Match Stats/Report - Ferrer vs Nadal, Monte Carlo quarter-final, 2014


Hall of Fame
David Ferrer beat Rafael Nadal 7-6(1), 6-4 in the Monte Carlo quarter-final, 2014 on clay

Ferrer would go onto lose to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in the following round. Nadal had been runner-up the previous year and won the title the previous 8 times before that

Ferrer won 90 points, Nadal 80

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (55/90) 61%
- 1st serve points won (34/55) 62%
- 2nd serve points won (19/35) 54%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/90) 13%

- 1st serve percentage (49/80) 61%
- 1st serve points won (30/49) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (13/31) 42%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/80) 15%

Serve Patterns
Ferrer served...
- to FH 7%
- to BH 91%
- to Body 2%

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

Return Stats
Ferrer made...
- 66 (20 FH, 46 BH), including 13 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- 4 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (66/78) 85%

Nadal made...
- 77 (19 FH, 58 BH), including 14 runaround FHs
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 4 Forced (4 BH)
- Return Rate (77/89) 87%

Break Points
Ferrer 4/10 (6 games)
Nadal 3/10 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Ferrer 23 (13 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Nadal 23 (12 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Ferrer's FHs - 1 cc at net, 2 dtl, 2 dtl/inside-out, 5 inside-out and 3 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass, 1 not clean), 1 dtl at net, 1 inside-out/dtl at net and 1 inside-in return

Nadal's FHs - 2 dtl (1 pass), 5 inside-out, 4 inside-in and 1 lob
- BHs - 2 cc and 2 dtl (1 pass - a net chord pop over, effectively a lob)

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Ferrer 44
- 33 Unforced (18 FH, 15 BH)
- 11 Forced (7 FH, 4 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.2

Nadal 53
- 39 Unforced (15 FH, 24 BH)
- 14 Forced (9 FH, 5 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.1

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(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
Ferrer was 14/19 (74%) at net

Nadal was 8/13 (62%) at net

Match Report
Sauce, goose and gander deal as Ferrer does to Nadal what Nadal's made a career of doing to right handed opponents to come away with a well earned win. Court is damp looking at the start and relatively low of bounce but starts behaving more like a regular clay court as match wears on

Picture a typical Nadal clay court showing against a right handed opponent. Replace Nadal with Ferrer and Nadal with a generic leftie. Turn down intensity of hitting (spin and power), make it fairly close - and that's the match

Ferrer plays everything to Nadal's BH - FH cc, FH inside-in, BH longline. And Nadal's BH cracks - it has match high 24 UEs (other groundies read Ferrer FH 18, Ferrer FH and Nadal FH with 15 apiece)

Ferrer occasionally moves over to hit attacking FH inside-outs to opposite corner, having pinned Nadal down to his BH side. And it works - he has 5 FH inside-out winners (joint match high with Nadal's FH inside-out) and Nadal has match high 9 FH FEs (other groundies read Ferrer FH 7, Ferrer BH 4, Nadal BH 5)

Ferrer's game plan is not similar to or reminscient of Nadal's norm - its a facsimile. And things are reasonably close - as can be seen by Nadal's BH UEs, FH FEs and Ferrer's FH inside-out winners not being too far ahead of corresponding other shots

Statististically too, the match has come out beautifully with so many things virtually equal as to make it easy to isolate key difference that make the result (namely, weakness of Nadal's BHs)

First serve in - both 61%
First serve points won - Fer 62%, Nadal 61%

Even sub-areas of the above are near identical
- Ace/Double Faults - Fer 1/1, Nadal 1/2
- Unreturned rates - Fer 13%, Nadal 15%

They serve similarly - Fer directs 91% serves to BH, Nadal 85%
They return similarly - Fer has 13 runaround FH returns, Nadal 14. Both have 11 errors - 7 UEs and 4 FEs

Leaving just 1 thing to look at -
2nd serve points won - Fer 54%, Nadal 42%

Points won are perfectly alighed with points served - Fer serves and wins 90 points, Nadal serves and wins 80
Break points read - Fer 4/10, Nadal 3/10 (Fer having had them in 6 games to Nadal's 4)

Winners - 23 apiece, broken down further...
- FH winners - Fer 13, Nadal 12
- BHs - Fer 5, Nadal 4
- Volleys/OHs - Fer 5, Nadal 7

Small but significant differences only appear in the errros

UEs - Fer 33, Nadal 39. Breaking that down further -
- Fer BH and Nadal FH 15 apiece, leaving...
- Fer FH 18, Nadal BH 24

FEs - Fer 11, Nadal 14. Breaking down further...
- BHs - Fer 4, Nadal 5 (both have 1 running-down-drop-shot shot)
- FHs - Fer 7, Nadal 9

Stats in general can be pretty deceptive. Not here. Most things are equal. Nadal's BH caving is major exception. Fer also has some success with FH inside-out attacks - which go nicely with persistent play to Nadal's BH. Nadal gets his licks in when shoe is on other foot too

Nadal's play varies a bit across the match. In first set, he's reactively responds to the persistent shots to his BH - and proves error prone. In second set, he tries to change it up and plays a lot more BH longlines and even dtls. Usually not attackingly - even his bona fida dtl BHs are neutral shots. No change - he still remains error prone, and Fer is happy to hit back BH dtl or longline to send things right back to his BH anyway


Hall of Fame
Fer's play to Nadal's BH is not hard hitting. Average of force but pest-like persistent, inviting Nadal to blink. Its outlasting play, not beat-down
For that matter, his FH inside-outs aren't too powerful either, but get the job done more often than not

At times, Nadal tries to move around to hit FHs, but isn't quick enough to do it comfortably and tends to get a little jammed. Wisely enough, he largely sticks to playing BHs instead

Nadal's attacking and leading play is the minority part of match. Some futile attempt to hammer BH cc's hard. Doesn't work. His BH is faulty all around. The runaround FH attempts doesn't work too wel either, with his footwork not quick enough. He has his moments though - 5 FH inside-out winners and 4 inside-in ones sounds like a typical, Nadal moving over to play FHs from deuce court showing - just not enough of them to offset the BHs 24 UEs

He also runs Ferrer around some - his equivalent to Ferrer trying to breakdown his BH. Some excellent scampering from Fer, who is the better mover. He has more scope to showcase footspeed, given difference in the way to 2 players 'attack', but Nadal has enough scope when running for Fer's FH inside-outs to FH corner. Fer's quicker, and neither are slow

To be clear, match is not one sided by any means and a tactically unsound (or 'sporting') mistake by Nadal is crucial in deciding the first set. Nadal has break point at 5-5. Fer hits a poor drop volley that Nadal runs down comfortably. The obvious and best shot choice is to blast the ball straigh at Fer. Nadal instead tries to poke it wide, and Fer comfortably putsaway BHV for winner. In general, Nadal isn't reluctant to hit passes straight at net player when its the best choice.For whatever reason - likely to do with friendliness between the two - he doesn't hear

Match Progression
1st set is gruelling stuff with 102 points in the 12 games leading into tiebreak or 8.5 points per game. The tiebreak is actually shorter than the average game. a 24 point gam by Fer stands out but even then, he serves just 8 more points in the set than Nadal

Ferrer plays everything to Nadal's BH - FH cc's or inside-in's and BH longlines. Occasionally, he moves over to hit attacking FH inside-out to open corner. Nadal largely counter-punches of the BH and looks to move Ferrer around when he can with combinations of FHs

There are 4 breaks and they come in succession. Fer breaks first to go ahead 2-0 with Nadal making 3 BH UEs. Nadal breaks back in the 24 point game - a wonderful one, unlike many long games, with about 1/2 the points ending forcefully

Fer breaks again to 15, ending with a Nadal double fault. Nadal hits back to 30, ending awith a mid-court FH inside-out winner. Nadal ends the run of breaks by holding in 12 point, games saving 4 break points along the way in game with 9 winners (including an ace)

No more breaks but games remain long and competitive. Very poor 'breaker from Nadal, who after winning hte opening point, loses 7 in a row - 5 of them by UEs, including 1 return

2nd set is less lively, less movement and more consistency off groundstrokes based. Nadal looks to get out of having is BH targetted by going longline or even dtl. Even the dtl's are neutral, not attacking shots, and Fer usually plays ball back longline to keep things to Nadal's BH. Nadal's BH being loose is key factor in set, more so than the first - though it was there too

Fer is actually up 2 breaks - gaining the first by dispatching a poor drop shot at net, after Nadal had missed 2 attacking third ball shots (1 of each wing). He adds a second break to go up 5-2, ending with Nadal missing a regulation third ball FH. Nadal breaks back to prolong match, but Fer serves it out second time of asking, with a couple of impressive FH winners getting him to break point before match appropriately ends with Nadal missing a BH

Summing up, excellent showing from Ferrer who persistently targets Nadal BH off both side, moves superbly and comes good with the occasional FH inside-out based attack. Nadal's BH cracks over time - due to Ferrer's persistence, not hitting strenght - he wisely tries other things to protect the side, but whatever he does, Ferrer keeps going back to it with eventual success.

More simply, Ferrer out-Nadals Nadal