Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Dossier: Vaidisova pays heavy price for retreat in face of Chinese advance

Coaching Report: The Czech teenager lost control of her trademark game, and then lost control of her temper against impressive Li Na

I sat down to watch Nicole Vaidisova's fourth-round match against Li Na, of China, in the hope that the Czech teenager, for whom who I have immense hopes in the game, would battle through to the quarter-finals for the first time, and in only her second appearance at Wimbledon.

Instead I witnessed a small piece of Chinese sporting history as the 24-year-old from Wuhan, in Hubei province, became the first person from her country - in the men's or women's game - to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final. She did it in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. We'll come back to her in a moment but first, in a nutshell, here's why Nicole lost.

Her own analysis was: "I struggled with my rhythm from the start. I felt I didn't move very well, felt a little tired, a little tight."

But as someone who has known Nicole a long time because she's been based at my academy for eight years, one thing was glaring: she wasn't playing her trademark game, which is from the baseline and hitting forehand rockets that are the biggest on the tour.

Inexplicably she drifted back. She was playing from six to eight feet behind the baseline at times! The Chinese player started to sneak in, and from then on Nicole kept being caught out of position. The more that Nicole played contrary to her A game, the worse it got. She went back. Li Na came forward. Double trouble and Nicole's out.

If you want to look at one game that told our story in a few points, it was the fifth game of the third set, with Nicole serving and 30-0 up. She then lost four points in a row to be broken by hitting long, wide, long and into the net on those four points. Why? She was out of position and your shots are always less effective when that happens. The other thing we need to work on with Nicole is controlling her temper to good effect. She got a little mad at times and that unsettles you if you're not careful. People might argue she's only 17 but now is just the time she needs to address it. Getting mad is not the problem. Not channelling it as controlled aggression is what's wrong.

The positive from the tournament is that Nicole went a round better than last year, her debut, and progress is progress. And what progress the Chinese girl has made! Last month she became the first Chinese player to get as high as No 30 in the singles rankings. She was the first Chinese to win a tour singles title, in Guangzhou in 2004. She is representative of the new generation of Chinese women's players who hit hard, move well, and have great lower-body strength. She's a decent doubles player, and that helped yesterday because she is used to taking the ball early on the return of serve, and she's not afraid to volley.

My view is she won't go further here, but the Chinese, investing hugely ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, are seeing advances. Now they need some men's players.

Get to grips with your game

This week I'll answer some of the questions you've been sending to me along with your email applications to win a one-month scholarship at my Florida academy. The prize is for one student (Under-18s only), and includes tuition and board. Just tell me: how can I help you, and why? Matt Pilling emailed to say: "My natural grip is a western, but most English coaches want me to change to a semi-western grip. What would you do in my situation?" Every player is different, and without watching someone in action I couldn't judge your efficiency with the western. Generally, you have to be an exceptional player to use the western well. Rafael Nadal uses it in grinder mode but he can flatten his grip to full western for spin, which most people can't do. The semi-western offers strength and control to the forehand; the palm supports the racket and gives extra stability at contact. The drawback of the western is it closes the racket face too soon before contact. For more on grips, visit my website.

n.bollettieri@independent.co.uk

Henin cruising towards semis

Justine Henin-Hardenne dominated in her 6-3, 6-1 victory against Daniela Hantuchova yesterday. The most significant factor for me in Hantuchova not being able to make any kind of challenge was lack of physical power; that's down to lack of strength, and that's down to her being too thin. Henin-Hardenne now plays Séverine Bremond, the French qualifier who ousted the No 18 seed Ai Sugiyama yesterday. I can't see past Henin-Hardenne in that. Her compatriot, Kim Clijsters, made quick work of Poland's Agnieska Radwanska yesterday, 6-2, 6-2, and faces a tougher challenge against Li Na. The Chinese girl is tough, but Clijsters will attack her with the heavy balls and spin that the flat-stroking Nicole Vaidisova didn't. Again I tip the Belgian to win. I'd like to add one postscript to Andy Murray's defeat to Marcos Baghdatis. Murray looked despondent after the match but I wrote beforehand that it was a tough assignment. Perspective is important. The Roddick win was no fluke. But never assume this game is easy. Murray's done OK.

Today's Big Match: Maria Sharapova v Elena Dementieva

The deciding factor in this all-Russian match-up is whether Maria Sharapova can take advantage of Elena Dementieva's second serve - that infamous serve that everyone makes fun of but the girl can apparently do nothing to change. In the ad court, Sharapova should stand in the alley, basically inviting her opponent to try to hurt her down the middle. Sharapova has to apply pressure by punishing that serve from the off. Once the ball is in play, the two Russians are as good as each other. Dementieva's movement is better. They've got similar court position, they both hit the ball flat. Sharapova's serve is better, it goes without saying, but I don't think Dementieva is scared of it. She'll return offensively, because that's where her own chance lies. I'm not too concerned that Sharapova didn't play wonderfully yesterday in beating Italy's Flavia Pennetta in three sets. Today we start over, and it's all about Sharapova moving her position to give her the chance to punish that serve and, having gained control of the points by doing so, use the advantage. Sharapova is up in their head-to-heads, and won their previous meeting on grass, albeit in three sets, back in 2003, aged 16.

Read my views on the game, year round, at www.nickbollettieri.com

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone