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View Full Version : Sam Stosur - A technical discussion


laurie
Mar 19th, 2010, 11:54 PM
Sam Stosur will realise a great achievement on Monday when she enters the Top 10 for the first time. I don’t know how many titles she’s won but I know she had serious health problems at one stage so it’s good to see her doing well. It’s also nice to see a doubles specialist do well in singles.

I’ve seen a few Stosur matches on Eurosport since last summer. I always feel she has the potential to play better than she does if maybe she believed in herself more or has a better game plan.

First of all I like the fact that Sam is prepared to take the net to win points and force the action. Sam also has quite a heavy forehand which she uses to hit winners. Sam also has a technically strong serve, however, I don’t think Sam uses her serve well enough and it comes unstuck against top players.

A lot of you will remember my observations about Svetlana Kuznetsova’s serve between 2007 and 2008. Sveta also has a technically good serve but wasn’t making the most of it at the time. Sam is in that place, I find Sam places too much reliance on the kick serve especially on the ad court. The best players are waiting to punish that serve because it always sits up unless she gets it really wide and high. To be fair, that will only happen every 3 out of 10 times. I think Sam needs to develop the 2nd serve to the forehand more often on the ad court as a surprise tactic, it will give her confidence. I’ve seen her do that well but she needs to do that more often. I also think Sam needs to add more slice to her serve for variation and not rely so much on kick because in man ways slice is harder to deal with – kick serves by definition can be slow and ponderous giving dangerous opponents too much time to line up good returns. The technically best servers use slice a lot on both deuce and ad courts Davenport, Serena to name two.

Sam’s backhand today against Jelena was dreadful! Her slices were either way too short or floated well long, does she bend her elbow a lot on the shot? Can any Sam Stopsur fans out there enlighten me, was it a bad day at the office or is her backhand that bad? Jankovic was targeting it throughout the match, and the missed backhands made Sam lose serious confidence in the rest of her game. Maybe Sam should hit through the two hand backhand a lot more, get the nerves out by hitting through the ball.

Do you have any thoughts about Sam Stosur’s game and potential? And mental game? How do you assess that? I think she has potential to do better if she believes in herself more and works on some tactical issues.

goldenlox
Mar 20th, 2010, 01:14 AM
Her backhand is her weaker side by far. She has a great serve, good forehand, good at the net.
She has enough game to be top 10. Mentally she hasnt played her best often enough when it mattered. But she was very good at the French Open. I think she almost won it, but Sveta played a good 3rd set coming off a huge 3rd set against Serena. Sveta rarely plays so tough back to back in huge moments like that. Sam was really good that tournament. Good in California last summer.
Like you typed, she had a major illness to overcome.

Mightymirza
Mar 20th, 2010, 02:28 AM
she has all the weapons to win a grand slam except mental fortitude :shrug:

Svetlana)))
Mar 20th, 2010, 02:49 AM
She has horrible groundies but should make the most out of her serve and her volleys. I've always wondered why she never reached perhaps the SF of wimbledon.

aussie_fan
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:12 AM
She has horrible groundies but should make the most out of her serve and her volleys. I've always wondered why she never reached perhaps the SF of wimbledon.

Her groundies, with her extreme forehand, grass actually doesn't suit her as much.

By the way I completely agree with goldenlox's post, mentally is her major problem and therefore just affects her game completely.

Mynarco
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:24 AM
She is the worse version of UE-Na

Keadz
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:33 AM
I don't think there is a player on the tour who suffers more from drastic changes in confidence. She can use a whole a tournaments to build up enough confidence to have everything working well, then with in one point..she starts to question herself and everything falls apart. She puts on a good poker face, and continues with her game plan..but sometimes I feel this is more of a negative than a positive.

Her backhand has always been pretty bad. Before her comeback, she would drive through her bakchand, but was never able to produce the depth necessary to stay in the rally effectively. She has improved that a lot, and hits it more freely these days, even going for down the line winners!!!:lol: Not sure what was going on in the Jankovic match, she seemed to be struggling with a shoulder injury or something, so that could be a reason for the RIDICULOUS amount of slicing.

Forehand is one of the best in the game when its working, one of the worst when its not. Again its all got to do with confidence, if she starts questioning herself, she loses racquet head speed and that results in a load of errors. When its working, she can produce awesome angles and push her oppenant further back behind the court because of the huge amounts of top spin. Volleys are pretty similar, she is good coming into the net and generally sets up the point really well. Once she is there, she can look a little bit lost if she is having a bad day, if shes playing well she seems to get all of them back.

She has every serve in the book. Shame she seems to go for the kick a lot more than she should. It works on slower surfaces, but I agree she needs to go for the flatter serve and slice serve more often.

Biggest problem is her mind. I think thats pretty much always going to be a problem. Still, when she is playing remotely well, it is always refreshing watching a player like Sam who is capable of doing more than staying on the baseline. Hopefully she doesn't remember this last result for too long, and can comeback fresh in Miami. (still has doubles to go though)

Golovinjured.
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:34 AM
Her mental game is what lets her down. She's not a confident person. She's a very shy girl, and it shows in her tennis most of the time.

She has a great serve and a good forehand. Her volleys never impress me, especially for someone ranked #1 in doubles. They aren't bad, but I just expect a little more from someone who did/does so well in doubles. Also, I don't know what that slice backhand is about. :unsure: Awful, awful shot.

Huntress55
Mar 20th, 2010, 05:18 AM
Pretty much agree with everyone who talks abotu her confidence. You'd hope after cracking top 10 she might gain a bit more, but I still dont see it. She just doesnt believe in herself enough.

Her serve is really good, and she can rely on it most of the time. Her forehand is good, her volleys go on/off for me. Sometimes they work really well for her and other times she pulls out the most stupid volleys!

Her backhand... well today speaks for that. She uses the slice waaaaaaaaay too much ...but thats probably because she'll miss it most of the other times. Really really really needs to work on that if shes going to pick up her consistency and stay in the top 10.

OsloErik
Mar 20th, 2010, 05:29 AM
She has a slow-court forehand and a fast-court serve. That limits her prospects for big titles, but makes her dangerous everywhere. Her backhand, oddly, determines whether she wins a match or not. She moves too slowly to be a top slow court player, but she doesn't have the aggressive backhand for faster courts. You'd think grass would be her surface because the slice backhand and big serve would serve her purposes, but for a top volleyer she doesn't move to net all that well, which hampers her ability. Ultimately, it's tough to say where she should do her best and where she should do her worst. She's an odd player. But anyone that fit and with that good a serve is hard to count out of an upset, regardless of the surface. She's not fast, but she has stamina (a little like Guillermo Canas, for example) to last all day. That means she's not going to fade down the stretch like a lot of players.

She's not a top 5 prospect, not a slam champion in the making, but she's a good bet to make a few more slam quarters, maybe another semi, and beat a top player here and there.

Ryan
Mar 20th, 2010, 01:25 PM
Does anyone know why Sam's serving stats have been so poor this tournament? I haven't been lucky enough to see her play, but from looking at stats she's not hitting like ANY aces and has a bunch of doubles every match. Isn't a kick serve supposed to be more reliable?

laurie
Mar 20th, 2010, 02:10 PM
Does anyone know why Sam's serving stats have been so poor this tournament? I haven't been lucky enough to see her play, but from looking at stats she's not hitting like ANY aces and has a bunch of doubles every match. Isn't a kick serve supposed to be more reliable?

That's a good question. A kick serve can be reliable but by definition its a safe shot and if a player is relying on a kick serve over 50% of the time then they are not going to hit aces. And as I said the best players are sitting on that serve to punish it.

The thing is, to win Tennis matches, especially big matches, you have to be prepared to take risks and by Sam hitting that serve over and over again, it indicates to me she's not prepared to take risks often.

tennisforadults
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:07 PM
She has a slow-court forehand and a fast-court serve. That limits her prospects for big titles, but makes her dangerous everywhere. Her backhand, oddly, determines whether she wins a match or not. She moves too slowly to be a top slow court player, but she doesn't have the aggressive backhand for faster courts. You'd think grass would be her surface because the slice backhand and big serve would serve her purposes, but for a top volleyer she doesn't move to net all that well, which hampers her ability. Ultimately, it's tough to say where she should do her best and where she should do her worst. She's an odd player. But anyone that fit and with that good a serve is hard to count out of an upset, regardless of the surface. She's not fast, but she has stamina (a little like Guillermo Canas, for example) to last all day. That means she's not going to fade down the stretch like a lot of players.

She's not a top 5 prospect, not a slam champion in the making, but she's a good bet to make a few more slam quarters, maybe another semi, and beat a top player here and there.

Very interesting post. Makes a lot of sense!

I always thought it was odd that Sam's topspin forehands are great for clay but her best results have been on hard courts (except RG last year). I think her performance at RG will give her a lot more confidence with her slow court game going into the European clay swing this year - but she's so up and down I really don't know what to expect. Hope it won't be like the US hardcourt season where she performed really well throughout until a meltdown at USO.

Top 5 potential maybe - but even as a fan I admit a Grand Slam trophy will be almost impossible. That said, her weapons are incredible on good days and she will continue to do a lot of damage in the next few years.

Slutiana
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:29 PM
Everyone seems to be neglecting to mention the fact that the girl struggles to hit the ball in the middle of her racket on the best of days. :lol:

Sexysova
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:30 PM
her forehand is a good shot but she can make some wild errors as she has an extreme grip on it, her backhand is simply awful, her slice one is a little better than drive, her volleys are just pathetic in singles, I've never seen her playing doubles but in all singles matches I've seen she didn't do well at the net at all, her only good shot is her serve and then forehand when she has time for it.. she's weak mentally as well.. also her movement is poor.. I don't think so she should be in TOP 20..

tennisforadults
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:11 AM
her forehand is a good shot but she can make some wild errors as she has an extreme grip on it, her backhand is simply awful, her slice one is a little better than drive, her volleys are just pathetic in singles, I've never seen her playing doubles but in all singles matches I've seen she didn't do well at the net at all, her only good shot is her serve and then forehand when she has time for it.. she's weak mentally as well.. also her movement is poor.. I don't think so she should be in TOP 20..

She's in top 10 because she went deep in several tournaments and beat some quality players. I agree her volleys and backhands need improving (the slice is a recent addition) but if she's as 'crap' as you said, she wouldn't be beating players like Zvonareva, Serena, Safina and Wozniacki.

If she can beat quality players using only a serve and forehand, then hey, they must be bloody good.