Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Isner, Miami final, 2019

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat John Isner 6-1, 6-4 in the Miami final, 2019 on hard court

It was Federer's 4th title at the event. Isner was the defending champion

Federer won 55 points, Isner 33

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (20/35) 57%
- 1st serve points won (20/20) 100%
- 2nd serve points won (12/15) 80%
- Aces 6 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/35) 54%

Isner...
- 1st serve percentage (39/53) 74%
- 1st serve points won (23/39) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (7/14) 50%
- Aces 9
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/53) 34%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 50%
- to BH 44%
- to Body 6%

Isner served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 33 (11 FH, 22 BH)
- 9 Errors, all forced...
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (33/51) 65%

Isner made...
- 15 (8 FH, 7 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (15/34) 44%

Break Points
Federer 4/10 (4 games)
Isner 0

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 11 (5 FH, 3 BH, 3 BHV)
Isner 4 (1 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)

Federer's FHs - 1 cc pass, 1 dtl pass, 1 inside-out pass, 1 inside-in and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 1 cc/longline, 1 dtl and 1 longline

Isner's FH - 1 inside-in
- BH - 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 10
- 6 Unforced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- 4 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

Isner 23
- 17 Unforced (7 FH, 10 BH)... with 1 FH at net
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.9

(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...
- 5/5 (100%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Isner was...
- 5/14 (36%) at net, including...
- 2/4 (50%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Federer completely dominates his serve and Isner, other than the serve shot itself, is terrible in all areas on a slow-ish hard court

Isner's problems are possibly injury related. He moves poorly for most of match, but possibly within his normal range. He takes a medical time out down 3-4 in second set and on serve to have his ankle looked at. The ankle in question is already taped up so was likely in a questionable state going into the match. Commentators don't mention anything about it though

No obvious change from start of match to when he calls for trainer. Among other things, he asks the trainer if it might be broken. Which sounds a bit melodramatic. And probably isn't

Game after, which he holds with his usual bombs (3 aces), he's limping badly. Tanks the next return game while limping to take steps. With Federer 1 game away from the match, he sticks it out to be broken, serving gently and getting broken to lose 4-6, but he's obviously in no condition to play and would have had to retire if match had gone on longer

Isner's play - including serve and return - drastically limits scope for match to develop. He is very poor

Federer's serving numbers are off the charts. He loses all of 3 service points in 8 service games (1 to a double fault), wins 20/20 first serve points and 80% second serve points. Unreturned rate 54%. After losing his first point, Fed wins 21 straight service points

He serves well - but not that well. Isner's inability to return has substantial hand in that level of success. Court is on slow side without bounce being too high. 5/11 Isner return errors have been marked unforced. About half the 6 FEs are also on makeable side... his slow movement make them look harder to return then they are. Smart from Federer to not go for too much on the serve. When the in-check serving is getting the job done so thoroughly, why go for more? He serves at 57%, which isn't high given less than all out serving. Its more than good enough against Isner

I'd estimate Fed's serve showing to be good for 25-35% unreturned rate against standard, good returning. 54% is just way too much. Good serving from Fed, and more than that, poor returning from Isner

Whatever else John Isner might do, you can count on him to serve well. By his sky high standard, that's probably a bit off too (as in, Federer can at least reach most serves). Huge 74% first serves in, much of it not placed wide. When he's in trouble, he tends to go for (and make) the ace of which has 9. The second serves are more impressive still in how heavy they are and how high they get. Playing atrociously off the ground and with 2 double faults, he still manages to win 7/14 second serve points

Modest 34% unreturned rate. Sans his final service game, where he's unable to serve properly and all 6 serves are returned, that rises to 38%. A healthy figure

In first set, Fed's able to block back returns. Against Isner, even that's an achievement. He slices or blocks them back, and Isner's in good position to start the rally as he wants. Ball is figuratively as well as literally, in his court. Whatever he does - power groundstroke (rarely widely placed), neutral groundie, serve-volley, approach shot - ends before long with Isner making an error

17 UEs for Isner. Fed has 6. For that matter, the 3 FH FEs he has are product of slow movement to balls not far wide or particularly powerfully struck. Slow movement even has a hadn in his woes at net (he wins 36% there. 30% rallying to net), though Federer also passes with precision

Fed slices a fair amount, looking to keep ball low. With Isner's height and movement, he looks awkward stooping down to meet the ball, though he doesn't exactly look 'comfortable' doing anything else either.

Match Progression
First point, Isner hammers a FH inside-out and starts coming in as Federer fend-lobs the ball on the stretch. Isner completely misjudges ball, has to run back not far and just put it in play. Fed's taken the time to move forward and pushes BH longline into open court for the winner. Couple of groundstroke UEs, a double fault from Isner and Fed passing winner come up in rest of game as Fed breaks

So the set goes. Fed cruises completely on serve - after losing his opening point, he goes on a 21 service points winning run that doesn't end til middle of 2nd set, mostly unreturned serves

On flip side, whenever Fed can manage to get the return in play makes errors in short rallies. Usually not doing much with the ball. 10/16 of his baseline UEs are neutral shots. Fed breaks twice more to wrap up the set in barely 20 minutes

Not much changes on Fed's serve in second set. Isner too shaves his UEs which coupled with strong serves, sees him hol

He calls the for the trainer after game 7 and aggravates whatever was bothering him the game after. He can barely jog, but sees the match out. Serving down 4-5, Isner serves gently, Fed puts ball in play and plays safely from back and gets errors from the hobbled Isner to break and end the match

Summing up, good serving from Fed, a decent job getting Isner's huge serve back in play, some nice volleys and precise passes. More than that, a very poor showing from Isner, who can't keep ball in court, including on regulation returns and is particularly slow of foot
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Fed's Miami 2019 draw was kinda weak, I'm not gonna lie. Still some decent stuff from him and there were a couple of nice shots along the way (including that little play at the net in the Anderson match). I remember being genuinely surprised Isner managed to make it back to the final as the defending champion; I figured that sort of thing was a one-off and we'd see Isner losing early in the second or third round. A shame injuries happened in the final.

I preferred Miami 2017. That's a strong contender for the best Masters event in the last five years imo. Top half had some solid matches even if the bottom half was a bit of a dud. Also, Stan got to be seeded #1 which was kinda cool. Another contender would probably be Madrid 2019 partly for the novelty of having nearly all the top seeds making it to the last 8 but I can't think of many beyond that.
 
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