Match Stats/Report - Federer-Djokovic, Cincinnati final, 2015


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-3 in the Cincinnati final, 2015 on hard court

Federer was the defending champion and this was his 7th and to date, last title at the event. He had beaten Djokovic in finals in '09 and '12 and would go onto lose to him in '18. Djokovic would go onto win the upcoming US Open, beating Federer in the final

Federer won 79 points, Djokovic 61

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (35/61) 57%
- 1st serve points won (29/35) 83%
- 2nd serve points won (19/26) 73%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/61) 39%

- 1st serve percentage (46/79) 58%
- 1st serve points won (33/46) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (15/33) 45%
- Aces 5 (2 second serves)
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/79) 22%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 47%
- to Body 5%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 47%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 58 (25 FH, 33 BH), including 6 return-approaches & 2 SABRs
- 3 Winners (3 FH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 SABR
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (58/75) 77%

(Note: Though SABR - 'Sneak Attack by Roger' is a return-approach, they have been differentiated for stats purposes)

Djokovic made...
- 35 (18 FH, 17 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (35/59) 59%

Break Points
Federer 1/8 (4 games)
Djokovic 0

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 24 (11 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 OH)
Djokovic 13 (7 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV)

Federer's FHs - 4 cc (2 returns, 1 pass), 3 inside-out, 2 inside-in (1 return), 1 longline and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 1 cc at net (hit at extreme sharp angle after it had bounced back over to Djokovic's side of the court) and 1 dtl

- 2 from serve-volley points - 1 first volley (1 BHV) and 1 second volley (1 OH)

- 1 from return-approach point, a BHV that was a net chord dribbler

- 1 other BHV net chord dribbler and 1 BHV net chord flicker

Djokovic's FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 return [not clean], 1 pass) and 3 dtl (1 pass)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 29
- 21 Unforced (11 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 Sky Hook)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.6

Djokovic 27
- 14 Unforced (7 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index

(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 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
Federer was...
- 20/27 (74%) at net, including...
- 3/4 (75%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 1/2 off 1st serve and...
- 2/2 off 2nd serve
- 3/6 (50%) return-approaching
- 2/2 SABR returning

Djokovic was 2/6 (33%) at net

Match Report
Flawless 1st set from Federer, followed by a strangely off 2nd from Djokovic on a standard (not fast) hard court. Fed's net-based attacks and construction of points leading to those attacks stands out for quality and is different from his norm

Locking down his service games, on return Fed pressures Djoko in the 1st set with chip-charges and sneak-attacks and the odd big or well placed early cut. While Djoko holds up in the 1st, his serving standard falls apart in the 2nd

Federer's Serve Games
Fed's untouchable on serve - 83% 1st serve points won, 73% 2nds, 39% unreturned. In fact, he didn't lose his serve all tournament. According to commentary, average time per service game for the tournament was 1 minute 51 seconds for the tournament and its about 1 minute 40 halfway through 1st set (mind you, commentators also quote an erroneous figure for Fed's unreturned rate in the pair's recent Wimbledon final). That remains for rest of match to. Djoko doesn't see a break point, reaches deuce once, is ahead just once 0-15

With all that, you'd think Federer was serving out of his socks. He doesn't seem to be. There's a reasonable number of unforceful 1st serves (certainly, for him) - medium paced serves in Djoko's swing zone, balls Djoko in other matches is apt not only to get back in play but hit to Federer's feet on the baseline. There's little of that going on, and Djoko misses these returns not infrequently. Note the 8 return UEs, as opposed to 7 FEs

To be clear, its still good serving from Fed. Particularly, some error forcingly strong, wide second serves. And the damaging ability of the 1sts are more about precision placement than all out power. But not hasn't-faced-break-point good... I can think of half a dozen better serving performances from him that don't yield nearly such winning rates

Fed backs up the serve near flawlessly. Djoko's returns tend to leave him with small initiative and he capitilizes with moderately attacking groundstrokes. He stays on the baseline as much as possible, taking ball early and not giving any ground. Much of his finishing is done at net, where he wins 74% points

This type of play is different from his usual aggression, which is based on point endingly strong 3rd ball FHs. That tends to be hit and miss. What he does is more artful and elegant and requires more point construction, less shot making. The shot making approach can look almost desperate at times. What he does here speaks to confidence in ability to strengthen his position shot by by shot and good finishing touch... its good to see

He also throws in the odd serve volley - twice off either serve, winning all but one point. That works in conjunction with the odd, ambitious winner attempt from near regulation positions - though those occur more on Djoko's serve games. He has 5 groundstroke winner attempt errors and 13 groundstroke winners

Djoko counter-punches, can't push Fed back or wrestle control of points from the back... Fed plays him like a puppet

In a compound nutshell, good serving from Fed, attacking point construction and finishing at net. Djokovic's is just along for the ride


Hall of Fame
Djokovic's Serve Games
Djoko's 1st serve is about his standard in 1st set. The 2nd too - but it comes in for some abnormally good, aggressive returning from Fed - chip-charges, SABRs, early cut returns etc.

Djoko plays a pure baseline game, coming in just 6 times and about half of those were forced approaches. Purely from the baseline, he's probably the slightly better player. 13 UEs from the back, to Fed's 19

His groundies though lack the force of his norm. They're mostly out and out neutral, without particular power or depth. Independent of the pressure Fed keeps him under, below his norm from the back by Djoko

In second set, Djoko at times plays a bit rashly. Surprisingly, he leads the UEFI 48.6 to Fed's 47.6. Breakdown of UEs gives a more accurate picture of play -
- Defensive - Fed 1, Djoko 0
- Neutral - Fed 9, Djoko 4
- Attacking - Fed 4, Djoko 8
- Winner Attempts - Fed 7, Djoko 2

Djoko remains the more consistent player as the neutral errors show. Fed though is quick to get out of neutral and into attacking whenever he can... 4 errors of the type is very low and speaks to Fed's efficiency in attacking moderately... and should be weighed against his having forced 13 errors out of Djokovic, as well as successful attacking shots building up to a large chunk of his 24 winners By contrast, 8 attacking errors is high and speaks to Djoko doing the opposite - he only forces 8 errors

Djoko rarely gets as far as winner attempts. He's on the defensive after Fed takes charge of points, including hitting passes

Neither player is particularly good defensively. Fed's FEs are quite mild, balls just a bit harder than normal - some discredit to him for this, though defence is clearly not what he's going for in the match as a whole. Djoko's a bit down to on the move and on the run.... usual strengths of his game, but I would primarily credit Federer's attacking play for it

Djoko's serving in 2nd is a mystery. First he double fault 3 times to hand over a break to 15. Then, he starts serving gently. First serves about 100mph is common, seconds go well below that. He still throws in odd strong serves (even 2nds). Maybe he was particularly careful to get 1st serves in, seeing how Fed had attacked 2nd serves earlier? If so, it works... just the 1 chip-charge return in set 2, though Fed capitilizes to strike 2 return winners, both against 1st serves. Whatever the reason, weak serving from Djoko in 2nd set

Consistency of groundshots also goes down some, and he makes some loose attacking errors, while still lacking penetration of depth of shot. Neutral groundstroke rallies in this match as a whole is a good 2 steps behind the norm for the pair

One other oddity. Djokovic scarcely makes a sound all match. While not the biggest grunter in the game, how much noise he usually makes struck me for its absence in this match. He plays as silently as Federer himself, not a grunt in earshot. This adds something to the impression of being flat... a silent Djoko appears like a flat Djoko

Match Progression
In first set, Fed holds easily (as he does all match) while regularly threatening on return. He has 3 break points in game 3 on back of a return winner, an error forcing SABR and an approach ending with a net-to-net OH winner, but Djoko manages to hold, with Fed missing a regulation return on his third break point

There's another break point brought on by net play in the next return game, with Djoko holding through baseline errors from Fed. Two games later, 4 consecutive chip-charge returns put Djoko under intense pressure. He's able to win one such point with a lob that a back pedalling Fed tries to sky hook without success

Tiebreak is flawless from Fed. On serve at 2-1, he gains the first mini break with a perfectly placed, looped BH dtl winner to the corner and follows up with his second SABR that forces an error

Djoko goes flat in second set. To start with, he hands over the break on a silver platter with 3 double faults. Thereafter, he serves gently with plenty of second serve looking first serves. Fed's able to return comfortably and points become 50-50 affairs. There's an 18 point game that Djoko holds after surviving 3 break points, finishing with his second, second serve ace when Fed moves in the wrong direction in anticipation

Curious point when a Djoko fended off return just makes it to other side and the backspin on the ball has carried it back over the net to Djoko's side. Fed's at net in a flash and stretches over net to dispatch ball at extreme angle BH cc while its on Djoko's side of the court

Summing up, excellent from Federer and beautiful balance of attacking ground shots, ambitious shot-making and especially, coming to net to finish points, including pressuring ones off the return. Ordinary from Djokovic, whose return is a bit off and ground game is a bit flat

Stats for upcoming US Open final -
Stats for pair's other Cincinnati finals -
- 2009 -
- 2012 -
- 2018 -
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