Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Nadal, Year End Championship final, 2010


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Year End Championship (World Tour Finals) final, 2010 on indoor hard court in London, England

The win gave Federer a record tying 5th title at the event and he would go onto claim a 6th the following year. In this edition, he recorded wins over all 3 of his "Big 4" counterparts - having beaten Novak Djokovic in the semis and Andy Murray in the round robin stage. It was the first of Nadal's to date 2 finals

Federer won 74 points, Nadal 56

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (39/64) 61%
- 1st serve points won (36/39) 92%
- 2nd serve points won (15/25) 60%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/64) 38%

- 1st serve percentage (51/66) 77%
- 1st serve points won (33/51) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (10/15) 67%
- Aces 1 (a second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/66) 29%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 5%

Nadal served...
- to FH 6%
- to BH 82%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 46 (8 FH, 38 BH), including 3 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (6 FH, 1 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 10 Forced (1 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (46/65) 71%

Nadal made...
- 39 (17 FH, 22 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 15 Forced (3 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (39/63) 62%

Break Points
Federer 3/3
Nadal 1/2 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 25 (14 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)
Nadal 10 (8 FH, 1 BH, 1 OH)

Federer's FHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl, 6 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 dtl/inside-out and 1 inside-out/dtl runaround return
- BHs - 6 cc (1 return)

- 1 BHV was from a return-approach point and was a drop

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc (1 return pass and 2 at net), 2 dtl (1 pass), 2 inside-out (1 return) and 1 net chord dribbler

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 26
- 17 Unforced (7 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV)
- 9 Forced (5 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.7

Nadal 24
- 12 Unforced (6 FH, 6 BH)
- 12 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH, 1 FH1/2V)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.3

(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...
- 17/23 (74%) at net, including...
- 4/6 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 3/4 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching

Nadal was...
- 5/7 (71%) at net, with...
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Lively and wonderful match and but for a drop in Nadal's level in the third, high quality all the way. Federer serves up a storm and exhibition of shot making, while Nadal adapts to boss him around from the back. Court is on the fast side of normal, but slower than the US Open

Federer -

- serves extremely well. 92% first serve points won is the best I've seen from him against Nadal. 38% unreturned serves is also exceptional. Even his second serves - always good - are two steps up
The serve out wide to Nadal BH in deuce court is particularly eye catching... it almost always seems to hit the line and drag Nadal out of picture. According to commentators, Fed had lost 1 point in the tournament when he'd made slice serve out wide in the first court. Most don't come back at all and those that do get the full treatment

- Nadal misses 6 second serve returns - and 5 have been marked forced errors. Its normal for 1 or 2 Fed seconds to be marked so in a match... but 5/6 is unusual for anybody. That's not to say all the second serves Nadal makes would have been marked UEs had he missed, but Fed is sending down a mean second serve. Most of the errors are a product of placement - particularly wide, but also deep - more than power (though that isn't low either). 1 is due to Fed serve-volleying behind it, the rest are all the serve itself

- attacking play is like a dream. Most of the FH winners are third ball inside-outs and they aren't putaways or half-courters. He also uses the FH to turn play when a rally develops. Note the 6 BH winners - all cc, 1 return
To put that in perspective, on grass he has 4 BH cc winners in Wimbledon '07, '08 and '19 put together (I don't have stats for '06) and on clay, it took him 'til Monte Carlo '08 to reach 7 total against Nadal (i.e. French Open '05, '06, Monte Carlo '06, '07, '08, Rome '06 and Hamburg '07.... with the exception of French '07 which I haven't stat-ted yet). These aren't gently hit by any means, but its the precise, well angled placement that's key to the shot. If all that isn't enough, he's 17/23 or 74% at net and volleys sharply too

All this is particularly true in the first set, where Fed loses 3 points in 5 service games, which seems to go by in the blink of an eye. For all that, its not as clear cut on the level of points as it looks. Nadal lost just 2 points in his first 3 service games too. His play is typically consistent and in this first set, aided by Fed making a meal of attempted second serve return winners. Swiss misses 4/4 in these first three games - all of them runaround FHs, all of them winner attempts

At 3-3, Fed goes down 0-30, courtesy of powerful Nadal BH cc winner and a double fault, but wins the next 4 points with strong serves and net play. And breaks next game from 30-0 down. A double starts things, a couple of Nadal FH UEs help (1 a third ball winner attempt) and he finishes with a flourish - dispatching a routine ball FH dtl/inside-out for a winner and finishing with another BH cc winner. And then serves out to love

As ridiculously good as Federer played, on the surface, things don't look too bad for Nadal. But for 1 service game, he'd held just as easily. And one would tend to doubt if Federer could sustain this calibre of no-missing, while hitting winners every other point play (not to mention the quality of serving). While all that would be a reasonable assessment, one imagines Nadal would be right to be worried. His own second serve has been normal and a big part of his holding so easily to this point had been Federer missing over-aggressive returns to it. Furthermore, Fed's shotmaking isn't confined to hitting putaways set up by serve.... and its seems plausible he could turn that aspect of his game in return games to boot (as he did to break). And its not unlikely he'd string a couple of runaround returns that land in at some point too - and that's all he'd need if he could continue holding service with ease

I like Nadal's response in the second set. He ups his aggression, hitting harder, deeper and pushing Fed back in service games. And coming in. He'd come to net exactly 0 times in first set, but he approaches after gaining the advantage from the baseline on first four service points over two games where the return is made. Even tries a return-approach but is met by a low third ball that he FH1/2V misses

That, and Fed's serve percentage dropping puts Nadal back on the map. He breaks in a game where Fed misses 5/6 first serves. He whacks 1 return winner and wins three other points via Fed attacking UEs. Fed only misses 3 winner attempts in the match - and two are in this game - a FH inside-in after being in charge of the point and a third ball inside-out winner. Rest of the set is easy holds for both. Fed continues to serve good second serves and there is an element of Nadal taking it easy after going up a break. Nadal serves at 21/26 for the set

Third set starts with a flurry of winners, and first three games see the returner winning just 2 points. Game 4, Nadal is comfortably placed 40-15, when Fed chip-charges the return - the only time he did in the match - and finishes with a nice drop BHV. The next two points are key - Nadal makes uncharacteristic simple errors in short rallies to raise break point - and Fed comes to net to seal it

The game highlights the small margins even Nadal has to play within when Fed plays well. 2 UEs in short rallies don't seem a big deal, even though its not the type of thing he usually does. But shut out in return games, its all it takes to put him behind. Just as making every attempted winner isn't practical, so is never making routine errors. Fed in general does make a bunch, but has his shotmaking to keep him ahead. Nadal generally keeps shotmaking in check and outlasts opponents from the back... for him, it can (and in this case) is crucial

Closest Nadal can get on Fed's serve is reaching 30-30 in the next game... and the rest of the game is strong serving. Next game, Nadal's broken again to seal virtually seal the match. Fed moves ahead 0-30 on back of an approach and a return BH cc winner, and the game is sealed again with a pair of Nadal routine errors - 1 of them in a longer rally
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Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
We've gone over Fed's serving - extra special stuff, off both serves. Not much Nadal could do against it... all credit to the Swiss. What of Nadal's?

There are points of interest to it. He serves strongly enough and consistently with 76% in.... but I'd think he was capable of a lot more. This match took place about 2 months after the US Open, where Nadal had served like a standard issue big server to the surprise of all. Typical first serve in mid to high 120s and going up to mid 130s common. He doesn't serve anything like that. Why?

If he's capable, why wouldn't he? And if he wasn't capable, why wasn't he?

It seems unlikely to me that he'd 'lost it' so soon. In future, I believe he dropped such a style due to concerns about how it was affecting his shoulder... but don't not sure what the reasoning was for his strategy in this match.

Whatever the case, Fed returns the first serve well. Comes over most BHs (and they're almost all BHs) and goes for depth rather than wide placement, which I think is when he's at his best on return (especially against quick footed and strong baseliners like Nadal or Novak Djokovic)

Nadal's second serve is ordinary, just a normal second serve. Holding serve so easily, Fed has the rare luxury of going for broke with nothing to lose against it

He doesn't do it well. Usually running around to hit attempted FH winners, he usually misses. Not much harm done since Nadal's serving at 77% and Fed's holding serve like clockwork but there was an obvious alternative that he employs just once (and successfully at that). Chip-charge the return. The only time he does, it plays a critical hand in him getting the first break of the final set. He's good at net all match

Other point of interest is Nadal's unique serve distribution. After 2 sets, how many times do you think he's served to the FH? 0. Given the shortness of the final set, I was hopeful he'd continue and we'd have the unique stat of a player serving 0% to a wing, but he serves 4 there in the final set (including a 2nd serve ace)

The second serve ace to the FH is a common tactic of Nadal's against Federer. Serving 80-90% to BH typically, he tends to go to FH, especially down the middle, on key points and with Federer not expecting it, frequently gets an unreturned serve

Nadal ends with 4 serves to FH (6%) and 8 to the body (12%)…. I think this is the only instance I've come across of a player serving more to the body than to one or the other wing

Federer's shot making is at its best, of both wings. Nadal isn't slow by any means but not in mad-man running everything down mode either. It wouldn't have made much difference if he had been - Fed's winners are hit with surgically measured placement

Nadal's remains the more consistent player of the ground (12 UEs to Fed's 14) and Fed's BH remains the most vulnerable shot on show (8 UEs) as is typical... but the degree of both being so are down from norms

The key is Fed's BH. More routine errors come of it than any other shot, but he's also a threat with it as the 5 winners indicate. The danger comes form creating good angles on the shot more than power. Beyond the winners, he changes playing dynamics with the shot frequently by dragging Nadal wide. The ability to do so probably shapes Nadal's play, discouraging him from going full from attempts to pound Fed's BH into submission

Excellent FH day from Fed - whipping winners every which way, especially inside-out. Most are third balls, and none are half-court sitters... great shots to not easy balls. And most impressively, he barely misses. Nadal actually misses more winner attempts - 4 to Fed's 3. With Fed hitting 25 winners to Nadal's 10... that's a very surprising stat and indicative of Fed being on fire. Fed does well not to overdo the aggression as he's sometimes prone to as well. In return points, he plays fairly orthodoxly, without going for aggressive plays but on the look out for momentum changing angles (especially off BH)

Nadal instead looks to move Fed around - and does. Fed's movements are up to it, but he does tend to make errors to make-able balls (some marked forced, some unforced... many are skirted the line between the two). And isn't particularly strong at hitting on the on the run

Good move from Nadal. Fed's BH is too artful on the whole to be a sitting duck target and is a danger. Obviously, attacking the FH would be fraught with even greater risk (probably fatal, the way Fed played) and he doesn't like coming to net. So he goes with bossing Fed around to encourage errors (that come), with odd routine errors thrown in. Ultimately, its Nadal's odd lapses that cost him the match. You could say Fed was steady enough - being steadier than Nadal isn't a realistic option - to get enough errors out of Nadal (the pressure Nadal was under with anything slightly loose being taken to the cleaners helps) to come out on top

Fed's pretty sharp on the volley too - and shows good instincts and desire to come forward that go well with his baseline attacks. Excellent 74% net points won and just 1 easy miss (the other UE was difficult for a UE, more make-able than not is a good description). Nadal isn't at his best on the pass, but like the untimely UEs off the ground, its not reasonable to count on being otherwise. He doesn't pass badly by any means, Fed just handsomely gets the better of things up front

Summing up, fantastic match with near flawless attacking play from Federer and Nadal for the most part being at least steady and when inclined, bossy from the baseline. So many great matches between the two and this ones up there as good as any of them

Stats for the semi between Federer and Djokovic -

Stats for the round robin between Federer and Murray -
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