Duel Match Stats/Reports - Nadal vs Federer, Australian Open & Indian Wells semi-finals, 2012

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Australian Open semi-final, 2012 on hard court

Nadal would go onto lose the final to Novak Djokovic - the 3rd Slam final in a row .The semi result saw Nadal reach his 4th successive Slam final and he would go onto add a personal best 5th at the French Open. Federer was playing in his 9th consecutive semi at the event, a run that would continue 'til 11 in 2014 - 1 shy of Jimmy Connors' Open Era record 12 in a row at the US Open

Nadal won 146 points, Federer 130

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (109/141) 77%
- 1st serve points won (75/109) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (20/32) 63%
- Aces 4 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage* (37/141) 26%

Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (86/135) 63%
- 1st serve points won (57/86) 66%
- 2nd serve points won (27/49) 55%
- Aces 11 (1 not clean), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/135) 24%

(*Note: Federer incorrectly challenged a Nadal first serve that he had successfully returned. This has been marked an unreturned serve and an unforced return error)

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 15%
- to BH 79%
- to Body 6%

Federer served...
- to FH 28%
- to BH 72%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 97 (24 FH, 73 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 BH)
- 16 Forced (8 FH, 8 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (97/130) 75%

Federer made...
- 103 (22 FH, 81 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 33 Errors, comprising...
- *16 Unforced (8 FH, 8 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 1 incorrect challenge
-17 Forced (1 FH, 16 BH)
- Return Rate (103/140) 74%

Break Points
Nadal 6/16 (10 games)
Federer 2/6 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 28 (19 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)
Federer 31 (17 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 7 cc (1 not clean, 4 passes), 6 dtl (1 return, 2 passes), 6 inside-out
- BHs - 4 cc (1 return, 2 passes), 2 dtl passes and 1 inside-in return pass

- the FHV was played net-to-net, after bringing Federer in with a drop shot
- the OH was on the bounce, well behind the baseline and not a net point

Federer's FHs - 1 cc, 5 dtl (1 at net), 6 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl, 4 drop shots (1 net chord dribbler)
- BHs - 2 cc and 2 dtl

- from serve-volley points -
- 4 first volleys (1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (3 BHV)… 1 of which can reasonably be called a BHOH

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 65
- 29 Unforced (14 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)
- 36 Forced (14 FH, 20 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BHV1/2)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.5

Federer 76
- 55 Unforced (30 FH, 21 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)… the OH was off the baseline
- 21 Forced (14 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.5

(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...
- 3/12 (25%) at net, with...
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Federer was...
- 33/53 (62%) at net, including...
- 11/16 (69%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 8/13 (62%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/3 (100%) off 2nd serve
--
- 2/4 (50%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Good match on a medium paced surface. Nadal is near his best - returning is possibly the best I've seen from him against Federer on a faster surface, passing is top drawer (helped by some questionable approach choices) and ground game a good blend of solid and moderately attacking. Federer tries out some different things from the baseline - some work better than others, none of it obviously unwise - his execution is a bit off at times

Some background. Nadal had outdone Fed comfortably the previous year, especially at the Slams, but Fed had been undefeated since 2011 US Open (including trouncing Nadal en route to record 6th Year End Championship title). This match would have been considered wide open at the time

Fed starts very strongly. Not only is FH strong, but he's stepping up and driving BHs early. He breaks to go up 2-0 with a very powerfully hit BH cc winner off a Nadal slice. He's not overly aggressive, but with an attacking edge to his play, supported by good footwork and court coverage. Nadal doesn't falter either... and hits strongly, looking to move Fed about. He slightly gets the better his FH - Fed's BH battles... but less so than usual. This is down to Fed being more attacking with his BH... enough so to be damaging to Nadal (though Nadal retains the consistency advantage)

Fed's broken back in a poor game, with a couple of attacking FH UEs, a routine first volley miss and a poor first volley that leaves him open to be passed. Set goes on with easy holds til tiebreak

Good tiebreak from both. Fed gains the sole mini-break 2nd point with a return to the baseline that Nadal can't handle. Clever sneak in FHV winner and poised BH1/2V from Fed and a typical Nadal FH inside-out winner are other standout plays

Second set is strange. First two games are breaks to love - Fed breaking with strong play, Nadal breaking back 1/2 of strong plays (including a fantastic running FH cc pass) and 1/2 Fed making attacking errors in short rallies. Fed has break point awhile later, where he misses a low percentage, attacking FH dtl. Low percentage yes, but it was a reasonable shot choice... baseline balance was slipping away from Fed at the time, and making occasional low percentage attacking shots is normal for him. Nadal goes on to hold

And then breaks - in the best game of the match. 3 absolutely top drawer BH passes from Nadal - a yorking return ('yorking' is a cricket term... when ball, bat/racquet and ground all meet at same point), a cc from way outside court (Fed doesn't close down net, but dtl would have been easier from that position) and a dtl from well behind the baseline and while slightly off balance. Too good from Nadal

The game... seems to effect Federer badly, and he looks listless for awhile (there's also a 10-15 minute break a game after for Australia Day fireworks). Misses 4 routine returns next game. Is broken to love playing crap after that to lose the set. Loses first 7 points of third set to go down 0-40 (he gets it together to hold, finishing with pair of drop shot plays - 1 a net chord dribbling winner). Nadal wins 14 points in a row in the stretch

Fed breaks to go up 4-3 in a 12 point game full of tough rallies. Nadal breaks back at once - helped by a double, but with another excellent FH cc pass from way behind the baseline forcing an error, followed by strong FH inside-out forcing another

Fed plays a crap tiebreak to go down 1-6 with 4 UEs, but wins next 4 points (starting with a BH cc winner from regulation position - an example of the kind of odd low percentage shots he pulls off now and then), before Nadal's trusted FH inside-out forces error on his 5th set point

Nadal is stronger player in 4th set, regularly pushing Fed on return, who just about holds on. Last 3 games of match are great stuff. Fed has break point in game 8 - couple of points won with drop shot plays, a perfect BH dtl winner and a putaway FH inside-out half-courter bring it up. He misses this one to a hasty FH attempted winner - this shot choice wasn't a good one

Next game, is very strong moving-opponent around stuff from Nadal and net charging by Fed. Key point is another crazy running FH cc pass from feet behind baseline by Nadal - and Nadal breaks to leave himself serving for the match

He manages in a nervy 12 point game where he saves 2 break point. UEs from Nadal bring Fed to that point (along with some good deep returns), but the Swiss is careless on the first. Completely in command of point, he whips what looks like a point ending shot into corner and takes net. Nadal, not shockingly, somehow manages to dig out a defensive lob which surprises Fed (you'd think he'd be used to it, but apparently not), and Fed makes a hash of a retreated-from-net, neutral OH on bounce from the baseline
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Nadal's serve is fairly ordinary. Serving at very high 77% is indicative of that - you don't serve at that high a rate without the first serve being safely placed. Just 4 aces (and 1s a second serve - catching Fed out by being directed to FH, a common play of Nadal's). Fed rarely has to move much to reach the ball - and direction is predictable (79% to BH... which is actually low for Nadal. 85-90% isn't uncommon for him serving to Fed)

And yet he leads unreturned rate 26% to 33%

Federer does not return well of consistency. Almost all his 33 return errors were at least makeable, if not easy. 16 have been marked unforced, 17 forced. Most of the unforced were first serves... again, not gimme's but highly makeable

Just a natural error rate thing for all the misses... even against easy serves, every player will miss a certain percentage. Fed's is relatively high. But trailing unreturned rate to a guy who has a comfortable advantage in court skills leaves him in a very precarious position. To win match in this situation, he'd need to play important points particularly well, and hope Nadal falters on them. Needless to say, neither are common in matches between the two (in this match anyway, that isn't the deciding factor. Note break point stats - Nadal 6/16 in 10 games, Fed 2/6 in 4. More like Nadal being significantly better player in general than playing big points better)

Occasional good, deep returns to baseline by Fed but Nadal's very good at dealing with those. half-volleys them back like Fed himself does. Not a usual strong point of his game

Fed serves well enough. I don't think I've ever seen him serve badly over a whole match. At his best, he can exploit Nadal's deep return position by dragging him way off court. He doesn't do too much of that

Nadal's returning though, is outstanding. High consistency is normal for him but he gets a lot of balls back deeper than usual too. He needs to - Fed's quick to pounce on short balls of either wing... and its Nadal's deep returning that starts pressuring him to go for lower percentage attacking shots to regulation balls

On serve-return complex, Nadal has a lead and I would primarily credit Nadal's returning as the outstanding shot in it

Baseline
Nadal's ability to break down Federer's BH with continuous, heavy FH cc's is well known and begs an obvious question. If Nadal can do it to Fed, why can't Fed do it to him?

In general, I don't think Fed just cares for outlasting type dynamics of trying to break down a shot and prefers to go with point construction and 1-2 court opener-forceful shot combos. Second, in other matches he's tried FH cc - BH cc dynamics, Nadal bashes BHs back about as hard as the FHs coming down at him - and usually with slightly greater consistency. It doesn't even look like Fed attacking with FH cc's as it does a neutral, rally between strong groundstrokes

This match is the most persistently I've seen Fed try. Fairly successfully - though not as much as the other way around. Lots of FH cc's, a few FH inside-in's, even the odd BH dtl to the Nadal BH from Federer. And he has the better of play - clearly the more powerful of shot and often drawing feeble replies. 14 BH UEs from Nadal doesn't look too bad though (Fed has 21)… and Fed has a lot more FH UEs (30), though that's more to do with attacking plays gone wrong than steadiness duels with Nadal's BH. And he's able to pin Nadal to the BH corner... which is not at all easy. Generally, if Nadal doesn't want to hit BHs, he doesn't hit BHs... his footwork is too quick and runaround FHs too strong for it to be up to his opponent

Initially, Fed looks to step up and drive BH cc's early and hard. He makes errors so doing, and comes up second best in rallies along this diagonal, but it keeps Nadal from getting into a groove hitting FH cc. Not long before Fed retreats to neutral to passive BH cc'ing... with desperate attacking ones an attempt to escape being beaten down. If he's going to come off second best regardless, probably better to do so taking ball early with aggressive intent... wins more points that way and resists ceding control of points to his opponent. Timid in this area from Fed

FHs lead the way for both players - and Nadal's is the star shot of the match. It breaks down the Fed BH as ever with persistent cc shots and rains down point ending inside-out shots (also passes incredibly, more on that later)

As with the return, depth of groundshots from Nadal stands out - especially off the FH. As the match goes on, he starts hitting slightly wide of Fed with decent depth... moving Federer around. And when the ball isn't particularly deep (and even when it is, actually), the top spin FHs tend to bounce up to uncomfortable heights. Not many weak short balls from Nadal at all - and those there are are jumped on by Fed. To wrap up, if gaining enough of an advantage, he goes for FH kill shots. Occasionally, he throws 1 in that isn't quite there for the shot too. Its beautiful stuff... some of the best neutrally commanding play I've seen from him against a well-playing Fed

Fed moves well (couple of years on, many of his 51 groundstroke UEs would probably have been marked FEs because he'd have reached them on the move) and hits reasonably well on the run. Nadal just hits better and doesn't miss balls from neutral or slightly advantageous positions

Getting outmanuvered, Fed turns to going for low percentage attacking shots, especially off FH. He also goes for broke BH cc winners at times against Nadal's FH cc barrage. Rarely does it work... even when it does, Nadal's very strong in defence and movement and tends to cope with Fed's attacking shots

Note Nadal with 29 UEs to 36 FEs... a sign of what it took to get a mistake out of him (and a lot of the FEs are passes). By contrast, Fed has 55 UEs to 21 FEs... a combination of being pressured without being overwhelmed (on top of his natural, greater error proneness than Rafa

Fed is strong from advantageous positions, even against Nadal's strong defence. Goes to town on weak short balls, often coming to net. Another thing he tries out successfully is drop shots. Note the 4 winners with the shot - and Nadal being 3/12 at net, many of which were forced approaches. Nadal's strong returning minimizes the amount of time Fed has advantegous positions to start from and from neutral positions, Nadal is too strong for him as outlined above

Net Play
62% net points won by Federer, with 16 serve-volleys thrown in. He needs the edge net play potentially gives him because he can't take Nadal from baseline (and he's not winning enough cheap points with serve)

62% isn't bad, but not good enough. That's mostly down to Nadal being remarkable on the pass. The winners he hits... off FH, off BH, on the run, from 6+ feet behind the baseline, while off balance, from way outside the court etc.... are freakishly good

Fed errs some too. For one thing, he comes in a lot to Nadal's FH, particularly with FH dtl approaches. Even so, he comes in behind strong approach shots - in general, I think FH dtl is his best approach, though Nadal being a lefty makes that problematic. The choice is sub-optimal, but I'd still primarily credit Nadal's passing for the outcomes. Virtually no easy passes for Nadal, but he makes them anyway. No just-come-in-and-see-what-happens approaches from Fed (iow, he only comes in behind strong approaches)… the way Nadal passes against strong approaches, its doubtful mixing in chip approaches would have done much good

Fed's more effective coming in to BH. Large chunk of Nad's 20 BH FEs would be passes. The first break of second set, where Nadal hits 3 perfect BH passes probably scared Fed a bit from going to BH by default. He approaches more evenly after that and only returns to going to BH late in the match, after repeatedly getting burnt by FH passes

Fed's also a bit tentative in his approaches, unsure of whether to cover cc or dtl. Can't fault him too much for that either. Nadal goes both ways well, and seems to be able to do so with equal comfort. Nor is this a new thing. Fed got hammered in same way in Dubai '06. When broken in first set, Fed loses both serve-volley points behind the conservative down the T serve, which keeps Nadal in central position. But down the T is where Nadal's BH is in ad court. No easy solutions for Fed... coming to net isn't supposed to be such hard work

Good volleying from Fed... just better passing from Nadal. Full credit to him for how this aspect of the match played out
---
Summing up, great showing from Nadal - the returning deeper than usual and the passing, first class - to go along with bossy, consistent, moving-opponent-around baseline play. Some timid choices with approaches and BHs from Fed, but he plays decently and is just up against a stronger player

Stats for the final between Nadal and Novak Djokovic - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-djokovic-vs-nadal-australian-open-final-2012.635927/
 
Good job reinforcing the truth that one, Nadal was pretty much peak out there, and two, Federer made disappointing errors in bulk to facilitate Nadal's win and still kept it close. It has always been that both need to happen in order for Nadal to beat a decent Federer off clay. It's also true though that the pressure Nadal put on Federer to execute attacking plays extra well had much to do with it.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Federer beat Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the Indian Wells semi-final, 2012 on hard court

Federer would go onto beat John Isner in the final to claim a then record 4th title at the event. At present, he shares the record of 5 titles with Novak Djokovic. The event took place about a month after the Australian Open

Federer won 62 points, Nadal 50

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (36/56) 64%
- 1st serve points won (23/36) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (13/20) 65%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/56) 25%

Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (40/56) 71%
- 1st serve points won (23/40) 58%
- 2nd serve points won (7/16) 44%
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (9/56) 16%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 1%

Nadal served...
- to FH 6%
- to BH 93%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 45 (5 FH, 40 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 6 Forced (6 BH)
- Return Rate (45/54) 83%

Nadal made...
- 40 (9 FH, 31 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (40/54) 74%

Break Points
Federer 4/6 (5 games)
Nadal 2/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 19 (12 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)
Nadal 9 (4 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV)

Federer's FHs - 1 cc, 3 dtl, 5 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 inside-in/cc and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 3 cc

- the FHV can reasonably be called an OH and 1 BHV was the first volley off a serve-volley point

- Nadal's FHs - 1 cc and 3 inside-out
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass) and 1 dtl return pass

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 30
- 24 Unforced (12 FH, 12 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.3

Nadal 27
- 14 Unforced (3 FH, 11 BH)
- 13 Forced (4 FH, 9 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.6

(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
Federer was...
- 11/13 (85%) at net, including...
- 1/2 (50%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 0/1 off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve
--
- 1/1 forced back

Nadal was...
- 3/4 (75%) at net

Match Report
Strong combination of general attack and beating down Nadal's BH from Federer on a slow hard court and in windy conditions. He makes the match so that its almost completely on his racquet... you'd barely notice Nadal is there

Using the Australian Open match as a frame of reference, the court is slow (typical of the venue) and its particularly windy (though you wouldn't know that to watch the winner play). You can see Nadal's more defensive groundstrokes being blown off course. Apparently cold too - spectators are wearing jackets and both players put on their warm up tops during short delays, overcast and with a couple of rain short rain breaks

Federer's Play
Federer handles the windy conditions exceptionally well. He plays very aggressively while Nadal digs in to putting balls in play with top spin... you'd expect the wind to have a more negative impact on Fed's game, but it doesn't seem to. He just hits through it - mostly strong drives, not very top spinny

Fed does 2 things particularly well
a) attacks relentlessly - what he could only do when allowed in Australia. FHs are hit hard and deep for winners or with error forcing placement/power. BHs he steps in on and pounds too, or switches to dtl attacking shots with

19 winners to 24 UEs on such a slow court is very good, but roughly on par with Nadal's 9 and 14 (indicating he played well too) The real cincher are the 13 errors he forces out of Nadal (Nadal can only force 6 out of him)… most of these are strongly forced. There not going for winners is testament to Nadal's quality defensive play

b) beats down Nadal's BH with strong FH cc's, again in line with what was tentatively tried in Australia. This isn't 'outlasting' play where balls are hit routinely, its 'beat down' play where balls are hit powerfully

Note Nadal's high (for him) 11 BH UEs (Fed has 12). They get marked unforced, but some credit to Fed for them too... his 'regulation' FH cc's are heavy and well placed (they have to be to keep Nadal from redirecting). A few strong FH inside-ins too

Note huge gap in UEFIs... Fed 48.3, Nad 43.6. Fair reflection of how attacking each player was. Fed's number is particularly high given there are no volley errors (in fact, there are no volley or OH errors - unforced or otherwise - from either player in the whole match)

Along with all this aggression comes inevitable unforced errors. Even sans wind, 24 is a decent number for Fed... but with the wind, which stumps even Nadal on some routine plays, its exceptional. You wouldn't think it was windy to watch him play

Fed's in twinkle-toed footwork mode almost all match - always a sign he's playing well. Is able to back away to take FHs from his BH corner a combo of hitting well enough and quick enough of movement to make the sacrificed court position not a big problem. Also partially down to Nadal not going for much into open court

All of this of course, wouldn't be possible without consistent returning. 83% rate by Fed, against Nadal serving at 71%... good numbers even for a slow court. And with bounce being high, wouldn't have been surprising to see Nadal draw errors from his typical, to the BH heavy directed serving (he serves 50/54 serves there or 93%). Good return day from Fed

Nadal's Play
Decent from Nadal

Wind seems to affect him more than his opponent... I'd credit Fed for handling that well, rather than discredit Nadal. Would have expected both players to be effected... Nadal is, Fed doesn't seem to be

Serves about as well as he does and returns surely, highlighting that the latter was exceptional of depth in Australia

In play, he's conservative even by his standards but I thought it was both understandable and as a starting point, smart. On slow court and in windy conditions, playing more safely is normal. Would have been difficult to challenge for baseline command against Fed's very attacking play... and would it have been considered worth the candle? In the conditions, would have thought it more likely Fed goes on error-bender to fall behind than sustain pulling off attacking plays all match - but he does

Even when Fed fails to serve out match at 5-2, Fed remains not overly error prone... and its Nadal who has to step up and hit winners to get the break

This match also highlights how well Nadal passed in Australia. Fed's 11/13 at net and his approaches are almost exactly the same (i.e. strong) as Down Under. Failing to make passing shot winners would be normal in such circumstances (as happens here), not making them as happened in Aus. Fed does wisely approach more to the BH here though

Otherwise, Nadal's just outplayed and overwhelmed. His strategy seems to be keep ball in play and wait for Fed to falter - and its not a bad one in the conditions. All credit Fed for playing well to thwart it. Nadal actually executes his plan... but he'd need Fed's cooperation so to speak for it to come off

Summing up, high quality attacking-cum-commanding play from Federer in conditions not suited to such style. He takes it upon himself to make the match completely his own to win or lose - and delivers the goods. Nadal just along for the ride, and trailing behind throughout
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Australian Open semi-final, 2012 on hard court

Nadal would go onto lose the final to Novak Djokovic - the 3rd Slam final in a row .The semi result saw Nadal reach his 4th successive Slam final and he would go onto add a personal best 5th at the French Open. Federer was playing in his 9th consecutive semi at the event, a run that would continue 'til 11 in 2014 - 1 shy of Jimmy Connors' Open Era record 12 in a row at the US Open

Nadal won 146 points, Federer 130

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (109/141) 77%
- 1st serve points won (75/109) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (20/32) 63%
- Aces 4 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage* (37/141) 26%

Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (86/135) 63%
- 1st serve points won (57/86) 66%
- 2nd serve points won (27/49) 55%
- Aces 11 (1 not clean), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/135) 24%

(*Note: Federer incorrectly challenged a Nadal first serve that he had successfully returned. This has been marked an unreturned serve and an unforced return error)

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 15%
- to BH 79%
- to Body 6%

Federer served...
- to FH 28%
- to BH 72%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 97 (24 FH, 73 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 BH)
- 16 Forced (8 FH, 8 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (97/130) 75%

Federer made...
- 103 (22 FH, 81 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 33 Errors, comprising...
- *16 Unforced (8 FH, 8 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 1 incorrect challenge
-17 Forced (1 FH, 16 BH)
- Return Rate (103/140) 74%

Break Points
Nadal 6/16 (10 games)
Federer 2/6 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 28 (19 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)
Federer 31 (17 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 7 cc (1 not clean, 4 passes), 6 dtl (1 return, 2 passes), 6 inside-out
- BHs - 4 cc (1 return, 2 passes), 2 dtl passes and 1 inside-in return pass

- the FHV was played net-to-net, after bringing Federer in with a drop shot
- the OH was on the bounce, well behind the baseline and not a net point

Federer's FHs - 1 cc, 5 dtl (1 at net), 6 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl, 4 drop shots (1 net chord dribbler)
- BHs - 2 cc and 2 dtl

- from serve-volley points -
- 4 first volleys (1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (3 BHV)… 1 of which can reasonably be called a BHOH

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 65
- 29 Unforced (14 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)
- 36 Forced (14 FH, 20 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BHV1/2)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.5

Federer 76
- 55 Unforced (30 FH, 21 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)… the OH was off the baseline
- 21 Forced (14 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.5

(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...
- 3/12 (25%) at net, with...
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Federer was...
- 33/53 (62%) at net, including...
- 11/16 (69%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 8/13 (62%) off 1st serve and...
- 3/3 (100%) off 2nd serve
--
- 2/4 (50%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Good match on a medium paced surface. Nadal is near his best - returning is possibly the best I've seen from him against Federer on a faster surface, passing is top drawer (helped by some questionable approach choices) and ground game a good blend of solid and moderately attacking. Federer tries out some different things from the baseline - some work better than others, none of it obviously unwise - his execution is a bit off at times

Some background. Nadal had outdone Fed comfortably the previous year, especially at the Slams, but Fed had been undefeated since 2011 US Open (including trouncing Nadal en route to record 6th Year End Championship title). This match would have been considered wide open at the time

Fed starts very strongly. Not only is FH strong, but he's stepping up and driving BHs early. He breaks to go up 2-0 with a very powerfully hit BH cc winner off a Nadal slice. He's not overly aggressive, but with an attacking edge to his play, supported by good footwork and court coverage. Nadal doesn't falter either... and hits strongly, looking to move Fed about. He slightly gets the better his FH - Fed's BH battles... but less so than usual. This is down to Fed being more attacking with his BH... enough so to be damaging to Nadal (though Nadal retains the consistency advantage)

Fed's broken back in a poor game, with a couple of attacking FH UEs, a routine first volley miss and a poor first volley that leaves him open to be passed. Set goes on with easy holds til tiebreak

Good tiebreak from both. Fed gains the sole mini-break 2nd point with a return to the baseline that Nadal can't handle. Clever sneak in FHV winner and poised BH1/2V from Fed and a typical Nadal FH inside-out winner are other standout plays

Second set is strange. First two games are breaks to love - Fed breaking with strong play, Nadal breaking back 1/2 of strong plays (including a fantastic running FH cc pass) and 1/2 Fed making attacking errors in short rallies. Fed has break point awhile later, where he misses a low percentage, attacking FH dtl. Low percentage yes, but it was a reasonable shot choice... baseline balance was slipping away from Fed at the time, and making occasional low percentage attacking shots is normal for him. Nadal goes on to hold

And then breaks - in the best game of the match. 3 absolutely top drawer BH passes from Nadal - a yorking return ('yorking' is a cricket term... when ball, bat/racquet and ground all meet at same point), a cc from way outside court (Fed doesn't close down net, but dtl would have been easier from that position) and a dtl from well behind the baseline and while slightly off balance. Too good from Nadal

The game... seems to effect Federer badly, and he looks listless for awhile (there's also a 10-15 minute break a game after for Australia Day fireworks). Misses 4 routine returns next game. Is broken to love playing crap after that to lose the set. Loses first 7 points of third set to go down 0-40 (he gets it together to hold, finishing with pair of drop shot plays - 1 a net chord dribbling winner). Nadal wins 14 points in a row in the stretch

Fed breaks to go up 4-3 in a 12 point game full of tough rallies. Nadal breaks back at once - helped by a double, but with another excellent FH cc pass from way behind the baseline forcing an error, followed by strong FH inside-out forcing another

Fed plays a crap tiebreak to go down 1-6 with 4 UEs, but wins next 4 points (starting with a BH cc winner from regulation position - an example of the kind of odd low percentage shots he pulls off now and then), before Nadal's trusted FH inside-out forces error on his 5th set point

Nadal is stronger player in 4th set, regularly pushing Fed on return, who just about holds on. Last 3 games of match are great stuff. Fed has break point in game 8 - couple of points won with drop shot plays, a perfect BH dtl winner and a putaway FH inside-out half-courter bring it up. He misses this one to a hasty FH attempted winner - this shot choice wasn't a good one

Next game, is very strong moving-opponent around stuff from Nadal and net charging by Fed. Key point is another crazy running FH cc pass from feet behind baseline by Nadal - and Nadal breaks to leave himself serving for the match

He manages in a nervy 12 point game where he saves 2 break point. UEs from Nadal bring Fed to that point (along with some good deep returns), but the Swiss is careless on the first. Completely in command of point, he whips what looks like a point ending shot into corner and takes net. Nadal, not shockingly, somehow manages to dig out a defensive lob which surprises Fed (you'd think he'd be used to it, but apparently not), and Fed makes a hash of a retreated-from-net, neutral OH on bounce from the baseline
Medium pace? I think that was one of the slowest HCs I’ve ever seen, apart from Miami. I have no doubt Fed vs Nadal in this form on a fast court ends in 4 the other way. This match was decided by passing shots and defence pretty much.

That last point you described is typical of Nadal’s luck.

I don’t think I can watch that match again. That goes there with Rome 2006, AO 2009, RG 2011. I can’t watch the more attacking player broken down by passing shots. It’s like Barca/Bayern 2012 vs Chelsea.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
There's more than one way to carve a turkey :p
I just ended up watching the first 3 sets.

Good God the mental factor ran deep. We have forgotten because of what happened in 2017, but Roger just had a huge huge block against Nadal.

He outplayed Nadal for a set and a half, Tremendous offensive and didn't allow Nadal to dictate, and one 12 minutes break later he just gave up. Just because Rafa was starting to fight back. He would play some good points but inevitably cough up errors on shots he was easily hitting earlier.

Like his mind was just conditioned to give in to Nadal. As if he had accepted even if he could beat Nadal, doing so would mean going through a lot of grind and work. The sheer monumentality of the task brought his game down.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
I just ended up watching the first 3 sets.

Good God the mental factor ran deep. We have forgotten because of what happened in 2017, but Roger just had a huge huge block against Nadal.

He outplayed Nadal for a set and a half, Tremendous offensive and didn't allow Nadal to dictate, and one 12 minutes break later he just gave up. Just because Rafa was starting to fight back. He would play some good points but inevitably cough up errors on shots he was easily hitting earlier.

Like his mind was just conditioned to give in to Nadal. As if he had accepted even if he could beat Nadal, doing so would mean going through a lot of grind and work. The sheer monumentality of the task brought his game down.
It took him playing really well for a really long time to beat Rafa over 5 sets, it's remarkable he's found a way to play less rallies and take more time away from Rafa.
 
Top