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Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber play a 48-shot moonball rally

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Ah, the moonball. The offensive lobbing tactic is a regular staple at junior events but rarely used on the professional level. But it took center stage as Caroline Wozniacki mounted her comeback from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber in the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals. After a first set that saw Kerber blasting Wozniacki off the court and feeding off pace to redirect winners, Wozniacki used the high-arching ball with more frequency in an attempt to get Kerber out of position and goad her into making errors. The tactical changed worked. Kerber admitted she was surprised to get so many off-pace balls and struggled when she tried to step in and hit them for winners. Wozniacki went on to win 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to Sunday’s final.

At one point in the third set the two engaged in a 48-shot rally that lasted over a minute, exchanging sky-high moonballs that soared off the screen and earned repeated chuckles from the crowd. Check out the video.

Maria Sharapova watched some of the match as she waited to get on court. “It was interesting shot selection. I don’t know. You’re not there, so when you’re watching TV it seemed a little odd from the TV, but I’m sure there was a reason why during the point that was done. But they looked like they were really high and they all kept going in. I was like, that’s a really good effort,” she said laughing. “I don’t think I can do that.”

“I was trying to figure out a way to win,” Wozniacki said. “And it doesn’t really matter how, you know? It’s just important to win the points, basically. I felt like I got some nice points out of it, and I felt like I could go from defense to offense that way as well.”

“It’s a game of chess. It’s a game of finding out where is the toughest for the opponent to get to the ball.”

Kerber, clearly disappointed after the loss summed up her night thusly: “It’s a different style of game, but it’s tennis.”

Twitter lit up during the match, with fans and pundits reveling in the the sublime absurdity of some of the rallies. Here are some of the best tweets from “Moonballgate 2013″:

  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • 1 comments
    johnccy
    johnccy

    People used to complain about Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario using the moonball back int he 90's all the time especially against Steffi Graf.  But hey, if it's legal and it works, what the difference between that and a surprise dropshot that dies near the net?  Caroline is kinda like Sanchez II - many people who criticize her game and Arantxa's forgot they they both played defensively all the way to the #1 spot.  Not bad for "not being aggressive..."