Sunday, March 3, 2013

Analysis of Austria International 2013

Okay, I mentioned that I should do an analysis on my match and how I look at things, so here you go. It actually took about 90 mins to do just the first set, but hopefully this will be useful for some. At the same time, you can learn how to beat me :) As much as I wanted to be objective, bear in mind that with any analysis, there will always be some bias. If you don't agree with something, that's fine. It's just the way I saw it. Any feedback is welcomed!

2013 Austria International - XD QF - Game 1 ONLY

0-0: Shuttle hits net cord at 00:51

1-0: Good finishing shot by Grace as she took it early enough to get angle. Doesn't have to be a hard shot; taking it earlier/faster is more effective usually

1-1: I hit the shot a little bit inside, allowing the opponent to hit cross court. If I hit a bit faster and more into the alley, they probably would have to hit straight instead.

2-1: Low percentage cross court net attempt by THA

2-2: This one is interesting. @01:49, you can see that I could have probably hit a hard BH drive, but Grace reached back and could only play soft. Furthermore, it put her out of position and I had to get the cross court net return. You can see that the distance is pretty much the same between Grace and I at 01:50. My lift was a little too low and it would have helped if it went a little bit more wide, but I think the smash was defendable. Grace's swing was too big (you can see a huge backswing at 01:52). 

3-2: The lift at 02:07 should have been my shot as I would have been in position. It would be more favourable for me to hit as it would be an easy FH shot for me instead of an 'around the head' by Grace. The second lift DEFINITELY should have been mine and if you pause at 02:09, we are very close together in the back. Grace's recovery after the second shot was also slow and she could have challenged at the net (at 2:10, you can see that the opponent (girl) is not even at the service line yet). The final shot by Grace should have been taken a little bit earlier as she was a bit too far back, which is probably why it went into the net.

4-2: Good guess by Grace. It paid off well.

3-4: Serve return pushed out the back by THA

4-4: I hit a pretty bad shot. It was a bit of a guess, because if I hit a straight shot too loose, usually it's a good FH drive chance by the opponent. Unfortunately, the opponent is left handed, and he picked a very good spot to get the point. If I want to hit that crosscourt shot, I need to hit it significantly earlier than I did, or hit a straight drive/lift, or maybe just a quick crosscourt net shot.

5-4: Deceiving flick by THA; notice Grace generally uses a LF serve return.

6-4: Bad lift. It may have been deep enough, but it was not in the corner enough. However Grace hit a really good return, but she could not capitalize on the next shot. If you watch her return, it's very flat; so much that the opponent could only hit something flat back. That is a good opportunity to try to move forward a bit and get angle, or redirect. However, it could be possible that she didn't really see the shuttle as the big yellow sign in the background posed difficulties every now and then.

7-4: Better lift this time, but that prompted the guy to smash at me. My return was a little loose, but it was salvageable. Notice that Grace flips her racquet right before her defense at 03:37. Weird. 

8-4: My serve return was a little loose, but I evened it out with the next shot. After Grace's backcourt shot, her recovery was a little slow and she then went to lift at 03:58. If you pause the video and look at the positioning, you can see that it would be really easy for her to block and follow it in. As she is on the same side as the opponent's guy, it would be quite awkward for him to challenge her at the net. If she had blocked, we would have gotten a lift or maybe a rising midcourt shot. Because of the lift, they smashed and I had to cover a very large percentage of the court (I hit the shot at 4:00). The defensive shot wasn't great, but there was a bit of confusion with THA so Grace should really have tried to get herself to the front. Again, you can see that because she isn't moving forward, I have to move in to the middle and she is stuck at the back. If I stay near the back, they would easily see room for a cross court block and neither of us would probably be able to get it. In the end, we lucked out and Grace did a good job of changing her spots on her smashes.

5-8: Although the opponent pushed it at me, as long as I hit it back early enough, I'm pretty safe (instead of like, trying to hit a hard drive). At 04:30, Grace's net kill was much too soft, prompting a cross court return by Issara. Grace really could have used an Imogen Bankier flying crosscourt net, or a similar shot that the Thailand girl hit on me at 1-1. Anyway, I hit a pretty good cross court return to keep the rally even and followed up with a smash chance which I was generally ready for. However the smash was a bit too flat (not enough angle) but Issara made an unforced error. The smash wasn't fast enough and it was in a good position for THA to counter, so it was more or less a lucky point for us.

6-8: Fault on Grace's serve. Service judge said double motion.

9-6: At 05:16, I've set myself up for a FH attack drive change, but because Grace made an attempt at it, I was too late and had to play a neutral straight shot. At 05:20, I had another chance at my attack drive and this time it worked out and I followed up my shot for the finish.

7-9: Nice try by Grace but too much backswing (which may have caused the error).

10-7: Unforced error.

8-10: This is a good exampe of how hard it can be to challenge the girl at the front (as the guy). He has to keep track of both Grace and I and it's not easy to do so. But in order to cause this problem, I have to be moving around too and making sure I cover any loose shots. It's much easier for the opponent if I'm just standing around in the back.

9-10: Unforced serve error.

Interval: If I had to give any coaching advice, I wouldn't have too much to say. Some basic things aren't happening that should be happening anyway and it doesn't seem like coaching really to 'follow your shots', 'be ready for a second shot', and 'challenge at the front'. The reason is that if we have to reiterate this point, what were we even doing in the first place?

11-9: 07:20 Grace's shot would have probably cost us the rally if our opponent was right handed. She should not reach back like that. Perhaps a block or a crosscourt net would be useful, but somehow we lucked out as Issara just blocked it back. My crosscourt BH was a bit risky, but it was fast enough and far enough to get the point. Any less of either could have cost us the rally.

10-11: The rally starts off with my crosscourt lift to push the girl back and try a smash. It is weird, because to me, it seems like it's a really good way to take advantage of the rally with some mixed teams. Even though you shouldn't lift so that the straight smash is on your partner, I think it's different if you can do two things: 1) the girl is the one smashing (not the guy), 2) the girl has to do a smash while traveling backwards. This gives a flat smash advantage and if I were Grace, I would try to take the smash much closer and try to convert right away. The only time this might not work so well is if the opponent's guy is a front court MD player and is comfortable to let the girl smash in the back. Considering that I was the one returning it and I'm CLOSER than Grace if you compare our positioning at 07:35, a simple block shot was enough to set up the rest of the rally. Because Grace was moving in to the front, the guy lost track of what I was doing and I could capitalize on a midcourt winner.

11-11: Good flick, weak return, but we didn't capitalize. Not a good lift again, but lucked out on the unforced error (as you can see from my expression at 07:59).

12-11: Probably should have been finished at 08:11 by Grace, but I don't know why she jumped like that. Even just pressuring with a fast drive again is better. With a slow block, the opponent can easily lift it to the back and we have to restart the entire rally again. I also should have attacked the final shot as well. The difference is that I took my shot too early, while Grace too hers too late.

12-12: Good flat rally. I hit the net cord on the serve return, but Issara hit a very good counter cross court net. Still not sure why Grace was so far back, as it is NOT a favourable position for us with her in the back. However, she did a good job to hit a net shot instead of lifting it. Some mediocre flat play but I suppose it was quick enough that nobody was able to capitalize on, though Grace needs to have her racquet up and just pick one side if she wants to be involved. The racquet fake out at 08:42 makes it hard for me as I end up hitting pure reaction shots. At 08:45, we would have lost the rally if Issara played a cross court net shot back to our BH corner. The proper way to set up here is for Grace to take the net and force him to lift the shuttle over her to the midcourt. That is where I can get a FH attack drive chance and Grace can finish up anything at the front. For Grace to move back instead and hit at 08:46 is really more of a doubles thing. The final shot at the end should probably have been Grace's shot, but I don't want to take any chances. It's always harder for the opponent if the front person (in this case me) hits it because there is less time to react. It's a lot easier to react to the same person attacking, but imagine someone jumps right in and hits it sooner than you expect.

13-12: Perfect example of two things I've said earlier: 1) It's hard for the back person when there is a lot of racquet waving without hitting, and 2) If you want to cut off a shot at the front, you need to prepare beforehand. Grace reacts to the flat shot and it throws off my timing, and it's usually not favorable. Because the racquet is not 'up', she can't hit 'down'.

13-13: Good shot by Issara. This one is up to interpretation. The serve return should either be harder down the center, softer at the girl, or more toward the sides. It's a huge angle to cover. I think there was also mis-judgement on my part because I let it drop.

14-13: This is an example of a bad return. It may have clipped the net cord, but it's also a combination of the things I said in the previous point (13-13). If I was Grace, I probably would have ducked at the front. Apology at 09:45.

15-13: Unforced error.

16-13: @10:10 Grace is moving back again. Cross body smash. I think I got lucky there.

14-16: Another kind of flat rally. I still think Grace is too far back because it's awkward for me to come in and keep things flat and still have to prepare the backcourt. I can't really block either because she's too far back and the opponent can simply re-net. From there, I either commit to the net and have her in the back (not recommended), or continue to play flat until something happens (best case scenario).

17-14: If Grace was closer at 10:42, I would probably be able to attack. @10:48 this is what I mean to follow up your shot on defense if you hit a good shot and your opponent is late (actually, might have been able to win the point on a cross drive here). Again, Grace is way too far back and there's nobody at the net. I obviously can't move in, though I would if it was Men's Doubles. Good set up for the FH attack, but the drive was too loose. As Grace's racquet came up only as the opponent hit, there was no saving of that rally.

18-14: Could have been a better lift.

19-14: Good defense by Grace. I suppose a combination of pushing it to the corner on my side and Issara's crosscourt smash made it easy enough for Grace to counter and move in. If Grace did that more often in this match, it would have been a whole different game.

15-19: Unforced error.

16-19: Because Grace didn't reach, I could come in and just drive it down. Didn't have to be a winner or anything, just to keep it down. Grace's block was a little off, as I was out to drive it again, but Issara didn't push it far enough to the corner so I was able to cut if off and get good angle. Would have been much different if he got it to the corner.

17-19: Good flick and more aggressive play by Grace.

18-19: Probably should have hit straight, but good shot into the corner by Issara. 

20-18: Unforced error. 

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