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View Full Version : Just some thoughts on the Serena/Jankovic USO final


hankqq
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:32 AM
It was well played. Jankovic showed off her incredible defense and really made Serena work for most points. Here's what I noticed:

a) I would say Jankovic hit about 2/3 of her groundstrokes and serves to Serena's forehand, which is not surprising. The same old tactic of hoping Serena will give errors was used. Sometimes Serena did give errors, but unfortunately for Jankovic, most of the time Serena either hit really good forehands or at least got the ball back in play.

b) 1 key difference: serving and overheads. In this match, we saw Serena hold off many break chances by putting in a good serve which set up the rest of the point. We also watched Serena finish off points with overheads at least 15 times during the match. On the flip side, while Jankovic actually served well for her standards tonight, her serve is of course always vulnerable to being attacked. What else did we see? There were a few times when Jankovic had to hit overheads, and could not finish the point (she missed 1, and 2 others were not hit well enough so Serena could continue the rally).

c) Serena's movement and hitting on the run: yeah, there were some patches in this match where Serena's footwork got a little sloppy (especially see the game when Jankovic broke her to up 4-3 in set #2), but for the most part, Serena moved very well. Serena obviously came in prepared to play lots of long points, and she ran down a lot of balls which seemed to frustrate Jankovic. Jankovic seemed to expect Serena to hit more errors in the long points, and we often saw her in disbelief against Steadyrena.

What impressed me is that Serena was patient tonight, and was only aggressive on-the-run when the shot was there. I'm not used to seeing Serena hit so many slice backhands/forehands to keep a point in play, but we saw a lot of this tonight. Jankovic was caught by surprise too it seemed. Smartrena :hearts:

d) Serena's volleying :hearts: This fits in line with Serena being aggressive yet smart. Instead of always staying back at the baseline and trying to out-run Jankovic, Serena came forward when she could to end the point. Jankovic is an excellent passer, but Serena volleyed really well tonight, and not just swinging volleys-I'm talking about classic volleys. Her technique was sound and she didn't rush through them as is sometimes the case with her.

e) Unfortunately for Jankovic, her game plan (at least to me) is becoming a bit predictable. Other than hitting 2/3 of her shots to Serena's forehand side, we also saw her hit the same type of shots. Almost all of the time, Jankovic went for her best shot, the down-the-line backhand when she could. I actually thought Serena left her this opening a little too often, even during points when Serena could keep the ball in play. Obviously this is Jankovic's weapon, and it can finish off points against anyone.
I noticed Jankovic usually only went cross court with her backhand when it looked like Serena was out of position to hit a good backhand, and I thought this was a good play, but again predictable. Serena looked like she knew Jankovic was going to try to break down her forehand, and she was ready for it (although there were a few games when Serena's forehand went off).

f) Jankovic's forehand was more of a weapon tonight, and she hit several great down-the-line forehands. When Serena managed to return Jankovic's down-the-line backhands, Jankovic usually moved in to hit a down-the-line forehand.

g) We talk about Serena's return of serve, but how about Jankovic? Even for someone with such a massive and varied serve as Serena, acing Jankovic or even hitting unreturnables is not an easy task. Sure, Jankovic is not going to hit as many return winners as someone like Serena, but she's going to return most serves, which puts a lot of pressure on her opponents. Jankovic can get back so many serves it's amazing. She may not be the #1 player, but her retrieving skills are #1 IMO.

h) angles, angles, angles!! Both women hit some excellent angles tonight. Jankovic had that great passing shot when Serena was at the net in set 2. Serena has been working on this aspect of her game this year, and it paid off tonight. The backhand to win the match was :hearts: How about that forehand-to-forehand cc angle rally we saw? Great tennis.

I think if Jankovic had played someone else tonight, she probably would have won. She forced Serena to beat her in numerous long rallies, and Serena came up with the goods tonight. Well done to both ladies. :yeah:

Miss Amor
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:34 AM
Serena's serve was vulnerable today

Volcana
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:35 AM
Well done to both ladies. :yeah:

Cam'ron Giles
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:37 AM
Damn...you really had some thoughts...You wrote a book....:lol:

RenaSlam.
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:37 AM
Jankovic also hit a fair amount of slice forehands, which Serena usually gobbled up pretty well. :)

HRHoliviasmith
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:38 AM
jelena's serve is worse than dementieva's. it saddened me.

barmaid
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:47 AM
There is no denying that Serena after tonight's 9th Grand Slam does put her in an elite category:worship:...but it also solidifies herself as probably the "best" at not acknowledging or thanking her opponent for their play.:rolleyes:...Serena left a ton of sweat out there.:mad:..she was run ragged,:eek: she would have still been playing the 3rd set if Jelena hadn't double-faulted the 2nd set away.:tape:...all the commentators said it was the "best" match at the U.S. Open finals in years and that was mainly due to the competitive effort of Jelena...not so much Serena who was poised to "breeze" through this final. Honestly, Serena for all her talent and accomplishments still hasn't learned to express a simple "thank you" to her opponent during her acceptance speech...however I do hope in her post-match interview she will acknowledge the great effort Jelena put in.:worship:

barmaid:wavey:

hankqq
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:47 AM
Serena's serve was vulnerable today

It was, but her 1st serve % was 62%. She won 60% 1st serves and 54% 2nd serves. Against someone like Jankovic, who typically gets a lot of breaks in her matches, this is a good stat. Jankovic was only 3/8 on break chances.

We knew Serena would get lots of looks at Jankovic's serve, but she was 5/16 on break point chances. Jankovic's average 1st serve was 99mph, which is good for her-meaning she didn't just powder puff them in. Some of Jankovic's matches her 1st serve average is in the mid-80's, so that's an improvement for her.

hankqq
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:51 AM
Serena left a ton of sweat out there.:mad:..she was run ragged,:eek: she would have still been playing the 3rd set if Jelena hadn't double-faulted the 2nd set away.:tape:...all the commentators said it was the "best" match at the U.S. Open finals in years and that was mainly due to the competitive effort of Jelena...not so much Serena who was poised to "breeze" through this final.
barmaid:wavey:

I already mentioned how competitive this match was. Jankovic put on an impressive performance tonight, especially given how this was her first slam final.

You are right about Jankovic's double faults, as 2 of them came at crucial times when she had the lead. That's nerves though :shrug: It is the most important match of her career, and if there's 1 shot that will break down, it's her serve. She didn't double fault that much though-just 4 times, although 2 of them came at the worst possible time.

Dawn Marie
Sep 8th, 2008, 06:14 AM
WTF? Serena beat jelena at her own game. She ran Jelena ragged as hell. Rewatch the match and watch who ran the miles on the court. LMAO.
It was a well played match but Serena had total control. She remained steady and worked the points more so than going for out right winners. Of course theyboth had some great shots but Serena ran Jelena all over the court and whoever says the opposite didn't watch the match or is legally blind and dumb.

Apoleb
Sep 8th, 2008, 06:19 AM
I think a major factor was Jelena's inexistent net play. She had many chances to come forward and finish the rally, but instead kept on rallying, including on set point on Serena's serve. I think that what primarily costed her today. She was more than aggressive than ever from the baseline but couldn't follow that up.

But that's still the best that I've ever seen from her.

schorsch
Sep 8th, 2008, 06:25 AM
I think a major factor was Jelena's inexistent net play. She had many chances to come forward and finish the rally, but instead kept on rallying, including on set point on Serena's serve. I think that what primarily costed her today. She was more than aggressive than ever from the baseline but couldn't follow that up.

But that's still the best that I've ever seen from her.

i am still waiting for that to happen though... and i hope in the offseason this will be one of her main targets... net play i think that would help her out a lot.

StarDuvallGrant
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:17 AM
There is no denying that Serena after tonight's 9th Grand Slam does put her in an elite category:worship:...but it also solidifies herself as probably the "best" at not acknowledging or thanking her opponent for their play.:rolleyes:...Serena left a ton of sweat out there.:mad:..she was run ragged,:eek: she would have still been playing the 3rd set if Jelena hadn't double-faulted the 2nd set away.:tape:...all the commentators said it was the "best" match at the U.S. Open finals in years and that was mainly due to the competitive effort of Jelena...not so much Serena who was poised to "breeze" through this final. Honestly, Serena for all her talent and accomplishments still hasn't learned to express a simple "thank you" to her opponent during her acceptance speech...however I do hope in her post-match interview she will acknowledge the great effort Jelena put in.:worship:

barmaid:wavey:

It's a bit hypocritical of you to ask of Serena what you didn't even give her in this match :wavey:

mdterp01
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:23 AM
Serena didn't even play THAT great in my opinion, and still won in 2 sets. There were many points where she was just pushing the ball and not really going after her shots. I think Serena is trying to play this reigned in controlled tennis which works but makes it harder than it needs to be for herself. Yeah Jankovic retrieves well but there were many points where I was like ok Serena why aren't you hitting harder. Props to Jelena for holding up her end to make it an interesting final, but the end result was never in doubt. Serena was not letting this one slip away. Common better drink a Redbull tonight because Serena gonna wear him out. :tape:

homogenius
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:24 AM
I think a major factor was Jelena's inexistent net play. She had many chances to come forward and finish the rally, but instead kept on rallying, including on set point on Serena's serve. I think that what primarily costed her today. She was more than aggressive than ever from the baseline but couldn't follow that up.

But that's still the best that I've ever seen from her.

Agree.It was the same in her FO semi against Ivanovic.She improved her serve but if she wants to win the important matches she needs to finish points at the net cause she's quite good at opening up the court but too often she stays on the baseline instead of putting an easy volley to finish the point.

DOUBLEFIST
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:35 AM
...Jankovic seemed to expect Serena to hit more errors in the long points, and we often saw her in disbelief against Steadyrena....

:lol: Yes we got a full dose of STEADYrena tonight!!

I agree with most of your analysis, but Serena was serving all that big until late in the match. Yes, she hit a couple of big bombs here and there, but all in all, she took a lot off the ball. Which, in many respects, is an encouraging sign that her game isn't so serve dependent anymore.

Over that past couple of years, Serena had won a lot of matches on a big serve and grit, but now her game is becoming more and more multi-dimensional. It seems it's much more n the development track it was on before her knee injury.

Shvedbarilescu
Sep 8th, 2008, 08:52 AM
Serena's overhead was for me the shot that won her the match. Jelena hit a lot of defensive lobs that were pretty testing. Serena missed none of them and most of them were put away extremely emphatically.

starin
Sep 8th, 2008, 09:26 AM
Serena didn't even play THAT great in my opinion, and still won in 2 sets. There were many points where she was just pushing the ball and not really going after her shots. I think Serena is trying to play this reigned in controlled tennis which works but makes it harder than it needs to be for herself. Yeah Jankovic retrieves well but there were many points where I was like ok Serena why aren't you hitting harder. Props to Jelena for holding up her end to make it an interesting final, but the end result was never in doubt. Serena was not letting this one slip away. Common better drink a Redbull tonight because Serena gonna wear him out. :tape:

agree w/ everything pretty much everyone has said in this thread. Jankovic said the same thing as well. She said Serena was hitting much harder in Miami final. Like Doubefist said I think Serena's still a work in progress. She pretty much hit zero in 2006. Injury and jsut getting her head right. This is Part 2 of her career. Venus as well. And I look at them as starting from scratch and just working their way up. Working on their games and slowly getting back up to their best tennis.

And I was surprised at how aggresive Jankovic was w/ her groundies at times. And like Aploeb said she def. needs to work on her net play. I think it was telling that Serena was kinda enticing Jankovic to come to net at times.

Jakeev
Sep 8th, 2008, 10:11 AM
agree w/ everything pretty much everyone has said in this thread. Jankovic said the same thing as well. She said Serena was hitting much harder in Miami final. Like Doubefist said I think Serena's still a work in progress. She pretty much hit zero in 2006. Injury and jsut getting her head right. This is Part 2 of her career. Venus as well. And I look at them as starting from scratch and just working their way up. Working on their games and slowly getting back up to their best tennis.

And I was surprised at how aggresive Jankovic was w/ her groundies at times. And like Aploeb said she def. needs to work on her net play. I think it was telling that Serena was kinda enticing Jankovic to come to net at times.
One of the reasons why Serena won the tournament was because she played smarter tennis. Probably some of the best mentally she has played in her career.

I think it was kind of weird to many of her fans because we are used to her seeing going all out with aggression and being the total force of her matches.

I think this was probably Serena's most deserved title she has won.

Davodus
Sep 8th, 2008, 10:30 AM
Serena's overhead was for me the shot that won her the match. Jelena hit a lot of defensive lobs that were pretty testing. Serena missed none of them and most of them were put away extremely emphatically.

completely agree, she seemed to hit at least 1 smash winner per game

frenchie
Sep 8th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Serena may not hit consistently as hard as before but she has TONS of variety now!!

She can hit slices, drop shots, volleys are wonderful and her speed and defense were amazing tonight

She's very enjoyable to watch

enchantrezz
Sep 8th, 2008, 01:19 PM
Well according to Richard Williams:
"Her desire is unbelievable. I describe her as being a combination of a pit bull dog, a young Mike Tyson and an alligator."

:tape: :lol: Poor Serena

AlwaysGraf
Sep 9th, 2008, 11:09 PM
I really enjoyed the final

There really wasn't much in it, and I honestly believe that if JJ had have converted one of those set points 3-5 (0-40) ouch!!!! then she'd be US open champion now

but alas

Good match girls!