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View Full Version : Is Azarenka better on Grass than on Clay?


dsanders06
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:08 PM
People in the results thread are saying words to the effect that grass should be more to Azarenka's liking than clay is. I'm really not sure - although it's pretty clear to everyone that slow hardcourts are her best surface, it seems to me grass should be even less well-suited to her than clay. We saw at the beginning of the year that Azarenka's at her most effective when she can step inside the baseline and take the ball on the rise to compensate for her lack of raw power, but I just don't know if she's going to have enough time to do that on grass. We saw in her Wimbledon semifinal against Kvitova last year that she was reduced to being completely reactive (yes, she won a set, but only thanks to Kvitova's brainfart), which was a stark contrast to her performance against Kvitova at the super-slow YEC where she was able to impose herself to some extent.

Also, with her serve still as much of a liability as ever, she relied on having enough time to scramble back sizzling returns that her opponents hit on slow hardcourts - again, will she have time to do that on grass?

Thoughts?

jameshazza
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:12 PM
No. Last years Wimbledon SF is the best thing she's ever done on grass. Not sure if it was her worst Slam before that? She will be able to move better in it but once she comes up against an in form Serena, Petra or Masha. Or even one of the BBBs or UE Queens playing well, she's in trouble.

dsanders06
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:13 PM
No. Last years Wimbledon SF is the best thing she's ever done on grass. Not sure if it was her worst Slam before that? She will be able to move better in it but once she comes up against an in form Serena, Petra or Masha. Or even one of the BBBs or UE Queens playing well, she's in trouble.

Nah, not really, one of her 3 previous Slam QFs came at Wimbledon.

Strangely, her worst Slam by far is the US Open, even though it should be her second-best :lol:

Becool
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:15 PM
Vikapower thinks so

ElusiveChanteuse
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:22 PM
She's much better on hardcourts than clay and grass.:shrug:

Stonerpova
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:26 PM
She's pretty useless on both, but she's slightly less inept on clay I'd say. She's actually reached some big clay finals and beat quality players on the surface. She looked lost during most of her Wimbledon semi last year. Shitra gift-wrapped her that second set.

StoneRose
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:27 PM
I hope so, SF Wimbledon last year but with a not so difficult draw iirc. She best on HC, no doubt.

Nah, not really, one of her 3 previous Slam QFs came at Wimbledon.

Strangely, her worst Slam by far is the US Open, even though it should be her second-best :lol:Last year she met Serena on fire and played one very good set. USO results are going to get better in time.

tennisbum79
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:30 PM
Vikapower thinks so
I am afraid Vika would have said the same thing about clay if this defeat was on hard court.

In fact, during the RG warm up tournaments, whenever Vika lost, Vikpower will point to the next tournament as the most important.

C. Drone
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:30 PM
her shots are equaly crap on both, although she "looks" better on grass because most of the players moving much worse on grass. And one of her main weapon is consistent rallying/hitting.

Halepsova
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:37 PM
You are definitely not bad on grass if reaching SF at Wimbledon.

NashaMasha
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:44 PM
previous Wimbledon - she has beaten №66, №53, №23(in three sets), №37, and №80 in SF......... Really "indicative" draw to estimate her real grass capablities

vozas
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:57 PM
I think she's even worse on grass than clay. Clay at least allowed her to hit the balls consistently early, which is has always been her standout attribute by far. The problem with clay is that it requires her to generate her own pace, which she simply cannot due to the default lack of firepower on her game, especially from the forehand, and also severely exposes her shit serve.

On grass she's outrallied, to the core of her game is immediately neutralized. She may get more winners off the BH side but I don't expect her to do much at Wimbledon. If she draws Barthel in the early rounds she's in big, big trouble.

I do expect her to go very far at the USO unless she's burnt out and unmotivated by then, which is a strong possibility given her alter ego Retirenka still looming.

So yeah, slow ass HCs a la Australia, Sydney, IW and Miami will always be where she's at her most dangerous. Much like Li Na, her best surface will remain plexicushion.

vozas
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:59 PM
You are definitely not bad on grass if reaching SF at Wimbledon.

Safina reached the SF and she had probably the worst grass court game out of any top player ever. Eveb slumping Hantuchova took her to 3 sets last year IIRC :shrug:

Matt01
Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:37 PM
You are definitely not bad on grass if reaching SF at Wimbledon.


And e.g. the final of Eastbourne by beating Clijsters.


She's pretty useless on both, but she's slightly less inept on clay I'd say. She's actually reached some big clay finals and beat quality players on the surface.


So in other words, she isn't "quite useless" on that surface.


Shitra gift-wrapped her that second set.


Sure, sure.

Some people here. :rolleyes:

Excelscior
Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:45 PM
You are definitely not bad on grass if reaching SF at Wimbledon.

That's because she had the supreme powder/cream puff draw. And every one called it, long before she made the semifinal. It was predicted. And if she didn't, Vika would of been under severe scrutiny and criticism.

This year could be waaaaay different, with the likes of Petra Martic, Lucie Hredecka, Kaia Kanepi, Mona Barthel, Dommie Cibulkova, Bartoli, Serena (in the quarters, if she makes it that far), and God Forbid, Venus even as possible dangerous floaters for Azarenka.

And now Vika, says she won't play before SW19. Besides the rest and burn out, my take is, she doesn't want another loss before Wimby, as the current #1 player.

But I'm sure she, Sam and Mauresmo knows best. And good luck to her for the upcoming grass season.

madmax
Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:49 PM
didn't she have to beat such grass "great" as Paszek to reach SF last year anyway?:devil:

Break My Rapture
Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:52 PM
I think grass is better for her. It adds speed to her groundstrokes and serve, contrary to clay. She only looked "lost" in that Wimbly semi last year because she was playing GOATra, and pretty much every player looked distraught when facing GOATra during that tournament. She's produced really good stats on the grass too - during Eastbourne 2010 she hit 10 aces and a total of 40 winners in a two-set match but I don't recall her opponent.

hurricanejeanne
Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:58 PM
She's meh on both.

On clay, it helps her stay in rallies longer but at the same time the clay neutralizes her shots that would normally work against most players. This is especially noticeable on her serve, which literally just sits up to be spanked. On grass, while her shots have a bit more bite to them due to the skidding, she loses time to set up for her own shots. I think she'll always be stable on clay and grass, and with good draws do very well, but between the two she should be better on clay just based on her natural playing style.

I hope she'll finally be able to put together a good run at the US Open, there's no reason aside from mental fragility and shit draws for her not to.

Matt01
Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:04 PM
And good luck to her for the upcoming grass season.


So fake :o

Petkorazzi
Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:09 PM
I think grass is better for her. It adds speed to her groundstrokes and serve, contrary to clay. She only looked "lost" in that Wimbly semi last year because she was playing GOATra, and pretty much every player looked distraught when facing GOATra during that tournament. She's produced really good stats on the grass too - during Eastbourne 2010 she hit 10 aces and a total of 40 winners in a two-set match but I don't recall her opponent.
What about RG 2009? She was playing amazing tennis, moving very well and hitting some fantastic dropshots. I don't know why she hasn't been able to repeat that.

perseus2006
Jun 3rd, 2012, 09:22 PM
Azarenka's Slam Results from Wta site.

W/L12111009080706

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
21/6W4rQF4r3r3r1r

FRENCH OPEN
11/6-QF1rQF4r1r1r

WIMBLEDON
15/6-SF3rQF3r3r1r

US OPEN
12/6-3r2r3r3r4r3r

Vika hasn't been a significant influence in Majors to date. She has the Big Win at AO this year and her next best result is the SF at W in 2011. Her record at W is slightly better than RG, but it would not be historically notable for her to exit in the 3rd rnd.

Break My Rapture
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:10 PM
What about RG 2009? She was playing amazing tennis, moving very well and hitting some fantastic dropshots. I don't know why she hasn't been able to repeat that.
Not in the first couple of rounds though. She had a tough opener to Barrois and nearly lost to Suarez Navarro in R3 IIRC. But yeah she really picked up her level of play afterwards against Ivanovic, probably some of the best claycourt tennis she has played to date in her career. I'm not sure why she hasn't duplicated this form there either.

goldenlox
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:16 PM
And e.g. the final of Eastbourne by beating Clijsters.





So in other words, she isn't "quite useless" on that surface.





Sure, sure.

Some people here. :rolleyes:
I remember that match against Kim & Vika played very well. Then she was injured for the final with Makarova. She can play very high quality grass tennis because of the angles on her groundies, and she can volley. That was a better quality match than their AO SF this year, imo
The player she lost to last year, Kvitova is the best of this young generation on grass, when she's on.

Maria rocks
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:18 PM
She's much better on hardcourts than clay and grass.:shrug:

Yes i agree. Can see her winning the US Open this year.

Stonerpova
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:25 PM
And e.g. the final of Eastbourne by beating Clijsters.





So in other words, she isn't "quite useless" on that surface.





Sure, sure.

Some people here. :rolleyes:

Relative to hard she's pretty useless on clay.

And did you watch the Wimbledon semi?

Maria rocks
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:27 PM
Relative to hard she's pretty useless on clay.

And did you watch the Wimbledon semi?

I was at the Wimbledon Semi's last year. I felt she played ok she just lost to Kvitova who was on fire and that was proved in the final when she outplayed Maria.

Stonerpova
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:29 PM
I was at the Wimbledon Semi's last year. I felt she played ok she just lost to Kvitova who was on fire and that was proved in the final when she outplayed Maria.

That's the point I was trying to make. When Kvitova was playing well Azarenka had literally no chance (Petra won the first and third sets convincingly), and when Kvitova was missing Azarenka took advantage.

ExXotikal
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:32 PM
I think she's better on clay. Grass is her worst surface, the gerls will ROS her to death.

dsanders06
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:32 PM
I remember that match against Kim & Vika played very well. Then she was injured for the final with Makarova. She can play very high quality grass tennis because of the angles on her groundies, and she can volley. That was a better quality match than their AO SF this year, imo
The player she lost to last year, Kvitova is the best of this young generation on grass, when she's on.

Azarenka isn't particularly good at getting angles on her shots, and even if she was, grass is the surface which is least receptive to that type of game because you need time to create them (see Seles's struggles on the surface).
In their Eastbourne match in 2010, although Azarenka played quite well (especially in the context of her being in a slump at the time), Kim was HORRENDOUS. It was her first tournament back from injury, and she finished that match with about 4 times as many UEs as winners.


She's meh on both.

On clay, it helps her stay in rallies longer but at the same time the clay neutralizes her shots that would normally work against most players. This is especially noticeable on her serve, which literally just sits up to be spanked. On grass, while her shots have a bit more bite to them due to the skidding, she loses time to set up for her own shots. I think she'll always be stable on clay and grass, and with good draws do very well, but between the two she should be better on clay just based on her natural playing style.

I hope she'll finally be able to put together a good run at the US Open, there's no reason aside from mental fragility and shit draws for her not to.

Largely agree with this. I was saying in another thread, I can't help but feel Azarenka's struggles relatively on clay (and Wozniacki too) are because experience has a much greater weight on clay than on hardcourts, because it typically takes years for these girls to learn how to move properly on clay because they play on it so infrequently - you just have to look at how Maria and Li suddenly saw their claycourt results surge late in their career to see that (obviously Li was a late bloomer in general, but her curve of improvement on clay is even more dramatic than on hardcourts). I don't really feel like Azarenka's groundstrokes should be THAT much less effective on clay than on slow hardcourts. I feel if/when she brings her movement and footwork on clay up to her standards on hardcourts, she might have a slight chance of winning Roland Garros, but I don't see her ever winning Wimbledon no matter what.

Nicolás89
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:34 PM
She almost defeated Safina in RG 2009. For some that's enough proof that she is good on clay. :spit:

Relative to hard she's pretty useless on clay.

And did you watch the Wimbledon semi?

She played better than Pova in the finals. :oh:

KBdoubleu
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:35 PM
Safina reached the SF and she had probably the worst grass court game out of any top player ever. Eveb slumping Hantuchova took her to 3 sets last year IIRC :shrug:

Hantuchova was probably in her best form since AO '08 during last year's Wimbledon. Crushed Wozniacki at the French, finals of Birmingham, semis of Eastbourne, and then took Sharapova to 3 at Stanford right after Wimbledon.

Charlatan
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:37 PM
She is equally average at its best on both clay and grass (and by 'average' means when compared to her game on hardcourts)

i don't remember her playing spectacular tennis on both surfaces recent years, except may be, the win over ana back in 2009 or something

dsanders06
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:42 PM
She almost defeated Safina in RG 2009. For some that's enough proof that she is good on clay. :spit:



She played better than Pova in the finals. :oh:

Questionable. I actually felt Maria managed to land more blows of her own against Petra than Azarenka did. Although you never exactly felt like Maria was close to winning the match, she did manage to hit some good returns and push Petra back a bit for a period of the second set in the final. Whereas Azarenka seemed to have literally no bearing on the semfiinal at any stage. Hell, even Pironkova in her QF against Petra seemed to take matters into her own hands a bit more than Azarenka did by defending well and drawing errors from Petra.

* and I don't think this is a match-up problem for Azarenka, because, as I said in the OP, in their YEC match, where she had time to soak up some of Petra's blows and construct some points of her own, she forced the issue much more than in their Wimbledon match.

Alejandrawrrr
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:45 PM
I think she's better on grass, but unfortunately for her an in form Serena or Petra are virtually impossible for her to beat there. On clay both her groundstrokes and movement are weakened without any real trade-off, it just kinda neutralizes her game IMO. on grass it is harder for her to stay in rallies against big hitters, but it at least adds a bit of bite to her flat strokes. Aren't all three of her last Wimbledon losses to either Serena or Petra? On clay though, she is more beatable by a number of players. If only she had ~10 more mph on her serve :awww:

hablo
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:46 PM
Azarenka isn't particularly good at getting angles on her shots, and even if she was, grass is the surface which is least receptive to that type of game because you need time to create them (see Seles's struggles on the surface).


I've always been puzzled by this aspect of Azarenka's game. Sharpie definitely has her beaten in that regard. Though I can't stand Sharpie she can come up with wicked angles...

TennisAddict84
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:53 PM
Like what everyone else has already said, Azarenka is a factor on neither. Her game style only translates well to HC. So I expect her to be a contender at the USO once the HC season rolls around.

goldenlox
Jun 3rd, 2012, 11:00 PM
Like what everyone else has already said, Azarenka is a factor on neither. Her game style only translates well to HC. So I expect her to be a contender at the USO once the HC season rolls around.She's only won 1 slam quarterfinal on hardcourt, and that was this year.
I think maybe people over react to the AO final. But it was like Sveta beating Aga. When one player is off, the other is going to look better than they'd look if they were challenged on a lot of difficult points
But what's great is that Vika is young, and we'll find out. Last 3 years she lost to Serena (2010) & Petra twice at Wimbledon, and those 2 are tough

Corswandt
Jun 4th, 2012, 01:04 AM
Is Azarenka better on Grass than on Clay?

Yes, she is, by a considerable margin. Too often people will fall into the error of making unwarranted analogies with the ATP when analysing what it takes to do well on grass. It's all a bit more subtle than just having a big serve and a big FH - being able to move decently on grass, for instance, is far from a given for the average WTAer.

Grass gives more bite to Toria's underpowered ground game and puffball serve; her rally ball is flat enough for that purpose. She has good hands and hits with superlative control (see how well she shifts the direction the ball), which means she'll leak less random errors on standard issue rally shots on grass than just about anybody else, and again in marked contrast to just about anybody else, her ROS is so good even on grass that she'll give next to none free points on return except against flat out ace servers (and Ludmila, but then again everyone struggles a lot to return her serve effectively on faster surfaces).

NashaMasha
Jun 4th, 2012, 01:48 AM
Aren't all three of her last Wimbledon losses to either Serena or Petra?

in 2011 beaten by Kvitova in SF 1-6 6-3 2-6 (in reality much easier than the score implies),
in 2010 in R3 5-7, 0-6 to Kvitova,
in 2009 2-6, 3-6 in QF to Serena Williams,
in 2008 in R3 to Nadja Petrova 6-7, 6-7
in 2007 in R3 to Nicole Vaidisova 4-2,2-6

She is losing to big hitters with superior serve on Grass and it's a sentence for early upset both in Wimbledon and Olympics for her. Fortunately almost all big hitters are top seeded and she may survive to the QF-s, unless she comes across such girls like Hradecka or Kanepi

Raiden
Jun 4th, 2012, 02:41 AM
I think she's better on grass, but unfortunately for her an in form Serena or Petra are virtually impossible for her to beat there. On clay both her groundstrokes and movement are weakened without any real trade-off, it just kinda neutralizes her game IMO. on grass it is harder for her to stay in rallies against big hitters, but it at least adds a bit of bite to her flat strokes. Aren't all three of her last Wimbledon losses to either Serena or Petra? On clay though, she is more beatable by a number of players. If only she had ~10 more mph on her serve :awww:Yes, she is, by a considerable margin. Too often people will fall into the error of making unwarranted analogies with the ATP when analysing what it takes to do well on grass. It's all a bit more subtle than just having a big serve and a big FH - being able to move decently on grass, for instance, is far from a given for the average WTAer...Agree with the two of you. Azza must be more in her element on grass (vis-a-vis clay).

There is a difference between losing only to Kvitova & Serena on grass <versus> getting whipped by Cibulkova & co. on clay

binky-GOAT
Jun 4th, 2012, 02:44 AM
It's funny that she's considered the best grinder on tour, yet on clay many other women can out-grind her on this surface. That just tells how bad she is on clay.

Smitten
Jun 4th, 2012, 01:22 PM
I think she is better on clay. When she is playing well, she can take higher balls earlier on the rise and make low UE.

On clay, it's tougher for her to generate pace and hit through the court but she can keep her UE down and take advantage of second serves.

Her Wimbledon SF, for now, is a complete aberration. Azarenka can't get under the ball with her FH on grass against bigger & flatter hitters and they just swat away her serve.

USO should be her worst slam. It's too fast for her to stay in rallies for the amount of time she needs, she only has one remarkable result on that surface (Stanford W) the rest has been all flops in Cincinnati, USO, and I think she played New Haven before as well.

Marcus1979
Jun 4th, 2012, 01:30 PM
Safina reached the SF and she had probably the worst grass court game out of any top player ever. Eveb slumping Hantuchova took her to 3 sets last year IIRC :shrug:

what a massacre that was :devil:

bulava
Jun 4th, 2012, 02:02 PM
I am afraid Vika would have said the same thing about clay if this defeat was on hard court.

In fact, during the RG warm up tournaments, whenever Vika lost, Vikpower will point to the next tournament as the most important.
Why so many complain/moan/whine so much about Vikapower? Who's she/he? :p

Well, I'm not sure if Vika is better on grass (vs clay) or not but I wish to watch Vika vs Serena at 2012 Wimbledon Finals! :cool:

duhcity
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:01 PM
From what I saw, Vika got that set off Petra with her return, and read the out-wide serve better. She was overpowered in neutral rallies, her serve wasn't big enough, so when she returned better, Petra got nervy.

As far as I see it, there are very few high quality grass court players anyway. She's among the best players, so she should coast along until she gets a consistent hard hitter with a serve she can't tee off on

dsanders06
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:07 PM
Agree with the two of you. Azza must be more in her element on grass (vis-a-vis clay).

There is a difference between losing only to Kvitova & Serena on grass <versus> getting whipped by Cibulkova & co. on clay

Who's the "and co."? Cibulkova is Azarenka's only bad loss on clay in the past 2 years - all her rest have come to Kvitova, Serena and Sharapova, all players who would probably beat her on grass too (I'd certainly give Maria the edge on grass if she served like she did in the AO final - her serve was pretty much the only thing she did well in that match, but, because of the slowness of the surface, Azarenka was able to get hold of far more of her serves than she would be able to on grass and was able to control the rallies from there).