Karolina Pliskova – 1st Service 3.0

Karolina Pliskova (*1992 / CZE) – runner-up at the 2016 US.Open and as of September 12, 2016, the # 6 of women’s tennis belongs to the most dominant servers on the WTA Tour. In the 8 months of 2016 (until August 29, 2016), she clocked 407 aces in her 45 matches. Below is a slow-motion of her 1st service in a practice set against Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) just before the start of the 2016 US.Open. Here she shows a rather less typical, but in this case a very successful combination of a first service and a drop shot/stopball.

Let’s look deeper at this service and why is it so dominant. First of all Pliskova’s body plays a big role. Not only is she with 186 cm (6’1”) one of the tallest players on the tour, but also her body structure with long arms and legs (respective to the body) and higher center of gravity are really helpful in creating the optimal momentum.

From the point of the technique, Karolina has some excellent aspects of the Service 3.0 going most probably back to her early technical development stage in her junior years and also one little weakness leading to a lower margin at decisive (tense) moments like during her recent US.Open finals. Some of the main elements can be seen below:

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service – 1 of 5 – calm well-controlled starting position with body weight mostly on the back foot – during a practice before the US.Open – New York / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service – 2 of 5 – relatively high toss with perfect eye control – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service – 3 of 5 – approaching the impact with a perfect eye control and optimal glenohumeral angle, the center of gravity is well on its way – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service – 4 of 5 – follow through 1 with racket staying relatively long on the dominant side – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service – 5 of 5 – follow through 2 – relaxation phase with arm supination and well-controlled body balance – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve in practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service detail – toss – release of the ball above shoulder level, excellent eye control, as the toss is rather high, the weight transfer, the knee bent and the racket backswing motion are a bit delayed – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve during a practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service detail – from the cocking phase or also “back scratch” towards the impact, solid push-off, excellent eye control – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve during a practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service detail – impact – excellent eye control, optimal use of the entire body, optimal glenohumeral angle, well-controlled non-dominant (left) arm – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve during a practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service detail – well-controlled targeted pronation (= follow through 1) of a direct serve – excellent body integration and control, just one aspect ideally increasing the margin is missing here – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) - serve during a practice before the 2016 US.Open - NYC / USA - August 2016

Karolina Pliskova (*92 / CZE) – 1st service detail – also well-controlled targeted pronation (= follow through 1) with excellent body integration and one small missing detail, which could possibly increase the margin – during a practice before the US.Open – NY / USA – August 2016

 

Further photos and videos and more details regarding the possibility of margin improvement of Karolina Pliskova’s service as well as detailed documentation and analysis of strokes of many other top players are available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com

 

Copyright August 2016 (video, photos) & September 2016 (text) by Dr. Martin G. Baroch

 

DrMGB

Dr. Martin G. Baroch (alias DrMGB) - CPTA's Vice-president - Director of Education and Certifications, long-time USPTA International Head Tester and member of the USPTA Education Committee, owner of the Martin Baroch Tennis Academy & Human Performance Center (MBTA & HPC)

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