Duel Match Stats/Reports - Federer vs Djokovic, Year End Championship round robins, 2019 & 2015

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the Year End Championship (ATP Finals) round robin, 2019 on indoor hard court in London, England

The match was effectively a knock-out encounter, with the winner advancing to the semis and the loser eliminated. Federer would go onto lose in the semis to eventual winner Stefanos Tsitsipas. Djokovic needed to win the tournament to finish year end number 1. It was Federer's first win over Djokovic in 4 years

Federer won 67 points, Djokovic 44

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (36/49) 73%
- 1st serve points won (29/36) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (9/13) 69%
- Aces 12 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (28/49) 57%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (46/62) 74%
- 1st serve points won (26/46) 57%
- 2nd serve points won (7/16) 44%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (9/62) 15%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 51%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 4%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 46%
- to BH 42%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 50 (23 FH, 27 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 7 Errors, all forced...
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (50/59) 85%

Djokovic made...
- 19 (11 FH, 8 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (19/47) 40%

Break Points
Federer 3/6 (4 games)
Djokovic 0/1

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 11 (6 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
Djokovic 12 (7 FH, 3 BH, 2 BHV)

Federer's FHs - 2 cc (1 return), 2 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 longline at net
- BH - 1 cc

- 1 from serve-volley points - a first volley, BHV
- 1 other FHV was a swinging, inside-out shot

Djokovic's FHs - 2 dtl, 3 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc

- 1 BHV was a stop

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 21
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- 14 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH, 1 BHV, 1 Behind-Back)... the Behind-Back was at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Djokovic 25
- 17 Unforced (11 FH, 5 BH, 1 BHV)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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 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
Federer was...
- 9/13 (69%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
---
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Djokovic was...
- 5/7 (71%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Match Report
Near flawless from Federer on a fast court, while Djokovic is off on both serve and to lesser extent, return

Serve-return complex decides matters. Look at the unreturned rates - Federer 57%, Djoko 15%... its practically impossible to overcome such a discrepancy from Djoko's point of view. He doesn't threaten to

Serve & Return
Its a fast court and Federer serves outstandingly... but not 57% unreturned serves outstandingly. I don't know if there's even such a thing as "57% unreturned serves outstanding", so some discredit to Djoko's returning for this

73% first serves in for Fed is top class. The quality of those serves are good, but short of his best. He served better in Wimbledon final earlier in the year. He mixes up pace of first serves - some are medium of power - and relies more on placement than power to be effective. Its a smart and deadly combo... no need to go for too much and lower percentage when job is getting done with something a little less
And good second serves to back it up too - some genuinely forceful and at least, not easy to attack second serves in general

Note Djoko with 8 return UEs. These are regulation returns, not easy to put in play on fast court, but still regulation. And his 40% return rate is one of the lowest I've seen (from anybody and against anybody). Misses a good chunk of regulation returns (and he doesn't see many of them to start with), no success poking back the odd wide serve in play either

He makes his errors going for depth and going long

Bigger problem for Djoko is his own serve. He's serving at 74%, only 15% unreturned. Only 9 serves don't come back (Fed has 12 aces, to put that in perspective)

His serve is placed conservatively in first set but with decent power. For the set, his unreturned rate is 25%, which reflects both his ordinary placement and Fed's consistency

Something goes haywire in second set, where he has just 1 unreturned serve. Federer returns the last 21 serves he faces - 19 of them first serves. Its true that Fed makes it look easy but deceptive to say so because it is easy. Djoko serves very ordinarily in second set - below average power, directed within Fed's reach... overwhelmingly more a black mark against Djoko's serve than credit to Fed's return here. Not damaging returning from Fed either - just putting ball back in play

Djoko grimaces and tends to his right elbow early in the set when he's stretched for a ball. I imagine he was having some trouble with said elbow and that would go some ways to explaining his serving quality

With the normal standard of serving and returning each player has, I'd estimate appropriate unreturned rates for this surface to be 35% for both players, and upper limits (against typical returning performance) about 45% for Fed, 40% for Djoko with lower limits of Fed 25%, Djoko 20%

Instead, we get Fed well beyond estimate and Djoko well below it. This is a very extreme outcome

In nutshell - great serving and adequate/decent returning by Fed, weak serving and below norm returning from Djoko

Play - Baseline
Points in play are close - Fed 36, Djoko 33

The overwhelming bulk of these are of course, on Djoko's serve - so he's coming off well behind

Breakdowns are the opposite of what you usually see in the match up - Djoko with 1 more winner, forcing 6 more errors and making 10 more UEs. Throw in Djoko with UEFI of 50 to Fed's middle-to-high 47.1... it looks like Djoko is the aggressive shot maker, Fed the counter-puncher, doesn't it?

Djoko does play a balanced attacking game. Not going for too much, but enough to end points. Hence the high 14 errors he forces out of Fed... its not due to Fed being exceptional in defence and getting racquets on would-be winners

Fed hits a well placed neutral ball. Less than attacking, but not easy to cope with on this court. A very good way to approach play

And Fed's more efficient with his attacking shots (just 1 attacking UE), Djoko getting some back in play (more so than Fed) and Fed finishing with winners

Djoko's main problem is lack of attacking efficiency. Of neutral errors, both are about the same (Fed 4, Djoko 6). But Djoko has 5 attacking errors and 6 winner attempts (Fed 2)

In nutshell, the two are about even neutrally - and its the kind of court where that isn't too important. Of attack though, Fed finishes regularly. Djoko ends up missing significantly more (though still usually winning the point)

Match Progression
Fed's serve couldn't be safer in first set. 17/23 serves go unreturned or 74% - not a sniff for Djoko on return

Djoko's pretty secure too. He's taken to deuce in opening game and has to save a break point. Play is good - just 1 UE, Djoko missing a reaction volley + a Djoko double - otherwise, points are ended forcefully

Next service game, Djoko opens with a pair of doubles and Fed follows with angled BH cc's to force 2 errors to break to love

Djoko gets a bit more counter-play in second set (it would be very difficult to have got less), taking Fed to deuce a couple of times. He tends to his elbow after stretching for a ball first point of second game... and doesn't have an unreturned serve after that. His serving becomes decidedly mediocre after that, and Fed's not challenged to put returns in play

Poor game by Djoko to get broken - missing a very ambitious BH inside-out winner attempt, a FH approach and a not easy third ball BH - before Fed forces an error with FH cc

He plays a bit rashly thereafter, but that's not unusual for him when under pressure. Generally, he tends to come out ahead when he does. Not here though

Fed breaks to love to end match with Djoko playing careless looking, somewhat random attacking shots from neutral positions

Summing up, outstanding serving and consistent returning from Fed, while Djoko is below par to weak on both shots. Play is still lively and appropriate to fast conditions with Fed the more efficient in attacking

Stats for pair's previous encounter, '19 Wimbledon final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...kovic-vs-federer-wimbledon-final-2019.654951/
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Federer beat Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 in the Year End Championship round robin, 2015 on indoor hard court in London, England

The pair would meet again in the final, with Djokovic winning. Djokovic had also beaten Federer in finals at Wimbledon and US Open earlier in the year and would do so again at the Australian Open semi shortly afterwards. This would be Federer's last win over Djokovic until the 2019 round robin match

Federer won 68 points, Djokovic 51

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (36/54) 67%
- 1st serve points won (27/36) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (12/18) 67%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/54) 41%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (47/65) 72%
- 1st serve points won (24/47) 51%
- 2nd serve points won (12/18) 67%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/65) 23%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 4%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 49 (21 FH, 28 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (49/64) 77%

Djokovic made...
- 30 (9 FH, 21 BH)
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Forced (7 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (30/52) 58%

Break Points
Federer 4/8 (4 games)
Djokovic 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 13 (7 FH, 4 BH, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
Djokovic 10 (4 FH, 5 BH, 1 OH)

Federer's FHs - 1 cc at net, 2 dtl (1 return), 2 inside-out, 1 inside-out/longline and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass and 3 dtl (1 pass - a net chord flicker. the flick didn't interfere with Djokovic's next shot)

- the BH1/2V was a drop inside-out

Djokovic's FHs - 1 cc at net-to-net, 1 cc/inside-in, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out return and 1 inside-in return pass

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 24
- 17 Unforced (10 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH, 1 Behind-Back)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.5

Djokovic 32
- 24 Unforced (13 FH, 11 BH)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

(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 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
Federer was...
- 8/12 (67%) at net, including...
- 2/5 (40%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 0/1 forced back

Djokovic was...
- 5/10 (50%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Decent and competitive first set, while after playing a poor game to get broken, Djokovic plays casually towards the end of the second. Court appears on the slow side and highly receptive to spin. While low of bounce, kick serves rise well just as slices cling low

Other than Fed's serve, nothing really stands out - either good or bad.

Federer serves with beautiful variety. There are hard flat serves and slower kickers and slices off both serves. The firsts are always near lines, the seconds are regularly placed wide too. Djoko appears to have no read on the serve and rarely gets 2 in a row of the same type. He mistimes a few returns for which, in this instance, I would credit Federer's constant change-ups

Its not a 41% unreturned serve court, as Djoko's 23% suggests... but that's what Fed gets. Much credit to Fed for a fluent serving display. Its good to see a high quality serving display that's based as much on variety and placement as power

Djoko mixes up his serves too. He's usually not powerful off first serves, but throws in the odd flat, hard one. Placement isn't nearly as good as Fed's... some slow-ish first serves, some fast-ish seconds. Not a bad approach on a court were its unlikely he could unduly trouble Fed with power alone. Still, Fed isn't taxed in making returns

Play is duel winged, classic baseline of nature, with cc exchanges dominating with occasional longline change ups. And mostly neutral shots. Fed's are about as heavy as Djoko's - and turn out to be more consistent (baseline UEs Fed 16, Djoko 24). That figure is biased by Djoko's end-of-match careless play (both players were likely to advance to next stage and match isn't played with all out vigour from either)

This 'careless phase' comprise the last 2 games where Djoko has 8 UEs to Fed's 3. Sans that, baseline UEs are Djoko 16, Fed 13... near enough even

There's more FH-FH rallies, and Djoko appears to be the one to implement it. He doesn't pointedly avoid BH-BH rallies but doesn't seem too interested in them either. He's quicker to bail on BH rallies by going BH longline than he is on the FH side. Probably just saving his strategies for a potential final

Fed's BH with match low 6 UEs. Usually, when he has small amount of BH UEs relative to FH ones, his UEFI tends to be high. Here, its a modest 46.5. He's not looking to attack with FHs... just rallying neutrally and seeing what comes up. Djoko does the same, directing action slightly more. His shots lack their customary consistent depth and are at times loopier and less flat than usual

Unusually, Djoko wins 67% second serve points to just 51% firsts. No real explanation for it. Towards end in particular, he looks for big groundies early in rallies and almost always misses. He's more apt to go for them off first serve points... as explanations go, its not comprehensive

In second set n particular, Djoko's success by serve type is drastic. He wins 5/20 first serve points or 25% but 7/8 seconds or 87.5%

Match Progression
Djoko has a break point in the opening game, but Federer serves his way out. Rest of the set is comfortable holds amidst varied, neutral rallies. Neither player looks to attack much

The break comes to end the set. The key points are Djoko missing a very unnecessary and ambitious FH winner attempt at 30-30. he saves the break point that follows but awhile later, fails to putaway an OH and goes on to lose the point to bring up a second set point for Fed

That turns out to be one of the best points of the match. A FH inside-in + dtl approach sees Fed take net advantageously. Djoko still manages to run down the ball and hit a very good BH cc pass, but Fed sublimely inside-out drop BH1/2Vs it for a winner

Players trade breaks at start of second set, both the product of errors from the server. Awhile later, Djoko wins a lively, open court rally with a BH dtl winner

Serving at 2-3, Djoko plays a poor game to give up the break. After that, he seems to have clocked out, hits carelessly both neutrally and going for low percentage winners early in rallies from regulation positions

Fed holds to love in a game he missed all first serves, but Djoko makes 4 errors - 2 of each side

The final game lasts 12 points but is also marked by similar play from Djoko. Fed does hit an excellently placed, loopy BH cc pass winner. And like the '19 match, Fed has a behind-back shot error - in this case, a pass attempt which doesn't miss by too much

Summing up, a nice little match. One senses that both players are holding back and unwilling to show their hand in light of a potential final. Top class serving from Federer, and he has the better of play even without Djoko phoning it in at the end

Stats for the rematch in the final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...end-championship-final-semi-final-2015.657245
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
I would never have expected that Novak had more winners than Federer in their 2019 encounter
Generally speaking, the higher the unreturned serve rate, the fewer winners (not counting aces)

And a large chunk of Federer's winners tend to be third balls - both easy ones set up by the serve and excellent shots to balls not obviously there to be putaway. At times, his FH almost seems to be working with the efficiency of a serve-volleyers first volley

Now, 57% unreturned serves is off the charts and with Djoko having just 15%, even not drawing as many weak returns or having Fed's shotmaking... in this case, I'd have anticipated Djoko having more

It is almost always the case that Federer has more winners than his opponent, whether he wins or loses
True

Djoko occasionally has more winners - French '11 is one I remember
Nadal did it in '06 and '07 Wimbledon
Berdych did it '12 Madrid

Fed's game isn't quite optimal for leading on winners though. His serve is strong enough to deny him chances due to relatively high unreturned rates

Who would have best chances of having more winners than Roger Federer? I'd think someone like Tsonga - who doesn't return consistently (thus denying Fed favourable oppurtunities) and who draws a good chunk of weak returns himself
---

The two guys I've looked at who probably score highest in winners per game on average are Jimmy Connors and Stefan Edberg

Connors got very few unreturned serves, hit a lot passing winners, came to net to volley winners and was just about the only guy who could hit winners somewhat regularly from baseline in his time

Edberg's absolutely optimal. Not too many unreturned serves, but he's at net to deal with whatever comes back and is killer on the volley

John McEnroe's up there too, but he tends to have higher unreturned rates
 
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