Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Nadal, Shanghai final, 2017


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-3 in the Shanghai final, 2017 on hard court under a roof

It was Federer's 4th win over Nadal in the year and 5th in a row. Nadal had recently won the US Open

Federer won 61 points, Nadal 44

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (30/44) 68%
- 1st serve points won (25/30) 83%
- 2nd serve points won (11/14) 79%
- Aces 10 (1 not clean), Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/44) 48%

- 1st serve percentage (46/61) 75%
- 1st serve points won (29/46) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (7/15) 47%
- Aces 6 (1 not clean), Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/61) 34%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 50%
- to Body 2%

Nadal served...
- to FH 51%
- to BH 41%
- to Body 8%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 40 (24 FH, 16 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (40/61) 66%

Nadal made...
- 23 (9 FH, 14 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (23/44) 52%

Break Points
Federer 3/7 (3 games)
Nadal 0

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 17 (9 FH, 5 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Nadal 5 (3 FH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)

Federer's FHs - 4 cc, 2 dtl (1 return), 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 3 cc and 2 dtl (1 pass)

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

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl return

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 18
- 9 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV)
- 9 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.1

Nadal 23
- 15 Unforced (4 FH, 10 BH, 1 OH)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.7

(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...
- 6/9 (67%) at net, including...
- 2/3 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 1/1 off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve

Nadal was 3/5 (60%) at net

Match Report
Nearly perfect from Federer on a very fast court. Nadal is pushed to play first strike and shot making tennis and is outmatched at it

Serve & Return
Federer's is untouchable on serve. 68% first serves in (great), 83% first serves won (great), 79% second serves won (even greater), 11 unreturnable serves (great), 0 doubles (perfect) and 44% unreturned serves (great)

Nadal leads for all of 1 point (0-15) and is even twice (15-15)… that's it. Reaching 30 twice in 9 games is as far he gets in a return game

Placement rather than power is the standout of Fed's serve. Balls, not necessarily full of power, hit lines. And anything even a bit wide is difficult to return on this court. Nadal returns about as well as he's allowed, and he's allowed next to nothing. Nadal mostly returns from slightly behind than average (for a normal player) position. He experiments for a short time with his exaggerated standing-back position. First time he does, Fed serve-volleys for the first time

Nadal serves reasonably well himself, while Fed's return is outstanding. Nadal's is a powerful shot - near enough Fed's - but without the spot precision. 34% unreturned serve isn't exceptional on this court - would be probably be close to minimum needed

Fed returns from orthodox position and take short, firm swings on the return. Next to no chipping and blocks only when he has to. His timing is sweet and a good chunk of returns are sent back deep or wide. Either one alone is potentially error-forcing and Nadal struggles on third ball against such returns. A small number of errors, and he's not good at taking the third ball on the up. Its re-directed pace returning, not big cuts

Note Nadal serving 51% to FH and 41% to BH. Carrying on from where Miami left off... he doesn't know where a good place to serve is after the bashings in Australian and Indian Wells in particular. Here, its clearly a mistake though - Note Fed with disproportionately high 9 BH errors to 5 FHs. The serve direction does help Fed return so effectively and discredit Nadal for the choice. The hammerings his prior to-the-BH-heavy serving pattern had come in for earlier in the year were a product of big cut returning on slow courts. On this surface, big cut returning was never likely to be Fed's returning style... and BH would have been a better place to send the bulk

In a nutshell, near flawless serving and excellent, efficient and damaging returns from Fed. Nadal is allowed to do little with the return and his serving is decent to good

Play - Baseline & Net
Its a shot makers court - and Fed leads winners 17-5. Which is particularly large, but does happen now and then between the two. He also has trails UEs (as in, has less) 9-15. This is the second time I've seen this in matches between the two, and the only other time, the difference was negligible

Fed dictates play and looks to attack as soon as possible, without being in a mad rush to do so. The serve tends to leave him in charge of points (when it comes back at all) and he uses it that way to. The very high 7 cc winners from both sides combined are mostly wide serve + groundie into open court deals.

From neutral positions, Fed's apt to go for slightly attacking shots - harder or wider placed than regulation - not low percentage point killers. That first step into attacking is enough to give him control of points from where he can continue building to point killing shots, especially of the FH. In same situation, Nadal starts by going for neutral shots but finds himself regularly outplayed as outlined above. Smartly, he shifts strategy... generally, he tends to keep playing put-the-ball-in-court tennis when up against a strong assault, which tends not to end well for him

Here, he shifts to going for his shots too. He does so more aggressively than Fed. Whereas Fed builds up to point killing shots, Nadal goes for them from out of regulation positions. He's not very good at it. He misses 7 winner attempts but has just 5 winners

Note very high UEFIs, Fed 51.1, Nadal 52.7. Break down of UEs -
- Neutral - Fed 4, Nadal 3
- Attacking - Fed 0, Nadal 5
- Winner attempts - Fed 5, Nadal 7

This is an accurate picture of play. Groundstroke consistency isn't too important - play is easily turned attacking by low risk shots. Nadal a touch more consistent neutrally, but with Fed regularly seizing initiative from such positions (and winning once having the initiative), he's forced to attack more himself. The thinking is good, but he can't pull it off. And he doesn't have the luxury of attacking as he'd like. Most of his attacking/winner attempt errors are BHs, particularly dtl. He has match high 10 BH UEs - 1 more than Fed has total UEs (a sentence I never thought I'd write)

This is basically the equivalent of what happens on slow courts when Fed, finding his attacks thwarted repeatedly falls back on consistent tennis... only Nadal's much better at that style

Fed's footwork is flawless and fast. While able to turn play his way with BHs, he's very much looking to attack with FHs and gets around in a flash to do so. Nadal's too much under the hammer to be looking to runaround to hit FHs... one reason for all the BH errors. Little in it of court coverage between the two

Not great volleying from Fed. He wins 6/9 up at net, but has 2 UEs (not particularly easy ones). More than that, he doesn't place volleys away from Nadal. Still likely to win the point from there and usually does

Fed does not give ground off the baseline. Come whatever, he hits from there, sometimes on the half-volley. A good number of his 9 FEs are of this type... more a strategic choice than Nadal outplaying him. Its worth it - he also hits winners and forcefully ends points from same position, which has a role in keeping Nadal under pressure and all the things that follow from it

Match Progression
Fed breaks to start the match. A sharp return is dealt with well with Nadal, but Fed makes a running FH cc winner. From deuce, he finishes with 2 BH winners - a 1-2 ending with a cc and a dtl pass

Rest of the set are easy holds, play lit up by some of Fed's winners - a counter-punched FH cc off a strong BH cc from Nadal and another FH cc picked up of the half-volley from the baseline are the pick of them. He also holds a game to love with 4 aces (1 not clean)

Fed gains the break mid-way through the second set. 2 good BH winners from him in it (1 cc and 1 dtl) and a stretch BHV winner, while Nadal misses 3 attacking BHs. And breaks again to end the match, a similar game to the first break

Summing up, top class from Federer - serving gracefully while overwhelmingly damagingly, returning efficiently and putting on an exho of controlled, attacking baseline play. Nadal is pushed to play the same game and is a class below at it. A match is very similar to their Miami encounter earlier in the year, though that was in much slower conditions

Stats for pair's Australian Open final earlier in the year -
Stats for pair's matches in Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the year -


Hall of Fame
Surprised to see only 5 winners from Nadal, despite the fact that he won 7 games. Similar thing happened in WTF in 2011.

Stannis Baratheon

Sweet Fraud channeling all the confidence from the AO, IW and Miami encounters.
The BH wasn't the same by this match so naturally it was a more FH dominated performance. His CC FH was on fire.
Those were the days.


Talk Tennis Guru
It was indeed a masterclass performance from Federer. If it's a faster court and Federer finds the spots on serve, it isn't just Nadal who struggles, but Djokovic has problems aswell. Hard to beat Federer in such conditions.


Bionic Poster
Such a shame this had to happen to The Nadal prior to 4R Wimby that year, depriving fedr a chance to denadalize the draw another time:

Without head trauma, I’m sure the injured person who plays tennis would have advanced vs Müller, Cilic and Querrey to receive a fedrization for a fourth time before this masterclass beatdown by The Maestro. Vaguely reminiscent of his struggle vs emerging Joe Kovic in 2011, no?