Big-name scalp for tiny Tamira


Last updated at 00:49 03 July 2007

Stand Justine Henin

and Tamira Paszek

back to back and it

might take the precision

of Hawk-Eye to

separate the pair in terms of


Put one on top of the other's

shoulders and you would come up

with someone who could look giant

Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the eye.

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Tamira pasz

Henin, who has won everything in

tennis except Wimbledon, has set a

shining example of what a good

little 'un can achieve with skill,

dedication and courage.

Paszek is another good little 'un,

judging by her defeat of No 12 seed

Elena Dementieva yesterday. The

Austrian is not only the smallest

woman left in the singles at 5ft 5in —

three-quarters of an inch shorter

than Henin — but also the youngest.

Paszek is 16 1/2 (the half is always

important in adolescence) yet

mature in both word and deed.

Victory was secured swiftly and

assuredly when the opportunity

presented itself despite the fact that

rain began to fall heavily during the

final game. Did she feel nervous?

"Not at all, actually," she said. "I

mean, what to do? It starts drizzling.

You're serving 5-3 in the third set.

Why get nervous? Keep focused and try to play your game. You can't

change it anyway."

You could not imagine a young

British girl reacting to the biggest

win of her career in such a matterof-

fact way. Wait a minute, you

could not imagine a young British

girl reaching the last 16 on the second

Monday of the Championships.

Would that Paszek had some

British connection. It appears that

she boasts bits of most nationalities.

Her mother is Chilean, her

father, a voluble presence courtside,

Tanzanian born, Kenyan raised,

now living in Canada. Her 'team' is

completed by Larri Passos, who

coached Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten

to No 1 in the world.

Kuerten had a backhand to die

for. Paszek has one certainly to be

proud of. "Everybody said when I

was younger that my backhand is

one of my best shots," she said.

"Everybody was complaining about my forehand — it's not good, it's not

that, you need to work on that."

The Junior Wimbledon champion

two years ago, Paszek made an

impressive start to her professional

career by winning her third

tournament last year.

Already in

2007 she has risen more than 100

places in the rankings to a high of

No 54 at the start of the fortnight.

The graph is sharply upward.

Paszek, from Dornbirn in Austria,

was a set down from Saturday when

she returned to Court No 3


The two days in between had been

anything but wasted. Aside from

talking tactics at great length with

her coach, she rehearsed 300 or so

service returns. For authenticity, her

practice partner was required to

toss the ball up frequently and

catch instead of hit. Dementieva is

plagued with the serving yips.

There was no stopping the

Austrian as she levelled at oneset

all and ran out a comfortable

3-6, 6-2, 6-3 winner.

She now faces

No 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova for

a place in the quarter-final.

With a wry smile, no doubt, the

Order of Play committee had

scheduled Jonas Bjorkman and

Wayne Arthurs to follow on Court 3.

From the youngest remaining

competitor to the two oldest, at 35

and 36 respectively. Zimmer frames

not to be taken on to court.

It was no contest. The younger

man gave his older opponent a good

whipping, though the margin of

6-2, 6-1, 6-4 was spread across

several hours of a day punctuated

by frequent and heavy rain showers.

Complaining Russian Nikolay

Davydenko must have been bored

rigid, so much time did he spend in

the locker room, though not half as

bored as the spectators on Court

13. Their entertainment was

delayed during a dry spell by a wet

patch on the extreme back corner

of the playing surface.

With England under water, officials

worried about a two-foot square

piece of moist grass in a remote

area. No wonder the slow handclap

ran around the All England Club.

Rarely had a ground ticket in the

second week threatened so much

top-class entertainment. No fewer

than 10 men's seeds were involved

in seven ties on courts other than

Centre and One. Yet again, however,

the weather failed to oblige.

"Locker room, waiting, waiting,

waiting, waiting," David Nalbandian

lamented after losing on Court 11,

for heaven's sake, to top-10 player

Marcos Baghdatis.

"Waiting, waiting," the Argentine

added as if to emphasise his point,

which was about all he won in losing

the final set 6-0.

There was the

minimum of resistance from someone

renowned as a five-set battler.

He had not given value for money.

At least out in the boondocks,

people could smoke.

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