Yes, I know that you said that, I just have a completely different impression. She's going forward whenever she can, her volleys have improved a bit, she's hitting the forehand better. The reason why she can't be more aggressive isn't that "new style" or "average route", she simply has a very low 1st serve percentage. She had a right game plan against Serena, she was competitive off the ground and it's not like the average route prevented her from winning more games, she was missing some easy putaways and/or hitting on Serena's racket when she had a chance to finish the points. I think it's panic because she didn't do that against other players.
We disagree completely then. Against Serena, its undeniable that Ana's FH costed her at least a few more games. Exactly because a top player barely allows her to hit the FH freely and robs her time on it.. so when she has the chance to hit a FH, its too erractic to actually work. She gets anxious to do it, because its so few chances.. and its not really what she is working on. Ana needed to be working to death on the flat FH, her best shot at a real big weapon.
Against scrubs, she gets all the time in the world.. so she looks aggressive.. like that FH winner feast against Arvidsson. But I have said that Ana was striking her FH a bit better, more aggressively and flatter at the USO.. comparing to the passiveness of most of the tournaments this year, which made me hope they are finally seeing she needs her flat FH.
Fight? You mean she stayed focused after wasting the break points. But, still, how did she win the match? Fight is not a playing style.
Fight yes.. keeping herself in it, fighting off BPs and keeping focused while wasting some.. that's fight. Julia had BPs in many games in that third set and Ana kept saving them.. that's also fight.
You say that she should hit it as flat as possible and I don't think that she has ever played that way. And trying to kill every single ball was what she was doing before 2007 for obvious reasons. Ever since getting fitter she's been trying to play with more patience, to construct the point.
No... where did I say she has to hit as flat as possible? I said she needs her flat heavy FH and none of this put spin on it
. That has nothing to do with hitting as flat as possible. And there is a difference between being patient and constructing points and being passive. With all this put spin on it, Ana's FH was just not hurting anyone anymore.. she was being robbed of time.. and even though she lost weight she isn't fast and will never really be. So she needs to hit her FH aggressively at the first opportunity. Which doesn't mean trying to bash the ball the first time she has a FH to hit.. but at the first opportunity she has, at the first opening for an aggressive FH. Against top players, if she isn't really aggressive from the start, these opportunities will be scarce.. And if Ana waits for the fith opportunity to actually strike a FH, the ball will just not get to her FH, will already be endlessly on her BH.
That's what I said.
But I don't think that she didn't rally against LenaD. She was doing it, but she was faster and hitting a fh better. Also, she could serve.
In that match Ana was very aggressive.. hitting hard, flat and heavy shots. Hardly ever does this now.. her shots are much more airy since she began to work in getting her game through the average route..
You can't win a single match in pro tennis if your serve is really bad unless you're Errani. Even her serve is not "really bad". Ana's 1st serve percentage is a big problem there. And we can't say how good Ana's serve in 2011 was because she was losing in R1 for the most of the time. And against the scrubs her serve still looks good. When she plays against what you call a 1st decent opponent (top 5 player, btw), it falls apart. But how many times did Ana play against those decent players during the last 4 years? Her serve wasn't good enough even against the players like Sevastova. I noticed that her serve got worse after Miami, when she started taking those vacations and getting injured frequently, but it's not getting progressively worse after hiring Nigel. What kind of coach would make someone's serve worse? It happens when you try to change your serve motion or when you get injured, but not just like that.
No.. Ana's serve doesn't look good against anyone.. even scrubs are having a quite high win percentage in her 1st and 2nd serves. Ana is winning matches against lesser players on groundgame.. the average route is good for that, as she will be more consistent then the lesser players, so less prone to real bad losses. You don't need 1000000 matches to see if the serve is good, ok, bad, so so.. Hradecka doesnt play that much and loses a lot of matches, but her serve is great. Ana's serve in 2011 was WAY better than it is now.. better placement, higher percentage, hit harder.
And Ana's first decent opponent are not top 5 players..
Even now against Stephens, Ana struggled mightly on serve.. Sofia was getting BPs on Ana's serve left, right and center.
Ana played Sevastova in IW 2010, right? Did you watch that match? No. Ana's groundgame was in shambles at that point in 2010.. there was no way she could do well in a match without a groundgame.. see Hradecka. Ana's serve in early 2011 was only thing that was working.. now her groundgame is less erractic against lesser opposition, due to the average route, so she beats them regardless of the awful state of her serve.
And it has been progressively bad since Ana started working with Nigel.. that's the one shot he has made worse. There is no doubt about that. It was better at USO 2011 than at Beijing 2011 (remember thinking how Ana won those matches against Kuznetsova and Zvonareva on groundgame ALONE), and better in Beijing than in Bali and better in Bali than at AO, then better at AO than Dubai, then better in Dubai than Miami, then better in Miami than Rome, then better in Rome than RG, then better in RG than at Wimbledon, then better at Wimbledon than OG, then better at OG than USO 2012. Only exception was Indian Wells. Ana served ok in Indian Wells. A serve can get worse whenever you are tinkering with it.. and they are obviously tinkering with it. Ana has said herself that they are working in a lot of things regarding her serve. And its obviously not working. Its no coincidence that her first serve percentage was that abysmal at the USO. Its just that the progression of getting worse started to get obvious during clay season.. and now its really bad, so its more obvious.
Ana's injuries were all leg injuries.. it might have slowed her down in footwork and speed.. but not in serving. Now.. it might have contributed or made the process of the degeneration of Ana's serve faster.. but its not the cause. The cause is the tinkering they are making.
Don't say players cant win matches without serve..
Vika's serve is not good at all, and she is winning a LOT, because of her groundgame. Errani is not the only example. Kerber has the most match wins of the year and her serve is crap. Lena D didn't have a serve for SO long, yet she was a top 10 player for 10 years... I could go on and on. If you have a bad serve, you can compensate with your groundgame. Now Ana is a player who depends much more on her serve than the above mentioned players, because she isn't as fast or consistent. So to have a chance against any top player, yes Ana needs the serve to be working well and the FH to be firing and to be really aggressive. But she can keep winning matches against lesser players on groundgame alone.