Match Stats/Report - Fritz vs Nadal, Indian Wells final, 2022

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Taylor Fritz beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6(5) in the Indian Wells final, 2022 on hard court

It was Fritz’ second career title and first Masters. It was Nadal’s first loss of the year, following title runs in Melbourne, at Australian Open and in Acapulco

Fritz won 82 points, Nadal 72

Serve Stats
Fritz...
- 1st serve percentage (49/76) 64%
- 1st serve points won (34/49) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (13/27) 48%
- Aces 1 (possibly not clean)
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/76) 16%

Nadal....
- 1st serve percentage (52/78) 67%
- 1st serve points won (29/52) 56%
- 2nd serve points won (14/26) 54%
- Aces 2, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/78) 18%

Serve Patterns
Fritz served...
- to FH 15%
- to BH 81%
- to Body 4%

Nadal served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Fritz made...
- 61 (26 FH, 35 BH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (61/75) 81%

Nadal made...
- 61 (8 FH, 53 BH), including 1 runaround BH
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 8 Forced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (61/73) 84%

Break Points
Fritz 4/9 (5 games)
Nadal 2/10 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Fritz 19 (13 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)
Nadal 18 (7 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)

Fritz' FHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl, 6 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 drop shot and 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl at net
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out

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

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 1 dtl and 3 inside-out
- BHs - 4 cc (2 passes), 1 cc/longline pass at net, 2 dtl and 1 longline at net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Fritz 37
- 22 Unforced (16 FH, 5 BH, 1 BHV)
- 15 Forced (6 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot AT NET
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.2

Nadal 48
- 33 Unforced (18 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)... with 1 swinging, non-net FHV
- 15 Forced (10 FH, 5 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.6

(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 this match are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Fritz was...
- 6/15 (40%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve

Nadal was...
- 10/13 (77%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
---
- 0/2 forced back

Match Report
The match of the walking wounded is surprisingly decent with good, deep hitting and shot-making despite problems with both players movements. Slow start from Nadal and Fritz returning with greater vigour are major differences

Some background about what was and what was known going into the match. Fritz had injured his ankle and this was commonly known. Based on commentary, seems odds would have favoured his withdrawing from the final. Nadal had injured his ribs but the extent of the injury was not commonly known. He’d miss several weeks of action after the match

Its likely the only reason match took place is both players hoping for a walkover. Fritz moves at best below-average and serves with average force. Particularly at the start, he’s moving gingerly and favouring his leg. Excellent ball striking though - both of shot-making off the FH and off depth in general, including off the BH

Ditto Nadal on movement, though there’s no obvious gingerly’ness in his steps. In hitting BHs in particular, he’s strained and poor and dumps a number of regulation balls half way up the net. Struggles to return an ordinary serve with authority though typically gets high lot of them back in play

Serving is harmless. Nadal serves 2 ‘second’ serves - and fittingly ends up with near same success off his 2 serves (wins 56% first serve points, 54% seconds). For Fritz, you can tell the difference between his 2 serves at least (he wins 69% first serve points, 48% seconds)

Fritz looks to hammer returns and when he succeeds, Nadal’s either forced into error off third ball or plops back a weak ball that Fritz wades into. Nadal returns with surety, but quite passively. His BH and movement problems extend to the return and not particularly challenging serves slightly wide cause him a disproportion amount of trouble. Fritz smartly picks up on it - and serves there huge 81% of the time

Defensive and even counter-punching effectiveness of both players is off to varying degrees across the match. At times, one particularly hard hit and/or deep ball is enough to end points. To be clear, the depth is excellent - Fritz in particular often gets the ball inches from the baseline and it would be good play to cope with it regularly. Both players struggle against the challenge

Nadal’s play is most off at the start and he falls behind 0-4. He takes a medical time out off court between sets, where he presumably gets something for whatever pain is bothering him

His play picks up in second set, in line with pain-killers gradually taking effect and after 3-4 games, he’s hitting heftily and deep off both sides as well as moving adequately

Contrasting with his play at the start, either he didn’t take a pain killer before start of match (most likely) or just happened to have a very slow start. Whatever the reason, that slow start is only real difference between two players

The 4-0 lead Fritz blitz’ his way to gives him the set. And Nadal has better of second set, but Fritz takes the ‘breaker, with Nadal missing a putaway, swinging FHV proving crucial

Break point numbers read - Fritz 4/9, Nadal 2/10, with both having them in 5 games

Statistically, match is decided by Nadal’s looseness off the BH. Everything else is near identical -

- unretunred rates - Fritz 16%, Nadal 18%
- double faults - both 3
- Winners - Fritz 19, Nadal 18
- FEs - both 15

UEs read Fritz 22, Nadal 33
FH UEs are similar - Fritz 16, Nadal 18 and both players have 1 volley, leaving…
BH UE - Fritz 5, Nadal 14

With Fritz winning 9 more points in the match, that there is entire difference between 2 players
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Realistically, its not as important as Nadal’s BH UEs don’t cost him the first 4 games. Just 3/14 of the UEs are in first set - and none in first 4 games. Nadal’s BH problems keeps Fritz in the match post-early burst, when Nadal has better of action - and would be cruising sans the BH UEs

That early burst is product of Fritz’ big returns and follow-up point finishing shots, while Nadal lifts returns back tamely and is feeble of shot

Fritz plays an attacking FH/solid BH game, with hard hitting BH. After feeble start, Nadal hits hard off both sides, about equally attackingly. He’s not always hammering though and plays on merits of ball faced. Neutrally, reactively and defensively, he remains vulnerable

Ground winner distribution - Fritz (13 FH, 3 BH), Nadal (7 FH, 8 BH) - speaks to the above

UE and FE distributions are interesting too.

FEs - Fritz (6 FH, 7 BH) speaks again to Nadal attacking in a balanced, dual winged, dual direction way. By contrast, Nadal has 10 FH, 5 BH. That’s Fritz scoring with FH inside-outs (6/13 of his FH winners are in that direction). Showings like that were more common against Nadal in years gone by when he’d take a BH-leaning court position. He keeps central position here, but isnt’ quick enough to cope with the powerful FH inside-outs. Below par movements has hand in errors being marked FEs

On the UE front, Fritz’ BH stands out. Ordered by consistency -
- Fritz BH 5
- Nadal BH 14
- Fritz FH 16
- Nadal FH 18

High-ish 48.2 UEFI for Fish is in keeping with him dominating with his FH, which has by far match high 13 winners (next highest is 8) and forcing most of Nadal’s bulk FH FEs with inside-out shots, given 16/22 of his UEs are FHs

Nadal’s low UEFI of 45.6 is strange combination of looseness and high aggression. Breakdown of UEs -

- Neutral - Fritz 10, Nadal 23
- Attacking - Fritz 6, Nadal 1
- Winner Attempts - Fritz 6, Nadal 9

The neutral rate of errors is remarkable. Usually Nadal’s forte. Complete dud here, making it necessary for him to proactively attack

He doesn’t attack in moderation. Most of the 15 errors he forces are from net, where he’s 10/13. From the back, he goes for winners or he plays neutrally. He actually does have a phase of moving Frtiz around - which given Fritz’ movements, seems a good idea, but Frtiz holds up well

BHs the problem neutrally and both sides miss adventurous winner attempts

Match Progression
Fritz blazes his way to 4-0 lead out the gate. Some very powerful returns against ordinary serving and follow-up shot making to capitilize involved in him getting his breaks and he holds once by pounding third balls too. Nadal serving is weak, return feeble, hitting and movement sub-par

Still, Nadal gets it together, pushes Fritz to deuce and later breaks him to move to 3-5. Fritz breaks right after to end the set

Nadal goes off court for treatment between sets. On resumption, his movement and hitting gradually get better and for second half of set, is near enough normal looking. A more confident Fritz also moves less gingerly, though still not particularly well

Its a good set with excellent depth and clean hitting. Nadal's improved hitting keeps Fritz' from going on attack and he's able to withstand deep shots reasonably well. Deep plus wide proves a bridge too far and Fritz is able to win points with that combo. Nadal looks to move Fritz around some, but Fritz proves up to it. Fritz transitions to attacking net, but is regularly passed and he's just 6/15 in forecourt. Nadal's BH continues to struggle and the errors it yields are particularly poor

Nadal has better of set. He serves 46 points, Fritz 55. Break points read Nadal 1/9 (4 games), Fritz 1/2 (1 game). There are 3 further deuce games without break points (2 on Nadal's serve). It goes to tiebreak

The 'breaker is nicely poised with Nadal outplaying Fritz in a particularly good point to finish with OH and go up 5-4 with 2 serves to come. He doesn't win another point. Misses a putaway swinging FHV from behind service line and point after a FH on the move

Fritz hammers a point ending third ball FH inside-out on his first match point to close it out

Summing up, given injured status of both players, a decent match. Some excellent hitting from Fritz off both sides, with FH used more aggressively and excellent depth. Smart and very good in attacking Nadal's gentle serves and in pinpointing Nadal having trouble hitting BHs and serving there relentlessly. Slow start from Nadal and a lot more passive with the return, but he eventually joins the hitting party to good effect, though his BH remains very unreliable

On down side, both players movements are off, resistance to being attacked is below-par (though said attacks are strong), the serving is ordinary and Nadal's returning harmless
 

jl809

Semi-Pro
If I were Nadal I’d have missed that volley in the TB on purpose. That said, I don’t think he did

Fritz made a remarkable recovery from his injury to play Miami, which made me uncomfortable about “The Netflix Effect”, but fact is as you say he was clearly not moving 100% here
 

dapchai

Legend
Nadal's BH was a complete disaster this match, while his FH was quite weak similarly to his serve. The painkiller kicked in in the second set but not enough to prevent him from missing easy putaways (aghhh that TB volley).
 

Hitman

Talk Tennis Guru
Fritz won this match and this big title with an injury?

Wow, major props for doing that. I guess he was inspired by his match with Djokovic at AO 2021 and pushed through the pain barrier to win it.
 

Bumbaliceps

Professional
Fritz won this match and this big title with an injury?

Wow, major props for doing that. I guess he was inspired by his match with Djokovic at AO 2021 and pushed through the pain barrier to win it.
Djoko is really great, but come on :p He was inspired by the fact that he was playing the most important match of his life, in a tournament he calls his "home tournament". He doesn't need Djokovic
 
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