Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Djokovic, Wimbledon semi-final, 2012


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Wimbledon semi-final, 2012 on grass

The win put Federer in a record breaking 8th Wimbledon final, where he would beat Andy Murray to win a record tying 7th title. Djokovic was the defending champion and had played the finals of the last 4 Slams - and would go onto play the next 2

Federer won 114 points, Djokovic 102

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (65/101) 64%
- 1st serve points won (49/65) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (26/36) 72%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/101) 44%

- 1st serve percentage (73/105) 63%
- 1st serve points won (52/73) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (24/42) 57%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (36/115) 31%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 52%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 5%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 38%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 77 (29 FH, 48 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 25 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 19 Forced (12 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (77/113) 68%

Djokovic made...
- 57 (31 FH, 26 BH)
- 30 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 27 Forced (18 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (57/101) 56%

Break Points
Federer 3/11 (6 games)
Djokovic 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 19 (10 FH, 4 BH, 5 OH)
Djokovic 19 (9 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

Federer's FHs - 5 cc (1 pass, 1 return - the return was a framed mishit), 2 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 longline and 1 dtl/inside-out
- BHs - 3 cc (1 pass) and 1 longline/inside-out

- 2 OHs were second volleys off serve-volley points and 1 OH was on the bounce at net

Djokovic's FHs - 5 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 running-down-drop-shot), 2 dtl (1 pass, 1 running-down-drop-shot at net), 1 inside-out pass, 1 drop shot (net chord roll over) and 1 dtl/inside-out

- the BHV was the first volley off a serve-volley point

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 47
- 28 Unforced (22 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV)
- 19 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

Djokovic 49
- 29 Unforced (13 FH, 15 BH, 1 OH)
- 20 Forced (8 FH, 10 BH, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(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...
- 11/21 (52%) at net, including...
- 4/6 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/4 (50%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/2 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Djokovic was...
- 8/13 (62%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Match Report
Excellent serving from Federer is the thread that runs through the entire match. Everything else from both players fluctuates - and first two sets are unmemorable, serve dominated affairs. Action picks in the final two sets though - and Federer, playing a brad of balanced attacking baseline tennis is clearly the superior player

Serve & Return
Lets start with Federer's numbers. 64% first serves in (good), 75% first serves won (good), 72% second serves won (fantastic), 11 aces (ok), 0 double faults (fantastic) and 44% unreturned serves (fantastic)

Numbers capture Fed striking a near perfect balance in his serving. The kind its easy to theorize about, but almost never execute - especially against a returner like Djokovic, who was apt to pound anything that was there to b pounded, especially second serves

For most of match, Fed's percentage in is about 70% and it actually falls to 'just' 64% in the third set. 11 aces isn't particularly high for him... and indicates that he wasn't going for too much with the serve (which would likely have resulted in a falling percentage and more chances for Djoko against the second). In other words, Fed a) serves big, but not so much as to compromise 1st serve in percentage

The 1st serving is very strong - but short of his very best. The 2nd serve is more impressive still. 10 such are unreturned - and 7 have been marked forced return error. This is a very high rate of sending down strong second serves. They're powerful (typically in 105mph range according to speed gun), deep and well placed - a handful for anyone. And Djoko only gets to see these when the even more powerful, even deeper and even better placed 1st serve misses

Finally, 0 double faults to complete picture of play. No freebies

Compare with Pete Sampras, who used the serve and second serve even more aggressively. The extent to which Sampras would sometimes hit big second serve - aces and service winners level stuff - inevitably led to a large chunk of double faults too. At times, it seemed like he didn't feel he could cope with his opponents court game and resorted to essentially serving 2 'first' serves. Federer here was faced with a similar prospect, but is more moderate in his aggression and it comes off. Fantastic serving from Fed

For first two sets, Djoko can barely get a return back in play. From third set onward, he manages better. Not much authority to his returns - very few bullets back to the baseline, and those that are Fed copes with - but its no easy feat to jump, hop and skip to somehow poke balls in play. Essentially, he returns as well as he's allowed to

The flip-side of the match-up is similar too, only the emphasis is more on Fed's relatively weak returning than Djoko's strong serving. To be clear, Djokovic serves well too. Of power, his first serve is up there with Fed's, but doesn't have the placement (and probably disguise. Fed seems to read it a lot better than the other way round). 9 aces and 2 service winners shows what happens when he gets it just so. More often, balls are within reach. And his second serve is nowhere near Fed's. Few downright weak second serves though on the whole, that's better than average too

For two sets, Fed does not return well. Note the 6 UEs (Djoko has 3 - granted, he had less scope for making UEs to begin with). On top missing regulation second serve returns, he misses a number of first serves he doesn't have to move for, more makeable than not returns, if you will. In next two sets, his returning picks up (Djoko's serving remains about same level) and he gets more balls in play. He mostly swings rather than chips BHs

On return too, Fed's showing reminded me of Sampras. There's no great consistency in getting balls back and server can look to hold comfortably often. But just the odd game here and there when he gets a bunch of balls in play become even more dangerous. Match long, percentage returning is the effect, which is common enough on grass

Note Fed's skewed return error numbers. Djoko serves 38% to FH and 56% to BH... but Fed makes 12 FH FEs to just 7 BH. Which is completely flipped for UEs - there Fed has 1 FH and 5 BH. Standard anti-Federer tactics is to serve mostly to the BH (more so than Djoko did), but the champion seems to be on to something. Though more dangerous, the FH is clearly less able to handle strong serves (its not because Fed's attacking with FH returns). Djoko serves most seconds to the BH (serving second serves to FH would have been obviously dangerous), where he gets good results too

Generally and in this match, serving to Fed's FH tends to lead to livelier tennis than serving to BH (and usually, opponents would wish to discourage this and that puts Fed in his element). That's somewhat true here - but Djoko gets compensation by more readily forcing errors from FH. And as BH return was mostly driven and rarely chipped - its probably a good move. And not an obvious one from the Serb


Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline & Net
Winners - 19 apiece
UEs - Fed 28, Djoko 29
FEs - Fed 19, Djoko 20
UEFI - Fed 45.7, Djoko 45.2

Close as you can get

The quiet, hidden key to all this is Fed's BH - just the 5 UEs, by far the fewest of the 4 groundshots on show. One would have expected the opposite

Djoko doesn't particularly target the Fed BH as he was wont to do, but it likely wouldn't have made much difference if he had. Fed hits cleanly and well. His sometimes fragile BH is least exploitable on low bouncing fast grass to begin with and he doesn't have any problem with it. Not only does he get the ball back in play normally (he was apt to do so weakly when pounded down by Djoko on hard courts round about this period), but hits some sharp, initiative grabbing or momentum turning angles with it. And he slices superbly, the balls staying closer to ankle height than knee often (he should probably have used it more). Nor does Fed look to protect his BH - very few runaround FHs in the match - which allows him to maintain good court position

Djoko handles the slice well. He can't pound such low balls, but doesn't ease off unduly either and can cope without having to slice back himself

With BH side of things locked down (at least for Fed), action turns to FH. Fed strikes a good balance of being moderately attacking, waiting for short balls and picking his moments to hit out. Djoko is the more powerful on FH side and looks to beat down Fed in FH-FH rallies

Largely successfully. Note Fed's 22 FH UEs (Djoko has 13). Movement is key here too... Fed's a bit slow to move to the FH. Some of his 10 FH FEs are a product of this... the same balls to Djoko would likely have been marked UE if he'd missed because Djoko moves to such balls as to be stably balanced when playing his shot. Fed is still on the move or stretched - and hence, when he misses, it gets marked FE

Fed's FH dtl is his offensive key. Coming off second best cc and not using inside-out, Fed turns to FH dtl with great effect. I don't know why he doesn't more often. Going over high part of net is riskier, but its a more basic shot and doesn't compromise court position the way his favoured inside-out does. 4 FH dtl winners from Fed - and several other points where it turns play to his advantage or forces errors

Not much net play in the match. Fed approaches just 21 times, Djoko 13. Djoko's superb on pass and Fed's volleying isn't precise. 0 volleying winners from Fed to 4 FEs (1 OH winner can reasonably be called a high FHV). Djoko executes a picture perfect serve-volleying, first volley BHV winner, but 1 of the most important points of the match is his missing an easy OH. Fed's passing is not particularly good and Djoko wins a decent 62% points in forecourt

Djoko looks to command play from the back. On return games, he starts rallies from disadvantageous positions and though defending stoutly, Fed's good enough to nurse advantage through to winning points without taking great risks. Djoko starts service point rallies with advantage in first half of the match and is equally good at capitilizing, but in second half as Fed returns more surely, points tend to be more neutral

Djoko has the power and movement advantage. Fed the skilled placement, with choice attacking shots. As Fed holds up better and better in rallies, or even turns them to his advantage with shot making, Djoko's UEs go up and he's forced to go for more attacking shots since Fed's not caving with UEs. Some good near line shots from Djoko, especially BH dtl… but he's a bit out of his element being this attacking as a default.

It looks a lot like what happens to Fed in his losing efforts against Rafael Nadal: Finding standard shots not cutting it to end points, he goes for more til and ends up making more UEs (difference being default 'standard shots' in the Fed-Nad match are more aggressive than in this match)
First two sets are highly serve dominated, although all 4 sets turn out to be 1 break affairs

In first, a strong Fed FH inside-in forces an error and another follows when Djoko slips in forecourt and can't handle a BHV as a result. Couple of UEs from Djoko finish the deal - the FH he misses on break point is a routine shot

Djoko breaks first chance in second set, with strong groundstroke that pressure errors out of Fed. He pushes Fed to deuce in a strong game later too - but big serving sees the server through. Djoko reels off 3 successive FH cc winners in holding later still... and adds 2 more FH winners in his next service game as he serves out the set

Play picks up in third, with both players returning better. Its Fed who has better of play and Djoko has to save 3 break points across 2 games - one 10 pointer, the second 14. There are a couple of superb 20+ shot rallies in the latter. Djoko has a break point of his own and on it, faces one of Fed's more makeable first serves. He can't make it though - and the next two are even stronger

Fed breaks to take the set, opening the game with two lovely points. First point, he does a FH cc court opener - BH cc winner 1-2 and follows up with a BH dtl winner. Djoko muffing an easy OH brings up 2 break and set points. Fed converts the second... with a very good, back pedalling OH winner

Fed moves ahead 2-0 in the fourth with Djoko missing a pair of winner attempts. The champion remains under the gun. His next 3 games last 8, 12 and 8 points - and he survives being down 0-40 in the middle game. Fed for his part remains untroubled on serve. As Fed serves out the match, Djoko does hit an almost perfect BH drop shot winner from near the baseline, the ball rolling over the net chord for a winner. Fed finishes, appropriately, with 2 unreturned serves

Summing up, serve dominated, 1 good return game/1 bad serve game first half followed by two livelier sets. Fed serves superbly all match and in second half counters Djoko's power and movement advantage with skilled placement while remaining consistent off the ground. Well played match from Federer
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