Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Baghdatis, Australian Open final 2006


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Marcos Baghdatis 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 in the Australian Open final, 2006 on hard court

It was Federer's third consecutive Slam title and he would go onto win 3 of the next 4 as well

Federer won 142 points, Baghdatis 116

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (77/144) 53%
- 1st serve points won (55/77) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (34/67) 51%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/144) 22%

- 1st serve percentage (55/114) 48%
- 1st serve points won (39/55) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (22/59) 37%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (31/114) 27%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 2%

Baghdatis served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 72%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 81 (21 FH, 60 BH), including 1 runaround FH and 5 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- 18 Forced (9 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (81/112) 72%

Baghdatis made...
- 106 (37 FH, 69 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- 12 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (106/138) 77%

Break Points
Federer 8/12 (11 games)
Baghdatis 3/8 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 35 (20 FH, 3 BH, 7 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
Baghdatis 22 (9 FH, 8 BH, 4 BHV, 1 OH)

Federer's FHs -11 cc (1 at net, 1 pass), 2 dtl, 4 inside-out (1 return, 1 pass), 1 inside-in and 1 dtl/inside-out

- BHs - 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 drop shot and 1 inside-out return

- 3 from serve-volley points - all first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH @ net), the FHV being a swinging shot of a delayed approach and the FH at net being hit from behind the service line

Baghdatis' FHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 past the service line but not a net point), 1 longline, 1 drop shot and 1 at net

-BHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 5 dtl (2 passes) and 1 inside-out return

- 1 BHV was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 56
- 38 Unforced (20 FH, 14 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV)
- 18 Forced (12 FH, 6 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.2

Baghdatis 73
- 42 Unforced (23 FH, 17 BH, 2 FHV)
- 31 Forced (14 FH, 12 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 Tweener)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.3

(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...
- 28/37 (76%) at net, including...
- 4/5 (80%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 4/4 off first serve and...
- 0/1 off second
- 2/5 (40%) return-approaching

Baghdatis was...
- 7/15 (47%) at net, with...
0/1 return-approaching
0/1 forced back

Match Report
As the scoreline suggests, a match of two parts. For two sets, play is about even on this slowish hard court. For the remainder, Federer is completely in charge - he's plays solidly but the result is mostly due to Baghdatis' poor play

Federer starts the match with a half-&-half strategy. He's ready to take charge with the FH, as he demonstrates by knocking away 3 winners in his second service game (and 1 on his first return game). On the BH though, he's content to be passive - invariably slicing the returning, slicing a lot in rallies and holding back on his top spin shots. Given the pace of the court, I thought it was a good starting strategy.... testing out the unseeded, ranked in the 50s Baghdatis and see if he could just win points by waiting for errors. In any case, it would have been difficult to dominate on this court with the BH anyway.

Neither strategy works too well. Mid-way through the set, Fed misses a number of winner attempt FHs, including 2 in the game he's broken. And Baghdatis proves to be up to the task of trading BHs, and takes to opening the court with BH dtl shots. Still, he's not consistent with it. He's broken back in a game where he makes 4 errors - 2 of each side - plus a double fault. His ground game is solid at best and it doesn't look like he has what it takes to actively hurt Federer.

Baghdatis breaks again in a flamboyant game with drop shot errors, a net-to-net battle which he wins with a BHV winner, a crushing FH longline winner and a Federer volley winner. They balance is again made up by Fed missing 2 FH winner attempts, and on break point, he misses a routine FH to leave Baghdatis serving for the set. which he does without incident

The Cypriot breaks to start the third. He slaps a BH dtl winner of Federer's favourite FH inside-out, blasts a return that forces an error and does a nice 1-2 - BH dtl to open the court and BH cc for the winner. But again, its a pair of Fed errors - not overly attacking ones this time - that seal the game. And he takes charge on the next return game as well, where Fed is forced to save two break points - 1 in which he's on the defensive for most of the rally before coming out with a FH winner. Fed breaks back next game, courtesy of 3 errors from his opponent.

Play continues about even for the rest of the set, Bagdhatis' returning maybe giving him a slight overall edge. He's the more attacking and Fed has even put away trying to dictate with the FH and is playing a slow court rallying game. He does roll the dice down 40-0 with Baghdatis serving to take the set into a tiebreak by chip-charging returns and taking the net. And wonder of wonders, it pays off... Fed wins 5 points in a row to take the set.

And then starts phase two. In a nutshell, Baghdatis sprays errors right, left and center. He makes 9 in total (Federer has 2, including a volley) and he makes them in bundles (3 in a row to get broken the first time, 3 in a row to get broken the second time and 2 in a row before Fed finishes up with a passing winner and a return winner to get broken the third time).

And so it continues into the fourth set. Marcos is broke to love with 4 errors (1 an unfortunate one, when he cramps in the middle of the point). Federer even has a break point in the next service game, but Marcos is able to stop the rot. He lost 11 games in a row. Its too little, too late though as Federer continues to win the lions share of points and comfortably closes out he match. He won 14 of the last 16 games in the match

Playing Dynamics & Stats
The most impressive part of Baghdatis' showing was the return and the BH. Although the overall match stats are radically different across halves, his return numbers still come shining through.

Despite serving at a lower percentage (48% to Federer's 53%) and having the weaker serve, Baghdatis gets more returns in play than Federer (77% - five points higher than Fed). And they have the same number of return UEs and Federer has more aces/service winners (14 to 7). You can only say that Marcos returned the strong Federer first serve well - a lot better than Fed did his. A number of his returns were shot back hard and fast right to the baseline. I'd estimate more than half of these forced errors and it was only Federer's sharpness on the baseline half-volley that prevented more. Top stuff from Marcos on the return

On the BH, he generally got the better of Federer in the first half of the match and even dominated him at times. Handled the slice particularly well and forced errors/hit winners or otherwise opened up the court with dtl shots off that side (in the second half, his BH, like the rest of his game, fell apart)

Federer's ability to change tacks in the match was eyecatching. He didn't cover the court as well as usual (possibly injury related - he's wearing an ankle brace) but was still outstanding in defence. The huge difference in forced errors (Federer 18, Baghdatis 31) can mostly be explained by Federer's superiority in getting balls that would have been marked forced error had he not, back in play. Baghdatis, by contrast, tended to yield errors in such situations - even in the first half of the match

When the Swiss' initial aggressive FH/passive BH strategy was found wanting, he switched toning down the FH aggression and looked to come into net more. A number of his 37 net points were 'insurance policy' ones (he doesn't even get past the service line many times), but the threat of coming in to volley away any floating balls shaped the play. As his confidence grew, he took to coming in more - serve-volleying and chip-charge returning included. From the baseline, he fell into solidness, with the odd lashing FH winner thrown in. Still, you can only shine so much when your opponent is making errors every other point... and the nutshell of the final two sets was Baghdatis playing badly rather than Federer playing well

Summing up, an uneven match. The first two sets near enough even, with Federer's serve not doing a lot of damage, his FH both dishing out winners and making errors, his BH passive, while Baghdatis returns very well and holds even from the baseline, even getting the better of the BH exchanges. Last two sets, Federer solid from the back, strong in defence and effective in coming forward, while Baghdatis turns into an error machine

Probably a good result for both men - for Federer because he could win playing less than great and switch to so many different types of play and for Baghdatis, a gutsy showing against a seemingly invincible opponent he was expected to just roll over at the sight of


Hall of Fame
What exactly is a service winner, and why is it named so?

An 'Ace' is a winner - and gives full credit for the point to the server
A 'Return Forced Error' is an error - and primarily gives credit to the server
A 'Return Unforced Error' is also an error - and primarily gives discredit to the returner

To me, a 'Service Winner' is an extreme Return Forced Error - an unreturnable serve, virtually an ace or as good as one... basically, the returner gets credit for getting a racquet on the ball, rather than any discredit for not getting the ball in play. All the credit for the point goes to the server, as it would for an ace

Historically and probably even now, there's lots of variation in what has been called a 'Service Winner'

The below is from an old thread by @krosero

"I once made this list of all the different definitions of the term "service winner" that I'd seen:

1) Serves that the receiver reaches with a racquet, but that are judged to be as good as winners (sometimes called "unreturnable"). This is an extremely common definition, and today you can expect these winners to be included in Total Winner counts.

2) All serves that the receiver gets a racquet on but does not put back in play (what I like to call the return errors). Example: 1987 Wimbledon final, Cash-Lendl, New York Times boxscore.

3) All unreturned serves, including aces. Example: 1998 Wimbledon final, Sampras-Ivanisevic, Sports Illustrated boxscore.

4) All the serves in category #1, combined with the aces. Example: 2005 USO final, Federer-Agassi, CBS."

I've come across old boxscores, which seemed to be defining 'service winner' very close to any unreturned first serve. And watched old matches where the commentators dub 'service winner' what I would definitely call 'return forced error'