Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Djokovic, US Open semi-final, 2008


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in the US Open semi-final, 2008 on hard court

Federer would go on to win his 5th title (joint Open Era record), 5th in a row (standalone record) and first hard court title of the year by beating Andy Murray in the final

Federer won 135 points, Djokovic 114

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (80/125) 64%
- 1st serve points won (61/80) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (27/45) 60%
- Aces 20 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/125) 34%

- 1st serve percentage (80/124) 65%
- 1st serve points won (57/80) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (20/44) 45%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (37/124) 30%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 52%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 2%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 82 (27 FH, 55 BH), including 1 runaround FH

- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 28 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- 22 Forced (7 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (82/119) 69%

Djokovic made...
- 81 (45 FH, 36 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (4 FH)
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 17 Forced (13 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (81/124) 65%

Break Points
Federer 5/12 (8 games)
Djokovic 2/4 (2 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 29 (18 FH, 8 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Djokovic 30 (13 FH, 5 BH, 6 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)

Federer's FHs - 5 cc, 2 dtl, 6 inside-out, 1 inside-out/longline, 2 inside-in and 2 running-down-drop-shot at net
- BHs - 2 cc passes, 3 dtl (1 pass), 2 inside-out (1 return) and 1 drop shot

- 1 BHV was a stop and 1 was a drop

- the OH was a lob pass groundstroke played off a Djokovic OH at net

Djokovic's FHs - 5 cc (2 returns), 2 dtl, 2 inside-in (1 return), 2 longline (1 return), 1 at net and 1 pass around the net post
- BHs - 3 cc (1 pass) and 2 dtl

- 1 FHV was a swinging first volley off a 'delayed' serve-volley point

- 1 BHV was a drop and 1 was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 46
- 22 Unforced (12 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV)
- 24 Forced (12 FH, 7 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.4

Djokovic 58
- 42 Unforced (21 FH, 20 BH, 1 FHV)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

(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...
- 13/24 (54%) at net, including...
- 1/3 (33%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves + 0/1 'Delayed' serve-volleying

Djokovic was...
- 21/30 (70%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, both 2nd serves + 1/1 'Delayed' serve-volleying (a 1st serve)
- 1/2 return-approaching

Match Report
A convincing win for Federer as he outserves and out plays his opponent from the baseline. It's a match of parts. The first set is dominated by serve (Federer better in play), the second set is about even, Federer better in the third and dominant in the fourth where he both raises his game while Djoko plays with careless aggression

Serve & Return
Its a fast-ish hard court where strong serving is rewarded and both men capitilize (unreturned serves - Federer 34%, Djokovic 30%). Naturally, Federer has the better serve - both in terms of power and placement, and probably disguise. He bangs down 20 aces to Djokovic's 6... a much bigger gap than one would expect given the unreturned serve percentages

This is mostly due to Djokovic being much better on return. Djoko is able to get back many a powerful serve, usually with decent depth though not great power. And he gets stuck into the odd return, as his 4 winners show. 1 FH return is hit so powerfully it goes through for a winner though its come past just past the returner. Fed by contrast, misses many good but returnable serves of the sort Djoko regularly puts back in play. At times, the Swiss shows sub-par movement and footwork in returning wide serves.... there's a hint of Sampras-esqe selective pseudo return tanking from him, which is uncharacteristic. Nor was the court so fast as to explain the choice

Credit to both for serving well, and particularly Djokovic on the return

Playing Dynamics & Stats
With serve dominating, early on rallies are short, with emphasis is on shot-making rather than point construction. Federer has the edge here - both due to better shot making and the comparative advantage his superior serve gives him.

Its points ending shot-making from Fed, while Djoko wanders back and forth between attacking play from clearly advantageous positions and ball bashing up and down the middle. The latter doesn't work too well because in this match, he's the less consistent player of the ground. 41 unforced errors to Fed's 19.... he has more UEs of either wing (21 FH, 20 BH) than Fed does off both combined (19)… so either Fed is putting points to bed from the back or Djoko is making the lions share of errors

Djoko gets limited relief in his superiority in defence. Though not a big factor in the match, Djoko is able to protect defensive positions better and occasionally make Fed hit the extra ball. By contrast, Fed is a bit slow in such situations. As with the returning, at times it appears he's not trying too hard... saving his energy for points where positioning is neutral or advantageous. Given the overall dynamic, this is understandable and in 2008, he'd probably have felt he didn't need to overly scamper on defence to come out on top overall. Djoko's movement is slightly superior, even when Fed is giving it his all though and even more so when the Swiss is a bit lazy
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Hall of Fame
Djoko makes his own relief by attacking the net... and with great success. The net numbers are unexpected. Djoko approaching more (30 to 24) and winning more (70% to 54%). Furthermore, he's strong on the pass - including the return when Fed serve-volleys - and Fed isn't particularly good on the volley. Fed doesn't pass particularly well and its not because of Djoko comes in solely behind strong approaches. The Serb looks less than at ease in the forecourt, but volleys surely enough. Couple of good touch volley winners, along with some high easy ones. He does fail to put away 2 OHs - 1 leads to his making a volley error the shot after, the other results in the shot of the match, Federer OH'ing Djoko's OH for a winning shot that sails over Djoko's head. Technically, its an OH lob

Third set is most competitive, with Djoko trimming back on errors and play about even. Though having the same scoreline, Fed is in command of the third and all the break chances are his. The fourth however, is the most entertaining

Djokovic is either tired and/or mentally half checked out. He goes in for unduly attacking tennis and even serve-volleys off 2 second serves. It makes for lively play, but he's played into Federer's stronghold of open court tennis... and Fed not only dominate the offensive plays, but fortifies his steadiness. Just 1 UE from Fed in the set (to a Djoko ball that hit the net chord on its way over and slowed down so that Fed probably had too much time to deal with it), Djoko has 13.... this is Fed at near his best

Note Djoko leading on winners by a hair (30 to 29) and more substantially in forcing errors (24 to 16 - largely due to Djoko's superior defence and net play), while Fed has 20 fewer unforced errors (he was just more consistent)… it looks like Djoko was the wild aggressor and Fed the passive counter puncher, but that wasn't quite the case

The crowd may have been a factor also. In the previous round, Djoko had given a provocative post-match on court interview after beating local Andy Roddick that set off a chorus of boos and the crowd hadn't forgotten. A brilliant Djoko BH dtl winner right on the baseline is met by funeral-like silence. Fed having lost the near invincibility he'd for the last few years (he was number 2 behind Rafael Nadal at the time) seems to have endeared him even more to the crowd... and at times, Djoko is clearly disturbed by the crowds loud celebrations of his errors

Summing up, a balanced attacking showing from Fed - serving well, attacking from the back appropriately while remaining steady too but a bit lax defensively and at times on the return. Good returning from Djokovic, smart to attack net and skilled in executing it.... but outmatched on the majority, baseline battleground

Stats for the final -