Monday, October 1, 2012

Some Unsolicited Advice for My Fav Nicol D!

I watched Nicol David's match against England's Alison Waters at the recently concluded Weymuller Open. I switched on the web-streamed event expecting to watch Nicol deliver some kick-ass to the recently injured Waters, who despite the fact that she has been out of action for what I believe has been an entire year has roared back to competitiveness.

Waters has never been a push-over, but Nicol has beaten her consistently over the years and I figured she had her number.

But from the start, I could see something funky was afoot. Waters was almost as good at retrieving as the legendary Nicol, and her shots were as dead-on accurate as Nicol's. I figured this was going to be an unexpectedly good match. And when Waters actually took the first game, I sensed some frustration from the Malaysian superstar.

One thing Waters was doing well was going for the occasional unexpected shot. On several occasions, for instance, Waters countered a dropshot with a return drop to the other side of the front court, always an unexpected shot selection that had Nicol scrambling. On the other hand, as I watched the game, I started amusing myself by trying to guess where Nicol was going to hit her shot, and I think I was correct about 95% of the time. Waters, on the other hand, was trickier.

In the end, Waters won, and hats off to her. A very big win to a woman who has only recently re-emerged from a long injury break.

But as some unsolicited advice for Nicol, she should increase her trickiness factor. I didn't see any holding of her shots, I didn't see her setting up for a drop and then suddenly hitting a lob, or showing a cross-court only to hit a rail shot. Nicol's shots are so good, so tight, partly because she is so quickly on the ball that she has the time to get her body in exactly the right position to get that perfect length, or hit that ball right down the wall, but the downside of this is that her set-up makes the shot she is about to hit too predictable. Mix it up, Nicol! Next time I'll see you in the winner's circle!

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