During the final of Miami between Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens the Latvian called on her coach mid-way through the first set and he gave her advice but there was one bit of advice I didn’t get and didn’t think gave her the right message, he said;
‘That’s your game. You won Roland Garros hitting 54 errors but you hit 54 winners”
This advice in my opinion wasn’t ideal in the final especially as the errors were running off her racket. He went on as well about commitment but it should have been about finding a way to take control of the match.
Jelena’s style of tennis is very much go big or go home but sometimes you can too big and end up going home anyway and that’s what happened. Jelena likes to go big off the forehand and it cost her, it may have won her Roland Garros but it isn’t sustainable as we saw against Stephens as her performance was dreadful.
Image Credit – WTA / Miami Open
This point is before the on-court coaching and in this particular rally Ostapenko went to the Stephens forehand time and time again but didn’t go forward once to close the point off and from this position lost the point.
If she had gone forward as shown above she could have closed the point off cross-court into the open space but Stephens defended well throughout the whole match and won this point but it could have been a different story if Jelena decided to go forward more!
Jelena of course won Roland Garros last year and this year was struggling with form before Miami but I do not think that the consistency she is looking for to become a solid top player on the WTA will come by persisting with the same style without adding some variety to it.
54 winners and 54 unforced errors won her Roland Garros but she hit 46 unforced errors in a two set loss to Sloane Stephens who only hit 6 winners in the whole match to win a major final. This style can be effective but sustainable over a long season? Definitely not.