Showing posts with label tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tour. Show all posts

Bank of the West recap & highlights

I spent some time at Stanford this week for the WTA's US Open series kickoff.  Here are some things I noticed about the players by watching them in person:
  • Ana Ivanovic: I think Ana needs to add something to her game that separates her from her competitors, many others strike harder and move better than her.  However, she can hit flat, deep shots, and has potential for great volleys, so I would build on that and come in a lot more.  Maybe play more doubles too to practice serve & volley and build confidence at the net.  In her match against Bartoli, she placed a lot of sitters right into Bartoli's strike zone, so she'll need to work on strategy and versatility as well.  Her slice serve out wide from the deuce court was effective, however overall serves were pretty shaky.  Each toss and service motion looked a bit different, so it's hard to build up consistency and confidence.  Maybe try practicing like Sampras used to: let the coach call what serve to play when the toss is up in the air.

  • Marion Bartoli: Marion hits everything that's within a 2-3 step radius long and hard.  As an opponent, that means that you won't be surprised with spin, dropshots, angles etc, and if you have a versatile game yourself you are looking pretty good in that matchup.  Looks like Marion is working very hard out there and seems incredibly (in)tense, so am wondering how sustainable that is in the long run.

  • Victoria Azarenka: I'm not a big fan of Vika's soundtrack but am impressed with her movement and the consistency of her power game.  She hit solid volleys and produced some nice angles too.  Practicing and playing with the Kastles will likely help her to become a great allrounder and handle pace very well.

  • Sam Stosur: Really like the fact that Sam is an allround player, but would have expected her at the net a bit more.  Not sure if she knew how to win against Vika.  Lots of framers off the forehand during that match.  Seems to me that Sam could get more power and spin out of her great groundstrokes, maybe with a slightly more powerful racquet, with a slightly bigger head, and a more open string pattern.  Otherwise, why not come in after a heavy forehand or a low slice?

  • Maria Sharapova: Very much enjoyed watching Maria's long swings and racquet head acceleration.  Great to see in person what a fierce competitor she is, no letting down ever.  Didn't play to well in the semis but her will powered her through to the final.  Could add a little margin to the lines. Serve looks fluent and athletic again but still with varying results  Not sure if the long prep ritual helps or gives her too much time to think.  Also, I was surprised that she kept going for flat backhands down the line, a low percentage shot that either didn't make it over or went into the righty's forehand, who can then produce the better (and safer) angle.

  • Lindsay Davenport: Lindsay looks very fit and plays no-nonsense tennis.  Still deep and heavy shots, pushing the youngsters back.  That makes a great combo with Liezel Huber who cleans up everything at the net with great doubles anticipation and shot selection.  I had never noticed that Lindsay releases and re-grips her racquet during her service motion, which likely helps her to loosen up her arm and increase head speed towards the ball.  So that was a nice in-person discovery.

  • Liezel Huber: Hits her western grip forehand crazy late, but it seems to work.  That probably gives her some extra time on returns.  She knows exactly where to put the balls in doubles.  Very few unforced errors, and anticipated very well where less experienced opponents would hit the ball.
Hope this was insightful for you.  I've also posted my favorite points from the matches I watched, so enjoy (go fullscreen for HD) :

SAP Open 2010 Highlights

Roddick vs. DeHeart ended up being a pretty standard match of underdog against top 10 player. DeHeart impressed with his smooth big swings though, and the audience ended up seeing quite a few enjoyable points:

Similar story with Verdasco and Lu. Lu was on fire in the second set, also taking advantage of Verdasco's unforced errors and less effective serve during that time. 3rd set was quick, due to Verdasco bringing more heat with his forehand and consistent 130mph serving. Some highlights:

More tournament info @, and more videos @!