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View Full Version : The best tactical matches of the open era?


Six Feet Under
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:01 AM
I'm interested to learn about some of these matches where players where literally outdone by tactics.

Any footage would be appreciated, i would love to see these :)

Golovinjured.
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:04 AM
Hingis vs Anyone.

AnnaK_4ever
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:11 AM
Can't talk about the entire Open era but I'd like to mention Myskina vs Davenport match from the 2004 YEC.

markhingis
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:32 AM
Hingis vs Anyone.
can't agree more :)

Hardiansf
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:35 AM
Seles vs Graf RG Final 1992?
Sanchez-Vicario def Seles RG Final 1998
Hingis def Sanchez-Vicario anytime they met
Hingis def Seles anytime she won
Serena def Sharapova Oz Final 2007
Mauresmo def Henin Wimbledon Final 2006
Henin def Serena USO QF 2007

mauresmofan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:39 AM
Last night was also a good one - Jankovic just kept hitting to Carolines fh the entire match and only hit to her backhand when trying to finish the point therefore giving her no rhythm on her better wing.

A Magicman
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:49 AM
Sabatini in the final of 1989 Amelia Island

She literally moonballed Steffi Graf to death. I never saw anything comparable neither before nor after.

MBM
Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:01 AM
are we talking one player using tactics to get around a tricky opponent, or both players using good tactics (and therefore putting on a pretty good match...)?

Svetlana)))
Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:03 AM
Can you guys elaborate as well instead of just stating the match? I'm also very keen to learn. ;) Thanks a bunch.

Six Feet Under
Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:10 AM
are we talking one player using tactics to get around a tricky opponent, or both players using good tactics (and therefore putting on a pretty good match...)?

Either :)

Can you guys elaborate as well instead of just stating the match? I'm also very keen to learn. ;) Thanks a bunch.

Yes, that would be good :)
All of my friends say i'm worse than wozniacki, moonball every shot :help:
I usually play with little to no power, so any example of tactical wins would be excellent :)

darkchild
Mar 22nd, 2010, 01:26 PM
2000 USO QF Lindsay Davenport def. Serena Williams 6-4 6-2
And it's the kind of tactics that you can only use once.

AnnaK_4ever
Mar 22nd, 2010, 01:32 PM
Can't talk about the entire Open era but I'd like to mention Myskina vs Davenport match from the 2004 YEC.

It's such a pity nobody recorded that match and put it on the web. :sad:

That was the third match Davenport and Myskina played in the span of four or so weeks.
On the superfast Filderstadt courts Lindsay just rolled over her but Nastya actually put up a decent fight in the second set. Moreover, after the match she said she seemed to finally figure out how to beat Linds. It sounded kinda :rolleyes: considering she had just lost 4th match in a row to her without winning a single set. But she did beat Lindsay the following week at Moscow.
Using the superslow Moscow courts to her advantage she made Davenport hit too many shots, taking Linds out of her comfort zone. Myskina run a LOT in that match but each time managed to put herself in position to neutralize another bomb Linds was throwing at her. Still, many believed the loss was a result of "bad day in the office" for Lindsay who, btw, wasn't feeling well that day.
In a couple of weeks they met again, this time in a round robin match at the YEC. Lindsay was coming in as the overwhelming favorite : she previously destroyed Dementieva 60 61 while Myskina just suffered yet another heartbreaking loss of 2004 (this time she squandered a 64 30 lead against Serena).
Myskina's only option seemed to be turning into wall, chasing every ball down and eventually frustrating Davenport with her superb defense. But Nastya, to a great surprise, chose the opposite tactics -- she decided to play offensive and match Lindsay from the baseline shot for shot. And, what was even more surprising, Myskina built her attacking game around her less reliable shot -- forehand.
I never saw Myskina serving that great and hitting such huge forehands. On some occasions Lindsay looked lost in disbelief that she was actually being outhit by someone who, on paper, should have been running three meters behind the baseline and trying to put the ball back down the middle.

Too pity Myskina was never able to replicate such a courageous performance again. For the rest of her career she turned into a mixture of a pusher and an UE machine coming to life only during grass court season.

sammy01
Mar 22nd, 2010, 01:41 PM
mary pierce played a great tactical match at wimbledon 2003 vs danillidou, she was very out of shape and not moving well at all, so she went to net as often as is possible these days. it also stopped danillidou's backhand slice having any effect.

The Dawntreader
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:14 PM
Henin vs Sharapova- French Open 2005.

Very, very similar to their match in Berlin a few weeks earlier. Sharapova was actually being very assertive off the ground for the first 3 games or so, forcing Henin to rally somewhat defensively and unable to hit her backhand with any real leverage. As soon as Henin realised there was a need for urgency, she completely began implementing her wide range of shots.

Heavy topspin backhands keeping Sharapova well off the baseline, lovely acute angles off the slice backhand keeping Sharapova clumsy and off-balance and then exploding into her forehands on the mid-court balls Sharapova presented to her. Sharapova looked completely out-matched.

Venus vs Pennetta in the Zurich final in '08, was a subtle display of tactical awareness from Venus. Pennetta was out-hitting Venus regularly when Venus was feeding her such huge amounts of raw pace, allowing Pennetta to deflect and react offensively. In the second set, Venus resorted to hitting very centralised and with better width, not relying on trying to out hit the Italian, but out-maneuver her.

GracefulVenus
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:21 PM
Henin Vs. Venus USO SF 2007. :drool: She read Venus's serve perfectly.

serenafan08
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:22 PM
Serena def. Mauresmo 6-7 7-5, 6-4 and again 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. Both times Serena attacked the net and kept Mauresmo at the baseline. Both matches were incredibly high quality.

doujyr
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:43 PM
Not a high profile match, but I loved the way Mara Santangelo took Woz apart Wimbledon 2007. Woz obviously didn't have a clue how to play a serve/volley player on grass :lol:

moby
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:50 PM
There are a lot of good tactical matches out there, but I guess I personally am the OP is interested in those where the unheralded player unfurls a completely new strategy heretofore foreign to how he/she usually plays (against this opponent), thereby causing the upset. This cuts down the tactical matches we should be looking at by a lot.

Ashe-Connors 75 Wimbledon final is the quintessential example.

Evert-Navratilova 85 French final?
There's but a short clip of the opening games on youtube, but Chris was using more loops and lobs than usual to destabilise Martina and make her wary about coming to net. That match was significant because Martina slaughtered Chris on clay in their last two matches, had won 15 of their last 16 matches, and Chris hadn't beaten Martina in a slam for three years at that point.

Hingis-Capriati 02 AO final up to 6-4 4-0. Martina usually likes to move the ball around. Capriati likes to be moved around. Here Martina kept Jen pinned to the backhand corner with an assortment of heights and spins until she got the short ball and started dictating. Wonderful patience from Martina until she panicked up 4-0 and reverted to her usual instincts.

I've heard Davenport-Serena 00 USO QF brought up in threads like this. Something about hitting deep, hard, down the middle, and giving Serena absolutely no angles. I haven't seen this for myself.

Christophe Rochus-Chela 05 Hamburg QF was the craaaaaaaaaziest match I've seen in my entire life. Overpowered in the first set, Rochus tries to mix things up a little more. He starts with a dropshot. It worked. So he tries another. A clean winner. By the end of the match, Rochus had about 30 drop winners. Chela won three more games.

Slutiana
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:51 PM
Tatiana Golovin in Amelia Island, period. :inlove:

In the quarters vs Venus she went out there trying to play with so much variety and just completely forced Venus to play badly. So many slices, dropshots, random forays to the net, she would randomly be aggressive one point and then passive in the next etc etc. Venus was just so confused and just pretty much imploded and at parts it looked like Venus would come back and then Tatiana would come up with some amazing running dropshot, a big forehand or a drop-volley. Most importantly though, practically every shot was plop on the baseline, such great depth. Venus just got completely schooled. :lol:

Then vs. Ana she came out and just completely took it too her and was so aggressive. This was the tournament before Ana's Berlin and RG runs and although she wasn't in that form she was playing great too and when I made the highlights video (of course YT deleted it too :o) there were just SO many winners that I just couldn't include from both sides and it was just amazing to see two of the best forehands in the game go at each other. It was just shocking to see the complete contrast in play from the Venus match to this.

Then in the final again she went back to being more passive and focussing on forcing errors out of Nadia. What was so tactically great was the way she used the angles and the whole court and just ran Petrova into the ground. I remember just a month or two ago someone made a thread about Tati and half the people were calling her a ballbasher and the other half were calling her a pusher. :lol: It just really highlights how drastically she could/can change her game and tailor-make it for each opponent. She didn't always execute it well enough, and there were shitloads of chokes to the top players especially between 05 and 06 but most of the time she was spot on with at least what she was trying to do. I just hope that one day she can come back and school Wozniacki and some of the other pretenders just once or twice. :sad:

thegreendestiny
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:53 PM
I've always thought some of the Hingis-Venus matches were quite tactical. You can see how they both adjust to each others game.

kiwifan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:15 PM
-Hitting winners is a pretty good "tactic" too.
-Steppping up to crush second serve, thus putting so much pressure on the server as to induce double faults is a pretty good "tactic"
-Showing your opponent that there is no where to run or hide or hit that is safe from your vengeance is my favorite option on a tennis court.
-Check out Serena in a few Aussie Open finals to see the best tactics in tennis. :devil:

Marshmallow
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:53 PM
I think Serena Def. Jankovic AO 2007 3rd round is under appreciated in that respect.

Serena had lost to Jankovic 2 times in a row and was aware that trying to just overpower her from the back of the court was not a good idea. So, from what I can recall... Serena tactics were to utilise angle shots and to also vary the pace of her own shots so Jankovic couldn't get into any rythmn. So she'd hit a soft ball, hit the angle with a little more pace (Jankovic didn't attack the ball so that worked fine) and then BOOM... a powerful winner or a high ball back which Serena could hit away.

I only saw the match, can't describe too much - but it was clear Serena had figured her opponent out. She didn't realise Janko liked big serves though... but it was good. A comfortable 2 set win (having never taken a set of Janko before I don't think).

So I think if I were to rank players in terms of whom I thought were the most tactically astute ... my top two would be

1. Hingis
2. Serena (especially considering that she figures out opponents herself and doesn't get too muuch help from an expensive coach) - I just gave one example but Serena does it frequently.

Marshmallow
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:55 PM
I'll throw in Venus def Henin 2002 Amelia Island Final - but I'm not sure her style of play from 6-2 4-0 down was entirely calculated :lol:

Ryan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 05:40 PM
I think Hingis def. Novotna in the 1997 Wimbledon final, 2-6 6-3 6-3 is a very good example of a great tactically played match.

First set Jana's serve was too much for Martina, and she didn't come to net on her own enough. In the last two sets Hingis turned the tables and started attacking Jana's backhand more and she served so well out to the side on the deuce court. It's been awhile since I've watched it, but I remember thinking about how well Hingis changed up her gameplan.

¤CharlDa¤
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:16 PM
2000 USO QF Lindsay Davenport def. Serena Williams 6-4 6-2
And it's the kind of tactics that you can only use once.

Agreed. It was superb from Lindsay, just constantly hitting to that point, about 1 foot from the backline in the center. Serena looked totally clueless.

The Dawntreader
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:46 PM
Agreed. It was superb from Lindsay, just constantly hitting to that point, about 1 foot from the backline in the center. Serena looked totally clueless.

Lindsay had two stand-out matches in GS that year.

vs Hingis at the AO and this match. She's rarely hit the ball better.

faboozadoo15
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:56 PM
Seles vs Graf RG Final 1992?


I think this was an example of Seles just being more solid than Graf. She was really passive at the end, and it almost came back to bite her in the ass. Still, it might be the greatest match.

However, in 1990, the way Seles beat Graf with all angles at the German Open-- yanking her all over the court. At RG however, Seles pounded at the forehand with DTL shots and opened up the backhand side. She executed both gameplans flawlessly, and they're quite different.

The 93 AO final was also a brilliant tactical match from both players.

Marshmallow
Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:03 PM
How about AO 2006 Final Mauresmo Def. Henin 6-1 *2-1 ret?

I wish I could find a video of that match somewhere... but if I recall... Mauresmo played the surface (rebound ace) perfectly again a petite single handed backhander, pinning Henin far behind the baseline on the backhand side with high bouncing balls that were spinning away. From that position Henin couldn't do a great deal which allowed Amelie to dominate proceedings.

Not sure that's 100% accurate but Amelie was playing a great tactical match from what I recall.

Marshmallow
Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:07 PM
lol oops, I was getting carried away... forgot this was a search for the BEST tactical matches :o

Stamp Paid
Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:35 PM
Tatiana Golovin in Amelia Island, period. :inlove:

In the quarters vs Venus she went out there trying to play with so much variety and just completely forced Venus to play badly. So many slices, dropshots, random forays to the net, she would randomly be aggressive one point and then passive in the next etc etc. Venus was just so confused and just pretty much imploded and at parts it looked like Venus would come back and then Tatiana would come up with some amazing running dropshot, a big forehand or a drop-volley. Most importantly though, practically every shot was plop on the baseline, such great depth. Venus just got completely schooled. :lol:

Then vs. Ana she came out and just completely took it too her and was so aggressive. This was the tournament before Ana's Berlin and RG runs and although she wasn't in that form she was playing great too and when I made the highlights video (of course YT deleted it too :o) there were just SO many winners that I just couldn't include from both sides and it was just amazing to see two of the best forehands in the game go at each other. It was just shocking to see the complete contrast in play from the Venus match to this.

Then in the final again she went back to being more passive and focussing on forcing errors out of Nadia. What was so tactically great was the way she used the angles and the whole court and just ran Petrova into the ground. I remember just a month or two ago someone made a thread about Tati and half the people were calling her a ballbasher and the other half were calling her a pusher. :lol: It just really highlights how drastically she could/can change her game and tailor-make it for each opponent. She didn't always execute it well enough, and there were shitloads of chokes to the top players especially between 05 and 06 but most of the time she was spot on with at least what she was trying to do. I just hope that one day she can come back and school Wozniacki and some of the other pretenders just once or twice. :sad:Yes, Tati in Amelia Island!!!!!!!!!!
:inlove:

mauresmofan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 07:46 PM
mary pierce played a great tactical match at wimbledon 2003 vs danillidou, she was very out of shape and not moving well at all, so she went to net as often as is possible these days. it also stopped danillidou's backhand slice having any effect.

Oh yeah I really remember Mary in that Wimbledon - she decided she was a serve volleyer that entire tournament and that was that. I remember looking in disbelief that she was actually coming to net as much as possible and it left many of her opponents completely dumbstruck because you could tell their strategy coming into the match didn't involve hitting passing shots all day. God I miss her!

mauresmofan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 08:03 PM
How about AO 2006 Final Mauresmo Def. Henin 6-1 *2-1 ret?

I wish I could find a video of that match somewhere... but if I recall... Mauresmo played the surface (rebound ace) perfectly again a petite single handed backhander, pinning Henin far behind the baseline on the backhand side with high bouncing balls that were spinning away. From that position Henin couldn't do a great deal which allowed Amelie to dominate proceedings.

Not sure that's 100% accurate but Amelie was playing a great tactical match from what I recall.

No you're absolutely spot on here. Everyone just remembers Henin retiring and don't give Amélie the credit she deserved. Amélie never played better in a slam final than she did there and I'm not sure she ever played a more astute match in her career until it ended prematurely. She pinned henin in the backhand corner and made her hit her backhand above shoulder height constantly. To top it all off her wonky forehand was holding up really well and she was moving around the court like the great athlete we all knew she was. She basically didn't put a foot wrong and that's why when she was asked about it at Wimbledon she said she knew the match was hers regardless of the retirement because she had that feeling of playing great and she said it with such conviction that you couldn't but believe what she was saying was the truth. It's definitely a forgotten tactically brilliant display because of the circumstances under which it ended.

Ryan
Mar 22nd, 2010, 09:02 PM
No you're absolutely spot on here. Everyone just remembers Henin retiring and don't give Amélie the credit she deserved. Amélie never played better in a slam final than she did there and I'm not sure she ever played a more astute match in her career until it ended prematurely. She pinned henin in the backhand corner and made her hit her backhand above shoulder height constantly. To top it all off her wonky forehand was holding up really well and she was moving around the court like the great athlete we all knew she was. She basically didn't put a foot wrong and that's why when she was asked about it at Wimbledon she said she knew the match was hers regardless of the retirement because she had that feeling of playing great and she said it with such conviction that you couldn't but believe what she was saying was the truth. It's definitely a forgotten tactically brilliant display because of the circumstances under which it ended.



I've gotta completely agree. I remember watching the first set, and you had no idea Justine was sick - Momo just played flawless tennis, with tons of aggressive topspin and patient baseline play. I remember Gilbert talking about "spin to win", and how he picked Amelie about midway through the tourney to take it all because of the way she was playing. It's really unfortunate she had 3 retirements, because in at least two (Henin and the 4th? round), she had them won regardless. Not sure how it would have played out if Kim didnt retire in the 3rd, but still some amazing tennis from Amelie all tournament.

DomenicDemaria
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:30 PM
Oh yeah I really remember Mary in that Wimbledon - she decided she was a serve volleyer that entire tournament and that was that. I remember looking in disbelief that she was actually coming to net as much as possible and it left many of her opponents completely dumbstruck because you could tell their strategy coming into the match didn't involve hitting passing shots all day. God I miss her!

I remember that Wimbledon, she had come off a poor first round loss at the french and was considering retiring. Then she played doubles the week before with Petrova and at the Netherlands event and they made the final. Maybe that influenced her decision to serve volley for the tournament.

propi
Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:52 PM
1998 Australian Open SF: Conchita bt Davenport 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
That day Conchita ran the hell out of her legs and made the same for Lindsay. Used her sliced backhand and great forehand to move Lindsay until she got tired and could grab the victory :hearts:
Also WImbledon 1994 final Conchita bt. Navratilova; beating the master at her yard is always a great feeling :hearts: that day Conchita taught a masterclass in passing shots :hearts:

Nicolás89
Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:54 PM
Martina Hingis' career.

C.MARTINEZ
Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:28 AM
1998 Australian Open SF: Conchita bt Davenport 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
That day Conchita ran the hell out of her legs and made the same for Lindsay. Used her sliced backhand and great forehand to move Lindsay until she got tired and could grab the victory :hearts:
Also WImbledon 1994 final Conchita bt. Navratilova; beating the master at her yard is always a great feeling :hearts: that day Conchita taught a masterclass in passing shots :hearts:

two great matches for our goodness!!! :hearts::hearts:

PLP
Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:30 AM
Hingis def. Sharapova, Tokyo 2006.

Martina took the ball even earlier that day than usual, and kept Maria guessing the entire match. It was over SOOO fast.

Ryan
Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:47 AM
Hingis def. Sharapova, Tokyo 2006.

Martina took the ball even earlier that day than usual, and kept Maria guessing the entire match. It was over SOOO fast.



Wow, how did I forget about this. :spit: Incredible tennis from Martina, who knew she had to take it to Maria and not give her any time to react. Need to watch that again.

égalité
Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:50 AM
I just remember one match between Martinez and Dokic where Martinez drove Dokic so crazy with moonballs that she started crying :hysteric:

genius :worship:

schorsch
Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:11 AM
Dushevina's matches against Venus (Uso, Beijing) last year and also the match against Caro at RG... until she imploded when it was getting tight and she thought there was no way her tactics would hold up any longer or be enough and tried to play aggressively, with angles and pace thus hitting countless ues and playing right into Venus'/Caro's game...

spencercarlos
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:12 AM
Sabatini 1990 Usopen final or 1990 YEC SF both vs Graf.

Gaby was on a mission that day, and it was to basically be agressive, and take the net. She ended up winning both matches in stragiht sets.

Graf looked surprised, by the tactics, and hopeless at times, especially at the YEC 1990, which Gaby won in just over an hour... Peak Gaby
Especial mention to 1991 Rome Final, where Gaby dismantled Seles 6-3 6-2 in the final. She basically used the cross court angles at will in this match. Another peak performance :worship:

Martinez def Navratilova Wimbledon 1994 Final, the angles and the passing shots Conchita created that day, unmatched.

Hingis def Venus Usopen 1997 Final. Hingis did it all, she played just about every facet of the game on this match, she stayed back, she went to the net, she played dropshots, lobs, everything on the menu, and Venus looked hopeless as well.

Hingis def Seles Oakland 1996. Hingis also at her best, she even looked the bigger hitter, but she was not really. She just took everyball as early as she could, and toyed with Monica around. Really a highlight reel of the dominant head to head she´ll end up having against Monica.

1999 Graf def Venus Williams Wimbledon.
Graf and Venus both exchanged relativaly dominating first two sets. In set three it looked like Venus was going to take out Graf with all of that power, and then superior fitness. But not so quick, Graf decided to take the net away, she sliced, she approached and volleyed amazingly on key points, and eventually broke Venus and held her serve up until winning 6-4 in the third set... Change of guards looked back then... and it was...

spencercarlos
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:15 AM
Hingis def. Sharapova, Tokyo 2006.

Martina took the ball even earlier that day than usual, and kept Maria guessing the entire match. It was over SOOO fast.
Agreed completly!!

metamorpha
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:44 AM
Not necessarily one of the best... but it was one of the most amusing.

Hingis vs Stosur, AO 2006 Quarterfinal

RJgAi9uxJCk

Stamp Paid
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:47 AM
^lmao!

metamorpha
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:05 AM
For Stosur herself, that was one of her worst tactical GAME ever. Her finesse on the net was not good enough and Hingis obviously knew that by giving her multiple drops and lobs that Stosur couldn't handle again and again.

When Stosur started to find her groove from baseline and overpowering Hingis from there, the match was getting tight. Hingis barely escaped in the 2nd set by 7-6 (10-8).

So yeah, the key to beat Hingis is always the same... play high quality level of power tennis from baseline.

Golovinjured.
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:09 AM
I just remember one match between Martinez and Dokic where Martinez drove Dokic so crazy with moonballs that she started crying :hysteric:

genius :worship:

:tears:

So Disrespectful
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:19 AM
Not necessarily one of the best... but it was one of the most amusing.

Hingis vs Stosur, AO 2006 Quarterfinal


Nothing special. A serve-volleyer, or a player who is constantly attacking the net (even a very good volleyer) is obviously going to be passed many times in a match. Hingis just opted to play the lob instead because she's very good at it. I do suppose that in itself is a frustrating tactic though.