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View Full Version : Serena Not At Her Best and Still Beating #1 - What Does It Mean ...


tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:46 AM
.. to the rest of the other WTA Players.

Does this mean if Serena is on, the scoreline against Maria, instead of being a rarity, might become common occurence against other players?

Volcana
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:53 AM
The fast players are going to look at the Peer and Henin matches, and see hope. The slower power baseliners are going to look at the Sharapova match, and find little encouragement.

And I'm sure everybody noted that in some matches, Serena starts slow, and can be taken advantage of.

I doubt they're losing sleep. They are professionals.

ZeroSOFInfinity
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:53 AM
Nothing. Life goes on as normal. Anything can happen in one day.

sundoulos
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:53 AM
Mental toughness in professional sports is the key. Serena has it for now. Justine broke down at the end, whether it was because of Serena raising her level of play, or she lowered hers. I think it was a combination of both, nowever, Justine falling down twice didn't help her confidence. The question is who else possess the mental toughness to win even when your serve and ground strokes are totally off. Answer: not many.

Apoleb
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:59 AM
It just means that Serena is an incredible fighter. Cause tennis-wise, she was getting beaten comprehensively. That 5-4 game turned around the whole match, and Justine fell off mentally for a few games, and that was enough to decide the match.

eck
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:02 AM
Means that even if you have triple match points, or 7 match points in TB, you can never count her out.

starin
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:05 AM
Mental toughness in professional sports is the key. Serena has it for now. Justine broke down at the end, whether it was because of Serena raising her level of play, or she lowered hers. I think it was a combination of both, nowever, Justine falling down twice didn't help her confidence. The question is who else possess the mental toughness to win even when your serve and ground strokes are totally off. Answer: not many.

I agree. I haven't seen many players still win when all their strokes are failing them. Something I've always admired in Serena. Doesn't matter how far from her best she is, she can still find a way to win.

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:09 AM
Aside from Volcana, you guys are not answering the second part of the question.
Which, was: If Serena is on her game and , like she was twice in this trournament, will the score be routinely
as lopsided as it was in the two matches .

serenafann
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:12 AM
That She is one of the GREATS.

metamorpha
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:15 AM
I agree. I haven't seen many players still win when all their strokes are failing them. Something I've always admired in Serena. Doesn't matter how far from her best she is, she can still find a way to win.

I didn't watch the match, but it must've been her serve again that saved her neck.

DOUBLEFIST
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:17 AM
The fast players are going to look at the Peer and Henin matches, and see hope.

All they really needed to do was go back and look at J-Cap. This "vulnerability" in Serena has been pretty consistant.

metamorpha
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:17 AM
.. to the rest of the other WTA Players.

Does this mean if Serena is on, the scoreline against Maria, instead of being a rarity, might become common occurence against other players?

No. Not all players are as helpless as Maria and they do not often have 'off-days' like Pierce.

DOUBLEFIST
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:18 AM
Aside from Volcana, you guys are not answering the second part of the question.
Which, was: If Serena is on her game and , like she was twice in this trournament, will the score be routinely
as lopsided as it was in the two matches .

Yes.

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:18 AM
I didn't watch the match, but it must've been her serve again that saved her neck.
She did not really have a rythm.
Her serve let her down many times, and it saved her at times.
But I would not say, it was factor in the outcome.
It anything, it was a liability today.
I think she won on pure guts, or should I say refusal to lose

Apoleb
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:20 AM
If Serena is on her game and , like she was twice in this trournament, will the score be routinely
as lopsided as it was in the two matches .

It would depend on who she's playing against, and how good those players are. :shrug: At her best, she'll be the favorite against anyone, but I don't think that the last two matches against Maria show the real difference betwee their games. Maria is clearly having an off period now, possibly the worst since Wimb 04, and I'd think it'd be much closer if her serve got to where it was in the summer of 06. As for Justine, she showed today that she improved so much on faster courts against the big hitters. Four years ago, there's no way in hell Justine would hit so many winners with her forehand or return like she did today. She lost with an off Serena, but she was in control of the match for the large part, before falling mentally herself. So overall, I really don't think one can take anything from that match on the level of Serena's opposition, except probably that Justine is catching up on hard courts.

No Name Face
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:20 AM
I didn't watch the match, but it must've been her serve again that saved her neck.

no, it really didn't. justine was chipping the shit out of her serves...most of them didn't faze her, which was weird to me. serena won by pure guts.

Realtennis
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:21 AM
.. to the rest of the other WTA Players.

Does this mean if Serena is on, the scoreline against Maria, instead of being a rarity, might become common occurence against other players?
No, Justine could very easily have wrapped it up 6-0, 6-4............and then everyone would be talking completely differently. Such is the nature of sport, particularly tennis.

starin
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:28 AM
I didn't watch the match, but it must've been her serve again that saved her neck.

actually surprisingly not really. her serve let her down more often then not in this final match. Except near the end of the 3rd set. That's why her win is so amazing to me because her serve (her biggest weapon) wasn't really working and she still found a way to win.

as to the second part of the question....probably on fast courts.

starin
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:29 AM
no, it really didn't. justine was chipping the shit out of her serves...most of them didn't faze her, which was weird to me. serena won by pure guts.

yeah when she did get a big serve in and got a short ball she often made an error. I think she's a little slow moving forward. But she wasn't confident in her serve. Was using a lot more spin on them and taking pace off the second and first serve.

K-Dog
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:30 AM
It means to me that if Serena really wants to this year and continues to train and play hard, she will be number 1 and win at least 1 more major this year. I'm feeling a USO for Serena. As long as she's healthy and playing pretty well, Serena is the best player on hard courts. She could win Wimbledon as well, but I see someone else doing that. Imo, Serena will end the year in the top 4, win at least 2 slams, and at least 5 titles. Serena still needs to work on her movement and lose some more weight in her legs. She was slow and flat-footed a lot this tournament (except against Maria and Nicole). Her serve is still the best in the women's game and when her groundgame is working, it is still the most devastating. With her mental toughness and refusal to lose on the big stage, I don't know too many players who can beat her. Justine is probably the only one and a Venus on a good day, but let's be real, when Venus got those two wins in 2005, Serena wasn't at her best. This re-enforces that she is the best player in the world.

cellophane
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:32 AM
I'd really like to see Serena play Hingis now.

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:35 AM
I'd really like to see Serena play Hingis now.
And for what reason?

cellophane
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:37 AM
And for what reason?

To see if Hingis can hang with Serena or if she would be destroyed. It's just an interesting match-up.

BTW, Sharapova is Sharapova...you can't expect all matches with other players to be like that one.

ico4498
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:40 AM
.. to the rest of the other WTA Players.

Does this mean if Serena is on, the scoreline against Maria, instead of being a rarity, might become common occurence against other players?

i think it means Serena is a great player.

Serena doesn't beat every top player the way she's beaten Maria this year. too small a sample to conclude anything regarding the entire tour decisively, just from the 07 Sharapova matches.

its a double edged sword yah weild tennisbum79, no way to discredit Rena's opponents without diminishing what baby girl accomplished ...

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:43 AM
Originally Posted by No Name Face http://imgsrv2.tennisuniverse.com/wtaworld/images/buttons/blue/viewpost.gif (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=10414250#post10414250)
no, it really didn't. justine was chipping the shit out of her serves...most of them didn't faze her, which was weird to me. serena won by pure guts.

yeah when she did get a big serve in and got a short ball she often made an error. I think she's a little slow moving forward. But she wasn't confident in her serve. Was using a lot more spin on them and taking pace off the second and first serve.

The chipping from Justine was very effective .
It took little effort from Justine, but frustrasted Serena alot and she made many errors.
AT times she looks like the Serena (of old) who had trouble when she was drawn in the middle of the court.

If anything she needs to imporve, Serena need to find a solution to Justtine predictible chipping on big serve.
For example to avoid having to blast the ball ( and missing) , she could charge the net, since most of those chipped balls were so high and floating.

K-Dog
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:46 AM
Even though Serena played well in this tournament and this year, the competition is not what is was when Serena was at her peak. When Serena dominated, Jennifer, Lindsay, Monica, Martina, Justine, Kim, and Venus were all in the top ten and pushing Serena to be at her best. I'm sorry, but Maria, the Amelie, Kim, and Martina of now, and all the other Russians are NO-WHERE near as good as any of those players mentioned above. All those rivals from 2001-2003 are pretty much hall-of-famers. The only Russian that will be in the hall-of-fame will be Sharapova. The top players are SO streaky and one-dimensional now. They are all ball-bashers with no, real natural talent, just that they've been hitting balls the same way since they were 5 years old. The other players were innovators and all made the game look so easy and effortless. I'm convinced that the players of that were at the top from 1999-2003 are better than the top players from 2004-2007. Because of that Serena needed to be better at her peak. Serena was faster, had a better serve, and groundstrokes were more automatic and fluid than they are now. She's just playing as well as she needs to now to dominate the players of now.

maddogz48
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:48 AM
I didn't watch the match, but it must've been her serve again that saved her neck.

Serena's serve let her down for most of the match. It completely deserted her in the first set and rarely came through for her. Yet Serena still found a way to win... she's just too good for her opponents this year. :)

vejh
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:52 AM
Justine took the chipping cue from Momo...it's a great strategy against any player. I think Ju could have saved herself some problems and hit outright winners on some of those second serves because she is fast and was getting to them easy. She's a fantastic returner.

Different player would play Serena differently. Ju is a not a typical hard ball hitter and that will give Serena problems.

The propblem I have with questions like these is they never seem to take into account the fact that Serena is not playing in a vacuum. There will be days when she is in the zone, but most times she won't be, she's human. SO there will be days that she may just produce ace after ace and every risky stroke is in. But there are more likely to be days when the whole feel of her play will be interdepedent on what her opponent is doing; and that's what tennis is all about.


To the rest of the WTA players winning a difficult match against a good player while not at their best is nothing new, and certainly not anything unique to Serena. But if she is really on, like AO 2007 finals on (despite what the opponent is doing) then well ...as I explained above, the dynamics of the game will change from opponent to opponent because it takes 2 to tango baby:)

K-Dog
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:59 AM
The blocking the serve back with no pace is effective against Serena when she isn't confident, but not when she is playing well. But even at times when she is playing well, those mid-court balls with no pace trouble Serena and show her lack of foot-work at times. The main reason that Venus had should a good record against Justine is because she is better at putting away the short balls and attacking the net. Venus is plain and simple a better fore-court player than Serena. Those little floaty returns would've all made nice approach shots for Venus to attack Justine on. When Venus beat Justine, she was serving near her peak and Justine had little to no answer on the return games if Venus wasn't making errors. Also, most of Venus' approach shots go into the backhand corner of a righty and Justine is not as strong on the backhand when that wing is put under pressure. Justine lobs and passes better off the forehand than the backhand. It proves moreso that Venus and Serena are really different players.

vejh
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:03 AM
What you are forgetting is that Justine is a completely different player than the last time she player Venus or Serena. Her strategy is different, her forehand is a completely retooled weapon, and she's infinitely more confident in her hardcourt game. So comparing Venus then to Serena's now is a bit unfair. Let's see what happens when they (Venus and Justine) meet.

And those chipped returns are hard to take on the rise. They were just annoying balls that would be wiser to make bounce before taking a whack at them. It's an unused strategy of our ball bashers of today.

cellophane
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:15 AM
Even though Serena played well in this tournament and this year, the competition is not what is was when Serena was at her peak. When Serena dominated, Jennifer, Lindsay, Monica, Martina, Justine, Kim, and Venus were all in the top ten and pushing Serena to be at her best. I'm sorry, but Maria, the Amelie, Kim, and Martina of now, and all the other Russians are NO-WHERE near as good as any of those players mentioned above. All those rivals from 2001-2003 are pretty much hall-of-famers. The only Russian that will be in the hall-of-fame will be Sharapova. The top players are SO streaky and one-dimensional now. They are all ball-bashers with no, real natural talent, just that they've been hitting balls the same way since they were 5 years old. The other players were innovators and all made the game look so easy and effortless. I'm convinced that the players of that were at the top from 1999-2003 are better than the top players from 2004-2007. Because of that Serena needed to be better at her peak. Serena was faster, had a better serve, and groundstrokes were more automatic and fluid than they are now. She's just playing as well as she needs to now to dominate the players of now.

What does that mean? I'm sure she doesn't go out and not try to play her best and just play as well as she "needs to". If that were the case, she'd be bageling the players who are worse than the top 10 in 2001-2003...she wouldn't be playing 3-setters either.

Also... while the top 10 players are certainly inconsistent... who exactly are you calling ball bashers apart from Vaidisova?

AcesHigh
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:26 AM
What you are forgetting is that Justine is a completely different player than the last time she player Venus or Serena. Her strategy is different, her forehand is a completely retooled weapon, and she's infinitely more confident in her hardcourt game. So comparing Venus then to Serena's now is a bit unfair. Let's see what happens when they (Venus and Justine) meet.

And those chipped returns are hard to take on the rise. They were just annoying balls that would be wiser to make bounce before taking a whack at them. It's an unused strategy of our ball bashers of today.

Justine completely different? She was an excellent player back then and was just as good on hardcourt as she is now. Her forehand has improved, but she's lost power since her illness in 2004. Plus, her serve has less pop and is more inconsistent IMO.

Apoleb
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:31 AM
double post.

Apoleb
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:34 AM
She was an excellent player back then and was just as good on hardcourt as she is now.

That's ridiculous. She was nowhere as aggressive as she is now and her returns were nothing like the returns she developed in the last couple of years. You'd never see Justine in 2003 run aroud the backhand to hit return forehand winners, or even hit so many winners from the forehand. Oh and her forehand is so much more powerful than before, basically because she altered the swing. In 2002 and even 2003 it was clearly the weak part of her game, and players attacked it to get the short ball. You can't do that anymore. The serve is a bit inconsistent now it's true, but I think her 2nd serve is better. Overall, her 2002/2003 fast court performance is nowhere near as comparable to her current one.

BrianII
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:49 AM
I think what K-dog is saying is that Serena is one of those players that "hates to lose more than she likes to win"..if that makes sense ...he/she feels that the players back then could not only beat serena more often than now, they could do in a greater variety of differnet ways .. forcing serena to get more out of herself, even if unconsiously, than she can get by winning everything in sight.
In 1999 serena ended the year 4th won her first grandslam ..but importantly was 3-1 against hingis 3-0 against Davenport and 1-1 against Venus she had the best record of the four playing amongst themselves ie she knew she was as good as or if not better than the three above her (steffi was retiring)...one would think she would ride this wave to even greater sucess in 2000, instead she come out flat. factor in capriat in 2001 and serena's series of losses in important big matches continued to grow it was these losses that gave rise to serena version 2002 not the sucesses of 1999... seems to me a very plausible theory

Volcana
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:54 AM
Does this mean if Serena is on, the scoreline against Maria, instead of being a rarity, might become common occurence against other players?Actually, yes, it should become a more common occurence. Not common, but MORE common.

Sharapova is a certain type of player. Slow-footed, big hitter, good serve BIG hitter. Her lack of footspeed can be attacked, if you good at using angles, and you can hit big yourself. Serena can do that. It makes Sharapova run, robbing her of power. It also helps that Serena herself is fast.

In other words, there's a strategy, a set of tactics, that forces a match between Sharapova and Serena so that Serena has open court to hit into more often, and Sharapova's ball is moving slower, and Sharapova isn't getting many chances to plant her feet and hit. Sharapova keeps this from happening by hitting hard and deep. Without short balls, Serena can't move in and hit angles.

Some days, Sharapova is going to have her Evert going, and she's going to beat Serena. But when she's not playing well, she's going to lose badly. Because Serena knows how to play against that type of player. I'd expect to see this kind of score against Hantuchova, maybe Vaidisova if her serve wasn't working, player who hit hard, but don't run that fast, and don't have an off-speed game.




won't be able

iWill
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:07 AM
I think we can see these scorelines from Serena but its not like she's never won matches like this before I mean in 02-03 she was winning tourneys without dropping a set (02 Miami Wimbledon and USO) so thats what she expects out of herself.... i dont see her beating Venus and Justine and Amelie as bad as she has Sharapova the last two times but i dont expect her to steamroll sharapova the next time they play either to me this means that she will be a top contender for EVERY tourney she does enter and she can only go up from here since she has no points till after Wimbledon to defend

trivfun
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:31 AM
THAt inside out backhand by Serena in tight situations was incredible. You can't defend that shot particularly in Grass. That should have been a cross-court shot and Justine has to look at it as cross court shot. If Serena does it early in matches, it is over. Justine was about to quit at 3-1 but the fans encouraged and she played it out.

piercerocks
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:33 AM
well maria wasn't at her best either.. but i'm sure they will find a way to win at least a couple of times.. you got to be perfect when you play serena

vejh
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:33 AM
trivfun, were you there? How do you mean quit? You mean like abandon the match?

Jakeev
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:35 AM
Aside from Volcana, you guys are not answering the second part of the question.
Which, was: If Serena is on her game and , like she was twice in this trournament, will the score be routinely
as lopsided as it was in the two matches .


Uh Volcana pretty much answered your question.

-VSR-
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:39 AM
It means that Serena is mightly amazing. :D

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:45 AM
No, Justine could very easily have wrapped it up 6-0, 6-4............and then everyone would be talking completely differently. Such is the nature of sport, particularly tennis.
Unfortunately for Justine, that was not the case.
That is the very reason we have this topic.
Because Justine could not it wrap it despite all the momentum she had coupled with the disastrous level of Serena's play.

So for the purpose of this discussion, let us stay with what actually happened,.
Not what could have, or would have ,or shoudl have happened.

tennisbum79
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:50 AM
Actually, yes, it should become a more common occurence. Not common, but MORE common.

Point well taken

tennnisfannn
Apr 1st, 2007, 06:01 AM
no player plays at their absolute best every match so a whitewash in every match is not gonna happen, ot for serena, not fr justine not for anyone. Perhaps kim until she meets a the aforementioned players and a couple others.

AcesHigh
Apr 1st, 2007, 06:14 AM
That's ridiculous. She was nowhere as aggressive as she is now and her returns were nothing like the returns she developed in the last couple of years. You'd never see Justine in 2003 run aroud the backhand to hit return forehand winners, or even hit so many winners from the forehand. Oh and her forehand is so much more powerful than before, basically because she altered the swing. In 2002 and even 2003 it was clearly the weak part of her game, and players attacked it to get the short ball. You can't do that anymore. The serve is a bit inconsistent now it's true, but I think her 2nd serve is better. Overall, her 2002/2003 fast court performance is nowhere near as comparable to her current one.

Does aggressive necessarily mean better? Justine hasn't won a hardcourt slam since 2004 and is her forehand more powerful? I don't know.. is it better overall? Yes. Despite that, she can't overpower the best players. Do u think JUstine in 2003 would have lost to Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 and have played as poorly as she did against JJ? :rolleyes: She's smaller and she's not as powerful. her 2003 hardcourt performance included a USO win so yes, it is comparable.