2015 Wimbledon ladies singles final analysis

Returning to cover tennis after a number of months, I am pleased to see a superstar take on an upstart in the final of a Grand Slam. Here’s how I see it:
Garbine Blanco Muguruza, world #20, takes on #1 Serena Williams.
Muguruza this year is 7-2 on grass, easily her best surface, with a 14-9 record in all GS events, and 6-2 at Wimbledon. Best showing in any GS was the quarterfinals of the 2014 and 2015 French Opens.  One prior lifetime win in Australia in 2014.  Lifetime  .664 record, and .653 on grass.  The Venezuela native, now dwelling in Spain, plays with a 2 handed backhand as a righthander (much like yours truly’s game)
Intuition is up but all else is very suspect, particularly her physical condition.   Very difficult cycles today, no luck on her side.
I don’t have to profile Serena for you,do I? I will, however make comparative notes re their 3 head-to-head matchups. Serena won both matchups on the hardcourt in the 2013 and 2015 Australia Open, and Garbine won on the French Open clay in 2014.
All cycles are negative for Serena, tho her mental game is quickly getting back on track.  Her awareness on the court is much better tho she’ll have to struggle to get points as well.

Tough match to watch, as neither lady is on her game by any stretch. Plenty of unforced errors for sure.

Here are the benchmarks that both players must clear to win:
60% 1st service points in.
49% 2nd service points in
177 kph fastest speed
28% break points won
46% return points won


+9 differential aces/double faults
66% 1st service points in
34% 2nd service points in
193 kph fastest speed
171 kph 1st service
145 kph 2nd service
40% return points won

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.

US Open Women’s tennis final; analysis

Serena and Vika, once again, in a Grand Slam matchup. This time around, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka lock rackets in the US Open final later today in Forest Hills, NY.

In 15 contests, Serena has the strong upper hand, winning 12 times, including both times in prior US Open duels. This is a repeat of last year’s final, which Serena won in 3 sets, 28 games. Their longest duel was 31 games in the 2010 Australia Open quarters. Further, Serena has a 6-3 edge in outdoor hard court wins.

Taking a sampling of stats from their last 14 matchups, here are the trends that are notable:

Vika has consistently double faulted more than score aces. In fact 2 of the 3 times she had 3 aces, she won.
Her 1st service % is pretty consistent, 69% in her wins against Serena, 67% in losses. 1st service points won: 67% in wins, 60% in losses.
Fastest speed of serve has averaged at 173 KPH, with average 1st service of 155, 138 in 2nd service.
Break points converted in wins: 37%. Losses: 25%.
Return points won: 49%. Losses: 27%.
Vika has averaged a ratio of 5 more errors to winners in their matchups.
Net opportunities have averaged 65%.

Keys to win:

Must get 3 aces.
71% success rate in getting the first serve in.
46% in return points won

Looking at her tournament so far, has she met these benchmarks against her opponents? In 6 matches, she hit 1 benchmark vs Flavia Pennetta, 1 vs Daniela Hantuchova, 3 for 3 vs Ana Ivanovic, 0 vs Alize Cornet, (winning in 3 sets plus tiebreak, 30 games), 2 vs Alexsandra Wozniak, and 1 vs Dinah Pfizenmaier.

Serena is averaging 62% for 1st service %, 55% in losses to Vika.
Serena is always scoring a bunch of aces, and very few double faults. In her 3 losses to Vika, she had at least 5 double faults.
1st service points won: 78% in wins, 65% in losses.
2nd service points won: 67% in wins, 37% in losses.
Fastest speed has averaged at 190 in their matchups.
Her average 1st service speed is 173 Kph, exactly the average fastest speed by Vika. Clearly Serena is an another level here!
2nd service speed is usually 138.
Break points conversion %: 53% in wins, 35% in losses to Vika.
Return points won: 46% in wins, 41% in losses.
Consistenly scoring 10 more winners than unforced errors in their match, a swing of 15 points in their 15 matches.
Net opportunities: averaging 66% in their matches.

Keys for Serena to win:
Less than 5 double-faults.
1st serve % higher than 62%
1st service points won at least 70%
2nd service points won at least 47%
Break points conversion at least 46%
Return points win % at least 45%.

Comparing her US Open tournament trail, she hit 4 of those benchmarks vs Na Li, 5 vs Carla Suarez-Navarro, 4 vs. Sloane Stephens, 5 vs Yaroslava Shvedova, 5 vs Galina Voskoboeva, and 5 vs Francesca Schiavone, all in straight sets.

To sum up, whichever opponent has the better % in 1st service, (70%+) and/or return points won (ideally 45%+) will be your champion.



Here are Vika’s cycles first:

Unlikely to do much today. Physically she’s been a low and making more of her share of unforced errors for certain, and she is currently lacking a sense of connection to the fans and her overall self-worth. Athletic ability is approaching a nadir.


She’s had to channel all her strength into her power game, not so much finesse, to succeed today. She’s gotten down on herself lately, and she’s also made her share of errors. Also not connecting with the energy of the NYC crowd as much. If anything, her sheer physicality is still strong, and it will be enough to see her through.

Serena in straight sets, tho I’m guessing it will be of the 6-4, 6-2 variety.

Cincinnati Open tennis women’s final analysis

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, World #1 and #2, duel in the finals of the Cincinnati Open, likely their last matches before the US Open at the end of the month.

Serena holds a commanding 13-2 edge in matches head to head, Victoria only finding her wins on the hard court, including earlier this year in Doha, Qatar. It’s their 6th meeting in the championship round.

So how does Victoria win this? Here are the stats she dominated in the matches she lost head to head:
Azarenka routinely outperforms Serena in 1st serve % in her losses, ranging from 60 to 80%
Break points conversion has been at the rate of 50%
Net approaches has ranged from 57 to 80%
2nd service points won ranges from 35 to 50%
In both of Serena’s losses, she still managed to have better net points in aces-to-double faults
Examining this tournament here are the weaknesses in Serena’s game thus far:
2nd service points won (30% from one match)
Break points conversion (averaging 55% across 3 matches where she lost in the category)

Lost 29 points between aces and double faults, always at the disadvantage in the 4 matches leading up to the final
2nd service points won (averaging 39% across 3 matches)
break points conversion (38% from one match)
Here are Serena’s cycles:

This could be a very challenging day, seeing her possibly outburst, with weakening shot power and a number of unforced errors, probably more double faults. It’s never easy to run into a series of critical days as she has right now.


Her cycles aren’t all that great either….strengthening physically yet it will be at great effort…she will have to rely on her mental game…playing with a bit more finesse than power.and must keep her emotions in check, as her confidence level is rather low. Can she master her game today? Yes she can. Better than Serena? Possibly.

I’m giving this to Serena, in 3 demanding sets tho I will not be surprised to see Victoria win.

2013 Rogers Cup championship (tennis) analysis

The Rogers Cup in Toronto winds up today with 2 singles championship matches.
Rafael Nadal (world # 4) vs Canada’s Milos Raonic (world #13)
Theyve dueled 3 times…twice in Tokyo, and earlier this year in Barcelona, with Rafa winning straight sets each time. 37 to 20 in games. In Barcelona, Miles managed to score better in the area of break points saved and converted. Maybe it was the clay. In both matches in Tokyo, Raonic put up more aces, and also edged in 1st service points and 1st serve return points won.

Rafa is playing in very tough circumstances, in a triple-low period. Will not expect him to do well today.

It’s as different as night and day. Miles is at the top of his game and is on a triple high.
Dare I type it? I will. Straight-set victory (2 sets) for the Canadian on home soil.


World #1 Serena Williams takes on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, world #27, who owns just one title to her name.
They’ve met twice prior, in last year’s Bank Of The West Classic in Stanford, and this year’s French, with Serena winning in straight sets each time, and winning 24 games to 5. In the French, Cirstea double-faulted 6 times, versus 0 aces, and did not win a single break point, very few winners (3) to unforced errors (19). In Stanford, the case was much the same, Serena dominating in each category.
Here are Serena’s cycles for today:

Serena’s firepower will be there but the passion is everage at best. Will have trouble figuring out her opponent and will make more unforced errors than usual.

She seems at a low physically, real sluggish, and is starting to get real down on herself. Mentally she’s pretty sharp even with a waning physical cycle on the positive side.

This will go 3 sets. I have Serena winning this one, with lots of errors on both sides. 

French Open women’s tennis final analysis

Serena, Maria. Maria, Serena. Another meeting, another Grand Slam final.  Roland Garros’ clay courts are the setting in about an hour from now.  Here’s how they matchup once again:

Serena Williams: 

Serena’s going to have one of those days…not one of those good days.  She’s quite prone to flying off the handle today, emoting more than usual. She’ll hit her winners, but also an equal amount of unforced errors.  She just won’t seem like herself tho will continue to be strongly motivated to persevere. 

Maria Sharapova: 

Maria’s mental game, let alone that infamous shriek will be intact all throughout.  Her athletic ability tho, reached a low in the semifinals 2 days ago, and only now beginning to turn the tide.  Her drive to push through, unlike Serena’s, is at a low. 

From this pair of cycles, I’m predicting a straight-set win for Serena. 

Looking at numbers, here’s how they align: 

Serena leads in head-to-head 13 to 2, including the last 11. Maria’s last victory over her was the 2005 Australian Open.  It’s their 3rd meeting on clay, 2nd clay final, and first time locking horns in the French. 
From available match stats, the only stat Maria seems to have any edge in from their matches in the 1st serve %.  Otherwise, Serena dominates.   Should be over in 70-80 minutes. 

Stats from http://www.wtatennis.com