Can serving save Novak?

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
Don’t think Djokovic will win, but his serve is a testament to how hard he’s worked on the bell toss. He serves to all directions with basically the same toss like Federer has done for so many years, and it’s a legitimately very good serve. If the conditions are warm and dry, he can give Nadal some real problems in that first set and make Nadal play at least three pressure sets. It’s pretty much his only shot.

To him, everyone not named Nadal is a servebot. Then again, people said that about Federer too with his 110 mph serves at 6’1 being a sErVeBoT
 

Patriots

Semi-Pro
The serve is fine, it's more the shot selection. If Novak starts going for dozens of dropshots by the 3rd or 4th game we know he's in trouble.
 

mehdimike

Professional
In Wimbledon 2018 he was saved by his servebotting. Nadal would have won that match if not for this annoying serve.
I am talking about clay specifically at RG. In Wimbledon Novak would be the favorite for me if he meets Rafa. But you can't ace 3-4 times in each service game on clay. That is pure nonsense. Show me some stats that Djokovic hit 27 aces at an RG match QFs onwards in a 3 setter. Otherwise you are lying.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
It'll definitely help but still won't be enough in the end, not least because Nadal stands so far back and thus makes you work hard for practically every point.

I may be wrong but in last year's final I don't think it was until the beginning of the 3rd set that Nadal failed to get one of Djokovic's serves back into play which completely astounded me and was something I've never seen before, not just from Nadal but any player. Novak will really have an uphill climb tomorrow .
Djokovic may have dropped the ball here. He should have insisted on being 1st SF. Conditions are really fast at 3pm 4pm. Think he would have won in the faster conditions
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
I am talking about clay specifically at RG. In Wimbledon Novak would be the favorite for me if he meets Rafa. But you can't ace 3-4 times in each service game on clay. That is pure nonsense. Show me some stats that Djokovic hit 27 aces at an RG match QFs onwards in a 3 setter. Otherwise you are lying.
Of course I don't actually mean 3-4 aces in every game. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I mean that against Nadal he serves even better than against other opponents, and no doubt he will try to servebot in their match.
 
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Deleted member 771911

Guest
I don't know. It will be under a lot of pressure. I think the question is also can Nadal take the chances he does get? He will get a few. Novak has been broken by lesser receivers.
 

Leandro2045

Semi-Pro
Why the hell are people talking about serve on Roland Garros.

This has to be the most pointless current thread in the entire forum.

Serve advantage is non existent on clay courts.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Why the hell are people talking about serve on Roland Garros.

This has to be the most pointless current thread in the entire forum.

Serve advantage is non existent on clay courts.
That’s only true if you get broken. Without his high serve level chances are Novak would have lost to Berrettini.
 

Leandro2045

Semi-Pro
That’s only true if you get broken. Without his high serve level chances are Novak would have lost to Berrettini.
Novak not getting broken by Mateo doesn't have anything to do with how good or bad he was serving. It was always going to be that way.

Matteo is simply one the very worse returners on the surface, he's not even Top 70 of the active players. He wins an awful 21% of his return games against the field on the surface.

Nadal is 1st with 43%.

Diego & Novak 2nd and 3rd with 35%

Even Sascha & Stefanos are 10th and 17th with a respectable 29-27%against

Berettini is just complete trash on return and it's not a barometer for anything, Novak won because of his return game yesterday, not because of his serve.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Novak not getting broken by Mateo doesn't have anything to do with how good or bad he was serving. It was always going to be that way.

Matteo is simply one the very worse returners on the surface, he's not even Top 70 of the active players. He wins an awful 21% of his return games against the field on the surface.

Nadal is 1st with 43%.

Diego & Novak 2nd and 3rd with 35%

Even Sascha & Stefanos are 10th and 17th with a respectable 29-27%against

Berettini is just complete trash on return and it's not a barometer for anything, Novak won because of his return game yesterday, not because of his serve.
This is what happens when you post without stopping to think the numbers through for a second.

if Berretini is winning 21% if his return games and he plays 20 return games with Novak how many times should we expect him to break Novak? How many times did he break Novak?

I’ll leave this as an exercise for you. Let me know if you don’t get it.
 
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Deleted member 783101

Guest
This is what happens when you post without stopping to think the numbers through for a second.

if Berretini is winning 21% if his return games and he plays 20 return games with Novak how many times should we expect him to break Novak? How many times did he break Novak?

I’ll leave this as an exercise for you. Let me know if you don’t get it.
Lmfao
 

Leandro2045

Semi-Pro
This is what happens when you post without stopping to think the numbers through for a second.

if Berretini is winning 21% if his return games and he plays 20 return games with Novak how many times should we expect him to break Novak? How many times did he break Novak?

I’ll leave this as an exercise for you. Let me know if you don’t get it.
That 21% is again the field, not against top players who have way better groundstrokes to backup their serve.

Take Berretini match against Rafa on the US Open two years ago, he literally produced 0 break points chances in the entire match.

Rafa is anything but a good server yet he went the entire US Open semifinal without allowing a break point.

Not because he was serving great that day (He literally only had 54% first serve in) but because Berettini is atrocious returning.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
That 21% is again the field, not against top players who have way better groundstrokes to backup their serve.

Take Berretini match against Rafa on the US Open two years ago, he literally produced 0 break points chances in the entire match.

Rafa is anything but a good server yet he went the entire US Open semifinal without allowing a break point.

Not because he was serving great that day (He literally only had 54% first serve in) but because Berettini is atrocious returning.
Dude the same applies to every player then. So if Schwartzman wins 35% of his clay return games he would likely win less against a player of Nadal’s level. the point is that even after adjusting for return quality Novak lost less service games than the other semi finalists.

This is not surprising, Novak has been serving well. This got Novak out of trouble several times in the past.

also, he got 70% 1st serves in against Berretini, not 54%
 

Leandro2045

Semi-Pro
Dude the same applies to every player then. So if Schwartzman wins 35% of his clay return games he would likely win less against a player of Nadal’s level. the point is that even after adjusting for return quality Novak lost less service games than the other semi finalists.

This is not surprising, Novak has been serving well. This got Novak out of trouble several times in the past.

also, he got 70% 1st serves in against Berretini, not 54%
First of all i was referring to Nadal's match with Berettini in 2019 when he got only 54% of his 1st serves in and Matteo was unable to create a single break point in the entire match.

Regarding Diego the difference between 35% & 21% is GIGANTIC in tennis terms.

Novak didn't have any problems in his service games because Matteo is without a doubt the worse returner in the Top 10 in years.
 

Leandro2045

Semi-Pro
Against Matteo Djokovic got 70% of his 1st serve in with AVG velocity of 180 KM/ 141 KM, he wasn't broken once.

Against Nadal last year Djokovic got 67% of his 1st serve in with AVG velocity of 187 KM / 145 KM yet was broken 7 times.


See how the difference is not the serve, but the quality of the guy returning ?

The serve is not an advantage on clay, it has always been that way.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
First of all i was referring to Nadal's match with Berettini in 2019 when he got only 54% of his 1st serves in and Matteo was unable to create a single break point in the entire match.

Regarding Diego the difference between 35% & 21% is GIGANTIC in tennis terms.

Novak didn't have any problems in his service games because Matteo is without a doubt the worse returner in the Top 10 in years.
You still don’t get how to do analysis based on numbers.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
Holding 96% service games in insane stats. It happens only when you're Federer on grass. Still i don't think it will be enough to beat Nadal. On clay it takes powerful ground game - Nadal will outclass Djokovic off the ground by good margin.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
Nadal' serve has looked so much vulnerable so far. Getting broken 11 times before semis is not an inspiring stat anyway. I believe this Nadal is beatable but it will take a grear clutch performance to put him away.
 
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Deleted member 762343

Guest
In Wimbledon 2018 he was saved by his servebotting. Nadal would have won that match if not for this annoying serve.
In RG 2020, Nadal was saved by his groundstrokes. Djokovic would have won the match if not for Nadal annoyingly hitting the ball back at him.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
So, maybe yes?
As @Crazy Finn just pointed out, Novak didn't win yesterday because of his serve but rather thanks to his return. In the middle of the 3rd set (4-3, Novak serving) the UFE counts stood at 1 for Nole vs. a whopping 15 for Rafa. A servebotting Djokovic (or any serious FO contender, really) shouldn't need a TB to steal a set from this error-ridden Nadal. The fact of the matter is that this SF would've been a practice match for peak Courier, Bruguera and Guga, let alone younger Rafa and Borg.

So I was right to point out that Novak's pre-RG 76.3% in SGW likely meant more than his holding % so far at this RG edition... which doesn't bode well for him cuz Stef was 2nd only to Isner (yes even over Opelka) in SGW this CC season at 90.7%. Now that unexpected stumble vs. Alex (I took a nap shortly before the end of the 2nd set and wasn't expecting Novak-Rafa to be still in the middle of it when I woke up) and the fact that Novak won his only match vs. Insta Socrates this year do probably give him a slight edge, and I badly want him to nab his 2nd FO if only to popcorn watch the Fedal fanboys' utter meltdown, but then Tsits winning would give me unlimited license to thumb my nose at the clueless mugs who keep dismissing the importance of GW% on clay because it doesn't jibe with their wishful thinking that Fedovic are ATG dirtballers who were stymied only by prime Nadal. Either way I can't lose, and as such Sunday's final will be a pressure-free watch for moi.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
As @Crazy Finn just pointed out, Novak didn't win yesterday because of his serve but rather thanks to his return. In the middle of the 3rd set (4-3, Novak serving) the UFE counts stood at 1 for Nole vs. a whopping 15 for Rafa. A servebotting Djokovic (or any serious FO contender, really) shouldn't need a TB to steal a set from this error-ridden Nadal. The fact of the matter is that this SF would've been a practice match for peak Courier, Bruguera and Guga, let alone younger Rafa and Borg.

So I was right to point out that Novak's pre-RG 76.3% in SGW likely meant more than his holding % so far at this RG edition... which doesn't bode well for him cuz Stef was 2nd only to Isner (yes even over Opelka) in SGW this CC season at 90.7%. Now that unexpected stumble vs. Alex (I took a nap shortly before the end of the 2nd set and wasn't expecting Novak-Rafa to be still in the middle of it when I woke up) and the fact that Novak won his only match vs. Insta Socrates this year do probably give him a slight edge, and I badly want him to nab his 2nd FO if only to popcorn watch the Fedal fanboys' utter meltdown, but then Tsits winning would give me unlimited license to thumb my nose at the clueless mugs who keep dismissing the importance of GW% on clay because it doesn't jibe with their wishful thinking that Fedovic are ATG dirtballers who were stymied only by prime Nadal. Either way I can't lose, and as such Sunday's final will be a pressure-free watch for moi.

Very good points. The point I was making is that Novak came into the SF serving a bit better than Nadal and that should help him. And other than in the first set that was true. For the match as a whole, and specially towards the crucial end games, Novak simply served better than Nadal. He did other things as well, of course, which is how he ended the match on a virtual bagel.
 

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
So I was right to point out that Novak's pre-RG 76.3% in SGW likely meant more than his holding % so far at this RG edition... which doesn't bode well for him cuz Stef was 2nd only to Isner (yes even over Opelka) in SGW this CC season at 90.7%. Now that unexpected stumble vs. Alex (I took a nap shortly before the end of the 2nd set and wasn't expecting Novak-Rafa to be still in the middle of it when I woke up) and the fact that Novak won his only match vs. Insta Socrates this year do probably give him a slight edge, and I badly want him to nab his 2nd FO if only to popcorn watch the Fedal fanboys' utter meltdown, but then Tsits winning would give me unlimited license to thumb my nose at the clueless mugs who keep dismissing the importance of GW% on clay because it doesn't jibe with their wishful thinking that Fedovic are ATG dirtballers who were stymied only by prime Nadal. Either way I can't lose, and as such Sunday's final will be a pressure-free watch for moi.
Excellent analysis. However, you probably remember 2009 F.O when you said that Soderling would probably beat Fed. It was a whitwash.
Tennis is played between the ears. Titspas is a known choker in big matches and this is his first slam final. You expect him to do what Pete did when he was young? And he's facing the BOAT Novak.
 

Biotic

Hall of Fame
As @Crazy Finn just pointed out, Novak didn't win yesterday because of his serve but rather thanks to his return. In the middle of the 3rd set (4-3, Novak serving) the UFE counts stood at 1 for Nole vs. a whopping 15 for Rafa. A servebotting Djokovic (or any serious FO contender, really) shouldn't need a TB to steal a set from this error-ridden Nadal. The fact of the matter is that this SF would've been a practice match for peak Courier, Bruguera and Guga, let alone younger Rafa and Borg.

So I was right to point out that Novak's pre-RG 76.3% in SGW likely meant more than his holding % so far at this RG edition... which doesn't bode well for him cuz Stef was 2nd only to Isner (yes even over Opelka) in SGW this CC season at 90.7%. Now that unexpected stumble vs. Alex (I took a nap shortly before the end of the 2nd set and wasn't expecting Novak-Rafa to be still in the middle of it when I woke up) and the fact that Novak won his only match vs. Insta Socrates this year do probably give him a slight edge, and I badly want him to nab his 2nd FO if only to popcorn watch the Fedal fanboys' utter meltdown, but then Tsits winning would give me unlimited license to thumb my nose at the clueless mugs who keep dismissing the importance of GW% on clay because it doesn't jibe with their wishful thinking that Fedovic are ATG dirtballers who were stymied only by prime Nadal. Either way I can't lose, and as such Sunday's final will be a pressure-free watch for moi.
Yes, his serve didn't work well before the 4th set, when the pressure was mostly off.

One thing I know about Nadal is that you need to be much better than him if you want to beat him on clay. Being better just a bit isn't gonna cut it. And this goes for everyone, not just Novak, who was obviously better in set 3, and could've served it out at 5-4, if not for the choke. And that choke is partly due to Nadal factor. The fact that he regrouped at the last moment is a small miracle, as everyone, myself included, could see Nadal breaking and taking it 7-5.

I think Novak won't feel as much pressure in the final. At this point I'm not sure what Tsitsipas is capable of, only that he is nowhere close to peak Courier, Bruguera or Guga. He is no Nadal on return, so in theory Novak should have it a bit easier holding serve compared to SF.

If it's up to the task, Novak's return may once again prove decisive.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Very good points. The point I was making is that Novak came into the SF serving a bit better than Nadal and that should help him. And other than in the first set that was true. For the match as a whole, and specially towards the crucial end games, Novak simply served better than Nadal. He did other things as well, of course, which is how he ended the match on a virtual bagel.
Yes but serving better than Rafa is no great feat these days, and if everything goes according to script (an obviously big if) Tsits will be pushing Novak a lot harder in his return games. Very few players clear 90% in SGW on clay - Fed never did (unless you round up his 89.6% in '09, though the # does rise to 90.3% if you include DC), and Novak managed it only once with 90.7% in '15 and never came close before or since - and while I expect Stef's seasonal % to fall below the mark after today the guy was broken only 3 times even in Friday's 5-setter. And going into RG his more ordinary 31.9% on return (in fact more in line with his career avg) was actually better in relative terms than Novak's 76.3% on serve (#16 vs. #43 per the ATP Leaderboards - again you don't wanna fall under 80% in SGW even on clay). Djokovic/Big 3 fans shouldn't be quick to count Tsits out today.

Excellent analysis. However, you probably remember 2009 F.O when you said that Soderling would probably beat Fed. It was a whitwash.
Tennis is played between the ears. Titspas is a known choker in big matches and this is his first slam final. You expect him to do what Pete did when he was young? And he's facing the BOAT Novak.
I might have said Robin had a real chance but pretty sure I never backed him to win the '09 final outright, LOL. Just where'd you get that idea? FYI Sod was never a serious FO contender, and while his Ws over Rafa and Fed in back-to-back years were no jokes it was inevitable that his mediocre return game - only 27.4% and 26.2% won in '09 and '10 respectively, and 24.6% and 30.4% at RG - would eventually catch up with him. Pretty much any top player can swing for the fences and hit the jackpot on occasion, and while Sod's high-rise FH made his job somewhat easier even on clay such aggression comes with its limits at RG unless your name happens to be Kuerten, and that's precisely what we saw in both the '09 and '10 finals.

As for Tsits I think his chokejob at last year's USO vs. Coric (or Friday's 5-setter vs. Alex for that matter) will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. He knows he can't let up at any point in a match now, and both last yr's FO SF and this yr's Rome QF vs. Nole were squeakers which should give him more confidence. As I told my PM gang yesterday I'm calling another 5-setter, or a close 4-fer at any rate.

Yes, his serve didn't work well before the 4th set, when the pressure was mostly off.

One thing I know about Nadal is that you need to be much better than him if you want to beat him on clay. Being better just a bit isn't gonna cut it. And this goes for everyone, not just Novak, who was obviously better in set 3, and could've served it out at 5-4, if not for the choke. And that choke is partly due to Nadal factor. The fact that he regrouped at the last moment is a small miracle, as everyone, myself included, could see Nadal breaking and taking it 7-5.

I think Novak won't feel as much pressure in the final. At this point I'm not sure what Tsitsipas is capable of, only that he is nowhere close to peak Courier, Bruguera or Guga. He is no Nadal on return, so in theory Novak should have it a bit easier holding serve compared to SF.

If it's up to the task, Novak's return may once again prove decisive.
It's Novak's shaky serve which will prove fatal if Tsits does pull off the upset of his career. The big Q of course is whether Stef will be able to shake off his jitters. I think he will, or at least do a better job than most are expecting.

And yes, facing an even subpar Nadal is a daunting prospect for anyone. But then even the King of Clay can't cheat a time-honored rule of tennis, which is why I knew he was in deep trouble when his overall GW% stood at a middling 59.2% going into RG (again his 1st under-60% season since '04, which is absolutely mind-boggling). Even Sampras and Murray topped 60% in their best seasons, where they fell in the QF/SF just like Rafa this time.

Moral of the story: the more things seem to have changed, the more they stay the same. :cool:
 

Biotic

Hall of Fame
Yes but serving better than Rafa is no great feat these days, and if everything goes according to script (an obviously big if) Tsits will be pushing Novak a lot harder in his return games. Very few players clear 90% in SGW on clay - Fed never did (unless you round up his 89.6% in '09, though the # does rise to 90.3% if you include DC), and Novak managed it only once with 90.7% in '15 and never came close before or since - and while I expect Stef's seasonal % to fall below the mark after today the guy was broken only 3 times even in Friday's 5-setter. And going into RG his more ordinary 31.9% on return (in fact more in line with his career avg) was actually better in relative terms than Novak's 76.3% on serve (#16 vs. #43 per the ATP Leaderboards - again you don't wanna fall under 80% in SGW even on clay). Djokovic/Big 3 fans shouldn't be quick to count Tsits out today.



I might have said Robin had a real chance but pretty sure I never backed him to win the '09 final outright, LOL. Just where'd you get that idea? FYI Sod was never a serious FO contender, and while his Ws over Rafa and Fed in back-to-back years were no jokes it was inevitable that his mediocre return game - only 27.4% and 26.2% won in '09 and '10 respectively, and 24.6% and 30.4% at RG - would eventually catch up with him. Pretty much any top player can swing for the fences and hit the jackpot on occasion, and while Sod's high-rise FH made his job somewhat easier even on clay such aggression comes with its limits at RG unless your name happens to be Kuerten, and that's precisely what we saw in both the '09 and '10 finals.

As for Tsits I think his chokejob at last year's USO vs. Coric (or Friday's 5-setter vs. Alex for that matter) will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. He knows he can't let up at any point in a match now, and both last yr's FO SF and this yr's Rome QF vs. Nole were squeakers which should give him more confidence. As I told my PM gang yesterday I'm calling another 5-setter, or a close 4-fer at any rate.



It's Novak's shaky serve which will prove fatal if Tsits does pull off the upset of his career. The big Q of course is whether Stef will be able to shake off his jitters. I think he will, or at least do a better job than most are expecting.

And yes, facing an even subpar Nadal is a daunting prospect for anyone. But then even the King of Clay can't cheat a time-honored rule of tennis, which is why I knew he was in deep trouble when his overall GW% stood at a middling 59.2% going into RG (again his 1st under-60% season since '04, which is absolutely mind-boggling). Even Sampras and Murray topped 60% in their best seasons, where they fell in the QF/SF just like Rafa this time.

Moral of the story: the more things seem to have changed, the more they stay the same. :cool:
Well, looking at the big picture, you were right. Fortunately, Novak got the job done.
 

beard

Legend
Made a quick calculation of the % of service games broken for the last 4 players. And I got the following:

Zev: 18%
Nadal:15%
Tsitai: 12%
Novak: 4%


Novak has only been broken 3 times in the first five matches. In contrast Zev was broken 14 times and Nadal 11 times (as a point of reference in 2020FO Nadal was broken 4 times and Novak 7 times in the first 5 matches).

so it seems Novak’s serve can be a weapon. Will it make a difference in the SF?
This stats aged nice...
Two lower percentages lost their SFs, and in the final better percentage won...

Percentages trend continued through SFs and F...

So, good job OP (y)
 
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