Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Nadal, Miami final, 2014


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in the Miami final, 2014 on hard court

Djokovic was the defending champion and it was his 4th title at the event. He would go onto the following year also. It was also the third time he'd won the Indian Wells-Miami double - having done so the previous season - and he would go onto repeat the following year. Nadal had recently been runner-up at the Australian Open

Djokovic won 61 points, Nadal 40

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (36/49) 73%
- 1st serve points won (30/36) 83%
- 2nd serve points won (8/13) 62%
- Aces 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/49) 33%

- 1st serve percentage (37/52) 71%
- 1st serve points won (22/37) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (7/15) 47%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (11/52) 21%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 45%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 4%

Nadal served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 40 (13 FH, 27 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (40/51) 78%

Nadal made...
- 33 (15 FH, 18 BH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (33/49) 67%

Break Points
Djokovic 3/4 (4 games)
Nadal 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 16 (7 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
Nadal 12 (9 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)

Djokovic's FHs - 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 longline, 1 longline/cc and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 5 cc

- 1 from a serve-volley points - a second volley, BHV

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 5 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BH - 1 cc

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 17
- 14 Unforced (5 FH, 8 BH, 1 OH)… the OH was on the bounce from the baseline
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

Nadal 28
- 16 Unforced (9 FH, 7 BH)
- 12 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 41.9

(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...
- 7/8 (88%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 0/1 retreated

Nadal was 2/3 (67%) at net

Match Report
1 game is the difference in the first set but in the second, Djokovic masters play without any sign of strain, leaving Nadal looking both flat and having no answers on a slow court

Key difference in play are forced errors. Nadal gets just 3 out of Djoko, while the winner gets 12 out of him

Nadal has break point in opening game, which Djoko saves with a BH cc - BH longline 1-2 that forces an error. Remaining games, bar one, are all easy holds. The exception is game 6, where Djoko strikes 3 confident winner (FHV, BH cc and FH longline/cc) to break and its enough to give him the set

In set 2, Nadal is squeezed out. Going down a break to start (Djoko wrapping up with a BH cc winner), Nadal can win just 4 points in 4 return games for rest of match, while under the gun on his own serve. Djoko breaks a second time to wrap up the match

Match point is memorable. Neither player had come to net much - prior to match point, Djoko 7 times, Nadal twice - but find themselves net-to-net on it. Djoko comes away with FH1/2V winner to end it

Serve & Return
Differences in returning shapes play. The serving's about a wash - decent, not great - and on a slow court, that puts action shaping on the return

Djoko returns well, Nadal the opposite

Particularly in second set, Djoko returns firmly and deep-ish. Its good, its solid but its not exceptional by his standards. Balls aren't hit back to the baseline, but more often, about half-way between baseline and service-line or slightly further up. Balls are hit firmly, not rifle-shot bullets of power. Djoko goes down the middle at Nadal rather than off to the sides with the return

Certainly good returning and much credit to Djoko for it. Nadal though is disproportionately troubled by deep-ish returns (more on that later)

Nadal does not return well. He's returning from well behind the baseline. On this court, he'd expect to return comfortably more than 67% of Djoko's serves, but that's all he can muster (Djoko's rate is 78%). Note 7 returning UEs also (Djoko has 4) and Nadal without a single successful runaround FH return

Furthermore, the returns Nadal makes tend to be weakly hit and often short. So weakly hit that even when they're not short, Djoko has time to wind up on the third ball - though Djoko wisely doesn't go for too much on such shots

Its the FH that's most vulnerable. Though Djoko directs 45% serves to FH, 7/12 of Nadal's errors are of that side (2 admittedly are runaround attempts to balls directed at BH). Maybe just an off day for Nadal on the return, but the way serve-return complex plays out does not bode well for him, especially in light of players relative mobility (Djoko's is better, more on that later)

In addition to missing returns at unacceptable rate, Nadal's returns leave Djoko in charge of points and Nadal in defensive position - and Nadal doesn't have the movement to thwart Djoko from such a starting point
In addition to returning with consistency, Djoko's returns usually leave Nadal with a ball it would be difficult to dictate from. Not only does Nadal not try to dictate, he struggles to even cope with the ball at all

Play - Baseline
Baseline play is fairly passive, which is good approach to such a court: Going for winners and hitting opponent off court in slow conditions isn't a high percentage strategy and usually speaks to a players inability to hang tight in neutral rallies

With both his serve (or more accurately, Nadal's return) and his return giving Djokovic varying degree of initiative to start rallies, Djoko is the more commanding - which is a more accurate description than 'attacking'

He hits more powerfully, flatter and deeper. He's better at moving Nadal around then the reverse. While consistent off the ground (he shades UEs 14-16), he can switch to or construct points to end with attacking shots. So seamlessly in fact that the word 'transition' - which implies a change - doesn't occur to one as a way to describe how he plays. BH cc is particularly effective weapon and all 5 of his BH winners are of that type

In earlier matches between the two, when Djoko attacked, he had to do so with overt vigour to win points against Nadal's wall. Here, Djoko's attacks are moderate and organically linked to his neutral play - and its good enough to get job done. Its Nadal who has to switch sharply when he attacks, which he does occasionally with his usual combos of FH inside-outs and inside-ins... and Djoko's up to defending ably against it. To finish points, Nadal has to hit a winner - which he does off the FH a match high 9 times. Most of the time though, he's passively reacting to Djoko, and Djoko is sensible in how he looks to end points

Its the same thing in defence. When Nadal moves him around, Djoko runs side to side not while not hitting not much differently from how he does neutrally. And is liable to find a shot on the run to turn play to his advantage - the FH dtl is particularly good for this

From Nadal's point of view -
- starts most point from at best, neutral positions (and often defensive)
- doesn't cope well with deep returns. Makes errors to them or coughs up third ball that Djoko can command. Taking balls early generally isn't a strength of Nadal's but its below par even by that standard in this match
- his shots are loopier, more weakly hit and shorter than Djoko's
- no advantage in consistency and trailing in movement - 2 of the biggest parts of his game in general

UEFI has captured the two players attacking intent. Djoko's 45.7 is moderate, Nadal's 41.9 is very low. Throw in Djoko covering court considerably better and you have a formula for the critical difference in FEs. Djoko forcing 12 errors, Nadal managing just 3... I'd primarily discredit Nadal's defence for that outcome, more than credit Djoko's moderate offence. Nadal's defence and hitting on the run are about average against a general standard for the match, let alone miles behind his own from past years. Djoko's is as good as ever by contrast

Summing up, machine like from Djokovic with solidity the hallmark and dialing from there to defence or offence effortlessly. Nadal by contrast, strains to attack and struggles to defend while having a more exploitable ball on average. This match is good reflection of all the playing dynamics that have made it so difficult for Nadal on the hard court

Stats for the pair's '11 Miami final -
Stats for pair's upcoming Rome final -
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Hall of Fame
Sooo.. UEFI looks interesting. Any explanations to how it's calculated somewhere?

There is, but its a bit outdated, so lets do it here

I categorize each UE by intent of shot ('shot type') and give each type a numerical value
- Winner attempt 60
- Attacking 50
- Neutral 40
- Defensive 20 (which are rare, most matches have 0)

Then add up total and divide by number of UEs to yield the Index. Its a measure of how aggresive average UE is

Based on the premise that players will make errors by shot type in proportion with frequency of going for given shot type - the higher the score, the more attacking a player is playing

I've found it to be accurate for the most part. Occasionally, you'll get a guy who's playing neutrally but ends up high UEFI because he barely misses a neutral ball, so the only errors he makes are attacking and winner attempts

Thought of adding one for Forced Errors too - that would measure the extent of how forced the error is - flagrant, hard, regular and mild - .... its doable, but would be time consuming

As is, putting a score for each UE probably costs me more time in terms to rewinding than anything else