Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Blake, Year End Championship final, 2006


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat James Blake 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in in the Year End Championship (Tennis Masters Cup) final, 2006 on indoor hard court in Shanghai, China

It was Federer's 3rd title in 4 years at the event and he would go onto win the follow year also. This was Blake's only final at the event
previously posted

Federer won 100 points, Blake 67

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (59/86) 69%
- 1st serve points won (43/59) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (16/27) 59%
- Aces 11 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (32/86) 37%

- 1st serve percentage (48/81) 59%
- 1st serve points won (27/48) 56%
- 2nd serve points won (13/33) 39%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/81) 23%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 1%

Blake served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 71%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 60 (12 FH, 48 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 10 Forced (5 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (60/79) 76%

Blake made...
- 53 (18 FH, 35 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 4 BH)
- 15 Forced (3 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (53/85) 62%

Break Points
Federer 6/13 (8 games)
Blake 1/11 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 28 (6 FH, 18 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 BHOH)
Blake 12 (5 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)

Federer's FHs - 1 cc, 3 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass at net, 11 dtl (3 passes), 2 longline passes (1 at net), 1 longline/inside-out, 1 inside-out return, 1 inside-out/dtl pass and 1 net chord dribbler

- 1 from a serve-volley points - a first volley OH, that can reasonably be called a FHV
- the FHV was a swinging shot
- the BHOH can reasonably be called a BHOH

Blake's FHs - 1 cc, 2 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc and 2 dtl

- the BHV was a net chord dribbler

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 35
- 25 Unforced (9 FH, 15 BH, 1 OH)… with 1 FH at net & 1 BH at net
- 10 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.2

Blake 38
- 26 Unforced (15 FH, 11 BH)
- 12 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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...
- 11/15 (73%) at net, including...
- 2/4 (50%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/3 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
- 1/1 retreated

Blake was...
- 7/15 (47%) at net, with...
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
Excellent showing from Federer on a fast court. Blake doesn't play badly - if anything, the scoreline is unflattering to him - but gets brushed aside

As bagels go, the first set isn't easy. Fed has a love hold but his other 2 service games last 8 and 14 points respectively, and he has to save 5 break points in the latter game. Meanwhile, 2/3 Blake service games last 10 points

Second set is competitive by any standard. Two tough holds (Blake fights back from 15-40 down in first and Federer saves 4 break points in another 14 point game), 1 break in a 10 point game and remaining games are standard holds

Fed's superiority is clearer in the third set and his shot making shines at its brightest. Blake has his moments too, and scores his only break as Fed was serving for the match

The match is best known for the unusually high number of Federer BH winners. He has 18 - as opposed to 6 of the FH - to go along with 15 UEs

Serve & Return
Federer's very convincing on serve but short of his best. 69% first serves in on a court like this could easily yield a near 50% unreturned rate, but he's 'only' at 37%. Placement and hitting lines is a bigger factor in serving quality than raw speed. His better second serves would make reasonable weapons (he has 1 ace and a couple of unreturned serves marked forced) and his normal second serve would at least be difficult to attack. He does throw in a few unforceful first serves though, especially to Blake's FH in the ad court

Its smart serving on a fast court. Moderately strong serves are enough to draw errors and elicit weak returns... going for more on the serve and potentially lowering first serve percentage isn't worth it

The returning is better still. Blake's serve is average to above average of force and on this court, potentially damaging. Fed returns with seeming ease though, putting balls deep or wide with polished, compact short swings and without seeming strain. Gets a good chunk of Blake's wider serves back too

Blake return to is better than his serve. Not only does he keep Fed's unreturned rate low, but gets stuck into a few returns, hammering them with exceptional power. Fed's ability to cope with such shots is exceptional though (more on that later)

Play - Baseline & Net
What's going on with all these BH winners?

For starters, Fed controls play and looks to keep things BH-BH. In their Indian Wells match at start of the year, played a dictating-with-FH game. Which had brought Blake's FH into the equation. With Blake's monster power FH, there's always the likelihood of him commanding play

By contrast, Blake's unlikely to regularly do damage off the BH. Of essence, his game by wings is similar to Federer's

It seems unlikely Fed planned out whacking BH winners every which way all match, but that's how it turns out. Initially, he goes for a few dtl winners amidst regulation cc rallies... and they all come off. That continues for most of the match and other dtl winners come in open court rallies. Finally, Blake approaches to Fed's BH... and Fed's very sure on the pass too. Fed rarely looks to dictate with FH or manuver his way to using the FH from BH rallies. He goes for and usually makes the attacking BH shot to end points. A good lot of Blake's 12 FEs are forced by the Fed BH too

Strong as his offense is, the defence impresses me more. Blake does look to dictate with FHs - and does. Fed makes some remarkable gets - both in moving to poke balls back in play and even more so coping with extremes of power. Also, flicking back deep balls

Not great continuity in attack from Blake. A couple of balls coming back from his attacking hits tend to lead to him losing the point going for another haymaker. Note the high 50 UEFI... he misses 10 winner attempts (Fed 7) and 6 attacking shots (Fed also 6). With 15/26 of his UEs being FHs, its that side that falters going big. The BH errors tend to be more neutral shots... he's not too consistent of that side, isn't nearly as apt to for the point killer from there and when he does, usually misses

By contrast, Fed makes most of his point-killing shots, which are almost all dtl of the BH (15 of his 18 winners are dtl based... the other 3 are a shot at net, a return and a net chord dribbler). BH dtl also accounts for much of Blake's 7 FH FEs. Most of Fed's joint match high 15 BH UEs would be neutral shots

Blake's heavy footed with his first step, though quick to move after that. Fed's attacking play would require near flawless movement for a player to even have a chance of retrieving. Not many would be up to it and Blake's no exception

Blake is outsteadied from the back (though that make up minority of play), his big attacks come back not infrequently and can only watch as Fed's attacking shots go for winners. What to do? He tries coming to net some, which is a good idea. Only Fed can't seem to miss a pass either. Just 7/15 at net for Blake and the ones he wins are almost all due to overwhelmingly strong approach shots

Summing up, consummate showing from Federer - though superficially overshadowed, his sure returning and strong defence are excellent, while the BH shot making and serve are obviously so. A good showing from Blake too, who hits his big FHs whenever he has the chance but is thwarted on it to a significant extent in a way he's nowhere near able to reciprocate

Stats for pair's Indian Wells final from earlier in the year -