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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What I mean by that is the match where one player clearly concieved and executed a strategy, not necessarily to their strengths, and defeated a superior opponent, in a big time match.

The prototypical example is, unfortunately, on the men's side. Ashe Arthur Jimmy Connors 6-1 6-1 5-7 6-4 in the 1975 Wimbledon final. Possibly the most brilliantly concieved and executed strategy and tactics I've ever seen on court. Especially considering Connors was a far better player, and at the height of his powers.

On the women's side, in my experience, players win or lose on execution, rather than strategy. However there's a pretty good example of this in recent history. Might even be on YouTube.

The 2002 Berlin final. Henin def Serena 6-2 1-6 7-6(5). Remember, this was the Serena who was about to execute the Serena Slam, an absolutely insane run of tennis.

In the first set, Henin turned Serena every which way but loose. But in the second, Serena forced Henin into a running game and proved herself the faster player. The third set pretty much what 7-6(5) makes you think it was. And they did it again in Rome the next week, Serena winning 7-6(6) 6-4. Still two of my favorite non-slam finals. Instructional tennis is the Big Bang era.

And I once saw Emmanuelle Gagliardi play the match that any of us culd only wish we played if we faced a high ranked WTA pro. 90% of her first serves in, hit the lines, changed pace, did everything right. She got smoked, cause the talent disparity was too great, but talk about doing everything right you could do right ......

So, how's by you? What the smartest tennis you ever saw played?
 
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One that always springs to mind is Davenport against Serena at the 2000 U.S Open.

Lindsay had come off a succession of losses to a player who, on paper, she should have had at least some chance of beating. The expectation among many was that Lindsay would be trashed by Serena in the US Open last 8 match. But Davenport unveiled a strategy which could only really work once, but which, without preparation, totally flummoxed Serena. Lindsay hit continuously down the centre of the court with her usual crispness and incredible pace of shot until finally Serena lost length and then Davenport nailed the winner. She won in two sets.

Conchita Martinez played quite a few matches in her career where she got the tactics fairly well spot on. I remember her almost castrating Sanchez-Vicario in the 2000 French Open semi, sending massively topspun balls practically over her head time and time again. Aranxta would have been better hitting all of her shots overarm. Aranxta had a great head-to-head advantage over Conchita, but that day, she had all her strengths neutered. Martinez did that to a lot of the top players at least once.
 

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The one that stands out to me is this year's IW final in that heavy wind.
Vera was down 0-2 in both sets but adjusted to the wind and forced Ana to go win the match with winners.
Ana is probably beating herself anyway, but Vera played those big points very smartly.
 

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Tatiana Golovin vs Maria Sharapova. 2006 Miami :tears: . After an hour an a bit of trying to "Get the first strike in" she decided at 1-5 down in the second set to just let Maria just come at her. She kept everything deep, ran like crazy, made sure that every single ball came back even if she had to just bunt it over (Maria hit about 4 winners in the second set), but as soon as Maria gave her an inch, just an inch... Meaning if Maria got confused, the ball came mid-court or Maria was just slightly out of position, she would use the momentum and slowly but surely turn defense into attack by moving maria left-right, left-right and then wrongfooting her or hitting a dropshot or coming to the net. It was crazy. I will never forget that match, it was the first time I realised tennis was more than just hitting the ball hard. Of course we all know what happened in the end. :crying2: Tati has one of the best tennis brains around. She has to come back. :tears:

 

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i loved chak sending petrova mad with angle after angle at antwerp in '07, nadia was throwing her racket in like the 3rd game of the match lol. nadia just kept trying to power winners dtl and chak would angle it back leaving petrova stranded with an open court. petrova had won paris indoors the week before and beat vera in the previous round.
 

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I was just going to say the Davenport one. It was one of the first, clear ways demonstrated to play against Serena.


Another one, although Henin retired, was the AO 06 final. Mauresmo displayed just about the perfect way to play Henin on a slow court. She gave her nothing to work with, just drowned her with excessive topspin and kept her far behind the baseline. Henin had to create all the pace herself. That drained any energy Henin had to offer and probably contributed to her stomach problem that she retired with. I believe Mauresmo was well on her way to victory though, even if she would have got a big tight.
 

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2007 Australian Open Serena strategy was to blitz her opponent.
Sharapova against Henin in Australia was all strategy too.
 

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Justine Henin beating Sharapova at RG 2005. Just completely implemented every shot in the book to beat Sharapova. Pinned her back with ruthless efficiency with huge loaded topspin backhands and then just pounded the short replies for winners with the forehand.

Sharapova just couldn't do anything. It was a masterclass in clay-court tennis by Justine, against one of the most aggressive strikers on the women's tour.
 

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Venus def. Henin Amelia Island.
It wasn't good tennis, but it was a great example of winning with Plan B.
 

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Chakvetadze vs Safina - Moscow 2006

Used all of Safina's pace to send it back past her for winners.
 
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Justine Henin beating Sharapova at RG 2005. Just completely implemented every shot in the book to beat Sharapova. Pinned her back with ruthless efficiency with huge loaded topspin backhands and then just pounded the short replies for winners with the forehand.

Sharapova just couldn't do anything. It was a masterclass in clay-court tennis by Justine, against one of the most aggressive strikers on the women's tour.
henins dropshots that day made maria look almost stupid, thrown in at all the right times, backed up perfectly and totaly exposing maria bad movement on clay.

great match by henin.
 

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Tatiana Golovin vs Maria Sharapova. 2006 Miami :tears: . After an hour an a bit of trying to "Get the first strike in" she decided at 1-5 down in the second set to just let Maria just come at her. She kept everything deep, ran like crazy, made sure that every single ball came back even if she had to just bunt it over (Maria hit about 4 winners in the second set), but as soon as Maria gave her an inch, just an inch... Meaning if Maria got confused, the ball came mid-court or Maria was just slightly out of position, she would use the momentum and slowly but surely turn defense into attack by moving maria left-right, left-right and then wrongfooting her or hitting a dropshot or coming to the net. It was crazy. I will never forget that match, it was the first time I realised tennis was more than just hitting the ball hard. Of course we all know what happened in the end. :crying2: Tati has one of the best tennis brains around. She has to come back. :tears:

I was at this match. Best match I've seen live
 

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Venus def. Henin Amelia Island.
It wasn't good tennis, but it was a great example of winning with Plan B.
i've never seen this match are there clips, highlights of it? oh and what year was it?
 

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With just a slight :angel: hint of bias, I'll say Schnyder d. Henin in Charleston 2006. After getting swept aside in the first set 62, it looked like another quick Henin-Schnyder match. But in the next two sets, Schnyder made sure every ball she hit was far out of Henin's strike zone and never let her get any rhythm. From moonballs to flat inside-out to drop shots, Henin was unable to cope with the wind and Schnyder's awesome variety and went down tamely in the last two sets. I was at that match live, but I find some of the details escaping me. I'm sure it's around on the internet somewhere, so I'll go on a hunt sometime later.
 
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