Daily Data Viz: First serves are key for Kerber, Pliskova in U.S. Open final
No. 2-seed Angelique Kerber and No. 10-seed Karolina Pliskova will face off for the 2016 U.S. Open title on Saturday. Typically, 30-30 and deuce points are big swing points in a game and this will be no different for Kerber and Pliskova in the final. When the server wins the point, she has a game point. But lose it and she faces a break point. It's one thing to be good under pressure when facing break points, but it's another to be good at avoiding that extra pressure by winning the 30-30 or deuce point. Both of the finalists have done a good job of avoiding pressure with the slight edge going to the bigger server Pliskova.
Another key point is the first point of each game. Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander believes winning the first point of each service game is crucial for success. Looking at the performance of the women's finalists, it looks like Wilander was on to something. Both players have held serve 90% of the time or better when they won the first point of their service games—Pliskova has been almost unbreakable. But Pliskova has struggled when she's lost that first point, holding less than half of her service games.
When facing break point how important is getting the first serve in? The two finalists have won 75% or more when they've gotten their first serve in play on break point, and both have struggled to hold serve when having to hit a second serve on break point. In this situation, first serves matter.
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