G’day from Paris,
Aliaksandra Sasnovich took it to Emma Raducanu today at Roland Garros, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen. I watched the match, anticipating a victory by Emma. Didn’t happen. Here’s why…
Emma has a forehand problem. Not a good problem to have when you are battling for Grand Slam glory.
Emma really likes to hit her backhand. She has solid technique, early preparation, and really hits through the ball, especially cross-court. This is the wheelhouse of her game. Not forehands. We are going to go through several match metrics that all point to a problem with her forehand compared to her backhand.
Let’s start here…
- Sasnovich = 23
- Raducanu = 3
Aliaksandra won 96 points for the match. Emma won 73. That’s a difference of 23 points. The gap in forehand winners was 20 points. That’s basically the match right there. So what’s with this sizeable gap in forehand winners. There are basically five reasons why:
- Emma’s go-to backhand is a driving shot, deep & hard through the court. Emma’s go-to forehand is much more of a slower, higher roll forehand that basically gets her nowhere in the point. It’s neutral at best.
- Emma’s forehand is weakest out wide in the Deuce court. Lot’s of squash-like defensive forehands out there.
- She does not look for nearly enough run-around forehands in the Ad court.
- Her left-hand is not working correctly on the throat of the racket in the backswing.
- She is not hitting it enough wide through the vacant Deuce court to her opponent’s forehand wing.
But there’s more to this story…
Total Raducanu Groundstrokes
- Backhands = 55% (155)
- Forehands = 45% (126)
- Total = 281
This is a major problem in the match. Forehands are the sword and backhands are the shield. Emma is settling way too much for the shield. She will be a much better player when she is hitting 55%-60% forehands. It’s almost like she is overdoseing on backhands at the moment because she does not trust her forehand.
Ad Court: Forehands & Backhands
How many run-around forehands did Emma hit in the Ad court compared to forehands?
- Ad Court Backhands = 78% (155)
- Run-Around Forehands in the Ad Ct = 22% (43)
- Total = 198
Emma is hardly looking for run-around forehands in the Ad court at all. She is settling for backhands and getting the Eurostar back to London a little earlier than expected.
Deuce Court Forehand Performance
- Total Forehands = 83
- In-Play = 66
- Errors = 15
- Winners = 2
- Errors Forced From The Opponent = 11
- Opponent Winners = 9
These numbers are dire for Raducanu. Fifteen errors and two winners does not get the job done at a Grand Slam.
Ad Court Forehand Performance
- Total Run-Around Forehands = 43
- In-Play = 36
- Errors = 6
- Winners = 1
- Errors Forced From The Opponent = 2
- Opponent Winners = 3
The primary reason you turn a backhand into a forehand from the Ad court is to hit a winner or immediately force an error. Emma hit one winner and forced two errors. Not hitting this shot enough contributes to not really knowing what to do with it.
- Total Backhands = 155
- In-Play = 129
- Errors = 18
- Winners = 7
- Errors Forced From The Opponent = 19
- Opponent Winners = 17
This is Emma’s preferred side, but it was not able to carry her to victory. Eighteen errors and 17 immediate winners from Sasnovich made it a tough day at the office for Emma.
- Emma needs to drive her forehand. In all ways, it absolutely, positively must be a bigger shot than her backhand.
- She needs to move her left hand up onto the throat of the racket when hitting her forehand. Don’t have it on the grip.
- Stop rolling the forehand. Hit it with force and immediately extract errors.
- Look for at least an even split of forehands and backhands in the Ad court.
- Stop hitting so many forehands to the opponent’s backhand, where they will defend (shield) well. Rock it wide to the Deuce court and extract a whole lot more errors.
- Use the forehand approach much more. Emma came to the net 11 times in this match. Should have been 20+. The forehand approach is the preferred way to come forward.