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Women's singles quarter-final result:

J Zheng (Chn) v N VAIDISOVA (Cze) 18

6-2 5-7 6-1

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By Ben Dirs at Wimbledon

THIRD SET

Zheng 6-1 Vaidisova
Zheng races into a 40-0 lead, Vaidisova putting up no great resistance with her returns of serve, but she suddenly finds form, giving Zheng the runaround with a series of booming forehands to make it 40-15. Both players pepper the baseline on the next point before Zheng is unable to retrieve another searching forehand from her rival... but that's the match, Vaidisova dumping a backhand return into the net to make Zheng China's first Grand Slam semi-finalist. And what a gutsy performance that was from the wildcard, no wilting alarmingly under pressure from the 24-year-old Chinese and she'll give Serena Williams a good old ding-dong in the next round I reckon.

Zheng 5-1 Vaidisova
Double-fault from Vaidisova, her fifth, but Zheng shows signs of nerves, bunting a backhand return six feet long before badly mis-hitting an attempted top-spin forehand. A sixth double-fault from Vaidisova and she follows up with a wild and windy forehand that gives Zheng break point. Vaidisova finds a big first serve to save, but on the next point dollies a forehand into the net to hand Zheng another break point. The Chinese woman can't take her chance, and Vaidisova gives herself an advantage with a rare bit of touch, a backhand drop-shot which leaves Zheng rooted. Good scrambling from Zheng on the next point before Vaidisova swings a lazy-looking forehand long, and Zheng earns another break point when the Czech pushes another forehand long. The Chinese wildcard on the verge of a semi-final berth...

Zheng 4-1 Vaidisova
Zheng crashes home a backhand pass and Vaidisova never really made a game of that, first putting a backhand return into the net before watching helplessly as a Zheng serve flashes by.

Zheng 3-1 Vaidisova
Sturdy, but somehow elegant, backhand winner from Vaidisova straight down the line and she makes it 30-15 with a winner off the other hand. Vaidisova hitting her straps in this game, thrusting home a drive-volley, but she spoils things with a double-fault and a fluffed backhand into the net to make it deuce. The Czech then heaves a backhand long before she's outlasted from the back of the court by Zheng, Vaidisova eventually hooking a forehand a fraction wide.

Zheng 2-1 Vaidisova
Vaidisova opens up the court with a solid return before sweeping home a forehand winner. An unforced error on the forehand from the Czech makes it 30-30 and she cracks her racquet into the ground after ballooning a backhand return long. And that's an impressive hold from Zheng, who manages to find a deep, penetrating first serve just when she needed.

Zheng 1-1 Vaidisova
Blimey, that was one of the most comforting comfort breaks ever, I absolutely loved every second of it. Zheng makes a rare foray to the net and flips home a forehand winner before thumping down a big serve that Zheng can only bunt into the net, and that's a straightforward hold.

Zheng 1-0 Vaidisova
While Dirs goes for a comfort break, which is a mental image I'm already regretting, Zheng looks like she too could do with five minutes to herself. A double fault sees her pegged back to deuce but Vaidisova cannot take advantage, spraying a forehand wide to hand over a game she might have won.

SECOND SET

Zheng 5-7 Vaidisova
Two searching first serves from Vaidisova move her into a 30-0 lead, but a forehand into the net makes it 30-15. Zheng then shows what she's all about, making Vaidisova buckle under the depth and weight of a backhand, and Zheng earns a break point with a pinged backhand winner. Vaidisova saves, Zheng missing with a cross-court forehand, and then pulls out another big serve to earns the advantage. That's the game and the second set, Zheng putting a forehand long, and all of a sudden Zheng looks the more punch-drunk of the two. Zheng 5-6 Vaidisova
Vaidisova showing some mongrel and she creates three break points with a booming forehand return. She finds the net with her next return, but a wild Zheng volley hands Vaidisova the break and the Czech will serve for the set.

Zheng 5-5 Vaidisova
A couple of searching first serves from Vaidisova take her into a 30-0 lead, but she the contrives to yank a forehand wide and long when she was in charge of the rally. Zheng should do better with a backhand return - that second serve sat up to be spanked, and she spanked it wide - and Vaidisova holds.

Zheng 5-4 Vaidisova
Zheng races into a 30-0 lead and then a 40-0 lead courtesy of a ballooned forehand from her rival. And that's a straightforward hold, Vaidisova hooking a forehand long. Zheng just one game away from winning the match.

Zheng 4-4 Vaidisova
A Murray-esque attempted drop shot from Zheng and Vaidisova climbs all over it, sending home a forehand winner. Wild forehand return from Zheng and Vaidisova makes it 40-15 with another hearty first serve. That's really penetrating from Zheng on both the forehand and the backhand before finding the baseline with a whipped backhand winner. However, Vaidisova holds...

Zheng 4-3 Vaidisova
Some seriously crisp hitting on the forehand side from Vaidisova and set up another break point, but Zheng does tremendously well to save, hooking a backhand winner past Vaidisova from behind the baseline. And that's another crackerjack backhand from the Chinese woman, really narrowing the angle and once again leaving Vaidisova floundering.

Zheng 3-3 Vaidisova
Booming ace from Vaidisova, straight down the middle. But Zheng still getting plenty of zing on her groundstrokes and Vaidisova buckles under a hefty backhand to lose the next point. Another precision ace from the Czech, but Zheng sets up a break point with a forehand winner - she took that ball so early the ball was still coming down from Vaidisova's toss. And that's a break back courtesy of a backhand return that left Vaidisova staring like a stranded foal from the back of the court.

Zheng 2-3 Vaidisova
Good coverage at the net from Zheng, who punches home a solid forehand volley to make it 15-15. However, two unforced errors from Zheng hand Vaidisova two break points and the Czech converts the first, a forehand just dipping in time and clipping the baseline. Zheng has a challenge, but the call was correct and that's Vaidisova's first break of the match.

Zheng 2-2 Vaidisova
Vaidisova applying stacks of depth to her groundstrokes and Zheng struggling to cope when her opponent does that. Vaidisova serves up her third double but Zheng finds the net with a backhand to hand her the game.

Zheng 2-1 Vaidisova
Gossamer touch from Zheng, making Vaidisova do the splits with a delicately sliced backhand, and that's an easy hold, Vaidisova pulling a backhand return well wide. I have the feeling Wimbledon could find itself another seed down in half an hour or so...

Zheng 1-1 Vaidisova
Zheng gets a shooter off the service line that's she unable to deal with, but she wins the next point with a neat wrong-footing backhand. Vaidisova pings down her first ace to move into a 40-15 lead and the Chinese nugget is only able to bunt her next return long.

Zheng 1-0 Vaidisova
Vaidisova shaking the rust off that forehand and it's too much for Zheng as she moves into a 0-30 lead. Vaidisova heaves a forehand long before snatching at another return to make it 30-30. The Czech getting frustrated out there now, berating herself after hitting a backhand lamely into the net, but she makes amends with a beefy backhand that Zheng is unable to track down. No consistency from Vaidisova though, typified by the next two points - first she plonks a forehand into the net but wins the next point with a fizzing forehand winner. And that's Zheng's game, Vaidisova again finding the net on the forehand side.

FIRST SET

Zheng 6-2 Vaidisova
Zheng rattles a forehand return back Vaidisova's way and the willowy Czech is unable to cope with it. Zheng makes it 15-30 with a pin-point cross-court winner that leaves Vaidisova rooted to the spot and Zheng has two break points as Vaidisova makes another unforced error on the forehand side. She saves one with a thumping forehand winner, but there's another limp double fault and that's first blood Zheng, and the Chinese battler is looking mightily focused out there.

Zheng 5-2 Vaidisova
Zheng wrong-foots her opponent with a disguised forehand but Vaidisova is finding her range now, and she moves into a 15-40 lead with a couple of lacerating forehand winners. Vaidisova finds the net with a meek forehand return and Zheng saves a second break point with a fizzing forehand that again wrong-foots Vaidisova. An unforced error from Zheng hands Vaidisova another chance, but she's unable to grasp it. Zheng's a real hustler from the back of the court, but she makes it deuce again, hooking a backhand wide and long. Unforced error from Vaidisova and Zheng really finding some depth with her groundstrokes in the key rally as she manages to save.

Zheng 4-2 Vaidisova
Vaidisova moves into a 30-0 lead before dollying up a forehand at the net which Zheng is able to punch home on the backhand side. Zheng blows a challenge - that was a couple of feet long - but makes it interesting with a whipped cross-court forehand winner. But Vaidisova digs out a big serve to save.

Zheng 4-1 Vaidisova
Spunky hitting from Zheng, making her opponent run before sweeping a forehand winner down the line. Zheng finds her first ace and then digs out a doozy of an angled backhand volley to make it 40-0. Vaidisova hits a forehand long and she's got a serious tussle on her hands here, Zheng's smoking. Which reminds me, is there a tabacconist anywhere on the Wimbledon grounds?

Zheng 3-1 Vaidisova
Here's a startling stat: Vaidisova has won six titles, five of them before the age of 17. Something tells me she's been worked out. Zheng fires a couple of forehands wide and Vaidisova seals the game with a swingeing forehand winner.

Zheng 3-0 Vaidisova
Zheng really giving Vaidisova the runaround and the lanky Czech is really not able to cope at the moment. Zheng moves into a 40-0 lead before serving up her first double-fault. Better depth on that return from Vaidisova and that's 40-30, and the Chinese woman finds the net with a forehand to make it deuce. Zheng goes from Ferrari to Nissan Sunny in the space of a couple of minutes, yanking a forehand wide, but she's back on form in saving break point, hooking another forehand past the advancing Vaidisova. Another double-fault from Zheng, but Vaidisova slams a very hittable forehand into the net and we're back at deuce. Zheng hands Vaidisova a third break point with a limp backhand into the net... but that's another save, Vaidisova plopping a forehand into the bottom of the net. Vaidisova drags a forehand wide before bunting another wide as Zheng does well to hold.

Zheng 2-0 Vaidisova
Zheng full of beans and Vaidisova is put off her game by some early hitting. That's a magnificent winner from Zheng, bending her knees and clipping a backhand off her toes to set up two break points. Vaidisova saves one, but a meek double-fault gives Zheng the break.

Zheng 1-0 Vaidisova
It's Zheng to serve first and the chunky little Chinese moves into a 30-0 lead with the minimum fuss. Zheng makes it 40-15 with a hefty forehand which Vaidisova is unable to deal with and that's a comfortable hold, the Czech hitting a forehand into the net. Confident start from the 24-year-old.

1457: Hello again. Players are knocking up on Court One and the third quarter-final is between Jie Zheng of China and the Czech Republic's Nicole Vaidisova. Vaidisova has been going through a rotten run of form this season, but she hooked up with British coach David Felgate a couple of months ago and it would appear to be having an effect. Vaidisova defeated Anna Chakvetadze, the eighth seed, in the fourth round and, with only three of the top eight seeds left in the draw, she'll fancy her chances of at least making the final. Zheng, meanwhile, is coming off the back of wins over top seed Ana Ivanovic in round three and 15th seed Agnes Szavay in round four.



see also
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis


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