For those who saw the Australian Open Men’s final, they witnessed domination over the World No. 1 player Rafael Nadal by Stan Wawrinka. The No. 8 player accomplished his lead 6-3, 2-0 around strategic primary patterns (used 7 or 8 times out of 10) when the score was close and then employ secondary patterns (2 or 3 times out of 10) when he was ahead and the scoreboard didn’t apply extra pressure to the riskier tactic. The key was making Nadal unsure what was coming by getting the mix right to disguise the master plan.
As mentioned in this post, Wawrinka wanted to keep Nadal away from hitting those forehand winners by running around his backhand. Stan was successful by immediately going to Nadal’s forehand wide so he had to more or less guess where Stan was going to hit. Stan’s groundies had more pace on them than Federer which is why he was able to keep his winning strategy intact.
Similary, Wawrinka repeatedly put pressure on Nadal by hitting his forehand out wide to his backhand in cross-court deuce exchanges, which gave Wawrinka three key positives: it made it difficult to:
1.) hit his popular run-around forehand from the deuce court as it now became high risk,
2.) to hit a shot down the line to Wawrinka’s backhand with the larger angle. This is a great strategy for righties to employ against lefties if you don’t already do that. I know I do and it works marvelously.
Wawrinka’s shots simply had more pace and were more flat than Federer who seems to wilt each time the two legends play. Nadal was simply late getting to many balls because they wee hit so well and with confidence. Although Nadal’s back was an issue after being down a set and a break this was Stans; tournament. He beat world #2 Novak Djokovic in the quarters and Berdych in the semifinals. After all, Rafa and Stan played in the master a few months ago and Nadal won 7-6,-7-6, a very close match. With Stan’s new strategy, that close set became easier once he figured out how to play his opponent whom he lost to 12 straight times, although they were close scores.