How do I beat this big server?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by asintu, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. asintu

    asintu Professional

    Jun 17, 2005
    So I've played on hardcourt with this guy and lost 6-2, 6-3.
    About him: he has huge serve, amazing kick and comes to the net if he gets the first serve in and he's really solid at the net. I think I only won a total of 2-4 points when he got his first serve in. From the baseline I think I have the edge slightly.
    About me: good baseline game, lots of topspin, average serve, average volleying.

    We're gonna play tomorrow again in another tournament but this time on the grey clay.
    Any tips on how to defeat this guy? What strategy should I adopt?
    Thank you.
  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    As a baseliner, your natural tendancy with a big kick serve is usually to back up and hit the ball on the way back down into your wheelhouse so you can get your topspinning, killer groundies into action. Based on your previous results, he is using that lagtime to approach nicely and put your groundies away at the net.

    If that is the scenario, you either have to ramp up your groundies (you probably already tried that last time and failed) or step into his serve and chip it on the rise. This will cut his approach time significantly and if performed correctly, can be dinked right at him (as opposed for going for low percentage passing angles). The ball should hit him right about his shoetops, skid and die. Take a step into the court (if you haven't already done so) since he will probably cough up a dead duck half volley that you can do with what you will.
  3. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

    Jul 24, 2006
    well, the first thing you must understand is that if he's serving and volleying, it's a bluff. S&V (at least in singles) is always a bluff. whenever someone does this, they don't want to serve and volley, they just want to serve.

    for this reason, you want to make them play as many balls as possible. when they're at the net, insteadof going for the winner on the first ball, make them play a bit. take the ball ACROSS HIS BODY. this makes it harder for him to put the ball away. Try to keep the ball low. also, there's no need to try to hit as hard as you can. if he's a good volleyer, pace (unless perfectly placed) won't be a problem for him. however, off pace balls (as long as they stay low) are tough to put away. if you can dip your shot below the net, eventually you'll get a ball that you can hit a passing shot off of.

    when he's at the base line, keep your shots as deep as possible, and use as much variety as possible.

    Also, if you have good volleys, try to beat him to the net. if you're already at the net, then the pressure's on him, and now he cannot use one of his biggest weapons.
  4. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

    Apr 5, 2006

    Returning Serves:
    1. Take the ball on rise or try moving back from the baseline to return his serve. I would try the later first because you want to rush him and which will helps throw off his balance as he moves in. If you stepped back and return his kick serve, you betta make sure you hit a long return, otherwise you are a sitting duck when he moves into the net.

    Last resort - quickly step back and hit your return with a TOPSPIN lob - make sure it lands beyond the service line. The kick on the topspin will pushed him back to the baseline. Hey, if the top spin lob works, use this strategy each time he serves - I would try to return the ball on the opposite side of the court - to make him run side ways and not forward to the net.

    2. Plan ahead, where to hit your return - this will help you focus more on attacking the serve. Don't get flushed if you missed - You'll get a couple of looks on the balls you missed, chances are your opponent is going to go for the same serve and placement time and time again. You'll be amazed how quickly he'll back off if you can break some of his first serve.

    Your Serve:
    Get your first serve in, mixed up the placement. If you are too nervous to hit the corners, go for the body shot.
    Second Serve - focus on placing it on his weak side or to his body. Try serving wide out if you can on deuce, that's a perfect serve to move in to the net for you to volley his return.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2007
  5. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

    Jan 12, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Why didn't you hold your own serve if you have the edge from the baseline?
  6. Wits-Z

    Wits-Z New User

    Jul 27, 2007
    Agree with much of the above. Move in on the serve and catch it early before it gets up on your. My goal is often to hit a relative flat and higher paced shot trying to short hop my attacking adversary. Right at his / her feet or right in front of him/her with some heat and you should have a nice opportunity to get a rip on the next shot.
  7. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

    Jul 10, 2007
    Chico, CA
    find his weaker volley side (bh or fh) and go for that side whenever possible. using the lob every once in a while might keep him off balance.
  8. Gantz

    Gantz Rookie

    May 19, 2007
    Santa Clara, CA
    develop a bigger serve or resort to lobs.
  9. asintu

    asintu Professional

    Jun 17, 2005
    unforced errors
  10. tennis_nerd22

    tennis_nerd22 Hall of Fame

    Sep 7, 2005
    because that guy had good returns. he could slice very easily and approach the net. notice how asintu said he has an average serve (its actually quite good but compared to the guy he's playing its average :D). i was there watching the match

    as well as UE's as he mentioned above
  11. cj011

    cj011 New User

    Aug 22, 2007
    This is how you beat a big server who like to come in. You want to block/slice your return low to his feet when he comes in. That will force him to hit a low volley and hit a ball that can float. Run like hell and go for the passing shot. Since this guy wants to come in, make him come in on your terms. If you are in trouble hit a low slice on his forehand side. That limits him to only two approach shots, down the line (that will cause him to have to lift up on his shot to get it over the net) and cross court (that will give you all the angles to pass him). You have to get the slice low and slow. You have to keep in on his forehand side. If you go to his backhand then he will use his slice to get you. That wil force him to have to pause and wait for the shot before he comes in. That stops his momentum and slows him coming into the net. If he rushes in way to fast then you have a lob waiting for him. If he doesn't rush, angles out wide will eat him alive. Also if you are in trouble, keep the angle of the ball the same. That will allow you to go for broke and not worry about pulling the shot. Sampras used that to pass the attacking greats way back when. Also, when you are strected, slice to his forehand side. If you go cross court, pull him out wide. If he comes in off that shot, you will have so many options. THE KEY IS FOOTWORK AND YOU CHOOSE HIS OPTIONS FOR HIM TO ATTACK.

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