Duel Match Stats/Reports - Djokovic vs Nadal, Madrid & Rome finals, 2011


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 in the Madrid final, 2011 on clay

It was Djokovic's first win over Nadal on clay, with Nadal having won the first 9. Djokovic had beaten Nadal in finals of both Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the year. Nadal had recently Monte Carlo and would go onto win the upcoming French Open

Djokovic won 73 points, Nadal 60

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (33/58) 57%
- 1st serve points won (23/33) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (13/25) 52%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/58) 10%

- 1st serve percentage (51/75) 68%
- 1st serve points won (29/51) 57%
- 2nd serve points won (9/24) 38%
- Aces 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/75) 17%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 70%

Nadal served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 11%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 62 (27 FH, 35 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 2 Winners (2 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 BH)
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (62/75) 83%

Nadal made...
- 51 (24 FH, 27 BH), including 11 runaround FHs
- 3 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Forced (1 FH)
- Return Rate (51/57) 89%

Break Points
Djokovic 5/12 (7 games)
Nadal 3/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 23 (7 FH, 12 BH, 1 FHV, 3 OH)
Nadal 14 (8 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 OH, 1 Tweener)

Djokovic's FHs - 5 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 at net
- BHs - 7 cc (2 returns, 1 pass), 3 dtl and 2 net chord dribblers

- 2 OHs were on the bounce - 1 from no-man's land

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc (1 at net), 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 3 inside-in
- BHs (both passes) - 1 cc and 1 dtl

- 1 OH was on the bounce
- the Tweener was a lob

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 32
- 25 Unforced (12 FH, 13 BH)
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.6

Nadal 44
- 29 Unforced (12 FH, 17 BH)
- 15 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.1

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Djokovic was...
- 7/11 (64%) at net

Nadal was...
- 6/7 (86%) at net, with...
- 2/2 forced back

Match Report
A heavy hitting baseline slugfest on a fast for clay court and very impressive from Djokovic. He's the better player by a healthy margin for two reasons: He hits harder and he hits equally hard off both sides

Serve & Return
The standout shot is the Djokovic return

As is usually the case on clay, the first two shots aren't a major factor - the serve can't do much damage, the return can be made without undue trouble. Healthy, normal serving from both players

Nadal is more consistent on the return, Djokovic more damaging. Nadal returns a full 89% of serves, his focus just getting ball in play at best neutrally but content to leave Djoko with chance of initiative third ball. Djoko's a bit less consistent and has 4 UEs on the shot, but take to pounding Nadal's second serves in particular, strongly seizing the initiative

For his part, Nadal looks to runaround second serves to return with FH. A standard play of his. The point of the shot seems to be to get into position in middle of court when returning in ad court rather than be the FH being more consistent or damaging than if he'd just played a regulation BH. His runaround FH returns tend to be loopy and bounce up high

Djoko by contrast, gets stuck into the second serves. 2 winners - both BH cc, both terrific hits. And a number of other similarly powerfully hit balls. His best returns are whacked wide of Nadal, making the server run to hit third balls, as opposed to straight back at server and deep

The standout basic stat is Nadal winning just 38% second serve points (Djoko has 52%). This is mostly due to Djoko's strong returns

Play - Baseline
Brutal and varied stuff

Breakdown-a-side play is minority (i.e. not much repeated continuous hitting to one side). The bulk of it is Djoko hitting FH cc's to Nadal's BH. He's not really trying to breakdown the BH, though Nadal's BH proves to be the most error prone of the 4 groundstrokes on show. If anything, Djoko's looking to pin Nadal to that side so he can attack FH dtl. He has 5 winners dtl, and not a single cc

Moving-other-guy-around play is aplenty. Djokovic again leads with regular BH dtl change ups (neutrally - just to switch it up) and more offensively on the FH. Nadal reacts, mostly with BH longlines. While his BH holds up reasonably well from peppering FH cc's, he's not comfortable with that rally either, where its both clear that Djoko is hitting harder and Nadal's solidity doesn't promise he can keep going indefinitely

A good chunk of Nadal's BH UEs aren't from being broken down by FH cc's but in duel winged rallies. A small number of attacking errors too - with rallies getting extended and Djoko hitting heavier, Nadal goes for occasional dtl winner attempts or extra sharply angled cc attacking shots. Beyond his comfort zone of high percentage, neutral BH shots

Nadal isn't able to dictate with FH cc's or inside-in. First Djoko hammers BH cc's back at least as strongly (probably more in fact) and from that base, can redirect dynamics to moving-around-play or switch to taking ball on his FH

Good defence from both players. with his FH cc's thwarted and BH under pressure, Nadal's attacks are mostly back-away FH inside-outs. Strong, though less than Djoko's shots, and Djoko is usually able to run ball down and put it back in play neutrally to with authority

Nadal's just as good on defence, but he's up against a heavier attack. His not having the defensive advantage is another key - or at least, its new

The unforced errors - 25 for Djoko, 29 for Nadal - are on the hard side, against firmly hit shots, slightly on the move, having run to reach ball but there in good time and so on. And the way both play, there's the promise that the next ball will be heavy too. This is clay court tennis at its best... heavy, but controlled baseline hitting. In the book, they go down as unforced error. its not bad play though... a product of heavy pressure and strong consistency

As ever, Djoko primarily attacks the Nadal FH side ('attack' meaning trying to forcefully end points, rather than outlasting or beating out an error). Key is that he's able to do so with BH cc and doesn't need to compromise court position by going FH inside-out. Note high 7 BH cc winners from Djoko

Out gunned and outsteadied as he is, Nadal does come up with the shot of the match. That's an understatement. Its a shot of the century or even greatest ever candidate. Nadal's drop volley bring Djoko in, who lobs him at net. Backpedalling, Nadal thinks better of going for a BHOH, runs back to baseline instead and lob tweeners the ball for a winner with Djoko comfortably placed at net. Sensational

Negligible net play in the match - 10 approaches from Djoko, 7 from Nadal. Given how well he pushed Nadal back, Djoko could probably have considered coming in more to finish more efficiently. It would have been hard for Nadal to come in more seeing as he was usually the one pushed back

Most impressive part of Djoko's play is the combination of control and attack. Though attacking, there's nothing wild about his play. Djoko's play is best described as attacking-solid, rather than solid-attacking. Nadal's is passive-solid

Match Progression
Djoko is out of the gate fast and runs to a 4-0 lead. About as consistent as Nadal, but stronger of shot, he wraps up games with attacking plays, gaining the first break with a running, sliding BH cc pass followed by a error forcing FH dtl. The second comes with a strongly forced passing error

Nadal pulls a break back in a game where Djoko makes the errors. and breaks from 30-15 down with Djoko serving for the set, finishing with a FH inside-out winner. His next hold lasts 16 points - action is very intense

Djoko wins last 8 points of the set. Breaking to love to take the set includes two net chord dribbling winners

Nadal replies by breaking to love to open the second set in a game including the famous tweener lob winner. Djoko breaks right back - out lasting Nadal in rallies before again, finishing with a flourish, this time a BH dtl winner.

Rest of the match is comfortable holds for Djoko, while Nadal is regularly pushed to hold, surviving 8 and 10 point games

Serving at 4-5, Djoko reels off 3 winners to move to 0-40. The pick of them is a perfect BH cc from a regulation longline rally. He just misses another winner attempt BH dtl on the next point, before a Nadal BH slice error brings the curtain down

Summing up, very strong showing from Djokovic, one of his best - on clay or off. He's both more consistent and attacking, while just as strong in defence as a solid Nadal, playing as well as he's allowed to. Most of all, Djoko's play looks sustainable for the long term

Stats for the pair's '11 Indian Wells and Miami finals' - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-nadal-indian-wells-miami-finals-2011.666236/
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Hall of Fame
Djokovic beat Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the Rome final, 2011 on clay

It was Djokovic's fourth win in a row over Nadal, a run he would extend to 7 with wins in the next three Slam finals

Djokovic won 69 points, Nadal 61

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/61) 74%
- 1st serve points won (31/45) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (7/16) 44%
- Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/61) 8%

- 1st serve percentage (49/69) 71%
- 1st serve points won (33/49) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (5/20) 25%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (7/69) 10%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 72%
- to Body 2%

Nadal served...
- to FH 50%
- to BH 38%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 61 (31 FH, 30 BH)
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 5 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (61/68) 90%

Nadal made...
- 55 (22 FH, 33 BH), including 8 runaround FHs
- 4 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 2 Forced (2 FH)
- Return Rate (55/60) 92%

Break Points
Djokovic 4/11 (5 games)
Nadal 2/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 25 (16 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Nadal 11 (6 FH, 1 BH, 1 BHV, 3 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 3 cc, 3 dtl, 6 inside-out (1 return, 2 at net), 1 longline, 1 longline/inside-out (Nadal slipped and was on the ground for the shot) and 2 net chord dribblers (1 return)
- BHs - 5 cc (1 not clean) and 1 drop shot

- the FHV was played net-to-net and 1 BHV was a stop

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc (1 at net), 1 dtl pass, 2 inside-out and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net
- BH - 1 dtl

- the BHV was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 42
- 31 Unforced (14 FH, 16 BH, 1 OH)… the OH was on the bounce
- 11 Forced (2 FH, 9 BH)… with 2 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.8

Nadal 38
- 20 Unforced (12 FH, 8 BH)
- 18 Forced (9 FH, 9 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Djokovic was...
- 9/14 (64%) at net

Nadal was...
- 9/11 (82%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Another great match with conditions being slightly slower than Madrid. Its a two part affair, with tough play from the baseline being a constant

In first set, the two players vie for baseline command. Nadal is maybe a touch more the bossy from the back and the set comes down a few key rallies
Second set is like the Madrid match. Djoko attacking, Nadal counter-punching. While action is more even than Madrid, again, Djoko comes off the better player

Seeing how things went in Madrid, I suppose that begs the question as to whether Djoko ups his aggression in the second set or Nadal downs his so that a fight for dominance in the first becomes a clear case of attacker vs defender in the second. A bit of both

This is in line with Nadal's play on other surfaces, where under pressure, he tends to fall back on not-going-to-miss-a-ball tennis rather than step up and look to take charge. On clay, and with his defensive prowess, its not a bad ploy. A good one even - and he does pull it off by defending stoutly. Credit Djokovic for being able to outhit him... its no easy task

Serve & Return
Not much of a factor but there is something not easy to explain coming out the numbers

Unreturned rates of 8% and 10% speak to serve not doing damage. First serve in numbers of 74% and 71% speaks to neither player trying to do much damage. Unlike Madrid, Djoko's attacking returning isn't much of a factor - he returns with authority as is his norm, but doesn't put Nadal on defensive with the second shot

If that's the case, one wouldn't expect too large a difference between first serve and second serve points won - especially since aces and double faults are negligible, but that's not what we see.

Djoko is +25% on first serve points won, Nadal is +42%. Why?

In Madrid, Djoko was +22%, Nadal +19%... but that's easier to explain. Nadal's weak returns to Djoko's stronger first serves sees Djoko win a bunch of quick points on first serves that he doesn't on seconds. And Djoko's strong returns to Nadal's second serves sees Djoko in good position for 4th ball

Here in Rome though... not much weak returning from Nadal (though his returning off second serves is naturally better, without being attacking) and not much strong returning from Djoko (same situation as for Nadal's)

Most points are long, so whatever initiative either player has gained with the serve and return is long gone by the end, and initiatives in play are earned through point construction in play. In that event, one wouldn't expect the numbers we see

Some of it is psychological - in particular, Djoko being more attacking on Nadal's second serve points. Nadal starting these points looking to defend probably a bigger factor than Djokovic unduly seizing the initiative

The opposite on Djoko's second serve points is probably also true, though not as noticeable as Nadal isn't as attacking. But 25% and 42% are huge differences, not readily explained by minor matter of psychological approach of players

Both players faltering on second serve points - Djoko winning 42%, Nadal doing terribly with just 25%. In and off themselves, the serve and return isn't enough to explain such figures

The figures do have implications, especially for Nadal. While neither player does too much with the first serve, Nadal hits some big, attacking ones out wide, when under the gun. In other words, he has the ability to do more damage with the serve than he tries to in general - and its clear he needs every edge he can get in a 50-50 match

But losing so many second serve points, he'd have to curb the urge to go for too much with the first serve. If he misses, bad things are happening to him on second serve points
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Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline
Action in first set is a battle for control. Nadal looks to dictate with FH, Djoko off both sides.

Nadal has a slim edge. He's moving Djoko around and pushing him back slightly more than the other way round, but only with the FH. Off the BH, Nadal looks to - and is - 'just' steady. The disadvantage of bossing from one side against 2 is minimized by Nadal's variety on the FH. He puts the ball wherever he wants off that side - cc, inside-out, inside-in even longline. It does raise his errors a bit though
For the set -
FH UEs - Djoko 4, Nadal 6
BH UEs - Djoko 6, Nadal 3

Both are very strong in defence all match. The bulk of Djoko's defending is in first set, and he's just as strong as Nadal is. Stronger probably - his ability to hit from mildly defensive position off the BH is markedly better than Nadal, who's just steady regulation BH goes down a gear to completely defensive when even slightly under the gun. Djoko by contrast hits firmly in these situations

The pressure of heavy regulation hitting tells on both players shot choices too. Nadal occasionally goes for point ending BH dtl's… not a shot he uses much, preferring the high percentage BH cc and outlasting strategy. Action is making it clear he can't count on outlasting Djoko BH-FH... so he's pushed to this. Usually misses - just the 1 BH winner for Nadal all match. And what he makes, Djoko can run down and hit at least neutral strong BHs (either direction)

Djoko isn't immune either. He misses a bunch of drop shots, an attempt to escape brutal rallies with uncertain outcome

Action in second set is more like Madrid, with Djoko taking initiative and Nadal counter-punching. He has two main lines of attack

- attacking the Nadal FH side, with BH cc's and FH inside-outs. A standard, anti-Nadal play used by everyone. Djoko's are more effective because his BH cc is actually strong enough to do damage, unlike most player. The point is to hit winners and force errors. It works. 6 inside-out winners, 5 BH cc ones.... and 8 errors forced out of Nadal's FH (and forcing errors out of Nadal is hard... he gets back 2-3 strong hits for every error he's forced into)

- beating down the Nadal BH with FH cc's + finishing point FH dtl

This is Djoko's lead attacking play, and requires great consistency. His regulation FH cc is a powerful shot and he outdoes Nadal on that front. As rallies go on, Nadal's shots get weaker, not Djoko's
The point is to draw errors (mostly unforced) from the Nadal BH and occasionally, hit winners or force errors with dtl shots. End result is probably 50-50... while weaker of strength, Nadal's BH tends to hold up (8 UEs - the least of the 4 groundstrokes on show), Djoko hits 3 FH dtl winners but also misses trying. The play does keep Djoko in charge

Contrast with how the play goes when Roger Federer tries it on Nadal. Federer's regulation FH cc isn't as strong as Djoko's and off force, its usually a toss up between it and the Nadal BH cc, with the latter being less error prone. Also, Nadal can redirect BH longline at will, giving Federer a running BH to make. That's not a good option against Djokovic. First of all, its harder to pull off against Djoko's heavier ball. Second, the running BH is likely to be a strong and safe shot (unlike in the case of Federer)

Nadal rarely throws up a quasi-moonball BH, probably just to change the pace. Not a bad idea on clay, to tempt your opponent to go for too much and test him on the high ball. Doesn't work - Djoko whacks them. Slice was an alternative way to slow down rally... it didn't do Nadal much good on the slow hard courts in America, its unlikely to have done so here

Negligible net play in match, but note Nadal winning 9/11 points, and some of it is coming in to Djoko's drop shots or dealing with putaway balls at net. But he does manufacture approaches late in second set when under pressure - coming in after overpowering Djoko. Coming forward when getting beaten from the back is logical idea... but outside Nadal's norm and presumably, comfort zone. Seems he fancies chances of counter-punching from defensive situations than come in... for him, its not a bad idea

Neither player shows interest in coming in. Large number of points when both players push the other back and/or out of position where an approach seems most obvious move, but neither comes in

Match Progression
First set goes comfortably on serve til it ends with 3 successive breaks. Few memorable shots in the first phase - Nadal ends a long rally with a FH cc winner, Djoko misses a sitter of an OH on the bounce at net and later, hits a very, very sharply angled FH cc winner

Djoko scores the first break in the standard, ending-with-errors tough rallies game. Nadal misses an escape, BH dtl winner attempt, comes out ahead in a rally where players exchange FH-BH and BH-FH rallies, Djoko forces Nadal from net with an at net lob, wins a point he was on the defensive on and the game ends with a Nadal BH shank

Nadal breaks right back, mostly with Djoko missing winner attempts and holding out defensively

Djoko breaks again to seal set. A big, strange FH dtl from Nadal miss stands out, but Djoko finishes with style, beating a BH error out with strong FH and on set point, stepping in to whack away a BH cc winner

Djoko takes charge of play in the second set. He breaks Nadal to go up 2-0, implementing the FH cc beatdown strategy in a 14 point game. Nadal breaks right back in a game where Djoko double faults and his attacking shots land out

Thereafter, Djoko commands play, while also making more errors. Nadal's pushed to deuce in his next 2 service games, and has to save 2 break points in one. Two Djoko games go to deuce too... though the more attacking, Djoko isn't necessarily coming off much better - as 30 UEs for the match point to (Nadal has 20)

Djoko breaks to end the match. 2 neutral errors from Nadal and a (not clean) BH cc winner from Djoko make it 0-40. Nadal saves the 3 match points, but is overpowered on next two points

Summing up, another great match filled with tough rallies and great defence. this one is more balanced than the Madrid match, with Nadal fighting for command of play in the first set, which turns out to be a toss up. Second set Djoko takes charge of play, Nadal defends vigorously and Djoko manages to crash through it
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Bionic Poster
Novak was a beast on clay in 2011. I still think had he beaten Roger in the FO semis, he would have defeated Nadal in the RG final. He was at his apex of confidence, had beaten Rafa that year in the finals of IW, Miami, Madrid and Rome and would have been undefeated going into the RG final. I think he would have beaten Nadal that year based on supreme confidence alone.