Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Djokovic, US Open semi-final, 2009

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-5 in the US Open semi-final, 2009 on hard court

Federer would go onto lose the final to Juan Martin del Potro, missing out on a 6th consecutive title. For Djokovic, it was the third year in a row he had lost to Federer (finals in 2007, semis in 2008) but would go onto beat Federer in the semis the next two years

Federer won 119 points, Djokovic 105

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (63/109) 58%
- 1st serve points won (49/63) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (28/46) 61%
- Aces 8, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (36/109) 33%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (78/115) 68%
- 1st serve points won (53/78) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (20/37) 54%
- Aces 6
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/115) 29%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 41%
- to BH 57%
- to Body 3%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 41%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 78 (34 FH, 44 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 27 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (8 FH, 1 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 18 Forced (5 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (78/111) 70%

Djokovic made...
- 70 (31 FH, 39 BH)
- 3 Winners (3 FH)
- 27 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- 18 Forced (7 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (70/106) 66%

Break Points
Federer 3/10 (6 games)
Djokovic 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 37 (22 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 8 OH, 1 Tweener)
Djokovic 21 (14 FH, 7 BH)

Federer's FHs - 4 cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 7 inside-out, 1 inside-in return, 1 longline, 4 drop shots (1 at net), 1 cc/inside-in, 1 net-to-net, 1 cc/longline pass and 1 lob (a mishit)
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl

- 1 FHV was played net-to-net and 2 OHs were played from the baseline

- the tweener was a pass

Djokovic's FHs - 4 cc, 2 dtl (1 return), 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 cc/longline, 2 net chord dribbler returns and 1 around the net post
- BHs -3 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 2 drop shots

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 48
- 31 Unforced (17 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV)
- 17 Forced (12 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.8

Djokovic 42
- 29 Unforced (16 FH, 12 BH, 1 BHV)
- 13 Forced (5 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.8

(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...
- 24/30 (80%) at net, with...
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 2/2 forced back

Djokovic was...
- 4/10 (40%) at net

Match Report
Very good encounter with strong solid play from both players on a fast-ish hard court. Federer slipping it up a notch or two from plain old good and solid just when required proves decisive. The match is very similar to their 2007 final, but better

First set is the worst of the bunch and it isn't bad but rather, a bit strange. For one thing, both players miss a bunch of second serve returns (Federer 6/17, Djokovic 7/18.... and Djoko misses on the first point of the second set too). Don't think I've seen so many second serve returns missed in non serve-volley matches. The court isn't that quick and neither player serves that well. Maybe just a slow start. After 2 Djokovic service games - 9 points, including a double fault - Federer had put 1 return in play.

Play isn't great either. Lots of ball bashing up and down the middle of the court, points usually ending with errors. They trade breaks in middle of the set - both products of the server playing poorly. Fed is broken first to 15 with 3 UEs and a mild FE. Djoko is even worse, being broken to love with 3 UEs and a double fault. On the cusp of the tiebreak, Federer threatens to break in a 12 point game, but misses a BH on his sole break point. He's helped by one of the worst umpiring decisions I've seen, but Djokovic holds to force the tiebreak

Federer plays a wonderful tiebreak - winners include a FH dtl from mid court, a FH drop shot at net, a third ball BH cc and a FH cc return, before wrapping up with another FH drop shot

Play picks up in the second set, with better returning and fewer unforced errors. Service holds are pretty comfortable. Djokovic threatens in a 12 point game featuring particularly cleanly hit returns. Federer takes to the net frequently to finish points. Djoko hits an around the net post FH winner. There's a memorable sequence of 3 points in game 11. First point, an at net Federer is forced back, but strikes an excellent OH from the baseline to draw a weak ball that he puts away with a drop shot. The third point involves Federer bringing Djokovic to net and hitting a FHV past him. The middle point is the best of all - Djokovic is at net, Federer is just behind the service line and they improbably exchange about 10 hard shots from this position. It ends with Djokovic knowing the game is up after a particularly weak volley, turning his back comically as Federer steps into net and whacks away the putaway FH

Federer breaks to take the set with a little help from lady luck. Its a good game... good attacking play getting Federer break points, 3 sloppy errors losing them. The key point is when Fed's BH pass from a running, defensive position rolls over the top of the net almost dying and Djokovic can't get it back over. As with the first set, the Swiss does finish with style... a running FH dtl eliciting a less than strong (but not weak) response, that Fed puts away with a perfect FH inside-out

Third set is the better yet. Mostly comfortable holds but with great shot making studding it. A Djokovic BH inside-out winner and Federer flicking a FH cc on the half volley off the baseline to a very powerfully struck ball for a winner could be the star of the highlights for the match... only there's a better one

Serving to force a tiebreak, Djokovic is broken to love in a sensational game. Down 0-30 (Federer passing winner to a poor approach and a double fault), Djoko drop shots Federer to net and elegantly lob volleys him away. Good shots both, and you would say he had Federer on a string if that were the end. Instead, Federer runs back to retrieve the lob volley and clean tweeners it past the still at net Djokovic to bring up 3 match points. He only needs 1 - running around to hit a serve directed at his BH, Fed slaps away a FH winner that one can't actually describe in commonly used phrases (its shaped like an inside-in, but he's so far off court when he hits it that he's actually hit it inside-out to get it into court)… call it what you will, its a great shot and a fitting end to great showing

Serve & Return
The returning initially is below standard from both players, but once it picks up, remains good.

Note the near identical serving patterns - Fed serves 41/57/3, Djok 41/55/5 (across FH/BH/Body). Coincidentally, the number of return errors are identical (27 each) and my breakdown of their nature (9 UEs, 18 FEs)

Federer is not too ambitious with the serve. Its powerful but he doesn't aim for lines. And his second serve is strong enough to force a few errors and be a handful. Djokovic I don't think was of the line-aiming type at the time (or much afterwards) and his second serve is sometimes weakly placed right in the middle of the box.

With similar success on serve (Fed 33% unreturned, Djok 29%) and Fed serving better, its safe to say Djok returned better. In 2009, that wouldn't necessarily have been a given
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline & Net
Baseline action dominates and is based on closed court ball bashing, up and down the middle of the court. This is basically hard hitting, who-blinks-first tennis... not dissimilar to a typical Djokovic-Andy Murray match

Generally, Djokovic would be favoured in such a dynamic. He probably edges it just, but Federer hits cleanly and well - and the gap isn't wide. Djoko's typical ball isn't as regularly deep as they'd come to be and the FH is sometimes loopier than optimal for such play. Its hard to tell who's dictating play most of the time... both are apt to fall back and play from a couple feet behind baseline but hit hard enough that points don't look obviously defensive

I thought Djokovic erred by not making a concerted effort to keep things BH-BH. Fed held up well in that dynamic... but he was dominant on the other side of things. Djoko doesn't seem to have any particular plan about favouring a wing though

Note the UEs in play (Fed 31, Djok 29 - both with just 1 volley error). Near enough equal on consistency. Federer interestingly with fewer BH UEs than FHs (13-17). and Fed has just 1 more UE of each wing than Djoko

But Djoko forces 17 errors - 4 more than Fed can. From a baseline point of view, this is telling since Fed forced a bunch of errors while at net, while almost all the ones Djoko did would have been baseline-to-baseline

Fed has a huge lead n winners (37 to 21). Sans volleys and tweeners, that's reduced to a 24-21 advantage. Sans passes, its about even

In short, baseline-to-baseline, the two players are very evenly matched. Djoko the shade more consistent, but Fed having an extra, shot making gear. Good movement from both, foot speed more tasked than footspeed, Federer probably being slightly swifter in getting to balls

Throw in Fed mixing in approaches, and Fed comes out comfortably ahead as the better man in play. He's a superb 80% points won at net (Djoko 1/2 that), and comes in 3 times as much.

Fed's judgment stands out. While ball bashing is the staple, he picks and chooses his moments to go in for an attacking play - whether its a net approach, a spectacular shot out of nothing, or a point constructed to end aggressively - seems he always pulls it off

Line calls & Umpiring
mistakes are inevitable, but its unfortunate when they all seem to go against one player. Djokovic challenges correctly 6/7 and some of these points are at crucial stages. 1 such ruins a nifty little streak Novak had put together. He'd successfully returned Federer's last 17 serves - and extended it to 18 with a ball that lands on the line, but is called out. He challenges. Replay point. Unreturned serve

One other is one of the most ridiculous decisions I've seen. 5-5 in the first set, Djokovic's serve is under fire. He's already saved one break point and its now deuce. He serves a not clean ace out wide (not clean ace is what I mark balls that nick the racquet edge and goes through as though there were no touch. Usually, you wouldn't be able to tell racquet had made contact without audio). No call. Then the chair umpire, who is on that side, calls the ball out.

Djokovic challenges and the ball was in... and the umpire calls for a first serve. Djokovic argues the point should be his but the umpire thinks Federer had a play on the ball prior to the call. Not only is this flagrantly not the case (as replays indicate, not that you needed one for that)…. but why on earth would the umpire think that his late call, made after waiting and seeing the linesperson didn't make a call to a 120something mph serve interfered with the returners shot??? Djokovic goes on to win the point and the game - so it ends up not mattering, but this was a shockingly bad decision at such a critical time. Federer keeps a straight face through it all, more practical than sporting

Djokovic's stamina
There's a real problem here. About mid way through the third, Djoko shows signs of tiredness. By the end, its more pronounced. Its a tough match, but wouldn't expect the 22 year old, world number 3 to be gassed this easily. I think it was the following year he made changes to his diet and improved his physical fitness. Good move, he needed it

Summing up, tough baseline match with power hitting more on show than placement. Federer holds even on the former and slips into his locker for brilliant flashes of the latter when he chooses to. For a balanced showing against a tough opponent, not far off from his best
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Thanks, guys

I bet it takes a lot of time to create such threads :cool:
Taking the stats takes a little longer than playing time... all the playing time + few rewinds to have a second look to judge if an error was forced or unforced, a serve was a body serve of not, whether movement on a return is enough to justify calling it a runaround etc.

This era's matches are the easiest for that with all the baseline stuff - and probably because my eyes are attuned to it more

Organizing the stats takes care. If I mark something wrong, the final numbers don't add up and I have to go look for where its off

I do watch with more concentration than when not taking stats... and long matches can be mentally taxing

I'll tell you one effect strange, side effect of taking stats related to the pace players play at

I'm not the biggest fan of slow pokes, but they're easier to stat because they leave comfortable time to jot everything down between points. Lendl, Djokovic, Nadal are good

Agassi is a pain... have to pause after every point

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tweeners all any of us remember for good reason but I think the slightly broader wrap up would be high quality finishing from Federer

Last 2 points of first set - runaround FH cc return winner and FH drop shot winner
Last 3 points second set - FH cc winner, Djokovic FE at net and FH inside-out winner (the middle point was a fluke, admittedly)
Last 2 points third set - the tweener pass and runaround FH return inside-in winner

How often do you see all sets finished with a highlights reel like this? Made more remarkable because its all in the context of overall action being about consistency, not shot making like the points in question
 
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