Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Fish, Indian Wells final, 2008


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Mardy Fish 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 in the Indian Wells final, 2008 on hard court

It was Djokovic's first title at the event. He had recently won his first Slam at the Australian Open and would go onto win Rome later in the year. Fish was unseeded and beat 3 top ten players en route to final

Djokovic won 90 points, Fish 81

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (52/84) 62%
- 1st serve points won (35/52) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (19/32) 59%
- Aces 10 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/84) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (36/87) 41%
- 1st serve points won (27/36) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (24/51) 47%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/87) 29%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 46%
- to Body 6%

Fish served...
- to FH 22%
- to BH 76%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 58 (7 FH, 51 BH)
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (3 FH, 6 BH)
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (58/83) 70%

Fish made...
- 56 (30 FH, 26 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (56/83) 67%

Break Points
Djokovic 5/6 (5 games)
Fish 3/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 17 (9 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
Fish 20 (8 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 2 dtl (1 pass), 1 dtl/inside-out, 4 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass and 5 dtl (1 return, 2 passes)

Fish's FHs - 2 cc at net, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 2 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl at net
- BHs - 4 cc (1 return, 1 pass) and 3 dtl

- 2 from serve-volley points - a first volley BHV and a second volley FHV

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 35
- 22 Unforced (8 FH, 14 BH)
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.5

Fish 42
- 36 Unforced (19 FH, 17 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(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
Djokovic was 3/4 (75%) at net

Fish was...
- 14/20 (70%) at net, including...
- 4/6 (67%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Solid baseline showing from Djokovic as he lets Fish hit himself out on a slow-ish court

Action is on Fish's racquet. Djoko more or less lets it so be. He's not completely counter-punching, but play is more in line with Fish hitting heavy/Djoko counter-punching than duel heavy hitting. And far removed from Djoko hitting heavy/Fish counter-punching

Fish cuts an unusual sight for a tennis player. For starters, he's fat. Not a touch overweight, not big boned, but fat. He looks like he eats fast food for lunch most days. He hasn't shaved for awhile and facial hair has noticeable grey in it. And he holds a lugubrious expression on his face. If you saw him and Djokovic on court, you could be forgiven for thinking a compactly built, young professional athlete were having a hit with an approaching middle aged history teacher

With Fish leading play, its easiest to report from his point of view

He has a big first serve but can rarely get it in. Serves at just 41%. Has separate runs of missing 11, 6 and 5 first serves in a row. When he can, its highly effective, even on slow-ish court. Good job by Djoko to be able to put it back in play as regularly as he does. Djoko's 70% return rate is deceptively low as he half-asses his efforts after going up a break in the third set and has 4 return UEs in last 10 return points, with Fish losing 1 service point in his last 3 service games

Good second serve from Fish to in that its not easy to attack. Djokovic occasionally does and at other times, fails trying. Such a second serve is an absolute must with so many first serves missed. According to commentary, Fish had beaten Roger Federer in the semis serving in mid-30% range

Solid returning from Djoko. Stretches to get big wide serves back and returns firmly against the rest. And then they rally

Fish is a powerhouse from the back. He clearly favours BH. Most action is BH-BH, certainly to greater extent than suggested by final stats (only significant different for either player in any area across wings is Djokovic with 14 BH UEs to 8 FHs). Fish is stronger hitter and more able to push Djoko around or back than other way around. Djoko doesn't seem to be trying to reciprocate... basically, he's waiting for Fish to miss a big groundie

It works. Errors come thick and fast from Fish's racquet. 36 UEs to Djoko's 22

Heavy FHs from Fish too, but on that side, he's more apt to miss neutral balls early in rallies. Fish's FH yields match high 19 UEs

Djoko's 22 UEs isn't small either but are on the hard side. Fish's power is considerable. Even his regulation shots are well above average hard hit and he's apt to go for a biggish one before long

Fish's game is one where his standard level of power of shot is exceptionally high. When going for point finisher, he doesn't up the power unduly, the way a James Blake or Fernando Gonzalez might and unlike them, he does have a basic, neutral groundstroke

Much of Djoko's play is reactive and on the defensive side of neutral. Very good movement to bolster it. Fish, though significantly slower of foot, isn't as bad as I'd have expected looking at his figure. Maybe slightly below average by a general standard. He's still quicker than say Andre Agassi in the early-mid 2000s

Finally, Fish comes forward to finish points. As the more powerful baseliner, you'd think he'd have plenty of scope to do so but his groundgame isn't conducive to approaching. A lot of open chested shots. He volleys nicely though and wins 70% net points, including 10/13 coming in from rallies. Losing a lot more than he wins from the back and with success like that at net, I'd tend to think coming in more would be a good move... but again, his hitting position and style doesn't seem built for it

Finally, his returning is similar to his groundgame - big, firm shots that are inconsistent. Much credit to Djoko too for very good serving. Note the high 10 aces for such a court. Down 0-40, he bangs down 3 in a row at one point

Play in a nutshell, Fish taking lead in power hitting from back, with Djoko content to counter-punch. And Fish more error prone than he is damaging. Even his neutral shots are pressuring but can't keep them in court for too long. Djoko would probably have done better shifting play to more FH-FH, where Fish is significantly looser than of BH, though he's not tight of either side

Match Progression
Players break once each to take score to 3-2 in Djoko's favour, before Djoko reels of 3 games in a row (with 2 breaks) to end the set. Those games aren't easy and last 12, 8 and 10 points respectively. Fish hammers BHs - both missing and pressuring Djoko who defends ably and moves fluently against it (and needs to)

Djoko's up 4-2 in the second set before Fish wins 5 of the next 6 games. Poor game by Djoko to give up first break but the second break is product of powerful shots from Fish

Carrying on good work, Fish moves to 0-40 to start 3rd set. Djoko responds with 3 aces in a row and follows up with another strong serve and goes on to hold. He then breaks to 15 with Fish missing 2 third balls and double faulting before Djoko hits a BH dtl winner on break point

3-0 and a break up, Djoko takes it easy on remaining return games, returning without much care. Fish throws out some big returns when he can but can't get much counter-play either as Djoko continues holding to matches end

Summing up, solid from Djoko in all areas and he's happy to play BH-BH with the BH favouring, damagingly hard hitting but error prone Fish. His neutral-defensive play in hanging steady with the hard hitter stands out. Too low first serve in count from Fish and the number of errors isn't worth the heavy force of his groundies

Stats for previous year's final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal -
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