Originally Posted by chingching
OK now for my report on Kaia's match vs Victoria Duval
Basically, I was very pleasantly surprised to see Kaia play live. Aside from a few errors she played a very solid match. She was by far the hardest hitter especially on her Forehand of all the women I saw and she played like a Top 10. Her Forehand is AMAZING live. It has this perfect arc from whatever shot is hit whether it be off a slice, a deep ball or a serve. She hits it very hard about a metre over the net but the topspin brings it back in and she can literally hit it everywhere on the court with amazing accuracy. She was massively dictating even Duval's 1st Serve with it hitting the lines everywhere, maintaining amazing depth: even Duval's mother was in awe! Another part of her game which I don't think we realise watching streams and her matches on TV is that she actually defends and turns defence into attack a lot and very well. She replied all of Duval's attacking shots very well and deep and rarely allowed her to get a short ball: I used to think this was because she was always attacking but that's not the case. If I had any comments, I think the three thing Kaia needs to work on are her shot-selection, moving forward more and a higher 1st Serve percentage. Although her 2nd Serve was faster and more consistent than Ducal's first, against top players she needs to make more 1st Serves. There were times where I felt she was hitting it unnecessarily hard in the corners where if she took even as much as 20 or 30 KMH off she would still get an Ace or an un-returnable. Also, in key situations she tends to try and just use pace on her serve and hit it in the middle of the box which meant she got a lot more serves in when it mattered (quite surprising for Kaia) but against top players they would be able to use the pace to get the 1st strike in the point because the likes of Sharapova and Williams would not have been put off by the 180KMH serves into their strike zones. The 2nd thing, her moving forward, is something she does well and should do more IMO. It's not just about moving to the net but standing further up the court. She actually stands very far back but due to her power of shot and the topspin she generates she is able to hit a penetrating ball, even winners, from metres behind the baseline. This is a wonderful achievement and can be beneficial for retrieving more balls and staying in rallies longer, but IMO she should stand further up. In the 2nd Set she was starting to lose depth and Duval was using Kaia's pace to hit more angles which meant that Kaia was having to move in awkward directions. Also if she stood further in the court she could shorten points and give her opponents less time. What she does instead is wait for the ball to come to her which meant that although against Duval she was still winning the points, she was winning them in 8 or 9 shots instead of the 1-2 punches she definitely has the game to achieve. Shot selection is my last comment. Although Kaia doesn't really hit the wrong shot too often, I feel that her winners are too predictable. If she gets a slower ball she will always flatten it out, hit it hard into the space. I think this is one of the reasons she lost against Kerber, a wonderful counter-puncher. She doesn't go back behind enough and sometimes just chooses to use pace instead of hitting an angle or approaching net with a slice. She also has a very defined pattern to her points which even I managed to read where she will always hit across her body so if she is having a BH to BH rally she will keep doing that until Duval hit a centralish ball then hit a Forehand to Duval's FH corner. She did this almost every point in same way or another. I would recommend maybe throwing in a shot DTL which although is more risky stops her opponent getting the rhythm that she was thriving on in the 2nd. These are all minor things though and on the whole Kaia put in a wonderful performance and I really want to see her play live again
My photos which follow are not great due to where I was sitting, the camera I was using and the angle of the sun
Also, I was very disgusted at the lack of people there. The Court she was on only seats 180 People and I would have been surprised if 100 were there. Stupid Sydneians
keeping points short and hitting 180km/h first serves used to be kaia's thing for a long time, but since her one-two punch game used to be too erratic she's become more patient. as a result, her winner/ ue ratio has improved. she also seems to rely more on spin now than earlier in her career and her first serve % has probably improved, however, her serve is not as effective a weapon as it used to be.
she tends to be a bit one-dimensional indeed, but at 28 years of age it's tough to change your style of play, particularly if touch and all-court skills are lacking a bit. then again most women are not blessed with the kind of power and topspin that kaia has. i think kaia should stick to her guns but keep her head cool when facing high-caliber or uncomfortable opponents.