Our guest writer and analyst, Evan Gaudreau, is back with an analysis of the Brooksby vs Basilashvili match – another win for Brooksby.
Another win for Brooksby
Remember I said, “Brooksby is no fool.” No? Maybe I didn’t say it. But someone did.
During the first two rounds, Brooksby has changed his patterns. In previous tournament matches, he has been using a lot of “load” combos to the backhand corner. Now, he has changed it up. He’s been using deuce side combos, going after his opponents’ forehand side. He knows players have been watching what he does and how he has been constructing points. Even boneheads like me see it.
Basilashvili has been doing his homework, too. He has tried a few droppers to the backhand corner. He has also tried coming into the net. He’s even used the side of the court, angling off backhands in the Ad side. Basilashvili has even tried positioning himself wider on the Deuce side while serving to open up the court a little more and presumably go after Brooksby’s backhand corner.
Brooksby has been doing a little homework on himself also. He knows guys are going to try to get to the net from previous matches. He’s accounted for that. He used some topspin lobs I haven’t seen use up until now.
Brooksby’s load combos have really stood out at this point, previous to Miami.
How will Brooksby do on clay?
One thought. I’m curious how he will do on the clay.
Early in the second set, he uses some stretch combos. Specifically at break point in the first return game. It’s a six-ball combo starting to Basilashvili’s forehand and then he continues to flip flop to each side of the baseline and breaks serve.
In the next game, he uses another stretch combo. A smaller one, but the result went in his favor. On the next point, he goes with another and misses a slice down the line, barely. But I made a note here. I like the change even though he lost the point.
Question: What is the point of stretch combos, other than taking out your opponent’s legs? Answer: To double back your opponent.
On the next point, after the two previous stretch combos, Brooksby hits a one-two combo, a backhand crosscourt to Basilashvili’s backhand corner, he redirects the next one down the line to Basilashvili’s forehand corner and when (B) returns the ball back down the line, Brooksby doubles it right back for a clean winner. This was cool to see.
The importance of the serve
What’s not cool is that Brooksby is still averaging 110-116 mph on his first serve. Listen closely! I’m going to get technical here.
One of the biggest problems I see at the club level is the serve—specifically, the shoulder tilt or lack of. This is a problem in many ways. One being, you will end up hitting down on the serve. If you watch Brooksby’s shoulders, they’re fairly neutral.
I know your local teaching pro told you to snap down on contact. Unless you’re 7 feet tall, that’s bad advice. This also causes your serve % to drop.
Next time you go out to serve, try tilting your shoulders at roughly 45 degrees, give or take a few degrees. What this does is allow you to go up to the ball. In a way, you will be hitting up on the serve and while you go up to the contact point…Yes, you will have to snap down….
Think of it like this. You’re holding a basketball as if you are shooting and you just let your wrist fall. Well, the ball will drop straight down. But if you let your wrist shoot up, you will get the ball to the hoop. Same for the serve. If you let your wrist go up, your serve will increase in pace, have better net clearance, have a better first serve %age and have more control.
I’m hoping Brooksby starts working on his serve. He’d be dangerous with a 120-130 mph. By him using a shoulder tilt and hitting up, that alone will bump his serve up another 5 mph.
Back to the match.
In game 4, two load combos showed back up. One, he finished with a drop shot and the other got a ridiculous error…way wide. Brooksby hit the center of the court after loading the backhand side and Basilashvili got caught on a grip change and flew the ball wide. Yikes!
Basilashvili’s backhand is heating up, though, especially from the load combos, which I’m assuming was why he waited until the end of the match to use them. Like many players, especially good ball strikers, they like the same pace and the same ball flight. This is why it’s so important to work on changing ball flight today and as a junior player while you still have time to develop and use the patterns and see the benefits.
Basilashvili drops his shoulder on the serve but doesn’t get the pace. If I were him I would throw the head of the racket outward more, at contact, towards the opposite fence, curtain or whatever. Just saying. He probably knows that already, but you club players don’t.
I’m curious how the Brooksby/Agut match will go. But I want to see Kyrgios play Fognini. But it would also be nice to see Brooksby play Medvedev. Haha. Could that result in another win for Brooksby?