How to win if you are out-Aced 31-3? Win 70% of your second serves.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Raul_SJ, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    The rule of thumb, according to ATP stat analyst Craig O'Shaughnessy, is that you should be happy to win a bit more than 50% of points on your second serves.

    Nadal won 70% of his second serves. Huge serving Del Potro only won 51% of his second serves.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I never consider Delpo a top server as much like Murray, thay are both sketchy on the 1st serve and can't count on much for their 2ond serve. They are second tier at best and Imo you don't see Delpo's serving in the correct light per that post.
     
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  3. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    At least on that day DP first serve was on.. 31 Aces to 3. Rarely see someone lose with 77 percent points won and 31 to 3 ace gap. Granted Rafa equalled DP on first serve percentage points won at 74 percent... Was surprised to see the huge drop off on DP second serve. So either Rafa has an excellent return or DP needs to work on the second serve.

    If you were coaching DP is that the first thing that sticks out?
     
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  5. Dragy

    Dragy Semi-Pro

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    The stats shows mostly that Nadal is likely to outplay Delpo when not put under heavy pressure right off the start of the point. Takeaway for rec players - you cannot serve your way to win if you are outclassed in ground game. One still needs tools to at least challenge opponent through rallies.
     
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  6. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    It is weird that in that match his second serve percentage was practically equal to his first. That suggests he is leaving something on the table on the first serve -- you are supposed to be winning significantly more on first compared to second.

    Edit:
    Nadal's career is 58 percent on second(he is the best on second serve).So either DP did not attack his second or Nadal's second serve was on that day at 70 percent.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  7. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    This rule of thumb comes from a sample size of one match and an outlier at that. Which means it isn't much of a rule of thumb.
     
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  8. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    No. The rule of thumb 50% figure mentioned in the OP is that if you are winning more than 50% of your second serve you are doing pretty well.

    Nadal is one of the very few that can go well over that (he averages 58%). In this one match he was hot and won 70% on his second serves. Nadal pretty much had to get that high to overcome the huge 31-3 Ace deficit on first serves. Hence the title off the post: "How to win if you are out-Aced 31-3? Win 70% of your second serves."



    The sample size for the 50% figure is about as large as you can get. ATP Matches over 25 years.

    An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis identifies that only 222 players since 1991 have been able to make their second serve an asset – winning a minimum of 50.1 per cent of second-serve points played.

    It’s an astonishing metric since most of us hold the view that the serve in general is a dominant weapon. First serves definitely are, but second serves are absolutely not.

    https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nadal-second-serves-infosys-feb-2018
     
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  9. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Haha..that explains why I have survived all these years with a very mediocre serve. Well, I am working on my serve now.

    This has lead me to believe that in recreational level nobody has a meaningful serve that they can count on. I tend to laugh when people say "oh I just have to hold my serve" in the same vein of pro games.
     
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  10. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Thanks for posting the article. Having read it, I still don't think that winning >50% of second serve points is a rule of thumb. Since the second serve isn't usually a weapon (unless you're Isner), the way to win more than half of them is to be good in general. Which means the real rule of thumb is that to be good, you have to be good.
     
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  11. Bender

    Bender G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal's career has been based on hitting kick serves on both first and second serves...depending on how you define kick serves.

    For some, arguably most, a kick serve = topslice

    For others, a kick serve = some variation of a twist serve
     
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  12. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    Maybe I should state it this way:

    The rule of thumb is that the average pro should expect to win far less than 50 percent, and you should be happy if you are doing better than that.

    I was surprised to learn that the vast majority of pros are struggling to win 50 percent of points on their second serve.

    I would have expected them to kick it in and start the point with at least a neutral ball and easily break 50 percent. But it looks like pros really Attack the second serve.
     
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  13. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    It's hard to get an advantage when you only have one serve left. Since your serve has to land in the service box and you can only hit it crosscourt, it isn't much more effective than an underhand feed that can land past the service line. The returner doesn't have to attack the second serve, just neutralize it every time. The reason the pros hold most of the time is they can win most of their first serve points while breaking even on their second serve points. But they usually don't hit two first serves because they'd most likely win even fewer second serve points. For example, if their first serve in percentage is 50%, then by definition they can't win more than half their second serve points when hitting two first serves.
     
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  14. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    That's what I had thought. Returner neutralizes the serve and then the point starts out pretty even. And then I would expect a significant number of servers to reach 50 percent.

    Instead the stats say only 35 players out of ATP 200 were above 50% in 2017.
    https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/2nd-serve-points-won/2017/all/all/
    That means 83% fail to win 50%.
     
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  15. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    ...and winning more breakpoints
     
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  16. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    That's misleading because the top guys play more ATP matches than the bottom guys. Only 35 of them were above 50% second serve points won, but only 24 of them were above 50% second serve return points won. https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/2nd-serve-return-points-won/2017/all/all/
     
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  17. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    Yes, only 24 out of the ATP 200 were above 50%, so it is even worse than 35...

    As for number off matches played, don't think it is all that relevant when calculating second serve %, especially if we narrow it to just Top 100 instead of Top 200.
    I'm assuming the ATP "Second Serve Points Won" list requires some minimum # of matches played. Don't think a guy that is at 55% but only played <10 matches would be eligible to be listed on the "Second Serve Points Won" list.


    2017 #1 player Nadal played 78 matches.
    2017 #89 player Gilles Simon 41 matches.
    2017 #100 player Gerald Meltzer played 18 matches.

    http://www.espn.com/tennis/rankings/_/year/2017
     
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  18. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Only 24 of the top 200 were above 50% of serve return points won. Which means 176 of the top 200 were below 50% of serve return points won. Which means the opponents of 176 of the top 200, who are also mostly top 200 players, were above 50% of serve points won. Do you see the problem?

    To give a simple example of what's happening, imagine a tour of Federer playing king of the court against 10 challengers. Also imagine that on average, second serve points are won half the time. Since Federer is by far the best player, he'll win almost every match, giving him a lot of more matches played than any of his opponents. He'll also win most of his second serve points, whereas his opponents will lose most of their second serve points. So even though second serve points are won half the time, the only player with a winning record on second serve points will be Federer; the other 10 will have losing records. But like what I was talking about in my previous paragraph, Federer will also be the only one with a winning record on second serve return points.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'd say that he needs to improve his 2ond serve technique, which would also improve his 1st serve.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo what you have to realize for all but the 'best of the best' servers, is that you are just tipping the scales slightly in your favor when you're are serving. For most, it isn't just that big of an advantage based on the serve quality alone.

    So why can even avg rec players tend to hold serve? Besides the main point, which is that they are playing against other similar level rec players (so it tends to sort of avg out to a lot to some of the same issues as pros serving).....Other important factors are 1) being able to start the point on your terms with an overhead where you can control the balance and footwork.....2)you get to target the opponent's weaknesses 3) you get to avoid the opponent's strengths 4) serve to places that get the reply you prefer ...5)two chances to pull it off ....

    then you get the benefit of not being on the receiving end of these issues to start the point as well....so hopefully this illustrates how easy it is to tip the scales in your favor even with a very avg serve.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018 at 4:28 PM
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  22. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Interesting. Thanks for the info.

    I usually don't pay attention to serve holding strategies until I have to. My dubs are plain and simple, plus I don't have faith in my pickup partners that they understand a lot about holding serve. They only know that they have to serve well and hard to win point. That's all.

    When I'm in my competitive singles, I start serving strategically. I look for opponent's positioning, not miss weak return opportunities, etc. Singles is very interesting and subtle.
     
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo Dubs is the same with an extra layer....You should be serving to set up your partner instead of yourself. Know your partners strengths and prefs so that you can serve to make your net man be a major threat. That is when your Dubs serving should level up and holding should be more consistent. For example, if you can hit a strong kick that curves in to jam the body, this will often get the type of return your netman can really go after to finish with little threat of getting burned dtl.
     
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  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I lost an open-level match 7-6, 7-5 hitting 33 aces. What the opponent did was stand with his back against the curtain (indoor court) way over to his backhand side.
    He took away my two favorite serves, hard and flat to the backhand and big spin twist serve to the backhand. He could easily handle both those serves from that position. He forced me to go to my least consistent serve, slice wide to the forehand. When I could hit it, it was an automatic ace. If I missed it, he could get to my twist second serves. I only got broken once, but since I didn't break him, it was all that mattered.
    I was about to get married and hadn't been playing and practicing enough to play good tennis. I was I was so frustrated after that match that I quit playing competitive tennis for around 10 years.
     
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  25. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it's a bit confusing. I'll have to think about that... Might be useful to have more info, like how many less matches the lower ATP are playing compared to the top players, etc.


    More stats:

    The serve, often seen as a vulnerability in the women’s game, is a strength of most top men on the ATP Tour, which leads to striking statistical discrepancies.

    In 2016, only one woman, Serena Williams, won more than 80 percent of her service games; 35 ATP players broke that threshold. Seven women and 57 men won more than 70 percent of their first serve points. On second serves, six women won at least 50 percent of their points, compared with 57 men.​
     
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