The blockbuster Australian Open semi-final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will be starting shortly. In case you hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover and missed the lead up to this match, I have got both Serena’s and Naomi’s serve location through their first five matches. This will give you something to track during the match. Will each player stick to their preferred patterns that got them to the semi, or will they try and switch patterns to surprise their opponents?
Maybe you should have this analysis open and handy during the match so you can predict where each player will serve.
SERENA WILLIAMS SERVE PATTERNS
Serena Unreturned Serves
- 1st Serve Deuce Ct = 51% (42/82)
- 1st Serve Ad Ct = 42% (38/90)
- 2nd Serve Deuce Ct = 16% (11/67)
- 2nd Serve Ad Ct = 18% (9/51)
Serena has been crushing 1st serves in the Deuce Ct so far this tournament, with more than half of them (51%) being unreturned (ace or return error). Serena has served mainly out wide so far in the tournament in the Deuce court, especially in her last two matches against Sabalenka and Halep.
Serena – 1st Serve Deuce Ct
- The primary location is the wide slice. Serena wants to pull her opponent off the court to begin the point. Look for the T serve when ahead in the score and to surprise.
Serena – 1st Serve Ad Ct
- Serena has been going mainly down the T during the tournament, but those numbers have evened out a lot in the last two matches.
Serena – 2nd Serve Deuce Ct
- It’s interesting that Serena has only hit one 2nd serve wide in the Deuce court for the whole tournament. Most have been directed at the backhand jam location.
Serena – 2dd Serve Ad Ct
- Serena is going to hit a lot of heavy kick serves wide. The goal is to pull Naomi off the court to then attack the vacant Deuce court on the next shot.
NAOMI OSAKA SERVE PATTERNS
Osaka Unreturned Serves
- 1st Serve Deuce Ct = 50% (49/98)
- 1st Serve Ad Ct = 41% (29/70)
- 2nd Serve Deuce Ct = 32% (19/60)
- 2nd Serve Ad Ct = 23% (17/73)
The first serve unreturned numbers for both Serena and Naomi are basically identical. Serena is 51% in the Deuce court with 1st serves, and Naomi is 50%. Serena is 42% in the Ad court with first serves and Naomi is 41%. Can’t get much more even than that!!!
The big difference is 2nd serves. Naomi is at 32% and 23% unreturned on 2nd serves, while Serena is at 16% and 18%. This could shape as a key battleground in the match. Getting a few extra free points on 2nd serves helps A LOT!
Naomi – 1st Serve Deuce Ct
- The T serve in the Deuce court is definitely the primary location in every match Naomi has played. Look for it there on big points v Serena.
Naomi – 1st Serve Ad Ct
- T is the “go-to” serve in the Ad court as well – almost twice as much as the wide serve. Look for the T when the score gets tight.
Naomi – 2nd Serve Deuce Ct
- Lots of body backhand serves so far, and also a few to the T. You can’t be too predictable to Serena otherwise she will step in and crush the return.
Naomi – 2nd Serve Ad Ct
- Lots of body backhand serves here as well. There is some mix to the corners to keep opponents guessing. The mix will be crucial to stop Serena from locking in on returns.
It’s fun to know favorite serve locations before the match starts. As I mentioned earlier, you can use these numbers as a guide as you follow along watching the match to see if each player is sticking to the patterns that got them to the semi-finals or if they feel the need to try and switch things up to get an advantage.
Let’s hope for a great match! Good luck ladies!