Originally Posted by dominikk1985
Of course graf was a far better player but theoretically she would be a good matchup for serve and volley players as she didn't really have a topspin BH. so the approach against her would be charging the net against her BH as a slice is not as effective as a passing shot.
navratilova did that well accumulating a 9-9 record despite being past her prime against graf. martina also was basically the only top player who doesn't have a negative record against graf in a significant amount of matches.
however novotna got really spanked by graf h2h. why is that?
This will sound strange but I believe this to be true: Novotna's (not Graf's) lack of a topspin backhand stopped her from winning big matches. What's one of the most effective ways to beat an s&v player? Take the net away from them.
Graf's net game wasn't great. But there are two players she charged the net an unusually high amount of times against ....Shriver and Novotna. They were the safest players to attack. Each dinked and lobbed quite well but neither could hit a flat or topspin backhand on a consistent basis. Me, you, and half this forum could attack Novotna's backhand with reasonable success.
Many times, even at Wimbledon, when Graf got into trouble she served out wide to Novotna's backhand or she she waited for a short ball to approach to that side. Now once in a blue moon Jana might rip a successful flat backhand for a winner or force a volley error. But 9 times out of 10 she would slice a backhand down the line or dink a chip crosscourt. Sometimes she would chip a lob and charge the net behind it. But the smart players knew what to expect and made Jana pay.
This is, of course, how why Martina beat Jana much more easily than she did Hana or Helena, both of whom had excellent topsoin backhands.