I can remember a number of close matches where I either failed to close out a set or just scraped by with luck on my side because I made one big mistake: On set point I just hoped for my opponent to miss. It seems that Simona Halep committed that mistake as well in her tough Semis loss against Garbine Muguruza on Thursday. “I think maybe I could be a little bit more brave in the points that were important. I didn’t do that. Maybe I went a little bit defensive in those balls and I couldn’t take the domination of the point.”
“I went a little bit defensive … and I couldn’t take [control],” She also acknowledged that “at that moment I didn’t have the clear mind to do what I had to do,…”.
Muguruza, on the other hand, didn’t hold back anything on all 4 of Halep’s set points. Attacking a short, harmless ball from Halep, coming up with a big serve, and chasing Halep off the court with a big forehand, Muguruza saved all set points exactly in the same way as she had taken points off Halep all day.
Being aware of exactly how you got to set points is key to formulate the strategy for that crucial point. So next time you’re up set point in a close match, take your full time, take a few deep breaths and analyze how you got there. Commit to playing the point with the same intensity as in the points leading up.
Being the great competitor with growth mindset that Halep is, it looks that that is exactly what she will do: “…but I will learn from this match and for sure [the] next time I have set point, I will go for it.” https://ausopen.com/articles/features/barty-halep-focus-on-learning-rather-lament