2006 Birmingham WTA Singles Results     Vera Zvonareva, Champion


  WTA: June 12-18 2006

DFS Classic Tier III
Edgbaston Priory Club,
Birmingham, GBR
$200,000 - 56 players - outdoor: grass

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# 4 Maria Sharapova
# 12 Francesca Schiavone
# 20 Elena Likhovtseva
# 24 Ai Sugiyama

Tourney pages: Birmingham: 2005 - 2004 - 2003
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#63 Vera Zvonareva
5' 7", 130 lbs, RH, 2H-BH
    On Sunday in Birmingham, in the final of the DFS Classic, 21-year-old unseeded # 63 (and former # 9) Vera Zvonareva from Moscow, Russia, won her 4th WTA singles title, and her first since 2004, by narrowly defeating 19-year-old Jamea Jackson from Bradenton, Florida (home of the Bollettieri Academy), 7-6(12), 7-6(5) (photo shown).
    Vera and Jamea had never before met on the field of combat. Jamea, who defeated top-seeded # 4 Maria Sharapova in the semis on Saturday, was playing in her first WTA singles final (in fact, she had never won a quarterfinal until this week). It was Vera's 8th WTA singles final; her previous titles were in Memphis in 2004 and 2003, and in Bol in 2002.

    Vera said: "[Jamea] came back very strong and started going for her shots in the second set. It was really tough, but I took my chances... It means so much to win here as we had such a great fight out there. It's been a while since I’ve been the winner." tourney story

    Jamea said: "My last match, with Maria, definitely took a lot out of me today. In the first set tie-break I tightened up and I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been. I really fought out there for every point though and was able to get more aggressive and that helped me come back in the second set.
    "The wins I have had this week and the way I have played means that my game has gone up a few levels. It’s been the best week of my career."

    (June 13, 2006) # 489 Alicia Molik, whose rank fell from # 8 while she struggled with an inner ear infection that affected her balance and vision, has withdrawn from the DFS Classic due to a right neck strain. # 63 Vera Zvonareva is playing "Lucky Loser" # 120 Anne Kremer instead of Alicia.

    (June 12, 2006) 3rd-seeded # 18 Daniela Hantuchova withdrew from Birmingham on Monday due to a wrist injury; "Lucky Loser" # 115 Liliah Osterloh (the highest ranked player available who lost in a qualifying final and was not yet in the main draw) was awarded Daniela's 1st round bye, and will face # 119 Meilen Tu in the 2nd round on Tuesday.

    (June 12, 2006) # 4 Maria Sharapova is playing with pain from with a lingering ankle injury. Maria twisted an ankle while training in California on Wednesday, April 26. The injury resulted in a bone bruise, which caused Maria's withdrawal from the Italian and Istanbul Opens.
    Maria said: "Some days the injury's better than others. It's getting better day by day, but it's hard to say - maybe when I get a week off after Wimbledon it'll be better. As long as you can withstand the pain and control it, and get treatment before and after every single game, then you will be fine." AP story

    Maria likes grass, she won at Birmingham and Wimbledon in 2004, and won again at Birmingham in 2005. Before she lost to Venus Williams in last year's Wimbledon semis, Maria had won 24 consecutive matches on the green. Maria said: "With Birmingham and Wimbledon, I have such great memories that my tennis always seems to come around."

    The 4-week chlorophyll court season begins this week at Birmingham, followed by Eastbourne and s'Hertengobosch next week, and then the Wimbledon fortnight.
    Birmingham is the tourney that may have the lowest total prize $ to # of players ratio of the WTA Tour. The 56 players in the main draw (and 24 more who lost in qualifying) are there to get some time in playing on grass to prepare for Wimbledon, more than for the $200,000 prize money. Next week at Eastbourne, the last week before Wimbledon, there will be about half as many players, and over 3 times as much prize money.

    Birmingham:     The main draw for Birmingham has 16 seeds, with 8 1st-round byes. There are 8 qualifiers and 4 wild cards in the main draw. Qualifying finals are on Sunday.

Early round play in Birmingham  begins at 11am local time.

    The Edgbaston Priory Club, Sir Harrys Road, Birmingham, England
Edgbaston Priory Club - click for interactive sat pic-street map
        Birmingham (daylight savings) time is GMT (UCT, ZULU) + 1 hour (US Pacific Daylight Time +8, EDT +5).
Early round play begins at 11am local time, SFs Saturday at 1pm, and the Final at 2pm on Sunday.

WTA SCOREBOARD: DFS Classic, Birmingham

s=seed, #=rank, *=upset, LL=lucky loser
ranks are for the previous week
How do players get into the "draw"?

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On Friday, June 9, Maria Sharapova, the 2004 & 2005 Birmingham champ,
was feeling all comfy-like on the well-kept British lawns

Birmingham, 1st Round, Mon-Tues 11am Mon tourney story
loser's prize: $580 US; points: 1
#33 s9 Sofia Arvidsson SWE d #85 Melinda Czink HUN 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 Mon

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Sofia following a running backhand

*#82 Jamea Jackson USA d #34 s10 Klara Koukalova CZE 6-4, 6-1 Mon
*#66 Martina Sucha SVK d #36 s11 Catalina Castano COL 6-3, 6-1 Mon
#37 s12 Mara Santangelo ITA d #71 Emma Laine FIN 6-1, 6-2 Mon
#38 s13 Na Li CHN d #89 Mashona Washington USA 6-3, 6-3 Mon
#40 s14 Sania Mirza IND d #61 Alona Bondarenko UKR 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Tue

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Sania serving to Alona, and Alona's forehand

    Sania trailed 1-3 in the 3rd set, then won the last 5 games. Sania said: "I played better in the first set, as I was trying to come to the net as much as possible. In the second set [Alona] raised her level and for some strange reason I changed my strategy, which I shouldn’t have done. But I pulled it all together in the end.
    "It’s great being back here as grass really suits my game. It helps, as I like to take risks to win matches. Next round will be difficult, as I play Shenay Perry. We haven’t played before, but she plays a big game so I know it will be a tough match." tourney story

#43 s15 Samantha Stosur AUS d #109 q Anastassia Rodionova RUS 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 Tue-rain-Wed
*#73 Zi Yan CHN d #48 s16 Laura Granville USA 6-4, 6-4 Mon
#51 Shuai Peng CHN d #139 q Nicole Pratt AUS 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 Tue

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Shuai following her 2-handed forehand--like Marion Bartoli, Shuai uses the backhand grip on both sides; most players who hit two-handed on both sides move the right hand above the left for their forehand grip

*#92 Shenay Perry USA d #52 Jill Craybas USA 6-3, 6-3 Mon
*#98 q Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI d #57 Aiko Nakamura JPN 6-3, 6-3 Mon
*#102 LL Bethanie Mattek USA d #59 Julia Schruff GER 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-1 Tue
#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #120 Anne Kremer LUX 6-0, 6-1 Tue-rain-Wed

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Vera's forehand

#64 Elena Vesnina RUS d #68 Virginie Razzano FRA 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 Mon
#65 Eleni Daniilidou GRE d #144 wc Anne Keothavong GBR 6-3, 6-0 ppd-Wed

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Eleni and Anne firing forehands

    Anne said: "I’m disappointed. It’s not the performance I wanted to give in big tournament like this. I had my chances, but I just seemed to lose confidence in what I was doing. Just a bad day at the office really."

*#81 Lisa Raymond USA d #69 Akiko Morigami JPN 7-5, 6-3 Tue-rain-Wed

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Akiko (who hits 2-handed on both sides) and Lisa following their forehand drives

*#157 q Ahsha Rolle USA d #78 Stephanie Foretz FRA 6-2, 7-6(3) Mon

    Ahsha will play top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the 2nd round. Ahsha said: "I’m really excited to play Maria. I’ve never played such a high ranked player before. I love to play on grass, unlike a lot of the girls, as I strive to get to the net as much as I can. So as long as my knee holds up, I am looking forward to giving her a great match."

*#125 Maria Vento-Kabchi VEN d #83 Antonella Serra Zanetti ITA 6-2, 7-5 ppd-Wed
#86 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL d #158 Selima Sfar TUN 6-4, 7-5 Tue-rain-Wed
*#100 Jarmilla Gajdosova SVK d #94 Meng Yuan CHN 63 64 Tue
*#119 q Meilen Tu USA d #101 Kristina Brandi PUR 6-3, 7-6(6) Mon
*#140 q Olga Poutchkova RUS d #105 q Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 Mon
*#279 Ayumi Morita JPN d #237 wc Kate O'Brien GBR 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 Mon
#294 wc Sarah Borwell GBR d #312 wc Melanie South GBR 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 Mon

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Sarah following her backhand

    Sarah said: "I’m really excited to make it through as I was so nervous before the match. When I looked at the draw and saw I was playing a fellow Brit I knew it was a good opportunity for both of us, but I also put added pressure on myself because of that.
    "We played some great tennis at times as we both knew there was so much at stake. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and playing my best tennis just now, so everything is coming together nicely."

Birmingham, 2nd Round, Tue-Wed 11am Weds tourney story
loser's prize: $1,125 US; points: 9
#4 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS d #157 q Ahsha Rolle USA 6-4, 6-2 ppd-Wed

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Maria slicing a serve at Ahsha, and after match point

    Maria said: "It was a good first match to have, as physically I feel good just now. [Ahsha's] serve is pretty big, so I had to take my opportunity and chances when I could. It’s great to be back in Birmingham though, every time I come back everyone is so welcoming and I love that."

#12 s2 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #125 M Vento-Kabchi VEN 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 Wed
#20 s4 Elena Likhovtseva RUS d #140 q Olga Poutchkova RUS 6-2, 6-2 Wed
#24 s5 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #100 Jarmilla Gajdosova SVK 6-2, 6-3 Wed

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Ai's forehand

#29 s6 Marion Bartoli FRA d #102 LL Bethanie Mattek USA 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 Wed
#30 s7 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #98 q Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI 6-4, 6-4 Wed
#32 s8 Jelena Jankovic SCG d #51 Shuai Peng CHN 6-2, 6-1 Wed
*#279 Ayumi Morita JPN d #33 s9 Sofia Arvidsson SWE 6-4, 6-3 Wed
#37 s12 Mara Santangelo ITA d #64 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-3, 6-3 Wed
#38 s13 Na Li CHN d #65 Eleni Daniilidou GRE 7-6(7), 6-3 Wed
#40 s14 Sania Mirza IND d #92 Shenay Perry USA 7-5, 6(7)-7, 6-3 Wed
*#81 Lisa Raymond USA d #43 s15 Samantha Stosur AUS 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 Wed
#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #66 Martina Sucha SVK 6-1, 6-2 Wed
*#86 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL d #73 Zi Yan CHN 7-5, 7-5 Wed
#82 Jamea Jackson USA d #294 wc Sarah Borwell GBR 6-2, 7-6(5) Wed

    Sarah said: "I had my chances in the second set, but didn’t take them. If I had served as well as I did in the first round then I would have played a lot better today. You can’t afford to let chances slip by against quality opposition like that."

*#119 q Meilen Tu USA d #115 LL Liliah Osterloh USA 6-0, 7-6(4) ppd-Wed

Birmingham, 3rd Round, Thu 11am
loser's prize: $2,180 US; points: 16
#4 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS d #38 s13 Na Li CHN 6-2, 6-4

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Maria tested the gravity in Birmingham while practicing before her match on Thursday, and was glad to see
that it still pulled toward the center of the Earth, rather than the other way, which would make tennis very difficult--
the match: Maria about to swat a forehand, Na likewise, Maria belting a backhand, and after match point

    The win was Maria's 200th career victory (against 51 losses). Maria said: "[Na] is a tough solid player, so I had to be ready from the beginning. She made me work, but I stayed tough... I didn’t realize it was my 200th win. It seems like I’ve played for a long time, but over the next couple of years that number will go up for sure." tourney story

#12 s2 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #86 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
#20 s4 Elena Likhovtseva RUS d #81 Lisa Raymond USA 7-5, 6-4
*#37 s12 Mara Santangelo ITA d #24 s5 Ai Sugiyama JPN 7-6(4), 6-4

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Ai following her forehand, Mara's backhand (sideways, sort of)

#29 s6 Marion Bartoli FRA d #279 Ayumi Morita JPN 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
*#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #30 s7 Anna Chakvetadze RUS 6-4, 6-3
*#82 Jamea Jackson USA d #32 s8 Jelena Jankovic SCG 6-4, 0-6, 7-5

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Jelena swatting a backhand, and Jamea watching one go

*#119 q Meilen Tu USA d #40 s14 Sania Mirza IND 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3)

Birmingham, QFs, Fri 11am
loser's prize: $4,230 US; points: 30
#4 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS d #37 s12 Mara Santangelo ITA 6-2, 6-2

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Maria serving, Mara likewise (with a twist), Maria watching her forehand fly, and chasing down another

*#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #12 s2 Francesca Schiavone ITA 6-4, 3-6, 6-1

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Vera and Francesca's forehands, and Vera's backhand

*#82 Jamea Jackson USA d #20 s4 Elena Likhovtseva RUS 6-4, 6-3
*#119 q Meilen Tu USA d #29 s6 Marion Bartoli FRA 6-4, 6-4

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Meilen following a flying forehand, Marion's unusual 2-handed forehand with backhand grip, and Meilen after match point

    Meilen said: "It's been a while since I've been in a semifinal, so I'm really excited. It was a little bit easier today -- Mirza hit a bigger ball than Bartoli, so it was very different...
    "I've surprised myself with what I've done this week. A few days before, I hadn't even decided whether I was going to fly to Birmingham or not. So I'm definitely glad I did." AP story

Birmingham, SFs, Sat 1pm
loser's prize: $8,220 US; points: 55
*#82 Jamea Jackson USA d #4 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS 6-4, 6-4

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Jamea delivering a slice serve, Maria's backhand, Maria watching her slice serve fly, Jamea's backhand, and Jamea after match point

    Jamea won 71 points in the match; Maria 67. And Jamea converted on 4 of 6 break point opportunities, while Maria converted 2 of 5.

    Maria said: "Jamea served well and took the lead early, and that kind of set the tone for the match. I dug a hole from the beginning and couldn't find a way out. I was a little bit flat and it seemed like I couldn't put more than two good points together, and she played really well -- but these things happen.
    "I am disappointed but I have to look ahead. I am going to London and will start preparing for Wimbledon. I will be working hard and looking forward to playing my favorite Grand Slam." AP story

    Jamea said: "Maria's a great player who has always done well on grass, but I played well, and I am so psyched to get this win."

#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #119 q Meilen Tu USA 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

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Vera's forehand, Meilen serving, another forehand from Vera, and Vera following her backhand

    Vera said: "It's a great feeling to be in a final again. I'm so excited, Tu is an unbelievable player, and I was very lucky to escape in the second set, but I think she got tired after playing six [matches] here. She is a fighter, and I'm sure she will get luck on her side when she plays in the qualifiers for Wimbledon next week." PA Sport story

Birmingham, Final, Sun 2pm
loser's prize: $16,000 US; points: 85
winner's prize: $31,000 US; points: 120
#63 Vera Zvonareva RUS d #82 Jamea Jackson USA 7-6(12), 7-6(5)

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Jamea following her backhand, Vera chasing down a forehand, and after match point

Birmingham, Doubles Final, Sun
loser's prize: $4,760
winner's prize: $9,250
*cdr259 Jelena Jankovic & Na Li d cdr105 Liezel Huber & Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-4

Birmingham, Qualifying Finals, Sun Jun 11
loser's prize: $300
#85 Melinda Czink HUN d #565 Naomi Cavaday GBR 3-6, 7-5, 7-5
#98 Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI d #186 Casey Dellacqua AUS 6-2, 6-1
*#119 Meilen Tu USA d #102 Bethanie Mattek USA 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
#105 Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR d #124 Vasilisa Bardina RUS 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
#109 Anastassia Rodionova RUS d #130 Galina Voskoboeva RUS 6-1, 6-3
*#140 Olga Poutchkova RUS d #115 Liliah Osterloh USA 6-4, 6-2
*#157 Ahsha Rolle USA d #120 Anne Kremer LUX 6-4, 6-3
#139 Nicole Pratt AUS d #141 Tamarine Tanasugarn THA 7-6(4), 6-3

Birmingham, Withdrawals
#18 s3 Daniela Hantuchova SVK wrist
#22 Maria Kirilenko RUS knee
#25 Tatiana Golovin FRA l ankle
#39 Jie Zheng CHN
#46 Roberta Vinci ITA
#49 Sybille Bammer AUT r achilles tendon
#55 Maria Elena Camerin ITA r shoulder
#56 Meghann Shaughnessy USA l hip
#67 Maria Sanchez Lorenzo ESP
#70 Maret Ani EST
#74 Karolina Sprem CRO illness
#87 Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP r wrist
#489 Alicia Molik AUS right neck strain

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