It would seem that the predominant stat between the two finalists in the 2014 Australian Open women’s singles is:. #4 seed Li Na of China has won her last 11 competitive matches, and all 4 vs her opponent, Dominika Cibulkova.
What I want to find are the holes in Na’s game to see if Cibulkova can harp on that weakness if one does exist. I also will attempt to find any trends that suggest a certain threshold to win based on their head-to-head matchups.
Here are the thresholds each player needs for a win taking into account the best scores by Cibulkova and the worst of Na’s:
1st serve: 64%
Aces/double faults: Keep the ratio at 1:1 or better
1st serve points won: 60%
2nd serve points: 40%
Break points: 38%
Return points converted: 46%
1st serve: 76%
Aces/double faults: Keep these at least even, or as little as -2 in favor of double faults.
1st serve points won: 60%
2nd serve points: 52%
Break points: 61%
Retun points converted: 45%
Unsurprisingly the bar is raised fairly high for Cibulkova to outplay her opponent.
I looked at a different set of stats from another source and made further comparisons and benchmarks based on what is available:
Li Na edge in all categories except in these, in 2 of their head to head matchups:
2nd service points won
Break points saved
2nd return points won
Break points won.
So Cibulkova is pretty tough in those situations. Interestingly the 2 matches I saw this edge came when they played on clay court. When they had their one hardcourt battle, in Toronto last year, Li Na swept the categories.
Remember when she fell in last year’s final?
Here were her cycles that fateful day:
In very good form, but that physical cycle was pushing, straining, gaining strength, a rather uphill battle. Very likely it was the onset of the critical point in the cycle where she would not be able to properly gauge her strength. Still she survived three sets then as her tennis smarts were very strong that day.
As for Saturday:
Her mental and emotional cycles are similar to last year’s finals but she’s coming in weak here, or at least the potential reflects that. There may be a surge of energy, but as before, the weight of the pain will be felt fully. She’ll have a brave face about it as usual and figure out Cibulkova’s game quite well but it comes down to the execution.
Let’s see Cibulkova’s cycles:
Tough cycles for Cibu (we can call her Cibu right? The TV displays go up to 4 characters, which is practically heathen. Anyways.) Emotional critical day coming up…just the time to toss the racket, mouth off at the umpire, etc. Other cycles are also plummeting. Very challenging day to succeed.
I’m predicing a 3-set win for Li Na, risking injury but will chalk it up to experience surviving in all areas of the game, even if she does get relatively battered and bruised.