Match Stats/Report - del Potro vs Federer, Indian Wells final, 2018


Hall of Fame
Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) in the Indian Wells final, 2018 on hard court

To date, it remains del Potro's only Masters title. Federer had recently won the Australian Open and was going for an event record setting 6th title

del Potro won 122 points, Federer 108

Serve Stats
del Potro...
- 1st serve percentage (72/115) 63%
- 1st serve points won (54/72) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (29/43) 67%
- Aces 8
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/115) 30%

- 1st serve percentage (70/115) 61%
- 1st serve points won (52/70) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (24/45) 53%
- Aces 11
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/115) 28%

Serve Pattern
del Potro served...
- to FH 25%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 9%

Federer served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
del Potro made...
- 78 (28 FH, 50 BH)
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH)
- 12 Forced (6 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (78/110) 71%

Federer made...
- 80 (20 FH, 60 BH), including 3 runaround FHs, 2 return-approaches & 2 drop-returns
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (3 FH, 8 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 15 Forced (5 FH, 10 BH)
- Return Rate (80/114) 70%

Break Points
del Potro 2/5 (3 games)
Federer 1/4 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
del Potro 32 (22 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BHOH)
Federer 39 (26 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)

del Potro's FHs - 5 cc (2 passes - 1 return, 1 at net), 1 cc/inside-in, 4 dtl (1 at net), 4 inside-out, 6 inside-in, 1 longline and 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl pass at net
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 2 dtl (1 pass) and 1 inside-out return

Federer's FHs - 5 cc (2 returns, 1 pass), 1 cc/inside-in, 4 dtl (1 pass), 7 inside-out (1 pass, 1 at net), 4 inside-in, 2 drop shots and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 cc/longline pass at net (that hits del Potro) and 3 dtl

- 6 from serve-volley points
- 4 first 'volleys' (3 BHV, 1 FH at net)
- 2 second 'volleys' (1 OH, 1 FH at net)... the FH at net was a running-down-drop-shot

- 1 from a return-approach point, an OH

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
del Potro 36
- 24 Unforced (16 FH, 6 BH, 2 BHV)
- 12 Forced (6 FH, 6 BH)... with 1 FH at net & 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.3

Federer 51
- 38 Unforced (27 FH, 11 BH)
- 13 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.9

(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
del Potro was 13/26 (50%) at net

Federer was...
- 25/31 (81%) at net, including...
- 9/11 (82%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 8/9 (89%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
- 2/2 return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
This match has it all - high quality aggresive tennis from both players, high tension, twists & turns and it all comes down to the wire. Also, an uncharacteristically involved crowd and some testiness from the players - especially Federer. It ends up a who-plays-big-points-better affair. Court is on slow side judging by Delpo's relatively comfortable, unrushed returning, but both players are able to attack from the baseline

Delpo has a match point in the 2nd set tiebreak, where he's lined up his favourite FH inside-out to a soft ball. He doesn't go all in on the shot but nets it. Federer goes on to claim the set on his 5th set point (he'd double faulted on 1 of his earlier ones) 2 points later when Delpo misses a slighthy below net but routine enough volley to level match at 1 set all

Federer, who's largely ineffective on return all match, snatches a late break with bold play to leave himself serving for match. And reaches 40-15 so doing. In all, he has 3 match points in the game but ends up being broken. 2/3 of his match points he loses are drop shot related - once netting a risky one, the other Delpo runs down and slaps away for a winer at net

Fed makes 6/12 first serves in the game. Prior to it in the set, he'd made 17/21. Granted, he only wins 3/6 first serve points (and loses last 3 in row to end the game). Prior, it'd been 14/17.

Very poor deciding 'breaker from Fed as Delpo sweeps through it to lead 5-0, and finishing soon after

Just 1/8 first serves in by Fed in remaining game and the 'breaker after being broken serving for the match. Including 2 of double faults in the 'breaker (+1 early in serving for the set). He has just 2 others for rest of match

With so many tense moments, it's the big points that seal the matter. And there are enough of them for pattern to emerge (as opposed to 1 or 2 deciding shots that are overgeneralized to be labelled 'clutching' or 'choking')

Fed chokes on them, more clearly than anything clutch from Delpo

On whole, Delpo is better player - he wins 122 points to Fed's 108, with number of points served dead even. That lead is based on the first set. Next 2 are both even

Before and all around the tense ending is general match action. And its excellent

Delpo plays his irresistible FH power game and his BH is very steady in firm hitting
to support it. Fed's showing is a vintage one from his heyday of whipping FHs to take charge of and finish rallies. With a couple cherries on top in net play and drop shots

Delpo's standard is level. Fed's isn't. He's poor for set and a bit though moving on twinkly feet and looking to dictate with the shot. Thereafter, he's top notch. Delpo's forced to up his game to keep up, which he does

Both players finish with more winners than UEs. Uncommon, especially in slow conditions. Winners/UEs read -
- Delpo 32 winners, 24 UEs
- Fed 39 winners, 38 UEs
.... with FEs virtually same (Delpo 12, Fed 13)

FHs the star for both player. Figures read -
- Delpo 22 winners, 16 UEs
- Fed 26 winners, 27 UEs

Fed's looking to whip FHs to take charge from neutral positions and then finish points via adventurous shot making all match. Early on, he fails. Upto a certain point in Set 2, Game 7, Fed's FH has 8 winners, 15 UEs (with winners including a net chord dribbler and a first 'volley' FH at net serve-volleying). So for rest of match, 16 winners, 12 UEs

Early FH sloppiness from Fed's FH largely loses him first set, so heavy price of it is covered. There after, its top notch - as is Delpo's. Its an old school match of dictating and destroying off the FH by Fed and credit to him for sticking to it beyond poor start. So many Fed easy to criticize overaggressive fails from Fed, so worth praising his persistence in attacking when he comes through the poor phase (especially since he goes on to lose)

FH shot making aside, Delpo looks to stay secure on the BH. Fed too on the whole, but he is more apt to try to be more aggressive off that side too. Subtantial BH UE advantage for Delpo 6-11 (both also have 4 winners)

6 UEs is great outcome from Delpo who hits firmly off that side. Fed largely eschews slicing. In general, he's at his best when testing taller, slower moving players with low slices and Delpo certainly fits that description. No attempt by Fed to try though. Seems to fancy the hitting shoot-out - 1 of the less bright things he tends to do on occasion

Beyond the basic groundies, Fed serve-volleys regularly and uses drop shots to attack. Delpo's not net shy either, without coming forward being an objective

Delpo's 13/26 or 50% at net - 6 winners and 2 volley errors (both UEs, not too easy). About a 4th of those approaches would be to deal with Fed's drop shots. He's good when coming in on his own terms

Fed's near flawless 14/18 rallying to net, along with 9/11 serve-volleying and 2/2 return-approaching. He comes in with great judgement - nothing overwhelming, nothing foolhardy - isn't overly tested on the difficult volley, but his finishing against regulation net high balls as well as more comfortably over net ones is near flawless. Good lot of just covering net after drawing Delpo in with a drop-shot involved. Just 1 volley error (an FE) to go along with 10 forecourt winners

Play in a group of nutshells -
- both firing with FH - Fed actively looking to, Delpo in his calm matter-of-fact way - both succeeding (Delpo consistently, Fed by parts)
- Delpo steady and firm on the BH to commendable degree, Fed less so while looking to trade hits (as opposed to more crafy slicing) and occasionally, be aggressive
- Fed augmenting his FH led attacks with serve-volleys and approaches with beautiful, near flawless net play and drop shots (successful, but less so). Delpo largely limits offensive to FH and isn't particularly aggressive in other ways, though he volleys well enough when he chooses to too
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Hall of Fame
That leaves serve-return complex and the standout is Fed's returning, which isn't good

Both serve well enough. Its comfortable court to return on. Delpo's serve is hefty of force but doesn't hit his spots. Fed is about as hefty - and does hit his spots when he strives to. In swing zone or can-be-reached-with-a-step first serves mostly qualify as unforceful on this court (i.e. they're marked UEs when returners miss)

Fed takes returns early. And its not a good move. In first set, he tries taking even first serves around baseline - and keeps missing. Thereafter, he steps back against first serves (still not too consistent in getting them back in play), but takes 2nd returns from inside-court

Only he's pushing returns back in play. The potential advantage of taking returns early is in rushing the serving on third ball, at cost of having less time to make the return

Way Fed returns, he's got the disadvantage but with the push returns, not the advantage. And getting rushed on the return (due to being too close in, not raw pace of serve) is a problem for him. 11/26 or 42% Fed return errors have been marked unforced - and good chunk of hte 15 FEs are on makeable side too

For that matter, 9/21 or 43% of Delpo's have been too. He returns normally from a normal position, missing odd regulation returns. But the FEs he has are to considreably stronger serves

Delpo leading unreturned rate 30-28% - despite Fed leading aces 11-8 and double faults 5-1 (as in, Fed has more) - speaks to Fed not returning particularly well. Fed does have the better, more precisely placed serve - and its often enhanced with serve-volleys. With equal calibre returning, he'd expect to have advantage on the unreturneds

The soundness or otherwise of Fed's early return choices is open to interpretation. If he can hold regularly (and it ends up he can), he needs just 1 game for it to come off to win sets. In that light, its not a bad ploy. If he can't hold regularly, it'd be a foolish one

This is a server-dominated match, with break points in just 5/34 games. Its slow enough that that's surprising. Less so given both players obviously being far better attacking than defending. And Fed in particular goes out of his way to be aggressive. He's often a third of way to service-line when Delpo's return comes back, looking for point ending or at least taking charge FH

In that light, not necessarily bad returning choice from Fed. He's backed himself to hold regularly - and succeeded. And he gets the 1 good return game he needs to break and serve for the match

Indian Wells crowds are usually staid. This one isn't. Sounds more like a raucous US Open crowd. Delpo complains about a section behind him on a particular side that are making noise only when he's about to serve. @BeatlesFan - any personal experience on this? Delpo is not a happy bunny

Compared to Federer, he is. This is the testiest I've seen the usually relaxed Fed. He's snapping at and angrily engaging the Chair, usually nonsensically. Pretty hard on himself too. After mishitting a difficult deep BH, he testily mutters to himself and does self-mocking, dunce/'spastic' imitation of his effort shot. I can't recall a similar reaction from him. Something about Delpo seems to bring out this side of him, he's often testy in there matches

Match Progression
Just the 1 break in first set, a sloppy game from Fed with 3 UEs off the ground and Delpo coming in to hit a BHV winner. Otherwise, Delpo fires with his FH which is nicely set up by his hefty serve. Fed tries taking returns early and isn't very good at it, giving up unnecessary errors or only fending ball back weakly. Fed looks to take charge with FH at first chance to an out of period extent. Good lot of sloppiness trying, but it works well enough to allow him to hold reasonably comfortably

In second set, Fed moves back a bit to take first serve returns and still struggles to put returns in play. There's room for improvement in his returning, but about his standard. Still takes 2nd serve returns early - and continues missing fair few without doing damage on the ones he makes to compensate. About half way in, his FH tightens up (in the good way) and for rest of match, its firing on all cylinders without the sloppy misses. Delpo continues playing the same, controlled way

Fed holds opening game saving 2 break points - 1 with a serve-volley unreturned served, the other by forcing BH error. More imporantly, down 0-30 he's able to half-volley redirect a bullet return from Delpo dtl for a winner

Delpo's down break point (also, set points) for first time serving at 4-5. Fed runs around to strike hefty FH return on the first. Thoroughly unbothered, Delpo smacks it away FH cc for a winner. A typical Delpo FH

The serving is good and the returning not, in the tiebreak and 11/18 points end without a rally (including a double fault), including 4 missed 2nd serve returns. 7 points on the run end with unreturned serves (including the double fault) starting with Fed up 5-3 with a serve to come

Fed's ahead for most of it, after passing Delpo FH inside-out after drawing him to net with a defensive BH slice. Fed double faults on set point on his serve after a slight delay between serves (his first serve had been called an ace, overturned on challenge). Delpo has his only set point at 8-7. He makes the return, a rally develops, he's got a FH inside-out lined up but misses. Fed goes on to take his 5th set point of the 'breaker (and 7th in all) when Delpo can't handle a makeable BHV marked a UE

There's a flurry of winners from both players at start of the decider, after a tough first game, 18 winners fly by in 5 games (including 3 aces). Things reach a head with Fed breaking for the first time in a strong game, ending with a hefty return-approach forcing a BH pass error (other points he wins include winners from BH dtl and a drop shot point ending with Fed BHOH net to net winner)

Fed fails to serve out the match, blowing 3 match points along the way. Drop shotting mistakes - 1 a very ambitous shot he misses, another that's run down and dispatched - account for 2 of the match points lost and the third is a typical Delpo FH inside-in winner. Delpo breaks with another typical brute FH cc winner from a regulation position.

Very poor tiebreak by Fed, who double faults twice and makes 3 UEs off the ground. Delpo helps by smacking a BH inside-out return winner to move ahead 3-0 (after Fed's first double fault) and takes it 7-2

Summing up, a great match of the aggressive, action packed variety. del Potro serves as needed, returns surely against an excellent serve and calmly causes mayhem with his FH, while staying steady and firm of the BH. Federer turns back the years to go all in attacking as he lashes FHs to great effect, hits BHs hard and volleys beautiful with a healthy lot of serve-volleys and approaches and drop shot plays thrown in

Sloppy first set from Federer, but action is neck-and-neck with both players playing their attacking best for rest of match. Federer more throws away the win than del Potro snatches it at the finish line



Hall of Fame
That match is memorable for its frequent momentum swings.

2nd set
Del Potro wasted championship point at 8-7* in the TB
31:36 6-6 8-7* Del Potro hit cross court FH into the net on Federer 2nd serve
Federer converted set point on his 7th attempt

3rd set
Federer wasted double championship point on his own serve at *5-4 40-15 and third one at *5-4 A-40
45:50 *5-4 40-15 Del Potro hit FH winner down the line on Federer 2nd serve [first championship point wasted]
46:13 *5-4 40-30 Federer badly failed at dropshot attempt [second championship point wasted]
47:30 *5-4 A-40 Federer failed at dropshot attempt once more [third championship point wasted]
Del Potro converted championship point on his 6th attempt

46:59 note the audible screaming among the crowd at 5-4 40-A (like in Federer vs Hurkacz TB at Wimbledon 2021)

All points:


I miss both of these guys so much, it’s crazy. I don’t know if there’s a soul on earth who dislikes Del Potro and however you feel about Fed it’s hard to deny that he is very entertaining to watch.

Just 3 years ago we were getting class Now all we have is @Federer and Del Potro
What do you mean by this comment? This was not a classic? You don’t care for Wasps’ choice of matches? I can’t tell bec you also say how much you admire Fed and Delpo. So I cannot figure out what you are saying. Thanks
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What do you mean by this comment? This was not a classic? You don’t care for Wasps’ choice of matches? I can’t tell bec you also say how much you admire Fed and Delpo. So I cannot figure out what you are saying. Thanks
On a scale of 1 to Frank Sinatra, how drunk are you?

mr tonyz

Disgusting match and it probably denied Fed six more months at #1. That being said, I’d rather it be Delpo than most other players.
Fred was literally a couple of cms away from another 20+ weeks @ #1.

Come to think of it, he was also 1 ace away from a 9th Wimbly & a couple of cms away from a monumental Rome Masters vs Claydal.

So we'll say 4 combined cms + an ace ...

Honourable mentions for u.s.o '10/'11. a few more cms there also this time i think a few cms lower on Djoker's cc forehand return winner & that's catching the tape.

Let's tally it all up to 10cms + 1 ace & Fred would have ...

20+ extra Weeks @ #1 ...

Record extending 9th Wimbly & his lone slam going through DjokerDal ...

Rome Masters ...

Record 6th Indian Wells ...

USO '10/'11 Finals with '11 being a decent 50/50 @ a record 6th u.s.o ...

I'm sure there are a few others but i think that's enough salt for us Freddy fans to swallow for the day :p


Hall of Fame
Color me crazy, but this match appeared to jinx Fed. He never really ever seemed to recover from this match. He didn’t win another masters or slam the rest of the year. And his blown 40-15 opportunity seemed to spill over to the Wimbledon match where he blew a 2 set lead to candy.

But overall, since Fed won a slam at age 36 1/2, we fans cannot complain. It was still a great year for Fed, given this point of his career.


What do you mean by this comment? This was not a classic? You don’t care for Wasps’ choice of matches? I can’t tell bec you also say how much you admire Fed and Delpo. So I cannot figure out what you are saying. Thanks
Lol I was making a play on words with user named “Federer and Del Potro”. I think this is the last match the real players Federer and Del Potro ever played against each other and it was 3 years ago. So now we don’t have Federer and Del Potro the players anymore (bc they’re injured and old), all we have is the user named Federer and Del Potro instead.


I miss both of these guys so much, it’s crazy. I don’t know if there’s a soul on earth who dislikes Del Potro and however you feel about Fed it’s hard to deny that he is very entertaining to watch.

Just 3 years ago we were getting classics. Now all we have is @Federer and Del Potro
Now all we have left is witnessing Zverev’s greatness, as no one on tour is up to his level yet... :confused:

The Big Foe fan

Hall of Fame
If you are including the Thiem final of 2019. I was there. Federer did not choke. Thiem played marvelous tennis, winning a fine match by both players.
Erm no my friend. Fed should have won either 6-3 6-4 or 6-3 3-6 6-3. He had so many chances in set 3, didn't even face break point or deuce until 11th game. Yes thiem did hit amazing shots but fed was just way too passive on crucial points.


I don't feel much bad about it now as Djokovic has crossed 350 weeks mark. Back then I thought this match could decide winner of weeks record.
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