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Other puzzling H2Hs
Woz over Kuznetsova: 8-6
Kuznetsova over Radwanska: 14-4

Weird how Woz gives Kuzy such a hard time, but she dominated her match-up with Aga.

And also, Pliskova's 8-2 H2H over Mugu.
Continuing on some of these players, I also find the Radwanska vs Ka. Pliskova 7-1 puzzling. I loved how Pliskova hinted at her difficulties playing Radwanska when Aga retired.
 

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Discussion Starter #83
Madison Keys: H2Hs against so-called counterpunchers:

vs Simo: 2-5
vs. Kerber: 2-9
vs. Aga: 1-5
vs. Sloane: 1-3
vs: JJ: 1-3
It's kind of sad because Madison used to be tougher for Angie back in 2014/15, but since then things have just been sooooooooo easy. Even Madison's second win over Angie was during her post-Wimbledon run of horrific form and took a choke from Angie. I always say playing Madison is a test of form for her. If she's beating Madison in straight sets we know she's okay. If it's in three sets the signs are worrying. If she loses to Madison, things are BAD for her.

I don't know why Madison has not tried to adapt her game in some way when playing counterpunchers after all these years. She still insists on hitting every ball as hard as she can, even though it's now clear that her opponents just feed off the pace and redirect the ball at will until they either hit a winner or she baseballs it into the stands.

Like, I'm not saying she needs to become Radwanska, Wozniacki or Niculescu here, but just a BIT of rallying at 70% pace would be a nice change. At least give your opponents the chance to miss or get tired or something. I know she couldn't play a whole match like that (and she shouldn't - her power is her asset), but just SOME of the points could be longer, more structured, more based around challenging the endurance of her opponents or something.

Even just throw in some random shots to keep them guessing? I think it would be so refreshing to see her do that. Imagine her opponents expecting some absolute rocket, on the back foot, and then she throws in a slow-pace shot? They wouldn't know what to do! And that would create uncertainty and doubt in their minds, knowing that they can't get too comfortable.

Even though I'm an Angie fan and I love seeing her win, it kind of hurts seeing how sad Madison gets every time she plays someone who she can't overpower.
 

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Considering their respective career accomplishments, I'm not sure how Wozniacki having an 11-6 record over Radwanska (hardly that dominant in the first place) is some oddity or surprising.
Career accomplishments have practically zero to do with H2H......purely on a MATCH UP perspective, it's odd that Caroline had such a strong head to head over Aga( even more so considering their respective H2H against similar players).
 

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So in other words, Venus played better at the time. Agreed.
No, more like Venus was the better PLAYER at the time. It's essentially doing the Testud-Serena H2H. Playing better and being better are not the same thing.
Not to me. Stephens had one flash of genius, when she somehow managed to fluke a Grand Slam title (I watched at least three of her matches, and still can't figure it out), but is otherwise run of the mill. Her career prior to the US Open win was promising (sometimes extremely so), but to me she was always as brittle as hell.

Her career since has basically been a straight decline - I won't say it's in freefall, because it isn't, but she has lost to so many players that she shouldn't have that she might just as well give up now. She obviously has far more important things on her mind that playing good tennis. Look at her record this year:

Brisbane - lost 1st round in three sets to Ludmila Samsonova (ranked 129)
Adelaide - thrashed 1st round by Arina Rodionova (201)
Australian Open - lost 1st round (3 sets) to Zhang Shuai (35)
Acapulco - thumped 1st round by Renata Zarazua (and, for most people here, that's "Who?") (270)
Monterrey - 1st round took 3 sets to beat Emma Navarro, and then beaten in 3 sets by Leylah Fernandez (which should have been straight sets) (126)

One win in six matches, against a player ranked 497.

Humph!!
Stephens has made 2 GS Finals, F of the YEC, Won Miami and has 2 additional GS SFs(over essentially 3 seasons).......that's in no way one flash of genius nor is it run of the mill.
 

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Career accomplishments have practically zero to do with H2H......purely on a MATCH UP perspective, it's odd that Caroline had such a strong head to head over Aga( even more so considering their respective H2H against similar players).
Correct about career accomplishments have practically zero to do with head to head. Bartoli never beat either Sharapova or Radwanska in her pro career but it didn't stop her winning Wimbledon. Prior to their Wimbledon final Lisicki had 3 -1 victory record over Bartoli.
 

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Sharapova was a solid and accomplished player, and definitely a true champion, but she didn’t move as well as Serena and couldn’t read Serena’s serve at all. There was one match at Aussie Open a few years back where Serena must’ve aced her 15 times down the T.

My brother tried to discredit Maria when I called her one of the greatest. I said I’d rank her top 15 all-time and he was like, “But look at her record against Serena. You think Graf or Nav would get embarrassed so many times?” I don’t think the poor record alone is enough to knock Maria out of top 15 status. In 2-3 of those matches Serena was in her absolute God mode.
I think the point is, several similar players ( don't move well, ball bashers from the baseline, try to outhit Serena) have done much better against Serena than Maria has.....which is what makes it odd. Serena is clearly the better player ( then again, she's better than anyone) and Serena clearly has match up issues with certain types of players ( least of which baseline power hitters) but if players like Muguruza, Pliskova and even Davenport can trouble Serena- it's odd Maria ( who plays similarly, and owns the H2H against all 3) wouldn't be able to even make a dent.
 

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Career accomplishments have practically zero to do with H2H......purely on a MATCH UP perspective, it's odd that Caroline had such a strong head to head over Aga( even more so considering their respective H2H against similar players).
Career accomplishments (measuring peak level and consistency) are the context in which a head-to-head is odd or surprising. Else, there's no purpose to the thread and no head-to-heads are surprising. We can just say Safarova is 5-1 against Radwanska because of "match-up" and there will be nothing incongruous about it. Even if I granted your proposition about match-up, I'd say Wozniacki has the same advantages in the match-up that made for her superior career. She's a bigger server and more aggressive returner and her stamina is unparalleled which makes it impossible for Aga to wear her down like she does other opponents, so in their match-up, I believe Wozniacki can play more in her comfort zone without taking too many risks while Radwanska probably has to play more aggressively than usual to prevail. Outside of grass (and they interestingly never played on grass where Aga is the better, more accomplished player), I'd bet on Wozniacki almost everytime to win. I was usually more surprised when Aga beat Caro than the reverse.
 

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I think the point is, several similar players ( don't move well, ball bashers from the baseline, try to outhit Serena) have done much better against Serena than Maria has.....which is what makes it odd. Serena is clearly the better player ( then again, she's better than anyone) and Serena clearly has match up issues with certain types of players ( least of which baseline power hitters) but if players like Muguruza, Pliskova and even Davenport can trouble Serena- it's odd Maria ( who plays similarly, and owns the H2H against all 3) wouldn't be able to even make a dent.
Pliskova's serve earns some respect from Serena, while Serena tees off on Sharapova's serve. Muguruza has played cleaner, tactically smart games against Serena with patient aggression while Sharapova sprays balls trying to outhit Serena. I remember Mugu's first French Open win against Serena where she was just drilling balls down the middle of the court and giving Serena few angles to outmaneuver her and Serena's footwork broke down and she sprayed shots everywhere. Muguruza also reads Serena's serve a lot better. Then there's just the fact that Serena gets herself more pumped for Maria matches than anyone else. She'd lose to anyone on the planet before the loses to Maria. She seems to have made that vow sometime in her life. :LOL:
 

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Even just throw in some random shots to keep them guessing? I think it would be so refreshing to see her do that. Imagine her opponents expecting some absolute rocket, on the back foot, and then she throws in a slow-pace shot? They wouldn't know what to do! And that would create uncertainty and doubt in their minds, knowing that they can't get too comfortable.
I'm obviously not a professional player, but I can kinda understand how it happens. If let's say her mindset is that her "peak tennis" is built around hitting huge shots 90% of the time and that that's when she's most successful, you'll definitely lean more heartily on that strategy when things aren't going well. You just start thinking: I just gotta keep after it. I am absolutely the same way. The more shots I miss, the harder I want to hit the ball to prove to myself that I will make the shots I want to make. And that's because I don't trust other parts of my game enough. As much as I like Madison's game when it's on, it's really a game entirely built around her ability to hit with tons of power. If you're convinced that's what your strength is, and you haven't done the leg work to create a solid plan B, you're not going to give up Plan A. The adjustment is just to difficult to make, mentally.
 

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Pliskova's serve earns some respect from Serena, while Serena tees off on Sharapova's serve. Muguruza has played cleaner, tactically smart games against Serena with patient aggression while Sharapova sprays balls trying to outhit Serena. I remember Mugu's first French Open win against Serena where she was just drilling balls down the middle of the court and giving Serena few angles to outmaneuver her and Serena's footwork broke down and she sprayed shots everywhere. Muguruza also reads Serena's serve a lot better. Then there's just the fact that Serena gets herself more pumped for Maria matches than anyone else. She'd lose to anyone on the planet before the loses to Maria. She seems to have made that vow sometime in her life. :LOL:
Hallelujah, someone finally addressed the elephant in the room. Basically what Serena says all the time that everyone plays against her differently, that's what she does against Maria and only Maria.
 

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I think the point is, several similar players ( don't move well, ball bashers from the baseline, try to outhit Serena) have done much better against Serena than Maria has.....which is what makes it odd. Serena is clearly the better player ( then again, she's better than anyone) and Serena clearly has match up issues with certain types of players ( least of which baseline power hitters) but if players like Muguruza, Pliskova and even Davenport can trouble Serena- it's odd Maria ( who plays similarly, and owns the H2H against all 3) wouldn't be able to even make a dent.
The thing about Maria is that she always plays the same way. Even one of her former coaches said she’s resistant to change. Often, when Serena has beaten you and figured you out, she knows what balls you don’t like and how to exploit your weaknesses. I watched one of their matches where Serena kept hitting the ball behind Maria or sending balls directly to Maria’s feet. Maria got frustrated because she doesn’t move well and Serena was exploiting that. Pliskova has a good serve, better than Maria’s, so that has helped her against Serena. Davenport, in my opinion, was slightly smarter than Maria, but even she has a fairly lopsided head to head with Serena. Mugu can drag Serena on clay, but put a fit and prime Serena against Mugu on grass or hard court and I’d pick Serena to win just about every time.
 

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These statements aren't true.

1) Her H2H record against Venus, Hingis, Capriati, Sharapova, Davenport, Henin and Mauresmo is only a +1 differential, and the majority of those H2Hs were very lopsided for periods of time in one favour or the other depending on who was peaking. I mean, it's random that she finished her career like that, but 3 of those players ended up with more slams than her, so I would say it was serendipitous in certain ways, as opposed to be an indicator that she's the best of the bunch.

2) She has a losing record against a number of players, even before 2020 - Graf, Seles, Tulyaganova, C Fernandez, Krasnoroutskaya, Rus.
But the point is: Players she played at least TWICE. She played Graf and Seles and Rus only once and I think the others as well.
 

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I remember Hingis thrashing Monica a few times - wasn't there a 6-0 6-0 in there somewhere even? Yikes!

I think by the time Hingis came on the scene, Monica's movement had really declined and her serve was particularly ineffective. I think Martina's smarts just kept Monica off-balance and she could never really execute the game plan she wanted to when she was always on the back foot.
The 6-0, 6-0- Monica was suffering with a foot injury. The HTH was a combo of Hingis’ smarts, a bad matchup for Monica, and Monica being out of shape. When Monica was fitter she was able to beat Martina (‘98 FO and 2x in the summer of ‘01)
 

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The thing about Maria is that she always plays the same way. Even one of her former coaches said she’s resistant to change. Often, when Serena has beaten you and figured you out, she knows what balls you don’t like and how to exploit your weaknesses. I watched one of their matches where Serena kept hitting the ball behind Maria or sending balls directly to Maria’s feet. Maria got frustrated because she doesn’t move well and Serena was exploiting that. Pliskova has a good serve, better than Maria’s, so that has helped her against Serena. Davenport, in my opinion, was slightly smarter than Maria, but even she has a fairly lopsided head to head with Serena. Mugu can drag Serena on clay, but put a fit and prime Serena against Mugu on grass or hard court and I’d pick Serena to win just about every time.
See that's half right but when you really break down their matches the tale is more about Serena refusing to lose to Maria, than Maria playing "tactically dumb"..... because let's face it, none of Pliskova, Muguruza or Davenport really mixed it up against Serena or anyone for that matter and they each "play the same way" in all matches. Serena has played loads of good servers (even Maria early on was a top 3 server on tour), so the serve alone isn't what causes issues for Serena against Karolina. Maria has exhibited her ability to adjust throughout matches with Serena( see the period between 2013-2015). It just comes down to Serena's unwillingness to lose to Maria.

As for the peak, fit, prime it all gets thrown out of the window, because it's honestly irrelevant ( as when don't know when that will occur), thus we can only go but the reality and facts.......and Garbine, off Clay, has tested/pushed Serena in all but 1 match.

Pliskova's serve earns some respect from Serena, while Serena tees off on Sharapova's serve. Muguruza has played cleaner, tactically smart games against Serena with patient aggression while Sharapova sprays balls trying to outhit Serena. I remember Mugu's first French Open win against Serena where she was just drilling balls down the middle of the court and giving Serena few angles to outmaneuver her and Serena's footwork broke down and she sprayed shots everywhere. Muguruza also reads Serena's serve a lot better. Then there's just the fact that Serena gets herself more pumped for Maria matches than anyone else. She'd lose to anyone on the planet before the loses to Maria. She seems to have made that vow sometime in her life. :LOL:
RIGHT, that goes to my point......someone was saying how it's so embarrassing to see the Serena/Maria H2H, but my point was that it was a MENTAL issue, and mental issues don't have to relate to skill. Maria felt me mentally pressured against Serena and Serena would rather die than lose to her. With it said, there's many times when Sharapova's tactics WERE working.....but she'd crumble when closing time neared ( Miami 2013 Final, Miami 2014 SF set 1, AO 2016 QF set 1, RG 2014 Final set 1) whereas as the others don't really flinch.
 

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Maria has exhibited her ability to adjust throughout matches with Serena( see the period between 2013-2015). It just comes down to Serena's unwillingness to lose to Maria.
I’m not a tennis expert like some of y’all, but I have to disagree with you here. I’ve not seen Maria adjust much with Serena at all. Australian Open 2015 (if I remember correctly), Maria stood in the same spot and was aced down the T about 20 times. Plus, they’ve played so many times that I think Serena knows Maria’s patterns. Serena hasn’t played Garbine or Pliskova nearly as often. There have even been many matches when Serena was off her game and either lost or barely won against Maria (see Wimby ‘04, AO ‘05, and Miami 2013). Plus, you mention Maria adjusting in the period 2013-2015. During that period, Serena won like 90% of her matches and was hardly losing to anyone. Maria’s level just wasn’t good enough to defeat Serena during that time, which is another factor. When Serena’s level is lower, like in 2004-2006, Maria could and did defeat Serena. Maria vs. Peak Serena usually ends in a bad beating. Plenty of other top players have a similar record against Serena. I think Na Li only beat Serena once in ten attempts, and Li was a good hard court player. I remember she was bageled by Serena at US Open one year and Serena was jumping up and down and rubbing salt on the wound. Maria wasn’t the only one to get backhanded by Serena in that period. The whole locker room was running scared.
 

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Kerber vs. Keys is one that I thought of as well, but I just don't see it as surprising tbh. Angie has an answer to everything Madison does and redirects her pace perfectly. Madison's game plan isn't strategically varied enough to trouble Angie.

Some confusing ones:

Errani vs. CSN
Vondrousova vs. Halep
Halep vs. Pavs
Yastremska vs. Sabalenka
Strycova vs. Garcia
Garcia vs. Lucic-Baroni
Rogers vs. Osaka
Cibulkova vs. Schiavone
Stosur vs. Bepa
Much as I love Pavly this one doesn't really confuse me tbh. Anytime they play Pavly generally looks frustrated by the end to the first game.:LOL:

However she came closest in their last match and having beaten the PlisBot I'm hopeful new Patient Pavly (a relative term obviously) will break her Simona Curse. Hopefully at some point before they are playing exhibitions in their 50's. :p

It's kind of sad because Madison used to be tougher for Angie back in 2014/15, but since then things have just been sooooooooo easy. Even Madison's second win over Angie was during her post-Wimbledon run of horrific form and took a choke from Angie. I always say playing Madison is a test of form for her. If she's beating Madison in straight sets we know she's okay. If it's in three sets the signs are worrying. If she loses to Madison, things are BAD for her.

I don't know why Madison has not tried to adapt her game in some way when playing counterpunchers after all these years. She still insists on hitting every ball as hard as she can, even though it's now clear that her opponents just feed off the pace and redirect the ball at will until they either hit a winner or she baseballs it into the stands.

Like, I'm not saying she needs to become Radwanska, Wozniacki or Niculescu here, but just a BIT of rallying at 70% pace would be a nice change. At least give your opponents the chance to miss or get tired or something. I know she couldn't play a whole match like that (and she shouldn't - her power is her asset), but just SOME of the points could be longer, more structured, more based around challenging the endurance of her opponents or something.

Even just throw in some random shots to keep them guessing? I think it would be so refreshing to see her do that. Imagine her opponents expecting some absolute rocket, on the back foot, and then she throws in a slow-pace shot? They wouldn't know what to do! And that would create uncertainty and doubt in their minds, knowing that they can't get too comfortable.


Even though I'm an Angie fan and I love seeing her win, it kind of hurts seeing how sad Madison gets every time she plays someone who she can't overpower.
I know how difficult can it be, I mean even Penko can do it occasionally.:LOL: I remember being at a match between Buzarnescu and Penko and the look on the face of Dr Buzz when Penko threw in the dropshot was worth the admission fee on it's own.:LOL:

But for better or for worse Maddie is possibly not going to change at this point....
 

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Kasatkina and Wozniacki. The H2H is merely 3-2 but Kasatkina beat Wozniacki in straight sets 3 times in a row, these being 3 wins in 2018.

Barbora Strycova and Garbine another one.
 

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These statements aren't true.

1) Her H2H record against Venus, Hingis, Capriati, Sharapova, Davenport, Henin and Mauresmo is only a +1 differential, and the majority of those H2Hs were very lopsided for periods of time in one favour or the other depending on who was peaking. I mean, it's random that she finished her career like that, but 3 of those players ended up with more slams than her, so I would say it was serendipitous in certain ways, as opposed to be an indicator that she's the best of the bunch.

2) She has a losing record against a number of players, even before 2020 - Graf, Seles, Tulyaganova, C Fernandez, Krasnoroutskaya, Rus.
what is this mess of a post 😹 you should maybe read the post you're quoting again
 
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