Duel Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Federer, Australian Open semi-final & Dubai final, 2011


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-4 in the Australian Open semi-final, 2011 on hard court

Djokovic would go onto beat Andy Murray to win his second Slam and the first of 3 in the year. He would remain unbeaten until the French Open semi-final, where he would lose to Federer. Federer had been the defending the champion and with the loss, it became the first time since 2003 that he didn't hold a Slam title

Djokovic won 119 points, Federer 111

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (86/125) 69%
- 1st serve points won (63/86) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (16/39) 41%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/125) 23%

- 1st serve percentage (62/105) 59%
- 1st serve points won (45/62) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (20/43) 47%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/105) 28%

Serve Pattern
Djokovic served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 4%

Federer served...
- to FH 53%
- to BH 39%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 76 (39 FH, 37 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- 18 Forced (14 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (76/120) 76%

Federer made...
- 91 (35 FH, 56 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 21 Forced (8 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (91/120) 76%

Break Points
Djokovic 5/14 (6 games)
Federer 3/10 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Djokovic 22 (15 FH, 6 BH, 1 OH)
Federer 29 (16 FH, 8 BH, 4 BHV, 1 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 6 cc (1 pass, 1 at net), 2 cc/longline, 2 dtl (1 pass at net), 3 inside-out (1 at net), 1 inside-in and 1 longline return
- BHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 running-down-drop-shot at net cc

- the OH was on the bounce closer to the baseline than the service line and not a net point

Federer's FHs - 6 cc (1 pass, 1 return, 1 not clean - a whiff from Djokovic), 3 dtl (1 at net), 4 inside-out (1 return), 1 drop shot at net, 1 running-down-drop-shot at net cc and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 5 dtl (2 passes, 1 return), 1 inside-out and 2 drop shots

- 1 BHV was the first volley of a serve-volley point, 1 was a stop and 1 was a lob

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Djokovic 48
- 25 Unforced (13 FH, 12 BH)
- 23 Forced (12 FH, 10 BH, 1 Challenge)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.4

Federer 68
- 44 Unforced (16 FH, 27 BH, 1 BHV)
- 24 Forced (17 FH, 5 BH, 2 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.5

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: The 'Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is a measure of how aggressive of intent the average UE made was. 60 is maximum, 20 is minimum. This match has been scored using a four point scale - 2 defensive, 4 neutral, 5 attacking, 6 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Djokovic was...
- 14/22 (64%) at net, with...
- 1/2 forced back

Federer was...
- 15/24 (63%) at net, including...
- 3/3 serve-volleying, all first serves
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
High quality match on a hard court that's on the slow side of medium paced. Both players serve and return well, leaving the on court action to decide matters - and Djokovic is a fair bit better at it

Playing Dynamics
One of the things that makes this match up so rich is the variance in action across matches. Other match ups (for example, Federer-Nadal), I could write a master report with 6-7 main points and for each individual encounter, refer readers to it with a note of which points are particularly strongly present and which not - quite easily done. Federer-Djokovic is a different kettle of fish... it'd be an exaggeration to say each and every match is unique, but there is plenty of variety

In this match, the match is mostly on Djokovic's racquet. And Federer gets his best results playing defence. Not what one would expect. Toe-to-toe baseline battles sums up the bulk of the action - with Djokovic hitting harder, with greater consistency and the Federer BH in particular breaking down

Typically in their matches, Djokovic tries to control baseline action down the middle of the court. Federer's response varies from playing along to varying degrees (completely, or looking to open the court at suitable opportunities), trying to open and keep open the court, going for 1 shot winners from the closed court or attacking the net

In this match -

- Djokovic controls the middle, but keeps it less closed than usual. Its not running-each-other-side-to-side open but its not up-and-down-the-middle ball bashing either. Healthy amount of genuine cross court exchanges off both wings. Djokovic is the more powerful of shot (off both wings, more so the BH) and Federer does most of the running... and doesn't much attempt to go dtl to open the court himself. He's content with this dynamic, or maybe doesn't think he can change it

- its essentially a baseline match... net play doesn't play much role - 24 approaches from Federer, 22 from Djokovic - and a number of these are based around drop shots

Serve & Return
Good to very good from both on both fronts

1 way of looking at the match is first serve percentage decides it. Look at the most basic stats -

- 1st serve points won - both 73%
- 2nd serve points won - Djokovic 41%, Federer 47%
- but... first serve percentage - Djokovic 69%, Federer 59%

Djokovic has beefed up his serve since the pair's match at the last US Open. There, Federer didn't have to move much to meet the serve. Here, he's forced to lunge around more to reach wide balls. A scary end note to the match is, as well as Djokovic played overall, he seems to have an additional gear to go to on the serve. 5 of his 6 aces and his sole service winner come in the final set - and almost always when he needs it most (4 of them are down break point or deuce). According to commentators, in 2010 he'd been ranked number 3 throughout the year but served more double faults than aces.... which, if true is remarkable. It'd be hard not to improve from that... but he's clearly come a long way with the serve - and looks able to improve it still more

Federer returns the first serve quite well, usually getting it in play, though often not with authority. These are the types of returns he'd made a career of - consistent but not overly damaging returns - but that doesn't cut it against someone with the baseline prowess of Djokovic. And Federer misses just 1 second serve return all match - again, without attacking it too much

1 Federer return I don't understand is the step in, BH slice cc to second serves. The point of taking returns inside the court is to take time away from the server. But by slicing, he's ensuring that he doesn't achieve that. The ball isn't staying low enough to bother Djokovic. If he takes the return early, he should smack it to put Djoko under pressure (at the cost of raising the number of returns he misses)… or he should take it from an orthodox position (to give himself more time and lower number of return errors - though that's not an issue since he doesn't miss any of these returns). What he does achieves nothing offensively and just makes it harder for him to get the return in play... and he falls back to the baseline after making the shot everytime… don't see the point

Federer serves normally for him, which is very good. And Djokovic's returning is outstanding. I don't think he can read Fed's serve, but the court is slow enough that he can react to it, which he does with flashing footwork. Amidst the inevitable forced return errors, Djokovic pummels balls back hard, deep and down the middle. You hear of returning to the serve-volleyers feet. Djokovic returns to the baseliners. Keeping Federer down to just 5 aces is testmanent to Djoko's returning

Fed's onto something with his serving patterns. Serving 53% to FH to just 39% to BH... he forces 14 FH errors to 4 BH (and Djoko has 4 FH UEs to 1 BH too). Clearly, targeting the FH is the way to go. He also body serves a lot more than I've seen him 8%. I've wondered why such a precise spot server doesn't use this more... though in this match, the body serves aren't particularly good ones (that has something to do with Djoko's swift movements to get out the way and hit reasonably comfortably of whichever wing he chooses)

Baseline Play
For much of the match, Djokovic plays a bit like Federer usually does. First serve drawing weak-ish returns, then powerful third ball groundstroke. Usually its the FH, but he can do it with the BH too. Fair number of winners with this type of play, or forcing an error or just taking complete command of the point.

When he has the initiative, Djoko pound groundstrokes off both wings. In general, he tends to do so down the middle of the court. In this match, there's some of that but he also moves Federer around, or focuses on reasonably angled crosscourt exchanges. He's more powerful of both sides
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Hall of Fame
Federer's BH is the weak link in the match. Even Nadal has rarely battered it down as thoroughly as Djokovic does here. Note the 27 BH UEs... more than Djokovic's total UEs of 25 and double the Serb's 12 BH UEs, which is low. Rallies go on for awhile before Fed makes routine errors, but there's little punch coming out of his BH. No sharp angled cc counters to open the court, he just plops the ball orthodoxly cc... it looks like waiting for the inevitable. Quite a few mishits/shanks too - about 4-7

FH-FH is more dynamic stuff. Fed can hit almost on par with Djokovic in these, but not quite. Djoko's still the powerful striker and more consistent. But that FH is vastly superior to BH for Federer is evident in his error types. Note Federer being forced into 17 FH errors to just 5 BH (on unforced errors, its 16 FH and 27 BH)… basically, Fed doesn't have to be forced into BH errors, he makes them himself without much help from Djoko. FH is a different story

The UEFI is captures what its meant to. Djoko surprisingly with the higher figure 46.4 to 45.5. The difference looks lower than what play felt like because Djokovic's neutral shots are a lot heavier than the norm, including Federer's

Despite Djoko outdoing himself offensively, purely on that front, Federer retains an edge. Fed leads 29 winners to 22, with Djoko forcing 1 more error. Fed's superiority is even a bit better than the numbers indicate because Djokovic's defence is a good bit stronger than his own

Strangely, Federer gets the better off the baseline stuff (briefly) via defence. For about 1/2 the second set, he stays behind the baseline and junkballs, slices and pushes... leaving Djokovic to pound the ball even harder and make unforced errors doing so. Commentators though he should have done more of it

Its an interesting idea. I don't think Fed could have kept it up. His movement is good, but probably not good enough to long-term see off Djoko's sledgehammers. But would it have been worse than going toe-to-toe with Djoko, a dynamic in which he was clearly coming up behind in? Some of Fed's success is down to Djoko not having the right balance of pounding and holding back... in years to come, he'd perfect it, but don't think he was quite there yet. Roger Federer, shot making artiste extraordinaire, playing rope-a-dope with Novak Djokovic... not something you see every match

First set is about even. Returners have minor, small openings but that's about it. Federer has the only break point in the first game, on the back of back-to-back doubles from Djoko. There's a great rally on that point, which ends with Djoko forcing an error. Both players take charge of points with strong 3rd balls

In the tiebreak, Djoko makes 5/5 first serves. He gains the first mini-break when a Federer groundstroke hits the top of the net and comes over slowly for Djoko to line up his shot. He hammers it to force an error. Federer makes 3 BH unforced errors too - and Djoko comfortably takes it

Djoko gains the early break in the second with a great game where he hits heavy and deep. Up to this point, he'd mostly done so on serve. Hereafter, he pretty much does it all the time. He gives back the break immediately though. He goes down 0-30 via 2 Federer like aggressive errors... Federer reacts by falling back on defence, and letting Djoko hit himself out. Still, the Swiss gains a second break with more typical attacking play and saves 2 break points in the game after - 1 with a beautiful lob BHV net-to-net. He leads 5-2 and serves for the set at 5-3

Mostly credit to Djoko for gaining the break back, but he has some help from strangely off attacking instincts from the Swiss. He comes to net off an approach shot that he hits straight at Djokovic... Djokovic pounds it back straight at him and he nets a volley more makeable than not. And he strangely chooses to drop shot from just behind the service line, when it would have been just as easy to hit a powerful, point ending shot... and Djoko runs the ball down and puts it away for a winner. Still, mostly credit Djokovic... he forces Fed from net with an excellent defensive lob and wins the baseline point and finishes a good rally with a wrong footing FH dtl winner. Part of the reason he gets to the previously mentioned drop shot is that he read it... I imagine most players would have assumed a forcing shot instead (and that Fed played the drop shot knowing that)

Fed's broken again in a toe-to-toe baseline game. Invariably, he yields the error - 4 of them, to lose the game.

Djoko has it tough in the third. He saves 3 break points in an 18 point game with strong serves and a net approach. Djoko breaks next game with Fed making 4 errors to end tough rallies. The break point he gives up is another strange shot choice from the Swiss... he can hit a BH at net anywhere he wants but hits it right at Djok, who nicely, ease lobs it to force Fed back... and goes on to outlast him from the baseline

Fed manages to break back in a well played attacking game, his FH inside-out firing (and Djoko looking a touch slow to react). But Djok breaks right back in a game that typifies the action. Good rallies with Djoko pressuring Fed - and Fed yielding unforced errors to end it. Djok has a minor hiccup serving out the match - 2 bad errors on his first two match points that take the game to deuce, but finishes up with an ace and another unreturned serve

Summing up, a toe-to-toe baseline slugfest with Djokovic being stronger and more consistent off the ground. High playing level from both, with Federer's BH vulnerability being the main chink on show
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Hall of Fame
Djokovic beat Federer 6-3, 6-3 in the Dubai final, 2011 on hard court

It was the first tournament for both players after the Australian Open. The result saw Djokovic win his third title in a row at the event. Federer was a 4 time former champion

Djokovic won 63 points, Federer 44

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (33/49) 67%
- 1st serve points won (27/33) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (9/16) 56%
- Aces 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (20/49) 41%

- 1st serve percentage (35/58) 60%
- 1st serve points won (22/35) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (9/23) 39%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/58) 31%

Serve Pattern
Djokovic served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 63%

Federer served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 26%
- to Body 7%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 39 (23 FH, 16 BH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 BH)
- 9 Forced (5 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (39/57) 68%

Federer made...
- 29 (8 FH, 21 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 13 Forced (7 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (29/49) 59%

Break Points
Djokovic 4/10 (5 games)
Federer 1/2 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Djokovic 4 (3 FH, 1 BH)
Federer 12 (8 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)

Djokovic's FHs - 2 cc and 1 inside-in
- BH - 1 dtl pass

Federer's FHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl, 2 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 3 dtl (1 return)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Djokovic 14
- 10 Unforced (3 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- 4 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46

Federer 38
- 29 Unforced (16 FH, 12 BH, 1 OH)
- 9 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: The 'Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is a measure of how aggressive of intent the average UE made was. 60 is maximum, 20 is minimum. This match has been scored using a four point scale - 2 defensive, 4 neutral, 5 attacking, 6 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Djokovic was...
- 3/4 (75%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a first serve

Federer was...
- 2/7 (29%) at net, including...
- 1/2 (50%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 0/1 off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve

Match Report
A terrible showing from Roger Federer on a particularly fast court. A few choice shots aside (for every one of which, there are three horrendous ones), the only worthwhile thing to take from the match is Djokovic's returning

Its a fast court, which makes the serve and the return critical. Djokovic is on top of such business. In first set, he makes 17/20 first serves and has 60% unreturned serves. In short, he holds with complete ease.

Federer himself serves at a healthy 60% for the match and with his serve being strong, that in itself could potentially see him be tough to beat, regardless of how badly he might do everything else. It isn't the case because Djokovic returns surely

Djoko doesn't do damage with the return - I don't think there's a single third ball forced error for Federer, though he puts in plays 1 or 2 that would have been marked forced had he missed, but he does a good job getting them in play adequatly. Not a small task on this court. Federer kept to "just" 31% unreturned serves, which is hardly small

Then how come Djokovic is at 41%?

Either Djokovic returned well or Federer returned poorly for it to happen (both serve about their norm). I lean towards Djokovic returning well and surely. Federer is below par in getting balls back though... fine as Djoko served, he didn't serve 60% unreturned serves in the first set fine

Gist of the match is when the ball is actually put into play, Federer sprays errors every which way. In the first set he makes 12 to Djokovic's 3. In the second, he's even worse (Djoko also has a little spell of the dreaded errors bug)

Federer isn't even particularly aggressive in the shots he misses. Of the 29 unforced errors he makes, 17 are neutral shots, 9 attacking and 3 winner attempts

First set, Federer is broken in game 3 - the last 3 points are -
i) a wild 3rd ball BH dtl winner attempt error (he hits it so badly it goes inside out and lands well into the doubles alley
ii) a lazy looking FH longline error
iii) a routine BH 3rd ball mishit

On his next service game, from 40-15 up, he reels 4 errors in the next 5 points - but manages to hold. The second break - which ends the set, is at least down to Djokovic's good play

Its Djoko's turn in the second set. 4 errors in a 10 point game sees him get broken as Federer opens up a 3-1 lead. And then loses the next 5 games. 12 unforced errors from Federer in the last 4 games of the match

The problems Fed has are similar (though much worse) than the Australian Open match. His BH keeps missing routine balls, this time in shorter rallies and without Djokovic pressuring it. He tries moving over to hit FHs instead, but the errors keep coming. Djoko wins the second set without hitting a single winner (including aces)

Fed continues with body serves, hitting 4 of them. Again, Djoko copes well with quick feet.

Note the symmetry of Federer's FH winners - 2 of each of the basic shot types (cc, dtl, inside-out and inside-in)

Other than his own micro error spree, Djoko plays decently from the back... he doesn't have scope to do much better with Federer playing so badly

Summing up, fast court, lots of unreturned serves, impressively steady returning from Djokovic but mostly, atrocious from Federer in play


Fed blew that 5-2 lead like an artist.At least in the 2016 SF he managed to take a set, unlike in the 2011 match.