Tennis Vocabulary practice: Grand Slam report

On Saturday, in Melbourne, Australia, the Belgian, Kim Clijsters faced the first ever Chinese player to appear in a singles Grand Slam final, Li Na.

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Clijsters opened up the first game with an ace and then held the game to love. (Don’t worry if you don’t understand all this tennis vocabulary. There is a glossary, which explains everything at the bottom of the page!).

In the next game, Clijsters broke Li’s serve to love. Li then got the better of her nerves and immediately broke back in the third game. The rest of the points in the first set were furiously competitive as both players hammered home thundering forehands, which took most games to deuce.

Finally, Li took the first set with a fantastic cross-court winner, which must have excited the millions of fans supporting her back home in China. Li couldn’t maintain that momentum though, as she served a double fault to gift the opening game of the second set to Clijsters.

This started a run of 5 games going against the serve in the set, which the Belgian eventually won 6-3. In the end, Clijsters showed her class and won the final set to secure her fourth Grand Slam victory, to add to her 3 US Open titles.

Sunday saw the Men’s title being contested between two great friends, 5th Seed, Andy Murray and 3rd Seed, Novak Djokovic.

The semi-final had seen defending champion, Roger Federer beaten by Djokovic, so most pundits were backing him to defeat Murray. Djokovic won his opening service game easily to lead 1-0.

Murray had a harder time of it though. He battled through four deuces, missed several opportunities at ‘advantage’ and saved one break point, before finally winning the game after 15 minutes. That turned out to be the pattern of the first set.

At 4-5 down, Murray had to serve to stay in the set. At 15-30, a monstrous, 38-shot rally was lost by Murray as he hit the net: that left Djokovic with two set points. He only needed one though, as Murray’s attempt at a backhand was called out.

He appealed to the umpire for a ruling by Hawk-Eye, but it was in vain. Djokovic led 5-0 in the second set, before Murray clawed back 2 games. However, the high number of unforced errors and low first serve percentage from Murray meant that couldn’t survive with Djokovic, who broke again to win the set 6-2.

The third set was littered with more baseline rallies ending with booming forehand winners down the line from both players. But Djokovic was clearly the better man on the day and broke Murray’s serve yet again to win the 3rd set 6-3 and pick up his second Australian Open title.

Tennis Vocabulary

the last match in a tournament to decide who becomes the champion
a serve, where an opponent does not make contact with the ball
To hold a game
to win a game in which you are serving
the name for zero in Tennis. If you hold a game to love, it means that you win your own service game without your opponent scoring any points
To break
to win a game where you are the receiver, i.e. you are not the server
one unit of scoring
a group of games. A player normally needs to win 6 games (but can be more) to win a set.
a shot played with the palm of the hand facing in the direction of the stroke – normally more powerful and effective than a backhand
A group of points. You need at least 4 points to win a game and a player needs at least 6 games to win a set.
The name of the point played when the score is at 40-40 in a game, i.e. when both players have won 4 points. After ‘deuce’ the next score is called ‘Advantage’ to whichever player won the deuce point. Get it?
Cross-court winner
when a player hits the ball from one side of the court (the playing area) to the other and wins a point, i.e. hitting from right to left, or left to right
Double fault
when a server hits their first and second serve badly (hits the net or ‘out’) and loses a point without making the opponent do anything at all.
Against the serve
When a player wins a game, where they were not the server – same a ‘to break’
the winner of a final, wins the championship and has the ‘title’ of winner
the stronger players in a tournament are assigned a specific number/position in an ordered list before the tournament. This is to try to ensure that the better players do not play each other in the early matches.
the 2 games played before the final, where there are still 4 players left in the tournament
an ‘expert’ in a particular subject, who gives their opinion to the public about what is happening. Normally you have a TV presenter and a pundit hosting sports shows (see my other blog here about SKY Sports’ pundits who got into trouble last week)
To stay in the set
a player must win the next game, or they will lose the set to their opponent
an extended series of shots between players to win one point
To hit the net
when a player plays the ball into the net (the material supported between two posts to divide the playing area) and therefore loses the point
Set point
a point in which a player will win the set if they win the next point
a stroke played with the back of the hand facing in the direction of the stroke, normally starting with the arm crossing the body – usually a weaker and less attacking shot than a forehand
the official, who watches the game closely to enforce the rules and decide on matters arising from the play
computer software that follows the exact flight of the ball using several cameras. A player can ask the umpire twice in a set to use the Hawk-Eye system if they think that a wrong decision has been made about a ball being called ‘out’
Unforced errors
when a player makes a mistake when they were not considered to be under pressure in a point, i.e. hitting the ball into the net
First serve
the first of 2 serves that a player has for each point – normally very powerful and much faster than a 2nd serve.
the line marking each end of the court
Down the line
when a player hits the ball onto their opponent’s side of the court on the same right or left hand side of the court – the opposite to a cross-court shot

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