Altenkirchen Final 2018

Title pic: Karolina Muchova | Bredeney ’16

Karolina Muchova’s tennis talent has made me heed her career for quite a time now. But who is this Harriet Dart?! Amazingly on a roll she was this year in Altenkirchen, beating Barritza and Amanmuradova in the quali and then Piter, Zaja and Minella in the main draw. Zanevska, Muchova’s opponent in the semifinal, retired very early and so the Czech will have her batteries charged well in today’s final which I am looking forward to watching, even with the in sunny situations unfavorably overexposed camera pictures.

Amazing comeback for the Brit in the first set from 1:4 to 5:4. Long service game Muchova to 5:5. 5:6. Dart smashing the racket thrice, almost running down a ball girl returning to her seat. Muchova, always calm and decent, never allowing herself any airs and graces, serving for the set. But it’s tiebreak. And the London girl gets it by 7-6(5). By her immature behavior she has me root though 100% for Muchova for the rest of the match.

Poor image quality. It would’ve been such an easy thing to simply adjust the aperture a little bit. Mr. Mihai, the tournament director, is such a perfectionist. Guess I’ll have to write him an email about that…

Dart breaks to 1-0 in the second in a quite swift game.
2-0. Long third game. Advantage Dart. Deuce #3. Adv Dart. 3-0. 4-0. Service Muchova to love. 4-1. Long game. 5-1. 5-2. 6-2. Well, ok. She’s young and will learn the human part as well later on, hopefully.

Daria@Dubai

How nice it was, when these new talents like Muguruza, Svitolina, Ostapenko etc joined the scene a few years ago. One of my favorites from the beginning was Daria Kasatkina. So talented, so fresh, so full of energy. Radwanska in two, Konta in three, Vesnina in two, Muguruza in three, not bad! Now she has the chance to win the Dubai title and I’m very much with her. Svitolina with her sort of easy two-set win against Kerber will be probably a bit fresher, but let’s see.

Will have to follow it by the live scores. DAZN, the broadcaster who has the monopoly for Germany, offers only German commentaries, and if you are used to the quality of the english ones it’s simply impossible to bear that abysmal standard (at least for me). Despite Graf and Becker Germany still is no tennis nation and these captains of the microphone (all men) think they have to be more entertainers than commentators creating at least 50% of the thrill with their words and voices. They talk as if one never has watched a tennis match before and in their comments they come up with such a bunch of often unnecessary details, always talking during the rallies, that it’s completely impossible to follow the momentum of the match itself. There is one guy, who should imho be banned completely. I’m wise enough not to mention the name. No comment at all would be an alternative, unfortunately also not available at DAZN. Muting entirely, which would be the only thing to do, is no fun at all. What a pity, that good old TennisTV.com doesn’t do WTA any more.

Well, ok. Daria fought, but obviously was too tired today. 4-6. 0-6. She’ll get some trophies in the near future. Fingers crossed.

Lena Rueffer – Altenkirchen

Altenkirchen – Wild card Lena Rueffer takes on #2 seeded Valentini Grammatikopoulou. A nailbiter tiebreak has just ended 7-6(14) for the German and it’s fun to watch. Lena with the better nerves. Since I always was busy shooting in the past during her matches I’m not 100% sure, but my feeling is, that her overall play and especially her serve has improved a lot since last year. A very strong, very calm, very proud, very decent, very nice and sometimes very angry person she is. If she should stick to her plans to study medicine after her tennis career I would give myself into her hands as a patient in complete trust. But let’s wish her a long and enjoyable tennis time first!

3:0 in the second, I’m amused! And she wins in style with an ace 7-6(14) 6-2. Congrats!

Manacor

Title pic: Katharina Gerlach with coach Jasmin Woehr/Bredeney ’16

ITF Pro Circuit – $15,000 Manacor (Mallorca)

11/02/18 (SF/F)

Looking forward to a sunny sunday. May the better Gerlach win*…

*Twice, please!
Am I partisan? Well…

The last two tourneys (part of her trip to all but sunny Florida) were of bad luck for the German who had to suffer first quali round losses twice in a row against tricky local heroine Amanda Rodgers in Orlando and Wesley Chapel (both to the same result: 2-6 4-6). These were the second and third event after she had to pause due to an injury she had suffered in a match in Castellon/Spain against her yesterday’s opponent. On the first tournament of that row in Daytona Beach she made it through to main draw #2.
So she can be content with her Manacor results so far. Of course she wants to get further now. But let’s hope that she is able to just enjoy the tennis. Everything else will come along with it. Or it won’t. But if you have managed to enjoy the playing, you’ve already won anyway, no matter, what happens next. Everybody knows it, but one cannot repeat that tiny little wisdom often enough. Following the career of this young gun for over two years now it’s really fun to see her developing not just technically, but mentally as well. She’s become such a fighter by now, at still very young age (in eight days she’ll turn twenty).

1.Set
15*:0. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30 df (double fault). 40:30. 40:40. 40:AD. 0*-1. The Spaniard with good length and angles and precise and effective shots.
2nd. 0:15*. 2nd. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 2nd. 40:40. 40:AD. 0-2*.
0*:15. 0:30. 2nd. 15:30. 2nd. 15:40. 2nd. 30:40. 0*-3.
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 1-3*.
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 15:40. 1*-4.
15:0*. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30 df. 30:40. 40:40. AD:40. 40:40. 2nd. 40:AD. 1-5*.
15*:0. 15:15. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 2*-5.
2nd. 15:0*. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 2-6*.
Pretty high quality in the game of the Spaniard. If she continues like this, she even has every chance to win this title. But let’s see, what happens in the…

2.Set
0*:15 df. 0:30. 0:40. 0*-1 sg (swift game).
2nd. 0:15*. 15:15 df. 2nd. 15:30. 2nd. 15:40. 30:40. 40:40. 40:AD. 0-2*.
15*:0. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 0*-3.
15:0*. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40 df. 40:40. AD:40. 1-3*.
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30 df. 30:30. 30:40. 1*-4.
0:15*. 0:30. 2nd. 0:40. 1-5*.
15*:0. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 40:40. 40:AD. 40:40. 2nd. 40:AD. 1*-6.

Katharina GERLACH (GER) [2] 2-6 1-6 Marina BASSOLS RIBERA (ESP)

A rally symptomizing the match…

Not much Katharina G. could do here. No shame at all to lose against such a flabbergasting performance. Power, precision, good game plan and shot decisions, better adaptation to the windy conditions. Guess I’ll have to watch the final…

No big deal, ‘Katha’! Up to the next…

Epilogue: And Bassols Ribera wins the first set by 6-1 against #1 seeded Marta Paigina. Unfortunately the stream broke down again and they didn’t manage to fix it for some thirty minutes by now. Which is poor! So I give in and start doing other things, which is fun, too. Blessing in disguise: How upset I would’ve been in face of such dilettantism, if my heroine would’ve reached the final. So, ¡muchas gracias!, Katha.
P.S.: At one last try the stream worked again. The second set was tighter, but also deservedly won 6-4 by eighteen year old Bassols Ribera (#576). Probably a name to bear in mind for the years to come.

10/02/18 (QF)

Starting at 2 pm?

14:15 – Yep. Broken to 2:3. Hard fought sixth game, dunno how many break points for Gerlach. When do they switch on the camera again??? … What? Interrupted again? Carrrrramba!!!

15:10 Camera is working on another court. It’s getting warmer and stormy out there…
Match resuming at 2-3 AD:40*.

40:40*. 40:AD 2-4*.
15*:0. 2nd. 30:0 ace. 30:15. 2nd. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40 lr (‘long rally’). 2nd. AD:40. 3*-4.
15:0*. 15:15 lr. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40 lr. 3-5*.
2nd. 0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30 lr. 40:30. 40:40. 40:AD. 3*-6.

2.Set
0:15*. 0:30. 15:30. 15:40. 0-1*.
15*:0. 30:0 lr. 30:15. 40:15. 1*-1.
0:15*. 0:30 lr. 0:40. 1-2*.
15*-0. 15:15. 15:30 lr. 15:40. 30:40. 1*-3.
0:15*. Hail delay. (Lots of conundrums in Mallorca at the WTA event last year as well. My riddle of today: Being able to show a doubles match, why do they feel it unnecessary to stream a singles quarterfinal taking place at the same time, especially with a Spanish player involved??? On the days before it was very well possible to show several concurrent matches. Second one: Why is it possible to start playing again very soon at other events, after an at best medium shower of not more than 5 min (which I could see, because they left the camera open at the doubles court) and why do they have to wait here for almost 45 min? In the beginning they gave the clay two hours to dry up, which is pretty long as well compared to other events. The tournament director seems to be a deeply relaxed person… …or did they skimp on the quality of the courts? Of course all these nasty questions are typically German. pero – ¡por favor!)
Players warming up again.
15:15*. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 2-3*.
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 2nd. 30:40. 40:40 lr. 40:AD. 40:40. AD:40. 3*-3.
15:0*. 2nd. 30:0. 2nd. 30:15. 2nd. 40:15. 40:30 lr. 4-3*.
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 5*-3.
15:0*. 30:0. 2nd. 40:0. 6-3*.
I’m amused!

3.Set
0*-1. (no live scores)
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0 40:15. 40:30 lr. 40:40. AD:40 lr. 40:40. AD:40 lr. 40:40 lr. AD:40. 1-1*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15 lr. 40:30 lr. 40:40 lr. 2nd. AD:40. 2*-1.
15:0*. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 3-1*.
15*:0. 30:0. 30:15. 40:15. 4*-1.
2nd. 15:0*. 2nd. 30:0. 2nd. 40:0 5-1*.
2nd 15*:0. 30:0. 30:15.40:15. 6*-1.

Katharina GERLACH (GER) [2] 3-6 6-3 6-1 Rosa VICENS MAS (ESP)
Match time: 2h 26min

09/02/18 (QF)

Katharina GERLACH (GER) [2] 2-2 x-x Rosa VICENS MAS (ESP)

Rain delay, postponed. The one who wins that match resuming tomorrow at 9am will have to play semis right afterwards. As I hope the German to win both matches I wish her that her rest in between will be a veritably suitable one.



08/02/18 (R16)

Katharina GERLACH (GER) [2] 6-1 7-6(4) Lucia CORTEZ LLORCA (ESP)
Set point (27 shots).

07/02/18 (R32)

Katharina GERLACH (GER) [2] 6-1 6-0 Tatiana PIERI (ITA)
Nice backhand down the line!

Australian Open 2018 – Melbourne Diary

Melbourne – Day Thirteen

Either of them will win her maiden grand slam title today…

…and either Halep will stay or Wozniacki will become again

#1

Halep-Wozniacki
POV Halep

1. Set
0:15*. (“C’mon!”). 0:30. “A nervy start.” 0:40. 15:40. (“Crowd yelling!”) 0-1*.
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 15:40 long rally (‘lr’). 30:40. 0*:2.
0:15*. “Caroline Wozniacki is moving the ball around the court so much. 15:15 df. (Win predictor: 57% Halep – 43% Wozniacki – “I haven’t seen a computer sweat, and he’s starting to sweat.”). 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 0:3*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 1*-3.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 15:40. 1*-4. “She hasn’t found her range quite yet.” “The work Halep had to do more than her opponent until now in this tournament is equivalent to two and a half matches.”
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0 2*-4.
15:0*. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40 (!, 17 shots). 2-5*.
15:0. 30:0 (!). 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. “That’s the way. She’s gotta be brave.” 3*-5.
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 40:30. 4-5*. (All the Romanian fans and perhaps a few more, including me, chanting “Simona! Simona! Simona!”)
15*:0. 30:0 ace. 40:0 ace. 5*-5.
0:15*. “Thats just too good from Caroline Wozniacki, 19 shots!” 0:30. 0:40. 5-6*. “A very disappointed Halep.”
15*:0. 30:0. 30:15. 40:15. 40:30. 6*-6.
Tiebreak “Simona! Simona! Simona!”
01*. “A great first point there for Wozniacki!” That’s intense.” 0*2. 1*2 ace. 13*. 14*. (“C’mon!”) 2*4. Fist pump. “Simona! Simona! Simona!” “Maximum intensity!” 2*5. “What a rally!!!” 26*. 6(2)-7.

2. Set
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0 ace. 40:15. 40:30. 1*-0.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 1-1*.
0*-15. “Oh, wow!” 15:15. “Nice response.” 30:15. “Terrific!” 30:30. “Such corresponding level of experience.” 30:40. 40-40. Adv HA. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv HA. “Simona!” 40:40. “It’s really going toe-to-toe.” Adv WO. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. “Oh wow, that forehand opens up the court.” “Both players giving absolutely everything and the pressure growing.” Adv HA. 2*-1.
“Simona! Simona! Simona!” 0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 15.40. 30:40 df. 2-2*.
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 3*-2. Physio on court, checking Halep’s blood pressure. (“Simona! Simona! Simona!”) No MTO.
0:15*. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 3-3*.
15*-0. 15:15. “Phantastic return there from Wozniacki.” 30:15. 40:15. 4*-3. “So, living on the edge here, Simona Halep.” (“Simona! Simona!”)
15:0* “Tension is palpable inside Rod Laver Arena.” 15:15. (“C’mon!”) 30:15. Halep holding her left leg, maybe slightly cramping. 40:15. “What an incredible junction in the match!” 5-3*. “SIMONA! SIMONA! SIMONA!
0*:15. 0:30. “Tremendous play from Wozniacki!” 15:30. 15:40. 30:40. 40:40. “Just giving her everything here, Simona Halep.” Adv HA. 40:40. Adv HA. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv HA. 6*-3. “Unbelievable effort here!!!”

Heat rule in place, both players leaving the court.

3. Set
15:0* 30:0 30:15 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. “A little bit of a subdued look (Halep).” Adv WO. 0-1*.
15*:0. “Oh, well done!” 30:0. 30:15. “Forehand with wit there from Wozniacki.” 30:30. 40:30. 40:40. Adv HA. 40:40 (!). Adv WO. 2nd serve. 0*-2.
0:15*. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 40:30. 40:40.Adv WO. 40:40. Adv HA. 40:40 (!!, 23 shots) Adv WO. 40:40. “What a response from Simona Halep!” Adv HA. 40:40. (“C’mon!”) “Amazing serve from Wozniacki. Brave!” Adv. HA. “A little extra wind back here, Halep. 40:40. “Gee, back to deuce #5.” Good challenge from S.H. 2nd serve Adv HA. 40:40. “She can’t believe it.” Adv HA. “Just perfect timing here again from Halep.” 1-2*. “Simona! Simona1 Simona!”
15:0* 30:0. 30:15. 40:15. 2-3*. “She get’s it!!”
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 3*-3. “SIMONA! etc”
15:0*. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv HA. 4-3*.
Physio out for Wozniacki now. MTO. (“Simona! Simona! Simona!”)
0*:15. 0:30. “Oh wow, WHAT A POINT!!!” 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv WO. 4*-4.
0:15*. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40 df. 4-5*.
0*:15. 15:15. “Incredible hitting here from Halep. Relentless! 30:15. 30:30 df. 30:40. “Unbelievable effort from Caroline Wozniacki! Even Simona Halep has to applaud.” (The crowd so loud, that one almost can’t understand the comments any more.) 4*-6.

Well, ok then. But many thanks to both players for giving me just, what (and much more, than) I had hoped for. What a match!!!

P.S.: And congrats to Caroline, of course. Oh, just saw, how nicely she apologized to Simona in her acceptance speech for winning this one. Which definitely makes us friends again… 😉 (Look, what I wrote yesterday about ‘frienemies’…)

Caroline Wozniacki apologizing to Simona Halep for winning this one.

What a fortnight again! And how much fun it was to cover the event this thoroughly this time, which I definitely intend to continue in the next grand slams. Good day or night everybody, wherever you are. And to the two players of today: Have an enjoyable ice bath now!

“Simona! Simona! …”

Melbourne – Day Twelve

First time that I set my alarm clock to watch a doubles final. This category does interest me mainly as photographer. It’s an everlasting challenge to get just these moments, where both players are in the frame of the camera and where I can play with the depth of field to get nice atmospheric results. Lots of communication as well, which always is nice to depict. Watching doubles matches in real is more thrilling to me than on TV.


But now it’s fun to be with Kate and Elena, Timea and Kristina, hearing them squeal when winning a good point and stuff. With tennis being such an individual sport it’s such a good construction to have these doubles events giving the otherwise always harshly competing players the opportunity to make the acquaintance of each other and have much fun and a bunch of nice and refreshing social experiences. A prize money of 750000 AUD (487145 €) for each of both winners of this final might help a bit as well to raise the motivation of the players. Usually everything is more relaxed at the doubles, still hard competition but lots of fun and joking as well. Which of course also is worthwhile for the audience.

Lots of communication as well…

Tennis players sometimes are called ‘frienemies’. A combination of friends and enemies. And this is exactly, what I witnessed during the two years of ‘BeautifulWTA’ – shooting. So often even in singles matches I saw players, who had fiercely competed just minutes ago, being very close and friendly with each other again immediately after the match had ended. They share the same life-plan. They travel to the same destinations. They meet each other all the time, with all these rain delays and waiting times due to the unpredictability of match-duration. They practice together all the time. And they might have been playing doubles recently with each other or at least remember all those times they did and had much fun together. One has to be ‘frienemies’ under these circumstances. Well, there are other mentalities around as well. People more shy, more arrogant, less friendly. But the overall impression is, that most of these predators do respect each other so much that they aren’t just peaceful off court but even cooperative and open-hearted. Even on TV one can watch lovely scenes with towels being brought and stuff, when one player is injured. Everyone shares the same risks and odds. The tennis system is so well-conceived! How amusing, interesting and fascinating it has been to watch all this from the tog’s point of view.

Another aspect of doubles action is, that the reaction times are so much shorter. Watching players like Johanna Larsson or Demi Schuurs at the net almost has something magical, mystical. The way they are getting the most impossible balls is pure ZEN sometimes.

Demi Schuurs at the net.

Ashley Weinhold
Luxemburg ’16

Johanna Larsson



***



Tomorrow the final now. I am so much looking forward to it that I’m a bit afraid to get disappointed, since this seems to be the rule. At least I had the opportunity to make such experiences far too often in my rollercoaster life. The german word for disappointment is ‘Enttäuschung’. ‘Täuschung’ means delusion. So ‘Ent-Täuschung’ is ‘dis-delusion’ or ‘non-delusion’. Which of course would be a good thing again. Be it, as it may, even Roger Federer had a very long answer yesterday in his post-match interview after being asked by Jim Courier about his thoughts as for the women’s final. The main aspect for him was, that both of these premium players (Halep a current #1 with Wozniacki being on that position already as well) never had won a grand slam title before and it now would be certain, that tomorrow one of them will be leaving the court having broken that spell. He told us about the uniqueness of his feelings after having won his first grand slam in Wimbledon 2003 against Mark Philippoussis. And he wished both girls, (correcting himself) ladies very much good luck for tomorrow. As I do. But: … … …

Melbourne – Day Eleven

Well, this is really fun now! Wozniacki-Mertens and then Halep-Kerber. Off course the Dane and the German are quite likely to set up a final between each other. But it’s tennis here, and in tennis one never knows. Both Halep and Mertens not only are hell of tennis players, but they are in very very good shape as well, Halep despite her ankle issues and that very long match against Lauren Davis on her shoulders. So let’s see. And hope for two good and long matches! May the better Mertens/Halep win…

Wozniacki-Mertens
POV Mertens

1. Set
0:15*. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 0-1*. “Don’t see that too often, Wozniacki at the net.”
15*:0. 30:0. “Well, that’s great serve.” “A lot of confidence, Mertens.” 30:15. 40:15. “She really is going for it, throwing down the challenge for Wozniacki.” 1*-1. “She actually doesn’t look nervous at all.”
15:0* rw. 30:0 df. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 1-2*.
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 1*-3.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 15:40. 30:40. 40:40. Adv ME. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv WO. 1-4*.
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 2*-4.
0:15. 30:15. 15:30 rw. 15:40. 2-5*.
0*:15. “Wozniacki just peeling off winners with ease at the moment.” 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 40:30. “Sizzling return from Wozniacki. She’s really in the groove.” 40:40 df. Adv ME. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv ME ace. 3*:5. Some nice co-commenting from Jelena Dokic, by the way…
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 3-6*. “Wozniacki on top of her game. She’s in control.”

2. Set
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40 df. 30:40. 40:40. Adv ME. 1*-0.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40 ace. 1-1*.
15*:0. “That’s a better point. Some great hitting from Mertens.” 30:0. 30:15. 40:15 sw. 40:30. 2*-1.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40 ace. 15:40. 2-2*.
15*:0. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. Mertens seems to be just tired today. Exhausted. Maybe too disappointed by now. Already beaten while still on court. 2*-3.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 2-4* ace.
15*:0. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 3*-4.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 3-5*. “Mertens just running to a brick wall today.”
15*:0 “Well played!” 30:0. 40:0. 4*-5.
0:15* ace. 0:30 sw. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. “Oh, well done! Point of the match.” 5-5*.
15*-0. 30:0. “Mertens has won the last six points. Wozniacki is frozen.” 40:0 ace. 5*:6. (!)
15:0*. 30:0 rw. 30:15. 40:15. “Now a set point for Mertens. Pressure does funny things to athletes. And now it has been a complete turnaround.” 40:30. “Oh, what a second serve!” 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40 df. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv WO. 40:40. Adv WO. 6-6*.
Tiebreak
0*1 02* 03* 1*3 2*3 24* 25* 2*6 6(2)-7.

Fiancé and father happy with her win.
Reckon that it’s quite useful to be taller by two or three heads than this silverback, when you’re intending to marry his daughter. 🙂



***


Halep-Kerber
POV Halep

1. Set
15:0*. 15:15. 30:15. 15:40. “Quick start here for Simona Halep. Two break points.” 1-0*.
15*:0. 15:15 rw. 30:15 sw. 40:15. 2*-0. “A very loose start here for Kerber.”
0:15*. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 3-0*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0 ace. 4*-0. “This is a steamrolling start for Simona Halep.”
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 40:30. 5-0*.
0*:15. 0:30 df. 0:40. 5*-1.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 15:40. “Just drilled it up the line.” 5-2*.
0*:15. 0:30. “Kerber is on the job now, isn’t she.” 0:40. 5*:3. “A wonderful return.”
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 6-3*. [Set duration: 25min]

2. Set
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 1*-0.
0:15*. 0:30 sw. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40. 1-1*.
15*-0. “Tremendous depth.” 15:15 df. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30 sw. 2*-1.
15-0*. 30:0. 30:15.30:30. 40:30. “Kerber under pressure. It’s palpable.” 40:40. Adv HA. 3*-1. “Big fight!”
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 40:40. Adv KE. 3*-2.
15:0*. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30.30:40 (!) “Komm jetzt!!!” 3-3*.
15*:0. 30:0 40:0. 4*-3. Music: “Staying Alive (Bee Gees).”
0:15*. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 40:40. Adv HA. 40:40. Adv KE. 40:40. Adv KE. 4:4*.
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 40:40 (!). Adv KE. 4*-5. “Shot selection…”
0:15*. “She (Halep) is furious with herself.”15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40. “Much more positive approach to that one, Halep.” 40:40. Adv KE. “A little bit of luck there.” 4-6*.

3. Set
“So, it’s anyone’s match now…”.
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40 (!). “This is going to be an absolute battle, the thirtd set!!” 0*-1. (!!!) “Point of the match!!!
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 40:30. 40:40. Adv HA. 1-1*. “This young lady can run all day.”
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 2*-1.
15:0*. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. “Huge point. She knows.” 2-2*.
0*:15. “Terrific defensive skills from Kerber.” 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 3*-2. “And she holds on!”
0:15*. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 3-3*
0*:15. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 4*:3.
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 5-3*.
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. “Oh wow, what a shot from Kerber!!!” 5*-4. “Oh my goodness! (Standing ovations.) The point of the match, 26 shots.” “Had some serious goose-bumps.”
0:15*. 15:15. 30:15 (!). 40:15. 40:30. “A gutsy effort here from Kerber.” 40:40. Adv KE. 40:40. Adv KE. 40:40 (!) “Great anticipation.” Adv KE. 5:5*.
15*:0. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 5*-6.
0:15*. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40. 40:40. Adv HA. 6-6*. “What a point! What a match! What courageous play of both players!”
15*:0 ace. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. “Too good. Big forehand from Halep.” 7*-6 ace.
0:15*. “Just pushing her opponent around the court.” 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 7-7*.
15*:0. 30:0. “If there’s one thing Australian coaches can teach, it’s a good volley.” 30:15. 30:30. 40:0. “Terrific again!” 8*-7.
15:0*. 30:0. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. “Oh, tremendous hitting skills from Simona Halep!” 40:40. “She is so solid, precise!” Adv HA.

9-7*.

Well, just one of those days. Precious!

There is friendship, but heavy competition also among the german top players, which is quite normal by the way.
There were times, when Petkovic acted as if she’d be the ‘leader of the pack’, then Goerges came up, Siegemund lately…
But the time, when Kerber became #1 and won her two grand slams in 2016 I enjoyed the most as for these aspects of inner-german competition.
She’s such a nice and down-to-earth person!
After I had read an interview with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, where she answered the question of what she’d be doing in her holidays not by telling anything about diving in the blue waters of the Maledives or something like that, but that she’d be looking forward to visiting her grandma in her dacha (cottage) somewhere in russia, working in her garden, singing russian songs with her and stuff, she was member of my ‘inner circle’ of players.

Angelique Kerber is there also with her honesty and candor. I was astonished, how much I enjoyed her tennis in the match against Hsie Su-wei.
But I am so much more with the style of players like the Taiwanese.

Among the hard-hitters Kerber without doubt is one of the very best.
But as I said before, I’d wish not only that there were more players with more ‘polyphonic’ style and skills, but that these players would have more chances against the Serenas and Kerbers in the world.
In other sport categories things are a bit more differentiated.
In boxing and other martial arts there are weight divisions, for instance.
And if an épéeist would compete against a foilist, it would be widely considered as senseless and unfair.

In tennis it’s more mixed up.
Here it’s possible, that a Serena Williams plays matches against an Agnieska Radwanska or other small-boned players.

Sometimes I asked myself in the past, what the ranking of Serena would be, if she wouldn’t have been able to rely on the weapons of her extraordinary serve and return skills.

Well, she’s hell of a player in other aspects as well. How often I was stunned by her swiftness on court, for example.
In an interview Serena once said, that it probably would have been interesting for her to compete in the ATP category for a season or two.
She’s so much a category for herself. I like her and I wish her all the best, not only for her young family, but for her come-back as well. I even wish her marvellous results then.
But I’ll definitely be happy when she will have decided to finally retire.
Because she competes with hand grenades and Panzerfaust against the épées and foils of the rest.

To make a long speech short, that’s why I enjoyed the win of Halep against Kerber so much.
The artist prevailing against the power-hitter.
Wozniacki is quite a stunningly nuanced player as well.
In other constellations I’d be very much with her.

May the better player win in the Saturday’s Australian Open final.

But: Simona! Simona! Simona!

Hard work, nicely done!

Melbourne – Day Ten

“Kerber utterly dominant in this quarter final.” Nothing more to say. 6-1, 6:2. Pity!

So, please, Simona and Karolina, give us some tennis to watch now!

1. Set
POV Halep

0:15* 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40 40:40. Adv PL. 40:40. Adv PL. 0-1*.
15*-0. 15-15. 15:30 df. 15:40. 0*:2.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 15:40. 30:40. 0-3*.
15*:0. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. “Oh, she’s just monstering that serve of Halep’s, bullying the smaller player on the court.” 40:40. Adv Halep. 40:40 df. Adv HA (!). 40:40 df. “She’s got all sorts of issues with this serve at the moment.” Adv HA. 40:40. Adv HA. 1*-3.
0-15*. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 2-3* (!).
15*-0. 30:0. 40:0. 3*-3.
0:15* df. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30 -17 shots-. 40:30.40:40. Adv HA. 3-4*. “Oh, she’s got it! With that backhand, would you believe it. Even coach Cahill is shocked by that one!”
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 5*-3.
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0. “Halep’s cooking!” 40:15. 6-3* df.

Halep getting her nose in front for the first time, breaking Pliskova’s serve to 4-3 in the first set with this stunning backhand long line winner from way outside the court, probably the point of the match.

2. Set
15*:0. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv HA. 1*-0.
15:0*. 15:15. 30:15. “Too clever, crafty.” 30:30. 40:30. 2:0*.
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 3*-0. “It’s an awesome display of control from the world number one.” “She’s now red hot!”
15:0* 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv PL. 3-1*.
0*:15. 15:15. 30:15. 40:15. 4*-1.
15:0*. 30:0. 30:15. 40:15. 40:30. 40:40. Adv HA. 40:40 . Adv PL ace “1st ace of the match for Pliskova!”. 4-2* ace.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0 40:15. 5*-2.
0:15*. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 6-2*.

It was one-sided here as well, but not as much as it looks like just by watching the scores. Halep had to be on her guard throughout the whole match against a dangerous but chanceless opponent who, let’s not forget it, led by 3:0 in the first. Too short a match, but worthwhile to watch, especially for an old Halep fan like me.

“She sets up a mouthwatering semi-final against the favorite of the tournament, Angelique Kerber.”

Let’s hope this is gonna be a true match, maybe even going the distance.

If Kerber then wins, it’s ok with me.

But: “Simona! Simona! Simona!… … …”.

Melbourne – Day Nine

Well, that’s a classic! Thought, that Elise Mertens (#37) would not have a ghost of a chance against Elina Svitolina (#4), which I don’t like so much and therefore I decided to skip the match and get some sleep instead, since everybody knows, that it’s 3am in Europe, when this match is to start in down under. At 4:30am I awoke, switched on my device, looked for a possible end of the match. When I couldn’t find it among the livestreams I went to Google news just to get it: Mertens knocks Svitolina out with 6-4 6-0. WHAT?!!!!

>>>>Ok, well done, Sleepy!!!<<<<

So it’s watching the replay now, which I was lucky enough to find immediately. Normally it’s not so much fun to watch a match of which one already knows the result, but here it’s even much better now. Mertens, who managed to raise her level from #127 to #37 in 2017, appears at the AO for the first time, she never went past a third round in a grand slam and now she is in the semis! Flabbergasting stuff. Tennis now!

1. Set
POV Mertens
15:0*. 30:0. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. 40:40. Adv SV. 0-1*.
15*:0. 30:0 ace. 30:15. 30:30 (!). 40:30. 40:40. Adv SV. 40:40. Adv ME. 40:40. Adv ME (!). 1*-1.
15:0* (!). 30:0. 40:0 sw. 2-1*.
15*:0. 30:0. 30:15 (!). 40:15. 3′-1. (double let-court!)
0:15*. 0:30 sw. 0:40. 3-2*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 4*-2.
15:0*. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30 (lr, !). “Court positioning! Great point.” 5-2*.
15*:0. 15:15. 15:30. 15:40. 5*-3.
15:0*. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv SV ace. 5-4*.
15*0 (21 shots, !). 15:15 df. 15:30. 30:30 ace. 40:30. 6*-4. “What a wonderful young talent she is!”

2. Set
15:0*. 30:0. 40:0 40:15. 40:30. 40:40. Adv ME. 1-0*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 2*-0.
15-0*. 15:15 ace. 15:30. 15:40. 30:40 rw. 40:40. Beautiful angle at the net. “Some calm decision making.” Adv ME. 3-0*.
0:15 (20 shots, !) Svitolina’s screaming gets louder…. 0:30. 15:30 (!). “Too good. Terrific point.”. 30:30 ace. 40:30 (!) “Elena Svitolona, the number four seed, is in serious trouble out here in Rod Laver Arena.” 40:40. Adv ME (!!, 27 shots) “Oh, what a rally!!!” 4*-0.
0:15*. 0:30. 15:30. 30:30. 40:30. “Oh, just looking so positive here, the young Belgian!” 5-0*. “Calm nerves. Composure.”
15*:0. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 40:30. 6*:0. Fabulous stuff!

Congrats, Elise Mertens!
click to enlarge
As for this tog’s ‘relationship’ with Elise Mertens:

Since she seems to be an enjoyably intelligent, settled and concentrated player, Elise doesn’t seem to care much about her public image. Most of the time her face doesn’t show much of her emotions, but appears a little bit mask-like. Maybe she’s just a little bit shy. Not much honey to decoy a photographer like me with, who is up to expression, emotional intensity and stuff like that. Well, did you see her explode after her win today?! She was even jumping in the air overwhelmed with joy. But very quickly she was controlled again and in the post-match interview one could see how she almost had difficulties to cope with her and the public’s expectation to see her being overjoyed and full of positive feelings. I don’t have many photos of her, which I start to regret now. Should it be possible for me to continue with shooting tennis (my dear elder sister just prevented me from selling all the camera equipment, which would have been just the right thing to do very very soon without her generosity), I definitely will try and correct that deficiency. She’s in my heart now and suddenly I remembered her warm and sunny smile on that day, when I asked her for her name at some tournament by apologizing for my stupidity not knowing it but having to ask for it instead, as I always do in such cases, even with not so well-known players… …what a nice introverted, authentic young woman this Elise Mertens is. And what a player! Gosh!!!

P.S.: And how much more I do like players like her than all these glamour girls playing tag with the media all the time.

Elise Mertens



***


And now it’s 3*-2 from the point of view of Carla Suarez Navarro with a break up in the second set, due to the commentators (as I wasn’t able to follow it myself) much more effective than the first one, which had easily gone to Wozniacki 0-6. The first game of the second lasted over eight minutes and it’s a real match now, which to watch right to the end I am looking forward to. An end hopefully to the better for the very likeable Spaniard, a player also of the category I spoke of before in that paragraph about Elise Mertens (especially in the postscriptum).
4*-2. Break point again. Deuce. Ace. Adv WOZ. 4-3*.
15*:0. 30:0. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 4*-4.
0:15*. 0:30 ace. “C’mon!” 0:40. 4:5*.
15*:0. 15:15. 15:30. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv CSN. 5*:5. “She’s not done yet.”
15:0*. 15:15 (8th) ace. 15:30. 15:40. 5:6*.
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. (One handed backhand!!!) 6*-6.
Tiebreak
1-0* 1*-1 1*2 22* 32* 3*3 4*3 53* 63* 7-6(3).

Have to hand in the detailed protocol later, since now I have to get ready (shower/shave/dress up) to leave the house in about 30 minutes in order to give some private piano lessons. So, Carla, por favor… 😉

3. Set
15*:0. 30:0. 40:0. 40:15. 1*-0.
0:15*. 15:15. 15:30 fabulous point won at the net.
15:40 “Some great hitting from both players.”30:40 df. 1:1*
0*:15 0:30. 15:30. 15:40. 1*-2.
0:15*. 0:30. 0:40. 1-3*.
0*:15. 15:15. 15:30 “That’s brilliant!”. 30:30. 40:30. 2*-3.
15:0*. 15:15. 30:15. 30:30. 30:40. 40:40. Adv WOZ. 2:4*.
0*:15 df 0:30. 15:30. 15:40. 2-6*.

They managed to finish it just in time for me to be able to watch it to the very end. But it wasn’t a ¡Gracias!. No ‘Mange Tak’ as well, cus I were with Carla here. But now of course it will be nice to watch a clash between Caroline and Elise Mertens, where I will be (strongly) rooting for the Dane’s opponent again though. Sorry about that. Very often I was with Caroline in the past. Well, she’d been rather capricious and bitchy the other day, that does help a bit…

Vi ses!

P.S.: Kerber-Keys and Halep-Pliskova next, both possible tidbits.
– I’m amused!