Technical Analysis: Su-Wei Hsieh - The Unique “Quadruple-Handed” Player - UBITENNIS
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Technical Analysis: Su-Wei Hsieh – The Unique “Quadruple-Handed” Player

UbiTennis looks at the game style of the oldest women in the Open Era to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the age of 35.

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image via https://twitter.com/WTA

Players hitting both their forehand and backhand holding the racquet with two hands have quite a history in tennis.

The queen of those that could be defined as “quadruple-handed players” is the great Monica Seles, a nine-time Slam champion, then we had Marion Bartoli, who won Wimbledon in 2012, and today we can find Luksika Kumkhum and Georgia Brescia among active WTA players. The current coach of Milos Raonic, Fabrice Santoro, was an example of these peculiar kinds of players in the ATP Tour. All of them have a common technique: on their “natural” backhand side, that is the left side for the right-handed, they hit a normal two-handed shot. On their forehand side, they just hit a double-handed shot with their hands inverted on the racquet’s handle, meaning that their dominant hand never moved from the handle’s base.

 

To swing their sticks this way, they had to wrap their forearms one above the other (see Monica Seles’s FH pic), and while this is  quite a complex move, the big advantage is that they don’t have to move their hands, never leaving the grip. Considering the speed and pace of modern tennis rallies, this is very important.

Su-Wei Hsieh, 35-years-old from Taipei, has been n.1 WTA in doubles, and in the last years has had a great run in singles too, reaching a best ranking of n.23, and beating big names like Muguruza, Kerber, Pliskova, Halep and Osaka among the others, and now Bianca Andreescu. She plays “quadruple-handed”, but with a unique feature: on both her right and left side, she just plays an absolutely standard two-handed backhand, and this is something almost never seen before in tennis, surely not at top professional levels. How does she change her grip on the racquet fast enough to compete and win against such heavy-hitting opponents as those she faces on tour? Let’s see a brief practice video of Hsieh from Indian Wells, and comment on it.

As you can see, Su-Wei uses a customized racquet, with a handle slightly longer than the standard, and places her dominant hand (she is right-handed) approximately in the middle of the handle. Then, she moves her left hand over or under the right one depending on which side she is swinging to hit. She also adjusts her right hand position and grip a little, moving it down on her left swing, and the result is a couple of almost perfect two-handed backhands, with the normal continental and eastern grip combination. What’s extraordinary about Hsieh is the speed and precision of her racquet handling, like a juggler of sorts, absolutely fascinating when you realize the difficulty of such a fine and instantaneous adjustment. Playing this way, Su-Wei is able to hide the direction of her shots till the last moment, often fooling her opponents, and she is an amazing counter-puncher, almost impossible to be put into trouble just by hard hitting. Something many top-level WTA players have learned at their expense.

Hsieh will play Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday. She is coached on the Tour by Paul McNamee who is a former top 30 player himself and Australian Open semifinalist in 1982. McNamee, junior champion at the AO 1983 has won 24 doubles titles, including 4 Slams. Together with Peter McNamara twice the doubles in Wimbledon, 1980 and 1982, with Mark Edmondson 1983 the Australian Open. He won also a mixed double with Martina Navratilova in 1985 at Wimbledon. Paul McNamee was also a member of the Australian team that won the Davis Cup in 1983 and 1986. In singles, he won 2 tournaments beating in the finals Stan Smith (Palm Harbor 1980) and Guillermo Vilas (Baltimore WCT 1982) in 5 sets. Played 5 finals, losing to players like Lendl, Cash, Emilio Sanchez. McNamee played a key role in the founding of the Hopman Cup international tennis tournament in 1988. He served as tournament director of the Hopman Cup and CEO of the Australian Open until 2006.

Story by Luca Baldissera (tennis journalist, analyst and coach)

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Elina Svitolina Splits With Coach After Five Years

The tennis star issued a brief statement saying ‘the time is right’ to go in another direction.

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image via https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina

Elina Svitolina is on the hunt for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Beetles.

 

The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist issued a statement on Monday confirming that she will no longer be working with her British mentor with them both deciding to go ‘their own ways.’  Beetles, who is the former hitting partner of Ana Ivanovic, spent his first full season with Svitolina back in 2017. He started as an assistant coach before later being promoted. Under his guidance, the Ukrainian rose to a ranking high of three and won 11 Tour titles.

“After 5 years and 11 titles together!! Andy and I both agreed it was the right time to move our separate ways. I am very thankful for all his hard work and endless support. I wish him only the best in his future career!’ Svitolina wrote on Twitter. 

The announcement comes a week after Svitolina suffered a shock first round loss at the Tenerife Open to Colombia’s Camila Osorio who went on to reach the final. So far this season she has won 41 out of 61 matches played on the Tour with her best performance occurring at the Chicago Open where she won the title. Svitolina also won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and reached the quarter-finals of the US Open. 

Svitolina, who married Gael Monfils earlier this year, is currently ranked sixth in the world. She is hoping to finish the season ranked inside the world’s top 10 for the fifth year in a row.

There is currently no information about who may take over as the new coach of the 27-year-old. 

Svitolina’s 2021 results

  • Melbourne 1 – QF
  • Australian Open – R4
  • Doha – QF Dubai – R2
  • Miami – SF
  • Stuttgart – SF
  • Madrid – R1
  • Rome – QF
  • French Open – R3
  • Berlin – R2
  • Eastbourne – R2
  • Wimbledon – R2
  • Tokyo Olympics – Bronze medal
  • Canadian Open – R2
  • Cincinnati – R2
  • Chicargo – Champion
  • US Open – QF
  • Chicargo 2 – QF
  • Indian Wells – R4
  • Tenerife – R1

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Greek star will play in the Austrian capital for the second time in his career. 

 

Tsitsipas will face 2017 ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. The Greek player will be looking to avenge his defeat against his Bulgarian opponent, who took the win in three sets 6-7 6-4 6-4 in their previous head-to-head match at last year’s edition of the Vienna tournament. 

Tsitsipas will be aiming to win his third title this season following his triumphs in Monte-Carlo and Lyon. 

Number 2 seed Alexander Zverev will play in the Erste Bank Open main draw for the second time. This year Zverev won two Masters 1000 titles in Madrid and Cincinnati and the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

Matteo Berrettini will open his campaign against Alexei Popyrin. The Italian star is the third seed and has a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin. This year Berrettini won two titles in Belgrade and Queen’s and reached two finals at the Madrid Masters 1000 and Wimbledon. 

Hubert Hurkacz holds the final qualifying spot for Turin in ninth place with 2955 points, 110 points ahead of Jannik Sinner, who won his fourth title this season in Antwerp following his previous wins in Melbourne, Washington and Sofia. The 20-year-old Italian star also finished runner-up to Hurkacz in his first Masters 1000 final in Miami. 

Sinner has become the first Italian player in history to win four ATP titles in the same season and is the youngest player to win five ATP Tour titles since 19-year-old Novak Djokovic claimed the Estoril trophy in 2007. Sinner will face a tough first round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Sinner dropped just a total of eight games against Lloyd Harris in the semifinal and Diego Schwartzman in the final. 

The line-up also features another Masters 1000 chmpion Cameron Norrie, who won at Indian Wells and is currently ranked 11th in the ATP Race to Turin with 2795 points ahead of this year’s US Open semifinalist Felix Auger Aliassime (2330 points). 

Andy Murray will play in Vienna for the third time in his career as a wild card. Murray won the Austrian tournment twice in 2014 and 2016. He will take on Hurkacz, who won his previous head-to-head matches against the British player in Cincinnati and Metz. Murray beat Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes in Antwerp last week. 

Kevin Anderson got through to the qualifying round to secure his spot in the main draw. The 2018 Vienna champion will face Alex De Minaur, who won two titles in Antalya and Eastbourne. The top first-round matches are: Diego Schwartzman against Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils against Lorenzo Musetti, Daniel Evans against Carlos Alcaraz. 

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Ann Li clinches her first WTA Tour title in Tenerife

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Ann Li clinched her first WTA Tour title with a 6-1 6-4 win over 19-year-old Spanish player Camila Osorio after 1 hour and 10 minutes at the Tenerife Ladies Open.

 

Li reached her second final after her first title match against Anett Kontaveit at the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne last winter was not played just before the Australian Open. 

Li converted five of her ten break points and hit 15 winners. Osorio earned her first break in the opening game. Li bounced back by winning six consecutive games with three breaks of serve. The 21-year-old US player hit 8 winners to 6 unforced errors. Li broke Osorio at love with a forehand return winner in the first game of the second set. Osorio got the break straight back in the second game. Li earned the decisive break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the win with a forehand overhead for 6-4 in the 10th game.

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