Caro hasn't done a good job of following on her good matches during this slump though.
That's exactly why the most important thing is for her to keep up with the way she played against Sveta. I don't want her standard in that match to be a one off she doesn't sustain. She'll usually beat Sveta if she can keep up that level. There is no comparison between the way she (and Sveta) played ayt the AO where she lost and at the last USO where she won. We make too much out of a win or a loss. I don't want to see Caro's normal standard to be playing like she did against Sveta at the USO 2012 even though she beat Sveta then.
Caro used to be better at winning ugly and being able to prevail in pressure situations despite her overall level of play in that match/set not being that good. ?
But she used to win many times because when it got tight at the end her opponent gifted her an UE, dumped a 2nd serve in the net. Sveta hit two great returns in the AO match to break her. Nothing different in what Caro did on the serve. And don't tell me she never had service games then where she couldn't get 1st serves in.
But my point is that it's a vicious vircle. The more you win, the more likely you are going to keep winning at those pressure moments. And I believe a lot is the mentality of her opponent who at the back of her mind doubts she could actually win despite all she openly said and believes at the beginning of the match. Now players expect to be able to win in these situations against Caro. And I no longer believe in this so called magical cure if she gets better in pressure moments all will be well or be just a bit better at serves and all will be well.
So I believe she was winning in her heyday even when she had a match when not playing particularly well because she was overall not leaking UEs and giving anything away, over the course of all her matches she was a lot better player and because it was so damn hard to beat her and oppenents knew that and that put pressure on them.
To break that cycle - I think she must simply play better and she did - a lot better than most of 2012 and last half of 2011. I'll have to disagree with those who are wailing about her loss to Sveta. Personally I think that is placing way too much on the result of a match and I'm more interested right now in her improving her game regardless of results and believe the results will follow in due course if she maintains an improved level in her game.
What about taking some pace off her 1st serve in critical situations of sets or matches in order to get some first serves in?
Well we can all have theories. I remember what I thought a disaster in 2011 that experiment on clay where she just did her 1st serves like 2nd serves. How I hated that experiment. And in fact her slump started then. I do thing a serve coach could help and because it wouldn't really get in the way at all and comliment Piotr as coach - she might even keeep him with Piotr. Or am I deluded about that
But I don't think that is the key thing and everything will be well and she wins all the pressure moments as a result. I think it's her overall level and controlled aggression but managing her UEs and she did against Sveta with more winners than UEs.