View Full Version : How do you beat a guy

03-24-2004, 02:01 PM
How do you beat a guy who places his first serve well, gets his second serve in and then comes to net and volleys well too. His baseline game is pretty solid too hitting everything at sharp angles and not making too many errors. I had a slight advantage backhand to backhand and starting hitting my returns lower and lower since he served and volleyed and was killing me with his first volley. I think I needed to get to net myself more and force him to hit passing shots which he did ok. I even served and volleyed myself in a practice third set and was holding serve then up 4-2 when we quit. I lost 6-3, 6-4 but beat this guy last year 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 but his serve placement and consistency had definitely improved. He seemed to like pace which I was mostly giving him to keep him from getting to net. I could have hit more off-pace (loopy topspin or slow slice) to see if he would have made more errors that way. Any other suggestions are welcome. How do you beat a solid serve and volleyer? I get most all of my returns back, should I go for more on them? I didn't lob since his overhead seemed solid in warmups too. I held 6/9 and he held serve 9/10. Including the 3rd fun set I was 9/12 and he was 11/13. Good match and a nice guy to play against but I hate losing to people I have beaten in the past since I think I am still improving!!!!! I am using a new racquet and only playing once a week so a little bit rusty. Warm weather is here today though as it hit 68 degrees. Time to get outside and play!

03-24-2004, 03:16 PM
mix up your shots, spins, etc. try and keep your returns low, and short, to dip at his feet. throw in a few topspin lobs for keep him honest so he's not just crowding the net. sounds like a tough opponent.

03-24-2004, 03:55 PM
Work on your passing shots and try to give him lots of off pace low slicers to prevent him from hitting a good approach or hitting winners. You may want to work on your lob also so you can get it near the baseline and not get obliterated by his overheads. Sometimes matches like that could go either way and just don't go our way. I played one the other night where I was really playing like crap and lost the first set, but I just went to work and kept the points long and I won the third set tiebreak, but the other guy really played better for his abilities than I did for mine the whole night.

03-24-2004, 07:13 PM
Of course, you have to make the return at the first place. Don't try to pass him on the return. It will be tough to do.

Try to keep the return low, and make him volley up, so you can take a better look at the passing shot.

You want him to guess where you are going to return. Vary it from cross court, right at him, down the line. Try to put some extra heat on the ball, and then try to take some pass off and dip it. Some people are good athlete and can handle a lot of pace, but a lot of them can't hit volleys off junk balls.

So slice some, dip some, and smack some. Give it a try a few times see what he misses the most. Once you find that out, you can exploit them. But still mix it up with other shots 7:3 or 8:2 ratio.

Also look for a pattern of his volley. He may prefer to hit cross court forehand volley, down the line backhand volley. Take a note of how he handles high volleys as well. Sometimes, you can tell from the shoulder position where he's going to volley.

Give him a few lobs as well. I can hit overheads just fine during the warm up, but it's not the strongest part when I am at the net.
Plue, it will keep him off from closing the net.

03-24-2004, 08:25 PM
he may be solid from the baseline but it sounds like he much prefers net. if anything else, i hate long drawn out points. i come to the net to get it done and over with if i can, not to mention im just more comfortable there. the best thing you can do to exert some frustration from him would be to keep alot of your shots up the line and at the least, past the service boxes. the majority of my approach/chip shots consist of short/lazy balls that were hit cross court or up the middle so that i can cut them off and move in. you were right about the loopy top spin shots to keep him back, those are a definite annoyance as long as they dont lose too much pace then that is just asking for your opponent to start pounding inside out forehands or whatever their strong shot may be.
if you can get in before someone like him, do it. do whatever you can to keep him off gaurd. the more you can play him the more you will begin to notice little cracks in his game. :D

03-24-2004, 10:23 PM
jun has good advice. On passes, hit the topspin dipper, take a little pace off, especially crosscourt and/or to his backand. Your backhand passes should be up the line -- slice/chip -- and a little higher, to clear the net. Topspin lob now and then, to his backhand, of course, if possible. Don't come over his low volleys -- chip them back.

03-24-2004, 10:46 PM
Did he take the first volley equally well on both sides ? If one side is weaker, you might be able to break it down.

Hawaii 5.0
03-24-2004, 11:53 PM
I say role reversal.Chip and charge on his serve.Most S&V have decent groundies and solid bh passing shots, but don't really react well to counter S&Ving.Alot of times when S&V are really playing well they will start to guess where the pass will go, but if you can try and take a big cut at the ball and the last second float it over them as often they will be on full stretch and have already commited.Variety is key, but for sure mix it up and come in off his serves even if it's weak,test him early.

03-25-2004, 12:01 AM
I say role reversal.Chip and charge on his serve....and come in off his serves even if it's weak,test him early.

This is new ! I've never seen this, server and returner at the net on the return. My gut feeling is that the server has the advantage because he's closer to the net and he dictated the opening of the point, he know the spin power and placement of the serve as he come in whereas the returner is reacting. But if you do this Hawaii, I'd be interested to hear more.

Camilio Pascual
03-25-2004, 09:12 AM
Q: "How to beat a solid serve and volleyer?" - Kevhen
A: "Lob."

03-25-2004, 01:49 PM
Yes, I should have thrown up more lobs and really tested his overhead in match conditions. I did have one accidental topspin lob that landed for a winner when I shanked a backhand passing shot, but otherwise I stayed away from the lob since I was out of practice having played on a very fast surface all winter that is tough to throw up a good lob on because of how fast the incoming balls are coming in. But this surface was of average speed.

I think I will stick with just hitting low consistent returns and maybe try moving in a step inside the baseline on returns to take away the angle and time for him to get to net. His serve was like in the 80's so not big but it gave him time to get to net as well and was placed well and consistent and just tough enough to not let me totally control the point from the start.

I did charge his serve a few times and we had heated exchanges at the net which were fun but I think he won most of them so I didn't push that too much, but I didn't break much either so it's worth pursuing.

His forehand was his strength at the baseline so I mostly hit to his backhand side which is my tendency anyway. He hits sharp angles with both flat groundstrokes and vollies and ocassionally missed them into the net but otherwise kept me on the run which I enjoy since I did get alot of balls back with some nice defense but he was usually waiting for the finishing shot.

I had some nice passes with my backhand but he got his racquet on alot of shots anyway and kept himself in the point.

I think lobbing was the key as it might have slowed him down on his way to net. Next time I will lob him more. He did have a decent overhead last year when I played him though. He is like a 4.0 level Sampras and played at a strong 4.0 level this year and was a weak 4.0 last year. I played at a solid 4.0 level both years. Have to get my game going again!

Camilio Pascual
03-26-2004, 03:17 AM
Kevhen - That is a perceptive comment about fast surfaces, it requires a little more time to execute a topspin lob than a groundstroke. Yet another reason why S&V works better on fast surfaces. Good luck, I like your posts.

03-26-2004, 10:31 AM
Yes, it's just much easier and safer to hit back a hard passing shot on a fast incoming groundstroke on a fast surface than to try to throw up a lob where the timing is very difficult on a fast surface in my opinion, especially against guys with good overheads which pretty much all the guys have if they can beat me (strong 4.0-4.5 level) and are coming to net against me.

03-27-2004, 01:08 PM
I find my game goes to something resembling crap when I am only able to play once a week. Winter sucks. :lol:

Stewart Cohen
03-27-2004, 05:31 PM
First of all: win your own serve. If you do, you only need one break. Since you need to hold serve, you may want to save your energy for your service games. So, for instance, if you're down 30-love on his serve, don't get worked up. This is a great couple of points to experiment with some strategies, like chip and charge, or that loopy topspin to his backhand, a hard slice to his forehand, etc. Find his weaknesses this way, but don't work too hard. On the other hand, if you've got 30, and he's got love, 15, or 30, bust your *** to win this game. Hit solid and move fast. That kind of pressure will take some confidence out of his shots and give you the break you need. All the strategies mentioned here are great ideas, and try them all to uncover his weaknesses. I particularly like to float a deep and high return to a serve and volleyers backhand, because they rarely put these away, or even come in on them.

Bertchel Banks
03-28-2004, 08:13 AM
Slice the ball short and low, and lob to his backhand.

Bhagi Katbamna
03-28-2004, 08:45 AM
[Ivan Lendl]Win more games than him[/Ivan Lendl]

03-31-2004, 01:59 PM
Good idea to win more games, I will try that next time! Good idea to try to experiment on return of serve with different approaches to see what works best so I can use that on my serve to hold more easily. I didn't think I would only break his serve once so I just tried to play solid and not experiment and figured he would make a few more volley mistakes and I would get 3-4 breaks in which I usually do break more since my return is very consistent. But I struggle breaking S&Vers since I am more of a consistent baseliner and maybe need to go for a little more on my return when playing them.

03-31-2004, 02:03 PM
And throw in a few more lobs to keep them off balance when coming in.

03-31-2004, 03:41 PM
When he's at the net, nail the sucker so hard that the next time he tries charging the net he'll remember that last shot and maybe be a little hesitant. Think Roger Clemens

My advice isn't really practical unless you can do that consistently, but a lot of ppl already gave you great advice.

Skinny Dip
04-12-2004, 08:28 AM
A combination of down the line passers and short, dip over the net crosscourt toppers is usually what works for me. Throw in some high backhand lobs if you gottem, and you might find you've turned your S&V guy into a reluctant baseliner. When its all working, of course.

The best part is that none of these return shots require much power or appearent effort, making it all the more frustrating for all the effort your S&V guy is putting in. Of course hitting the return slightly sooner than expected can be key in pulling off these kinds of shots without your guy already being all over the net.

04-12-2004, 08:50 AM
I like VTL's idea. Tattoo him!