Djokovic Catches Alcaraz Off Guard with Serve and Volley in Cincinnati
In the Western & Southern Open final on Sunday, Novak Djokovic employed the tactic of serving and volleying behind his second serve, achieving success every single time. He secured an exhilarating 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4) triumph over Carlos Alcaraz.
In the initial stages, Djokovic faced challenges at the rear of the court due to intense baseline exchanges, which were made more taxing by the scorching Cincinnati heat. The Serbian player encountered heat exhaustion after just a few games. However, he adeptly adapted his approach by shifting gears. He began targeting the net with approach shots and employing the serve-and-volley technique.
Additionally, Djokovic executed the serve-and-volley strategy twice following his first serve, achieving victory in one instance. Among the various tactics he tried, none came close to matching the impressive success rate of 88 percent (7 out of 8).
On the other hand, Alcaraz also embraced the serve-and-volley approach, utilizing it a total of ten times and securing victories in eight instances. Notably, all of Alcaraz’s serve-and-volley endeavors were executed following his first serve.
At 5-5, 0/15 in the first set, Djokovic initiated a serve-and-volley tactic following his second serve. This strategic move effectively countered Alcaraz’s positioning far behind the baseline to return. Djokovic executed a powerful kick second serve to Alcaraz’s backhand return, allowing him to advance well inside the service line for the volley. This maneuver resulted in a successful backhand volley winner.
Remarkably, all six instances in which Djokovic employed the serve-and-volley strategy behind his second serve were designed to exploit Alcaraz’s deep return stance.
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Djokovic’s deliberate use of a slow, weighty second serve presents a distinct advantage. The extended flight time of the serve towards the returner grants Djokovic ample opportunity to secure a favorable court position for his initial volley, positioned comfortably within the baseline. The kick serve’s additional elevation places it above the opponent’s optimal striking range, consequently limiting their ability to generate significant power in their return shots.
It was a brilliantly calculated strategic move that appeared counterintuitive to everyone except Djokovic. It was reminiscent of the tactics employed by Patrick Rafter.
A few points later, at 5-5, 15/40, Djokovic once again utilized the serve-and-volley strategy following his second serve. This time, he executed a deliberate, 94 mph slice second serve placed wide in the Deuce court. Alcaraz, once more positioned significantly deep to return, made contact with the ball approximately 13 feet behind the baseline.
Capitalizing on this situation, Djokovic executed his second volley expertly, resulting in a winning shot. The maneuver left Alcaraz off-balance and sitting on the court, unable to retrieve the ball effectively.
Djokovic’s boldest decision to employ the serve-and-volley tactic behind his second serve came at 6/6 during the tie-break of the second set. In the preceding point, he had just staved off a match point by approaching the net, and with the burden of heat exhaustion evident, he urgently required a swift point as they switched sides.
Initially, Alcaraz positioned himself conventionally closer to the baseline in anticipation of Djokovic’s first serve, which unfortunately turned out to be a fault. Recognizing this adjustment, Djokovic observed Alcaraz moving significantly farther behind the baseline to return the second serve.
Exploiting this observation, Djokovic executed a 95 mph slice second serve aimed at Alcaraz’s forehand return. He continued his maneuver with two backhand volleys, ultimately securing the point. Despite Djokovic’s physical struggles due to the intense heat, his tactical acumen and unwavering determination propelled him across the finish line.
In the initial set, Djokovic managed to secure only 40 percent of his baseline points and made a mere four appearances at the net. Moving into the second set, although his baseline point success only slightly increased to 42 percent, he significantly elevated his net presence to 14 times, emerging victorious in 11 of those instances. This strategic shift revitalized his position in the match.
Alcaraz’s vulnerable aspect during the match was his return of serve. Djokovic tallied just 18 return errors, while his opponent, the Spaniard, amassed an astonishing 37 return errors, with a substantial 25 stemming from his forehand wing. Alcaraz’s struggles were evident across both tie-breaks and in nearly every single one of Djokovic’s 18 service games, except for one instance.
Alcaraz grappled with finding the optimal positioning for his return, particularly when facing Djokovic’s second serve. His contact point fluctuated between nine feet inside the baseline and a staggering 18 feet behind it. Alcaraz failed to settle on a comfortable return location.
Employing the tactic of moving swiftly behind well-disguised second serves served as a savior for Djokovic’s legs and stamina, sparing him from further toil at the rear of the court. This approach showcased immense courage and unwavering determination. However, given Alcaraz’s consistent surrender of court position, the decision was a straightforward one.
Sure, here are some ways to rephrase the title “The Surprise Tactic That Helped Djokovic Beat Alcaraz In Epic Cincinnati Final”:
- Djokovic’s Serve and Volley Tactic Stuns Alcaraz in Cincinnati Final
- Djokovic’s Unexpected Strategy Helps Him Defeat Alcaraz in Cincinnati
- Djokovic Catches Alcaraz Off Guard with Serve and Volley in Cincinnati
- Djokovic’s Surprise Serve and Volley Tactics Key to Victory Over Alcaraz in Cincinnati
- Djokovic’s Serve and Volley Masterclass Defeats Alcaraz in Cincinnati
I hope this helps!