Quantcast
nodot nodot
Pro Tennis Showcase
March 17, 2011

Subscribe to Match Reports

Pro Tennis Showcase Archive

Player Profile Index (Men)
Player Profile Index (Women)

Contact Tennis Server

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Dominika Cibulkova
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Andy Murray
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball David Ferrer
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Pro Tennis Showcase Banner
 
Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
BNP Paribas Open 2011, Indian Wells, California, USA
March 17, 2011
Editorial by Vince Barr.


 

Vince Barr Photo
Vince Barr

Nadal Negates Karlovic's Serve To Advance At the BNP Paribas
 
I had hoped to cover most of Caroline Wozniacki's quarterfinal match with Victoria Azarenka but that lasted only three games as Victoria had to retire due to an injury in her left hip. Azarenka clearly wanted to play on and consulted her coach after the injury time out to see if she could safely continue to play. Her coach told her not to risk doing further injury to herself and she reluctantly agreed. I think she made the right decision; a single match, even one that occurs in a Grand Slam, is not worth exacerbating an injury that could affect a player's career. Still, you feel for the injured player and this would have been an excellent match to see how it turned out. The same misfortune fell upon Kim Clijsters a few days ago as she had to retire from her match with Marion Bartoli despite being up a set and a break. To complete the mantra that bad things seem to happen in threes, Tommy Robredo had to retire from this event, giving Juan Martin Del Potro a walk over because of a left adductor strain.
 
That meant that the first match of the day of any consequence was Maria Sharapova's encounter with Shuai Peng, and this was a match that went the distance. Sharapova didn't play especially well for reasons that will be discussed shortly. Lindsey Davenport noted that Maria had some problems with her second serve because of her rotator cuff shoulder surgery that she had a few years ago. Rather than tossing the ball high above her head and then hitting the serve, she was tossing the ball lower and out in front more. This was an attempt to mitigate the pain from the traditional way of serving that put too much physical stress on the repaired portion of her serving shoulder. The changed service motion had its own drawbacks, however. With the new service motion, Maria had to reach for the ball, leading to more errors. So the net effect was that her service games were going to be more erratic by nature than was previously the case prior to her rotator cuff surgery in 2008. In her match with Shuai Peng yesterday, the second set alone took about 57 minutes to play and Maria had a -12 in plus / minus (10 winners and 22 unforced errors).
 
Early in the 3rd set, Maria had an on-court coaching consultation with Thomas Hogstedt, her new coach (who replaced long-time coach Michael Joyce late last year). Thomas was telling Maria to keep her left arm extended and out in front more than she had been doing in the match previously. Maria responded that she could not feel the ball spin when it hit her racquet, which apparently is common in recovery of shoulder injuries involving the rotator cuff from pro tennis players. Davenport said that she never had that type of injury but retired former player Corina Morariu (who famously overcame acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2001 to return to professional tennis in San Diego the following summer) did. Morariu was one of Davenport's closest friends on tour and Lindsey said that Corina told her that after her shoulder surgery, which involved her rotator cuff, she lost her ability to feel the ball striking the racquet in her service motion. That kind of injury is fairly difficult to overcome for a tennis player since the rotator cuff is where the shoulder attaches to the arm. It enables the arm to twist and move with a full range of motion that is essential to play tennis, let alone play the sport professionally.
 
This match featured a number of service breaks by both players. Sharapova committed 13 double faults and 47 unforced errors in this match and she was broken eight times. Shuai lost her serve to go down 3-4 in the third which proved to be the deciding break of the match. That happened when she hit a volley off the frame of her racquet, landing well off the court. In response, Maria pumped her fist excitedly after getting that break and held on for the win, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. She will next play Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals.
 
On the men's side, Rafael Nadal played the first men's quarterfinal match of the tournament because of the walk over Del Potro had against Robredo. Nadal had won his only three previous meetings with "Dr. Ivo," Ivo Karlovic, but each time they had played, Ivo had managed to take at least one set off Rafa. Their playing history has been very sporadic; the first time they met was way back in 2004 in Milan, Italy on carpet. Then they played four years later in London at Queen's Club on grass. Their last meeting was in the 2010 Australian Open in the Round of 16. I expected this quarterfinal to be a very close encounter and I was not disappointed. Karlovic went up triple break point at 5-all late in the first set; Ivo won 9 of the last 12 points. He earned the break on Nadal's serve off a volley that Rafa hit well outside the court, deep behind the baseline. The very next game, Ivo executed a fantastic drop shot from a point well behind the baseline which Rafa could not get to that put him up 15-0, then followed that with a double fault to tie it at 15-all. Karlovic's serve reminds me of Goran Ivanisevic's serve where he leans back on the ball toss with not as much of a knee bend on his first serve. Ironically, his service motion is different on a second serve. Rafa pushed things to 30-all with an excellent volley that landed right on the baseline, then things got to deuce when Rafa pushed a volley return past Karlovic, who ventured into the net.
 
Robbie Koenig, a former doubles specialist from South Africa, made a remark on the Tennis Channel that he wondered how frustrated Rafa must be after losing a tough first set to Karlovic. Obviously, in a best of three-set format, you don't have a lot of opportunities to overcome the loss of a set. However, Rafa didn't get to be the best player in the world by worrying about losing a set. After holding his own serve to start the second set, Nadal went up double break point on Ivo's serve in his first service game of the set. Karlovic swatted away both break point opportunities with a volley winner and an ace, but I did not see any negative body language on the part of Nadal.
 
I was surprised at the quality of Nadal's vision as he challenged one of Karlovic's first serves. Hawkeye showed it to land outside of the service box by a distance of one millimeter (and that is no exaggeration). It is true that most tennis players have unbelievably great vision but Nadal being able to see a ball land barely out traveling at speeds of about 130 miles per hour is nothing short of spectacular. Rafa would have had less than one-tenth of a second to see where the ball landed and while there is no real penalty for a missed challenge (other than losing one of your challenges in a given set), to be able to see exactly where the ball landed in real time defies my ability to adequately describe it. Major league baseball players are also known to have excellent vision as they can pick up the rotation of the ball in flight once it leaves the pitchers hand (something I can do only upon watching a slow motion replay of a pitch). If he were playing baseball, Rafa's ability to see Karlovic's ball that clearly would probably enable him to see whether or not the commissioner of the sport (Bud Selig for those of you interested) had dotted the "I" in his name on the baseball as it came towards him, traveling in the mid-90s. Eventually, Nadal converted his 4th break point opportunity into a break on Ivo's serve to go up 2-0 in the second; so much for Nadal being dispirited at losing the first set. At Queen's Club, Karlovic captured the first set but went on to lose the match to Nadal anyway.
 
Momentum in a match on the pro tour is a funny thing to watch since players just get on a roll and assert their dominance. Consider Rafa's streak after losing the first set. In the second, he broke "Dr. Ivo" twice and held serve to go up 4-0, virtually ensuring that the match was going to three sets. At one point, Rafa won 18 of 23 points before the fifth game of the second set started and he was not close to being done. So, perhaps winning the first set against Rafa might not be a good strategy after all as losing a close set basically awakened the tiger within and made Rafa increase his concentration. He held serve again easily to go up 5-0 and Karlovic adopted the on-court demeanor of just wanting to get to the third set and take his chances there. Rafa won the second frame easily, 6-1 to set up the deciding set. Koenig speculated that whoever served first had an advantage in a given set and I don't necessarily agree with that assertion, either. My view is that the player with the most talent will usually win because they have a greater degree of mental fortitude to come back from losing a series of close points in any given set. There are always upsets but tonight's Nadal / Karlovic match was not going to be one of them. Rafa lost only one point on his serve in the second set. That is absolutely amazing.
 
There were a couple of statistics that illustrated how differently this match was between the first and second sets. Keep in mind that even in the first set, it was not like Rafa was getting blown out. Rather, he lost the first set on one break of serve, 5-7. However, with Dr. Ivo being known for his serve, it stands to reason that if you can return his serves, you can gain an edge on him as volleying is not one of his strengths. The guy is like a tree out on court, standing six feet, 10 inches tall and he moves like one as well, which is to say, mobility is not one of his strengths. I mean, for a big guy, he moves reasonably well, but on-court movement will never fall into one of his biggest strengths as compared with other tennis professionals on tour.
 
Looking at the statistics from the first and second sets, Rafa lost the return advantage to Ivo in the first set by being able to return only 40% of Ivo's service points in play. However, in the second set, this figure rose to 72%. Looking at first serve points won between both sets, Rafa won "only" 61% of his first serve points in the first (as compared with Ivo's 86%). In the second set, there was a dramatic turn of events as Rafa won 90% of all his first serve points in play whereas Ivo managed to win only 36% of his first serves. That begs the question: why was there such a difference between the first and second set?
 
It might have something to do with Nadal's return position on Ivo's serve. He started standing closer to the baseline in the second set than he was in the first, which at first glance, makes absolutely no sense. Why? Because that would cut down on his reaction time to return one of Ivo's blistering first serves (average speed about 132 mph). But coming in would also mean that Rafa could hit the ball at a lower point off the bounce than he could if he stood back. This is a classic strategy of taking the ball on the rise. But to execute this tactic successfully, especially against a good server who serves with a lot of pace, as does Karlovic, you have to be lightning-fast in your reflexes, which of course, Nadal is. Every player makes in-match adjustments in terms of their positioning on the court as well as their shot selection. What separates the best players from merely good ones on tour is knowing what to change and when to change it.
 
Through his first four service games in the third set, Rafa only lost two points on his serve as each player held serve with relative ease. Nadal took the first point in the final set tiebreaker off a brilliant cross court volley that Karlovic hesitated to hit, thinking it was going to go out. It didn't. The very next point (on Rafa's serve), Ivo swatted at Rafa's serve to fall behind 0-2, but he would recover the mini-break back on the next point to take things back on serve in the breaker. Ivo dropped the second of his two serves off a volley as he approached the net to give Rafa a min-break at 3-2 with two serves in hand. Nadal won both of those, the last one coming off a full stretch at net court to hit a cross court volley that Ivo didn't even try to get because he was so far out of position. Karlovic wasn't ready to surrender as he took things back to 5-all off a fantastic backhand volley at net.
 
Nadal finally took the match and he was tremendously excited afterwards, jumping into the air, pumping his fists and showing a full range of emotion, probably relief as well as excitement at winning such a tough, closely-contested affair that required him to come from behind. Nadal next faces Juan Martin Del Potro on Saturday in the semifinals. Prior to that however, he has an on-court date with Roger Federer in a doubles match that Tennis Channel is going to cover (as will I).
 
Other men's quarterfinal matches to be played Friday include Novak Djokovic against Richard Gasquet. Djokovic leads that series 3-1 and I don't expect Richard to do much against Novak who is playing very well at the moment. That will be followed by Yanina Wickmayer against Marion Bartoli for the first women's singles semifinal of the tournament. Bartoli has won their only two previous matches, both of which occurred last year in Key Biscayne as well as Tokyo and in both cases, it was a straight sets win for Bartoli. That match will be followed by the last men's quarterfinal featuring a Swiss civil war if you will, as Stanislas Wawrinka squares off against Roger Federer. Whatever the outcome of that match, the loser will have to get over their loss pretty quickly as they both pair up to play a doubles match with the tandem of Nadal and Marc Lopez. You have to like Roger's chances in the quarterfinal as he has only lost once to Wawrinka in eight previous contests. Federer's lone loss came on clay nearly three years ago in Monte-Carlo in the Round of 16. After the doubles match, the last ladies singles semifinal will be played between Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova. Maria has a 2-1 edge in career head to head encounters but Caroline won their last encounter at last year's U.S. Open in the Round of 16 in straight sets (6-3, 6-4), so I think that Caroline will win this one as well given Maria's problems in her service game.
 

 

 
[16] Maria Sharapova (RUS) d Shuai Peng (CHN) {white visor} 62 57 63
 
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Shuai Peng 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Maria Sharapova 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
 
[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) {orange shirt} d Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 57 61 76(7)
 
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ivo Karlovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ivo Karlovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ivo Karlovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ivo Karlovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ivo Karlovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Rafael Nadal 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
Earlier Columns from this Event:
 
March 16, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Men's Round of 16 - del Potro, Kohlschreiber, Wawrinka, Berdych, Djokovic, Troicki
March 15, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: 4th Round - Federer, Chela, Djokovic, Gulbis, Clijsters, Bartoli, Roddick, Isner
March 14, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: 3rd Round - Nadal, Soderling, Sweeting, Kohlschreiber, Querrey, Verdasco
March 13, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Raonic Rising, Roddick Rolling, Federer Florishing - Roddick, Blake, Djokovic, Golubev, Federer, Andreev
March 12, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Women's Preview & Second Round Results - Nadal, de Voest, del Potro, Ljubicic, Wozniacki, Stephens
March 11, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Men's Preview with Photo Coverage of Blake, Guccione, Ivanovic, Date-Krumm
 

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Player Profile Index (Men) | Pro Tennis Showcase Archive | Player Profile Index (Women)

SUBSCRIBE TO THE TENNIS SERVER PHOTO FEED

join our mailing list
* indicates required

All Tennis Server photography is copyrighted by the photographer and/or the Tennis Server, and all rights are reserved. You may not copy these images without permission. While you are welcome to create hyperlinks to Tennis Server web pages, you may not embed these images into other web pages or blogs without permission. To request permission, please use this contact form. Please be sure to clearly indicate exactly which photograph(s) you are requesting permission to use, as terms and conditions will vary depending on the photographer and the photograph.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tickets 11/7-11/14
 
Davis Cup Finals: France vs Switzerland Tennis Tickets 11/21
 
Chris Evert Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic Tickets 11/22-11/23
 
2015 BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells 3/11-3/22
 
2015 Miami Open Tennis Tickets 3/23-4/5
 
2015 US Open Tennis Tickets 8/31-9/13
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
November 11, 2014 Between The Lines: Woman of the Year 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
October 2014 Wild Cards: Roger Rolls Through 300; Serena Wins First Championship In Cincinnati by Vince Barr.
 
Tennis Warrior: Five Powerful Tennis Concepts by Tom Veneziano.
 
October 2014 Tennis Anyone: Why Can I Not Poach? by John Mills.
 
October 2014 Turbo Tennis: Momentum Revisited by Ron Waite.
 
October 12, 2014 Between The Lines: Home Stretch 2014 -- On the Hard Courts of Asia by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: In Tennis, Principle Trumps Emotion by Tom Veneziano.
 
September 2014 Tennis Anyone: Things To Do and Not To Do by John Mills.
 
September 2014 Turbo Tennis: The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself!!! by Ron Waite.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Miami Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
AT&T National Golf Tickets Bethesda MD Washington DC Congressional Country Club
US Senior Open Golf Tickets Omaha NE Omaha Country Club
Bridgestone Invitational Golf Tickets Akron OH Firestone Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
Dick's Sporting Goods Open & Tim McGraw Tickets Endicott NY Enjoie Golf Course
Solheim Cup Tickets Parker Denver CO Colorado Golf Club
2013 Presidents Cup Tickets Dublin Columbus OH Muirfield Village Golf Course
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Augusta GA National Golf Club
2014 US Open Golf Tickets Pinehurst NC Resort
2014 Ryder Cup Tickets Auchterarder Scotland UK Gleneagles Golf Course

  Featured Tickets:
PGA Championship Golf 7 Day Pass Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Monday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Tuesday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Wednesday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Thursday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Friday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Saturday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Sunday Final Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club

  Featured Tickets:
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Sunday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Saturday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Friday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Thursday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets 4 Four Day Badge Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Wednesday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Tuesday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Monday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Golf Tickets Final Round Sunday Fourth 4th Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Third 3rd Round Saturday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Second 2nd Round Friday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets First 1st Round Thursday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Wednesday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Tuesday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Monday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Weekly Pass Tickets Pinehurst NC Resort 2014

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy