A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 5 (overall game-plans) - UBITENNIS
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A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 5 (overall game-plans)

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TENNIS WTA SHOT GUIDE – It is offseason time, so Ubitennis is having a look at the past year and rating the WTA players for their abilities in each of the fundamentals of tennis.

 

Season is officially over now. Fed Cup has been won, the Finals have given their verdict and the ranking has finally been decided.

Yes, 2014 is over for tennis fans, but in a little more than a month, the next season will start and, as usual, every player will be immediately tested for all the hard work they will have put in these weeks away from international competitions.

But before this will happen, we thought it would be interesting to redact a guide to the best ground strokes and fundamentals that shone during the past season, as to set a standard for the next one and check who will improve or decline in each section.

  • Overall aggressiveness

Being aggressive is the ultimate goal of every player, but some of them are naturally or tactically more prone to looking for winners earlier in the point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvOVW21bZzE

1) Serena Williams: on serve or on return, you can always count on the world number on to step in and look for a fast ending of the point.

Maria Sharapova by Fabrizio Maccani

Maria Sharapova by Fabrizio Maccani

2) Maria Sharapova: one of the Russian’s best qualities is the ability to put a huge mental pressure on her opponents. This is derived from her will to dictate every point and every rally, from the very beginning. Many have criticized her second serve, for the many double faults it hands, but it’s the price to pay for giving no chance to attack that shot.

3) Petra Kvitova: she is the most hot-and-cold player on tour on a high level. You never know what to expect from her in terms of quality of her game on the day, but you can be sure that she will always try to finish each point as fast as possible.

Camila Giorgi by Monique Filippella

Camila Giorgi by Monique Filippella

4) Camila Giorgi: the Italian has quite a unique game for the standards of her country. There is no dead shot in her game, every ball is a chance for a winner in her tactics. It cannot always pay off, but when it does, it becomes hard to stop her.

5) Ana Ivanovic: the Serb is a capable mover, but she rather prefers to set up the point in order to close with her beloved forehand.

  • Overall defence

Some other players are natural defenders, they cannot play a high-risk game or do not possess the power to dictate their game, so they prefer to wear their opponents down until they find the space for winners.

1) Caroline Wozniacki: the former world number one is probably the best retriever the tour has seen in recent years, for which she received the nickname of Wallzniacki. She ran the NYC marathon in quite a stunning time, would you expect her to be tired after a three hours match?

2) Simona Halep: probably the most natural clay courter in the top 10, the Romanian has an amazing ability to turn defence into offence, which makes it hard to play her on any surface.

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

3) Angelique Kerber: you can never be sure to have closed a point against the German, until the ball bounces twice on the ground. Her speed on court is probably the highest of them all and her ability to give power to the lowest ball keeps her opponents on their toes until the point is called.

4) Agnieszka Radwanska: she moves well and anticipate even better, but when she is in trouble she can always slow down the point with a tricky slice or a smart lob.

5) Jelena Jankovic: the Serb has not had the best of her seasons, but her stunning movements and ability to absorb power make her a very dangerous opponent if you cannot keep your focus high.

  • All good, but no excellence

The title should not mislead the reader, having no bigger weapon is not necessarily a weakness, especially if you can build around having no big weaknesses your strength. If your opponent has a massive forehand, but a weak backhand, you know where to aim, but it is harder to find a lifeline if they are both as good.

1) Ekaterina Makarova: it is hard to find a big flaw in the game of the Russian, probably only the footwork can let her down, but that is about it. It is no surprise she is so often the name you do not expect to reach the later stage of slams.

Dominika Cibulkova by Fabrizio Maccani

Dominika Cibulkova by Fabrizio Maccani

2) Dominika Cibulkova: being so short is all you can blame her for not being more successful than she is. The first few months of this year, there was little she could not do.

3) Andrea Petkovic: she is probably the definition of a thoroughly built player. Her shots are the result of hundreds of thousands balls being played over and over. Her technique may not look any natural, but it is hard it will break down.

Alize Cornet by Art Seitz

Alize Cornet by Art Seitz

4) Alizé Cornet: a born clay courter, she could beat Serena Williams on hard courts and on grass, she can slice, she moves well, has a good backhand and a reliable forehand. Her biggest weakness is her unpredictable mental game.

5) Elina Svitolina: once I read on an American website “she is the best player you probably have never heard of” and there is a reason why. You can see that she has got it all, but she has not blossomed yet, so for now, she falls in this category as a starting point.

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Simona Halep eases through her first final of the season in Dubai

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Simona Halep cruised past US qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-2 6-0 after just 62 minutes to reach her first final of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Halep saved the only two break points she faced and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors. Halep earned an early break in the opening game before saving two break points to hold serve for 2-0. The 2019 Wimbledon player went up a double break and held serve to race out to a 5-1 lead. Brady hit a backhand winner to win her service game for 5-2. Halep wrapped up the first set on her first set point in the next game.

Halep went up an early break in the first game of the second set. She hit a forehand winner on her third break point to race out to a 3-0 lead. Halep earned her third consecutive break in the fifth game for 5-0. Halep earned a match point with a backhand winner and sealed the win after a backhand error from Brady. Halep set up a final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-6 7-6.

“It felt much better than previous matches. I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here. It’s amazing what Rybakina has done already this year”, said Halep.

 

 

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Elena Rybakina saves a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic in Dubai semifinal

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down and saved a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 11 minutes reaching her fourth final this season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has reached the sixth final of her career and her second at Premier level. She won two titles in Bucarest and Hobart and finished runner-up in Nanchang, Shenzhen and St. Petersburg. Earlier this week the Kazakh player beat two top ten players Sofia Kenin and Karolina Pliskova before beating Petra Martic in three hard-fought sets in the semifinal. Rybakina hit 32 winners to 23 unforced errors.

The opening set started with three consecutive breaks. Martic broke twice and maintained her lead until 5-4. Rybakina broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 to force the first set to the tie-break.

Rybakina saved a set point with a forehand pass to draw level to 5-5, as she was serving for the set. Rybakina built up a 6-2 lead. Martic saved three chances but Rybakina sealed her fourth set point with a volley at the net.

Martic earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina saved a point to trail a double break at 0-4. Rybakina broke back in the seventh game, as Martic netted a dropshot. Both players saved break points in the final three games at deuce. Rybakina was just two points from losing the set, while she was serving at 4-5. Rybakina saved a set point at 5-6 with backhand winners forcing the second set to the tie-break.

Rybakina raced out to a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and sealed the win on her second match points with a backhand.

“I have to adjust because everything is new to me. It is always great to beat a player from the top 5  I alway try to do my best and want to win every match. I was focusing on on what I had to do”, said Rybakina.

 

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Elena Rybakina comes back from one set down against Karolina Pliskova to reach her fourth semifinal of the year in Dubai

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down in the opening set to beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 reaching the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has qualified for her fourth semifinal this season. She opened the year with the final in Shenzhen followed by a title in Hobart. After losing to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open, the Kazakh player finished runner-up to Kiki Bertens in the final in St. Petersburg.

Rybakina hit 33 winners (including 11 aces) to 20 unforced errors and saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced.

Pliskova fended off a break point in the opening game of the first set before breaking serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after a pair of double faults from Rybakina.

Rybakina broke straight back in the seventh game with forehand return winners. The Kazakh player missed a break point at 4-4, but she held her serve in the 12th game with three consecutive aces to force the first set to the tie-break. Rybakina raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tie-break and sealed the tie-break on her second set point 7-1.

Rybakina broke serve in the second game to open up a 4-1 lead. She had to overcome a total of eleven deuces and saved six break points in her first three service games. She held serve for 1-0 with three consecutive service winners and hit a backhand crosscourt winner in the third game and a forehand down the line down break point in the fifth game.

Rybakina earned her first break in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead after a double fault from Pliskova.

Pliskova saved three break points in the sixth game to hold serve for 2-4. Rybakina held serve at deuce to take a 5-2 lead and rallied from 0-30 down to serve out the win.

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