Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Thiem, Rome semi-final, 2017


Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-0 in the Rome semi-final, 2017 on clay

Djokovic would go onto lose the final to Alex Zverev. Thiem had beaten Rafael Nadal in the previous round and recently been runner-up at Madrid

Djokovic won 55 points, Thiem 25

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (31/43) 72%
- 1st serve points won (25/31) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (6/12) 50%
- Aces 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/43) 30%

- 1st serve percentage (24/37) 65%
- 1st serve points won (11/24) 46%
- 2nd serve points won (2/13) 15%
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/37) 14%

Serve Patterns
Djokovic served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 74%

Thiem served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Djokovic made...
- 31 (12 FH, 19 BH)
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 5 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (31/36) 86%

Thiem made...
- 30 (8 FH, 22 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (30/43) 70%

Break Points
Djokovic 5/7 (5 games)
Thiem 0/2 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Djokovic 12 (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 OH)
Thiem 8 (4 FH, 3 BH, 1 OH)

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

- the OH was on the bounce from no-man's land, not far from service line but not counted a net point

Thiems FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl return and 2 inside-out
- BHs - 2 dtl and 1 cc at net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Djokovic 12
- 9 Unforced (4 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV)... with 1 FH at net
- 3 Forced (3 FH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.1

Thiem 29
- 19 Unforced (12 FH, 7 BH)
- 10 Forced (5 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.1

(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...
- 4/6 (67%) at net, with...
- 1/1 forced back

Thiem was...
- 3/4 (75%) at net, with...
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
Top class match from Djokovic and not a good one from Thiem, who is basically just outmatched on a quick-ish clay court

With a 1 & 0 scoreline, either winner has played outstanding or/and loser poorly. Which one is bigger factor here?

First set, its Thiem's poorness. Second set, its more Djoko's 'richness'. Thiem is poor enough off the ground to limit how well Djoko can play, but there's enough to be going on - and Djoko is top drawer

Djokovic is at his best on the return and with his hard hitting, pressuring groundgame.
The scope for latter to shine in first set is cut off by Thiem going for and missing chancey winner attempts early. Possible to make bulk of 'em, but he'd have to be zoning to do it. As is, he virtually misses them all - that's poor play and poor judgement. Still, its Djoko's return and groundies that leave him next to 0 easy balls. And Thiem serves at his healthy, hefty norm which on this court, he could reasonably expect to get some freebies or draw weak returns from

He gets nothing. 0 aces and 5 return errors. Not only is everything else put back in play - Djoko's return rate is 86% - its done so in Djoko's best, thumped deep way. No easy third balls even from first serve returns and second serve ones regularly put Thiem on defensive via depth/pace

That high quality by Djoko on return remains constant. Thiem's response varies. In first set, he goes for quick, adventurous winners and misses almost all of them by small margins. It'd probabaly have been better for Thiem if he'd missed by wider ones - it might have discouraged him to get off that horse faster. In second set, he plays ball - engaging in hard hitting neutral rallies with Djoko, with an eye to attacking. Djoko remains metronome like in his dual winged, hard hitting and depth. Thiem can't find attacking opening and gets beaten down. Not a chance to move up the court against Djoko's shots

On flip side, healthy serving from Djoko about same strenght as Thiem's. He's able to get more odd ones out troublingly wide. Thiem misses the odd makeable return (4 UEs to Djoko's 2) and misses more of the tough ones (7 FEs to Djoko's 3). And can't return with anything like the strenght Djoko does (which isn't a reasonable expectation)

By a normal standard, he returns decently. Djoko at most gets comfortable, not easy, third balls - and he usually starts with the beat-down play (as opposed to going for the point ending shot, as Thiem largely looks to)

Despite the scoreline, just 50% second serve points won by Djoko (Thiem's is horror 15%). Decent, normal returning by Thiem

That's action in a nutshell. Djoko machine like in his dual winged hard hitting with good depth way, while returning outstandingly. Thiem at times looking to hit winners from near regulation positions, and looking to rally with Djoko at others with eye out for openings. No openings are coming. And he keeps missing his attacking plays

To be clear, Thiem does not play well by any stretch, but he is up against an awful lot. To excel, he'd have to be able to trade hard hitting groundies with Djoko. Even when he does, he doesn't seem to have stomach to keep at it. For good reason... Djoko ends up pushing him back after a few shots and then starts hitting wide to attack with minimal risk

How does it look in numbers?

Winners - Djoko 12, Thiem 8
Errors forced - Djoko 10, Thiem 3
UEs - Djoko 9, Thiem 19
UEFIs - Djoko 51.1, Thiem 52.1

Djoko winning more points through his winners and the errors he forces at 22 than he gets from Thiem's UEs at 19

Thiem isn't particularly good defensively and is forced into error by shots a quality clay courter might fancy resisting against. Would have to be particularly good to do so. Djoko isn't put on the defensive much and is good at it when he is

UEFIs are very high but for different reasons. Thiem deals in winners and makes hash of it - poor judgement preceding the execution. The winners he hits are not easy shots either - the same kind he misses. Djoko barely a normal shot, so whatever he does ends up being winner attempts

Breakdown of UEs
- Neutral - Djoko 4, Thiem 6
- Attacking - Thiem 3
- Winner attempts - Djoko 5, Thiem 10

Not much neutral rallying going on. Either Thiem bails by going for a winner or Djoko beats him down and transitions to attacking

10 errors forced while making 0 attacking UEs by Djoko is perfect. His 'neutral' ball is often skirting lines between 'neutral' and 'attacking' too - this is typical of best Djokovic showings

Not too great on the winners by Djoko - but far better than Thiem's poor 8 winners and 10 winner attempt UEs

Summing up, completely lopsided match with Djokovic at his very best - hard hitting, beat-down, dual winged play with consistent depth, supported by particularly thumping returns - leaving Thiem few options. He goes for risky winners early in rallies - and mostly misses. He tries rallying with Djokovic - and gets outhit and moved around and back. An off day for Thiem - a player capable of hanging with even a well playing Djokovic from the back - and he's outmatched, but far more credit to the winner than discredit to the loser

Stats for the final between Djokovic and Alex Zverev - Match Stats/Report - Zverev vs Djokovic, Rome final, 2017 | Talk Tennis (