looking nervous now, so Vera’s *5-3 lead looks decisive.

Zvonarëva serving 5-3: Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 15/0. Riske ran down a high-bouncing dropshot, but dumped a forehand into the net. 30/0. Deep serve induced Riske to hit a forehand very long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Zvonarëva). Ace out wide: deep in the corner. Zvonarëva won 6-0 3-6 6-3 at 14:56 BST (third set 41m, match 1h47m).


Vera’s BBC interview
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This interview took place in the corridor immediately after Vera walked off Court One.

Sonali Shah: “Vera, congratulations. How are you feeling after that?”

Vera: “Well, it was a tough match, and I think it’s always tough to play first rounds, but I’m really happy that I was able to win it today, and then looking forward for the next one.”

Shah: “Of course, Alison Riske was playing the best match of her career.”

Vera: “I haven’t seen her play much, a little bit. She’s a young player, and I think she’s got a great potential. Definitely she played some good tennis today. I tried to stay focused; I tried to concentrate on my game. I had some ups and downs, but I’m really happy that I was able to pull it out today.”

Shah: “After winning the first so quickly, what happened in the second set?”

Vera: “I think she raised a little bit the level of her game. She started playing a little bit consistent, and I think my concentration dropped. I lost my serve, and then it was a little bit down from there, but I was able to pick it up in the third set, and started going for my shots a little bit more, and playing my game.”

Shah: “Was there any point in the game that you thought, ‘I’m not gonna win this?’”

Vera: “Well, no. When I’m on the court, I try to fight for every point. I’m never thinking about the result. At the end, we will see. I have to fight; I have to stay in the moment. I never look too much ahead of myself, and always try my best. I always believe in myself, and yeah, not really thinking about the result.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. I didn’t manage to finish my Wimbledon 2010 reports before Wimbledon 2011, so I now expect to post my Wimbledon 2010 quarter-final, semi-final and final reports in July and August 2011.
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Discussion Starter #2
Andrew's second-round TV-report

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THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
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Second-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Vesnina (Wednesday 22nd June 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. Elena Vesnina, 6-1 7-6 (7/5)

How ironic that these two should have played each other in singles at Wimbledon 2011, as the most enduring image of Wimbledon 2010 was of Vesnina comforting a sobbing Vera after they lost the Women's Doubles final.

BBC commentator Lindsay Davenport said that Vesnina had a harder time than Vera in dealing with their friendship when they had to play each other, and this is reflected in their 5:1 head-to-head - Vesnina's one victory coming by retirement at Sydney 2010, when Vera was just coming back from ankle-surgery.

This was a beautiful match in one way, but I must admit that it was a rather ugly one in tennis-terms. Vesnina played a dreadful first set, and the second set wasn't of particularly high quality from either of them, being littered with errors and eight breaks of serve. It's tough for two close friends to play each other.

The match took on an eerie resemblance to Vera's 6-0 3-6 6-3 first-round win over Alison Riske as Vera took the first set 6-1 but went *2-4 down in the second. But a mishit from Vesnina at Deuce #1 turned the momentum back in Vera's favour, and she broke back for *4-4 courtesy of a double fault.

Vesnina served for the second set at *5-4 and *6-5, but never had a set-point. Vera hit a stunning off-backhand dropshot-winner from behind the baseline to reach the tiebreak.

Vera hit a good lob to take a 4/2* lead in the tiebreak, and a perfect lob on the baseline for *5/3. Vesnina at *3/6 saved two match-points bravely with forehand volley-winners, but missed a first-serve return at 5/6*.

This performance will do little to silence Vera's detractors, who say that she is not worthy to be the second seed. But just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the desert, so must Vera be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in her will be proved right.


First set
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VESNINA __*____ 1
ZVONARË @*_*@*@ 6

The match was second on Court 2. Vera won the toss and apparently elected to receive, and the match started at 18:10 BST.

Vesnina serving 0-0: Vesnina on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. First serve: forehand return long. 15/15. Vesnina dumped a horrendous forehand halfway up the net. 15/30. Vera hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Vesnina. 15/40 (BP #1). Vera opened up the court with a croscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. Broken.

Vera serving 1-0: Vesnina sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Vera hit a deep crosscourt forehand that died away on Vesnina, forcing her to net a forehand. 30/0. Vera forced a short floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Vesnina forehand just long. Held.

Vesnina serving 0-2: Vesnina hit a deep crosscourt backhand onto the baseline, forcing Vera to bunt a crosscourt backhand lob wide. 15/0. Deep, body-jamming first serve forced Vera to mishit a crosscourt backhand return wide. 30/0. Vesnina's crosscourt forehand died away on Vera, forcing her to earth a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Vesnina forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. Held.

The ball is bouncing very low, and both players are getting an advantage out of that when they go crosscourt. Overall, I would expect it to favour Vera, who is the most adaptable tennis-player I know.

Vera serving 2-1: Vesnina's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand just long. 0/15. Vera on the third stroke sprayed a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Ace down the middle. 15/30. First serve down the middle forced Vesnina to net a forehand return. 30/30. Ace down the middle: on the centre-line. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle - on the service-line - forced Vesnina to net a forehand return. Held.

Vesnina serving 1-3: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Vesnina went to the net, but netted a forehand volley off a dipping ball from Vera. 15/15. Double fault (second serve long). 15/30. Vesnina forced a short ball, but sprayed a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Vesnina on the third stroke netted a forehand. Broken.

Poor, poor form from Vesnina. It's such a contrast to the Wimbledon 2010 Women's Doubles, when, at times, she was the star of the show.

Vera serving 4-1: Vesnina hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 0/15. First serve: forehand return long. 15/15. Vesnina mishit a backhand long. 30/15. Vesnina's depth forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob wide. 30/30. Vera's deep crosscourt forehand forced Vesnina to net a forehand. 40/30 (GP #1). Vesnina netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Vesnina netted a backhand off a deep ball from Vera. Ad Vera (GP #2). First serve down the middle forced Vesnina to stretch wide and net a forehand return. Held.

Vesnina serving 1-5: Vera ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand. 15/0. Vera opened up the court and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Vera went to the net, and Vesnina ran outside the alley to bunt a down-the-line forehand would-be pass-winner just wide. 15/30. Vera's deep return forced Vesnina to dump a forehand into the bottom of the net. 15/40 (SP #1 for Vera). Vera hit a deep crosscourt forehand onto the baseline, forcing Vesnina to hit a forehand long. Vera won the first set 6-1 at 18:33 BST (23m).


Second set
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VESNINA _*@[email protected]*[email protected][email protected]__ 6(5)
ZVONARË *[email protected]__*@[email protected][email protected] 7(7)

Vera serving 0-0: Vera hit a short-angled off-forehand, forcing Vesnina to catch the ball late and net a backhand. 15/0. Vesnina hit a forehand long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide, just inside the service-line, forced Vesnina to hit a crosscourt forehand long and wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep, body-jamming second serve on the service-line forced Vesnina to net a forehand return. Held.

Sam Smith: "I remember Vera when she first came on the Tour: she had a Russian-type serve. It didn't really work, but it's been remodelled."

Vesnina serving 0-1: Deep first serve forced Vera to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Second serve: Vera hit a forehand return just long, but made a successful Hawk-Eye challenge: it caught about 50% of the breadth of the baseline (the look of disbelief on Vesnina's face was priceless). So they replayed the point: Vesnina netted a backhand off another deep forehand down the line from Vera. 15/30. Deep first serve forced Vera to bunt a forehand return long. 30/30. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Second serve down the middle + off-backhand winner. Held.

Vera serving 1-1: Vesnina went to the net and hit an off-forehand volley-winner. 0/15. Double fault (second serve long by a whisker; Vera wasted a challenge). 0/30. Vera went to the net, but Vesnina hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera neutered Vesnina's early initiative, but Vesnina hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. Broken.

Vesnina serving 2-1: Double fault #3 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 0/15. Vera hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/30. Vesnina forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/40 (BP #1). Vesnina on the third stroke netted a forehand. Broken.

Vera serving 2-2: Ace out wide. 15/0. Vesnina went to the net, forcing Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. First serve out wide: Vesnina hit a crosscourt forehand return. 15/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/40 (BP #1). Vesnina backhand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera went to the net, but her approach was too short: Vesnina hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Broken.

Vesnina serving 3-2: Vesnina's deep off-forehand forced Vera to net a sliced backhand. 15/0. Vesnina forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a pinpoint off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. First serve + crosscourt forehand dropshot forced Vera to net a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep second serve out wide induced Vera to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Vera serving 2-4: Double fault #3 (second serve long). 0/15. Deep first serve clipped the service-line and shot through on Vesnina, forcing her to earth a backhand return. 15/15. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 30/15. First serve: backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve was called long by the umpire. Second serve: Vesnina hit an off-backhand winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera hit a crosscourt forehand just wide, and the late call encouraged her to waste a Hawk-Eye challenge. Deuce #1. Vesnina mishit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Vera (GP #3). Vesnina went to the net, but Vera hit a wrong-footing down-the-line backhand pass-winner. Held.

That error by Vesnina at Deuce #1 could prove to be very expensive, as it "gives Vera a reason to hang around in this set", as Lindsay Davenport put it.

Vesnina serving 4-3: Vera sprayed a crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/0. Vesnina on the third stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Vesnina hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Vera's depth forced Vesnina to net a backhand. 15/40 (BP #1). Short-angled first serve out wide forced Vera to net a forehand return. 30/40 (BP #2). Double fault (second serve just long). Broken.

Vera serving 4-4: Vera hit a crosscourt backhand wide off a deep ball from Vesnina. 0/15. Vesnina netted a backhand. 15/15. Vesnina netted a forehand. 30/15. Vesnina hit an off-backhand that was going wide, but clipped the netcord and landed in, inducing Vera to hit a down-the-line forehand wide, howl and shout at herself. 30/30. Vera netted a forehand off a deep ball from Vesnina. 30/40 (BP #1). Vesnina netted a forehand. Deuce #1. Vera hit a down-the-line forehand long. Ad Vesnina (BP #2). Vesnina hit a deep crosscourt backhand down the middle, just inside the baseline, forcing Vera way behind the baseline to net a backhand. Broken.

Lindsay Davenport: "Zvonarëva was controlling the tempo much more so in the first set, but she's just taking a step or two back, just getting more balls in, and giving Vesnina the opportunity to attack more."

Vesnina serving 5-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Deep, body-jamming first serve forced Vera to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide. 30/0. Vesnina had a slight edge in the rally, but slapped a wild forehand halfway up the net. 30/15. Vesnina hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/30. Vesnina netted a forehand off a deep ball from Vera. 30/40 (BP #1). Deep, body-jamming second serve induced Vera to net a forehand return. Deuce #1. Vesnina netted a forehand off a deep ball down the middle from Vera. Ad Vera (BP #2). Vesnina sprayed a wild backhand very long off a deep return from Vera. Broken.

There was a nice close-up of Vesnina serving. Gotta love the way she smiles as she throws up the ball.

Vera serving 5-5: Vera forehand just long. 0/15. Vera's deep forehand forced Vesnina to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/15. Vera crosscourt forehand wide. 15/30. Vesnina on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 30/30. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 30/40 (BP #1). A long, nail-biting baseline-rally ended with Vera hitting a forehand long. Broken.

Vesnina serving 6-5: Vesnina hit an off-backhand just wide off a deep ball from Vera. 0/15. Vesnina mishit a forehand long off a deep ball from Vera. 0/30. Vesnina's deep crosscourt backhand forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob long. 15/30. Vesnina went to the net, but Vera hit a marvellous crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Vesnina saved it with a deep crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Vera to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera broke up a long baseline-rally with a stunning off-backhand dropshot-winner from behind the baseline! Broken.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Vera/Vesnina):
{*0/0} First serve down the middle: Vesnina hit a stunning off-backhand winner.
{0/1*} Vesnina ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand.
{1/1*} Vesnina forced a short ball and hit an off-forehand winner onto the baseline.
{*1/2} Body-jamming first serve forced Vesnina to earth a forehand return.
{*2/2} Big first serve induced Vesnina to net a forehand.
{3/2*} Vesnina went to the net behind a deep forehand down the line, but a good backhand lob from Vera induced Vesnina to hit a forehand smash long.
{4/2*} Vesnina's off-forehand forced Vera to earth a sliced backhand.
{*4/3} Vesnina hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide, but made a successful challenge: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 5% of the width of the sideline. So they replayed the point. Vera retrieved a deep down-the-line forehand with a perfect lob onto the baseline... Vesnina netted a sliced backhand and screamed!
{*5/3} Vesnina netted a backhand return off a mildly awkward body-jamming serve.
{6/3*: MP #1 for Vera} Vesnina went to the net and hit an off-forehand volley-winner off a dipping ball from Vera, who slipped after hitting it.
{6/4*: MP #2 for Vera} Vesnina saved it with a first serve + huge crosscourt forehand winner deep into the corner forced Vera to earth a forehand.
{*6/5: MP #3 for Vera} First serve out wide: Vesnina hit a backhand return halfway up the net. Vera won 6-1 7-6 (7/5) at 19:35 BST (second set 1h02m, match 1h25m).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Re: Andrew's second-round TV-report

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================--------------------------
Second-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Vesnina (Wednesday 22nd June 2011)
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+ VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] d. Elena Vesnina, 6-1 7-6 (7/5)

But just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the desert, so must Vera be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in her will be proved right.

:lol: I like that! Thanks for your reports; I enjoy them.
 

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Andrew's third-round TV-report

=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================---------------------------
Third-round TV-report: Zvonarëva v Pironkova (Friday 24th June 2011)
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- VERA ZVONARËVA [2,EF] lt. TSVETANA PIRONKOVA [32,DF], 2-6 3-6

How ironic that Vera should have lost to the player whom she defeated in last year’s semi-finals, who had beaten Venus Williams 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-finals, and who plays Venus again in the fourth round this year!

It was another excellent Wimbledon performance from Pironkova, who showed more power than I remember from last year (when she used to steer her forehands, and mix up the pace with her trademark sliced forehands – she only hit two of them today). I hope she can keep up this form and take down Venus again.

Vera played a very poor, passive first set by her standards, then tweaked her right ankle (the one on which she had surgery in November 2009) at set-point, and got her ankle taped up. After that, she couldn’t move anything like I’m used to seeing her move, and tried to shorten the points with desperate forays to the net. She had the tape adjusted at 0:1 *2-3, removed altogether at 0:1 *2-5, but there was nothing she could do to stop Pironkova beating her heavily for the second time in their three meetings.


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

The match was third on Court 2, and started at 14:35 BST.

Pironkova serving 0-0: Vera’s crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. She apologised. 0/15. Vera played a fantastic spreading rally, culminating with a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner + down-the-line forehand just inside the sideline to force a defensive lob, which she dispatched with an off-forehand smash-winner back behind Pironkova. 0/30. Vera’s deep return induced Pironkova to hit a forehand long. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera off-backhand just wide. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 30/40 (BP #2). First serve out wide + short-angled off-backhand just inside the sideline induced Vera to net a forehand. Deuce #1. Deep first serve down the middle forced a short return, which Pironkova dispatched with an off-forehand winner. Ad Pironkova (GP #1). Big first serve + huge off-forehand winner. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 0-1: Pironkova’s deep down-the-line backhand induced Vera to hit a forehand halfway up the net. 0/15. Pironkova’s stinging crosscourt backhand forced Vera to earth a backhand. 0/30. Pironkova forehand long. 15/30. Deep first serve down the middle forced Pironkova to net a forehand. 30/30. At the end of a long baseline-rally Vera spread Pironkova with a crosscourt backhand + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Pironkova to bunt a forehand return long. Held.

Pironkova serving 1-1: Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Pironkova went to the net, forcing Vera to net a forehand. 30/0. Pironkova hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Vera to earth a forehand. Held.

Excellent play by Pironkova in that game.

Zvonarëva serving 1-2: Vera went to the net, but Pironkova hit a fantastic crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 0/15. Vera netted a backhand. 0/30. Vera went to the net behind an off-backhand, but a sliced forehand from Pironkova induced Vera to dump a backhand drive-volley into the net. 0/40 (BP #1). Pironkova hit an off-forehand winner back behind Vera, who did the splits behind the centre of the baseline – thankfullly without the horrific knee-injury that Magdaléna Rybáriková suffered when she did the same on Tuesday. Vera rubbed the blades of grass out of her right sole – the one that slipped. Broken.

Pironkova serving 3-1: Pironkova on the third stroke sprayed an off-forehand long. 0/15. Pironkova hit a deep backhand down the middle, forcing Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Vera’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Pironkova to dump a forehand into the net. 15/30. First serve out wide – on the sideline and just inside the service-line – forced Vera to earth a backhand return. But Vera’s Hawk-Eye showed that it was a couple of millimetres out, so Pironkova had to play a second serve. Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 15/40 (BP #1). Pironkova’s penetrating crosscourt forehand forced Vera to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #2). Vera backhand long. Deuce #1. Vera used a dropshot + lob combination to make Pironkova run to the net and back, forcing her to hit a short lob, but instead of stepping in and killing it with a crosscourt forehand smash, Vera let it bounce and hit a down-the-line forehand right into Pironkova’s hitting-zone, enabling her to hit a stinging down-the-line backhand that forced Vera to stretch wide and net a forehand volley. Ad Pironkova (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). Deuce #2. Vera hit a pinpoint off-backhand winner deep into the corner: on the baseline. Liz Smylie: “Such a sweet hitter of the ball, Zvonarëva.” Ad Zvonarëva (BP #3). Second serve: Vera sprayed a forehand return long. Deuce #3. Vera forced a short ball, but blasted a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Pironkova (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand return. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 1-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Pironkova to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Pironkova netted a backhand off a deep crosscourt backhand return. 30/0. Pironkova netted a backhand. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera played a great spreading rally, forced a very short ball... but dumped a horrendous forehand into the net. Liz Smylie said that Vera would have made that shot 99 times out of 100. 40/15 (GP #2). Vera hit an off-backhand winner onto the sideline. 40/30 (GP #3). Vera forced a short floater, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner. Held.

Pironkova serving 4-2: Pironkova forced a short ball but sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. First serve out wide forced Vera to bunt a backhand lob-return long. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to hit a forehand return just long. 30/15. Pironkova’s depth forced Vera to hit a backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Pironkova earthed a mishit forehand off a hard backhand down the line from Vera. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide off a deep ball from Pironkova. Held.

Liz Smylie: “Pironkova must be pretty pleased to be back here at Wimbledon, because when you look at what she’s done since she left here last year, it’s been pretty slim pickings: this year, she’s won just 4 matches in 14 WTA tournaments. She’s suffered five straight first-round losses: at Stuttgart, Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels. She ended the streak at Roland Garros, and then fell in the first round at Eastbourne after giving Serena [Williams] a bit of a run for her money. Sometimes when you come back to a place where you played well in the past, it can bring back great memories. She looks like she’s hitting the ball great to me.”

Zvonarëva serving 2-5 (new balls): Ace down the middle. 15/0. Double fault (second serve just long). 15/15. Vera went to the net, but an awkward defensive lob from Pironkova forced Vera to net a forehand smash. 15/30. Vera hit a deep backhand onto the baseline, forcing Pironkova to net a backhand, but umpire Fiona Edwards called Vera’s backhand long, so they had to replay the point. Vera forced a short ball, but sprayed a wild forehand long. 15/40 (SP #1 for Pironkova). 30/40 (SP #2). Vera forced another short ball, but sprayed a wild backhand long, and went over awkwardly on her right ankle. Pironkova won the first set 6-2 at 15:11 BST (35m).

There are ominous grey clouds in the sky. To be honest, I could do with a rain-delay both to reset the momentum in this match, and to avoid what looks like an imminent clash with Hantuchová v Azarenka on Centre Court (López leads Roddick 2:0 4-2* in the match prior).

Vera took a medical time-out for her right ankle. This entailed her resting her foot on a special stand while the trainer taped up her ankle. The second set did not therefore start until 15:19 BST (8m delay).


Second set
----------
PIRONKOVA *_*@[email protected]*_* 6
ZVONARËVA _*[email protected]__*_ 3

Pironkova serving 0-0: Vera sprayed a forehand long off a deep backhand from Pironkova. 15/0. First serve out wide forced Vera to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Pironkova hit an off-forehand winner deep into the corner. 40/0 (GP #1). Pironkova hit one of her trademark sliced forehands, but Vera’s deep backhand forced Pironkova to net a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera sprayed a crosscourt backhand just long and just wide. Held.

Vera moved very gingerly in that game. I’ve got a nasty feeling that this could end in retirement, and would like nothing better than a long rain-delay.

Zvonarëva serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Pironkova to net a backhand. 15/0. Vera crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Pironkova hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/15 (GP #2). Pironkova hit a first serve out wide + deep crosscourt forehand and went to the net, but Vera hit an amazing defensive forehand lob-winner over her head and onto the baseline! Held.

Pironkova serving 1-1: Vera forehand long. 15/0. Pironkova got away with a short second serve, her deep backhand onto the baseline forcing Vera to net a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Vera blasted a backhand long. 40/0 (GP #1). Vera backhand long. Held.

Zvonarëva serving 1-2: Vera went to the net and hit a sweet crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Vera forced a short ball and hit an off-forehand wide. 15/15. Vera hit an off-forehand would-be winner just wide, and wasted a Hawk-Eye challenge. 15/30. Pironkova backhand long. 30/30. Pironkova netted a backhand. 40/30 (GP #1). Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, but Pironkova hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Deuce #1. First serve on the service-line: Pironkova hit a forehand return just long and challenged the call, but umpire Fiona Edwards thought she was challenging the serve, which Hawk-Eye said was good, and thus awarded the point to Vera, docking a challenge from Pironkova. Pironkova argued with umpire Fiona Edwards. Pironkova: “But I wanted to challenge that ball. And so, what now?” Edwards: “It was out.” Pironkova: “Are you sure?” Edwards: “Yes.” Ad Zvonarëva (GP #2). Vera on the third stroke hit a backhand long. Deuce #2. Vera ran down a dropshot and hit a deep sliced forehand approach down the line, but Pironkova’s lob forced Vera to retreat and hit a weak forehand smash; Pironkova’s deep crosscourt backhand forced a floater, and she dispatched it with an off-forehand smash-winner. Ad Pironkova (BP #1). Vera hit a forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Pironkova to hit a forehand long. Deuce #3. Vera, driven way back behind the baseline, hit a crosscourt forehand wide, and slipped to her haunches. Ad Pironkova (BP #2). Vera forced a floater but hit a forehand drive-volley long, and bent over, apparently in pain. Broken.

Pironkova serving 3-1: Ace: huge 109mph first serve down the middle. 15/0. Pironkova netted a forehand. 15/15. Vera forced a short ball, but poor footwork caused her to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/15. Vera went to the net behind a deep backhand down the line, but Pironkova hit a stinging forehand down the line, forcing Vera to earth a backhand volley. 40/15 (GP #1). Vera opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside both the sideline and the baseline. 40/30 (GP #2). Vera, driven wide, hit a down-the-line forehand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. Pironkova’s Hawk-Eye challenge showed that it caught about 30% of the width of the sideline. Deuce #1. Vera forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. Ad Zvonarëva (BP #1). Pironkova forehand just long. Broken.

Vera got the trainer to adjust the tape on her right ankle.

Zvonarëva serving 2-3: Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt backhand, but got caught in no-man’s-land as Pironkova hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 0/15. Pironkova’s short-angled off-forehand to the sideline forced Vera outside the alley to bunt a backhand long. 0/30. Vera blasted an off-backhand just wide. 0/40 (BP #1). Vera hobbled to the net, and Pironkova hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. Broken.

Pironkova serving 4-2: Vera hit a backhand long off a deep forehand down the line from Pironkova. 15/0. Pironkova hit first serve out wide, followed by a bullet of a backhand winner down the line. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to spray a crosscourt forehand very long and wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. Held.

Vera got the trainer to take all the tape off her right ankle.

Zvonarëva serving 2-5: Vera hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Pironkova. 15/0. First serve down the middle forced Pironkova to net a forehand return. 30/0. Pironkova forced a short ball, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Pironkova netted a forehand. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep first serve forced Pironkova to net a backhand. Held.

There are dark grey clouds above this court now, but I don’t think they’re going to save Vera in time.

Pironkova serving 5-3 (new balls): Vera forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-backhand winner. 0/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Vera to net a backhand. 15/15. Vera netted a backhand off a deep forehand down the line from Pironkova, but not the kind of shot that Vera would normally miss. 30/15. Deep first serve hit the service-line and shot through on Vera, forcing her to earth a backhand return. 40/15 (MP #1 for Pironkova). First serve down the middle forced Vera to bunt an off-backhand long and wide. Pironkova won 6-2 6-3 at 15:52 BST (second set 41m, match 1h17m).

Liz Smylie: “I find it just amazing that prior to Wimbledon, Pironkova had won just 4 matches in 14, then she comes to Wimbledon, the light comes on and she plays like that.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 
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