Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Safin, Halle final 2005

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Marat Safin 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 in the Halle final, 2005 on grass

It was Federer's 3rd title at the venue (all in succession) and he would go onto win Wimbledon for the 3rd time in a row after it. Safin was the reigning Australian Open champion, having beaten Federer in the semi final en route to the title earlier in the year - the only non-clay Slam loss Federer suffered over a four season period

Federer won 101 points, Safin 93

Both players serve-volleyed occasionally and randomly - Federer off both serves, Safin off the first

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (59/97) 61%
- 1st serve points won (44/59) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (28/38) 74%
- Aces 9 (1 second serve), Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (40/97) 41%

Safin...
- 1st serve percentage (66/97) 68%
- 1st serve points won (53/66) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (15/31) 48%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/97) 39%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 4%

Safin served...
- to FH 18%
- to BH 70%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 59 (8 FH, 51 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 20 Forced (7 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (59/97) 61%

Safin made...
- 56 (22 FH, 34 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 21 Forced (11 FH, 10 BH)
- Return Rate (56/96) 58%

Break Points
Federer 3/4 (3 games)
Safin 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 18 (7 FH, 2 BH, 5 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Safin 18 (6 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)

Federer's FHs - 5 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 dtl (1 pass)

- 5 from serve-volley points - 2 first volleys (2 FHV) and 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- the OH was played net-to-net

Safin's FHs - 2 inside-out (1 return pass), 1 inside-in, 1 cc pass played net-to-net, 1 lob and 1 net chord roll over
- BHs - 1 cc pass (net chord clipper) and 1 lob

- 4 from serve volley points - 3 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 1 BH at net) and 1 second volley (1 FHV)
- 1 other FHV was from his sole return-approach point
- 1 OH was hit form well behind the baseline on the bounce and not a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 36
- 15 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- 21 Forced (3 FH, 12 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 Tweener)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.3

Safin 43
- 31 Unforced (17 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.1

(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...
- 19/32 (59%) at net, including...
- 12/18 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 7/12 (58%) off 1st serve and..
- 5/6 (83%) off 2nd serve
---
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Safin was...
- 28/41 (68%) at net, including...
- 12/21 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/20 (60%) off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
--
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Very good and well rounded match. It has everything - big serving, good returning, baseline battles, net play and serve-volleying, passing shots and lobs, tweeners, over the shoulder lob retrievals, body serve aces. All we're missing is half-volleys

For all that, the result comes down, as it often does on grass, to a key point or two and Federer proves steady, Safin loose on them

Safin gets off to a slow start - losing the first two points of the match to FH UEs and allowing a second serve ace as Federer opens with a hold to love. And then the Swiss breaks, on the back of 3 more Safin baseline UEs. He gets the break back a couple of games later with some powerful, down the middle error forcing shots

Most serves are returned in this part of the match and the rest of the set is competitive all court tennis. Federer is the better player. He breaks to take the set in another error strewn game. Safin has 14 UEs - 7 of them regulation shots - for the set to Federer's 5, and he's served 34 points to Federer's 25

For the first half of the second set, its Safin who has the better of it. While holding serve comfortably, he has 4 break points across two Federer service games of 12 and 8 point duration. 3 are erased by unreturned serves (1 service winner, 1 unforced return error) and 1 by a BHV winner. In the second of these games, Safin loses the next two points after his last break point to return errors too (1 unforced) - and is close to racquet breaking frustration at the end of it. He starts squabbling with the umpire too

For the rest of the set (and match, more broadly), both players raise their unreturned serve rates. The tiebreak goes on serve til point 13, when a fully stretched Safin BH inside-out return (the direction of the return probably wasn't intentional, he just reached and stabbed the ball back in play somehow) puts Federer on the defensive and he goes on to lose the point. Safin serves an ace on set point

Federer breaks in game 3 of the final set. His sole chip-charge return leads to a Safin passing error, he forces another with an extra powerful and deep but straight at Safin groundstroke. Down 15-40, Safin saves a break point with a most curious ace. Its a 133mph body serve that Federer inexplicably offers no shot to and evades as elegantly as a ballet dancer. What just happened? Ball was well in, its doubtful Federer thought it was going to be a fault and he doesn't have any complaints after the point... a weird choice from Fed. He wins the next point though when a serve-volleying Safin misses a volley to a dropping but slow return. Players continue to hold easily to the end

Few good, noteworthy shots. Safin drop shots Fed into net then lob FHVs him back... Fed hits a tweener into the net. He has a silly grin on his face afterwards, as if saying, "well, I gave it a try. I mean no one can make that shot". Fed striking a FH cc winner, equal parts precise and powerful after being run into a corner. Couple of lovely lobs from Safin. Federer fending off an at net Safin smash and as Safin retreates, putting away a FH cc winner. Fed making a tough low first volley to a powerful Safin pass, but Safin running up and flicking away the winner net to net. Great running BH dtl pass by Fed

My favourite is still the body serve ace though

Serve & Return
Usually, in close matches on fast courts you see -

- the smaller server has higher percentage
- the bigger server has higher first serve points won (a sign of riding on the serve) -and the figure is large
- the smaller server has higher second serve points won (a sign of his superior court skills) - and the figures are smaller

Federer and Safin are quite evenly matched (when Safin plays well, as he does in this match) - who is the bigger servers? and who is the better court player?

Safin leads first serve percentage 68% to 61%, leads first serve points won 80% to 75% and Federer leads second serve points won 74% to 48%

That Federer is far and away the better court player is clear from the last figure. The other two figures - especially the first serve percentage - is a bit of a surprise

Look at unreturned serves - Federer with 2 more (both served 97 points), but Safin with a lead in aces 12 to 9 (including service winners, its 14-14). Nature of return errors are almost the same too (Unforced - 4 Federer, 5 Safin. Forced - 20 Federer, 21 Safin)

They look like the same server-returner. Call it a wash

Safin's powerful first serves look unreturnable and Federer does well to get the ones he does back in play without floating the returns over. Federer's more precisely placed first serves are also virtually unreturnable, but Safin is able to meatily get stuck in Fed's lesser first serves

On second serves and second serve returns, its a different story. Federer's are stronger - strong enough to force errors often and a small number do. Safin's are predictable kicker to the BH. Good second serves, but not great... Federer with the advantage on the second serve-return complex

Fed distributes serve evenly, Safin heavily towards the BH and utilizing a lot of body serves (he has almost as many body serves as serves to the FH)

Federer winning just 7/12 first serve-volley points to 5/6 second serve-volleys is also suggestive. Note that though ordinary looking, his first serve volley points don't suffer in comparison to Safin's (12/20), though that has something to do with volleying quality as well as serve
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline, Volleying & Passing
Its a beautiful mixture of baseline and net play. Not only don't you see its like today, I don't think you ever did. Both players pick and choose their moments to serve-volley (Federer off both serves), both look to come in at times, both come in off short balls when its called for. And both play are happy to play baseline to baseline too

The most obvious difference is in Federer's superiority from the baseline and that's mostly down to Safin playing poorly. 14 groundstroke UEs from Fed to 26 from Safin (Safin's other groundstroke error was a net point). While Safin has forced more errors (21 to 12), a healthy bunch were from being at net

Baseline to baseline, Safin looks to ball bash up and down the middle of the court. He doesn't do it particularly well, making a fair few errors. And Federer is comfortably up to handling it. His slice comes in handy when he's slightly on the defensive. I thought perhaps the strategy from Safin was more about keeping Fed from imposing an open court dynamic than about wishing to 'attack' via ball bashing

Fed doesn't challenge the dynamic. He plays along, gets some good meaty, straight deep hits himself and looks to come to net to attack (serve-volley or otherwise). Doesn't need to extend himself in trying to outhit Safin since the Russian is making enough UEs all by himself

If the closed court baseline stuff is Safin's way of neutralizing Fed's shotmaking from the back, he's certainly not counting on it to win points via UEs. The business of winning points comes from taking the net

Safin approaches signifcantly more than Fed (41 times to 32). And leads the percentages at net comfortably (68% to 59%). As with the serve-return complex, unravelling the volley-pass complex isn't clear

In my opinion, Federer volleyed better but Safin was better on the pass

In regular approaches from play (i.e. excluding serve-volleys and return-approaches), Safin was 15/24 @ 63% to Federer's 6/13 @ 46%... a vast difference

That was partially due to Safin slightly stronger approaches, but more because of his significantly stronger passes. Note Federer being forced into 5 volleying errors to 3 for Safin. On the volley itself, Federer I think was better - both were good up there, neither exceptional. Note Fed with just the 1 volleying UE to Safin's 5

Safin did go out of his way to avoid Federer's FH pass... he would volley inside-out rather than take the easier cc to do so. This might have something to do with Safin's comparitive passing advantage (he's hitting passes off both wings, Federer only BHs).... the price of this are the volleying errors (less than strong volleys or even errors coming from straining to avoid the Fed FH)

Everythings pretty equal - and all interwined as you can see

Summing up, near even match with every tennis skill imaginable on show. Ultimately, its a point here and there that decides it. Playing dynamics are complicated - good serving, returning, pass and net play (the approaching being better than the volleying, which isn't bad) by both. Most significant difference is Safin's sloppiness from the baseline while Fed is steady there. Excellent match
 
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Meles

Bionic Poster
Roger Federer beat Marat Safin 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 in the Halle final, 2005 on grass

It was Federer's 3rd title at the venue (all in succession) and he would go onto win Wimbledon for the 3rd time in a row after it. Safin was the reigning Australian Open champion, having beaten Federer in the semi final en route to the title earlier in the year - the only non-clay Slam loss Federer suffered over a four season period

Federer won 101 points, Safin 93

Both players serve-volleyed occasionally and randomly - Federer off both serves, Safin off the first

Serve Stats
Federer...
- 1st serve percentage (59/97) 61%
- 1st serve points won (44/59) 75%
- 2nd serve points won (28/38) 74%
- Aces 9 (1 second serve), Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (40/97) 41%

Safin...
- 1st serve percentage (66/97) 68%
- 1st serve points won (53/66) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (15/31) 48%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/97) 39%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 4%

Safin served...
- to FH 18%
- to BH 70%
- to Body 12%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 59 (8 FH, 51 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 20 Forced (7 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (59/97) 61%

Safin made...
- 56 (22 FH, 34 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH)
- 21 Forced (11 FH, 10 BH)
- Return Rate (56/96) 58%

Break Points
Federer 3/4 (3 games)
Safin 1/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 18 (7 FH, 2 BH, 5 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Safin 18 (6 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)

Federer's FHs - 5 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 dtl (1 pass)

- 5 from serve-volley points - 2 first volleys (2 FHV) and 3 second volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- the OH was played net-to-net

Safin's FHs - 2 inside-out (1 return pass), 1 inside-in, 1 cc pass played net-to-net, 1 lob and 1 net chord roll over
- BHs - 1 cc pass (net chord clipper) and 1 lob

- 4 from serve volley points - 3 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 1 BH at net) and 1 second volley (1 FHV)
- 1 other FHV was from his sole return-approach point
- 1 OH was hit form well behind the baseline on the bounce and not a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 36
- 15 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- 21 Forced (3 FH, 12 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 Tweener)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.3

Safin 43
- 31 Unforced (17 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.1

(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...
- 19/32 (59%) at net, including...
- 12/18 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 7/12 (58%) off 1st serve and..
- 5/6 (83%) off 2nd serve
---
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back

Safin was...
- 28/41 (68%) at net, including...
- 12/21 (57%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 12/20 (60%) off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
--
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Very good and well rounded match. It has everything - big serving, good returning, baseline battles, net play and serve-volleying, passing shots and lobs, tweeners, over the shoulder lob retrievals, body serve aces. All we're missing is half-volleys

For all that, the result comes down, as it often does on grass, to a key point or two and Federer proves steady, Safin loose on them

Safin gets off to a slow start - losing the first two points of the match to FH UEs and allowing a second serve ace as Federer opens with a hold to love. And then the Swiss breaks, on the back of 3 more Safin baseline UEs. He gets the break back a couple of games later with some powerful, down the middle error forcing shots

Most serves are returned in this part of the match and the rest of the set is competitive all court tennis. Federer is the better player. He breaks to take the set in another error strewn game. Safin has 14 UEs - 7 of them regulation shots - for the set to Federer's 5, and he's served 34 points to Federer's 25

For the first half of the second set, its Safin who has the better of it. While holding serve comfortably, he has 4 break points across two Federer service games of 12 and 8 point duration. 3 are erased by unreturned serves (1 service winner, 1 unforced return error) and 1 by a BHV winner. In the second of these games, Safin loses the next two points after his last break point to return errors too (1 unforced) - and is close to racquet breaking frustration at the end of it. He starts squabbling with the umpire too

For the rest of the set (and match, more broadly), both players raise their unreturned serve rates. The tiebreak goes on serve til point 13, when a fully stretched Safin BH inside-out return (the direction of the return probably wasn't intentional, he just reached and stabbed the ball back in play somehow) puts Federer on the defensive and he goes on to lose the point. Safin serves an ace on set point

Federer breaks in game 3 of the final set. His sole chip-charge return leads to a Safin passing error, he forces another with an extra powerful and deep but straight at Safin groundstroke. Down 15-40, Safin saves a break point with a most curious ace. Its a 133mph body serve that Federer inexplicably offers no shot to and evades as elegantly as a ballet dancer. What just happened? Ball was well in, its doubtful Federer thought it was going to be a fault and he doesn't have any complaints after the point... a weird choice from Fed. He wins the next point though when a serve-volleying Safin misses a volley to a dropping but slow return. Players continue to hold easily to the end

Few good, noteworthy shots. Safin drop shots Fed into net then lob FHVs him back... Fed hits a tweener into the net. He has a silly grin on his face afterwards, as if saying, "well, I gave it a try. I mean no one can make that shot". Fed striking a FH cc winner, equal parts precise and powerful after being run into a corner. Couple of lovely lobs from Safin. Federer fending off an at net Safin smash and as Safin retreates, putting away a FH cc winner. Fed making a tough low first volley to a powerful Safin pass, but Safin running up and flicking away the winner net to net. Great running BH dtl pass by Fed

My favourite is still the body serve ace though

Serve & Return
Usually, in close matches on fast courts you see -

- the smaller server has higher percentage
- the bigger server has higher first serve points won (a sign of riding on the serve) -and the figure is large
- the smaller server has higher second serve points won (a sign of his superior court skills) - and the figures are smaller

Federer and Safin are quite evenly matched (when Safin plays well, as he does in this match) - who is the bigger servers? and who is the better court player?

Safin leads first serve percentage 68% to 61%, leads first serve points won 80% to 75% and Federer leads second serve points won 74% to 48%

That Federer is far and away the better court player is clear from the last figure. The other two figures - especially the first serve percentage - is a bit of a surprise

Look at unreturned serves - Federer with 2 more (both served 97 points), but Safin with a lead in aces 12 to 9 (including service winners, its 14-14). Nature of return errors are almost the same too (Unforced - 4 Federer, 5 Safin. Forced - 20 Federer, 21 Safin)

They look like the same server-returner. Call it a wash

Safin's powerful first serves look unreturnable and Federer does well to get the ones he does back in play without floating the returns over. Federer's more precisely placed first serves are also virtually unreturnable, but Safin is able to meatily get stuck in Fed's lesser first serves

On second serves and second serve returns, its a different story. Federer's are stronger - strong enough to force errors often and a small number do. Safin's are predictable kicker to the BH. Good second serves, but not great... Federer with the advantage on the second serve-return complex

Fed distributes serve evenly, Safin heavily towards the BH and utilizing a lot of body serves (he has almost as many body serves as serves to the FH)

Federer winning just 7/12 first serve-volley points to 5/6 second serve-volleys is also suggestive. Note that though ordinary looking, his first serve volley points don't suffer in comparison to Safin's (12/20), though that has something to do with volleying quality as well as serve
No doubt former pro will be rocking once Federer retires.:D
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Play - Baseline, Volleying & Passing
Its a beautiful mixture of baseline and net play. Not only don't you see its like today, I don't think you ever did. Both players pick and choose their moments to serve-volley (Federer off both serves), both look to come in at times, both come in off short balls when its called for. And both play are happy to play baseline to baseline too

The most obvious difference is in Federer's superiority from the baseline and that's mostly down to Safin playing poorly. 14 groundstroke UEs from Fed to 26 from Safin (Safin's other groundstroke error was a net point). While Safin has forced more errors (21 to 12), a healthy bunch were from being at net

Baseline to baseline, Safin looks to ball bash up and down the middle of the court. He doesn't do it particularly well, making a fair few errors. And Federer is comfortably up to handling it. His slice comes in handy when he's slightly on the defensive. I thought perhaps the strategy from Safin was more about keeping Fed from imposing an open court dynamic than about wishing to 'attack' via ball bashing

Fed doesn't challenge the dynamic. He plays along, gets some good meaty, straight deep hits himself and looks to come to net to attack (serve-volley or otherwise). Doesn't need to extend himself in trying to outhit Safin since the Russian is making enough UEs all by himself

If the closed court baseline stuff is Safin's way of neutralizing Fed's shotmaking from the back, he's certainly not counting on it to win points via UEs. The business of winning points comes from taking the net

Safin approaches signifcantly more than Fed (41 times to 32). And leads the percentages at net comfortably (68% to 59%). As with the serve-return complex, unravelling the volley-pass complex isn't clear

In my opinion, Federer volleyed better but Safin was better on the pass

In regular approaches from play (i.e. excluding serve-volleys and return-approaches), Safin was 15/24 @ 63% to Federer's 6/13 @ 46%... a vast difference

That was partially due to Safin slightly stronger approaches, but more because of his significantly stronger passes. Note Federer being forced into 5 volleying errors to 3 for Safin. On the volley itself, Federer I think was better - both were good up there, neither exceptional. Note Fed with just the 1 volleying UE to Safin's 5

Safin did go out of his way to avoid Federer's FH pass... he would volley inside-out rather than take the easier cc to do so. This might have something to do with Safin's comparitive passing advantage (he's hitting passes off both wings, Federer only BHs).... the price of this are the volleying errors (less than strong volleys or even errors coming from straining to avoid the Fed FH)

Everythings pretty equal - and all interwined as you can see

Summing up, near even match with every tennis skill imaginable on show. Ultimately, its a point here and there that decides it. Playing dynamics are complicated - good serving, returning, pass and net play (the approaching being better than the volleying, which isn't bad) by both. Most significant difference is Safin's sloppiness from the baseline while Fed is steady there. Excellent match
OK. Where can we watch this miracle of tennis?
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
OK. Where can we watch this miracle of tennis?
Good to see you, Meles

This "miracle of tennis" is in the blend of net play and baseline play... miraculous for these chumps. Of course, its no Thiem-Zverev:)

Old days, guys would just serve-volley on grass - no staying back
These days, they just stay back - rare coming in

This match... they come in some, they stay back some and it all seems organic

Its noticeable that the court is pretty worn in the net area as well as baseline... guess it wasn't just these two who were coming forward


special thanks to @arvind13 - whose channel I think this is
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Good to see you, Meles

This "miracle of tennis" is in the blend of net play and baseline play... miraculous for these chumps. Of course, its no Thiem-Zverev:)

Old days, guys would just serve-volley on grass - no staying back
These days, they just stay back - rare coming in

This match... they come in some, they stay back some and it all seems organic

Its noticeable that the court is pretty worn in the net area as well as baseline... guess it wasn't just these two who were coming forward


special thanks to @arvind13 - whose channel I think this is
Most kind. I like this source a lot since they don't stretch/distort the 4x3 image to 16x9. I just watched the first Safin serve game and couldn't help but notice that Federer got BP and broke from the baseline.:sneaky: I'll watch this on my ipad here and there over the next day or so; it has a nice 4:3 screen and this fills it up.:giggle:

I watched a few of the bigger events at that time, but I recall specifically not going out of my way to watch during this time because by the end of the 2004 Australian Open it was apparent Fed was going to dominate. Did like Safin (and Agassi) so did catch much of his 2005 Auz Open run.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Good to see you, Meles

This "miracle of tennis" is in the blend of net play and baseline play... miraculous for these chumps. Of course, its no Thiem-Zverev:)

Old days, guys would just serve-volley on grass - no staying back
These days, they just stay back - rare coming in

This match... they come in some, they stay back some and it all seems organic

Its noticeable that the court is pretty worn in the net area as well as baseline... guess it wasn't just these two who were coming forward


special thanks to @arvind13 - whose channel I think this is
Wasp I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Watched the first set and I just can't get excited about the play of either nor the tennis I'm seeing. Perhaps Halle was more of a faster, bad bounce surface, but just not excited about continuing to watch the match. Fed's level is meh to me and Safin quite lumbering and looks like he rolled in after a big night of partying. Does not look anywhere near his Auz Open level. Frankly I like the Rye grass of today. This year was quite odd because conditions were borderline too perfect with the firm, consistent courts causing a higher bounce that seemed to slow the ball getting through the court somehow (especially for Medvedev who could not hit a winner to save his life against Simon and Goffin on grass.) Those two matches in particular struck me as odd perversions of the surface, but Fed seemed to love these conditions and looked great in them so its hard not to like them and frankly Medvedev's travails were fascinating to see on this grass.

Searched on Tennis TV and they had the Coria v Nadal Monte Carlo final from 2005 and I enjoyed that more, but in the end its a bit of a let down because Coria post shoulder surgery not to hot on 2nd serve and you can just feel the yips coming on (double faulted a break to Nadal even in the first set). Still I'll probably jump around a bit in that one and people mention the Rome final. Nadal shockingly good in the match, but lots of missing pieces like the ability to volley. A little bit of rain at end of set seemed to get conditions to favor Coria a bit more. Interesting match nonetheless for what might have been.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Wasp I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Watched the first set and I just can't get excited about the play of either nor the tennis
Can't do more than give it a look - respect

If you have time, 41:24 of second video is worth a look, not something you see every day (or basically, ever)

...and Safin quite lumbering and looks like he rolled in after a big night of partying.
:D
Probably his default state... its when he's not like that that its noteable

Searched on Tennis TV and they had the Coria v Nadal Monte Carlo final from 2005
That ones on my to do list

Remember those Coria-Nadal matches being great, be fun to take a fresh look
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Can't do more than give it a look - respect

If you have time, 41:24 of second video is worth a look, not something you see every day (or basically, ever)


:D
Probably his default state... its when he's not like that that its noteable



That ones on my to do list

Remember those Coria-Nadal matches being great, be fun to take a fresh look
Coria-Nadal for me is a what might have been. I jumped through Monte Carlo and basically Nadal gave him the 3rd set 6-0, but Coria better for sure. The 4th got serious at times, but really just pockets of Coria magic.

I'm poking around in the Rome Final from 2005 with those two now. I can't help noticing Gasquet all over the place on clay that year with a win over Fed I think and then I believe the Madrid Final. SF with Nadal as well. I'm just not so sure how high the clay level was in 2005. Nadal of course is amazing to watch at that age. Its a shame that Coria, Gaudio, Ferrero and others just fell off a cliff right before Nadal arrived.

Clay is a weird thing back then because I'd bet real money after Kuerten's 1997 RG they all went to Poly type strings within two years maximum on clay. Most of the hard court and grass oriented players stuck with gut until Federer started taking off with Poly and the writing was on the wall. So by 2005 hard courters with better clay games were starting to become a reality.

The think with Poly is Kuerten just through it in a racket right before his first RG and destroyed the field, but he didn't learn on that string and I'll warrant Coria et al did not either (frankly I'm not sure South American training or US has fully adapted to Poly instead falling into the trap of emulating these heroes and others from the 1990s.) It seems all of these players basically wore out quickly is my guess from the more grueling and hard-hitting nature of Poly.

So in short I think Gasquet and Nadal had a bit of shock and awe factor on the tour with their unseen spin levels (both developed with Poly). Plus the whole clay field kind of was imploding physically when Nadal arrived. Well with Gasquet all over the Masters 1000s it just screams weak era. Right now clay has a proper field for sure plus hard courters that with Poly really can play on the surface. Its all very different and kind of amazing when you think Poly showed up all the way back in 1997 on clay. :unsure: All this on the most consistent surface to boot.

Coria is a great, great clay court player, but due to his height probably forced to be overly aggressive on serve. I suspect this reliance on aggression is why he was prone to blowing things as just a little twitch and this type player will start missing. Federer is one which is why he generally gets more conservative when the going gets rough to not let those twitches doom him. Too bad Coria with that shoulder damaged goods in 2005. Coria peaking at the time with early Nadal would have been something.:p All we can do is watch and imagine while catching glimpses of Coria greatness clashing with Nadal's budding greatness.
 
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