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View Full Version : Suggest me some tactics for crunch match


oldhacker
10-01-2010, 01:57 AM
My team has its last match of the season this evening and we need to win at least one out of four doubles rubbers to secure promotion in second place in the table. Unfortunately the team we are playing are in first place and have not lost a single rubber all season - we do not have rated leagues here and new teams (however strong) start at the bottom and work their way up.

Despite the fact that we have our strongest lineup playing winning a single set (let alone rubber) will be a big ask. Having played the opposition earlier in the season I know what to expect. They all have very good serves and net play. Both pairs include a leftie and I am a rightie playing the ad court so will be seeing loads of fast wide leftie slices to my backhand. Against pace I can only slice / chip my backhand return of serve (changing that is on my todo list for the winter). Trouble is their net men are tall and good volleyers / poachers so all my sliced returns cross court will be killed.

Bearing this in mind what would you do in my situation? If we can get enough returns in play and past the spider man at the net man I fancy our chances of getting a break or two as both my partner and I are masters of 'scrambled' points.

All suggestions (especially based on experience of similar) much appreciated.

bcart1991
10-01-2010, 04:13 AM
I'm a lefty with a wide slice serve to the ad court, and the return I absolutely HATE HATE HATE to deal with is a deep lob into the deuce court. It doesn't have to be a topspin lob, either.

It won't be the easiest shot to hit, but of you can start hitting it with a little regularity, it'll open up more options from your side of the court.

Absolutely NOTHING wrong with hitting an offensive lob, I do it when necessary.

bcart1991
10-01-2010, 04:14 AM
Carp, I hope I never have to play any of y'all any time soon. I just gave away one of my secrets...

stapletonj
10-01-2010, 04:25 AM
ditto from another tall lefty dubs player.

all you gotta do is get it over the net with more than 8 feet clearance. IT doesn't even really matter where.

IF the net man can consistently scramble back, scissor kick, and knock away a winner, so be it.

If the server can finish his serve, run in and hit a running overhead smash for a winner off a rapidly descending ball, so be it.

I'm not so sure I wouldn't do it every single point for a while. If they start playing two back cuz they are winded, you've got them right where you want them.

Cindysphinx
10-01-2010, 04:54 AM
My experience is that when you have a spiderman at the net, your partner should start in no-man's land off of the return of the first serve (and second, if you're struggling).

Why no-man's land? 'Cause you don't want them getting away with any dink volleys. Having one player in no-man's land means any drop volley has to be really good to be a winner. It also can mess with the reference points for some people, as their usual targets have changed. If the net player does try to volley to or around the no-man's land partner, the partner has a bit of time to try to deal with that ball.

Once your return gets past spiderman, the net player closes the net immediately -- movement that also can throw off the other team.

Good luck!!!!!!

oldhacker
10-01-2010, 05:38 AM
Thanks guys - chipped / sliced lobbed return will be by Plan A. Although I need to put myself in the best position to have a chance of executing succesfully. Last time we played these guys they have me in the side fence (which was only about 5 feet from the outside tramline) to before I reached the ball. Very hard shot to play if at full stretch so I need to get myself nearer the ball. Will cheat to the backhand side and play as far up the court as my reactions can tolerate.

Any suggestions for Plan B? I have never tried it but I am thinking of trying to chip / slice some really wide serves DTL back into the tramlines. Could be easier said than done.

Cindy - completely agree about my partners positioning when I am returning. That is how we always play - returners net man starts on service line closer to T and closes the net if return makes it past the opposing net man. Still can't get him to close the net when he is at the BL and I hit a volley. I have lost count of the number of points we have needlessly lost when the opponents manage to poke my volley back short to his side. It would be an easy putaway for him if he closed as soon as he sees I am going to volley.

tennismonkey
10-01-2010, 05:45 AM
assuming you want to win and you don't care about style points -- you can LOB them to death.

don't know what the percentages are but for sake of argument let's say when you return serves normally you win 25% of your points.

would imagine you would easily double your points won (50%) on your side by returning each serve with a nice high reasonably deep lob. doesn't have to be 2 feet from the baseline. service line or deeper.

if your opponents can consistently put away overheads - then you gotta change tactics. give em 8 lob returns and count the number of times they put it away and/or number of times you lose the point.

athiker
10-01-2010, 07:53 AM
I like the lob idea as well for plan A...to deuce court if possible to make someone have to run to hit it...but if you are being pulled wide then you may want to hit a safer cross-court lob to server's corner since you will have more court to work with (greater margin for error). Sometimes even if its not a great lob, just getting some air under a cross-court return lets you slip it by the net guy...plus a high bh volley poach is sometimes difficult (assuming net guy is rightie and leftie is serving) to effectively pull off.

Plan B...if you are being pulled wide and net man is so intent on poaching that he does not slide wide with the ball then maybe try a DTL tramline shot as you mentioned...but keep in mind the net guy is a rightie right?...as the leftie is serving in this scenario?...so this is attempting to pass him on his fh side.

If net man does shift to his right with the wide serve to cover the alley and if he is also hugging the net then given the wide angle serve the distance between you and him may be rather short. Maybe a firm flat bh or dipping ball to his right hip? I know you said you struggle with a topspin bh return of serve, but you are not trying to pass the net man here with a sharp angle yet still keep the ball in, you are just trying to drive a ball right at the netman...maybe easier to pull off. Just try to step into the ball, momentum forward in target direction, if at all possible...don't be falling back (easier said than done!). You have a good bit of room right or left to miss and still be an "in" ball since its basically cross-court but not with a severe angle like trying to miss the net guy...granted if your target is off r or l it will be an easier ball for him to volley, but he still has to play a ball with pace and with little reaction time. Remember this is plan B or C...not intended to work every time but at least keep him honest. Better than a slow cross court slice attempt that is easier pickings for poaching? If he does happen to flub a few then you may get in his head a bit. If he slams them away like a fly then back to plan A...lob city!! Good luck.

LuckyR
10-01-2010, 08:22 AM
While I don't disagree with the advice above, I would remind you that if you guys can likely hold your serves, then you don't have to break the lefty server (with the tall netman), you can break the righty server (with the shorter netman), and still win the match.

sphinx780
10-01-2010, 10:37 AM
Between the lob returns and LuckyR's suggestion, I think you've got it nailed...if you can consistently make them move up and back with some lobbing, you will end up getting to them at some point in the match, even if it's not breaking lefty's serve.

I do find that often using the lob approach well can also result in your ability to hit a few straight at net man's chest and get some easy bloopers...kind of the deer in headlights effect.

When you are seeing the same serve over and over, think of returning like a baseball pitcher, find your main pitch and work it but keep them guessing, hit a few cross court when netman's feet stop moving, take a potshot or two...keep them off balance and you should be able to work into the point.

dafox
10-01-2010, 11:25 AM
Physical superiority cancels out all theory

Vyse
10-01-2010, 02:45 PM
If your consistent, just push or grind or counterpunch, let the other guy beat himself.

athiker
10-05-2010, 09:29 AM
oldhacker....What was the result?

Sakkijarvi
10-05-2010, 09:32 AM
When I play doubles in new situations I like to assert some returns, hit hard enough to put a little fear into the net man. A little uncertainty. I find the payoff for power, displayed early, can carry through the rest of the match.

And I mean c-r-u-s-h the ball.

oldhacker
10-05-2010, 02:17 PM
Sorry - have been meaning to pop in and say what happened.

As often happens in life things did not pan out as I expected. First off I turned up for the match to discover that my regular partner had had a nasty accident at work and was at the hospital. That sort of thing always puts tennis in perspective ! I played with a new partner who prefers to play the ad court so I let him have it and played the deuce court for the first time in an age. I decided to throw caution to the wind and let rip with my rusty forehand return of serve and it paid off a treat. We even sneaked a set off a pair who had beaten us 6-1, 6-2 last time out.

Second unexpected event was the opposition's other pair. Both players had changed from our previous match and the replacements were seriously strong ! I played the best tennis I have played but we went down 6-1, 6-0. Could not believe how strong they were - one was the best doubles player I have ever faced. And I have played against guys here who have played D1 and D2 college in the US on scholarships. I later looked one of them up and he was a top county (state in the US) player who had played ex Davis Cup players in national county tournaments. I am probably strong 4.0 standard in US terms so that was quite an experience !

oldhacker....What was the result?

beernutz
10-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Sorry - have been meaning to pop in and say what happened.

As often happens in life things did not pan out as I expected. First off I turned up for the match to discover that my regular partner had had a nasty accident at work and was at the hospital. That sort of thing always puts tennis in perspective ! I played with a new partner who prefers to play the ad court so I let him have it and played the deuce court for the first time in an age. I decided to throw caution to the wind and let rip with my rusty forehand return of serve and it paid off a treat. We even sneaked a set off a pair who had beaten us 6-1, 6-2 last time out.

Second unexpected event was the opposition's other pair. Both players had changed from our previous match and the replacements were seriously strong ! I played the best tennis I have played but we went down 6-1, 6-0. Could not believe how strong they were - one was the best doubles player I have ever faced. And I have played against guys here who have played D1 and D2 college in the US on scholarships. I later looked one of them up and he was a top county (state in the US) player who had played ex Davis Cup players in national county tournaments. I am probably strong 4.0 standard in US terms so that was quite an experience !
Thanks for the update. Did your team win any of its four rubbers? :oops:

In case you weren't aware, rubbers in the U.S. is another term for condoms.

oldhacker
10-05-2010, 03:52 PM
No we lost all 4 'rubbers'. I was in the strongest pair and our other pair got royally thrashed in both 'rubbers'. When things like this happen it makes it seems a bit silly really to have unrated leagues as we do. The team we played won all of their 10 matches in the league without losing a single 'rubber' and only lost one set - in the match I referred to.

'Rubbers' can also mean condoms on this side of the pond as well as erasers. No idea why it is used to describe individual matches within an overall match. What do you call them in the US?

Thanks for the update. Did your team win any of its four rubbers? :oops:

In case you weren't aware, rubbers in the U.S. is another term for condoms.

struggle
10-05-2010, 04:32 PM
"line #1", "flight #1", "#1", "#2", etc...

rubber seems fine to me, although in the US "rubber" often means the decisive match/set/what have ya.

for example, if you and I were tied at 1 or 2 sets each, the final set might be considered the 'rubber" set.

beernutz
10-05-2010, 04:34 PM
No we lost all 4 'rubbers'. I was in the strongest pair and our other pair got royally thrashed in both 'rubbers'. When things like this happen it makes it seems a bit silly really to have unrated leagues as we do. The team we played won all of their 10 matches in the league without losing a single 'rubber' and only lost one set - in the match I referred to.

'Rubbers' can also mean condoms on this side of the pond as well as erasers. No idea why it is used to describe individual matches within an overall match. What do you call them in the US?
We call them both matches here which I guess is more confusing than calling the individual doubles competitions "rubbers" and the overall competitions between two teams "matches". Your way makes more sense. Anyone for a rubber?

athiker
10-05-2010, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the update...sorry for the result but sounds like you had some good hitting.

If we are playing 3 "rubbers" vs another team we just call each of them "court 1", "court 2", and "court 3" since they are played simultaneously. So we might say we won court 1 and 3 but lost court 2...so we were 2-1 for the evening and won the overall match.

Usually teams tend to put their strongest team on court 1, next strongest on court 2 and so on. Since it is a rated USTA league then theoretically we are all equal so there is really no hard and fast rule about that. Sometimes teams try a little strategy and mix it up, if they know their opposing team has a very strong #1 team, putting their strongest on #3 and weakest on #1 for example and hope they win #2 as well and take the match. This can backfire however as #1 is basically a sure loss in many cases if a team tries that and court #2 might go either way.

Some may bump #3 team up to #1 court and play #1 on #2 court and #2 on #3 court. This can be pretty effective if your 3rd line or team is pretty weak. It kind of ruins the fun of playing for your worst team though as they will likely get smoked...not great for morale...but a team in the hunt for states might try it.