Just got back in from watching, in parts a cracking match. So many positives to take out of it.
Pro's: ball striking was similar standard from both, the edge of slightly more depth and a better balance in the hitting was continually tipping it in Williams favour, but it didn't feel like the scoreline would suggest.
Oh absolutely, this match was a hell of a lot closer than a 6-2 6-2 scoreline suggests. Laura was able to go toe to to with Serena in baseline exchanges. She gifted Serena over half of the points she ended up with, which in some ways is bad (I mean come on, 35 UEs in 16 games is never going to be a good thing) but at the same time shows that she wasn't being hit off the court, which I think a lot of people expected. It was a learning experience, and I think the next time Laura and Serena meet the scoreline will be closer.
One of the things that really helped Serena was that she played the big points really well. If Laura had a break point, If Laura had a chance to serve out a game she'd step it up as well. That's one of the things that made the performance look more like a rout than a competition.
Given the scoreline this will probably sound like a strange one but she got the tactics spot on. The odds of beating Serena were slim to none anyway, but she went with the only possible gameplan, going for both serves, pressing at every opportunity and going for every return. Execution wise it just wasn't there, the balance of winners to errors was too great which was also to expected as this was well outside the comfort zone.
Pretty much. For the average player, rallying with Laura is a bad idea. It's just asking to get blown off the court. She's got power that most players can't match and she's got the talent to use it to boss rallies. Against players like Serena or Maria, that's just not an option. You can't overpower Serena, and Sharapova plays the exact same game with considerably more skill. Since rallying wasn't an option Laura had no choice but to play low % tennis. More often than not, it didn't work out for her, but the alternative would be to play it safer, get hit off the court and still lose the point.
By far the strangest pro I would draw out of it though was the ending. You had the end we all sort of knew was coming and the crushing double fault on MP (which unfortunately happened last week as well) and then they meet up at the net with Laura looking inconsolable, and I couldn't catch exactly what was said but it sounded like Serena said something like 'the serve will sort itself out you know'. Whatever she said they were then both giggling together and then she clapped Laura off court when they were announced again after. It was genuinely gracious and humble, and I'm sure Laura would have appreciated a kind word with that sort of authority massively, given who its coming from.
The serve continues to be a work in progress, and she is absolutely right in what she continues to say every time she's challenged on the DF count, which is that she knows the balance isn't quite there yet but its tantamount to giving the point away to 'make sure' of a second serve by just spinning it in safely. We're talking about a women's game that is return dominated at the top end, and she cannot survive in that world without a credible second serve and/or good retrieval skills. I'm fairly confident the good second serve is going to be the answer to that conundrum as she will never be a counterpuncher or retriever.
There is nothing I can add to those paragraphs.
As another aside it struck me at the end looking at the stats at just how pointless a stat unforced errors is. Is there anything other than a forced error against Serena 99% of the time. If you aren't forced into over or under-hitting under the pressure and weight of each groundstroke, it strikes me you are just as likely to overpress in trying to out-think and outmanouvre her with placement and angle. They had 34 unforced errors down for Robson which was patently rediculous if you watched the match. pointless stat as the pace and weight they put on the ball made virtually every error on both sides forced. Just an aside!
Absolutely correct. All players hitting hard and deep are going to commit a lot of DFs. It's the nature of their game, the margin of error is slim as hell and a ball that bounces slightly differently, or mistime something by a fraction of a second and you mishit the ball and lose the point. Against a player who's giving you a lot of easily returned balls, yes perhaps its meaningful. But against Serena or even Laura it's a useless statistic.
As an aside, people mentioned Aga committed many more DFs than is typical of her last week. I would question how much of that was due to bad play and how much was down to Laura forcing her off her game for similar reasons that Penny outlined.
Serena and Robson very complimentary of each other. Robson says SW the best she's ever faced, SW called her a future champion
Well Serena's the best player of her generation, and if Laura isn't winning championships in the future something's gone wrong so that kind of goes without saying.