Western and Southern Open Scouting Reports

posted by Dave Keaton - 

Going into a tournament like, we like to know who the favorites are, and a little bit about them. With that in mind, here some scouting reports on the top 5 seeds in the men's and women's draws.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Nationality: Spain

Residence: Manacor, Balearic Islands, Spain

Age: 32

Current ATP Ranking: 1

Career Record: 908-188

Championships/Best Finish: 79 Titles (17 Grand Slams)

Play Style: Power Defensive

Outlook: Nadal is one of the best defensive players in the game. With spin-heavy groundstrokes, and wide court coverage ability, Nadal is a tough opponent. While Nadal excels on slower surfaces like clay, he struggles on hardcourt against opponents with big serves and groundstrokes. Hardcourt also tend take a toll on him physically, as he is quick to tire.



Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Residence: Constanta, Romania

Nationality: Romania

Age: 26

Current WTA Ranking: 1

Career Record: 441–193

Championships/Best Finish: 17 Titles (1 Grand Slam)

Play Style: Baseline Aggressive

Outlook: Halep has a full arsenal of groundstrokes and good anticipation on the court. She is able to move to almost any ball and excels at setting up points. Halep’s biggest weakness is her serve. With little to no power, often “floating the second serve, she is susceptible to big returns.



Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Residence: Bottmingen, Switzerland

Nationality: Switzerland

Age: 36

Current ATP Ranking: 2

Career Record: 1161–254

Championships/Best Finish: 98 Titles (20 Grand Slam Titles)

Play Style: Defensive Baseline

Outlook: Federer is a player who can play anywhere on the court. He prefers to stay back and draw opponents into long rallies but is more than capable at the net. Federer’s focus is more on controlled strokes and serves than power shots. The best way to defeat Federer is to keep him moving, never letting him get comfortable at the baseline. Federer’s game plan is to wear his opponent down with long rallies, so shorter points tend to hamper him. Federer also struggles in 5 set matches as seen with his exit a Wimbledon.



Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Residence: Miami, Florida

Nationality: Denmark

Age: 28

Current WTA Ranking: 2

Career Record: 600-239

Championships/Best Finish: 29 Title (1 Grand Slam)

Play Style: Defensive

Outlook: Wozniacki’s play style is called “Counter-Puncher”. She stays back on the baseline and uses her foot work to set up more aggressive shots. She is extremely effective with her two handed backhand often turning it from a defensive return shot into an offensive weapon. She can fall victim to her own game though, struggling to consistently hit short balls and volleys.



Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco

Nationality: Germany

Age: 21

Current ATP Ranking: 3

Career Record: 153-81

Championships/Best Finish: 8 Title (0 Grand Slams; Reached Quarter Finals of Roland Garros)

Play Style: All- Around

Outlook: Zverev is one of the younger players on the tour, but possesses a skill set that has him poised to be a future world #1. On e of his most notable assets is his second serve, which can reach speeds of 130 mph. Where Zverev struggles is at the net. Opponents who can make him come up and play can find success.



Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

Residence: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nationality: United States

Age: 25

Current WTA Ranking: 3

Career Record: 253-168

Championships/Best Finish: 6 Titles (1 Grand Slam)

Play Style: All-Around/Defensive

Outlook: Stephens is one of the US’s up and coming stars. Extremely athletic, Stephens court strategy is to play back and use her athleticism to get to most shots. She has a powerful forehand that allows her to quick flip from defense to offense. This powerful forehand can also be her downfall, as she often likes to run around backhands to hit a difficult forehand shot. Her on the court mindset has also lead some to question her play style, as she doesn’t appear to care about winning and losing. This is however, considered a strength by some, allowing her to move on from bad tournaments, or come back from injury without the emotion.



Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro

Residence: Tandil, Argentina

Nationality:  Argentina

Age: 29

Current ATP Ranking: 4

Career Record: 419-164

Championships/Best Finish: 22 Titles (1 Grand Slam)

Play Style: Offensive Aggressive

Outlook: Del Potro possesses one of the most powerful forehands in the game. He hits flat with heavy topspin pushing opponents further back opening up the court for winners. He compliments this with a power serve that has become a critical part of his game. Del Potro biggest concern is his back. After some injuries, he has decreased the power in his two-handed stroke, and has adopted a one-handed slice backhand. It still remains a flaw that opponents will look to exploit.



Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

Residence: Puszczykowo, Poland

Nationality: Germany

Age: 30

Current WTA Ranking: 4

Career Record: 588-304

Championships/Best Finish: 12 Titles (3 Grand Slams)

Play Style: Aggressive

Outlook: A natural right hander, who plays with her left hand, Kerber for most of her career was known as a wall (a player who gets everything back without hitting to many winners). She would always go for the high percentage shot, letting her opponents make mistakes, rather than go for winners. She has changed that philosophy in recent years, using an innovative and unorthodox playing style, that sets opponents up for winners while still hitting high percentage shots. This also means that Kerber is now prone to more unforced errors, playing inside the baseline, often hitting balls at her feet. This tends to lead to slower shots setting up opponents for winners.



Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov

Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco

Nationality: Bulgaria

Age: 27

Current ATP Ranking: 5

Career Record: 276-174

Championships/Best Finish: 8 Titles (0 Grand Slams; Reached Semi-Finals of Australian Open and Wimbledon)

Play Style: All- Around

Outlook: Dimitrov has one of the better all-around games, being compared to Roger Federer. His forehand uses his arm and elbow to generate power and is extremely accurate. His serve has reached as fast as 137 mph on his fist serve, while employing a much slower second serve hit with more topspin. His backhand may be his most impressive shot, employing a topspin, flat, and slice stroke, though Dimitrov uses it mostly to set up rallies than to hit winners. He is also known for impressive trick shots during matches mostly notably the “tweener” (hitting the ball between one’s legs). If there is one flaw to his game, it is he will get into trouble sometimes on his forehand when he over rotates causing the shot to miss sometimes.



Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina

Residence: Kharkiv, Ukraine

Nationality: Ukraine

Age: 23

Current WTA Ranking: 5

Career Record: 314-163

Championships/Best Finish: 12 Titles (0 Grand Slams; Reached Quarter Finals at Australian Open and Roland Garros)

Play Style: Defensive

Outlook: Svitolina is a baseline player with a full arsenal of groundstrokes. Her back hand is her stronger stroke, especially when hitting down the line. Her biggest problem is at the net. She can get to short balls, but if forced to volley, she struggles to stay in points.

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