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post #147 of (permalink) Old Dec 28th, 2012, 10:32 PM
country flag The Dawntreader
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Re: It's dead obvious Azarenka is going to flop this season

Azarenka's forehand DTL has improved, especially on the run, but there's still no killer impact on that shot. She can't hit consistently outright winners with it during a rally, unless she's gradually wearing her opponent down in those laborious CC rallies like sammy pointed out, and she can't consistently generate and deflect pace off that wing without dropping her length. In her Wimbledon SF vs Serena, anytime she got met with pace and depth, she had to resort to her usual scooping the ball back, without being able to hit through it with any kind of racquet head speed. She just isn't the fluid, natural ball-striker everyone assumes her to be on the forehand. It lacks any kind of innate weight and body-weight transference to consistently do damage.

Her backhand return is her real strength, able to neutralise even the hugest, well-placed of serves, and allow her to start the point in the ascendancy with her court positioning, and thus her gruelling grinding can begin. And I never get this reasoning that she can change the direction of the ball at will, and certainly not with any great impact. Her footwork in particular doesn't allow this. Azarenka has actually excellent anticipation, getting behind the ball well, but her footwork and general mobility are poor. That makes it extremely difficult to change the angles of the ball. Davenport was far inferior to Azarenka in terms of footspeed, but she had supple hands, and superb footwork around the ball that gave her easy, rhythmic timing. Azarenka just doesn't have that.

Azarenka really needs to find some kind of immediate weaponry, a serve especially. There's no glossing over the fact that at times she can look ridiculously underpowered. No coincidence.
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