Catherine Parneteau hits a backhand.
Catherine Parenteau competing at the Veolia Sacramento Open presented by Best Day Brewing. PPA Tour

Serve adjustments propel Waters, Parenteau into women’s singles final

ROSEVILLE, CA - There’s a lot to be said for being in sync with your doubles partner, but Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau took it to a whole new level on singles day in northern California without even taking the court together.

Both players experimented with some new tricks on their serves, which helped the top two seeds make it to Sunday’s gold medal match.

Waters began standing farther out to the side when serving instead of just to the side of the tee, where most players serve from.

“I don’t think it’s the best part of my game,” the 17-year-old said of her serve. “It’s pretty consistent, but I don’t necessarily get a lot of free points from it, so my mom and I were just trying to figure out ways to be more aggressive with it. I think by standing out wide and pulling your opponent out wide, you can open the court up and have an easier time going to the other side.”

That strategy doesn’t come without its challenges, however.

“You can get burned because if your opponent hits a really good shot down the line, you have to run all the way across the court, so I’m definitely still figuring it out,” she explained.

That tactic helped Waters to an 11-0, 11-5 victory over No. 7 seed Brooke Buckner in the semifinals.

Not to be outdone by her doubles partner, the No. 2 seed Parenteau also experimented with her serve throughout the day, especially in her semifinal match against No. 12 seed Dominique Schaefer.

Schaefer had a particularly strong showing in the California capital with wins against Lauren Stratman and Mary Brascia, but Parenteau showed a variety of different looks that prevented her from settling into a rhythm on returns.

“Something I noticed really early on today was that I was serving the same way the whole time, and as a result my opponents were returning my serves pretty well,” she shared. “So, I tried to change various things like spin and height, and I felt like I got a lot more freebies that way—not necessarily errors off the return, but definitely some shorter shots to work with.”

That effort helped her secure an 11-2, 11-9 victory and set another clash against Waters for gold.

Those adjustments could very well play an important role in the final.