How a lack of strategy on serve and return cost Radwanska in Sydney

Agnieszka Radwanska is never going to have the most powerful serve in the game and after her performance against Johanna Konta in the final of Sydney which she lost 6-4 6-2 and watching it back a couple of times could she have done more with her return and serve game and where can she improve?

Just before Christmas I wrote a piece about Radwanska needing to find that bite in her game to challenge these very good baseliners / top player which I will post at the bottom but let’s look at her serve and return game…

Return…

From the beginning we saw no plan from Aga returning the serve of Konta and it was frustrating to watch. With the forehand she will look for that strong serve out-wide and the one down the T on the deuce side.

slice-return

I can’t believe that Aga wasn’t expecting the serve out wide on this one. Positionally it couldn’t be worse she hasn’t read it at all well and is face side on with her feet stuck forcing her to slice into the backhand of Konta as shown by the red line when she should have anticipated it more and gone for the step out-wide and tried to open up the return cross court as shown with the green but ended up slicing into the backhand of the Brit who tidily hit an un-returned shot to take a 4-2 lead.

Serve out wide…

I like the slice serve out-wide but going for this shot at 40-40 on second serve into the forehand of Konta is just asking for trouble.

serve-out-wide-2nd

From this position a second serve down the T would have been a better option it gives you the chance to return to the baseline but the serve out to the forehand was brutally returned by Konta with a winner cross-court that it left Radwanska playing a game of stuck in the mud as shown by the red circles by her feet which are planted and too far apart with movement towards the ball difficult!

Going forward?

Winning the Australian Open would be a massive achievement for Aga but in all honesty I think it’s very unlikely especially as somewhere down the line she will inevitably have to play a player who is dominant from the baseline and can overcome her trickery.

The serve isn’t bad but it needs more strategy to it, serving and retuning into your opponents strength is not a great idea at all.

Winning a Grand Slam this year? It could happen but it would have to be epic throughout, I want to see her use her serve and the skill she has to put pressure on her opponent and not on herself!

Screenshots credit to the WTA

 

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