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-   -   Tips against a 4.5 'Del Potro' (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=467259)

GoudX 06-19-2013 06:06 AM

Tips against a 4.5 'Del Potro'
 
So tomorrow I have a bragging rights best of 3 sets match planned against a fellow club member. As you may have guessed from the title he is some way north of 6' tall, and he can hit with a lot of power. However, normally he will not use all of this power and will simply hit with enough power to force his opponent out of the court.

Normally my tactic is to overpower my opponent with power placement and spin, Federer style, however judging on previous rallying and doubles matches with this player this will end very badly for me, as neutral rallies will almost always result in him pushing me out of the court. This is probably because he is about a foot taller than me and built like a linebacker.

What tactics would people suggest that I utilise to stop this guy getting into a groove against me, given that:
  • I probably have a better serve and return than him, but not by enough to win on free points.
  • I hit with more spin than him, so I can probably play sharper angles, but this is a low percentage play compared to hitting it down the middle.
  • I can move fast enough to get to most of his attacking shots, unless he his shots are very well grooved.
  • Sometimes I can mix in the occasional net rush, but if he is expecting it my Volleys are far worse than his groundstrokes.
  • My backhand slice should be able to draw a few errors
  • I can out-grind most players if I can force the match to go on and on, but this requires me to hold my ground in the first place

AtomicForehand 06-19-2013 06:21 AM

Don't let him get into a groove:
1) Don't hit the same spin twice in a row. Mix in low-bouncing slices (hard for a tall player to work with consistently) and sharp-angle topspins and go for an 80% flat shot DTL when the court is open.
2) Move him to all four corners of the court, up and back as well as side to side.

Attack him by:
3) Dropshotting and lobbing.
4) Chipping the return and following it in to the net.

rkelley 06-19-2013 06:44 AM

Based on the strengths that you list above, one thought is to hit a couple of solid rally balls first, use your spin and power to keep him back but hit to safe targets, then slice. If you can pull off that change of pace without hurting yourself, then the change of pace might mess with him a bit. If he throws up a weaker ball then that would be the time to hit something more aggressive location wise.

If you can vary spin, again without hurting yourself, go for a couple high spin, high pace, safe placement shots (so relatively safe) and then go just a bit flatter to a safe target (not flat, don't kill it, just less spin). Again, you're just trying to test his ability to adjust and get him to cough up a weaker shot or maybe even an UFE.

You said he plays doubles so I'm guessing he has approach shots and can volley. If not, draw him up there. But a big, tall guy at net who can volley isn't a great thing.

Whatever you do, make sure that it involves hitting shots that are safe and that you like to hit. I personally put a big premium on this since most tennis is about UFEs so you don't want to get so wrapped up in the "best" strategic plan that you throw away the match.

Nellie 06-19-2013 08:05 AM

When you are used to being the big hitter, it is really hard to adjust to playing someone hits bigger. When I am playing someone big:

1) I move him around - a lot (side to side/ front-to-back) he will get tired unless he is way better than you

2) I flatten/slice shots/serve because topspin will go to his wheelhouse

StringingIrvine 06-19-2013 08:35 AM

I don't want to be a downer but if he's truly a 4.5, hitting slices, etc isn't going to work. Its going to be a lot more complex like a game of chess. If a 4.5 can't consistently return a slice then he's not a 4.5. I'm not saying that is an effective shot as he is tall, rather its not one or two shots that is going to break down his game.

You are going to have to be on top of your MENTAL game. Pay attention to every point, which shots he misses and which shot he makes. Keep the percentages in his mind, if you are at the net and he always goes down the line start anticipating it. If you hit a short angle shot and he returns with a loopy cross court shot to put him back in the rally, take that ball early and take away time from him. You see he's having trouble on his back hand, every ball to his backhand.

I have a tendency to take balls early and never back up regardless of how hard my opponent is hitting the ball. It’s one of my many flaws that I’m working on. If he's hitting a huge ball, take a couple steps back behind the baseline! Just because he hits a hard ball doesn't mean you have to hit it harder back.

If you know his game is better then yours you start playing the man. I'm not saying be a jerk but figure out what gets him frustrated. YOU have to figure it out, its going to be a MENTAL game.

TennisCJC 06-19-2013 10:09 AM

If he can out hit you, I would used topspin looping balls to push him back and the go with low slice to force him to bend low. Also, use wide forehand to put the big guy on the run if you get a shorter ball that allows you to get your feet into the court at contact. Stay away from the angles if have both feet behind the baseline.

You say your serve and return may be better. Well, keep your hands loose and try to generate pace and spin off serve and return when you have the chance. If you hit a quality ball first, maybe you can get the big guy on the run.

rkelley 06-19-2013 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StringingIrvine (Post 7517249)
I don't want to be a downer but if he's truly a 4.5, hitting slices, etc isn't going to work. Its going to be a lot more complex like a game of chess. If a 4.5 can't consistently return a slice then he's not a 4.5. I'm not saying that is an effective shot as he is tall, rather its not one or two shots that is going to break down his game.

I'll disagree in part with this. The idea isn't that hitting a slice is going to make the guy completely miss or cough up a floater on a regular basis. It's more subtle than that. If you pounded a couple of good topspin groundies and then hit a decent slice (not a floating junk ball 5 feet over the top of the net that sits up, but a ball with some back and side spin, clears the net by a foot, with decent pace), it's enough of a change up that the guy is going to have to track the ball as it tails away, get down on it and hit it.

A 4.5, 5.0, a pro, whatever will have to adjust to this. You might get an UFE if the guy's a bit lazy, though probably not. You might get a weaker ball as he has to make an adjustment, more likely. The most likely outcome is that you get a decent but more careful shot back. This could allow you to respond with a more forcing shot that starts to put some real pressure on your opponent - again not necessarily a winner just hurting him a bit more.

Of course he might just rip on your slice, also possible. If he does that a couple of times then you need another plan (and probably need to go work on your slice).

GoudX 06-20-2013 03:54 AM

Here's the plan:

-High 1st serve percentage, varying spins, to keep him off balance for my first forehand
-Hug the baseline when possible, so that I don't give him time to set up his best shots
-Try to drag him off the court whenever there is a shorter ball
-Don't give him free pace in rallies (vary spins and placement rather than trying to hit through him)
-Force him to play one more shot whenever possible

If my serve and forehand are working I should be able to hold serve, but I will have to capitalise on my chances to break if I want to win.

I'll let you know how it goes, cheers for the advice.

mhj202 06-20-2013 04:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GoudX (Post 7518803)
Here's the plan:

-High 1st serve percentage, varying spins, to keep him off balance for my first forehand
-Hug the baseline when possible, so that I don't give him time to set up his best shots
-Try to drag him off the court whenever there is a shorter ball
-Don't give him free pace in rallies (vary spins and placement rather than trying to hit through him)
-Force him to play one more shot whenever possible

If my serve and forehand are working I should be able to hold serve, but I will have to capitalise on my chances to break if I want to win.

I'll let you know how it goes, cheers for the advice.

Good luck today!

And have fun!

GoudX 06-20-2013 03:58 PM

SUCCESS!!!

After two and a half hours of non-stop action I walked away with a 6-2 3-6 7-6(4)
win by playing some of the best tennis I have ever played. This match was exhausting and included plenty of spectacular points. It helped I was serving well: 4 aces, plenty of unreturned serves (over 30 I think) and only 1 double fault.

Thanks for the advice guys, here is how various plans played out:
  • Slicing didn't work so well as only very low margin driven slices caused him problems. Floating slices essentially lost me the point, whilst low slices would often five me a chance for a put away.
  • Angles worked really well. One particular pattern that won me many points. On my first aggressive/neutral shot of a rally I would target his backhand side, leading to a weak cross court shot. I would follow this up with a backhand to the corner of the service box which would run him wide of the court and give me a clear shot at a winner.
  • High balls to the backhand worked fairly well, as long as he didn't have time to hit an
    inside out forehand, which would usually win him the point (by allowing him to dictate)
  • Approaching the net worked well if I could force a high ball. While I was 5/9 on net points, I was 3/4 on smash chances and 2/5 on points where I had to attempt to hit a volley
  • The wide Kick-Slice serve on the Deuce side was perfect as I could disguise it as a regular serve down the T, and it resulted in 3 of my 4 aces, as well as plenty of easy put aways.
  • Retrieving worked well at tense moments as he was unwilling to commit to big shots, and I could run down most of his shots)
  • I passed him often enough at the net that he gave up on that tactic fairly quickly (most of my opponents do, only dedicated net attackers will tend to beat me with that tactic), and my drop shots are too low percentage to force him to the net regularly (I attempted 4 drop shots in the entire match, 2 missed, low slices would sometimes draw him in)
  • Mentally I had the edge, he often double faulted in big moments and he didn't noticeably commit to a particular game plan
  • My forehand broke down and cost me the second set, as my footwork deteriorated somewhat, however the shot reappeared in the third set when my opponents shots lost a little of their bite.

10isfreak 06-20-2013 08:21 PM

As Homer Jay Simpson would say... DOH! I didn't realize you completed your match.


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