I was at Wimbledon qualifying and saw all of Alexa's matches. I think I have never posted here (not that I post much on tf anyway) but I'm a really big fan of Alexa's game. Her first match against Floris was just no contest, the second match against Rezai was a really good and interesting match and today's one a tight affair that the Italian won. Here a few general and match specific thoughts:
So much of Alexa's game is built around that serve and when it's on, it's amazing to watch. Her serve out wide from the deuce court worked really well during her first two matches. I guess she served at least 10 aces with that slice against Floris and Rezai. I have once seen Tursunov giving a serving master class in Wimbledon (hitting fifteen slice aces or so) and Glatch's performance reminded me of that. Today, the serve was unfortunately a bit off, surely one of the reasons she struggled. Giorgi also took Alexa's kicker away, hitting four,five return winners off it in the first seven games.
During both the Rezai and Giorgi match she was getting aced down the t by both players several times. I really fell that someone with such a big wingspan shouldn't get aced that often. During today's match Alexa adjusted later on and made life a bit harder for Giorgi. I think she hasn't hundred per cent figured out yet if she just wants to slice the return back or be a bit more aggressive. She often returns like a one-hander and hands the initiative right to her opponent. Giorgi was often taking advantage of those sliced returns, either hitting straight winners off them or bossing the rally from there on. Alexa can actually hit nice drives and even winners especially off her forehand return as she showed during her match against Rezai. I wish she would go more for broke on her returns. She usually protects her serve well so should have the confidence to put her opponents under more pressure when they are serving.
But I see this 'measured approach' as a general problem at least in some situations. She can hit really big off her forehand wing but prefers to build rallys and then go for the winner when the court is open. This worked well against Rezai whose game is often just one shot away from self-imploding. However, Giorgi took advantage of every short ball hitting winners off both wings or pushing Glatch far behind the baseline. Alexa hardly got out of these defensive situations. While her big strides allow her to get to a lot off balls, she doesn't turn quickly enough to get to next ball. At 3:5 down in the first set Alexa started hitting really deep and powerful and took Giorgi's time away. She pushed the Italian further behind the baseline and it showed with Giorgi making more mistakes or giving Alexa space to hit winners into. Alexa kept this up until 3:0 in the breaker but then couldn't buy a first serve and the set was quickly gone thereafter.
While I love her backhand slice, I feel she relies too much on that shot. At the end of today's match she was slicing from positions on the court where it din't really make sense (like two feeds inside the baseline in the middle of the court). The big advantage Giorgi has in their matchup is that she can hit winners off the slice rather easily. She just bends her knees and whacks winners right and left from it. Rezai also did this from time to time but then didn't have the patience to do it in every rally. This ability of Giorgi unsettled Alexa and was probably one of the reasons why she lost the plot a bit in the second set. Overall, I think Alexa is really close to finding her game and against opponents who are surprised or overwhelmed by it (like Floris this year or Garcia last year) she looks majestic. But for me she doesn't look confident enough yet to adjust her game during matches (and go for more). She could have won today's match if she had gone for her shots over an extended period.
Granted, I have only ever seen Alexa play in person in Wimbledon last year and this year so my observations might be totally wrong and maybe she plays different on other surfaces. Anyways, I would love to see her succeed and really hope to not see at the qualifying again but in the main draw from next year on. Go Alexa!