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Cindysphinx
10-07-2007, 06:01 PM
I play ladies 6.5 and mixed 7.0. And I am starting to notice a chronic problem that is getting me killed on the deuce court.

My opponents figure out very quickly that if they serve out wide to my forehand, I am in trouble. I just cannot pull it hard enough cross-court to keep it from the net man. And then I start to crumble and start just missing completely. Entire sets go by with me missing every almost cross-court forehand service return. Oh, sure, I'll try to take it up the line to break this pattern. But I'll miss long. Or into the net. Or I'll hit it right to the net guy's racket. Heaven help me if the net person starts jumping around to distract me.

If I'm on the ad court, life is easier because my inside-out forehand and cross-court backhand are fine. But I'm a 3.0, my mixed partners are 4.0s, so it makes way more sense for them to have their forehand in the middle for overheads, not to mention how it ain't good to have me be the one making those pressure service return on the big points.

What's the fix here? Declare I must play ad court? Just keep plugging away at deuce court but have my partner stay at the baseline until I get that return past the net man?

Cindy -- who is going to force her partner in the ladies match tomorrow to play deuce court until she can straighten out this problem

10s talk
10-07-2007, 06:05 PM
lob the return

TENNIS_IS_FUN
10-07-2007, 06:11 PM
Start your return serve position further along the right of the deuce-side...the server will be forced to serve inside, where you can just take a quick side step.

Bagumbawalla
10-07-2007, 08:16 PM
From what you say, you already know WHAT to do. You are just not able to do what you know needs to be done.

Ten people could give you ten different suggestions, but if you don't have the ability to carry out the shots/suggestions then you are still in the same boat.

So, I think the answer, here, is just to practice. Whenever I have a specific dificulty against some player in a match, I make sure to practice, practice, practice, so I will be better for the next encounter.

In this case just have someone hit wide balls to your forehand. Practice hitting them crosscourt, down the line, and right at the net person (I seldom hit a lob return, but it is worth practicing too). You should try to get plenty of topspin on the ball so it dips down quickly over the net- helping you find a greater angle and also forcing the ball down low so it is more difficult to volley.

The serve and return are, obviously, two of the most important shots in tennis. Whenever possible, take turns with your partner practicing your serve and service returns.

skiracer55
10-08-2007, 09:10 AM
From what you say, you already know WHAT to do. You are just not able to do what you know needs to be done.

Ten people could give you ten different suggestions, but if you don't have the ability to carry out the shots/suggestions then you are still in the same boat.

So, I think the answer, here, is just to practice. Whenever I have a specific dificulty against some player in a match, I make sure to practice, practice, practice, so I will be better for the next encounter.

In this case just have someone hit wide balls to your forehand. Practice hitting them crosscourt, down the line, and right at the net person (I seldom hit a lob return, but it is worth practicing too). You should try to get plenty of topspin on the ball so it dips down quickly over the net- helping you find a greater angle and also forcing the ball down low so it is more difficult to volley.

The serve and return are, obviously, two of the most important shots in tennis. Whenever possible, take turns with your partner practicing your serve and service returns.


...if you're struggling with a specific shot, in this case the cross-court forehand return in the deuce court, that's the best of all possible worlds, because you don't have to think about strategy or any of that stuff...just fix the stroke!

Some additional thoughts:

- When it comes to who returns where in doubles, there's some different schools of thought. The two most prevalent you have already discovered, which are (a) Choose sides so that you maximize the strengths of each player and disguise the weaknesses (b) Put the generally stronger player in the ad court, because on an ad point, he/she has the best chance of getting a forcing return in so you can win the point/game. So I'd kind of say "You want to win matches, so play the ad court until you get your forehand cross court return figured out...but do get it figured out."

- If your opponents are consistently serving you out wide in the deuce court, and things ain't working out, there's some stuff you can do besides improving your return, to whit:

- First, my guess is that they're plunking the serve into about the same spot every time. Fine, line up in the best possible place to hit a clean forehand cross court...every time. If they start getting the joke, and start serving to your backhand...well, you've won that mental game, right?

- Second, dunno what kind of return you're hitting, but consider the fact that doubles returns are different than singles returns. In singles, against a baseliner...which is just about everybody these days...I want to hit through the court. Good length on the return will keep the server back and not let him/her get into "surf and turf" mode. And so to hit full length, I want to make sure I get plenty of clearance over the net. In doubles, I care
less about depth, more about keeping it down so that annoying person at the net doesn't have an opportunity to give me another navel.

Therefore, I'm going to block a lot of returns, and on both sides, the stroke looks more like a volley than a topspin groundstroke. If I'm at the net and my partner serves out wide in the deuce court to the forehand and the returner hits a beautifully executed forehand cross court that clears the net by two feet...well, that person just put a smile on my face, because it'll arrive at the perfect strike zone for my volley, point over. If, on the other hand, the returner keeps the ball down (much easier with a block or chip return), he can hit it right at me and I probably won't be able to hit a winner. A block return ought to be hit with a very short backswing...or none at all, just like a volley, which gives you more time, more margin for control, and more consistency.

- Unless your opponents are whaling away at 110 mph on these wide serves, and my guess is they aren't, try standing in closer...as in, right on top of where the ball is going to bounce. All things considered, the further back you are on the return, the more things can go wrong. The angles increase, the spin, if any gets nastier, the ball can end up around your shoulders, and stuff like that. Stand in closer, and you also take time away from your opponents...and you're closer to the net. Which is where you want to be anyway, right?

kevhen
10-08-2007, 10:44 AM
Weaker partner should have better returning side. If you return better on ad side then play there.

You think too much about your partner's strengths and wanting to maximize them but minimizing your weaknesses improves the team even more. Don't worry about your partner's overhead. He should have enough time to move over and still hit decent overhead even if on the deuce side.

Once your opponents find you have a weakness returning crosscourt forehands on the duece court, they can just hit slice serves over there all day long. You should return much better on the ad side.

I play ad court myself since my forehand crosscourt return is not that consistent or great. If my partner is weaker than me, I will give them the option of playing the ad or duece court whichever they prefer. If my partner is stronger than me I will let them know I don't return as well on the duece side and really beg that they let me play ad. They almost always agree since they usually return well on either side and don't care.

Cindysphinx
10-08-2007, 11:11 AM
Hey, when do you go ahead and try a down the line shot? There never seems to be a good time to take the risk, what with the net being higher and all.

spot
10-08-2007, 11:55 AM
Cindy- from your own description you know how ridiculous it is for you to play Deuce right? If you are getting beaten that badly on the Deuce return and you would be that much more effective in Ad then PLAY AD! When it comes down to it, all that matters when deciding which player should be Ad and Deuce is which lineup will put the team in the best situations after the return of serve. Most guys like playing deuce anyway because we LOVE that wide shot to our forehand. Seriously- it doesn't sound like the miniscule added pressure of them serving Ad-in is goign to affect your service return as much as having to hit that cross court return off a wide serve that you have had so much trouble with.

kevhen
10-08-2007, 12:28 PM
I go down the line when the netman is cheating toward the center and when I have a slow enough incoming ball that I can redirect accurately like a second serve.

If netman is guarding alley then just stay crosscourt and try to get into net.

You can handle pressure of playing ad (should be more ads in your favor now anyways) and most guys do like playing duece and hitting big forehands.

Topaz
10-08-2007, 12:54 PM
Cindy, personally...I will *never* go down the line off of a wide serve. Angle begets angle. I would suggest either lobbing the return (as someone else did), or, if your regular forehand return is breaking down, slicing it back. Chop chop! Works for me...may work for you?

Off The Wall
10-08-2007, 01:23 PM
You flat out need to return serves. If the only way to do that is to play the ad court, then do it. You need to get the point going, then your 4.0 partner can rove and direct you. Work on your crosscourt returns on your own time. Many good ideas listed above.

Going up the line is okay in small doses. Even if you hit it right to the netperson. They simply need to know you will.

Bagumbawalla
10-08-2007, 04:03 PM
When to hit down the line returns-

a, When the ball is so wide you can easily hit "around" the net person- possibly even around the net post.

b, When the net person has a habit of poaching or crowdin the center, you keep him/her "honest" with a down the line.

c, When the net person is lulled into complacency and is not expecting something down the line- possibly you can een hit your backhand doown the line on occasion.

How to hit down the line-

Watch the ball, get into position- the same as if you were going to hit crosscourt. Let the ball travel about an extra six inches or so. Drive it down the line with some topspin to keep it low and in the court. This is something you need to practice. If you do not disguise the shot, if you "telegraph" your intentions, then the netperson will adjust. Don't let them do that.

batakdepores
10-08-2007, 06:56 PM
Cindy,

We are talking about 6.5 ladies and 7.0 mixed here, which makes your serving opponent a 3.5 lady (at most) and 4.0 gentleman at mix.

Are you saying that when you play mixed, the 3.5 lady can actually serve wide consistently that you cannot either:
1. hit at the 3.0 lady at net. (How good can she be at the net?)
2. start moving wide when the 3.5 lady toss her serve.

In addition, I don't think a 3.0 lady serve is that consistent to create the same damage to your return game, if she can even serve you wide at all.

Now, against 4.0 male you will be punished, but then again his partner would be a 3.0 lady at the net, that is if you can even handle his serve pace. Don't sweat this out because your team's first goal should be to hold serve and to break the lady's serving game.

let me know what you think.

Topaz
10-09-2007, 02:27 AM
In addition, I don't think a 3.0 lady serve is that consistent to create the same damage to your return game, if she can even serve you wide at all.



*screaming* ARRRRRRRGH!!!!

Cindysphinx
10-09-2007, 04:50 AM
Cindy,

We are talking about 6.5 ladies and 7.0 mixed here, which makes your serving opponent a 3.5 lady (at most) and 4.0 gentleman at mix.

Are you saying that when you play mixed, the 3.5 lady can actually serve wide consistently that you cannot either:
1. hit at the 3.0 lady at net. (How good can she be at the net?)
2. start moving wide when the 3.5 lady toss her serve.

In addition, I don't think a 3.0 lady serve is that consistent to create the same damage to your return game, if she can even serve you wide at all.

Now, against 4.0 male you will be punished, but then again his partner would be a 3.0 lady at the net, that is if you can even handle his serve pace. Don't sweat this out because your team's first goal should be to hold serve and to break the lady's serving game.

let me know what you think.

:: offers Topaz a cup of lemon tea and a hot towel ::

On the question of how 3.0s and 3.5s serve . . .

I can place my serves on the deuce court out wide with slice, flat up the middle, flat to the body, and on a good day slice up the middle curving into the body. I can place my serves on the ad court wide flat or flat to the body; I have struggled lately slicing up the middle or even going flat up the middle on the ad side, but that's coming along.

Of the 17 3.0 members of my team, six including me can place their serves. Both of my 3.5s can place their serves, of course.

Given that the 3.0 ladies playing 7.0 mixed and 6.5 combo are at the higher end of 3.0, these opponents have no trouble serving to my forehand on the deuce court. Seriously, when my forehand is off like this, I can't return your grandmother's serve, OK? :)

Anyway, I played ladies 6.5 last night, and in the lobby I practically begged my partner to play the deuce court. I warned her I had been way off lately. She is weaker than me, and she wanted the ad court so she can hide her backhand. So I deferred.

The first set was a complete disaster. This deuce court thing is totally mental now. I was hitting my forehand cross-court so poorly that . . . well, some bounced on my own service line, which means I wasn't hitting them at all, was I? Then my mechanics broke down and I was just pushing so those balls flew. If I did manage to get some returns into play, my normally steady partner and I couldn't volley either, and we lost the first set in about 20 minutes 2-6. I have no idea how we managed even those two games.

Then I told my partner I *had* to play ad court. The hideous unforced errors continued, but I was at least able to start the flippin' point. We fell behind 0-4, and then we turned it around with some aggressive play. Once I could get my inside-out forehand return cross-court low and/or deep, I was able to follow it in and volley so we started winning. We were up 6-5 and serving when time expired.

I will not be playing the deuce court again in a match until I straighten out my forehand. I will begin this process today at 1 p.m. I have about two weeks before I play a match with a partner who insists she must play ad court. If I cannot fix things, we will not partner for that match, which would be a shame.

Cindy -- a 3.0 lady who likes people to hit to her at net

batakdepores
10-09-2007, 06:23 AM
Topaz & Cindy,

Sorry for the generalization, but that's what came to mind when replying last night. I guess what I'm saying is that the serve of a 3.0 lady (generalize again) is not a multiple threat where combination of pace, placement, spins are always involved (pace being relative).

I'm stating this because in even in 3.5 men team, I only know one or two who can really mix up serve placement, even then it's not a mix serve that hit you by surprise with pace. With that said, you can either anticipate by moving slightly wide. Also, if they keep pounding you with wide serve on the deuce side without variety, then it's a bit easier for you to "abandon" the T.

About the cross court shot, sometimes I can treat it like a straight middle shot. If you are standing perpendicular to the baseline when you are receiving serve, you will find yourself trying to make an even sharper angle to return it to the server (when served wide at deuce court). However if you position yourself wide and face yourself inward, your "crosscourt" shot becomes less of a crosscourt and more of a straightline shot as if the court has been shifted to the right.

I'm really bad with descriptive words so why don't you go to operationdoubles.com, Kathy (the talented author) had put a wonderful diagraph on her page (under service return tactics, receiver's position). Notice how the receiver is drawn facing inward.

If that doesn't help, then back to the 3.0 lady generalization! :grin:

Cindysphinx
10-09-2007, 08:18 AM
You know, you may be right about facing inward.

To the extent I have tried to fix this problem in lessons, we have been trying to get me to . . . boy this is hard to describe . . . get in the way of the ball as though it were coming straight at me rather than an angle.

I'll bet that was the problem.

Regarding the serves of lower-level men and women, point taken. Also, consider that the variety I described above is likely successful mostly because I am playing people of my level who bring their own return game baggage onto the court with them. In fact, when I serve to 4.0 and some 3.5 women, I sometimes feel like I'm going to a lot of trouble to hit different serves and not getting nearly enough payback for my effort.

chess9
10-09-2007, 09:28 AM
My view is that if you are going to miss it easy, you might as well miss it hard. :) So, you might try slugging it. Some people actually hit better when swinging hard than when they actually try to hit with some pace and placement. When you are nervous, I think hitting hard can sometimes help. Your mileage may vary, but it's something to think about.

Also, I always hit a few balls down the line each set in doubles. I also hit them hard. Making the shot is a nice plus, but the deterrant effect agains poachers is at least as helpful.

Just my .000002 drachmas worth.

-Robert

Cindysphinx
10-09-2007, 12:27 PM
OK, I had my lesson.

Told the pro my Whole Sad Tale Of Woe. Warmed up. He then served balls to me in the deuce court, and we rallied crosscourt until I felt like coming in and volleying. After a while, I received the diagnosis:

Me: "Well?"

Pro: "I don't know what's the matter with you. You tell me you can't get one forehand over the net yesterday. And then you come here and hit forehands like a 4.0. I gave you different spins, depth, pace and angles, and you have no problem with your forehand. Are you telling me those women were passing 10 balls in a row to your forehand? Your problem is here (points to temple)."

So. I'm a head case. That's nice to know. :)

He thinks the reason I can't hit a forehand cross-court in a match is because I freak out over the net person and try to do too much. Probably correct. The solution is to just hit the dang ball well and if they can poach a winner off of a strong shot, more power to them.

Bagumbawalla
10-09-2007, 03:51 PM
Yes, adding a person at the net, especially one who is quick and moves about, distracting your concentration creates a psychological factor not present in practice/drills. To make the drill mor "honest" the instructor should have positioned someone at the net.

skiracer55
10-09-2007, 06:14 PM
OK, I had my lesson.

Told the pro my Whole Sad Tale Of Woe. Warmed up. He then served balls to me in the deuce court, and we rallied crosscourt until I felt like coming in and volleying. After a while, I received the diagnosis:

Me: "Well?"

Pro: "I don't know what's the matter with you. You tell me you can't get one forehand over the net yesterday. And then you come here and hit forehands like a 4.0. I gave you different spins, depth, pace and angles, and you have no problem with your forehand. Are you telling me those women were passing 10 balls in a row to your forehand? Your problem is here (points to temple)."

So. I'm a head case. That's nice to know. :)

He thinks the reason I can't hit a forehand cross-court in a match is because I freak out over the net person and try to do too much. Probably correct. The solution is to just hit the dang ball well and if they can poach a winner off of a strong shot, more power to them.

...you are a head case, and the most obvious solution, as you've already discovered, is to watch the ball, hit it hard, and don't think...during a match. Before the match, however, do think. Specifically, go back and take a look at my post about the difference between a singles return and a doubles return. Then go out and have your pro...which he should have already done...teach you how to block a return so you can get a quality, low return in the court 95% of the time...

Bagumbawalla
10-09-2007, 06:49 PM
Skiracer55,

I am going to have to disagree with just about everything you have said, and the way you have said it.

B

Cindysphinx
10-10-2007, 05:13 AM
Hmmmm . . . you mean you disagree about the part about blocking the return?

I'm not a big fan of the blocked return in doubles. It's just an invitation for a poach. The serves aren't so fast that I shouldn't be able to hit a quality topspin shot.

B, it's a private lesson, so there's nobody else who could act as net person.

But Skiracer is right. I am a head case.

skiracer55
10-10-2007, 08:28 AM
Skiracer55,

I am going to have to disagree with just about everything you have said, and the way you have said it.

B


...yeah, that wasn't a very supportive way of putting things, and probably not totally technically helpful, either. To put a positive spin on things, we had a number of other threads featuring, of course, Cindysphinx, where the topic was match toughness, mental strength, and so forth, and what I said was essentially, if you're having problems with some aspect of your game that you just cannot seem to fix, (a) everybody goes through it and (b) there's no silver bullet to fix it but (c) here's some stuff that works for me, such as watch the ball, hit it hard, and so forth.

And yeah, I'm a big proponent of the block, chip, or just a short backswing on service returns, but not everybody's built that way. If you wanna swing through a service return with a good old topspin forehand, then go right ahead, because if you try something you don't believe in, it's probably not gonna happen.

There is a little life lesson we've all heard, which is: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think that often applies, in spades, to all of us as tennis players. In that vein, I'm a big proponent of the principle that says "If you're stuck in a rut, try something...anything!...different!"

I saw this happen at a CU Men's Tennis match. My good buddy Marko Bundalo, one of the best athletes, hardest hitters, and toughest competitors I've ever seen, was struggling in a match against rival DU. Marko was playing another big guy, and Marko just could not get the guy's serve back enough to even threaten a service break. After Marko lost the very close set in a tie break, Dave Hodge, then Men's Assistant, told Marko to just focus on giving this guy a different look on the service return...line up in a slightly different spot, take a shorter stroke, hit with more spin, hit up the middle, hit some short angles...whatever! Just anything different that would cause this guy to think about doing something new with the serve instead of just banging the ball down the middle of the box and getting an easy return error. And something different that would, more importantly, put Marko in a different head space, a different movement pattern, a different tactical feel that would enable him to break out of the rut and turn things around. Which he did. Even though he didn't win this particular match, it helped him immensely for the rest of the season.

So how about that for a more positive response?

Doc Hollidae
10-10-2007, 12:32 PM
Before I give my two cents, are you capable of hitting a normal cross court forehand during a rally?

predrag
10-10-2007, 12:43 PM
I play ladies 6.5 and mixed 7.0. And I am starting to notice a chronic problem that is getting me killed on the deuce court.

My opponents figure out very quickly that if they serve out wide to my forehand, I am in trouble. I just cannot pull it hard enough cross-court to keep it from the net man. And then I start to crumble and start just missing completely. Entire sets go by with me missing every almost cross-court forehand service return. Oh, sure, I'll try to take it up the line to break this pattern. But I'll miss long. Or into the net. Or I'll hit it right to the net guy's racket. Heaven help me if the net person starts jumping around to distract me.

If I'm on the ad court, life is easier because my inside-out forehand and cross-court backhand are fine. But I'm a 3.0, my mixed partners are 4.0s, so it makes way more sense for them to have their forehand in the middle for overheads, not to mention how it ain't good to have me be the one making those pressure service return on the big points.

What's the fix here? Declare I must play ad court? Just keep plugging away at deuce court but have my partner stay at the baseline until I get that return past the net man?

Cindy -- who is going to force her partner in the ladies match tomorrow to play deuce court until she can straighten out this problem


First of all, it does not make sense at all for stronger player to play add court IF your weakness is as bad as you are describing it.
Solution for you is to get some lessons and fix your forehand. There is no reason for you not to have a strong forehand.
Third thing, immediate fix (but only until you develop better forehand) is to try lobbing over the net man.
This will send server scrambling to get that lob and hopfully you will get a chance to do something more with the return.

Regards, Predrag

kevhen
10-10-2007, 01:15 PM
Don't not play just because your partner wants to play ad side. Play the duece and work on your forehand crosscourt or cheat right and take some with your backhand crosscourt inside out or throw up some lob returns. Have your partner play back if your return is really struggling.

You won't get better if you shy away from matches.

Burt Turkoglu
10-10-2007, 03:54 PM
Cindy.....I used to have the same problem on the deuce. How often do you go out with your partner one on one and practice serve-serve return? Those are the 2 most important strokes in doubles. You are not a head case....just because you hit good forehands doesn't mean you can hit a good forehand return of serve. It's a shorter stroke. A couple of keys to help you:

As the ball approaches you, don't just watch the ball. Watch the right side of the ball. That's the corner you will hit.

Also, keep you take-back short and move into the hit.

Make sure you're not too far from the ball as it's harder to hit the outside edge of the ball if you are.

Set up practices of serve/serve return and aim for the side T or the opponents deuce court.

The guy who said learn to lob had it right. First, a lob from your forehand is easy to aim over the netlady's backhand. If you clear her, you have your free ticket to get to net and control play. If you establish this lob early in a match, the netlady with have to position further back thus opening more angle to go crosscourt without interference. If a returner never lobs me off of a forehand or 2-handed backhand return of serve, I get right on top of the net and can cut off returns over the middle. The distance I need to move for a poach is greatly lessened as well. Learn to lob off BOTH sides.

Hope this helps Cindy. Good luck.

timeisonmyside
10-10-2007, 04:24 PM
I also had trouble with the forehand cross-court return. I used to be late and the ball would just go right to the net person. Then a coach showed me a good trick to help me hit it wider.

When you see the ball coming, imagine that you want to hit the ball at the top of your string bed right below the top of the frame. Because I tended to be late, I wouldn't actually hit there, but what it actually gets you to do is swing the racquet in a direction that will go very sharply cross-court. Also, you should try moving diagonally into the ball, especially if it's slicing away from you.

Bagumbawalla
10-10-2007, 07:14 PM
Skiracer55,

Much improved.


And, yes, Cindy, though blocking a ball back has its place and time, doubles is not (usually) one of them, in my opinion.

I would be more expansive, but "Pushing Up Daisies" just came on and and I have to watch.

B

Burt Turkoglu
10-11-2007, 06:09 PM
...yeah, that wasn't a very supportive way of putting things, and probably not totally technically helpful, either. To put a positive spin on things, we had a number of other threads featuring, of course, Cindysphinx, where the topic was match toughness, mental strength, and so forth, and what I said was essentially, if you're having problems with some aspect of your game that you just cannot seem to fix, (a) everybody goes through it and (b) there's no silver bullet to fix it but (c) here's some stuff that works for me, such as watch the ball, hit it hard, and so forth.

And yeah, I'm a big proponent of the block, chip, or just a short backswing on service returns, but not everybody's built that way. If you wanna swing through a service return with a good old topspin forehand, then go right ahead, because if you try something you don't believe in, it's probably not gonna happen.

There is a little life lesson we've all heard, which is: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think that often applies, in spades, to all of us as tennis players. In that vein, I'm a big proponent of the principle that says "If you're stuck in a rut, try something...anything!...different!"

I saw this happen at a CU Men's Tennis match. My good buddy Marko Bundalo, one of the best athletes, hardest hitters, and toughest competitors I've ever seen, was struggling in a match against rival DU. Marko was playing another big guy, and Marko just could not get the guy's serve back enough to even threaten a service break. After Marko lost the very close set in a tie break, Dave Hodge, then Men's Assistant, told Marko to just focus on giving this guy a different look on the service return...line up in a slightly different spot, take a shorter stroke, hit with more spin, hit up the middle, hit some short angles...whatever! Just anything different that would cause this guy to think about doing something new with the serve instead of just banging the ball down the middle of the box and getting an easy return error. And something different that would, more importantly, put Marko in a different head space, a different movement pattern, a different tactical feel that would enable him to break out of the rut and turn things around. Which he did. Even though he didn't win this particular match, it helped him immensely for the rest of the season.

So how about that for a more positive response?

Actually, I agree with just about everything you've said. I've made a living on blocked returns and chip n' charge doubles although I'm facing lots of speed and/or spin. I reckon Cindy @ 3.0 tennis must see slower flatter ones so a block won't work unless she moves way inside the baseline and takes it on the rise (which is what you said). When I coached college tennis, we had the players work on these returns and come into net behind them.