So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game? - TennisForum.com
View Poll Results: Who is the best returner in the WTA?
Serena Williams 74 32.46%
Kim Clijsters 21 9.21%
Victoria Azarenka 50 21.93%
Maria Sharapova 44 19.30%
Petra Kvitova 17 7.46%
Jelena Jankovic 8 3.51%
Other 14 6.14%
Voters: 228. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

I'm curious to see what other people think in regards to the "best" returner in the game. While the poll options are my opinion, I strongly believe that these players are the strongest returners in women's tennis today. Let's say within the past three years as the timeframe.

So who do you think? Here's my two cents.

Serena Williams
Pros: Incredibly explosive, especially off the forehand wing. Crosscourt forehand return is incredibly powerful. Backhand wing is excellent as well (less raw force, more consistency). 2nd serves are no match.
Cons: Prone to inconsistency and breakdown particularly off the forehand side. Tends to get caught flatfooted on the backhand.

Kim Clijsters
Pros: Solid off both sides. Forehand return is dangerous down the line in particular. When she's on, she barely misses any returns.
Cons: High balls continue to trouble her, and good kick serves to the backhand side cause her problems. Also has a tendency to take the ball late.

Victoria Azarenka
Pros: Takes the return RIDICULOUSLY early. Cuts off angles well and neutralizes big serves remarkably. Capable of hitting angles well to draw short balls.
Cons: Return winner count is quite low, due in part to her natural lack of big power. Returns of 2nd serve deliveries are curiously less effective than 1st serves. ROS is her biggest weapon, but may only look so good due to an otherwise relatively pedestrian game.

Maria Sharapova
Pros: Similar to Serena in explosive returns, though perhaps even more versatile off both wings. Forehand crosscourt and backhand DTL particularly effective. Eats puffball 2nd serves easily. High winner count.
Cons: Like the rest of her game, prone to breakdown under pressure. Return of big 1st serves is below average. Occasionally takes the ball far too late.

Petra Kvitova
Pros: Also has a huge return game, mostly off the forehand side. Leftiness is a big advantage and the sheer flatness of her shots mean that shots that aren't even close to the lines tend to be winners. Huge winner count.
Cons: The quintessential "ballbasher". When the wheels come off, they REALLY come off.

Jelena Jankovic
Pros: It seems like an eon ago, but JJ's ROS was once a beast. Neutralization of big serves first-rate. Great ability to redirect pace. Stab returns off the forehand and backhand unmatched.
Cons: Lack of power means return of 2nd serves is significantly less effective. Tends to resort to defense too quickly, and takes one hand off the racquet a little too readily.

Other
Did I miss anyone?

Maria Sharapova
Jelena Jankovic
| Kvitova | Wozniak | Azarenka | Marino | Dementieva (always) |

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post #2 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

JJ at her best. But the Empress got old and lazy, so I say Serena is the best returner.

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post #3 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoLex View Post
JJ at her best. But the Empress got old and lazy, so I say Serena is the best returner.


SO tragic. I miss peak JJ's return. It was so pretty and effortless.

Maria Sharapova
Jelena Jankovic
| Kvitova | Wozniak | Azarenka | Marino | Dementieva (always) |

In love with Martha.
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post #4 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

I like your analysis.
In terms of punishing weaker serves, Serena. But if we talk about bringing difficult serves back decently, Azarenka or Clijsters.
And about Clijsters having trouble with the kick serve on the backhand, she actually does that quite well, considering she's not that tall. At the YEC, se returned Stosur's serves really well.
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post #5 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

I agree, a great analysis. Consistency would be a tough one between Azarenka, Clijsters and Jankovic. However, for pure fear factor, when it's on, Serena's return is probably the best.

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at this point even Jesus might lose a poll against Kim
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post #6 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Dementieva used to own this shot, today I guess azarenka...one of her few redeeming qualities.

Then there is the short players or those with pretty shitty serves that have to rely on their return to stay in matches. Cibulkova, radwanksa, Zheng etc etc.

STOSUR HSIEH NICULESCU HALEP LI

DATE-KRUMM ERAKOVIC KUZNETSOVA BARTY SANDERS

ROGOWSKA ZAKOPALOVA PIRONKOVA JANKOVIC DELLACQUA
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post #7 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Maria at her best has an awesome return of serve.
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post #8 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:52 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

For pure bringing balls back, Azarenka's the best.

Most explosive and reliable on crunch-time? Serena..I think Masha still has nightmares of that forehand return winner Serena hit against her in ' 05 Oz open SF.

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post #9 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 10:14 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keadz View Post
Dementieva used to own this shot, today I guess azarenka...one of her few redeeming qualities.

Then there is the short players or those with pretty shitty serves that have to rely on their return to stay in matches. Cibulkova, radwanksa, Zheng etc etc.
And Zakopalová.

These stats might be helpful (even though they by no means tell the whole story, obviously):
http://www.wtatennis.com/SEWTATour-A...atch_stats.pdf

POINTS WON RET FIRST SERVICE
Pos Player % / Match
1 NICULESCU , MONICA 46.0 / 14
2 SHARAPOVA , MARIA 44.9 / 32
3 AZARENKA , VICTORIA 44.0 / 40
4 ZAKOPALOVA , KLARA 44.0 / 27
5 CLIJSTERS , KIM 43.6 / 25
6 BARTOLI , MARION 43.4 / 46
7 WOZNIACKI , CAROLINE 43.1 / 53
8 DOMINGUEZ LINO , LOURDES 42.9 / 21
9 JOHANSSON , MATHILDE 42.9 / 13
10 SUAREZ NAVARRO , CARLA 42.8 / 13


POINTS WON RET 2ND SERVICE
Pos Name % / Match
1 SHARAPOVA , MARIA 62.0 / 32
2 CLIJSTERS , KIM 60.9 / 25
3 AZARENKA , VICTORIA 60.4 / 40
4 MEDINA GARRIGUES , ANABEL 60.1 / 30
5 PETKOVIC , ANDREA 59.8 / 39
6 WOZNIACKI , CAROLINE 59.5 / 53
7 BARTOLI , MARION 59.2 / 46
8 CIBULKOVA , DOMINIKA 59.1 / 25
9 JANKOVIC , JELENA 58.9 / 40
10 ERRANI , SARA 58.7 /34

Kvitova ~ Šafářová ~ Garcia ~ Madison Keys

Cetkovská ~ Hradecká ~ Siniaková ~ Gavrilova ~ Bencic ~ Allertova ~ Smitkova ~ Makarova ~ Chakvetadze ~ Laura Robson ~ Pliskova twins
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post #10 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Bartoli definitely returns well.

I would say
Azarenka, Bartoli, Kvitova, Sharapova the best

Simona Halep
Juan Martin Del Potro

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post #11 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Clijsters and Azarenka. Probably Serena too, but she's better at punishing weak serves than returning strong ones back into play.
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post #12 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

as of now? Maria and Vika by far, as evidenced by all match stats.

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Originally Posted by Chakbelle View Post
Those DFs are like a tap but the washer is broken and Maksim doesnt have a wrench.
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Sharapova is so popular her owns fans have haters.
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post #13 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 11:01 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

I despise Azarenka, but her returns are huge and she barely misses them, so she has to take the cake.
Nobody defeats PeakRena in RAGE mode though

Supporting useless players before it was cool.
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post #14 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakeisgood View Post
Victoria Azarenka
ROS is her biggest weapon, but may only look so good due to an otherwise relatively pedestrian game.


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post #15 of 120 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Re: So who REALLY has the best return of serve in the women's game?

Azarenka and Sharapova at the moment.
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