Roberta Vinci has “no big weapons” against Serena Williams, or so said the Ame¬rican commentator bringing the tennis action between the Italian and the Californian in their semifinal match on Friday at the US Open.
He was right but Serena has neither.
Slight of build and a bundle of charm, Roberta, however, has the backhand and the slice forehand, which, unfortunately plays into Serena’s huge forehand, evidently the only big weapon she has against her opponents, aside of course from her massive serves that often exceed the 100 kph mark.
The Italian put to good use such forehand in that match, upsetting the American heavy favorite in three sets to arrange a title showdown with compatriot Flavia Pennetta (the eventual champion).
But Roberta has lost all four previous meetings with Serena, so how come she won this time?
She herself said “miracles can happen,” Serena’s coach and boyfriend Patrick Moura-touglo said Serena “managed less” the match that could have given her the calendar Grand Slam had she emerged triumphant from it.
This corner thinks that, despite Serena’s 21 major titles and other impressive stats, Roberta simply exposed the weaknesses of the American’s game, although it took her five matches to do so—Serena can’t handle the slice forehand, the backhand she can a little, and she hates long rallies, with the sight of so many balls returning to her unnerving.
Also, the American generally does not employ the drop shop, which destroys the momentum of an opponent.
Given her raw power, maybe she thinks she has no need for it (although, again, a rare drop shot from her would elicit applause or groans from the stands).
Serena, arguably a baseliner, wants to finish off points ASAP while Roberta, Flavia and other Europeans seemingly have more patience in playing them for as long as it takes.
The result is that it makes the game more entertaining (Tennis should be, no, Roberta?), whereas, if it were service games all the way, it would be booooring.
Just take the case of Andy Roddick (all-serve, boring) and Ivo Karlovic (all-serve too, ho hum) and, among the women, there’s no other big server than Serena (all-serve also, zzz zzz).
So, why has Maria Sharapova, in particular, not figured it out that Serena, really, has a limited repertoire of shots?
Maybe, she tried but got simply overwhelmed by those over-100 kph serves.
Or perhaps, in the case of the other women in the WTA’s Top 10, their serve, even if it also is their strongest weapon, still pales in comparison to Serena’s.
The American once said she hates to lose.
Well, winning is everything to some, but to others, losing is and will always be part of the mix.
And when you do lose, don’t say, “I did not play that bad.”
Well, you did lose because you played bad and that’s all there is to it.