Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Ferrero, Rome semi-final, 2003

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Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 4-2 retired in the Rome semi-final, 2003 on clay

Federer would go onto lose his first final at the event to Felix Mantilla. To date, he has been runner-up 4 times but never won. He would go onto win his first Slam later in the year at Wimbledon. Ferrero had recently won Monte Carlo and would shortly after win the French Open, the only Slam of his career

Federer won 51 points, Ferrero 34

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (16/40) 40%
- 1st serve points won (14/16) 88%
- 2nd serve points won (17/24) 71%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/40) 43%

Ferrero...
- 1st serve percentage (26/45) 58%
- 1st serve points won (17/26) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (8/19) 42%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/45) 13%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 28%
- to BH 72%

Ferrero served...
- to FH 19%
- to BH 79%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 37 (7 FH, 30 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH), a Ferrero whiff
- 4 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (37/43) 86%

Ferrero made...
- 22 (3 FH, 19 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 (1 BH)
- 14 Errors, all unforced...
- 14 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (22/39) 56%

Break Points
Federer 3/7 (3 games)
Ferrero 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 9 (5 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)
Ferrero 9 (6 FH, 3 BH)

Federer's FHs - 2 cc (1 at net), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BH return - 1 cc (that Ferrero whiffed)

- 2 from serve-volley points - a first volley and a second volley, both FHVs

- the OH was on the bounce

Ferrero's FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 inside-in/longline
- BHs - 1 dtl pass, 1 inside-in return pass and 1 drop shot at net

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 18
- 13 Unforced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

Ferrero 23
- 16 Unforced (8 FH, 7 BH, 1 OH)... with 1 BH pass attempt at net & the OH was on the bounce from behind the service line (a retreated, net point)
- 7 Forced (7 FH)
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 a measure of how aggressive of intent the average UE made was. 60 is maximum, 20 is minimum. This match has been scored using a four point scale - 2 defensive, 4 neutral, 5 attacking, 6 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Federer was...
- 6/8 (75%) at net, including...
- 4/5 (80%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 2/3 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/2 off 2nd serve

Ferrero was...
- 2/4 (50%) at net, with...
- 0/1 retreated

Match Report
Dashing, attacking showing from Federer off the ground and serve-volleying is somewhat pushed into background by very poor returning by Ferrero in a strange encounter on a relatively quick clay court

Both players are able to hit through the court and be damaging off the ground, of both sides even. Strong serves are effective. Effective, yes - 43% unreturned serves effective, as Federer has, most definitely no. This is a very poor return showing from Ferrero

He retires with a shoulder complaint with Federer up 4-2, 30-0 and a set. Just 1 down in the second set. He'd just been broken to go down the break in an 8 point game. Just prior to that, at changeover, Ferrero calls for the trainer. He's not treated, but seems to say his shoulder is bothering him and that its not gotten better (presumably from start of match)

Other than the woeful returning, there's little evidence of an obvious injury. His is a normal, solid quality, hard hitting baseline showing. 9 winners, 16 UEs, forcing 5 errors out of a well playing and very fleet footed Fed is a decent showing. Nothing out of the ordinary with his hitting off either side, though he misses some fairly easy attacking/point finishing shots (which is another way of saying he's able to take command of points to be in position to miss easy attacking/point finishing shots). His UEFI is a very high 50

At least, he's not in such trouble that he couldn't see out the match, which Fed is a game and a half away from ending. Not sure what Ferrero's habits in situations like this are. Some players are quick to retire when not feeling well, others less so but generally, etiquette is on the side of finishing a match that's nearly over anyway unless there's severe discomfort. He doesn't appear to be in such distress

There is the returning. 56% return rate on a clay court, against Federer serving normal of force and at very low 40% first serves in is abysmal. Even on grass, that low a rate against that low an in-count would be dubious. On clay, its bizarre, given he's hitting his groundies against excellent opposition just fine

For clay, the surface is quick, but its not quick by a normal standard and still very much a clay court of nature. Fed serves decently of force at best. Most first serves are in swing zone or reachable with a step and pace is short of his potential power. He's not rolling serves in, but he's not trying to do much damage with it either. Throws out the odd wider second serve more slowly. An above average 2nd serve at least, certainly not dangerous and virtually all qualify as unforceful (as in, if error is made, it'll be marked a UE not an FE)

All 14 of Ferrero's return errors have been marked unforced. I've never marked 100% return errors drawn by Roger Federer, a strong server, as unforced. And wouldn't have though it was possible.

No problem reading the serve, or being caught out by direction or in the hitting of the shots. He firmly hits a BH inside-in return pass winner against a serve-volleying Fed on one point - and the return looks just like most of his returns, other than not landing out. Just misses routine returns all match. Its very strange

No such problems for Fed, who returns normally and without bother to tune of 86% return rate, with a large 79% directed to his BH. Just normal returning

30% difference in unreturned serve would be decisive even if Ferrero had substantial advantage in play, but Fed edges that too. Action is good, from both players

Both lead with FHs, both are able to hit through the court. Fed lashes FHs in both directions. Ferrero's hitting off that side is near as strong. Plenty of defensive, running FH'ng to do by Fed, which he does very well. Ferrero FH leading winners with 6 - 1 more than Fed's. Breakdown of winners is extremely similar -

Ferrero's - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 inside-in/longline
Federer' - 2 cc (1 at net), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in

and both with 8 UEs on that side. Ferrero's tend to be easier, attacking shots. He misses a small number of easy, FH inside-outs from well inside court

Both using the BH to be steady, and both largely succeeding. Ferrero's 3 winners comprise 2 passes a a shot at net (in other words, no genuine baseline-to-baseline winners). Fed's sole winner is a regulation return that Ferrero whiffs. UEs kept down to 5 by Fed, 7 by Ferrero... both lower than their damaging FHs

And Fed serve-volleys some to good effect, winning 4/5, including a couple of winners. The way Ferrero returns suggest itself. Fed not particular about which serve to come in behind. He does so 3 times off 1st serve and twice of 2nd.

So good, hard hitting, pressuring to attacking play off FH and steady stuff from BH from both players, with some serve-volley thrown in by Fed. Solid of quality. The blackmark goes against Ferrero's sloppiness in failing to dismiss easy balls. He's got 7 winner attempt UEs - including a pass at net and an OH on the bounce from just behind service line. With majority of points played on his service games, he can't afford

Fed's UEs are more balanced and appropriate to surface

- Neutral UEs - Fed 5, Ferrero 7
- Attacking UEs - Fed 5, Ferrero 2
- Winner attempt UEs - Fed 3, Ferrero 7

Unrelated to match, both atp site and wikipedia have a mistake in the scoreline for this match. Haven't come across that before

Match Progression
Poor game from Ferrero to get broken and fall 1-3 behind, missing an OH on the bounce from just behind service line, double faulting and down break point, missing a simple FH inside-out. He has his only break point a while later on back of Fed missing attacking FHs, but weak returning sees Fed through to hold. And Fed adds another break to end the set, ending with an error forcing BH dtl

Ferrero's returning gets worse in 2nd set and Fed's unreturned rate stands at 50% for the set. It hadn't been good in first set, but not eye catchingly bad either. He calls for trainer at change over while 3-2 down and still on serve

Odd incident game after. Fed hits a ball out, but the call is very late in coming. Ferrero hits the next shot and Fed the one after that when it does. Fed argues that the call came to late (he's right) and point should have continued or a let called. Chair makes some distorted argument about the line judge having made a light noise immediately before making call audibly, and the point is called for Ferrero. Fed isn't happy, and asks for the 'supervisor', but the chair has his way. Fed goes on to break with Ferrero muffing 2 simple FHs

After missing 2 regulation returns to start next game, Ferrero chooses to quit. He's only down 1 break

Summing up, regularly missing routine returns from Ferrero is most notable feature of match. Court action though is good and lively - both players striking with attacking power and placement of FH and being steady and firm of stroke of the BH. Play is about even, and Federer shoots well ahead overall due to Ferrero's returning woes
 
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Funny to think that Federer would come much closer to beating Nadal in his next Rome final (2006) than he ever did against Mantilla 3 years earlier. Of his 4 losing Rome finals, 2006 was the only one that went the distance and came within a whisker of victory. The other 3 were all straight set beatdowns.
 
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