Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Ivanovic vs Vaidisova as it happened

All England Club, 25 June-8 July

Wimbledon quarter-final result:

N V’SOVA (Cze) 14 v A IVANOVIC (Ser) 6

6-4 2-6 5-7


Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 5-7 Ivanovic
Ivanovic does it! Vaidisova looks shaky as she slips to 0-30 thanks to yet more unforced errors but recovers to 30-30 with a wide ace. Ivanovic then finds the line with a beautiful backhand to gain her first match point against the serve, only to fail to return Vaidisova’s serve and send the game to deuce. A cruel net cord falls the wrong side of the net from Vaidisova next up, though, and a double fault sends Ivanovic into raptures as she secures her first Wimbledon semi-final. Brilliant stuff from the Serb, who will face Venus Williams next up.

“What a great match that truly went all the way to the line. Unbelievable from Ivanovic as well, who had to find a way to win in the face of some brilliant tennis early on from Vaidisova.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 5-6 Ivanovic
The momentum definitely looks to be with Ivanovic now, the Serb holding to 15. Vaidisova is cranking up the Kevin-the-teenager petulance rather annoyingly, blaming her cheering section/coach at every opportunity for missed shots – and Ivanovic quietly goes about picking her off point by point. Vaidisova cracked before, will she do so again?

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 5-5 Ivanovic
Unbelievable! Vaidisova cracks and Ivanovic gets her forehand cranking nicely to break back to 15 – this match is not done by a long stretch.

“Vaidisova missed those three break points in the previous game and she looked like she was still dwelling on them there. This match really is up in the air now.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 5-4 Ivanovic
As remarkable a story as Ivanovic’s is – plucked from obscurity in Serbia, given an interest-free loan of £500,000 by a Swedish businessman to develop her tennis career and then marching up the rankings and repaying every penny of said loan before her 19th birthday – it does get somewhat tiresome not only hearing it every round, but practically after every set. Still, fair play to the Serb who digs deep to battle back from 15-40 down with two blistering forehand winners, and then saves another match point at advantage. She goes on to seal the hold with an unreturnable serve and that’s remarkable tenacity from Ivanovic – can Vaidisova hold her nerve?

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 5-3 Ivanovic
Vaidisova moves to within a game of her first-ever Wimbledon semi-final with a hold to 15, her serve keeping Ivanovic out of most points and, when it doesn’t, finding winners with what is a blistering forehand.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 4-3 Ivanovic
You’d need a rather sharp rapier to cut the tension on Ivanovic’s serve and the Serb is as lucky as a lottery winner when a volley bounces twice on top of the net and drops over at 15-30. She backs it up with a fabulous wide serve and forehand winner, and a wide Vaidisova backhand keeps the Serb in the match.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 4-2 Ivanovic
Ivanovic looks to be making the mistake of turning to safety-first play on Vaidisova’s serve and the Serb fails to live with the Czech’s aggression. Vaidisova strides to 40-0 up with a smashed forehand volley and a couple of big serves, and goes on to hold when Ivanovic sends a return long at 40-15.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 3-2 Ivanovic
No sign of Ivanovic throwing in the towel just yet, as she holds with a couple of forehand winners and a big first serve.

“Vaidisova was the better player for a good hour out here, but she then got a little indulgent in the second set at exactly the time that Ivanovic stepped up her game. However, she looks like she’s settled back into her gameplan again and it’s the Czech that looks odds-on to go on and win this.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 3-1 Ivanovic
Brilliant hold to 30 from Vaidisova, resisting several pummelling forehands from Ivanovic before sealing the game with a superb backhand winner down the line.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 2-1 Ivanovic
Well, has the momentum swung yet again? Vaidisova relies on her forehand to pressure Ivanovic and secures break point with a brilliant crosscourt winner. It’s all the opportunity she needs as she manufactures the perfect point, pushing Ivanovic wide and then slamming a forehand winner into the open court to snatch the lead in this final set.

“Oh dear, Ivanovic has lost the rhythm a little bit and Vaidisova takes advantage with some impressive winners.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 1-1 Ivanovic
Much better from Vaidisova, who bludgeons down a series of first serves on her way to a hold to 15.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 0-1 Ivanovic
I’ve just been informed Miss Vaidisova has a Facebook account – I may have to add her, see if I can offer any tips on her game you know? Anyway, the Czech’s restroom break looks only to have fired Ivanovic up, the Serb holding to love with a series of fine serves and forehand winners. That’s five games in a row for Ivanovic, who looked down and out after that first set.


Vaidisova 6-4 2-6 Ivanovic
Vaidisova throws the set away in a hurry with a series of unforced errors as Ivanovic draws level to 15 with her second break of the set. Bizarre game from Vaidisova there, who looked to have lost it mentally as she gifted point after point to her opponent. The Czech goes straight for a rest break at the end of the set… perhaps a call of nature meant she wanted out of that set as fast as possible.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-5 Ivanovic
Ivanovic confirms the break despite a Vaidisova fight back from 0-40 to 30-40, and the Czech 14th seed looks like a six-year-old who has just had her curly wurly snatched from her hand by the school bully.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-4 Ivanovic
Ivanovic, fresh from having that luminous rubbish reattached to her right knee, moves to 40-0 up against the Vaidisova serve thanks to a couple of winners and an unsuccessful challenge on a line call from the Czech. Vaidisova saves one with a brilliant serve and forehand winner, but Ivanovic forces the error next point to gain the initiative in this set.

“Great work from Ana there, and she deserves to be up in this set with the quality groundstrokes she has put in.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 6-4 2-3 Ivanovic
Ivanovic may want her knee re-strapped, but it doesn’t look to be causing her any problems as she digs deep to save a break point with an ace before going on to hold with a couple of forehand winners.

Vaidisova 6-4 2-2 Ivanovic
Vaidisova settles herself well with another hold to love. Ivanovic gives a nod to the umpire as she asks for her trainer to come out at the next break, apparently to re-tape her knee.

Vaidisova 6-4 1-2 Ivanovic
That’s more like it from Ivanovic, who holds to 15 with a series of winners on the forehand. Vaidisova would be well served to get back to her tactic of targeting the Serb’s backhand, but the fact that Ivanovic has seven winners in this set already, compared to Vaidisova’s four, tell you all you need to know about the swing in momentum out on Centre Court.

Vaidisova 6-4 1-1 Ivanovic
Virginia Wade praises Vaidisova’s movement by declaring “she’s as loose as anything”. If only huh? Still, though, her winner-or-bust approach gets her in trouble as Ivanovic earns two break points with a forehand winner on the run. Vaidisova responds by smashing her racket, getting a warning, and then serving up an ace and an unreturnable to move to deuce, before saving another break point with a superb forehand down the line. It’s not enough, though, as Ivanovic breaks back with a stunning pick-up volley at the net and that could be just what the Serb needs to get her going.

Vaidisova 6-4 1-0 Ivanovic
Two beautiful first serves help Ivanovic to 30-0 up, but Vaidisova again targets the Serb’s backhand to take three points in a row to earn break point. It’s all she needs as Ivanovic sends another crosscourt backhand wide and it’s just the start to the set the sixth seed didn’t need.


Vaidisova 6-4 Ivanovic
Ivanovic smashes a brilliant forehand return winner down the line to highlight that she might not be out of this match entirely, but it’s another comfortable hold from the big-serving Vaidisova to 15 as she takes the first set in 39 minutes.

Vaidisova 5-4 Ivanovic
Remarkably, Vaidisova has sent down 16 unforced errors so far in this match and another couple help Ivanovic to an easy hold to 15. More evidence that this match has yet to really spark from both girls, but Vaidisova will serve for the set next up.

“It’s not easy for Ivanovic, because Vaidisova must feel like she’s always in control despite so many unforced errors. The Czech either hits a winner or a loser, at the moment she’s hitting more of the former, and so Ivanovic is relying on Vaidisova’s own inaccuracy to win points.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 5-3 Ivanovic
After just an eight-minute delay we’re back under way without a warm-up. More great work from Vaidisova, whose serve is really ticking, as she wins the first three points after the break to move to one game away from the set.

1326: Funnily enough, Rafael Nadal and Mikhail Youzhny are playing on in their fourth-round match a stone’s throw away on Court Two, much to the chagrin of my colleague Jonathan Stevenson, who apparently is desperate for some nosebag. Still, the covers are coming off on Centre Court with that short shower passing overhead, and we should be back under way very soon.

Vaidisova 4-3 Ivanovic (15-15)
Not that I’m writing off Ivanovic mind, I’d be equally happy taking the young Serb home I tell you. I’ll be honest, I’m not really that picky, as my mates will testify. Anyway, it’s bad news on Centre Court as the rains come all of a sudden and play is suspended with brollies sprouting up like fungi in a neglected garden.

Vaidisova 4-3 Ivanovic
And Ivanovic replies with a love-game hold of her own, producing some fine groundstrokes to keep Vaidisova out of the points. Apparently Vaidisova is fluent in Czech, German, English and French – and by my reckoning she has yelped in all of them so far in frustration at the odd mistake. Beautiful, rich and intelligent – just the sort of girl I’d like to take home to meet the folks.

Vaidisova 4-2 Ivanovic
That’s more like it from Vaidisova, who finds four first serves and responds by approaching the net and bullying her way to a love-game hold.

Vaidisova 3-2 Ivanovic
Ivanovic has not really got her serve clicking just yet, and Vaidisova produces some fine returns to bring up two more break points. However, the Czech misses a simple forehand at the net to waste the first and then sends the second long, much to Ivanovic’s relief. A superb forehand return winner brings up Vaidisova’s third break point, but Ivanovic hangs on well to win the next three points and hold.

“It really is interesting how the games are working out. Both players have had their chances, neither have really got going, and yet it’s compelling tennis.”
BBC Sport pundit Virginia Wade

Vaidisova 3-1 Ivanovic
Two stunning forehand winners indicate Ivanovic has settled nicely, and she takes Vaidisova to deuce with the Czech mixing serve-volley winners with long groundstrokes. The 14th seed holds, though, to keep her nose in front in this set.

Vaidisova 2-1 Ivanovic
The crowd is notably bigger for this encounter than Venus-Kuznetsova’s grunt-fest earlier in the day, though the presence of an overwhelming majority of middle-aged men in long coats is a little unnerving. A couple of long rallies appear to help settle the girls and Ivanovic feels her way into the match with a hold to 30 thanks to a forced error from Vaidisova.

Vaidisova 2-0 Ivanovic
There’s no rhythm at all in this match yet, with both players mis-hitting returns and struggling to keep within the tramlines. There’s a lot of cheap points on offer, with only the occasional winner being produced. Three times Vaidisova has to save break points, and three times she fails to make the most of her own game points, before she finally holds with a forehand. Big hold that.

Vaidisova 1-0 Ivanovic
First blood to Vaidisova, who breaks to 15 thanks to some brilliant timing on her groundstokes and some early rustiness from Ivanovic. The pair have met twice before, with a win apiece, so despite that fine start from Vaida, expect this to be a close encounter.

1244: There’s no time-wasting out on Centre Court as Vaidisova and Ivanovic race out with Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova barely back in the warmth of the dressing room.

This is what is known among the men in the office as a “dream ticket” – two of the loveliest ladies on the tour and two of the brightest up-and-coming talents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s a tough job this, but someone’s got to do it.
Story from BBC SPORT


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