Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Federer, Rome final, 2015


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-4, 6-3 in the Rome final, 2015 on clay

Djokovic was the defending champion and it was his 4th Rome title. It was Federer's 4th and to date, last final at the event which he has yet to win

Djokovic won 66 points, Federer 49

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (37/53) 70%
- 1st serve points won (32/37) 86%
- 2nd serve points won (10/16) 63%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/53) 40%

- 1st serve percentage (39/62) 63%
- 1st serve points won (30/39) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (8/23) 35%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/62) 27%

Serve Pattern
Djokovic served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 50%
- to Body 8%

Federer served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 44 (15 FH, 29 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (44/61) 72%

Federer made...
- 31 (12 FH, 19 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 2 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 10 Unforced (5 FH, 5 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (31/52) 60%

Break Points
Djokovic 2/5 (3 games)
Federer 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Djokovic 13 (9 FH, 4 BH)
Federer 17 (6 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 6 cc (1 return, 1 pass), 2 cc/inside-in and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 2 cc passes and 2 drop shots

Federer's FHs - 1 cc, 3 inside-out (1 at net), 1 inside-in return and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 3 dtl (1 pass)

- 5 from serve-volley points -
- 2 first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)… the FHV was a net chord dribbler
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 OH)

- 1 BHV from a return-approach point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Djokovic 14
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

Federer 31
- 24 Unforced (12 FH, 10 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)… with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net & 1 BH at net
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 4 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

(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 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
Djokovic was...
- 4/5 (80%) at net

Federer was...
- 13/20 (65%) at net, including...
- 7/11 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising..
- 6/9 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
- 1/2 return-approaching

Match Report
Straightforward match. Djokovic returns some good wide serves splendidly and is solid of the ground. Federer's serve is a weapon and he's effective at net, but his returning and groundgame are poor (especially the latter)

Conditions are oddly fast, more like a hard court than clay. Commentators note this also. Of action, the high unreturned rates (40% for Djoko, 27% for Federer) hint at this also. Djoko's figure is mostly due to Fed's poor returning and Fed's is a legitimate indicator of conditions

Match starts lively, with Djoko taking net to win two points, Federer dispatching a return winner inside-in and Djoko passing a chip-charging Federer to hold the first game. And the second game starts with 4 winners, with Fed serve-volleying twice and coming in a couple of times of rallies

Fed survives a 10 point game, finishing with a graceful third ball BH dtl winner struck from well out of court, and then, there are several easy, serve-dominated holds.

Fed has the first break point in game 9, on back of Djoko missing a pair of FHs in succession. The two get into a long rally on it (which is rare in the match). Djoko controls the point with FH inside-outs, Fed's BH defensively holding up til Djoko hits one extra hard and wide to force the error. And goes on to hold

Then Djoko breaks to win the set. Pair of Fed routine errors puts him behind but key to the break is great returning. Down game point, Djoko does very well to get a wide serve back in play deep and forces an error to take the point soon after. The shot of the match is a Djoko FH cc return winner - hard hit and at a sharp angle. He makes another great defensive return on the break point it brings ups and Fed nets a BH to hand over the set

Second set is one way traffic. Djoko loses 4 points in 5 service games. Fed is broken at once and needs strong serves to keep it from being twice. And Djoko does the needful to keep holding serve to matches end

Serve & Return
Djoko's returning is the standout, Federer's serve is also good

I suppose the court is quick enough that Federer serving at his very best was capable of doing more damage with the serve, so its not quite at his top standard. There's the odd unforceful first serve in Djoko's swing zone. Still, he serve well enough at 63% in, his 7 aces are completely untouchable and there's a bundle of serves well wide of Djoko

The best part of Djoko's returning is in reaching the good, wide serves and sliding them back in play. Stretched out as he is, there's no time to take a swing, but he still gets the ball back firmly, often deep and wide of Federer on the baseline

It proves enough because Fed's poor off the ground all match (more on that later)

Stunning FH cc return winner from Djoko is the shot of the match. A much better shot than the famous winner in the '11 US Open semi - the serve is wide and forceful, but he reaches it and spanks it at a sharp angle for a winner that Fed doesn't have ghost of a chance of reaching

Djoko's serving is normal, near conservative. 70% in rate is usually indicative of holding back on first serve. He doesn't serve gently, but not hard either and places most serves in Fed's reach

Fed's poor on returning these regulation serves. 10 UEs to 6 FEs... and a couple of FEs are very makeable too. He's not missing through aggression either. Just regulation returns, returned normally... and he misses a good chunk. Chips a lot of BHs too, and Djoko seizes the rally off those

Play - Baseline (& Net)
Solid of form and firm of shot from Djoko. He misses little (just 8 UEs - to 13 winners and Fed having 20 groundstroke UEs). And after a couple of early forays to net, he barely comes in (3 times after the first game)

More than Djoko being good is Fed being the opposite though. Its not just the 24 UEs in play... its how they're made. He can't keep the ball in play more than 3-4 shots from the back. Djoko hits firmly - good stuff - but nothing warranting this kind of capitulation

Smart of Djoko to keep things as basic as possible in light of how his opponent was playing. Look at his winners. All 10 power ground shot winners are cc based... the most basic and simple of shots. He hardly hits a ball dtl of either wing in the match. He doesn't have to. 3-4 firm cc shots is enough to draw an error from Fed

He even does well with his drop shots, hitting back to back BH winners at one point. His third drop shot winner is an inside-out FH... not a shot I've seen him play

Nothing majorly wrong with Fed's movement or the firmness of the shots he makes. Just can't make many in a row

Coincidentally, the UEFI is identical 43.8. Breakdown of UEs -
- Defensive - Djoko 0, Fed 1
- Neutral - Djoko 5, Fed 16
- Attacking - Djoko 3, Fed 3
- Winner attempts - Djoko 0, Fed 4

Fed's defensive error is a strange one. He rushes net with Djoko pulled out wide and managing to put the ball in play weakly from there. Should be an easy putaway at net, but Fed seems to lose the ball and runs past it. Has to try to hit it when its past him slightly... the shot is very forced, its been marked unforced based on his making a hash of positioning himself to it. The first defensive UE at net in history

Good net numbers from Fed, who wins 65% up front, including 7/11 serve-volleying. The way he plays from the back, wouldn't have been a bad idea to go all in with serve-volleying. As is, he does it rarely enough to not matter much. When Djoko gets return in play, Fed's likely to lose the point even if he has an initiative but is in back court

Summing up, very good returning from Djoko, particularly in getting tough serves in play with reasonable authority, and he's strong in the basics from the baseline. Fed struggles to return and can't keep regulation baseline rallies going for long. A very similar match to their '18 Cincinnati encounter

Stats for the '14 Rome final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal -
Stats for the pair's '18 Cincinnati final -
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Poor display from Federer. 2014-2015 were the years were he basically played without a baseline game, and had to rely on servebotting and net rushing (which to his credit, he did remarkably well).

This strategy even worked against Djokovic on faster surfaces, but on slow like clay, not a chance. Might as well have put Llodra in the final in Fed's place.