Coach Evan is back with another match analysis piece. This time: Swiatek vs Zheng, R16 of the French Open 2022.
Swiatek vs Zheng, French Open R16, 2022
by Evan Gaudreau
Swiatek hits a weighted ball. It’s heavy. At some point, it would be nice to see it live.
Here’s how to keep things simple.
Start your points out when you’re serving by hitting your forehands crosscourt on the first ball and hitting your backhands crosscourt, also on your first ball and work off of that shot. Depending on the score in the game, you can hit the first ball down the center as Swiatek did at 30-all, playing it a little safe and not giving your opponent too much of an angle to start with. However, she did lose that point. But in the end, it worked out.
An interesting point in the first game AD out. Zheng recovered quickly out of the corner to towards the Deuce side. Swiatek hit the first ball there and then the second ball to Ad side middle. Zheng missed it in the net. The important thing to see here is how quickly Zheng came out of the corner. As a player, you have to notice that.
And on her first game point, she hit her first ball back to the AD corner, to Zheng’s backhand, which Zheng hit down the line. Swiatek ripped a forehand back down the line for a winner while Zheng was still running to the other side.
Here’s the thing. Never change a winner (there are exceptions to this rule).
And be careful to play all your cards in the first game unless you have a bigger plan.
Yes, Swiatek hit a winner, but will that bite her in the butt down the road?
Also, pay attention to your winner to unforced ratio on each side. Swiatek ripped her forehand first balls, two first ball winners, and a second ball winner. Her unforced shot came on her backhand wing.
Look at the Win/Loss point column
For the women, look at the win/loss point column too. Momentum is a big thing for them.
For Swiatek, it went like this…W-L-W-L-L-W-L-W-W-W. They traded off the first four points. Zheng won two in a row….But Swiatek won the last three points.
In the second game, I looked at how many offensive points she played compared to her defense.
Seven out of Eight.
I’m not surprised.
Women tend to play more aggressively on the return side.
The other thing I like that she’s doing is mixing up her first two shot locations, yet in two of the points she hit the first two shots to the same location.
After the first three games, the points are Swiatek 15/ Zheng 7. The third game was four in a row. That hurt Zheng’s numbers if you are a stat person.
Go big or bigger
Up 3-0, I feel like women can either go big or go bigger at this point, which Swiatek does. I hate giving games away for free. And Swiatek loses four in a row after winning four in a row.
“Hey, honey,” my wife said. “Can you get me a couple of Oreos?”
“Sure,” I said.
I grabbed two Oreos for her and five for me. For some reason, I put them on a paper plate. After we both ate two, she reached for another one. I quickly moved the plate.
“What’d you do that for?”
“You said you wanted two.”
“I said a couple.”
“That’s two. I wanted five and if you want more, you can go get more.”
“Don’t be an ass.”
She reached for an Oreo again.
I moved the plate further away and put an Oreo in my mouth.
“Are you serious?”
I shrugged. My mouth was full.
She huffed and puffed and got up and went to the pantry.
Had I been a female, I might have relented and shared. But I am not and stick to my guns when it comes to food.
“Don’t touch my food….
Don’t touch my food, or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe,” John Rambo said in the movie “First Blood.”
Ok. Maybe not.
The point is that women tend to share and equalize things. And it plays out on the tennis court too.
Don’t change, women! I like you the way you are!
The sad point is, if the shoe were on the other foot, I would have taken the “extra cookies.”
“Here! Qinwen Zheng. I won four points in a row. Now you get four points in a row,” Iga said.
Zheng is solid
Who is the Polish Power?
Does Swiatek have a drop shot to mix with the power? Also, why does the ball flight have to be bullets repeatedly? And can players play upon the baseline against Swiatek to speed up the ball and take time away from her?
Zheng is solid.
And she moves forward to the net.
Is there something Swiatek can do to stop giving away freebies on the return? Two of the games Zheng won were gifts (Zheng is good…. I’m just saying).
Whenever I see players shooting themselves in the foot, I think of the movie “Days of Thunder” when Harry (Robert Duvall) shows how Cole Trickle’s laps were slower when he did it his way and faster when the coach's way.
Can the players on either tour maximize their points and spend less time wiping themselves out for the next round?
Swiatek's backhand went kaput, serving for the set at 5-3. Unforced errors closing out the set. Something for other players to recognize. A similar happened at the Aussie Open.
Does Swiatek have a game plan?
This is why I question the strategy of players. If Swiatek had a strategy….Nope. Forget what I said. If she had a game plan (different from strategy), would she have faltered down the stretch? Strategy is like telling someone to attack the backhand. Game planning is attacking the backhand and manipulating ball flights and locations…adjusting the plan as the set goes on and processing what is going on. Game planning isn’t a one-way street. It’s a back and forth between the player and the coach.
Strategy is a one-way conversation. The coach tells the player what to do.
Strategy is like someone telling you to go to the grocery store to pick up food. What kind of food? How about chicken? Or ground beef?
Because you need food to eat.
Gameplanning Is looking through the cupboards, looking in the fridge, and asking questions to your family about what they want to eat this week—making a list—devising a plan.
Why is Swiatek not attacking Zheng's forehand corner when she had the opportunity to close the set out?
From 5-2 up, losing the first set added about 45 to fifty minutes to the set and the match. I would have liked to bank those minutes and save them for the next match.
The B.S is one issue I see going from the pro game down to the juniors. The stuff that real players shouldn’t do. Bathroom breaks mid-set. Or switching shoes for the tie-breaker. That crap is worse than the Bush league. Players should have a choice. If they waste and take the opponent's time, continue playing with a warning or be docked points. The juniors are starting to pull that crap at tourneys. If you are losing, they take a twenty-minute bathroom break. It's too bad because it’s the parent's fault and the coaches. Neither of them probably played at a high level. Good players know that is Bush League.
Reasonable people know better.
I think I have gone to the bathroom twice in my career. Once in juniors, after I split sets (Acceptable) to throw up from nerves and put half a can of purple Saurus rex grape Koolaid in my water jug, and the other was after splitting sets in college to go to the bathroom.
Look at this.
Second set points.
Swiatek 29/ Zheng 10 (7 of those points came in game 2).
Swiatek ate her Oreos!!
She shared in Game two but said, “No Soup for you” the rest of the set.
Is tennis turning into soccer? Phantom injuries.
Dude! I am watching Zheng move and there is no way she is injured. That was a phantom injury.
The last set was a little better.
The points were 34-21 in favor of Swiatek.
The B.S. attitude bums me out like Shapovalov putting the ball between his legs before serving.
Not sure if the B.S. refers to Zheng’s thigh strapping or to Swiatek changing shoe(s?) in the middle of… what was it?
Zheng is new, up and coming. She doesn’t have ego to defend by reference to some injury: there’s no shame in losing to world #1. And further is only 19 and never sounds like that when she loses.
And further again she clarified after the match that it was not the muscular issue that was hampering her play…
In any case, I thought Zheng moved reasonably well in the latter sets but with a clear difference from how she moved in the first.
Is this guy really so popular out there? I tried to like his analysis, but he sounds too much like a narcissistic a**h***, at least to me;)
So, you’re telling us that Swiatek doesn’t really have a strategy or game plan but just overpowers her opponents? Correct?
Bthomas..Yeah…I like Zheng…good player…Was referring to both. We see this a lot in the juniors and in American tennis. Kids watch the pros and “break” the rules or fake phantom injuries (There are coaches and parents who encourage their kids to do this because they saw it on TV).
-As far as Zheng’s leg, she’s just young and not in the physical shape of the top players (yet).
-I like how she was moving into the net tho.
m.vilger..Depends on your humor level. There are a lot of things I don’t like too. I probably have a touch of narcissism like a lot of people. I’m not trying to win any popularity contests.
– I like the comment though. Makes me re-think a bit.
j.heleven..Not necessarily. I feel as though she has a strategy…but not a gameplan…It’s more about the coaching…I feel like a lot of the coaches tell the players what to do but don’t teach them how to adjust during the match (which is why they have to use signals)…, especially the younger generation.
For instance, she got up 5-2 in the first and didn’t know what got her there and struggled to close the set…or didn’t know how to adjust.
-Meaning, she had opportunities to close the first set if she had paid attention and hit her short balls crosscourt instead of down the line (it had been working fine during the set…and the rule of thumb on attacking shots or shortballs is that you don’t need to change the direction of where you hit a winner or a ball you opponent barely got a racket on….) If she had known better tactics, she would have won the match quicker….basically. I dont blame her…She’s fun to watch and hopefully will have more success….I blame the level of coaching of the WTA.