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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #361
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Re: ...HardCourt II

She should, as long as luck isn't a complete bastard, get a better first round draw on Melbourne than Jie. So if she can get a first round win there, and build some confidence on top of that, she could still do okay.
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #362
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Re: ...HardCourt II

At least she won one set… And a t-break. She had many opportunities to win, which was not the case Vs. Ardvisson. B.
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #363
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Pointswise the AO is much more important. Every match won there counts, whereas here she would have needed to reach the SF just to have any net gain. I think based on the level she showed in the last two sets she should get through a couple of matches in Melbourne at least, and by that time she should be hitting the ball a lot better.
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #364
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Re: ...HardCourt II

In the end I dont think this loss has anything to do with the fact it was in Aus. Maybe at the start it was a factor but I really think she got into the match quite well. Sam gets better as the season goes on which is why its also difficult for her to do well here, its much better when she has lots of match practice. But she showed some good signs in this match and with an ok draw I think she can win a few rounds at AO.
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #365
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Re: ...HardCourt II

^I agree completely Huntress. There were a few passages of play where Sam got a bit tentative, but I think that was more due to the fact that Jie was playing so well than to any real signs of home crowd nerves. She just needs a few matches to get her rhythm and confidence up and she will be fine.
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #366
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Agree with you guys that its nothing much to do with where she is playing - just unfortunate that she had to start the year in Australia so soon after her surgery. We have seen so far already, early season rust can affect alot of players like Petra/Lucie and not just Sam. But being an Aussie, her losses are always magnified 10x by the media.

On an positive that despite being under prepared during pre-season, she kept the match really close and won the tie break despite going match point down. If not for anything, at least she got to stay on court for a further set of competitive tennis.

Just gutted for her that its another one of those close matches she has lost where the final set was separated by one break of serve - my stream died she got broken at 3-1 but by all accounts Jay Z seemed to have played a blinder (they almost seem to do so in Australia vs poor Sam ). She was quite tentative with some of her shots during the match and allowed ZJ to take control of too many of the points - perhaps lacking confidence to really go for her shots? The most encouraging part of the match was when she was a break down in the second set - didn't see that enough during the match though.

Just wishing and hoping she gets a kind draw that will allow her to play her way into form at the Aussie Open - there will be plenty of dangerous and unseeded floaters at the Open so I am hoping Sam avoids them in the first two rounds at least.

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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #367
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Come on Sammy!!! I really hope she can bounce back and have a great AO
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #368
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Just got back. My battery died after the second set. Here is my not so expert thoughts:

- watching her train earlier in the day she was so relaxed and hitting really well.
- from the moment she walked on court she was so tense and kept trying to shake her arms and shoulders to release the tension. As a result she had no zing in her shots in the first set and really had no confidence.
- Second set the crowd really did lift her and the ball was getting heavier off her racket.
- As soon as she missed an opportunity she would start muttering to herself, the tension would come back and her game falls apart.
- she showed real glimpses of old Sammy and I think she can get some real confidence from today's match
- her box was next to us and they looked really tense thoughout the whole match.
- she needs to use the crowd to her advantage more. When they were loud (I was one of them ) she really lifted but when she is down she doesn't use them to give her energy.
- Her second serve has lost its zing and she is losing confidence on her serve.
- overall a few wins and a bit of confidence and all will be back to normal

Now after nearly 11hrs of very hot tennis, I am going to bed to have sweet dream about Eva!
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Old Jan 7th, 2013, 03:12 PM   #369
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Thanks for the summary Adomoose

To some extent I'd say it's normal that Sam would be more tense during a match than during training. Watching the stream I didn't really get a sense that she was all that tense at all, but you were in a better position to see that than us. Still, a good sign that she gained some confidence as the match went on.

As for the zing, I think that's probably the courts more than anything else. I had the same feeling watching her matches in Australia last year: she seemed to be getting a fair bit of muscle on her serve, but as soon as it hit the court it kind of went dead, and just pretty much sat up at not much above waist height waiting to be hit. Even the vertically challenged Jie was taking Sam's serves today at shoulder height at most. I thought she did a pretty good job of countering that by mixing her serves up a bit, but it's always going to be tough for her on these courts I think.

Unfortunately most people don't really watch Sam's matches all that closely, so people just fall back on the standard script: if she loses in Aus it's ALWAYS because home crowd nerves got the better of her, if she loses in a final it's ALWAYS because she choked, etc.

I realize there's an element of truth in a lot of these things, but often the truth is much simpler: she lost because her opponent played better than her on the day. Sam's still a bit rusty and playing on courts that don't suit her game very well. Home nerves probably don't help, but I don't think they're the main problem.

Like annetcl said, it's a shame the Aussie season is right at the start of the year because Sam really needs more matches before she starts playing her best tennis.
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 12:20 AM   #370
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Watched the match very late last night because of work. Better than Brisbane but still not good enough. Let's face it, if Sam was right mentality she wouldn't be losing these types of matches, just look at the way she plays and the way she reacts out there, she's just so god damn tense and it's frustating to watch. It's not good enough for a player who should be contending for slams (not Wimbledon). And you see a point here and there and you know can see the game is still there but doesn't have any confidence to do it consisently. I just don't thinks he'll ever get it right and I don't think excuses should be made, it isn't good enough but Sam obviously knows that.

Hopefully she gets a nice draw for Melbourne
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 04:29 AM   #371
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Re: ...HardCourt II

^Seems to me that if nerves/mentality/confidence was the main problem, she would get worse after a loss, not better. Just saying.
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 05:41 AM   #372
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Re: ...HardCourt II

After last night's match I think match play and confidence are the key factors. What you couldn't see on tv was the number of times Sam looked at her box looking for answers and looking concerned at the back of the court. I think the fact she hasn't won a match since Moscow and the number of close loses last year played on her mind.
With regard to her serve the variety wasnt there when it got tight. No body serves and the kicker worked well in the second but she tensed up in the third and the kicker lost its kick. The courts can work well for her. I do think it wouldn't hurt to flatten the serve our more on this surface though.
Overall however there were many positives out of the match last night which will give her the confidence she needs in Melbourne. I am surprising optimistic about next week now as long as she brings her brain with her
On another note, it really pisses me off when a player plays GOAT against Sam and then tanks the next match - I just saw that Jie got smashed by Keys today
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 06:22 AM   #373
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Re: ...HardCourt II

I suspect that Jie was exhausted after the match with Sam. In fact, Sam is probably one of the few players who would not be unduly affected by having to front up in hot conditions 16 hours or so after playing such a grueling match. Missed opportunity for sure.

Thanks for your insights into the serve etc. I think you're right that tightness was a factor there, but I think her confidence should return with more matches. Agree about flattening the serve, and I think she should slice it more as well (something that Jie did very effectively I thought).
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 06:25 AM   #374
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Quote:
Originally Posted by stromatolite View Post
^Seems to me that if nerves/mentality/confidence was the main problem, she would get worse after a loss, not better. Just saying.
No, not at all. Couldn't of got much worse than the Arvidsson match so it was most likely going to get better not matter how she played. The fact that was so tense throughout the match and lost the 3-1 lead shows the head is simply not in the right place. Just look at the way she is on court and compare to let's say a match in her run at the 2010 French open, it's easy to see.
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 07:01 AM   #375
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Re: ...HardCourt II

^I don't think we're in any real disagreement on the point that tightness causes Sam some problems, just on the causes of that tightness.

I think she got tight yesterday because she lacked the match rhythm to be fully confident in her game on the crucial points. Playing in Australia may have played a role in that, but I don't think it was a really major factor. Neither in her interview did Sam. She was very up front last year that nerves got the better of her, now she says that isn't the case. I believe her.

As to RG 2010: I think we should all take a good look at Navratilova's comments in the article Adomoose posted on the news and articles thread. I think she hit a really fundamental problem right on the head. Other players have gotten used to her game, so it's not such a big surprise any more. I think Sam is a far better player now than she was in 2010, but she doesn't get the mileage out of her serve and FH that she did back then. She's still adjusting to that, but Sam being Sam (in Bertrand's words, she's a non-linear player) that's a bit of a hit and miss process.
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