Duel Match Stats/Reports - Nadal vs Djokovic, Indian Wells final & Miami quarter-final, 2007


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 in the Indian Wells final, 2007 on hard court

This was the pairs second match. It was Nadal's first title since the 2006 French Open (where he had beaten Djokovic in quarter-final), first at the venue and he did not drop a set all tournament. Djokovic was 19, playing his first Masters final, did not drop a set in reaching the final and the result saw him enter the top 10 for the first time

Nadal won 66 points, Djokovic 50

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (44/65) 68%
- 1st serve points won (32/44) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (14/21) 67%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/65) 22%

- 1st serve percentage (26/51) 51%
- 1st serve points won (20/26) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (11/25) 44%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/51) 24%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 2%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 71%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 37 (13 FH, 24 BH), including 7 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 5 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (37/49) 76%

Djokovic made...
- 50 (19 FH, 31 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 BH)
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (50/64) 78%

Break Points
Nadal 3/4 (3 games)
Djokovic 0/3 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 14 (10 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)
Djokovic 14 (9 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 5 inside-out and 2 drop shots
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc and 1 dtl return

- the FHV was a drop

Djokovic's FHs - 2 dtl, 5 inside-out (1 at net), 1 inside-out/dtl and 1 net chord dribbler return
- BHs - 2 drop shots

- 1 BHV was a drop

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 23
- 15 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH, 1 OH)
- 8 Forced (7 FH, 1 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

Djokovic 36
- 22 Unforced (11 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)… including 1 FH at net
- 14 Forced (9 FH, 5 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.5

(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 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
Nadal was...
- 3/4 (75%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Djokovic was...
- 9/15 (60%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
Fast start from Nadal coupled with poor serving from Djoko makes the first set a crushing, while the second is competitive with Djokovic swinging aggressively with FHs and raising his first serve in count to raise his level on a slow-ish court

In the blink of an eye, its 4-0 Nadal, with Djoko winning just 2 points. Strong FH hitting from Nadal allows him to command play and end points. Meanwhile, Djoko can't buy a first serve. He makes 2/9 in his first two games, and continues in that vein for the rest of the set though he manages to hold his remaining 2 service games. 5/19 first serves in for the set from Djoko. From 4-0, rest of set is all comfortable holds. Nadal lost just 3 points in his 4 service games in winning it 6-2

Second set though is tough. If anything, Djokovic edges play. Nadal is pushed to deuce 3 times - including an extended 14 point game where he has to save 3 break points. Djokovic is not taken to deuce but is broken at the end

In addition to raising his first serve in count - he's 21/32 for the set - Djoko plays more aggressively. Probably a bit too aggressively... he's swinging passionately if not quite wildly off the FH, and its unlikely that wouldn't sooner or later lead to his making a bunch of errors. Nadal meanwhile, is typically strong in defence and even Djoko's full blooded FHs tend to come back and force the teen to hit another similar shot

The extra attacking play is necessary though, because playing neutrally, Djoko was being taken apart by the Nadal FH

Djoko has 3 break points in game 4 in a choppy game. He's got his return going and hits some strong shots off it to neutralize Nadal's initiative or grab it for himself. Baseline action is tough, if somewhat choppy. Djoko's best chance to break is the last of his break points. The two get into a tough rally, centered around Djokovic FH - Nadal BH. It goes on for awhile, Nadal not giving an inch but Djoko the more powerful... Djoko goes for a drop shot to finish the point, but nets it

Djoko swings harder with FH from thereon and reaches deuce in his next two return games too. Nadal gets break in game 11 with Djoko missing attacking groundstrokes after meaty rallies to go down 0-30. An attempted big second serve leads to double fault and then Djoko starts taking net. He's successful on first break point, but is passed BH cc to give up the break. And Nadal serves out the match comfortably

Serve & Return
Nadal's serve looks fairly strong and the court is such that it rises as high as Djokovic's head at times. Djoko struggles some to return with authority. He makes a few errors of the kind one didn't see from him in years to come, but also wades into a few, sending them back. Not consistently though

There's a very interesting discussion between the commentators about the best way to tackle Nadal's serve, particularly the second. Darren Cahill and Pat McEnroe on one side thinks its best to fall back and let the heavy spin take its course before striking. Cahill claims that in his 2005 match with Nadal in Canada, Andre Agassi, who he was coaching at the time, found it difficult to cope with the spin taking it early and had more success when he fell back. On the other side, Pam Shriver opines that its best to take it early before the spin lifts the ball too high for comfort

Not sure who's right. In this match at any rate, Djoko seems to do better falling back a bit. Generally, he'd come to be more successful taking it early. Nadal's serve has undergone more changes over the years than just about anybodys… its an interesting to keep track of. In this match, Djokovic is a bit uncomfortable with it

Terrible serving by Djokovic in first set to tune of 26% first serves in is ably and consistently returned by Nadal. Returns are fairly deep and popping up high, making third ball awkward. In second set, Djoko finds his range on the serve. Taking something off the first but hitting relatively big second serves, the first shot is effective

Nadal continues to return consistently. Notable is the comfort with which he handles shoulder to head high balls. When Djoko throws in a surprise serve-volley, Nadal passes him with the return without trouble

Play - Baseline & Net
Initially, Nadal takes charge with FHs. crosscourt or inside-out are both effective - the cc's bullying and the inside-outs often point finishing. Typical speedy footwork allows him to play FHs as and when he wants. The BH though is relatively prone to error (by his standard, anyway). In this part of the match, Djoko is just bossed about from the back

After Djoko finds his first serve, he has more success. He starts swinging hard with his groudies, almost exclusively with FHs. You wouldn't notice the BH at all if you weren't looking for it... he looks a typical, attack-with-FH-hold-steady-with-BH type player

However, even straining to be aggressive, he's just about even with Nadal, who is playing his natural intense game without undue effort to be commanding. And Nadal's foot speed is as impressive as his footwork and he's able to reach many a very hard hit ball placed away from him. The defensive retrieving is down from his best though (meaning not many near impossible gets), though very good by normal standards

Straining so, it seems likely the attacking errors will come from Djoko eventually. And they do but at a trickle. Note very high 49.5 UEFI. 15/22 of his UEs were at least attacking shots. He did well to be as consistent as he was taking such big cuts

The key difference in play would be the FEs. Djoko can only force 8 errors out of Nadal, despite going near all out to. Nadal gets 14 out of Djoko, playing within himself. Coupled with Djoko being less consistent off the ground, it gives Nadal a fairly comfortable cushion of superiority

Djoko also takes to net a bit to enhance his attacks. He does not volley well and can't finish points that were there to be finished. And Nadal hits heavy passing shots when given chance

Two biggest differences in play -
- Nadal playing naturally but intensely, while Djokovic strains for aggression... damage done by aggression about the same but errors made trying higher for Djoko
- Defensive ability. Nadal's is excellent. Djoko's is ordinary in the match

Summing up, competitive second set after a bad show from Djokovic in the first. With Djoko being attacking about on par with Nadal being normal of offense, but trailing significantly defensively, Nadal comfortably the better player

stats for '05 Canada final between Nadal and Agassi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...al-vs-agassi-canadian-open-final-2005.649725/
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Hall of Fame
Djokovic beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the Miami quarter-final, 2007 on hard court

Djokovic would go onto win the title, beating qualifier Guillermo Canas in the final. It was his first Masters title and first win over Nadal. To date, he has won the event 6 times - tied with Andre Agassi for most

Djokovic won 65 points, Nadal 54

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/65) 69%
- 1st serve points won (29/45) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (15/20) 75%
- Aces 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/65) 26%

- 1st serve percentage (40/54) 74%
- 1st serve points won (28/40) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (5/14) 36%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/54) 33%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 65%

Nadal served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 58%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 35 (12 FH, 23 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (35/53) 66%

Nadal made...
- 48 (17 FH, 31 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (48/65) 74%

Break Points
Djokovic 3/7 (4 games)
Nadal 1/5 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 13 (6 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
Nadal 18 (12 FH, 1 BH, 4 FHV, 1 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 1 cc running-down-drop-shot at net, 1 dtl and 4 inside-out (1 return)
- BHs - 1 cc pass at net and 1 drop shot

- 1 BHV was a drop

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc, 3 dtl (1 pass), 4 inside-out, 1 longline and 2 drop shots
- BHs- 1 cc return

- 2 FHVs were swinging shots hit well behind the service line and not net points. 1 was inside-out
- 1 OH was net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 18
- 13 Unforced (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 OH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.2

Nadal 34
- 21 Unforced (11 FH, 10 BH)… with 1 FH at net
- 13 Forced (8 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHOH)
- 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...
- 13/17 (76%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 0/1 forced back

Nadal was...
- 3/6 (50%) at net

Match Report
Using the Indian Wells match as a frame of reference, Djokovic's upped his showing on serve and consistency of groundstrokes, with the BH being particularly better in all ways. Nadal plays badly, making plenty of errors, as often as not in short rallies

The overall match stats are amusingly deceptive

- Nadal with high 33% unreturned serves. Its a slow court, slower than Indian Wells. That's a high number
The reason for it is Djoko returning inconsistently. Note 8 UEs, 8 FEs. Most of the UEs are against first serves - doesn't have to move and can just take a swing at them. And Nadal's serve isn't particularly strong. Highly makeable returns that he misses. Maybe still coming to grips with spin on them, but for every one he misses, he bops back a few with authority. But... the number is 33% unreturned, which is high. It makes Nadal look like some kind of big server

- First serve points won - Djoko 64%, Nadal 70%
Usually, you see the bigger server with the better number in this area. The opposite of what happens here
Djoko serves big, some huge first serves. His out acing Nadal 7-2 is a good indicator of the relative strenght of serve. But Nadal is adept at getting big serves back, albeit weakly. Djoko frequently can run up to service line to pound a near moonball return that's just been poked back in play somehow. Whereas Nadal's regulation first serves are missed by Djoko's return

- Second serve points won - Djoko 75%, Nadal 36%... the strangest number of all
Usually, second serve points won is a good indicator of quality of court play. 75% is tremendous, 36% is god awful. That's actually not wholly misleading for this match. Nadal is poor and error prone ('god awful' would be an overstatement though). Djoko is fairly solid, but not near what this stat makes it appear
The explanation for this stat is mostly Nadal's poor play

Taking the three points above in conjunction with Nadal's 18-13 lead in winners and his trailing Djoko 13-21 in UEs (i.e. Nadal makes 21 errors, Djoko 13)... the stats make Nadal look like some kind of big serving, highly attacking, but loose player... almost the exact opposite of what he is and how plays in the match

The actual picture of play in in secondary stats, hidden away, like aces (Djoko 7, Nadal 2), FEs (Nadal 13, Djoko just 5) and UEFI (Djoko very high 49.2, Nadal moderate at 45.2)... these are not numbers you'd see from a big serving, highly attacking but loose player

Key Differences from IW match
- the Djokovic BH. In Indian Wells, it was non-descript. Here, its impressive. Up against the Nadal FH, it not only holds up but gives as good as it gets. Djoko pounds BHs both cc and dtl. This is very important because Nadal's ability to boss or command play is virtually entirely tied to his FH

With Djoko thwarting it, it leaves Nadal at a loss offensively. In the context of his game, that leaves him with remaining uber consistent (i.e. not giving away any cheap points) as an option for playing well. And he isn't able to do that

- Nadal's inconsistency off the ground. This is probably the worst showing from Nadal I've seen on this front.
Getting thrashed on court happens to him from time to time - examples against Djokovic include Australian Open 2019 and Doha 2016 - but he never beats himself; just remains too passive - he's solid, but overwhelmed by better attacking play at such times

Here though... he plays genuinely badly. Just makes routine errors in short rallies regularly. Off both wings (11 FH, 10 BH). He even takes to slicing a lot of BHs, but makes the odd error doing that too... and Djoko has no trouble dealing with the shot on this high bouncing court

- Djoko's defence is up from IW match. He scrambles and keeps points going when on backfoot. Slower court probably helps, but a distinct improvement from previous match

Nadal's defensive game is better still, which is strange to see. He's missing regulation balls, but when on backfoot, is running things down and somehow putting them back in play even better than at IW. Again, slower court helps and also again, better than IW (he's also on defensive here much more often since he's not able to dictate with FH near as much)

- Djoko's serve. Superb serving from him. Some big, fat first serves that only Nadal's tremendous defensive ability is able to get back and almost always weakly. From there, Djoko can hit a big, fat groundstroke (usually FH) and usually from well inside the court. Very good second serving from him too. 0 double faults and nothing easy to attack
In first set, Djokovic breaks first in game 4. There's a superb running-down-drop-shot at net angled winner from him and he seals the break with a heavy BH cc to force an error after being on defensive for most of the rally. But the key point is Nadal missing a half-tracker FH winner attempt

Nadal breaks right back in an error riddled game by Djoko, but the credit is mostly Nadal's; he defends like the dickens in the game to draw those errors. But is broken again the game after and this time, its just a bad game from him. 3 third ball BH UEs in it. Djoko jumps on short ball FH inside-out to force an error on break point. And holds serve to see the set through

Few interesting points. Nadal lashes a swinging FH volley winner from near the baseline. He'd hit another such shot later... not the type of thing he does often. Djoko whiffs a BH that goes through for a Nadal winner. And a great BHV winner on set point by Djoko to a powerful, wide ball

In second set, both players survive 12 point games to hold. Some very tough rallies in this part of the match and Nadal starts slicing BHs as he finds he can't take charge from baseline. Djoko gains the break in game 5, a poor one from Nadal with 4 errors - 3 of them in short rallies

Nadal plays some of his best tennis of the match as Djokovic serves for it. He's able to fend back big serves, scamper on defense and counter to take initiative himself, but Djoko has enough to save 3 break points and see the match out. He's quite emotional about it. After winning an intense point where he was forced back from net, reapproaches and needs multiple OHs to end the point, he looks like he's crying. And upon sealing the match with consecutive aces, he falls to his knees, again looking close to tears

Summing up, solidly strong off the ground from Djokovic, with very good serving thrown in. A much better showing then previous match. More than that though, a poor match from Nadal, who very uncharacteristically struggles to keep ball in court
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