Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Thiem, Madrid semi-final, 2019


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem 7-6(2), 7-6(4) in the Madrid semi-final, 2019 on clay

Djokovic would go onto win the tournament, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in what would be his first clay title since 2016. Thiem had recently won Barcelona without loss of set. The 2 would go onto meet soon after in the French Open semi-final, with Thiem winning in 5 sets

Djokovic won 90 points, Thiem 81

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (55/90) 61%
- 1st serve points won (41/55) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (16/35) 46%
- Aces 3 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/90) 29%

- 1st serve percentage (41/81) 51%
- 1st serve points won (26/41) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (22/40) 55%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/81) 22%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 54%
- to Body 6%

Thiem served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 57%
- to Body 14%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 61 (18 FH, 43 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (1 FH, 7 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (61/79) 77%

Thiem made...
- 63 (33 FH, 30 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (7 FH, 4 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 12 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (63/30) 71%

Break Points
Djokovic 3/3
Thiem 3/10 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 13 (7 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Thiem 23 (16 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)

Djokovic's FHs - 1 cc return, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out and 3 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass) and 1 dtl at net

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first 'volley' FH at net

- both OHs were on the bounce from no-man's land

Thiems FHs - 2 cc passes (1 at net), 3 dtl (1 pass, 1 at net), 6 inside-out, 4 inside-in and 1 inside-in/longline
- BH - 1 drop shot

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 39
- 32 Unforced (13 FH, 19 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.6

Thiem 49
- 34 Unforced (19 FH, 15 BH)
- 15 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH).... with 3 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

(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...
- 12/16 (75%) at net, including...
- 2/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves
- 4/4 forced back

Thiem was...
- 11/15 (73%) at net, with...
- 2/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Terrific, hard hitting baseline encounter with the 2 players playing slighlty differently but both very well. Djokovic edges the result by winning two tiebreaks on a quick-ish clay court

First tiebreak is poor from Thiem, whose poor drop shots are abused. He hadn't used drop shots upto the 'breaker and he loses it easiy 7-2. A Thiem double fault which puts him down 5-3 and a mini-break decides the second 'breaker. 7-4 Djokovic - virtually a coin flip deal

Outside the 'breakers, Thiem shades play. Emphasis on 'shades' - action is tough, and neither player can get too far ahead of the other. Thiem's slim advantage would put odds of his coming out ahead a little higher than the opposite result, but is far from making it likely that he would do so

Points won and points served are perfectly lined up - Djoko wins 90 points while serving 90, Thiem wins 81 while serving 81

Djoko's 3/3 on break points, Thiem 3/10 while having them in 6 different games - having break points in twice the number of games Djoko has is biggest statistical indicator of his slight advantage

1st serve in - Djoko 61%, Thiem 51%
1st serve points won - Djoko 75%, Thiem 63%
2nd serve points won - Djoko 46%, Thiem 55%

Looks like your run-of-the-mill close contest with 1 guy having better serve, the other being better in court action

Thiem with 5 unreturnables (2 aces, 3 service winners) from 41 first serves comes to one 12% of the time, to Djoko's 2 in 55 or 4% (Djoko also has as second serve ace). That's a bit deceptive if it sounds like Thiem guns first serves with more or an eye for them not coming back. On whole, he serves at his his robust norm, but certainly not looking to overwhelm with the shot. Djoko serves similarly - Thiem just happens to be a bit more powerful. Thiem's low 51% in count is a blackmark for him, given his serving 'normally' (as opposed to particularly big). Even that isn't too important - he wins higher lot of 2nd serves points than 1st for much of match

Unreturned rate - Djoko 29%, Thiem 22%.... is along expected lines of the two players in-counts. Typically, nicely balanced delivery by Djoko - doing just enough to get the return errors, without risking lowering in count. 52% of the return errors he draws have been marked FEs, to 38% of Thiem's

72% return errors being UEs by Djoko speaks to his being quite hefty in his returning. Potentially initiative grabbing and often neutralizing returns. Thiem winning 55% 2nd serve points anyway speaks to his being better court player

I'd more credit Djoko calibrating his serve just so to get errors without going for too much, but a little has-room-for-improvement in Thiem's returning too. He's got 11 UEs, to Djoko's 8. For UE's, they're not easy. Djoko's are easier and he misses the odd regulation return

Gist of serve-return is Djoko solidly impressive in both areas, Thiem with room for improvement in both. Could do with getting more first serves in and could do a bit more in getting returns in play, seeing as he doesn't return with particular aggression. This is high degree of combing - essentially, both serve and return more than well enough. And then they rally


Hall of Fame
Winners - Djoko 13, Thiem 23
Errors Forced - Djoko 15, Thiem 7
UEs - Djoko 32, Thiem 34

... comes out dead even - Djokovic 62 points, Thiem 62 points. Collapsing errors forced and winners -

Points ended aggressively - Djoko 28, Thiem 30
UEs - Djoko 32, Thiem 34

Its difference in errors forced and winners that get to the main difference between the two players. Djoko attacks relatively safely - pushing Thiem around, hitting wide but not riskily wide, hitting hard but not outlandishly hard

Thiem attacks with more ambitious/risky (read: stupid if it fails, glorious if it doesn't) FH shotmaking, making room for the shot and going for lines. He's not too crazy (i.e. most choices are at least half there for the shot, thought its amibitous) and rarely goes into full scale stupid territory (though he does put a toe beyond that line ocasionally too)

To be clear, Thiem's aggression isn't too much. Where its sub-optimal is that he's clearly able to hang with Djokovic form the back neutrally, so there's no need for it

'Able to hang with Djokovic' is a silly way of putting it. He has both consistency and hitting advantage when rallying from the back - and his hitting is extremely powerful, but spin loaded for control. In this light, he has obvious option of looking to outlast or beatdown Djoko relatively safely. Going for ambitious winners when one has more sound base to work from from the back... isn't particularly smart play

It would be more understandable for Djoko, who's trailing in basic neutral rallying, to step up and attack more. Thus incurring more risk and likely, making more attacking errors.

To be clear, Thiem's advantge in hitting and consistency form the back are, as most things in the match, minor. But it is the key difference in play - Thiem riskly adventurous in attacking, Djokovic sound and the main point is that being the case is opposite of what flows out of the bulk base of neutral hitting

Breakdown of UEs -
- Neutral - Djoko 19, Thiem 17
- Attacking - Djoko 8, Thiem 5
- Winner Attempts - Djoko 5, Thiem 12

Djoko with 8 attacking UEs while forcing 15 errors - a fine ratio. Thiem with 5 and 7 is a poor one. Testimony to Djoko's sound play, but Thiem's showing is open to interpretation. Does that poor a ratio justify his attacking more vigorourously?

Its more the case that he just doesn't go in for moderate attacking much. Its not as if he tries and finding it not working, moves on to shotmaking.... usually he just goes straight into backaway FH blasting at the corners. 10/16 FH winners are inside-out or inside-in - and most that aren't are passes or/and shots at net

Djoko with 13 winners, 5 errors going for them to Thiem's 23 and 12. Not bad from Thiem, very good from Djokovic

Djoko's winners, errors forced and the UEs he makes going for those types of shots speaks to a very smartly played match. Sound shot choices are 1 of the best things in Djoko's game around this period. Thiem isn't necessarily bad, but not in that league of 'always playing the right shot at the right time' that's just Djokos norm

Thiem with advantage in BH UEs 15-19 is a big win for him and at center of his neutral advantage. Given the match up, trying to outlast Thiem BH-BH readily suggests itself for Djoko. Its not a given - Thiem has an excellent, consistent rallying BH cc and can be expected to win his fair share even against Djokovic in such rallies or even get the better of him on a given day. Chances are Djoko winning more than he loses from BH cc rallies most days though.... as this is a day where Thiem's ahead, prospects of him building on it to victory are good

Match Progression
Hard hitting, dual winged baseline rallies make up the match on whole, and first part is no exception. Thiem is more powerful of shot but also apt to go for too much and miss and on the whole, has better of the first set

He goes up a break early. Djoko snatches it back in one of the best games of the match, ending with Thiem missing a FH inside-in winner attempt of the third ball

Wonderful chair umpire, who brooks little nonsense about the shot clock. In game 9, he warns Djoko for exceeding the clock and then docks him first serve the following point when Djoko goes over again next point, which happens to be a break point. Djoko goes on to hold after saving 2 break points, with some good serves on couple of the points

Poor drop shots by Thiem cost him dearly in tiebreak, with Djoko more than up to running them down and dispatching, and also a fantastic defensive effort by Djoko to snatch a point where he makes 2 remarkable gets before going on to force Thiem back from net and winning the point. Djoko takes it 7-2

Thiem has better of 2nd set and Djoko has to save break poinst in back to back service games. Having just saved one, he's again docked a first serve for going over shot clock. He responds with a 2nd serve ace

Thiem breaks in 14 point game to go up 4-2, Djoko returns the favour in a 5 point game straight away

Ending is tense with Djoko outlasting Thiem to break and leave himself serving for the match. Thiem responds with a break back in a game of strong, deep returns. Djoko double faults on break point

Good, clean tiebreak, highlight of which is Djoko nicely working his way forward to finish with a BHV winner to go up 4-3 with 2 returns to follow. Thiem double faults to go what proves to the the decisive mini-break. Thiem does well to lob back a commanding Djokovic awhile later, but Djoko remains in command of the point. Match ends with THiem shanking a BH

Summing up, excellent contest between 2 great baseliners, both playing very well. There's so little in the result that its splitting hairs to name a better player - essentially, they're equal with a small number of points pushing the result Djokovic's way. There are signficant differences in the way the two play though

Djokovic plays soundly, playing the right shot at the right time, including when stepping up to attack and including with the serve and return. Thiem with room for improvement on the serve and return and in play attacking with much greater vigour - to extent of being risky

Is it worth it? Is it necessary? Thiem's heavier and slightly more consistent player when the two trade groundies from the back and has no reason to attack to a risky degree. That's just his game though and its good enough to win, though that's not how things turn out

Stats for the final between Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas - Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Tsitsipas, Madrid final, 2019 | Talk Tennis (
Stats for pair's '20 Australian Open final - Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Thiem, Australian Open final, 2020 | Talk Tennis (


Wonderful chair umpire, who brooks little nonsense about the shot clock. In game 9, he warns Djoko for exceeding the clock and then docks him first serve the following point when Djoko goes over again next point, which happens to be a break point. Djoko goes on to hold after saving 2 break points, with some good serves on couple of the points
Thiem has better of 2nd set and Djoko has to save break poinst in back to back service games. Having just saved one, he's again docked a first serve for going over shot clock. He responds with a 2nd serve ace
Lol. That umpire cost Thiem the match.

Never anger the beast...


Hall of Fame
Lol. That umpire cost Thiem the match.

Never anger the beast...

:)Same thought occured to me

I don't remember seeing that Chair before or since. That doesn't mean much because I rarely notice the Chair. Good job by him

They show a grapic giving average time between points as Thiem 25 seconds, Djoko 28. If that's accurate, its very probelmatic as far as enforcing rules go

He seemed to just do it very matter-of-factly - clock hits 0 before Djoko's thrown the ball up, he gets a warning or the penalty

Was Djokovic better in this match or the 2009 Nadal Madrid match in your opinion @Waspsting ?

Its been awhile since I watched the '09 match, and wouldn't want to make a flimsy comparison. And they're significantly different matches

In '09, Djoko leads, Nadal counter-punches
Here, they trade hard hits for advantage... Thiem is certainly not playing reactive tennis

More generally, its Nadal's habit to fall back and react (as opposed to step up and fight for control of play). Thiem's more a shotmaker and beat-down hitter

Here you've got Thiem hitting winners and missing trying for them... Djoko's job is to hit firmly enough to make it hard for him to hit winners and thus put odds of his missing if he carries on playing that way

In '09, Djoko encourages Nadal to fall back, Nadal obliges (in a way Thiem never would) and Djoko tries working him over moderately (some combo of outhit, outlast and outmanuver) to end points

So how do you compare them? Your basically talking about 2 different players, in Djokovic's showings. And more than most sports, that's the nature of tennis.... how well you play is limited by how well your opponent gives you scope to play

Specficially for me, I just don't think in these comparison terms. Sometimes a match will remind me of another, but its rare and usually, it'll be a very similar match of styles of play

Watching 1 match and comparing it to another unrelated one seems to me like eating a steak and instead of just enjoying it, thinking about whether its better or worse and how its better or worse than the steak I had in X city, in Y year

I like this match better. There's a good amount of slow and shoddy play in in the '09 one. The action in this one is more to my taste

Is the '09 match a favourite of yours?