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.

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

Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits