Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Fish, Cincinnati final, 2010


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Mardy Fish 6-7(5), 7-6(1), 6-4 in the Cincinnati final, 2010 on hard court

Federer was the defending champion and this was his 4th title at the event. It was Fish's 3rd Masters final and he'd play his last the following year (all losses), including a runner-up showing at this event in 2003

Federer won 125 points, Fish 113

Serve Stats
Federer ...
- 1st serve percentage (71/110) 65%
- 1st serve points won (55/71) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (26/39) 67%
- Aces 11, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (40/110) 36%

- 1st serve percentage (72/128) 56%
- 1st serve points won (52/72) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (32/56) 57%
- Aces 17 (1 not clean), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (50/128) 39%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 11%

Fish served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 58%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 75 (26 FH, 49 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 4 Winners (4 FH)
- 32 Errors, comprising...
- 18 Unforced (9 FH, 9 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 14 Forced (7 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (75/125) 60%

Fish made...
- 69 (35 FH, 34 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 28 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (5 FH, 1 BH)
- 22 Forced (10 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (69/109) 63%

Break Points
Federer 1/5 (4 games)
Fish 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Federer 33 (19 FH, 3 BH, 4 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)
Fish 15 (4 FH, 4 BH, 3 BHV, 4 OH)

Federer's FHs - 6 cc (2 returns - 1 pass), 2 dtl (1 return, 1 pass), 7 inside-out (1 return, 2 passes), 2 inside-in (1 possibly not clean), 1 inside-in/cc and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 2 dtl (1 pass) and 1 drop shot

- 1 from a serve-volley point - 1 first volley OH
- 1 from a return-approach point, 1 FHV

- 3 other FHVs were swinging shots

Fish's FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-out, 1 longline/inside-out and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc pass at net
- BHs - 2 cc passes and 1 dtl (1 pass)

- 1 from a serve-volley point - a first volley BHV

- 2 OHs were on the bounce

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 47
- 36 Unforced (15 FH, 17 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 11 Forced (3 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot (not at net)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.9

Fish 49
- 33 Unforced (17 FH, 15 BH, 1 OH)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(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...
- 19/30 (63%) at net, including...
- 1/3 (33%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Fish was...
- 15/24 (63%) at net, including...
- 2/3 (67%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Federer dominates play while returning dubiously or conversely, Fish is largely outplayed while serving well enough to hold with some help from Federer, in a higly serve dominated match on a quick-ish court

Just 1 break in the match. The penultimate game, before Fed serves it out. Before that are 2 tiebreakers. Fed has much, much better of first set - in holding 6 times leading into 'breaker, he serves 33 points to Fish's 59 - but Fish snags a strange 'breaker where from 3-3, 5 points in a row go against the server. Good 'breaker from Fish, a case of hanging in somehow to get to it and playing it about as well as he can to win 7-5

Second set is near enough even - Fish has the only break point, amidst easy holds - but this time, Fed's in complete control of 'breaker and takes it 7-1

Last set is the dullest of the match (none are great), with more easy/comfortable holds from both sides, but with Fed riding on the serve shot more (earlier, he'd held more through neat point construction and killer FH finishing), while Fish continues to run on the serve (as he'd done all match). The late break settles it - Fish makes an out of character quick dash approach at 30-15 and is forced into volleying error before giving up a couple groundstroke UEs to be broken.

Fed is substantially superior in that he looks a lot more likely to break. He wins 53% of the points while serving 46% of them. Break points read Fed 1/5 (4 games), Fish 0/1
Fed serving 110 points to Fish's 128 isn't as bad as it looks and is almost entirely down to an outlier 24 point game (which Fish holds)

The court is on quick side, but not 1/34 breaks quick
Fish serves well as 17 aces attest to (Fed, who holds back on the serve at times, has 11), but not 39% unreturned serves well, which is the only thing that keeps him in the match

Fed misses 14 second serve returns (Fish just 4) and 18/32 return errors have been marked UEs. Decent second serve from Fish (as in, attacking it wouldn't be esay), but well short of it being a weapon. Nor does Fed try attacking it particularly. Amidst general, just putting return in play stuff, Fed goes for the rare attacking return (he has for him very high 4 winners - 3 of them non-passes), but isn't looking for them regularly. Just misses a lot of routine returns

Its actually Fed who sends down some aggressive, wide 2nd serves. Of the 4 errors he draws with the shot, 1s been marked an FE (none of Fish's have) with about 2-3 others that would have been had Fish missed. His second serve is considerably better than Fish's

Breakdown of unreturned serves (from returners points of view) -

- Aced/Service Winner'd - Fed 18, Fish 12
- Return FEs - Fed 14, Fish 22
- Return UEs - Fed 18, Fish 6

Some powerful serving from Fish, as captured by the large lot of unreturnables. Number of first serves are virtually same - Fed 71, Fish 72 - so straight up comparison of unreturnables is good indicator of quality of first serve. Good move by Fish also to not overly strain for big first serves all the time, seeing how moderate ones and even second serves get the job done for him. For Fish the server - good, but not overdone damaging first serving and healthy second serving. For Federer the returner - not a good job at all, looking to just put the return in play but missing far too many regulation returns

On flip side, contained serving from Fed. More so than Fish, which he can afford given large superiority in play. Still, strong serves are never too far away at anytime and he can dish them out off 2nd serves too by going forcefully wide when he chooses. Much better job on the return by Fish who doesn't miss the makeable ones

Gist of it is unreturned rates - Fish has 39%, Fed 36%. Fish coasts of that to stay close in match


Hall of Fame
Points in play (i.e. when return is made) reads Fed 82, Fish 62, broken down as...

- Winners - Fed 33, Fish 15
- Errors Forced - Fed 16, Fish 11
- UEs - Fed 36, Fish 33

Or winners/UE differential - Fed -3, Fish -18
Points ended aggressively/UE differential - Fed +13, Fish -7

Fed winning 82/144 or 57% such points while serving 48% of them... in short Fed, vastly superior and numerically its all about his FH. FH does the bulk of controlling play as well as finishing, but BH has hand in moving Fish around too

BH figures are about the same - Fed 3 winners, 17 UEs, Fish 4 and 15. Net points are exactly the same of proportion - both win 63%, with Fed coming in 30 times to Fish's 24

On the FH though, Fed has 19 winners, 15 UEs, Fish 4 and 17

More often than not, numbers need commentary to explain but the above gives clear enough picture of play

Its a baseline match. Fish's shots are undamaging and he looks to keep ball in play without any pointed regular way of ending points. Fed does the same off the BH, but fires freely off the FH while controlling play

Fed's game is based on point construction and and aggressive finishing (as opposed to huge lot of FH winners being set up by strong serves). From neutral starting point, he's able to work Fish over, move him to sides before going for his FH winners. Fish occasionally goes for winners from the back dtl - as often as not off the BH - and usually misses. Balls aren't set up particularly, but are there for the shot. Going for dtl winner amidst a standard cc rally, that sort of thing

UEFI is virtually equal and UE breakdowns are very similar
- Defensive - Fed 1
- Neutral - Fed 17, Fish 16
- Attacking - Fed 9, Fish 10
- Winner Attempts - Fed 9, Fish 7

The standout there is Fish's numberically poor 7 winner attempt UEs (just 'numerically' because as long as he's holding, it doesn't matter much) while he has just 15 winners. 6 of the UEs are baseline shots and he has just 4 baseline-to-baseline winners. It keeps him from getting into return games and though failing, isn't a bad ploy. Since he's holding serve more or less comfortably, what does he have to lose by going for it? - in light of the alternative being Fed working him over and controlling play

Attacking and neutral UEs being the same, in context of such dynamics is also a big win for Fed
. Essentially, he's in complete control of play. 50/85 service points Fish wins are unreturned serves. When the return is actually put in play, he wins just 35/78 or 45% (including double faults). And that's with Fish drawing not-strong (as opposed to weak) returns

Andre Agassi often had similar return figures as Fed here. He'd pays the cost of large unreturned rate for the benefit of making strong returns, from where he's in good position to wins rallies. Not what happens here - Fed returns normally, misses a lot so doing and is substantially better starting from neutral positions

Match Progression
No breaks in the 1st set. Fish holds a 24 point game to go up 2-1 where he's not in too much trouble (faces just 2 break points). Pressure on him goes up towards end, and he has to save a break point apiece in his last 2 holds, sandwiched in between which is a 10 point Fed hold (doesn't face break point)

From 3-3 in tiebreak, 5 points in a row go against server. Fed missing 2 third ball BHs against decent returns starts and ends that run, and a good point from Fish where he outplays Fed to come in and dispatch an OH are the points Fish wins while Fed dispatches 2 FH winners (1 inside-in, 1 dtl pass). In context of run of play, its the Fish OH winner point that stands out most. Fish finishes with a strong, unreturned serve

2nd set is almost all easy holds. Fish has his only break point of match and its the only one of the set. He raises it with a net point and on it, misses an attacking FH. This time, Fed is in complete command of 'breaker. Fish bangs down an ace to win his only point for 1-2 - before Fed wins next 5 points to level match

Third set is quite dull. There are fewer rallies and Fed holds on back of unreturned serves and outlasting Fish from the back, whereas earlier, he'd outplayed him in rallies and finished with precise FHs. Fish continues risding on serve

At 4-5, 30-15, Fish makes a quick dash to net from neutral position. Odd choice and out of sync with way he was playing and Fed gets a strong, low pass off that forces BHV error. From 30-30, Fish misses a routine FH and on break point, a reactive BH. Fed serves out the match to 30

Summing up, server dominated match with just the one break. Some very good baseline play from Federer - both in the way he works Fish over and in his finishing - who is a category or two ahead in play. Fish's groundgame is at times soft and he's almost never damaging from the back but stays in the match on back of powerful serving and Federer making a hash of routine returns (more the latter)

More discredit to Federer for his returning than anything else. Match is unnecessarily close because of it - with just standard, make regulation returning, looks like a 3 & 4 job


Fed lost his mojo after the AO 2010. That Australian Open was the last showing of prime fed.

The lung infection in February that forced him to pull out of Dubai did him over. He showed signed of prime play at IW and Miami, and had he won those close matches with Berdych and Baghdatis, his season would’ve been very different. But instead they shot his confidence going into the clay season and prime Fed never really returned.


Never understood where Fed found those bs returning performances.

Guy used to return Roddick's serve FCS.

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Fed played better in Toronto that year, which he didn't win. Somehow obtained the win here despite not even getting out of 3rd gear.


Bionic Poster
Never understood where Fed found those bs returning performances.
Nothing was as frustrating as Fed being unable to return Rafa’s very mediocre serves in the 2005-2009 period.

95% of the time the serves were directed to the BH so he knew where they were coming and still couldn’t cope. On BP’s Rafa almost always then served to the FH and Fed inexplicably never seemed to read that either.

When commentating, McEnroe would sometimes scream, “Roger, get with it and learn how to return that weak serve!”