Re: Mirjana's spring 2013 campaign
Hooray! Sweet win in the dubs. She can use any win she gets and it would be nice to see her supplement her income (and trophy case) even more.
Yes, her game is one of "unrelenting stubborn" strategy. She does tend to modify things a little bit on clay because of the surface demands, but everywhere else ... not really. The main thing I observe is that she tends to play higher percentage tennis when she is confident. And her very glaring chokes are mental -- as are her wild, proud, gritty come-from-behind surprises (today's brief rally at the end being a good example).
I thought I noticed a few remarkable technical improvements in her game in all the matches I have seen her play this year. Namely, that backhand: she is hitting it just a bit closer to her body and moving to her backhand side with more agility than she has done in the past. The result is that she seems to be getting a much more effective crank and a hint of topspin that has been allowing her to belt reliable drives from the baseline even down the middle with sharper angle. She's just improved that shot. Then, her service return is clearly improved. Perhaps we didn't get to see that quite as much today against Venus, but she is exploding off the return better than in years past. The forehand and serve, her trademark weapons, are still at the mercy of her nerves, movement, judgment, etc.
We all saw how relatively diffident she can get when serving it out, or when a chance for a big lead is on the line. It's the only time she takes her foot of the gas and then everything implodes. Of course, some days she just plays like crap. And, no, Plan B does not exist for her. I often wish she would at least freak an opponent out by hitting a decent approach and charging the net when she is going down in flames and has nothing to lose. That would be an aggressive mindset ... But, no. She needs to tighten the screws on her focus, at the very least. Sharapova is even more one-dimensional than Mirjana and she doesn't suffer from ruinous walkabout-episodes.
I still believe she has improved this year -- Mirjana just needs more wins against players she has against-the-ropes (Cepelova & Burdette) to solidify her launch to the next level. She has to beat the players she already has virtually beaten out there.
Let's see what she comes up with in IW and Miami quallies. Meanwhile, these doubles wins are very encouraging! Well done, Mirjana.