Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Kuerten, Hamburg quarter-final, 2002

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Gustavo Kuerten 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 in the Hamburg quarter-final, 2002 on clay

Federer would go onto win the event, his first Masters title, beating Marat Safin in the final. Kuerten had previously won the event in 2000. This was the first meeting between the pair

Federer won 79 points, Kuerten 70

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (35/69) 51%
- 1st serve points won (24/35) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (17/34) 50%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/69) 28%

Kuerten...
- 1st serve percentage (51/80) 64%
- 1st serve points won (30/51) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (12/29) 41%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/80) 15%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 2%

Kuerten served...
- to FH 21%
- to BH 74%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 66 (11 FH, 55 BH), including 1 return-approach & 1 drop-return
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 2 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (66/78) 85%

Kuerten made...
- 46 (16 FH, 30 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 8 Forced (1 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (46/65) 71%

Break Points
Federer 6/15 (7 games)
Kuerten 3/12 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 20 (11 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Kuerten 18 (8 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 BH1/2V, 2 OH)

Federer's FHs - 5 cc (3 passes, 1 at net), 2 dtl, 1 dtl/drop shot (a mishit), 2 inside-in and 1 lob
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 3 dtl (1 pass) and 1 longline

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first volley FHV

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

- 1 OH was on the bounce

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 36
- 22 Unforced (13 FH, 6 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 14 Forced (8 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net, 1 non-net swinging FHV pass attempt & 1 BHV was played to ball on FHV side
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

Kuerten 38
- 30 Unforced (13 FH, 17 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot (not at net) & 1 BH at net
- 8 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51

(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...
- 10/18 (56%) at net, including...
- 5/8 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 4/6 (67%) off 1st serve and..
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
---
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 retreated

Kuerten was...
- 11/22 (50%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Match Report
Erratically inconsistent match, with quality ranging from beyond horrendous to good shot making play

Both players are unsurprisingly aggressive. Guga's movements are poor, including on the return, so he doesn't have much option to not be. Waiting for errors has never been his game and with slow feet, neutral grinding wouldn't suit him. He looks to blast winners both dtl and sharply angled cc most of the time and off both wings. In between, he finds time for 2 exquisite BH1/2V touch winners. Comes to net to be aggressive too, but Federer is superb on the pass (and Guga, again, is slow)

Apparently, he'd undergone hip surgery after the Australian Open. It shows. The full-body swivelling way he usually plays cc shots is conspicuously absent

Federer is attacking too, though in a balanced way and his scope to so be limited by Guga striking first. Capable and able to rally neutrally and look to set up his attacks (unlike Guga, who goes for them out of regulation positions). With Guga playing so, neutral rallies are kept to minimum - Guga's either missed his attacking shot, hit it for a winner or put Fed thoroughly on defence

Unlike Guga, Fed's movement is excellent and has to be to defend against Guga's wide hit shots. Also particularly good on the pass, which is important in curtailing Guga's attacking options

Much of Fed's attacking play is serve-volleying. Off the ground, Guga sets the dynamic

As scoreline suggests, match is an up and down affair. If there's been a worse showing then Guga's in first set, I haven't seen it. He's spraying balls out every which way of both sides in short rallies. He's got 16 UEs (including double faults and returns) and even his 2 FEs are more due to poor movement than the balls in question being tough. Fed only has scope to hit 4 winners, with Guga keeping the ball boys on alert as to who'll have to pick up the ball after he hits it out. And for reasons best known to himself, serves exclusively to Fed's BH - his first 27 serves in the match are all directed there (only 1 goes unreturned). Atrocious stuff and 6-0 in 20 minutes. According to commentary, its the first bagel Guga's ever received

Guga's down 15-40 in opening game of 2nd set too, but comes through with a hold. Then scrags out a break in 16 point game, with Fed missing 9/16 first serves. Serves well enough thereafter, and manages to keep ball in court. Fed throws in 2 double faults in another game awhile later, and Guga's powerful return thwarts a serve-volley for him to grab second break, before serving it out. 1 set all in about 50 minutes

Fortunately, 3rd set is pretty good. Fed enduring tough hold after saving 2 break points. Then the two trading breaks, before Guga evens at 2-2 with love hold. Fed runs away with the last 4 games

Standout positive features for Fed are his return, movement and passing. It takes Guga awhile to get into serving rhythm and he overdoes the going to BH part early on, but Guga with a good, hefty serve on whole. Fed glides into position and puts ball after ball in play. He makes many things look easy, but none more deceptively so than the return

Guga's serve is about as strong as Fed's own. Probably a bit faster on average, though not as precise in the wide ones. He serves at 64% in to Fed's 51%. He returns from well behind baseline to Fed's orthodox position a step behind. All this should favour Guga in leading return rate, but its Fed who does comfortably 85% to Guga's 71% (factor favouring Fed to come out on top is his serve-volleying 8 times to Guga's 1). Movement has a hand - Fed gliding into position silkily, Guga a bit lead footed

Not particularly accurate serving from Fed either. With Guga so far back, plenty of scope to drag him very wide with well placed serves. Fed's got his 7 aces, but otherwise, doesn't unduly move Guga about
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
With Guga hitting attackingly wide so often, Fed's called on to run corner to corner. He proves upto it and is able to keep the rally going for a shot more, enough to get the odd miss from Guga. Wide as Guga hits - corner to corner stuff - prolonging rallies for more than 2 shots isn't feasible. Either the defensive gets will lead to Guga missing his next shot to the opposite corner or his next shot will end the point

With Guga faltering from the back off the court with his attempted winners, coming to net behind less attacking shots is a fall back option. He tries, but is thwarted by excellent passing on the run. Just 11/22 at net for Guga and Fed has 6 passing winners, while forcing 3 volleying errors. 2 of Guga's volley winners are BH1/2Vs, in other words, as difficult as possible. Fed's usually on the run or/and pushed back when Guga comes in... top class precision passing from him to keep the at net Guga at bay so

Guga rallies to net 21 times to Fed's 9, indicating the greater net hunger (and general aggression)

Note very higher UEFIs - Fed 50, Guga 51. Breakdown of UEs -
- Neutral - Fed 9, Guga 11
- Attacking - Fed 4, Guga 5
- Winner attempts - Fed 9, Guga 14

For Guga, 14 winner attempts (all baseline shots) to 18 winners is poor, but 5 attacking UEs while forcing 14 errors is good. Dialing back to attacking but short of going for the winner would likely do him good. Importance of Fed's success passing and defence comes out in this light. Fed doesn't force Guga to go for anything less than a winner by any means, but does defend well enough and pass superbly to encourage it. That's not why Guga goes for winners so often though, its just how he plays from start

Fed leading winners 20 to 18 is telling. His scope to attack is limited due to Guga striking first, but comes up with the brilliant shot out of regulation position or behind good serves. Just 3 volley winners in the 20. By contrast, 6/18 Guga winners are in forecourt

In all, Fed with 20 winners, 22 UEs and forcing 8 errors out of Guga. Guga with 18 winners, forcing 14 errors and 30 UEs - points forcefully ended/UE differential Fed +6, Guga +2. Slightly flattering numbers for the match. Action is mostly about Guga's UEs and his 30 UEs is more than the 28 points Fed wins forcefully. Lots of great shots from both players, but its secondary to Guga's rate of missing. His 8 FEs are also on mild side, and with decent movement, about half of those would be UEs too

Still, the matches highlights reel is top notch. Guga's 2 drop BH1/2V winners. Fed fending a BH dtl pass against a very powerful, potential FH inside-out winner of an approach shot. A Fed BH dtl winner from a regulation position and a wrong footing BH longline one. And on match point, a running FH lob winner. Those are the highlights of the highlights - plenty of top notch shot-making of the 'normal' variety from both players too, that would qualify as highlights of highlights for most matches

Summing up, not a good match but a thrilling one studded with stunning shot making from both players. Sure returning, top class passing and good movement from Federer keep in check Kuerten's extravagant attacking play. Kuerten by contrast is slow of foot and not capable of much defence and plays so that he doesn't have to. Main point of match despite the moments of brilliance is Kuerten's wild errors

Stats for the final between Federer and Marat Safin - Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Safin, Hamburg final, 2002 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 
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Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
I’m glad you posted this match. Federer took a fair amount of heat for losing that 2004 French Open match. In my opinion it was just an older all time clay great playing a fantastic match and frustrating a younger Federer who played a little wreckless. This just goes to show that Federer was capable of handling Kuerten on the dirt.
 
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Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I’m glad you posted this match. Federer took a fair amount of heat for losing that 2004 French Open match. In my opinion it was just an older all time clay great playing a fantastic match and frustrating a younger Federer who played a little wreckless. This just goes to show that Federer was very capable of handling Kuerten on the dirt.
You realize that this wasn't the world number 1 Kuerten of 2001 anymore, yes? Kuerten injured his hip against Mirnyi in an epic night match at the 2001 US Open, when Kuerten was the pre-tournament favourite and world number 1, and had won 2001 Cincinnati that summer. Kuerten did win his next match after the Mirnyi match, against Albert Costa, but then Kuerten's form collapsed for months, losing his world number 1 ranking to Hewitt before 2001 was over, and requiring hip surgery in early 2002. So the Kuerten at 2002 Hamburg was on the comeback trail. I'd say 2002-2004 Kuerten was a pretty good player, but just not what he was before, except that day at the 2004 French Open against Federer when he rolled back the years for that one day.
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
You realize that this wasn't the world number 1 Kuerten of 2001 anymore, yes? Kuerten injured his hip against Mirnyi in an epic night match at the 2001 US Open, when Kuerten was the pre-tournament favourite and world number 1, and had won 2001 Cincinnati that summer. Kuerten did win his next match after the Mirnyi match, against Albert Costa, but then Kuerten's form collapsed for months, losing his world number 1 ranking to Hewitt before 2001 was over, and requiring hip surgery in early 2002. So the Kuerten at 2002 Hamburg was on the comeback trail. I'd say 2002-2004 Kuerten was a pretty good player, but just not what he was before, except that day at the 2004 French Open against Federer when he rolled back the years for that one day.
I stated he was”older all time clay great”. He turned back the clock and put on an impressive performance. My point is that it was not a brutal loss considering how good Kuerten was despite being past his best.
 
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