Hawk-Eye: Sharapova’s second serve could prove her downfall against Serena


Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova play very similarly. Both love to dominate from the baseline, neither defends particularly well on clay, and both are fiercely competitive.

There’s not much to choose between their first serves either: both are pacey and their average speeds are almost identical.

The patterns of play they prefer are also identical: Williams favours the slice serve out wide to the deuce court and the serve up the T to the ad court, as does Sharapova.

And both work well, with Sharapova winning 72 per cent of her first serve points, and Williams winning 76% so far in the tournament.

The one significant difference is their respective second serves. Maria hits hers hard and relatively flat - her average second serve speed is only 14kmph slower than her average first serve speed.

This means it’s a low-percentage play and so she’s prone to double-faulting: she hit 11 in her semi-final against Azarenka and has 26 in total so far.

Williams on the other hand hits her second serves with a great deal of topspin. Less pace than Sharapova but more spin so it’s a high percentage play, and it works really well on clay given she can open up the court with it.

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