Originally Posted by The Dawntreader
No counter-puncher would ever spray the amount of shit she can on court. The margins that a counter-puncher plays with are huge, relying on consistency off the ground and deflecting pace.
Total misconception. Considering how obsessed you are with Clijsters, you must surely be aware that, in her second career, on her off-days she could spray the ball just as much as Li can (even though Kim's off-days were less frequent). And I'm sure even you wouldn't deny that Clijsters was a counterpuncher. Ditto Jankovic, who on her worst days can make dozens of errors even with a relatively conservative gameplan. The idea that you only
make errors when you're trying to go for huge shots was disproven long ago.
Li can generate her own pace for a start. Do people really think Li was 'counter-punching' against Schiavone's junk and loop in the RG final? Or when she beat Wozniacki in Australia? Or when she demolished the ultimate puff-baller Radwanska in Cincinnatti? Or when she demolished Azarenka in the AO and RG in 2011? She was playing, aggressive, authoritative tennis that had the luxury of above-average athleticism to allow her to rally effectively. But that is not counter-punching. Counter-punching as a game-style needs to be the primary instinct of a player, not just one vague characteristic.
No, Li is NOT good at generating her own pace -- she hates having to do it because she doesn't have the raw firepower or technique to do it with anything approaching consistency. The AO2011 final is the perfect example of this -- the turning point in that match was Clijsters starting to feed her junk shot after junk shot, which resulted in Li either simply patting the ball back in exchange, or, on the occasion she did try to hit a huge shot off of Clijsters's puffballs, she missed horribly.
Of the examples you listed -- actually she did
counterpunch to beat Azarenka in Australia and Paris in 2011. Azarenka was still under the impression she was a ballbasher at this stage and was trying to hit with as much power as she could, which played right into Li's hands and gave her the pace and presented the targets on the court for her to aim into. Azarenka only turned that match-up around by deliberately playing more conservatively against Li in their latest matches, constantly just hitting mid-paced shots into the centre of the court and forcing Li to be the aggressor and construct the point herself, and predictably Li was incapable of doing it.
Li's latest matches against Radwanska are the only real times she's managed to play well against someone who doesn't give her pace to work with, but it's only since she linked up with Rodriguez that she managed to actually figure her out. Her performance against her in Stuttgart, on the surface where Li should match up best with Radwanska, was completely inept.