The only player that can challenge Serena on hardcourts (other than Venus) is... -
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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The only player that can challenge Serena on hardcourts (other than Venus) is...

Of course assuming Serena is healthy and on.

Well, let's analyze the top 10 + Hantuchova.

Jennifer Capriati: Her problem is that her game is mostly based on speed and power, and in both she lacks behind Serena, she has lost the last 4 times the have played and even though some of those matches have been close, I don't see her beating Serena on hardcourts unless Serena is off.

Kim Clijsters: Again, although Kim does have finesse, her main weapons are speed and power, and right now, due her injury she is in a big slump.

Jelena Dokic: Similar case, she is too one-dimensional but way less powerful than Serena, no chances.

Justine Henin: As much as I would like Justine to beat Serena, I do think she can be a thread to her on other surface, definitely on clay, maybe on grass (not playing as she did last year), but hardcourts is Justine's worse surface and Serena's best.

Lindsay Davenport: again the common problem, power is her game and you can't overpower Serena, if she is serving extremely well and returning extremely well she has a chance, but her head-to-head against Serena is ugly, she seems to have a mental block against her.

Martina Hingis: Similar to Justine, she could have a chance on clay but on hardcourts, I don't see it happening. Martina could neutralize somehow Serena's serve a little with her anticipation but would get killed on her own serve.

Amelie Mauresmo: In theory she can manage power, but again, hardcourts isn't her best surface and she doesn't seem to be able to keep up long enough.

So, before Monica fans get upset for not including Monica, I left her for the last for obvious reasons.

Obviously, the Monica we have seen at Wimbledon and the FO can't challenge Serena, but if Monica gets fit.

She is probably the best returner of serve of the tour, along with Hingis, I am not talking about the ability to hit winners off the return, but to read the opponent's serve. Lindsay and Serena with hit more winners off the return, but also will fail more returns. Monica will nearly always put her racquet on the ball and return something difficult to deal with.

Monica isn't bothered by power in the slightest, she can manage it very well and hit a winner from behind the baseline, she actually feels more comfortable there.

If she gets to the ball in balance, she can hit a winner, it doesn't matter how fast the ball came, Monica's ability to strike the ball and her placement have allways been amazing, she totally controls where the ball is going and again, it's very difficult to overpower Monica.

The problem is that Monica is not moving well, I saw her at Wimbledon and I think her movement was terrible, specially when she had to move forward, she was actually having a lot of problems with short balls, but Serena would give her mostly deep balls with a lot of pace, something that Monica loves.

She needs two things, be confident and be fit, can she get fit on time for the US Open? I doubt it, maybe it's my way to say that I don't see anybody taking the US Open from Serena this year.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:34 AM
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You speak the truth about Monica.

I've watched JenCap win Slams where Venus was not doing well, and knock Serena down a bunch of times in a row. Then as Serena cranked it up, Jen started slipping. Now I think she's shown them her best and her best in no longer good enough. Jennifer is an extremely talented ball-striker, but still not as talented as Monica. The proof of it is, Jennifer is in far better shape yet a match between them tomorrow would be a toss up.

I think Monica may be the only player with both the size and the talent to seriously challenge the Williams on hardcourt. If she gets into fantastic physcial shape, she could actually control the match on her racket. Otherwise, she would be waiting for them to falter, something they do less and less lately.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:37 AM
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Where's the Hantuchova analysis?!?! IMO, she is the one with the best chance once she gets a bit more experience. Her combination of power and speed is right up there - she is an absolutely amazing player (does anyone find that her groundstrokes are so Davenport-like... so smooth and effortless).

I actually don't think Serena is faster than Jennifer. I think Jennifer is faster (I could be wrong, but that's just my impression), or could just be that Jennifer is the one doing all the running in their matches. Which is probably the reason Jenn has lost their recent matches, is the fact that she isn't getting on top of the rallies and is relying on being generally consistent against Serena than generally aggressing.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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ooops, I missed Daniela.

Well, i don't really know Daniela's game that match but I think she isn't quite ready for such a challenge yet, she might be in the future but only if she is willing to take risk and come to the net. She won't win from the baseline.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:54 AM
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Jennifer Capriati has still been the one to push an in-form Serena to three sets (something even Venus has been unable to do). If Jennifer could work on her serve (get a specialty coach); I think she would be the one to challenge both Venus and Serena -- but she seems to think she knows best; which IMHO is not good enough any more.

Also, IMHO, it is really beyond fitness for Monica. I think it also has to do with her lack of mobility due to using both hands. Yes, in the 90's this was a great advantage for her because she had power off both sides and being left handed had her opponents guessing. But in today's game, it only seems to hamper her because she is not quick to move forward to the ball and her "hands seem tied." Yes, Monica can still beat a majority of the players on the tour, but to reach the top and beat Williams, Capriati, Davenport, and Hingis consistently will be very tough.

The rest of the field are really in development... (and NO, I don't see Davenport and Hingis troubling the Williams' domination -- I mean were they when they were playing the last year two years?)
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 12:55 AM
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For Monica to get into fantastic shape would require several months, not just weeks. She could improve her fitness by the Open, but to be in Williams beatable shape she would have to set OZ as her target as a more reasonable goal.

However, that may be a mute point because if Baby Sis wins the Open, she will be going for the SERENA SLAM in Australia and their will be no stopping her when she is on a mission.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:02 AM
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I agree with you also, monicas problem is her fitness, if she would get fit she could blast the rest of tour of court apart from vee and serena who move too well and will get to every ball.
Jen cap imo doesn't hit the ball nearly hard enough to put serena on defensive whereas monica does, however unlike the rest of the tour serena will always get the ball back and this is where monica will fail unless she gets in the shame she was in last summer.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 01:08 AM
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Love the analysis Fingon, and definetly agree with you.
But Hantuchova needs to improve her consistency first, after winning INDIAN WELLS she has had some early round exits.
if she cant beat the lower ranked players consistently, she will not have the opportunity to play Serena.
Too early to say too much about Hantuchova, but out of the new lot, she id defintely a threat.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 02:07 AM
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the only person who can beat Serena IS Serena

Good luck to the Aussie and Balkan girls!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 03:41 AM
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If Monica does get into shape, she really is the only person (including Venus) who would have a shot at beating Serena i think. I mean she would have to get into even better shape than last summer (at Wimbledon she was a mess, moving just as slow as normal) but she COULD do it. I really feel that Monica might have one more slam in her, and I think Oz 03 might be it. As for Hantuchova, she is SO mentally tough it is not funny. (remember she actually has a coach unlike so many top tenners). I think that maybe by OZ once she has settled into herself a bit, she will have a chance as well. As for Cappy, unless she decides to suddenly be agressive, she can't beat the Williams sisters. And the reason Jenn might look faster than Serena (serena is so fast that she slips on grass. I mean come on she is like Lleyton Hewitt fast) is because Jenn just seems to bunt the ball back to Serena, who sends a screaming ball to Jenn, who barely gets a racket on it, etc. In current form, no one can touch Serena.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 05:17 AM
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I absolutely agree with this... look at last year... Monica was fit, she was striking the ball very well, and she won a match against Serena and lost the other in 2 tiebreaks... she even beat Jennifer and Martina. Monica is such a talented ball striker that as soon as she gets fit, she can beat almost anyone... and at least push Serena.

As close as Jennifer's matches have been, I think I've seen enough to conclude that Serena is better than Jennifer. Serena does everything slightly better Jennifer, with the possible exception of returning consistently. So, if both are playing well, Serena has the edge cause she does everything slightly better. A year ago, Jennifer had the mental edge, so she was edging Serena out in close matches. Right now, Serena has her mind in place, and she has the bigger weapons, so Jennifer cannot beat Serena. She can push Serena into close matches because she does everything almost as well as Serena (except the serve), but she doesn't win that often anymore cause she doesn't have a big weapon to challenge Serena.

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Mary : Monica : Svetlana : Sania : Jennifer : Amelie
Roddick : Grosjean : David : Djokovic
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 05:22 AM
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The only player that can challenge Serena on hardcourts (other than Venus) is...

Lleyton Hewitt, if he undergoes certain surgery and becomes eligible for WTA. I can't think of any other player..

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 05:31 AM
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Kim wouldn't be pleased...

Lindsay Jelena Maria

Mary : Monica : Svetlana : Sania : Jennifer : Amelie
Roddick : Grosjean : David : Djokovic
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 09:47 AM
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I always enjoy matches of Jen vs Serena!

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old Jul 8th, 2002, 10:11 AM
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It's refreshing to see a thread that's so positive about Monica's chances at the US Open (I'll wager the professional commentators don't rate her chances anywhere near Jen, Hantuchova, Hingis, or Davenport....sigh!).

I agree with Fingon and DH about Monica's potential to step up and challenge the sisters, but she has to step up her fitness commitment first. Just a little bit more would help (she wasn't THAT much fitter last summer, when she did so well leading up to the Open). I just wonder what Mike Sell and company are doing about this aspect of her game?

Should be a very interesting couple of months...
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