#AustralianOpen: Serena #Williams vence a Hantuchova por doble 6-3 y avanzó a 4ta ronda pic.twitter.com/8EeBJXEr9c
— 360 Deportes (@360DeportesEc) January 17, 2014
The Australian Open doesn’t provide very detailed match stats, but thanks to the Match Charting Project, I was able to chart point-by-point data for Serena Williams’ win over Daniela Hantuchova at the Australian Open to get in-depth insight into the match.
The full results are here, if you’d like to see the raw data.
Keeping in mind that no broad conclusions about either player should be drawn from such a small sample size, here are some takeaways from the match:
We all know that Serena Williams has arguably the best serve of all-time, and this match was a perfect display of how her serving ability has gotten her through some matches where she hasn’t been playing her best.
Serving at only 48% first serves in, Williams won a whopping 18% of her points on serve with an ace. To contrast, Hantuchova won just 4% of her service points with an ace, landing 54% of her first serves in.
Looking at an even better stat, free points (aces, unreturnables, and forced error returns), Williams won an incredible 31% of her service points without having to even deal with a return-of-serve from her opponent. Hantuchova, who was serving quite well in non-Serena terms, won 23% of her service points in that manner.
Fun fact: Williams hit two second serve aces in the match.
Williams is an elite returner, but she made more routine errors than normal, hitting unforced errors on 18% of the returnable serves she faced. Six of those seven errors came on second serve returns. Hantuchova hit just two unforced return errors (5% of returnable serves).
Despite her errors, Williams still managed to win an impressive 48% of return points. Imagine if she’d not been missing easy returns. Even when she’s clearly off her game, she’s still better than everyone else.
Williams, a player who often hits more backhands than forehands in her matches, hit 43 forehands and 64 backhands in the match. Hantuchova hit 50 forehands and 48 backhands.
Williams hit 11 unforced errors on each side, while Hantuchova hit 12 unforced forehand errors and seven unforced backhand errors.
Serena held off an opponent who was playing well by pretty much just playing in first gear. Though Hantuchova had her chances, Serena served her way out of trouble, saving five of six break points. She also converted four of seven break points on Hantuchova’s serve.
The moral of this story: It’s hard to play against Serena Williams, even on her bad days.
You can chart matches yourself and get the same detailed stats you see here. Visit Heavy Topspin to get started.
“We all know that Serena Williams has arguably the best serve of all-time,” –
Arguably, JJ? It takes two sides to have an argument. Is anyone else even in the discussion?
I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone say, “Serena has the best serve of all time, except for possibly ____” (fill in the blank)
When I wrote that sentence, I had both tours in mind. One could argue that Serena has the best serve of all-time, for male or female players, in terms of perfect mechanics, etc., but some might argue that Sampras or Fed had the best serve. I don’t think there’s much question that Serena’s serve is the greatest WTA serve of all-time.
ACKK! Sorry for calling you “JJ,” Amy.
Mea maxima culpa.
Fair point as to both tours; I certainly wouldn’t argue that Serena had a better serve than the best male servers.
I would argue however that while there are some other dominating male servers (Isner, Dr. Ivo, Raonic, to name just a few), whose names might come up in a discussion of overpowering male servers, I don’t think anyone else’s name is even in the conversation among the women. Possibly Venus, but only for a few years.
“Williams is an elite returner, but she made more routine errors than normal, hitting unforced errors on 18% of the returnable serves she faced. Six of those seven errors came on second serve returns.”
Serena’s 2nd serve returning is often a bit sloppy especially in the first couple of return games. I think that she very consciously slams some early returns without much caring whether they go in or not, just to put the fear of Serena into her opponent, who is bound to think, “How in the heck am I ever supposed to stay in the points if she’s returning decent serves like that?”
And, very often, for the rest of the match the opponent will overhit many of her serves, both first and second, as regards to both speed and accuracy, leading to more second serve opportunities for Serena, especially on big points, and, usually, more double faults than the opponent generally surrenders.
In Australia the “conserving energy” aspect is important too. The heat index in Melbourne almost forces players to try to end points quickly … and of course nobody ends more points quickly than La Serenissima.
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