Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Nadal, Year End Championship round robin, 2011

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-0 in a Year End Championship (World Tour Finals) round robin match, 2011 on indoor hard court in London, England

Federer, the defending champion, would go onto beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final to claim a record breaking 6th title at the event. Nadal was eliminated in the group stage but would go on the week after to win both singles rubbers for Spain in the Davis Cup final - the 4th and to date last winning team he's been part of

Federer won 54 points, Nadal 27

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (27/40) 68%
- 1st serve points won (23/27) 85%
- 2nd serve points won (9/13) 69%
- Aces 7 (1 not clean)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/40) 35%

Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (30/41) 73%
- 1st serve points won (14/30) 47%
- 2nd serve points won (5/11) 45%
- Aces 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (8/41) 20%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 3%

Nadal served...
- to FH 10%
- to BH 85%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 33 (8 FH, 25 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 7 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 5 Forced (1 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (33/41) 80%

Nadal made...
- 25 (7 FH, 17 BH, 1 ??), including 2 runaround FHs
- 7 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 6 Forced (1 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (25/39) 64%

Break Points
Federer 4/6 (4 games)
Nadal 0

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 21 (15 FH, 4 BH, 2 OH)
Nadal 3 (2 FH, 1 BH)

Federer's FHs - 4 cc (1 pass), 5 dtl, 5 inside-out (1 return) and 1 longline
- BHs - 3 cc (1 return) and 1 dtl
- 1 OH was a slap down played net-to-net and not a smash

Nadal's FHs - 2 inside-out
- BH - 1 dtl pass

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 15
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BHOH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.6

Nadal 19
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- 12 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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...
- 5/9 (56%) at net, including...
- 0/2 serve-volleying, both first serves

Nadal was...
- 1/4 (25%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
This is Federer at his very best- serving well and attacking from the baseline almost flawlessly - and Nadal is simply overwhelmed

The court seems to be about medium paced, tilted towards the slow side. And highly receptive to spin. The top spin shots, particularly Nadal's bounce high, but the slices skid low

From the get go, Federer is on. A sure sign that Federer is 'on' is his footwork... when he's 'twinkly' of foot, almost always he plays well.... and he's that way throughout this encounter. He opens the match with a double fault, but strikes 2 FH inside-out winners to take the first game. Both players hold serve comfortably in the first set, but for the 1 break. Nadal is broke to love in a well played game by Federer, who wins two points by outrallying him before finishing with a winner (good point construction) and 1 by hitting a winner from a neutral position (shot making)

All parts of Federer's core successful game seem to be in sync. Nadal is typically steady of shot, but his FH cc's are met with reasonably strong BHs, which Fed takes early. Not much defensive slicing going on... indeed, the Nadal FH - Federer BH contest is very similar to what was to happen from 2017 onward: Nadal stronger, naturally, but Fed not shrinking away and creating enough counter-play that he could freely get on with the business of attacking off the other side

In first set, Fed wins 28 points to Nadal's 18 and he hits 10 winners in play to Nadal's 1. Looks like Fed is thoroughly dominating, but that's a bit misleading. Fed serves the extra game. As impressive as Federer looks in full cry.... basically, the difference between the two players is 1 good return game by the Swiss (the rest are easy holds from both players). Despite not being anywhere as near attacking, Nadal is right in the match, tough if unspectacular

That all changes in the second set, when Fed ups the ante. At the start, his FH was hitting winners and his BH holding up. By the end, his FH is still hitting winners and his BH forcing errors.... its a whirlwind.

Fed's average groundstroke tends to be very deep, near the baseline. Its a very risky shot for a regulation ball... and he tends to make errors going long trying in general. Not in this match. Everything seems to land in, very near the baseline. Otherwise, he steps in and hits shorter but with greater power. These are just his regulation shots - and they're capable of forcing errors. When he actually lets go, they go for winners. The FH leads the offense, ending points after suitable set up to begin with. Later on, he starts going for FHs out of nowhere - and usually makes those as well. Mid-way through the second set, he starts opening up wider angles of the BH also - wide enough to force errors.

Basically, for close to half the match, every other Federer shot is a potentially point ending one... and he doesn't make many errors playing thusly

Nadal starts the second set apparently looking to shorten points himself. I don't think it was necessary for him to change strategy at this point, and it somewhat plays into Federer's hands

Statistical Points of Interest
- Look at the distribution of Federer's FH winners. 4 inside-out, 3 cc, 5 dtl, 1 longline.... only inside-in is missing. 15 winners to 3 UEs (and forced the bulk of Nadal's 12 FEs)… a golden FH day for the Swiss

- Federer's serve. Its not a fast court but he's at 35% unreturned serves.... which is about the same as he had in the pairs two 5 set Wimbledon finals'. An exceptional serving day

- Despite getting trounced to the tune of winning half as many points as his opponent, Nadal still remains equal on unforced errors (7 apiece). Typical of Nadal.... he never beats himself, but is often slow to adjust when his opponent starts beating him (such as his early Wimbledon losses 2011-2017). Against Federer, who obviously has the capacity to do so, perhaps Nadal should have been mentally prepared to switch to plan B if Federer hit the zone. Playing Federer enough times, it was bound to happen from time to time... but Nadal has no answers of intent, let alone execution

Things that could have been done better? Federer's net play has room for improvement. Loses both serve-volley points and both volleys he misses were makeable though not easy (they've both been marked forced)…. it stands out given how outstanding his baseline offense was

Nadal needs a change of plan from playing consistent tennis if his opponent goes on a redlining tear. His brand of consistent tennis at such times is akin to closing your eyes and hoping for the best. He's capable of, but temperamentally disinclined to fight fire with fire (the only change of plan likely to succeed)

Probably wouldn't change the result - he's not likely to outgun a zoning Federer - but it'd give him a better shot than going down meekly

Summing up, Federer on sublime - pinpoint serving and a FH shotmaking fest, supported by excellent point construction. Not much Nadal could do about and he doesn't seem to try anything different from his standard play consistent game
 
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