Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Isner, Indian Wells final, 2012


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3 in the Indian Wells final, 2012 on hard court

It was Federer's than record setting 4th title at the event. To date, he's joint record holder with Novak Djokovic with 5 titles. It was Isner's first Masters final

Federer won 72 points, Isner 55

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (36/56) 64%
- 1st serve points won (34/36) 94%
- 2nd serve points won (13/20) 65%
- Aces 7 (2 second serves), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/56) 32%

- 1st serve percentage (52/71) 73%
- 1st serve points won (37/52) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (9/19) 47%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/71) 34%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 41%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 4%

Isner served...
- to FH 24%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 7%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 46 (12 FH, 34 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 BH)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (46/70) 66%

Isner made...
- 36 (13 FH, 23 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (36/54) 67%

Break Points
Federer 2/3 (3 games)
Isner 0/2 (1 game)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 20 (14 FH, 3 BH, 3 OH)
Isner 6 (5 FH, 1 FHV)

Federer's FHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl, 7 inside-out (1 pass) and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc pass (that Isner left), 1 dtl pass and 1 drop shot

- 1 OH was on the bounce from near service line

Isner's FHs - 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 longline/inside-out

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 23
- 14 Unforced (10 FH, 4 BH)
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.3

Isner 33
- 26 Unforced (13 FH, 11 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.4

(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...
- 3/3 (100%) at net, with...
- 1/1 retreated

Isner was 8/14 (57%) at net

Match Report
Perfectly balanced attacking showing from Federer from the back in a heavily serve dominated match, despite slow court and initially, troublingly breezy conditions, while Isner's movements aren't upto par

Bulk of service games from both players last between a minute to 2 minutes (and are holds). Despite that, its not an overly 'serve-botty' match. Unreturned rates read Fed 32%, Isner 34%, and Isner has just 4 aces

The court is slow. Even Isner's serve is relatively returnable as are much of even Federer's 1st serves. For first 4-5 games, its breezy enough that both players check their hitting, including on the serve. After a 10 minute rain break, wind eases up some and the sun comes out. Not dead calm, but not strong enough to necessitate undue extra care hitting (though Isner seems to still be checking his shots more than is necessary)

In light of slow conditions, Federer's 20 winners - including 14 FHs - is exceptionally high (Isner has 6 winners total). Relatively small amount of those - less than half - are third balls set up by the serve. 26 UEs by Isner - 24 off them from the baseline - is the other standout number. Very simply, Federer plays well from the back, Isner doesn't

Its a smart, measured showing from Fed. Isner - by his standards anyway - returns consistently. And Fed sticks to doing as little as possible with the serve (i.e. placing them safely and keeping in-count high), while retaining advantage

32% unreturned is healthy enough. 4/10 Isner return errors have been marked unforced. 2/7 of Fed's aces are 2nd serves (1 was out and should have been a double fault) and most come near the end, when he's playing particularly freely in all areas. The court is slow - but so is Isner - and Fed does the needful, and no more wisely

Decent force on the return from Isner (or at least, not weak), but Fed's left with option of how to proceed on third ball. No trouble moving to take FHs first up and again, he plays smartly balanced. With Isner covering FH inside-out, Fed has option of going for inside-in for point ender first up. He usually doesn't, and goes inside-out neutrally or mildly pressuringly to Isner's BH

Isner's BH is weakest shot on show and breaks down to tune of 11 UEs. Its harmless, stay-in-rally shot, unlike the 2 others that are in the same neighbourhood of UEs (Fed's FH 10, Isner's 13)

Fed's FH has 14 winners - all but 1 baseline-to-baseline - so that's obviously got teeth to it. Isner thumps FHs hard enough to pressure Fed, or comes in behind it to force passing errors

Fed's BH the standout shot for consistency with just 4 UEs. He doesn't have to play many. Its not particularly consistent, just not called upon

So in Federer's games -
- good lot of unreturned serves (32%)
- comfortably able to take FHs first up
- looks to play on Isner's harmless and vulnerable BH to start rallies (foregoing attempts to end points early)
- and after pushing Isner back or wide a bit, capable and able to finish up with a FH winner

Fed stays well away from lines in hitting his winners. Again, smart - doing what's needed and no more. In the semis against Nadal by contrast, he lashed balls with top racquet head drive in attack. Against Nadal, less than that likely wouldn't end point. Against Isner, this is good enough

Isner's movements on both return and in play are sub-par. Probably normal for him. It doesn't take much to get ball by and he's rushed to even slightly wide balls. Makes no effort to retrieve many of Fed's winners, which for most players would be worth the effort. Probably not him though

Fed is able to return about as comfortably as he could hope for against Isner. Isner ball bashes with FH and is at his best coming to net behind that to end points. He's at net 14 times (Fed just 3 - he doesn't need to be at net to finish points). Wins 8/14 at moderate 57%. 3 of those are in a row to lose serve for first time, so a very healthy 8/11 but for getting broken once in short run. Most of Fed's 9 FEs are passing errors (and a semi lucky passing winner is crucial in winning 1st set). Not much volleying to do for Isner - thumped approach shots do all the work

Otherwise, if rally gets neutralized, Isner's error proneness + Fed's ability to find the point ending FH tends to see points go Fed's way. Just 47% 2nd serve points won by Isner and even 71% firsts is low for him (Fed wins 94% on other side)

Note Fed's low 44.3 UEFI. His 14 UEs are more beaten out of him than products of looseness, with Isner bashing FHs but not placing them wide

Match Progression
All but 2 easy holds in first set. Fed faces 3 break points in error strewn game 3, when wind is still a factor, but comes through to hold with 3 winners on the trot (an OH and 2 FHs)

Isner's scare comes as he serves to send set into tiebreak. Faces just the 1 break point in 12 point game where he sends down an overwhelming serve

Fed has all the set points in the 9-7 tiebreak but is a touch lucky to win it. Isner leaves a slightly mishit BH pass that ends up landing on the line to raise the final set point, which Fed seals with a decent serve. Prior to that, its Isner who's up early mini-break with Fed missing an attempted wrong-footing FH. Of the 4 points to go against serve, a deep Fed return is the only non-UE ending point, and Isner's slow movement has a hand in his struggling with that

2nd set seems to be going like the first, with both players holding in about a minute each to 3-3. Fed continues in that vein - he loses 1 service point all set - but snatches 2 breaks

First comes about by 2 good passing winners - the first against a weak approach shot that he comfortably lines up FH inside-out, the second somewhat drawing Isner forward before a precise BH dtl - to bring up break point. On it, Isner nets a BHV from around his body
Second break is a sloppy game with 3 Isner UEs off the ground, with Fed throwing in a very deep, error forcing return to the baseline

Summing up, excellent, balanced showing with respect to conditions of court, wind and opponent by Federer - doing enough with the serve, returning stably and especially in blending attacking and neutral play from the baseline. Isner's thumps FHs and utilizes net play to good effect, but his movements are sub-par at best and he can't keep BHs in court for long

Stats for Federer's semi with Rafael Nadal - Duel Match Stats/Reports - Nadal vs Federer, Australian Open & Indian Wells semi-finals, 2012 | Talk Tennis (
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