Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Simon, Shanghai final, 2014


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Gilles Simon 7-6(6), 7-6(2) in the Shanghai final, 2014 on hard court

It was Federer's first Mastes title at the venue. He'd previously won the then equivalent event in Madrid and won multiple Year End Championships at the particular venue. Simon was unseeded and playing his second and to date last Masters final

Federer won 88 points, Simon 73

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (51/71) 72%
- 1st serve points won (39/51) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (15/20) 75%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/71) 35%

- 1st serve percentage (46/90) 51%
- 1st serve points won (28/46) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (28/44) 64%
- Aces 4 (1 not clean), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/90) 20%

Serve Patterns
Federer served...
- to FH 46%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 1%

Simon served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 71 (44 FH, 27 BH), including 16 runaround FHs & 7 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (4 FH, 5 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 4 Forced (4 FH)
- Return Rate (71/90) 79%

Simon made...
- 46 (23 FH, 23 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (46/71) 65%

Break Points
Federer 1/7 (4 games)
Simon 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Federer 15 (6 FH, 1 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV)
Simon 15 (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV)

Federer's FHs - 3 cc (1 return, 1 at net), 2 inside-out (1 runaround return, 1 pass) and 1 longline at net
- BH pass - 1 dtl

- 2 from serve-volley points (2 BHV), both 1st volleys

- 1 from a return-approach point, a BHV

- 1 non-net, swinging FHV inside-out

Simon's FHs - 3 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in
- regular BH - 1 dtl
- BH passes - 5 cc, 1 dtl and 1 lob

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

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Federer 40
- 30 Unforced (13 FH, 14 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.7

Simon 47
- 26 Unforced (13 FH, 13 BH)
- 21 Forced (10 FH, 9 BH, 1 BHV, 1 Back-to-Net BH)... with 1 BH at net, 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net, 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net and 1 non-net BHV lob
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

(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...
- 27/38 (71%) at net, including...
- 8/10 (80%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 7/9 (78%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/1 off 2nd serve
- 4/7 (57%) return-approaching

Simon was...
- 3/8 (38%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves

Match Report
Interesting match, with Federer having comfortably better of matters on a quick-ish court. Federer's net play and slicing stands out for quality. Simon's ability to raise his aggression subtley from his norm of steady neutral play is elegantly executed and smartly played, but he's not particularly steady from the back to begin with

You know those matches when the better player loses via 'who-plays-big-points-better'? This match is a study in the potential for that. Federer has much the better of action in most areas, but outcome could change from as few as 2 points

Simon breaks to open the match. And wins just 1 point in 5 further return games in the set. Doesn't matter because he also keeps holding (comfortably) 'til he steps up to serve for the set at 5-4

Throws out a stinker of a game to get broken, with 3 UEs off the ground and a double fault. To this point, he'd dominated baseline rallies with Fed being the one to blink or overreach. Some credit to Fed, who switches to slicing more after his drive BH had been error prone and outdone by Simon, but unexpected break and a poor, 'chokey' game from Simon

After saving 2 break/set points - 1 with his first net point, let alone serve-volley - Sim send set into tiebreak. In it, he's behind from get go, but just a step behind. And has the first set point with Federer missing an easy FHV, and Sim forcing an error with his second vountary approach. That's erased by a strong serve and on his first set point, Fed makes a BH dtl pass winner

No breaks in second set and Fed has much better of play, regularly getting into return games while holding easily. Completely against run of play, Fed faces 2 break/set points a game away from the tiebreak. Sim misses relatively comfortably return on first and gives up FH error on the second

This time, Fed commands the 'breaker to come out 7-2 ahead to end the match

Statistically, Fed has sizable advantages in basic areas -
- 1st serve in - Fed 72%, Sim 51%
- 1st serve won - Fed 76%, Sim 61%
- 2nd serve won - Fed 75%, Sim 64%

Fed serves 71 points, Sim 90
Fed wins 88 points, Sim 73
.... in other words, Fed wins 55% of points, while Sim serves 56% of them
Fed with 7 break points across 4 games. Sim has 3 across 2

All that - and still, little as 2 points going other way changes match result


Hall of Fame
Court is quickish but more than that, low of bounce. Give how low, its relatively slow. Serves and wide groundstrokes aren't unduly rushing, but even normal groundstrokes stay hip height. And Fed's slices stay below knee height

Controlled, moderate serving from Fed, who doesn't overdo looking for unreturnables. Just 4 aces and 1 service winner - same as the much weaker serving Sim. Even on the crucial points, he doesn't deliver particularly strong first serves

Not particularly good returning from the winner either. Most of even Sim's first serves are unforceful and most 2nds are readily attackable. 79% return rate is good, but Sim winning 64% of his 2nd serve points is not from Fed's point of view. 9/13 return errors have been marked UEs or 69%. By contrast, only 20% of Sim's have

In play, Fed goes through a few gears. Early on, he looks to attack from the baseline and/or drive BHs. He's loose so playing and gives up both routine errors and aggressive ones. Net play is his most effective attacking option but early on, he tries to play aggressively from back as well as front

Late in first set, he starts slicing much more and is much, much better for it. His own errors go down, and Sim is less comfortable against the ground clinging shots. Error rates after this point favour Fed

In second set, he ups the net play and cuts back on aggression from the back. And again, is much better for it

Simon's ability to find the choice attacking lift among a very steady, placidly even level is eye catching. Serves gently - but bangs down the ace or the forcefully wide serve when he needs it. Puts balls in play with no great heat, but fires the odd extra hard hit forceful shot - particularly of BH - with excellent judgement. His point construction (i.e. shot choices, particularly when to go for the more attacking shot) is superb. Much better than Fed's for one thing

Given his very steady but short of heavy hitting, what Sim would need to be formidable is uber-consistency of the ground. He doesn't have that. He gets better of consistency battle when Fed's loose attacking, but when the two settle on trading groundies neutrally, Sim's as likely to give up the error as Fed is. And not in particulalry long rallies. This is with his neutral shots not being pressuring. If anything, they're somewhat invitations to attack

Grounstroke UEs read Fed 27, Sim 26. 20 or 77% of Sim's are neutral shots. Fed has 1 defensive and 13 neutrals or 52%. Give playing dynamics and Sim's style, he'd need to get much better of ground UEs and particular, neutral ones to come out ahead

On positives side, he's excellent at upping it just so to attack when he chooses to. Just 2 attacking UEs while forcing 10 errors and 4 winner attempt UEs while striking 15 winners

Those are much better ratios than Fed manages. Sim forces 5 errors for every attacking UE, Fed 3. Sim hits 3.75 winners for every winner attempt UE, Fed 1.67

Sim's winner ratio is deceptive in that large lot of his winners (7/15) are passes (i.e. without scope to make a UE should he miss), but he's still a lot better than Fed. In fact, Fed is downright poor in his baseline shotmaking. Bulk of damage he does is from net

Still, action is all on Fed's racquet; Sim's shots aren't heavy enough to keep Fed from approaching readily. For that matter, even his serve isn't strong enough - sometimes even the firsts - to keep Fed from return-approaching

Fed's coming off 2nd best in aggressive efficiency is product of poor choices. When he tries to slash winners from the back, he misses. Alternative is to come in to net - and its not difficult to do. He wins 27/38 there or 71%, including near perfect 8/10 serve-volleying and healthy 57% return-approaching (given Sim wins healthy 62% of his service points)

For that matter, even neutral consistency being as close as it is is down to Fed's questionable choices. When he slices, he barely misses a ball, Sim's taken out of his groove and its usually Sim who ends up blinking. Its the attempts to drive BHs that sees Fed blinking. Even then, he's come off comfortably better neutrally

Beautiful volleying from Fed is highlight of match. Working his way to net isn't too difficult with Sim's ball not being powerful enough to hamper it and Fed wins 15/21 so doing. To go with 8/10 serve-volleying. He loses first 3 return-approaches, but wins the last 4 to finish 4/7 doing that. Sim's only at net 8 times - and about half of those are forced approaches - winning 3 Like his groundies, he's able to find just the right time for it

Fed works his way to net behind artful, not overly powerful approach shots and is graceful in covering net, and immaculate on the finishing volley - drop or deep. 3 UEs - 2 easy volleys and tricky back-pedalling OH - but everything else is putaway neatly and with finality. 8 volleying winners and hopeless passing prospects for Sim, who is nonetheless, skilled in finding the pass when he has reasonable shot at it. Sim with 7 passing winners - very high given how rarely he has any reasonable shot to begin with - but Fed's approaches and volleys leave him far, far in the positives. In all, 71% net points won for Fed

Summing up, interesting encounter. Despite general dominance by Federer, Simon wins just the right points at just the right times to leave himself within a point or 2 of snatching both sets (and thus the match). He'd have needed things to line up just so and a bit of luck for that to happen because he trails even of baseline consistency, the area where he might fancy having come out ahead

Fed takes his sweet time getting his game right - initially looking to battle Sim shot for shot from the back and swat winners from there and failing at it - before taking to slicing more and putting net play at forefront of his attacks. He's far better off when he hits the sweet spot and both on the volley and working his way to net are finely done

Closer scoreline than action with Federer comfortably the better player

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