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Old May 14th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #361
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Yeah she hit a lot of errors but she absolutely had to go for it. She wasn't going to beat Serena with defence or variety - that's not Laura's game. She was going toe to toe with an in-form world number 1 for the most part, it was inevitable she would falter first. And the forced/unforced stat gets a little blurred when two players are hitting as hard as these two were.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #362
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Laura was hoping for an closing score , did anyone see the match I didn't get an chance too watch it
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Old May 14th, 2013, 09:50 PM   #363
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

This match-up was never in doubt.

Serena loves playing the slow ball strikers. Defensive players are threats to Serena and Laura isn't particularly good in that area.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:01 PM   #364
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

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She already has the WC into Strasbourg... I think.
On the tournament entry thread there's a link that says Petko has a WC but the the others haven't been announced/claimed yet (dodgy google translate). So I'm no sure...I though Laura mentioned Strasbourg after Madrid or something that made me think she def would be there.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:12 PM   #365
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

At times I thought Laura was too good for Serena, some of her forehands were amazing but the 17 winners were undermined a lot by the errors.

Something I really thought let her down was her backhand today, looked really lazy and countless times hitting into the net on returnable shots.

Nevertheless, not a horrible attempt and there was never a question of Serena being able to win this match. Having Patrick in her box, would have known EVERYTHING about Laura's game and tactically Serena just knew what to do straight out.

I thought she was already in MD for Strasbourg...
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:48 PM   #366
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

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Originally Posted by no-hay-igual View Post
I thought she was already in MD for Strasbourg...
She's never been on the entry list, though there was a mention of her on the website previously along with Petko hence the WC speculation.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 11:38 PM   #367
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Ohh I see... suppose it depends on how the dubs go...
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Old May 14th, 2013, 11:45 PM   #368
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Just got back in from watching, in parts a cracking match. So many positives to take out of it.
Pro's: ball striking was similar standard from both, the edge of slightly more depth and a better balance in the hitting was continually tipping it in Williams favour, but it didn't feel like the scoreline would suggest.
Given the scoreline this will probably sound like a strange one but she got the tactics spot on. The odds of beating Serena were slim to none anyway, but she went with the only possible gameplan, going for both serves, pressing at every opportunity and going for every return. Execution wise it just wasn't there, the balance of winners to errors was too great which was also to expected as this was well outside the comfort zone,
By far the strangest pro I would draw out of it though was the ending. You had the end we all sort of knew was coming and the crushing double fault on MP (which unfortunately happened last week as well) and then they meet up at the net with Laura looking inconsolable, and I couldn't catch exactly what was said but it sounded like Serena said something like 'the serve will sort itself out you know'. Whatever she said they were then both giggling together and then she clapped Laura off court when they were announced again after. It was genuinely gracious and humble, and I'm sure Laura would have appreciated a kind word with that sort of authority massively, given who its coming from.
The serve continues to be a work in progress, and she is absolutely right in what she continues to say every time she's challenged on the DF count, which is that she knows the balance isn't quite there yet but its tantamount to giving the point away to 'make sure' of a second serve by just spinning it in safely. We're talking about a women's game that is return dominated at the top end, and she cannot survive in that world without a credible second serve and/or good retrieval skills. I'm fairly confident the good second serve is going to be the answer to that conundrum as she will never be a counterpuncher or retriever.

As another aside it struck me at the end looking at the stats at just how pointless a stat unforced errors is. Is there anything other than a forced error against Serena 99% of the time. If you aren't forced into over or under-hitting under the pressure and weight of each groundstroke, it strikes me you are just as likely to overpress in trying to out-think and outmanouvre her with placement and angle. They had 34 unforced errors down for Robson which was patently rediculous if you watched the match. pointless stat as the pace and weight they put on the ball made virtually every error on both sides forced. Just an aside!
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Old May 15th, 2013, 12:00 AM   #369
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Serena and Robson very complimentary of each other. Robson says SW the best she's ever faced, SW called her a future champion
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Old May 15th, 2013, 12:05 AM   #370
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

BIt of info for 'Strasbourg hopers' chatting earlier, think the quote you're referring is when she is discussing points necessary for a seeding, but she actually said getting a seeding would depend on how OTHERS do in Rome and Strasbourg. Unless she gets offered a late wildcard and can't resist chancing her arm it looks like she's having a rest next week as she's not on entry list and cutoff is long since past :-)
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Old May 15th, 2013, 12:27 AM   #371
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Interesting, thanks for the comments on the match, very jealous of you getting to see it in person!

In regards to Strasbourg, you could be right I thought she said it would depend on how she did in Rome and Strasbourg but I could well have remembered it wrong. It just stuck in my head as it's incorrect as rankings are taken from after Rome so Strasbourg is irrelevant for seedings.

There was also the comment on the tournie website about her being in Strasbourg, but that could have changed. The other option as no-hay-igual mentioned is it depends on whether she and Lisa have a run in the doubles or lose tomorrow.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 01:00 AM   #372
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

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Originally Posted by pennychange View Post
Just got back in from watching, in parts a cracking match. So many positives to take out of it.
Pro's: ball striking was similar standard from both, the edge of slightly more depth and a better balance in the hitting was continually tipping it in Williams favour, but it didn't feel like the scoreline would suggest.
Oh absolutely, this match was a hell of a lot closer than a 6-2 6-2 scoreline suggests. Laura was able to go toe to to with Serena in baseline exchanges. She gifted Serena over half of the points she ended up with, which in some ways is bad (I mean come on, 35 UEs in 16 games is never going to be a good thing) but at the same time shows that she wasn't being hit off the court, which I think a lot of people expected. It was a learning experience, and I think the next time Laura and Serena meet the scoreline will be closer.

One of the things that really helped Serena was that she played the big points really well. If Laura had a break point, If Laura had a chance to serve out a game she'd step it up as well. That's one of the things that made the performance look more like a rout than a competition.

Quote:
Given the scoreline this will probably sound like a strange one but she got the tactics spot on. The odds of beating Serena were slim to none anyway, but she went with the only possible gameplan, going for both serves, pressing at every opportunity and going for every return. Execution wise it just wasn't there, the balance of winners to errors was too great which was also to expected as this was well outside the comfort zone.
Pretty much. For the average player, rallying with Laura is a bad idea. It's just asking to get blown off the court. She's got power that most players can't match and she's got the talent to use it to boss rallies. Against players like Serena or Maria, that's just not an option. You can't overpower Serena, and Sharapova plays the exact same game with considerably more skill. Since rallying wasn't an option Laura had no choice but to play low % tennis. More often than not, it didn't work out for her, but the alternative would be to play it safer, get hit off the court and still lose the point.

Quote:
By far the strangest pro I would draw out of it though was the ending. You had the end we all sort of knew was coming and the crushing double fault on MP (which unfortunately happened last week as well) and then they meet up at the net with Laura looking inconsolable, and I couldn't catch exactly what was said but it sounded like Serena said something like 'the serve will sort itself out you know'. Whatever she said they were then both giggling together and then she clapped Laura off court when they were announced again after. It was genuinely gracious and humble, and I'm sure Laura would have appreciated a kind word with that sort of authority massively, given who its coming from.

The serve continues to be a work in progress, and she is absolutely right in what she continues to say every time she's challenged on the DF count, which is that she knows the balance isn't quite there yet but its tantamount to giving the point away to 'make sure' of a second serve by just spinning it in safely. We're talking about a women's game that is return dominated at the top end, and she cannot survive in that world without a credible second serve and/or good retrieval skills. I'm fairly confident the good second serve is going to be the answer to that conundrum as she will never be a counterpuncher or retriever.
There is nothing I can add to those paragraphs.

Quote:
As another aside it struck me at the end looking at the stats at just how pointless a stat unforced errors is. Is there anything other than a forced error against Serena 99% of the time. If you aren't forced into over or under-hitting under the pressure and weight of each groundstroke, it strikes me you are just as likely to overpress in trying to out-think and outmanouvre her with placement and angle. They had 34 unforced errors down for Robson which was patently rediculous if you watched the match. pointless stat as the pace and weight they put on the ball made virtually every error on both sides forced. Just an aside!
Absolutely correct. All players hitting hard and deep are going to commit a lot of DFs. It's the nature of their game, the margin of error is slim as hell and a ball that bounces slightly differently, or mistime something by a fraction of a second and you mishit the ball and lose the point. Against a player who's giving you a lot of easily returned balls, yes perhaps its meaningful. But against Serena or even Laura it's a useless statistic.

As an aside, people mentioned Aga committed many more DFs than is typical of her last week. I would question how much of that was due to bad play and how much was down to Laura forcing her off her game for similar reasons that Penny outlined.

Quote:
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Serena and Robson very complimentary of each other. Robson says SW the best she's ever faced, SW called her a future champion
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Well Serena's the best player of her generation, and if Laura isn't winning championships in the future something's gone wrong so that kind of goes without saying.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 08:00 AM   #373
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

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Interesting, thanks for the comments on the match, very jealous of you getting to see it in person!

In regards to Strasbourg, you could be right I thought she said it would depend on how she did in Rome and Strasbourg but I could well have remembered it wrong. It just stuck in my head as it's incorrect as rankings are taken from after Rome so Strasbourg is irrelevant for seedings.

There was also the comment on the tournie website about her being in Strasbourg, but that could have changed. The other option as no-hay-igual mentioned is it depends on whether she and Lisa have a run in the doubles or lose tomorrow.
I'm not sure if the actual vids of interviews come out anywhere, but what she said above was off the presser transcripts (which Rome very kindly publish for the geek amng us! can't wait for last nights!)
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Old May 15th, 2013, 11:47 AM   #374
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

pennychange - thanks for the info. So jel you got to watch.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #375
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Re: Laura hits the red dirt - Clay Season Cheering Thread

Last night's match showed exactly why Laura can trouble the best players but still lose to low rankers.

After her performances against other top 20 players the question was Laura could repeat it at the highest level? I think that last night showed that when everything is in position then the forehand drive is as good as it gets and Serena had no more chance of getting them back that the other leading lights who have tried. How it will hold up on low bouncing courts is another matter but when the ball is above the knees and wide Laura is excellent.

That said, and ignoring the old chestnut of serve, too many of the unforced errors really were unforced. If they were all because Serena was pressuring Laura all over the court and Laura was going for the lines in a sh** or bust approach, then it would be understandable. The errors I noticed were always because her feet were in the wrong place and my first reaction was always 'Oh Laura', because you could see that she was actually under no pressure but still shanked it wide or long.

When she comes to play level or lower ranked players, you still only get 1 point for a glorious winner but your opponent also gets 1 point for a DF or a simple miss and that is why her win loss ratio is likely to be similar against 10 - 20 ranking as against 70 - 80 ranking players.

When Laura has width to hit the shot then she strikes the ball beautifully down the line and her inside out shot across court is often an outright winner. Where her footwork lets her down is the ball played close to her (a common fault especially as players tire) because you have to take 3 or 4 steps away from the ball while turning to get side on, then make the forward motion into the ball. Laura does not move away from the ball quickly enough and finishes up playing too many cramped shots with the racquet too close to her body. The good thing is that this kind of problem is easily fixed since it is purely repetition in practice until it becomes instinctive to move away as soon as you see that the ball does not need chasing. Laura does not appear to be lazy physically so lack of movement in preparation is likely to be lack of awareness and still concentrating on your last shot rather than switching into receive mode as soon as you see the ball is going to be returned.

Obviously all the tennis players know the basics of correct footwork but where they can fall down is during the longer rallies where repetitive shots off forehand and backhand are suddenly replaced by having to make a decision on whether to move away on either hand. Against very tall or lazy players it is a very good ploy to play straight at their feet. Look at the problems someone like Isner or Cilic have with a ball hit at them - because of their reach they need to take about 5 steps to get away from the ball and often struggle, while trying to stretch them wide is playing right into their hands.

I think it was after the Aussie Open that Virginia Wade said regarding Laura's court movement, something like 'Everyone can learn to dance' but you can't run faster than your body allows. If Laura could hit every shot at arm's length, then she would only need a decent improvement in her serve to get well inside the top 10.
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