Li vs Williams, SONY Open tennis final

Li Na and Serena Williams for the WTA SONY Open tennis title at 1pm today in Miami.

Serena leads the head-to-head matchup 10 games to 1, with Li’s lone win coming in 3 sets, in a 4th round matchup in Stuttgart Germany in 2008. She also won a 2nd due to a retirement by Serena in their lone clay court battle in 2012. I’ll focus on what stats she managed to have an edge in, so we can see where she may gain advantage.
Li had dropped 16 straight sets to her counterpart before winning the opener in their last matchup, at Istanbul in 2013. The indoor hardcourt seems to balance out the stats just a bit, while Serena excels on standard hardcourt. In that match, Li has the edge in 2nd service points won, at 38%.
At last year’s US Open, she was ahead on net approaches, 68%.
2013 Cincinnati: 83% conversion of break points.
2012 Istanbul: 62% 1st serve, 50% conversion of break points
2010 Wimbledon: 69% 1st serve.
2010 Australian Open: 69% 1st serve, 25% break points converted.
2009 Stanford: 65% 1st serve
2009 Miami: 62% 1st serve
2008 Stuttgart, another indoor hardcourt setting, Li’s lone win on court. Serena manages to get edge in 1st service points won, 69%, and return points won (42%) but that is all. Highlights of that match right here:

First meeting at the 2006 Australian Open: Li with 71% first serve and 86% approach success at net.
So it appears that Li’s best feature mainly comes from serving and at the net, but not much in between otherwise. And if only they were playing indoors!
Here are Serena’s cycles:

Today we’ll see a rerun of the best of Serena…..strong physicality, emotions highly charged, maybe over the top considering the emotional critical day. Mentally she’s made more than her share of errors and that keeps her game rather average today. Still feel like the passion, the drive is gaining momentum for her.
And for Li:


Li’s in the opposite direction, with plummeting cycles, and is feeling the effect of a double critical both physically and emotionally. She might think rings outside Serena and get crafty at the net and will have to rely on that mental game to have any chance, more yin than yang.

Serena in straight sets, again, to keep the head-to-head one-sided.

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