Duel Match Stats/Reports - Nadal vs Djokovic, Monte Carlo & Rome finals, 2012

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 in the Monte Carlo final, 2012 on clay

It was Nadal's 8th Monte Carlo title in a row. Djokovic had won the pair's last 7 matches, including the last 3 Slam finals and clay matches in Rome and Madrid finals the previous year

Nadal won 54 points, Djokovic 32

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (25/38) 66%
- 1st serve points won (21/25) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (7/13) 54%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/38) 32%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (30/48) 63%
- 1st serve points won (12/30) 40%
- 2nd serve points won (10/18) 56%
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (2/48) 4%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 54%
- to BH 32%
- to Body 14%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 67%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 46 (20 FH, 26 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 2 Errors, both unforced...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (46/48) 96%

Djokovic made...
- 25 (16 FH, 9 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 3 Forced (3 FH)
- Return Rate (25/37) 68%

Break Points
Nadal 5/8 (6 games)
Djokovic 1/1

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 12 (6 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Djokovic 11 (6 FH, 2 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 4 inside-out and 1 longline/inside-out
- BHs - 2 cc (1 return pass, 1 at net) and 1 dtl

- 1 OH was on the bounce from just behind service line but has been counted a net point. the BHV was a drop inside-out

Djokovic's FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl returns (1 runaround), 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in at net
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 drop shot

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first volley BHV

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 18
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- 11 Forced (7 FH, 4 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.9

Djokovic 30
- 25 Unforced (14 FH, 11 BH)
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.2

(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 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...
- 6/6 (100%) at net

Djokovic was...
- 6/8 (75%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves
---
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
The most one sided of the pair's clay matches and Nadal's most thorough win on any. Nadal plays well, Djokovic plays poorly... more Djokovic poorly than Nadal well

Quick background. Djokovic had won the pair's last 7 matches - 4 Masters finals (2 on hard court, 2 on clay) and 3 Slam finals (1 grass, 2 hard court) and was clearly in command of the pair's matches going into this one
Recommended reading, the pair's 2 previous clay court matches from previous year - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...ovic-vs-nadal-madrid-rome-finals-2011.666819/

2011 Clay Matches
In the pair's matches in Rome and Madrid the previous year -

Nadal had...
- served powerfully but within Djoko's swing range
- returned consistently, at cost of damagingly. He got a lot of balls back, but many landed short and Djoko could wade into third balls
- been pushed on defensive from the baseline and was mostly the one counter-punching
- defended with vigour
- rarely came to net

Djokovic had...
- served normally, good serving without being overwhelming
- returned with authority but short of attackingly, occasionally missing makeable balls in the process
- bossed and dominated from the baseline
- defended stoutly (he wasn't on the defensive near as much as Nadal, but roughly about as good in this area)
- more willing than Nadal to come to net to finish points, though in light of him having many more chances to do, he didn't come in much

Off the baseline, which made up almost all action...
- key was Djokovic's BH cc. Holding up against the Nadal FH was a given... he was able to successfully attack the Nadal FH side with BH cc
- mixed in with Djoko FH inside-out to attack that side, including back-away shots when he was in command of points
- Djoko hammering FH cc's to beat down Nadal BH... and looking for FH dtl to finish points
- Nadal's shots, especially BH, caving a bit with unforced errors
- long rallies, which inevitably end when one or the other make an error. More often than not, Djoko, but not by much

This Match
Many changes from the previous year

Nadal...
- serves less powerfully and with high concentration to FH or body or body-ishly FH. Serves 54% to FH and just 32% to BH with the rest going to body
- returns as consistently as ever (more actually), but with significantly greater depth. Just two missed returns - 96% unreturned rate is joint highest I've seen
- of baseline style, Nadal's is prone to be less proactive from neutral situations, but is making a fight for command from the back (this is disregarding Djoko's crazy attacking stuff, which we'll get to in a bit)
- still defending with vigour. Not as necessary with Djoko spraying the ball
- looking to come in to finish points when there's a chance. he's 6/6 at net, including a lovely, touch inside-out BHV drop winner
- Very consistent. Just 7 UEs. Djoko has 25

Djokovic...
- serves well enough at 63%, but gets nothing out of it. just 4% unreturned serves and wins just 40% first serve points (including 0/7 in the second set). I'd credit Nadal's returning instead of discredit Djoko's serving, which is adequate and not intended to be a major, offensive factor. His serve isn't attacked by Nadal, its neutralized
- looks to return with authority. Doesn't manage too well. 68% return rate is below par and 5 UEs against just 37 serves falls under inconsistent territory for returning against Nadal's serve. What he makes, he does with authority though, neutralizing Nadal's advantage just as Nadal neutralizes his on the third ball
- plays terribly from the baseline. 25 UEs of every kind
- defends reasonably well. gives up a bit near the end
- looks to come in to finish points, with good success. He wins all but 2 points - of those he loses, 1 he's forced back for and the other is a serve-volley

Play - Baseline
In a nutshell, Djokovic is poor

He's missing routine shots (neutral UEs - Djoko 9, Nadal 5) and his attacking shots are all over the place. He's not setting them up as he had done a year ago, but going for them prematurely. This is particularly true of his moderately attacking shots (attacking UEs - Djoko 9, Nadal 2) and less so the highly attacking ones (winner attempt UEs - Djoko 7, Nadal 0)

He looks to attack Nadal's FH, but can't hit BH cc's effectively enough, so just falls back on back-away FH inside-outs. Its somewhat effective - he forces 7 FH errors out of Nadal, about half from the baseline, and has 2 FH inside-out winners, but misses at least as often as not trying. Also misses attacking BH cc's

Doesn't go after Nadal's BH at all, either with FH cc or BH longline

From Nadal's point of view, he hits with depth. This is new. In period '05-'08, he'd regularly drop the ball short... maximizing how high up his heavy top spin lifted the ball and was able to run down most attacking shots that his opponents went for

He's not quite as fast here, though still very good of court coverage. But he's not inviting attacks... the greater depth has a hand in thwarting Djoko's attempted attacking play. His average routine ball is heavier and more effective than earlier years for the greater depth

The BH is steady, but doesn't come under fire. The FH is strong - and dominates play as often as not. Good quick footwork too... note the 4 FH inside-out winners. He'd struggled to get these off the previous year, the court position sacrificed wasn't worth the offensive edge. With Djoko's attacks to the FH faltering on their own (with a bit of help from Nadal's greater depth), he's freer to attack with FH inside-out... and does so well

Greater willingness from Nadal to come in and finish points as well. Its a good addition... previous year, he was letting all kinds of chances to do so when having Djoko on the run, and with Djoko able to turn defence into offence so readily, it often cost him. And very able volleying

Match Progression
Decent first set. Rallies are relatively short, but nothing too bad from Djokovic

Nadal's consistency on the return - with good depth - and improved depth on regulation groundstrokes takes the eye. Understandable that Djoko would have collaring points as he had become accustomed to doing against Rafa

Djoko's broken in third game. Great running BH dtl winner from Nadal makes it 30-30 and two poor Djoko errors lead to the break. He's broken again to lose the set... this time mostly through bad, over eagerly attacking early errors

Nadal for his part had been solid-cum-challenging of play. Djoko, looking-to-take-charge but mucking up

Second set is a rot though. Nadal moves to 4-0 up with Djoko playing in similar vein to first set, but missing more and more and earlier. He doesn't win a first serve point or hold serve in the set, but breaks for the only time in the match to love. Only to be broken right back by the same score - Nadal blasting a BH cc return passing winner to the serve-volleying Djoko highlights the game. And Nadal serves out the match without trouble, finishing with his third ace

Summing up, one sided match. Nadal has adjusted his game to tackle the unique problems Novak Djokovic had presented him with, but Djoko being loose all over is the biggest factor in the result
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Summing up, one sided match. Nadal has adjusted his game to tackle the unique problems Novak Djokovic had presented him with, but Djoko being loose all over is the biggest factor in the result
Didn't help his grandfather, who he was very close to, had passed away days before, and quite honestly he should not have played that event, he was nearly knocked out in the third round also.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Nadal beat Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 in the Rome final, 2012 on clay

The match was a repeat of the previous years final, which Djokovic had won. This was Nadal 6th Rome title while Djokovic had been going for his 3rd. The pair had previously played the 2009 final also, with Nadal having won

Nadal won 76 points, Djokovic 67

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (40/69) 58%
- 1st serve points won (28/40) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (16/29) 55%
- Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (11/69) 16%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (47/74) 64%
- 1st serve points won (32/47) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (10/27) 37%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/74) 18%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 49%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 7%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 64%
-to Body 1%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 57 (29 FH, 28 BH), including 10 runaround FHs
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (57/70) 81%

Djokovic made...
- 58 (31 FH, 27 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- 2 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (58/69) 84%

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

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 14 (6 FH, 3 BH, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
Djokovic 20 (12 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV, 4 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc (1 pass at net), 3 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 lob and 2 running-down-drop-shots cc at net (1 finely angled, 1 regular shot)

- 1 BHV and 1 OH were played net-to-net
- 1 OH was on the bounce

Djokovic's FHs - 2 dtl, 8 inside-out (2 returns) and 2 inside-in (1 at net)
- BHs - 2 cc and 1 drop shot

- 2 OHs were on the bounce - 1 behind the service line that has not been counted a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 34
- 19 Unforced (14 FH, 5 BH)
- 15 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 FH1/2V)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.4

Djokovic 47
- 37 Unforced (16 FH, 18 BH, 1 FHV, 2 OH)
- 10 Forced (6 FH, 4 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.8

(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...
- 10/13 (77%) at net

Djokovic was...
- 14/22 (64%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Match Report
A very tough first set - up there with the toughest between the pair - followed by a somewhat loose one from Djoko, with Nadal pouncing at all the right moments

Serve & Return
First of all, Djokovic serve very strongly and has 9 unreturned serves out of 39. He doesn't serve much less strongly in the second for that matter (4 unreturned serves from 35)…. which highlights Nadal's ability to get balls back in play in general. The serve isn't just an obviously big step up from the Monte Carlo match where all but 2 serves came back, but also from Djoko's serving strength the previous year

Great serving from him and a great showing by Nadal to return 81% of it. Djoko's first serve gives him a strong initiative on third balls... some of the balls Nadal gets back would likely be aces against most players

Second serve is also good (i.e. not easy to attack). Nadal isn't interested in attacking them, just putting them back like clockwork. Which he does, often running around to hit FHs to do so. Djoko tends to retain a slight initiative off the third ball on these points. Nadal is returning with an eye for depth. The depth he gets is a step up from his returning in earlier years but regular enough by a normal standard. His returning is better described as "not short", as opposed to "deep"

Nadal's serve looks pretty ordinary, with few demons even in the first serves and Djokovic returns consistently and heavily. There are 2 winners and some deep returns to around the baseline. Generally, Nadal's advantage is near neutralized after the first serve return and regularly, Djokovic has taken the initiative with the return off second serves

In a nutshell, on the serve - very good from Djoko, normal from Nadal.
On return - good from both - Djokovic for controlling level of damaging as well as high consistency, Nadal for just the latter against strong opposition
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline (& Net)
To start, Nadal mildly contests for control off the baseline with moderately attacking, moving-other-guy-around FH shots. This doesn't last long and playing dynamics settle into Djokovic dictating and Nadal reacting

Djokovic's attacking play is limited to targeting the Nadal FH side with BH cc's and FH inside-outs; he barely plays to Nadal's BH, which is particularly strong. Nadal belts BH cc firmly and deeply.
Pretty soon, Djoko mostly drops BH cc'ng attacks too. They're not very effective and Nadal usually comes out on top by gaining the error out of the Djoko BH in cc rallies. Djoko's attack then becomes highly concentrated around FH inside-outs to the Nadal FH side

Fair bit of success for Djoko. Note the 6 FH inside-out and 2 BH cc winners, but he struggles to put points to bed in tough rallies. Nadal's 6 FH FEs are on low side, but the shot does get broken down a bit

14 FH UEs from Nadal (he has just 5 on the BH) indicates this somewhat. Its a bit deceptive because a large chunk of those are aggressive FH dtl shots. These are to balls Nadal typically prefers putting back in play cc, and playing a-who-blinks-first game. His choosing to go with the lower percentage, more aggressive option is a sign that he's uncomfortable on the defensive against Djoko's persistent pounding shots. 7 of Nadal's 19 UES are winner attempts, which is high, as is his overall UEFI of 47.4. It being higher than Djoko's 46.8 is deceptive in suggesting Nadal was the aggressor

Djoko is clearly the proactive, attacker in play... the UEFI is the way it is because he's also far more prone to missing neutral shots than Nadal (Djoko misses 17, Nadal 9)

Its these neutral errors that set Djoko back, though that's mostly in the second set. Among many long, tough rallies of Djoko attacking/Nadal counter-punching are odd short ones that end with an early error. Usually its Djoko who misses and that comes on top of naturally making attacking errors with Nadal defending with typical stoutness, forcing Djoko to go for more on his shots and play more of them

After first set is decided by a small number of key points that go Nadal's way, Djoko plays a lot worse in the second. He's more prone to regulation errors and not far off rash in his attacking. He also takes to hitting more drop shots and coming to net more

Nadal's offense is almost entirely FH based. With Djoko playing back away FHs, it leaves his FH side a bit open... and Nadal aims his own FH inside-outs there. Occasionally, he runs Djokovic ragged with a combination of FH cc's, inside-outs and inside-ins

Nadal's defence is tremendous as always. And again with greater depth than in the past, and with harder hit BHs in particular, perhaps discouraging any Djoko attempts to break that down. Djoko too is steadfast when he's run around by Nadal's FHs

Even by his standard, Djoko is poor on the OH. The 2 UEs of that shot were not only easy putaway shots, but he misses them by comical margins, hitting them into the ground on his side of the court. One of the balls he so misses was also clearly going out when he played the shot

Match Progression
Tough first set. After trading breaks to leave score 3-3, play seems to favour Djokovic. He's holding serve largely off the serve shot handing him advantageous starting positions, while all Nadal's service points look like 50-50 affairs. There are certain key points that go Nadal's way

serving at 3-4, 30-30 in a game filled with tough rallies he's on the defensive in, Nadal is again run all over but hangs in to extend the point. Djoko misses a FH winner attempt... he'd already hit several potential point ending shots in the rally only for the ball to keep coming back... and Nadal goes on to hold

At the same score in his next service game, the same situation comes up. A bad call leads to the point being replayed as Djoko was in command of the situation. And Nadal goes on to hold.

Next game, Djoko's placed at 40-15 having just hit 2 FH winners. A routine third ball error and a casual one sees the game to deuce, where another Djoko attacking and running Nadal all over point develops. It falls Nadal's way when Djoko misses an attacking FH to bring up break point. On it, Nadal makes one of many tremendous 'get' returns he makes in the game and early in the rally, plays a drop shot which he comes in behind. There he wins the net to net battle with a BHV winner... tremendous game off returning very strong serves and hanging tough while on the defensive from Nadal

Nadal breaks to start the second set, finishing up by running Djoko all over court before forcing a FH error. Djoko reaches 0-40 in the next game and another break point after that. Nadal save the first two with strong play - including his sole service winner, but Djoko misses the next two - a BH cc into open-ish court and a particularly poor FH dtl

Its the same story on Nadal's next service game. At 30-30, an in command Djoko hits a putaway smash into the ground on his side of the court. On break point, he misses a straightforward FHV winner attempt. On his second break point of the game, he misses an FH inside-out by a long way

Nadal breaks a second time to end the match, with Djoko double faulting on match point

Summing up, tough baseline match with Djokovic leading and Nadal reacting. About half the match is both playing very well and play is about even at such times. Djokovic's attacks are a bit too one dimensionally directed to Nadal's FH, which is just about able to see it off. The other half sees Nadal the better and more consistent off the ground
 
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