Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marcelo Rios Vs Andre Agassi 1998 Grand Slam Cup Part 3

       Join me at 60 minutes into this match. Agassi is making Rios cover some ground on these points!
Agassi's backhands are peppered deep into Rios' forehand corner. Finally Rios crushes a forehand into Agassi's backhand. If Marcelo Rios is not hitting the ball hard and deep enough Agassi is teeing off. What a shot from Rios! Right before 1:03:30 Agassi runs him out wide with the same shot as before. But Rios has picked up on Agassi's backhand pattern. Agassi's strength is now being attacked.

       Marcelo then just dismisses  a forehand into Agassi's backhand corner at 1:04:00. And another forehand winner into Agassi's forehand corner to close out the game. Rios shows that he can flatten out his shots and hit with unreal pace. People that label players as simply a powerful player or finesse player fail to realize the depth of players such as Marcelo Rios and Roger Federer.

      Rios starts the 2-1 game in the third set with a routine backhand winner. At 1:07:00 Agassi hits a tremendous kick serve. By now Agassi has really dug into this match. He hits an ace.

      I urge you to discipline yourself to watch this match so your game can improve. The language barrier creates major attention issues. Does anyone have an English broadcast of this match? Your comments are truly welcome. Use the comment box below.

       Rios is knocking off winners too easily against Agassi. Andre cannot read Rios's shots. As casual as Rios is his game must be planned out. His game is simply too effective. His approach shots are perfectly timed to the right corner with such depth and pace to set up a winning volley. When Rios is on he can't lose. All I can say is that you should build your tennis sense. Build your instincts to hit the right shot. The daring shot your are lined up for and feel good about hitting. Rios squashes the ball back over the net. Then he cracks a backhand that becomes a passing shot winner.

       1:14:26 is such a ridiculously good point from Rios. I don't care he missed the last shot. Still, Agassi is doing the right thing by playing a similar game. He is continuously asking questions of Rios: How good is your shot making on the run? Can you wrestle control of these points?

      3 all in the third set. Rios has all the time in the world during the 1:16:20 point. Like Federer, Rios can hold the ball on his racquet so long Agassi has to guess where the shot is heading. Agassi is often frozen. Rios takes the tennis ball so early. His preparation for getting his weight into the shot, and racquet head into position, as well as anticipating where the ball is going from his opponent are extremely difficult to emulate. He also somehow calculates workable angles ahead of time. He is able to find the lengthier angles. Angles that take the opponent off the court but carry an added margin of error. This is because he also adds spin and takes some pace off his shots with longer angles.

        Agassi is now setting up his shots to hit easy winners. Rios fires back with a swinging a volley behind Agassi for  a winner. He is so confident he takes pace off his shot to be sure the ball lands in. No need for him over hit the shot.

        5 games to 4 Rios leads the third set. Agassi is misfiring on his angles. He is not taking the ball early enough; and he is going for too sharp an angle from middle of the court. He is hitting the ball too hard. This might be a match shift right here in Rios' favor. But Agassi can take it early up the line quite well.

       For such a small guy Rios gets tremendous Pop and bounce on his serve. His free arm motion winds up for maximum racquet head speed and control. Agassi copies Rios' ideas on the serve. He matches Rios and then one-ups him to force a third set tiebreaker.

     A Great start from Rios. Obviously important in any tiebreak to bring out your best stuff right away. Agassi misses probably because he is intimidated by the way Rios is running. He is channeling his Super Sonic, Super Tails or Hyper Knuckles speed. Rios goes back to his best stuff (the inside out forehand) and simply adds more pace to the shot. He stays a few steps ahead of Agassi.

      Despite missing the last shot, that was  a great point (right before 1:35:00). Meanwhile, Agassi cannot find a first serve. And he is frozen by Rios's shots. Rios continues to find amazing angles. In this championship tennis match Rios now leads 5 points to 1 in the third set tiebreaker.

       The Majority of the time in a best of five set match the winner of the third set will prevail. Rios is applying scoreboard pressure. 6 points to 1 now. Rios hits with so much spin his nerves aren't affecting his shots. Believe me, everyone is feeling nerves while closing out  a third set tiebreaker.

We are at:

Agassi     4      6        6

Rios        6      2        7

      For more on Marcelo Rios I strongly recommend Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew by Scoop Malinowski.

      I wish I could hear what the commentators are saying. Oh well. We are now at 1 hour 39 minutes into the match. Please comment with your opinions. I will see you all for part 4!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Marcelo Rios vs Andre Agassi Grand Slam Cup Part 2

Starting at 24:40, Rios looks to be hurting movement wise. He seems to favor one side and is trying to end points quickly.

Without control of his shots, Marcelo Rios hands Agassi the game.

Rios finishes with a passing shot finding the corner. Rios angles the ball away from Agassi at a relatively conservative angle by his standards.
Rios shuffles way behind the baseline, ready to move in either direction.Once he knows where the ball is going he turns and runs. He gets sideways to the ball so his racquet can swing through the strike zone.

So many players hit the ball long or wide because their feet are in open position and his or her arm only goes so far before it is forced to turn parallel with your body. You can make much greater angles with a closed stance. Or use a semi-open stance if you need to get around the ball. I invite your opinion on this subject in the comments below.

Rios stance seems more solid than Agassi's stance who seems limited in his angles. If you know the ball is going far way don't shuffle. Instead bend the leg nearest to the ball and take the first step with the other leg. In this way you get a sprinter's step. To illustrate my point check out Rios on set point. He runs further than anyone I have seen to track down Agassi's shots and hit a winner up the line.

6-4 first set goes to Rios. Set point is at 34:08
As far as movement goes to a ball far away don't shuffle. But turn and take the first step with the leg furthest away from the ball.  Bend the leg nearest to the ball for a sprinter's start.

Second set

Rios quick running has kept him alive. Another ace and it's 30-love. And the 30-love point is vintage Rios. He is moving Agassi around with angles.

Marcelo is simply running balls down to keep them in play. This uninspired and careless play of Rios gives Agassi an early psychological advantage in the second set. Marcelo is not getting his feet properly lined up for his shots. The first game goes to Agassi.

We are at 37:32 of Andre Agassi vs Marcelo Rios 1998 Grand Slam Cup. Rios shows his talent by dropping his racquet head below the ball to get tremendous topspin. Both on his ground strokes and especially his spin serve. His tremendous racquet head speed leads to aces. But a drop in the overall quality of play combined with the steadiness of Agassi means the set is getting away from Rios.

Agassi leads 2-1.
Now we are 43:15 in.
Agassi has raised his play but again Rios shows his pristine movement; he stops his weight leaving room to swing up the line.
Still Rios is misfiring, he is still hitting decent angles but not closing points out.
But don't count Marcelo Rios out. He hits 3 straight winners. With his high racquet head speed people don't see his power coming. His shots are unreadable. Agassi is frozen to open up the 3-2 game. An easy winner up the line for Rios.

49:50 you know somehow that when Rios is being pushed back behind the baseline by Agassi a great point is coming! Rios re-maneuvers Agassi and approaches the net. Rios falls on his back but keeps his eye on the ball and completes the smash.Tell me this isn't an excellent point? Do you have a better or equal point? Link it in the comments.

Yet somehow Agassi sneaks a 4-2 lead. He hits the serve out wide and loops a backhand winner Rios doesn't try for. But Agassi pays the price the next point by trying to go behind Rios. Rios pastes a forehand in the corner. Still Agassi perseveres and closes out the second set with his best point of the match. Agassi wins the second set 6-2!

We have a match folks! One set all.
Marcelo Rios                6           2
Andre Agassi                4           6

A Quick reset from Rios give him a 1-0 lead. We
He leads the third set 1-0.
We end today at 60 minutes flat into the match.
Thanks for reading!
Please share who you think is playing better so far in this match.