Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Agassi, Wimbledon third round, 2006

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Rafael Nadal beat Andre Agassi 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon third round, 2006 on grass

Nadal would go onto the first of his Wimbledon finals, losing to Roger Federer, while this was Agassi's last match at the venue

Nadal won 105 points, Agassi 82

(Note: I'm missing 2 Agassi serve points - won 1, lost 1. On a small number of points, I've guessed whether the point was a first serve or second)

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (55/79) 70%
- 1st serve points won (48/55) 87%
- 2nd serve points won (16/24) 67%
- Aces 18 (1 second serve), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/79) 44%

Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (63/106) 59%
- 1st serve points won (46/63) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (19/43) 44%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/106) 32%
 

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Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 44%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 1%

Agassi served....
- to FH 35%
- to BH 65%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 70 (18 FH, 52 BH)

- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (1 FH, 4 BH)
- 21 Forced (11 FH, 10 BH)
- Return Rate (70/104) 67%

Agassi made...
- 42 (20 FH, 22 BH), including 1 runaround FH and 1 return-approach
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (3 FH, 6 BH)
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (42/77) 55%

Break Points
Nadal 3/11 (7 games)
Agassi 0
 

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Winners
(including returns, excluding serves)
Nadal 26 (13 FH, 10 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Agassi 16 (7 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)

Nadal's FHs - 4 cc (1 pass), 4 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 3 inside-out and 1 lob

- BHs - 3 cc (1 pass, 1 return), 3 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 return), 1 inside-in return pass and 1 net chord dribbler
- 1 BHV was a 1st volley off his sole serve-volley point

Agassi's FHs - 2 cc, 1 inside-in, 3 at net (1 drop shot) and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 1 dtl, 1 drop shot and 1 at net

Errors
(excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 29
- 12 Unforced (10 FH, 2 BH)
- 17 Forced (10 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 39.2

Agassi 41
- 22 Unforced (9 FH, 11 BH, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 19 Forced (7 FH, 11 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.9

(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)
 

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Net Points & Serve-Volley
Nadal was...
- 5/7/ (71%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a first serve

Agassi was...
- 15/22 (68%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a first serve
--

- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Frighteningly good from Nadal - the serve, the BH and court coverage all stand out features. Decent from Agassi - his attacking return is off, but he hits cleanly and moves better than he did in the pairs sole previous match in Montreal the previous year - who plays with determination, but is just up against a better player

Agassi's done his homework and appears particularly motivated. He serves and returns harder than usual - probably because he knows he has to against Nadal. He expresses annoyance and frustration at his misses - not just the UEs, but makeable FEs to - to an extent far beyond what was normal for him in this period. Nadal, too serves extra big. He's regularly in the 120 mph range with the first serve and kissing the T with many of them.... I don't recall Nadal having this kind of firepower on the serve in 2006

After the serve and return, we have baseline exchanges. Against the lefty, Agassi can't count on his preferred BH cc stock strategy because it would pit him against the dangerous Nadal FH, so looks to work over Nadal's BH with FH cc's instead. It doesn't work. Nadal belts back BH ccs every bit as hard. Next, Agassi looks to hit wide angles. This is more successful and Nadal is forced into errors from the doubles alley. Notable is Agassi's greater ability to create such angles with his BH cc than the FH cc

On his service games, Nadal can nurse his positional advantage close to the baseline with Agassi pushed back by the first serve to winning points. He just keeps hitting heavy but not overly attacking balls til the Agassi error comes (forced or otherwise)… good dictating play from Nadal

Nadal is far the better player in the first set going into the tiebreak. He holds serve easily, while Agassi struggles and has to be clutch to save 6 break points across 3 games. Agassi serves 54 points (Nadal 36)

But Agassi takes a 5-2 lead (1 mini-break up) in the tiebreak, and looks in position to pinch the first set. Down 3-5, Nadal slips after delivering a second serve but Agassi can't see it and makes an error trying to belt the ball (easing it over would probably have given him the point had he noticed Nadal on the ground). Still, Agassi has 2 service points at 5-4. On the first of these, he goes for a FH inside-in winner and just misses. Shot choice was good, just a matter of inches. And the point after, Nadal does one of his miraculous gets, striking a FH cc pass on the full run right out of the corner

Call it clutch, choke or luck, the set goes to Nadal

Second and third set are more one sided. Nadal serves even better, becomes even more consistent off the ground and starts hitting spectacular shots out of the blue. Agassi flounders a bit by shifting his serving pattern more and more to the Nadal BH, but otherwise maintains his own level.... its just Nadal's gone up a gear and comfortably comes up ahead
 

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Statistical Points of Interest & Play
- Look at Nadal's service numbers. 70% first serves in, 87% first serves won, 67% second serves won. 18 aces and 3 service winners. 44% unreturned serves. 0 break points for Agassi

These are atypical numbers for Nadal - even on grass and especially in 2006 when as I recall, his serve was less strong than it came to be. But he mostly earned it. His first serve is big, regularly in the mid 120s and well placed. The second serve is nothing out of the ordinary and while as always, his strong ground game supports it, some of the success is due to Agassi making a meal of second serve returns

Agassi looks to hit winners of second serves he can reach... but doesn't hit 1 and makes 9 return UEs (most against second serves). I'm sure Agassi third ball errors with the return, but Nadal's defensive capabilities thwarted many a would-be third ball error too

Nadal's serve pattern has less to do with going to FH or BH and more going down the middle. Most of his serves are down T (unusual for a leftie. Goran preferred this too)

- Look at Nadal's 2 BH UEs in play. In an all out baseline match on grass, with heavy shots going back and forth, this is remarkable. The first error he makes is mid-way through the third set and its a defensive error (meaning, on the forced side of being marked 'unforced' - others might call it forced even) and though the ball is called out, it actually clipped the back of the baseline.

So Nadal realistically had 0 BH UEs going into the last game, but makes 1 on the second last point of the game. Solid as solid can be off the BH from Rafa

- Nadal's shot making and retrieving. So many ridiculous shots. A BH return cc winner which seems to come out of nowhere. At least 2 FH inside-outs hit from so close to his body its a wonder he can make the wide angle he does (for most people, to hit that sharp an angle, they need to give themselves enough room that going cc isn't an option) and FH cc that looks like it'll be inside-out. An absurd running BH cc pass from 6-7 feet behind the baseline, after which he makes an almost apologetic gesture to Agassi. 3 winners in a row down 40-0 - a BH inside-in return pass, a BH inside-out (not a shot he plays often) and a FH lob from a completely defensive position. A BH cc blast from defensive position, forcing a flagrant error after being run from side to side, putting away a FH dtl winner after being run from side to side... it goes on and on

- Note Nadal's UEFI of 39.2, which is remarkably low. Indicating how safely he was playing, but his safe shots are a lot heavier than most players - and he can switch to attack in a heartbeat

Agassi is about even from Nadal groundstroke for groundstroke, but has a big handicap in court coverage. Even so, he's moving reasonably ok... better than he did in their Montreal final. Given the difference in movement and how much easier it is for Nadal to force an error from Agassi than it is Agassi to force 1 from Nadal due to the Spaniard's other worldly retrieval abilities... Agassi forcing 17 errors out of Nadal to being forced into 19 looks like Agassi was probably still the better attacking baseliner

Actually not, given Agassi also makes UEs being attacking or going for a winner (he has 11 of these from the baseline in total), while Nadal does not (3 total). But still attackingly potent from Andre... more credit to Nadal for his defence

- A puzzling shift in serving pattern from Agassi. First set, he'd forced 10 FH return errors to just 2 BHs, distributing serves about 50-50 across Nadal's wings. Seems like a good reason to serve more to the FH... but for the rest of the match, he overwhelmingly serves to Nadal's BH (In total, 36 to FH, 68 to BH). Odd choice

Summing up, first class from Nadal - serving superbly, consistent off the ground with tremendous court coverage/retrieval/defence and great shot making. Decent enough from Agassi, but he's overwhelmed by it all.

Stats for their previous match - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-nadal-vs-agassi-canadian-open-final-2005.649725/
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
Generally I think players really don't pick up on which return side is weaker and they'll just serve to the perceived weaker groundstroke.

Like for Nadal, obviously the main weapon is the forehand, but that's also the wing you can attack more easily.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Generally I think players really don't pick up on which return side is weaker and they'll just serve to the perceived weaker groundstroke.
Generally, players just (correctly) assume the BH is weaker, especially when serving out wide as Agassi was doing in this match

FHs have longer reach and freer swing, its a no-brainer

And Agassi was a standard mostly-serve-to-BH kind of player... he's typically around 75-25 in all the matches I've done

Which makes me think he had something specific in mind by not doing this in the first set. And it was working.... so why change it?

Hard numbers - in first set, Agassi serves 27 to FH, 25 to BH
Rest of the match - 9 to FH, 38 to BH
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
Generally, players just (correctly) assume the BH is weaker, especially when serving out wide as Agassi was doing in this match

FHs have longer reach and freer swing, its a no-brainer

And Agassi was a standard mostly-serve-to-BH kind of player... he's typically around 75-25 in all the matches I've done

Which makes me think he had something specific in mind by not doing this in the first set. And it was working.... so why change it?

Hard numbers - in first set, Agassi serves 27 to FH, 25 to BH
Rest of the match - 9 to FH, 38 to BH
Freer swing also makes control a little bit harder normally, and especially of a first serve return you don't expect to get bombed by the returner consistently anyway. It's about reliability more than aggressiveness.
 
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