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mrsandoo 09-29-2012 04:05 PM

Help with singles strategy
 
I just played in my first open tournament. I am a solid 4.5 player, so I went in with low expectations. I've heard of the quality of the game at open tournaments.

I ended up losing in the first round 4, 3, but I found it to be a satisfying loss regardless because I knew he played at a much higher level in the past.

One of the key reasons I lost was because after he probed my forehand a little bit, he went exclusively to my backhand. (He's a right hander, I am a left hander). And here was the problem. He only hit to my BH.

And I found myself in a situation where I could never set up my FH. Here are some things I tried.

1. Serve and volley to end the point quicker. It worked well, but I started getting punished on my second serve.

2. Hit BH down the line to his BH. The result? He would just hit it right back to me down the line. There were 10-15 shot rallies with both of us just going down the line on our BHs. Funny if I think about it.

I never tried hitting cross court with my BH (I prob should have) after a few DTL, but I did rush the net to volley and had mixed results.

So the question to all you pros is...

How can I set up my forehand against a right hander who keeps hitting to my BH? (I am lefty). What are some strategies I can employ to set up my FH winner?

I feel that even if my BH was good as my FH, the same thing would happen. I may win more points, but I wouldn't know how to set up my FH.

So at this point, I need strategic advice, not technical advice. Thanks!

floridatennisdude 09-29-2012 04:19 PM

I don't get it? You were having 10+ shot rallies down the line to each other and you couldn't step around and hit a forehand?

I think it comes down to anticipation. Tennis at that level is like chess. You take some calculated risks to tilt the game in your favor. He probed you and found that he wanted no part of your FH. So, what did you probe of his game?

For any lefty, a no brainer for me to think of is a slice serve out wide to a righty backhand. I'd perfect that serve and get used to stepping two quick steps to your right for an inside out FH to the open court. That type of 1-2 punch combo puts you in control of the point. Once you are in control, the angles are up to you.

andfor 09-29-2012 06:40 PM

^^^Ditto. Keep in mind anticipation is first based on the quality of shot you hit. Your pace, depth, angle, spin, opponent positioning and balance, all factor in what shot he may hit back. Although this may be obvious to many, I have seen this sometimes be news to those struggling with anticipation.

As for setting up your FH. The BH DTL is the right idea. Also, try some of your BH cross courts into the righty FH first. This will allow you to then hit into the open BH side and force him to hit his BH on the run. Your chances then for a weak reply will go up allowing you to then establish your FH.

mrsandoo 09-29-2012 07:57 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I will work on slice serving wide and the BHs.

Def agree tennis is like chess at that level. I could no longer just outhit and push my opponent off the court.

VeeSe 09-29-2012 08:19 PM

Agreed with the first two replies. If you know they're all going to your backhand, anticipate and run around to set up your forehand. It should be easy because you know the ball's going to go in that general vicinity anyway.

Once you start leaning to your right to try and run around, he may make an adjustment and sometimes hit to your forehand side to keep you off balance, and the game now opens up into him hitting to your backhand like ~75% of the time but also going to your forehand 25% of the time so you can't always run around. Now you're in a chess match but you're actively getting your forehand involved to hopefully take control of the point.

floridatennisdude 09-30-2012 03:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VeeSe (Post 6927012)
Agreed with the first two replies. If you know they're all going to your backhand, anticipate and run around to set up your forehand. It should be easy because you know the ball's going to go in that general vicinity anyway.

Once you start leaning to your right to try and run around, he may make an adjustment and sometimes hit to your forehand side to keep you off balance, and the game now opens up into him hitting to your backhand like ~75% of the time but also going to your forehand 25% of the time so you can't always run around. Now you're in a chess match but you're actively getting your forehand involved to hopefully take control of the point.

Hmmm, sounds like what Nadal has to do.

mikeler 09-30-2012 03:58 AM

You have to remember that if both of you are hitting down the line, you are both giving up positioning on the other side of the court. If you can hit a short angled backhand topspin or slice to his forehand, now you can camp out over in your backhand corner opening up more room to hit a forehand. He may then be pulled so far off the court, he can only get the ball down the line to your forehand. If he does go back cross court to your backhand, then you could try a backhand down the line to his backhand and he should be on the dead run trying to hit a passing shot.

Another tip: watch Rafa play Fed. :)

floridatennisdude 09-30-2012 08:14 AM

I thought about this thread during my 3-setter this morning. My opponent definitely served at and played to my backhand a higher percentage of the time.

Now, a little different because we were both righties (and fairly equal skill). But, when we got into cross court exchanges I would work hard to step around and hit an inside out FH with more pace than I can produce on my OHBH. My goal was to produce a defensive shot that I could become offensive with and attack with a cross court FH approach. He would be on the run for his FH which made his pass attempts and lobs difficult.

I also had success serving wide and giving myself more court to work with. Some serve and volley, but mostly getting shorter returns that put me on offense. Ultimately, had to be mentally strong on the short balls I got because there weren't many of them.

tennisjon 09-30-2012 02:18 PM

Interesting. My strategy against most lefties is to go to the forehand as much as possible and just hang out in the ad court and dare them to go up the line. Lefties tend to like to angle the forehand. The backhands tend to have more variety of location. That being said, if the person has a much weaker side, why wouldn't I just keep hitting the ball to that side until it breaks down?

If I was the lefty and I wanted to protect my backhand, I would not recover to the middle at the baseline. I would keep the forehand side open enough that it would just make sense to go to the open court and try to run around shots hit to the backhand side. Also, I would try to use backhand slice down the line low to and force them to hit up, hopefully going to my forehand at some point. I would also have tried moon ball. Looping a ball up really high makes it harder for the opponent to go down the line and will also give you more time to get into position.

LeeD 09-30-2012 02:30 PM

Anytime you want to protect one side of the court, you have to camp out there and dare the opponent to hit to the open court.
It's just like net play. When you approach DTL, you stay covering the DTL passing shot, dare the opponent to go CC, but you're ready to head that way, knowing the DTL is already covered!

mrsandoo 09-30-2012 11:22 PM

Thanks guys for all the advice! Looks like I need to get my anticipation up and faster feet to hit inside out FH.

floridatennisdude 10-01-2012 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrsandoo (Post 6928838)
Thanks guys for all the advice! Looks like I need to get my anticipation up and faster feet to hit inside out FH.

Good thread. Good luck!

Coach Chad 10-09-2012 05:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrsandoo (Post 6926738)
I just played in my first open tournament. I am a solid 4.5 player, so I went in with low expectations. I've heard of the quality of the game at open tournaments.

I ended up losing in the first round 4, 3, but I found it to be a satisfying loss regardless because I knew he played at a much higher level in the past.

One of the key reasons I lost was because after he probed my forehand a little bit, he went exclusively to my backhand. (He's a right hander, I am a left hander). And here was the problem. He only hit to my BH.

And I found myself in a situation where I could never set up my FH. Here are some things I tried.

1. Serve and volley to end the point quicker. It worked well, but I started getting punished on my second serve.

2. Hit BH down the line to his BH. The result? He would just hit it right back to me down the line. There were 10-15 shot rallies with both of us just going down the line on our BHs. Funny if I think about it.

I never tried hitting cross court with my BH (I prob should have) after a few DTL, but I did rush the net to volley and had mixed results.

So the question to all you pros is...

How can I set up my forehand against a right hander who keeps hitting to my BH? (I am lefty). What are some strategies I can employ to set up my FH winner?

I feel that even if my BH was good as my FH, the same thing would happen. I may win more points, but I wouldn't know how to set up my FH.

So at this point, I need strategic advice, not technical advice. Thanks!

I am a lefty, and I notice that you said you never tried hitting crosscourt with your BH. (with topspin). This would be a very good "tool" to have in your "tennis tool belt." It is not the easiest shot to learn...and I am still trying to hit it consistently. My biggest challenge is to keep my stance closed and follow through. (One-handed semi western grip). Even though I can only get a decent topspin winner 1 out of every 3 times, (the other 2 times my shot is loopy or doesn't have much spin); just knowing that you can hit that shot keeps your oponent from "camping out" on your BH. Hope you give it a try! Have fun!

anubis 10-09-2012 07:43 AM

I heard of a concept once upon a time that talked about figuring out where your opponent's "wheelhouse" is as far as number of rallies, and then preventing him from reaching it.

If your opponent can comfortably hit a 10 shot rally, then he's probably got a window of "comfort" between 6 to 10 shots. If he's there, he feels confident. He may not like when you try to end the point early, and he may not like it when the rally goes beyond 10 shots. So try for that.

tennisjon 10-09-2012 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by anubis (Post 6944034)
I heard of a concept once upon a time that talked about figuring out where your opponent's "wheelhouse" is as far as number of rallies, and then preventing him from reaching it.

If your opponent can comfortably hit a 10 shot rally, then he's probably got a window of "comfort" between 6 to 10 shots. If he's there, he feels confident. He may not like when you try to end the point early, and he may not like it when the rally goes beyond 10 shots. So try for that.

In an entire match I may have 1 or two points that last that long. At a certain level people can hit winners before people hit their consistency threshold. Also, your own consistency issues can prevent that from happening as your opponent might be trying to do the same thing.

LeeD 10-09-2012 11:06 AM

When my rallies get over 10, one of us get's bored to death and will try a 7.0 level winner, resulting in a 3.5 miss.
Protecting your backhand usually means more running to cover your forehand.

Z-Man 10-10-2012 04:37 PM

Try slicing your backhand down the line. When someone hits you a low slice, it's hard to hit the ball back down the line. The natural tendency is to hit it back crosscourt over the low part of the net. That might force your opponent to hit to your forehand, setting up the classic lefty play crosscourt against the righty's backhand.

Another thing you could try is hitting to your opponent's backhand side, but not going out too wide. I do this when I play lefties (I am a righty). If they hit a backhand, they have to hit it a little bit inside out to keep it away from your forehand. That's a harder shot, so they might just go to your forehand. If they step over and hit a forehand, they don't have any angle to run you off the court on your backhand side. And that's the real key for either player in that situation. You don't want to go out too wide to their forehand because that gives them the angle to get on your backhand. Better to play more down the middle or slightly to their backhand side to take away that angle. Usually the lefty has the spinny crosscourt forehand, so I'm trying to avoid that shot more than I'm trying to set up my own crosscourt forehand.


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