Match Stats/Report - Murray vs Nadal, Madrid final, 2015


Hall of Fame
Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in the Madrid final, 2015 on clay

It was Murray's second title on clay, the first having come shortly before in Munich. Nadal had been the defending champion

Murray won 56 points, Nadal 43

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (31/52) 60%
- 1st serve points won (21/31) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (17/21) 81%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/52) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (34/47) 72%
- 1st serve points won (23/34) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (6/13) 46%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (8/47) 17%

Serve Pattern
Murray served...
- to FH 53%
- to BH 41%
- to Body 6%

Nadal served...
- to FH 24%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 13%

Return Stats
Murray made...
- 38 (10 FH, 28 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 7 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 4 Forced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (38/46) 83%

Nadal made...
- 37 (18 FH, 19 BH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (37/51) 73%

Break Points
Murray 3/6 (3 games)
Nadal 0/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Murray 8 (6 FH, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
Nadal 17 (5 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV, 2 OH)

Murray's FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 return) and 1 inside-in

Nadal's FHs - 1 dtl, 3 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 Murray left) and 1 drop shot

- 1 BHV was a swinging shot

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Murray 17
- 15 Unforced (9 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV)... the FHV was a swinging shot
- 2 Forced (2 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48

Nadal 33
- 24 Unforced (12 FH, 12 BH)
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 2 BH, 1 BHV)
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 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
Murray was 2/5 (40%) at net

Nadal was 10/11 (91%) at net

Match Report
Solid showing from Murray, with excellent court coverage and a poor one from Nadal, with feeble groundstrokes and still more feeble groundstroke errors on a quick for clay court

Scoreline is routine. First set isn't with outcome up for grabs, though strange by Nadal's standards
Terrible start from Nadal. 5 points into the match, 5 Nadal groundstroke UEs. He adds 4 more before the first changeover to go down 3-0 and a break. 9 UEs in 14 points from the usually immaculately consistent Nadal is bad enough but its the degree of the errors that stand out as much as the errors themselves. Hitting routine balls half-way up the net type stuff

Still, he doesn't lose another service point in the set, holding to love 3 times. And Murray has to save 3 break points across his last 2 service games. So its a competitive set, with result not a certainty. The oddness of it is in nature of Nadal's play. Generally, even when losing, he makes his opponent struggle and scrap for every point. Here, he's missing balls in short rallies off both wings and missing them by a long way

Murray's play picks up in the second set and he pressures Nadal with depth, particularly challenging well hit, wid-ish BH cc's and very good FH dtl attacking shots. Nadal remains about the same - still loose, still prone to missing by a long way, still not doing much damage with his groundies - and his defences aren't particularly strong. On up side, he utilizes coming to net - as he'd done in first set too good effect also - smartly and well

Statistically, match is a bit odd. On basic stats -
- both players winning decent 68% first serves in, with Nadal with substantial advantage in in-count of 72% to 60%. On that front, advantage Nadal

- the second serve points won though read Murray 81%, Nadal 46%. That's an extraordinary figure for Murray and there's no concrete explanation of why its so much better any of the other serves in the match

Nadal returning poorly and missing simple returns has a hand (8/11 return errors have been marked unforced). When he does make the return, its just a put-ball-in-court type shot. Down from his norm, but not unduly so. Generally, Nadal's return is uber-consistent but not initiative grabbing. The extra loop and depth he generally returns 2nd serves with tend to be good to neutralize servers advantage. Here, he doesn't get that kind of loop, leaving Murray fairly comfortable to play third ball. So bit down-from-norm on effectiveness of return by Nadal... but not to Murray winning 81% such points extent. Rallies springing from Murray's 2nd serve are similar to all other rallies. All the missed returns have a hand - Nadal misses 5/20 non-double fault 2nd serves he faces - but still, 81% second serve points won by Murray is distinctly odd

Just one of those things. Virtually identical rallies on the other serves in match, but Murray gets the better off disproportionately large lot on his 2nd serves

The numbers in play are amusingly deceptive, making Nadal look like some sort of net player with a weak groundgame. Against back drop of Murray easily coming out ahead -

- Nadal leads winners 17-8. And 9/17 are volleys or OHs. And he's 10/11 at net

- Murray leading UEs 15-24, with all of Nadal's being groudies (and all but 1 of Murray's too, and the exception is a swinging FHV miss from just behind service line that's been marked a net point but realisitically, is as similar to groundstroke as a volley)

- Nadal's UEs perfectly balanced across wings (12 of each side) and with low UEFI of 43.8 (17/24 or 71% of his UEs are neutral shots. Murray has 47%)

... the picture emerging is that of a strong baseliner against a net player whose out of his depth trading groundies from the back. You'd see numbers like this for a match up like Andre Agassi against Pat Rafter for example

Rafael Nadal - net seeking, killer volleyer with a weak groundgame - imagine that

Its not too inaccurate for the match though. He does some damage with the FH, where he has his 5 winners (1 short of Murray's match high 6). Its the missing of routine groundstrokes that's key to poor play though. Good lot of FH winners amidst lots of errors while being effective at net usually happens when player is low-percentagely aggressive with the shot... not punily missing normal shots, but striking winners in between

Seeing his groundies lack punch to push Murray, good move by Nadal to come to net instead to aggressively end points after his more attacking groundies. Instincts of when to come are excellent, he's not faced with difficult volleys but perfect in efficiency of putting them away

Murray for his part is solid as a starting point. That's all he needs to be with Nadal so loose. His court coverage is terrific. Nadal isn't all puny and does run him around a bit, and Murray's very upto handling it. Finally, he ups the aggression just so when needed. 0 BH winners, but the cc shot is hit well and wide to be attacking. Also FH dtl, which he unleashes selectively and always too good effect. Nadal's FH has match high 6 FEs - all other shots combined from both players have 5

His 2nd serve returning stands out. He takes them all from inside court, and firmly thumps them. According to a graphic that's presented, he'd taken all 2nd serve returns for the tournament from inside court. And he'd played Milos Raonic. Murray strikes a near perfect balance in consistency and non-riskily being damaging with 2nd serve returns.

In that light, its odd Nadal hasn't done worse on second serve points. He wins 6/13, including a double fault and with Murray having 1 winner. Given he's only won 19% second serve return points, that's unexpected

Match Progression
Terrible start by Nadal sees him down a break and 3-0. Murray keeps ball in court, and Nadal misses routine groundstrokes. Thereafter, Nadal wins 12/12 service points - 4 of them with forecourt winners. Play on Murray's service games feature normal, baseline tennis with honours roughly even, neither player coming to net (Murray foregoes wide open chances to come in) and the advantage of the serve keeping Murray ahead enough to hold.

His last 2 holds are both 8 point games, and he saves 3 break points across them

Much better 2nd set from Murray as he races into 4-0 lead. He thwarts Nadal's attempts to attack from back and does some of his own by targetting Nadal's FH with strong BH cc's and perfectly chosen FH dtl's, amidst remaining solid off the ground. Nadal's not overly loose either as he'd been early in match, though well down from his norm and he continues to make errors hitting balls half way up net. One BH bounces before reaching his side of the net

Murray serves out match to 30 with 4 unreturned serves - all of them unforced errors, the last 3 consecutively and the last 2, second serves

Summing up, good, solid match from Andy Murray - the returning good, especially against second serves and sound from the baseline with well chosen moments to attack from there of both sides and excellent court coverage. More than that though is a poor showing from Nadal - missing returns and routine groundstrokes with surprising frequency and by large margins - but smart and very good in attacking the net, with his groundgame so fragile