Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Federer, US Open semi-final, 2010


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the US Open semi-final, 2010 on hard court

Djokovic would go onto lose the final to Rafael Nadal, while the result denied Federer a 7th consecutive final at the event

Djokovic won 163 points, Federer 148

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (94/151) 62%
- 1st serve points won (64/94) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (36/57) 63%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/151) 21%

- 1st serve percentage (84/160) 53%
- 1st serve points won (62/84) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (35/76) 46%
- Aces 13 (1 not clean), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (47/160) 29%

Serve Pattern
Djokovic served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 3%

Federer served...
- to FH 45%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 108 (53 FH, 55 BH)
- 2 Winners (2 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 24 Forced (10 FH, 14 BH)
- Return Rate (108/155) 70%

Federer made...
- 116 (39 FH, 77 BH), including 4 runaround FHs & 1 runaround BH
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 28 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 5 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 21 Forced (6 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (116/148) 78%

Break Points
Djokovic 6/12 (7 games)
Federer 3/7 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Djokovic 28 (12 FH, 11 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BH, 1 OH)
Federer 29 (16 FH, 2 FHV, 5 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 4 cc, 3 dtl (1 pass), 4 inside-out and 1 cc/longline
- BHs - 4 cc (2 passes - 1 of them at net), 3 dtl (1 return), 2 inside-out (1 return), 1 drop shot and 1 net chord dribbler

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot hit from behind the service line but has been counted a net point

Federer's FHs - 6 cc, 3 dtl (1 return), 6 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 dtl and 1 inside-out return

- 3 FHVs were swinging shots and 1 other was a very high ball that can reasonably be called an OH
- 1 BHV was the second volley of a serve-volley point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Djokovic 69
- 34 Unforced (13 FH, 20 BH, 1 OH)
- 35 Forced (14 FH, 18 BH, 2 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.7

Federer 98
- 65 Unforced (40 FH, 23 BH, 2 BHV)
- 33 Forced (18 FH, 12 BH, 3 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

(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...
- 16/23 (70%) at net, with...
- 0/3 forced back

Federer was...
- 33/47 (70%) at net, including...
- 2/3 (67%) serve-volleying, all first serves
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
Great match featuring a very solid showing from Djokovic and a streaky one from Federer. It still goes down to the wire - Federer has two match points on the Djokovic serve - but the result is the most appropriate one. Even compartmentalizing by sets, Djokovic is the better player

Nature of play varies across the match as you'd expect. Generalizing it, Djokovic mostly power bashes up and down the middle of the court, trying to keep it closed up. He's mostly successful. Federer comes of second best in that dynamic but has ways of escaping - opening the court, going for an attacking shot with the court closed or approaching net. All are risky and he makes plenty of errors trying the first two. Net approaches are better, but he doesn't do it enough. Djokovic is very consistent throughout the match, his level steady while Fed's tend to ebb and flow in all areas - serve, return and groundgame.

There's no feeling out phase to begin the match. First point, Fed glides away a BH inside-out return winner (he'd only hit 1 other BH winner all match). First 3 games all go to deuce - Djokovic saving a break point, Federer 2. It isn't til the middle of the set that the players trade breaks. Djokovic has a slight edge from the baseline, but Federer frequents the net to great effect (he's 12/12, including 1 s/v, for the set). Its left for Djoko to play a terrible game, with 3 BH UEs in a row, to be broken to love and give up the set

Few good points in the opener. Djoko scored his first break by approaching of a strong BH dtl and finishing with a BHV winner. Next game, Fed reciprocated, only with a swinging FHV. An at net Djok his 4/5 volleys against an on the baseline Federer - his volleys aren't the best, Fed hits a half-volley on the baseline with apparent ease - the point ending with Djoko forced into a volleying error. Point of the set goes to Djoko. Federer dominates a FH exchange, but the Serb hangs in there and whacks a BH cc winner to end the point

Second set is poor from Fed, with plenty of errors

Third set is the tough stuff. Federer holds on from the baseline, but Djoko has hit a groove of striking hard and deep that's making life complicated for the Swiss. Net play again offers relief (10/11 for the set + a point where the approach has done too much damage to be considered a net point), but its clear who the better player is. But Federer is Federer... and breaks to love to take the set. This time, its down to his good play. He puts away a BH dtl winner (he rarely uses this shot all match and even more rarely effectively), forces an error by coming to net and force the final error from well behind the baseline. The roar he lets out and his celebration is about as intense as I've seen from him... a sign of how tough the match was going.

Djokovic breaks early in the fourth with good play and adds another next chance (a bad game from Federer). Nonetheless, he shows signs of tiring even as he serves out the set to push the match into a decider

Fifth set is a struggle but also one of high level of play. To some extent, I think Djokovic cons Federer - or to be more accurate, Federer gets conned. Djoko seems to be making all his first serves but he's tired and the serve isn't that strong. but it keeps Federer at bay, just because it is a first serve. Federer holds a 14 point game where Djokovic returns even better than he has been doing all match.... everything deep and powerful

There's no doubt Djoko is feeling weary and he starts trying to end points more quickly. In game 10, this leads to 3 errors (1 a typical poor OH) which leaves Federer with 2 break and match points. Djoko's response is to swing for the fences with his FHs... he saves the first with a bold inside-out swinging FHV and the second with a FH cc - both winners. In this last 2 and 1/2 games of the match, he strikes 5 of his 12 FH winners and both FHV ones. The break he gets is product of Federer making 3 FH errors - 2 attempted winners and 1 a mishit. Glorious stuff from a tired Djokovic to seal the match

Serve & Return
Djoko starts out serving strongly. For one thing, he boasts a high first serve percentage but more than that, the serves are powerful. Even the second serves. In all the matches I've done between these two players, its customary for a few Federer second serve returns to be marked forced errors and a few Djoko first serves to be marked unforced. Early in this match, Djoko second serves strongly enough that I've marked forced errors for a couple second serves

All this is necessary as the serve is the biggest possible fly in the ointment for Djokovic, but it turns out to be a bit of a swindle that Federer falls for. As the match wears on, Djoko's serving standard falls to his normal level. Note the low 21% unreturned serves (Fed 29%) and very low 4 aces (Fed 13 + 3 service winners). He might be getting 62% first serves in but they're nicely placed in the box... Federer doesn't have to move much to deal. And the second serve is just a regular second serve for all but the beginning of the match

78% return rate is very good from Federer, but he isn't able (doesn't even seem to try) to attack the second serve. This is a strong pattern I've noted in Federer's matches... not attacking second serve - and often the difference between winning and losing. At some point, you have to conclude that it wasn't bad strategy but that he just wasn't capable. His best returns - deep with moderate power - are about on par with Djokovic's standard returns - an indication of both how good Djokovic's return was and the relative limitations of Federer's

Federer does not have a good serving day, serving at just 54%. Some of this is down to Djokovic's returning and the pressure to hit good first serves. Fed does seem to be straining for something extra on first serves... no need for that - normal first serving from him is more than a handful - unless the quality of the returner is such that more is needed. It is. Djokovic returns outstandingly all match, drilling the ball back of both wings hard, flat and deep. Towards the end of the match, when he's tiringly, he returns even better (with more hard, deep and flat attacking edge) without sacrificing consistency


Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline & Net
Most of the action is baseline-to-baseline and Djokovic is dominant

Note Djokovic winning 63% second serve points to Federer's 46%.... usually a good indicator of quality of play

Federer leads the winners by just 1, but with volleys and smashes excluded, Djoko leads 23 to 18

Forced errors are about equal (Djoko 35, Fed 33), with both having 3 in the forecourt. More of Djoko's FEs would have been baseline-to-net points

Unforced errors are a no contest. Djoko with just 33, Federer with a walloping 65.... the Swiss has more FH UEs (40) than Djoko has total UEs! Djoko's simply the more consistent player, but Federer's movments and shot choices play a role to. The shot choices can be seen to forced by Djoko's play, but the movement's Fed's discredit alone

Fed's footwork is relatively poor. He's up against a handful from the back, but is frequently casual to lazy in his short range movements. This augments Djoko's baseline superiority. Fed's long range court coverage is good though... its one of his better running FH days, not missing many and hitting strongly. Djokovic is probably better at running and better defensively on the run, but trails in counter-punching shots on the move

Basically, everything in Djoko's groundgame is up from the previous years (and it was very good then). The FH is less loopy (not that it was particularly loopy before) and more direct. The BH is also more powerful. Defence is up as well... when Federer is in charge of points, Djoko makes all kinds of terrific gets, especially off the BH. He plays the same game as the previous years encounter - closed court ball bashing

Unlike the previous year, Fed isn't playing along though. He mostly tries to escape the closed court dynamic with court opening angles (mostly unsuccessfully due to Djoko's defence) and much of his errors come from such plays. At other time, he goes for a winner from a regulation position. Looks great when it comes off... but not worth the errors he makes trying

Note Fed UEFI of 47.1 which is on the high side. Djoko's is a conservative 44.7... an indicator of how much more aggressive Federer was. In numbers -
- 53% Djoko UEs are neutral shots, Fed 46%
- 32% attacking shots for Djok, Fed 25%
- 21% winner attempts for Djok, Fed 26%

I think that's a good indicator of how aggressive each player was. Its true Fed was more aggressive, Djoko more solid.... but its certainly not a match where one guy is just attacking and the other just defending by any means. There's a decent blend for both, Fed tilting towards the aggressive side, Djoko the solid

There are weaknesses in Fed's groundgame. His BH isn't up to handling Djokovic's much stronger BH... primarily credit to Djok's BH for this. Fed could probably have sliced more, which does tend to put a stopper on Djoko's heavy hitting and force him to slice back or hit a loopier shot. He tends not to go this route. Occasionally, Fed seeks to counter BH-BH encounters by backing away to hit FHs... this is clearly a mistake, Djoko's dtl does damage at such times and Fed usually can't hit with enough force to be it worth sacrificing court position

FH-FH battles are closer. Of the close court ball bashing type, its about even, Djoko having a slight edge maybe. They don't last long because Fed tends to go off with an attacking shot sooner rather than later... this is where he makes errors, not in the who-blinks-first cc battles. Djoko's regulation FH is hit powerfully than Federer's but the hardest hit balls of all are Federer's attacking FHs to short balls (at the end, Djoko swinging for the fences FHs probably match these)

Fed's out from the bruising baseline stuff is to take the net. 70% net points won is excellent... but 47 approaches is too few in a 300+ point match. The weakness he shows here is one of commitment or belief. If he loses a few points at net in over a short span of time... he ceases approaching. A good net player knows getting passed is inevitably, goes with the territory of coming in. Basically, Fed demonstrates the mentality of a Nadal - comes in when he can win the points, and that's it. Not the mentality of a net boss at all

He's good enough from the baseline that he can manufacture approaches and doesn't necessarily need to wait for short balls (which are scarce). Coming in off manufactured approaches against someone who has the potential to pass as well as Djokovic is bound to lead to losing a few points, but I think it was his best bet. The way this match played out, Fed wasn't going to win from the baseline alone.... he needed significant boost from his serve (didn't happen due to low serve percentage and outstanding Djok returning - mainly credit to Djok) or Djokovic's level dropping

Djokovic's level doesn't drop. Its a remarkably consistent showing for such a long match. Basically, he plays one bad service game all match

That being the case, net play would have been Fed's best bet. He doesn't show the proper mindset for taking up that particular challenge... and puts his eggs in the wrong basket. Probably understandably... I don't think Djoko maintaining this high a level for 5 sets would have been de riguer in 2010 (possibly even after that)

Stamina - Djoko aggression, Fed defence & the 5th Set
By 5th set, Djokovic is visibly tired. Federer doesn't appear to be

Federer runs harder and moves faster than he has all match. Djokovic is more aggressive from the back then he has been, trying to shorten points. Nonetheless, he doesn't let up much defensively either and runs best he can.... the livelier playing dynamic necessitates more running

Seeing Fed move in the decider brings home that he held back a bit earlier in the match. He often talks about "leaving it all out there" when talking about Slam final.... a comment that implies there are times when he holds back. The semi-final of Slam against the world number 3 maybe isn't the best time to do so. Its possible Fed underestimated Djokovic some in this match. He would have been a healthy favourite going into the match (the other semi took place earlier and both players would have known that the prize for a win today was a date with Nadal tomorrow)… if he held back a bit in fighting for points in this match, its understandable though foolish. More foolish than understandable if the result goes the way it does. Even if it hadn't... it was most likely to

Djoko demonstrates how dangerous he is when he lets loose. And he lets loose when he's too tired to fancy long points. While it looks like Federer is relatively fresh while Djoko is not.... I suspect this largely what the players want you to see. Djoko tends not to hide these things, Federer probably does. In 2012 Australian Open final which lasted 6 hours, Djoko looked ready to drop in the final set while Nadal didn't.... it became clear post-match presentation that in reality, both players were ready to drop. Similarly, I suspect Federer was also drained but just didn't show it... so credit to him for going all out in the 5th too

After the match, Djoko describes his late match heroics just as I saw it. I would call it swinging for the fences off the FH. He said something about closing his eyes and hitting FHs as hard as he could. Remarkable how often he makes this type of stuff come off

Summing up, remarkably consistent showing off the ground from Djokovic, with thundering returning throw in. Fed - despite not serving well, being outmuscled from the back and inhibited in coming forward - keeps the match very close, but its clear who the better player is

Stats for the final between Nadal and Djokovic -
Stats for Djokovic-Federer in Canada just prior to this tournament -