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First things first, a disclaimer. I like analyzing WTA tennis matches because I feel they are more relatable to the every day recreational tennis player. Realize you are not even remotely close to these ladies in ability but there are certain aspects of their game from a strategic standpoint that can be observed that are super valuable for you to learn from.
This is a 10 minute highlight package so set aside some time to watch the match to gain some insight.
This match was pretty straight forward for Serena but what I want you to take from this match is how Serena pounces on slow serves. She immediately blows up the point with a directional change. She will pound safe parts of the court but her objective is to get the server (Anastasia Potapova) on the run. This theme continues throughout the match. With proper technique this can be a big boost for recreational tennis players.
This doesn’t give you permission to try to hit lines at every available opportunity. You just want to dictate the pattern of play by being aggressive to safe areas of the court to simply get your opponent moving when slower second serves come your way that bounce in your strike zone. Note: Most recreational players consistency immediately drops when they are on the move.
You will notice in the second set Potapova begins to play better. Serena does a nice job as the play elevates of locking down on more stable and safe cross court patterns. No need for directional pages when the rallies are more neutral. Recreational players need to understand when to play with consistency and when to take directional change (i.e. more risk). Hint! You should mostly hit cross court!
She doesn’t have many weakness but her transition game isn’t great. Remember how she was upset in the semi’s of the US Open in 2015 by Roberta Vinci? Vinci loved to slice and move players side to side and forward with short balls. You will see two points in the 2nd set highlight package where Serena she sprays these types of transition balls. This really isn’t the Russian’s playing style so it was hard for her to replicate this situation into her match strategy. But for you the recreational player your job is to pay attention to these tendencies because when they come up you need to be able to execute if it suits your playing style.
Also, notice how Serena countered this with her slice backhand getting a few easy errors out of her opponent. The score board makes it look like a blow out but Serena has a lot of tools in her belt and is always looking to creating opportunities for easy points.
It’s easy to look at this highlight reel and think to yourself “I need to bomb my serve”. Hint! You are NOT Serena Williams and it is very hard to do on a consistent basis.
Enjoy the highlight package.
ROUND ONE / AUSTRALIAN OPEN
S. WILLIAMS VS A. POTAPOVA
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