Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Davydenko, Rome semi-final, 2007

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 6-4 in the Rome semi-final, 2007 on clay

Nadal, the double defending champion, would go onto win the title by beating Fernando Gonzalez in the final. Davydenko was seeded 4th

Nadal won 128 points, Davydenko 116

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (77/115) 67%
- 1st serve points won (48/77) 62%
- 2nd serve points won (16/38) 42%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/115) 18%

Davydenko...
- 1st serve percentage (97/129) 75%
- 1st serve points won (52/97) 54%
- 2nd serve points won (13/32) 41%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (9/129) 7%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 70%
- to Body 4%

Davydenko served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 115 (51 FH, 64 BH), including 9 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 6 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 1 Forced (1 FH)
- Return Rate (115/124) 93%

Davydenko made...
- 91 (22 FH, 69 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 14 Unforced (8 FH, 6 BH)
- 2 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (91/112) 81%

Break Points
Nadal 8/15 (9 games)
Davydenko 7/12 (9 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 28 (20 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
Davydenko 32 (13 FH, 8 BH, 7 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 8 dtl (3 passes), 8 inside-out (1 runaround return), 1 inside-in and 1 longline pass at net
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/longline, 3 drop shots and 1 running-down-drop-shot dtl pass at net

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

Davydenko's FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 1 cc/longline, 6 dtl (1 pass), 1 dtl/inside-out and 2 inside-out
- BHs - 3 cc (1 return), 2 dtl (1 pass at net - played after moving back just behind service line, but marked a net point), 1 lob, 1 running-down-drop-shot cc pass at net and 1 net chord dribbler

- 3 FHVs were swinging shots
- the FH1/2V was played just behind service line but has been marked a net point

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 72
- 36 Unforced (22 FH, 14 BH)
- 36 Forced (19 FH, 14 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net & the OH was a flagrantly forced, on bounce attempt to cope with an at net smash
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.9

Davydenko 74
- 53 Unforced (37 FH, 16 BH)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 21 Forced (12 FH, 7 BH, 2 BHV)... with 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.2

(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
Nadal was...
- 8/17 (47%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying

Davydenko was...
- 21/32 (66%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Very good match of action and more than that, a very interesting one of strategy, style and playing choices, especially by Nadal. A little more loose off the ground than his norm, Nadal falls back to completely defensive, allowing Davydenko to dictate play - and spends an unnecessarily long and gruelling time running and retrieving

The essential point is Nadal falling back allows Davy to step up. Davy does not take charge of play on his own initiative

And things are very close and tense

Davydenko has a set point as Nadal serves to send first set into tiebreak. On it, Nadal plays a not good drop shot and remains on baseline, Davy runs it down in good time and attempts as finely angled a shot as possible, parallell to the net on Nadal's side, for the winner - and misses. Not an easy shot, but not a difficult ball to put in play either and its been marked a UE. Not necessarily a bad shot choice. There'd been a similar point earlier in the match where he'd made the shot, but Nadal had hit a winner at net against it (in that instance, Nadal was already at net, unlike this set point). Going for such a perfect shot against Nadal is understandable. Going into tiebreak, Nadal's won 37 points, Davy 38

Very poor tiebreak from Davy who deals in UEs and Nadal takes it easily to go up 1 set to love

Both players serve for the second set - Nadal first at 5-3, and he's also serving for the match. Gets broken to love with Davy forcing 3 errors. After Davy breaks again to follow it up, its his turn at 6-5. Couple Nadal FH dtl winners sees him break to send things into another tiebreak

This time, Davy's considerably stronger player in the 'breaker and despite the tense looking 10-8 scoreline in it, is in control. He leads 6-3 and doesn't face set point before finally converting his 6th to level the match

Third start carries on with same playing dynamics and tension (for much of match, returner seems to have advantage over server - more on playing dynamics in just a bit) and 2 trade holds to open the set. Play continues on serve with similar dynamics (Davy leading or attacking, Nadal reacting or defending) on serve to middle of set when Nadal finally steps up and takes charge of play for the first time in the match. Thereafter, he puts Davy to the sword and last part of match is comfortably in Nadal's favour

Large number of breaks in the match are reminscient of 80s and earlier period. 15/34 games are breaks and a further 3 games have break points in them

First set has 3 breaks apiece (and the only other game with break point in it being set point as described earlier)
Second set also has 3 break apiece (with both players serving for the set as described earlier)
Third set starts with traded breaks - and just 1 more after

It brings home how much the game has changed. This would be fairly common in '80s and not uncommon in the '90s. For good long time now, clay tennis has moved in direction of other surfaces in this regard, with players looking for 1 break and justifiably feeling confident of taking a set if they go up a break

Its more accurate to say serve & return are non-factors (as in, neither shot gives either player much advantage) rather than returners obtain counter-play. Most points start of with 50-50 prospects, regardless of who's serving, returning or what type of serve

If there's credit to be had for any of the shots, its Nadal's on the return. 93% return rate. Just 6 errors all match (Davy has 16 while facing 12 fewer serves). Clockwork returning from Nadal - even more so than his very high personal norm. He's returning for well behind baseline. Davy's able to get a few good, attackingly wide returns off against Nadal's 2nd serve, but nothing particularly noteworthy

Suffice to say - little advantage coming out of serve and return - and action centers on court action. Which centers on baseline rallies.

Match can be cleanly differentitated into 3 parts by playing dynamics. The strategic choices for the shifts are Nadal's, not Davy's despite the latter being the overall aggressor in the match

Part 1 - Neutral Rallying. All of first set is marked by 'classic' clay court tennis, both players staying a couple paces behind baseline and keeping ball in play with decent force. Well short of attacking play, a step up from out-&-out who-blinks-first but just

Play is dual winged. Nadal leans just slightly to his BH side, but rarely runsaround to hit FHs (as opposed to camping in BH side and constantly running around to hit FHs, his norm around the period). No particular attempt to play FH cc's to Davy's BH either. Nadal drops balls short not infrequently with his loopier shots, Davy doesn't attack them. The occasional Nadal FH dtl attack

Just normal, keep-ball-in-court safely, dual winged baseline tennis. Usually, UEs are key to such dynamics and hence, prospects would highly favour Nadal

Not how it works out. Nadal's consistency is off and he blinks as much as Davy. He's not poor by any standard - rallies go on awhile before errors come, but by his standard, quite a lot regulation misses from Nadal

The 2 players not only are dead even in play, but also of style

- Points won aggressively (with winners and by forcing errors) - Nadal 17, Davy 18
- UEs - both 16

The UE count is very surprising and reflects a big win for Davy and corresponding loss for Nadal. Davy's pretty solid, but reason for the equality on that front is Nadal being loose (by his standard)
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Part 2 - Davy easing into leading play (eventually to attacking extent), Nadal easing back to reacting (eventually to defending extent). Starts at top of 2nd set, becomes more and more pronounced as set goes on and continues until middle of third set

Huge shift in dyanmics is reflected in how points end. Though 2 remain near enough even. In second set,

- Points won aggressively - Nadal 16, Davy 40
- UEs - Nadal 13, Davy 27

The shift to Davy attacking/Nadal defending doesn't happen at once. They start set same as first. Hitting from Nadal in particular becomes a bit softer. Both players remain 2 paces behind baseline for a few shots. Its almost like each is waiting for the other to step up.

Davy eventually steps up to baseline to hit and Nadal drop a couple more paces behind. They continue rallying 'neutrally' from this position, with Davy obviously in more offensive position

Further shift from there to Davy stepping up to hit really hard and wide attacking shots. And Nadal is forced to run and chase and scamper. Even then, Davy remains fairly tentative in vigour of his attacking play. Nadal's lenght is about as bad it can be for this set - its as if he's trying to set a record for shortest average lenght of shot, short of playing drop shots. Lots of chances for Davy to take net behind powerful groundstrokes. He comes in 20+ times, but foregoes countless easy chances to do so too

The important note is, Davy doesn't take charge to attack, Nadal falls back to invite him to - and Davy's hesitant to go all in
Once attacker-defender dynamics are set, its all that way. Davy hammering groundies and occasionally, coming in off very strong shots to finish at net. Nadal running around 4-5 paces behind baseline to try to get balls in play - and hope Davy misses. Rope-a-dope by Nadal

You could say it works, given action remains just about dead even. Its a lot of work to just keep things even from Nadal's point of view

Some good stuff from Davy attacking, especially the cc shots. BH cc is powerful enough to force errors. And he throws out particularly wide FH cc's to do the same on the other side. Some good defensive stuff from Nadal to resist to a point but neither Davy's attack nor Nadal's defence is top drawer

With the kind of short balls Nadal coughs up, absolutely obliterating him (as opposed to running him side to side) is doable. Davy doesn't do it. And Nadal's norm of defence during this period is considerably better than what he shows in this match. He's not easy to get an error out of, but also not ridiculously difficult either. This isn't a Nadal-being-a-wall-so-attacking-errors-must-follow match, its a Davy getting trigger eager and messing up just a tad. No need to try blasting perfect FH winners into corners when Nadal's missing more moderate shots or poking them back so short that attacking it thereafter (or taking net) is easier way to finish him off

Drastic changes between 2 sets in terms of type of play. No changes in outcome - 2 players remain neck and neck

Part 3 - Nadal steps up to take charge and attack. From middle of final set to the end

Play continues same way as 2 trade breaks to start the decider. Davy steps back a bit from attacking, resetting dynamic to closer to what it was in first set. Finally, Nadal steps up for the only time in the match and proceeds to destroy Davy with step in FH inside-outs, wide cc shots, strong returns, even a serve-volley. No more short balls from Nadal - he goes hard and deep to dominate with something to spare

In last 5 games, Nadal has 7 winners (+ an ace) and forces 4 errors. In matches prior 31 games (counting the 2 tiebreaks as games), he has 21 winners (+ 3 aces) and forces 17 errors

Stats in Play
Good numbers for both players

- Winners - Nadal 28, Davy 32
- Errors Forced - Nadal 21, Davy 36
- UEs - Nadal 36, Davy 53

Davy leading points ended aggressively by 19. Nadal leading UEs (as in, he has fewer) by 17
Both players in positives ending points aggressively/UE differential - Nadal +13, Davy +18

In attacks, Davy's leads with FHs as much as possible, but BH is a handful too. Not only is 13 FH winners to 8 BH ones fairly balanced, but he's forcing errors off both wings with cc shots. A great, high percentage way to attack. And he comes to net to finish, where he's 21/32. Whe

Given how much more he's attacked with the FH, the proportion of winner reflects his BH doing a better job offensively. Note also Nadal's FEs - 19 FHs, 14 BHs, which would roughly be inverse of effectiveness of Davy's attacking groundstrokes (i.e. Davy's BH forces bulk of FH errors and Davy's FH forces bulk of BH errors)

Nadal as ever is FH dependent offence with 20/28 winners coming from the shot. Barely comes in - just 17 times, many of them drop shot related and is under 50% at net - and BHs job is just to hold steady. Despite being the most consistent shot on show, its not particularly so

Groundstrokes ordered by consistency -
- Nadal BH 14
- Davy BH 16
- Nadal FH 22
- Davy FH 37

And UE types
- Neutral - Nadal 18, Davy 23
- Attacking - both 11
- Winner Attempts - Nadal 7, Davy 19

Davy's BH having relatively low 16 UEs is an outstanding outcome from him. Less so than you'd think because there isn't much systematic Nadal FH cc'ng attempts to break it down but far more so because its a big time weapon. In that light, you'd expect high attackign errors coming out of that side on top of neutrals - but that hasn't happened. Great job by the Davy BH

Nadal's BH top of the consistency tree. Even so, its a bit loose by his standard and apt to blink, though FH is worse on that front. He's steady enough off the BH that Davy's forced to go extra wide to force the errors. Davy's FH cc attacking shots are highly effective, with few errors

Nadal's FH is the big and most efficient killer with 20 winners, 22 UEs - miles ahead of any other shot. The efficiency in attacking is terrific, which you can see with relatively low attacking and winner attempt errors. Most of Davy's considerable 12 FH FEs would be drawn by Nadal's FH dtl too

Davy's FH is the biggest, attacking powerhouse of the match. He's the one attacking most of the time and FHs what he prefers to do it with. 37 UEs and the large 19 winner attempt ones speaks to it faltering plenty too. Probably too much

Nadal with equal 36 UEs and FEs is very rare for a clay court, baseline match. Most logical explanation for him is he's so solid that only way points end is that he's forced into errors. That's not what happens - he's considerably down in both consistency and defence - apparently, to near equal extent

In light of Nadal not being as difficult to get errors out of as he tends to be, those stats suggesting Davy would have been better of attacking with less vigour. He's forced 36 errors while making 11 attacking errors (plenty of attacking shots don't draw errors too, of course), compared to hit 32 winners while making 19 errors trying

For most of match, there's little danger of Nadal counter-attacking should Davy drop his vigour. He's either happy putting balls in play in first set or camped miles behind the baseline in the second

Summing up, a great match in how close it is and how tense it gets, particularly latter part of 2nd set. Action is good without quite hitting the great mark. The story of the match more dominates than the quality of action and the story teller is Nadal

Finding himself a bit loose off the ground - enough that Davydenko can stay with him from the back without attacking - Nadal falls back to defend outright, effectively daring Davydenko to attack and apparently counting on defending well enough that Davydenko will miss more than is worth it by overreaching. Nadal doesn't defend overly well, but neither does Davydenko attack so and things remain equal

Regardless of dynamic - neutral exchanges until someone blinks or Davydenko allowed to attack as Nadal defends - the two remain neck and neck. The Davydenko attacking vs Nadal defending dyanmic is a good one, but with room for improvement in both players showings

Match turns for good near the end when Nadal finally steps up to attack himself and he proceeds to thrash his opponent. No real reason why he coudn't have done this earlier

Stats for Nadal's quarter-final with Novak Djokovic - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, Rome quarter-final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for the final between Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Gonzalez, Rome final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)

@ForehandCross - thoughts?
 
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The Big Foe fan

Hall of Fame
Part 2 - Davy easing into leading play (eventually to attacking extent), Nadal easing back to reacting (eventually to defending extent). Starts at top of first set, becomes more and more pronounced as second set goes on and continues until middle of third set

Huge shift in dyanmics is reflected in how points end. Though 2 remain near enough even. In second set,

- Points won aggressively - Nadal 16, Davy 40
- UEs - Nadal 13, Davy 27

The shift to Davy attacking/Nadal defending doesn't happen at once. They start set same as first. Hitting from Nadal in particular becomes a bit softer. Both players remain 2 paces behind baseline for a few shots. Its almost like each is waiting for the other to step up.

Davy eventually steps up to baseline to hit and Nadal drop a couple more paces behind. They continue rallying 'neutrally' from this position, with Davy obviously in more offensive position

Further shift from there to Davy stepping up to hit really hard and wide attacking shots. And Nadal is forced to run and chase and scamper. Even then, Davy remains fairly tentative in vigour of his attacking play. Nadal's lenght is about as bad it can be for this set - its as if he's trying to set a record for shortest average lenght of shot, short of playing drop shots. Lots of chances for Davy to take net behind powerful groundstrokes. He comes in 20+ times, but foregoes countless easy chances to do so too

The important note is, Davy doesn't take charge to attack, Nadal falls back to invite him to - and Davy's hesitant to go all in
Once attacker-defender dynamics are set, its all that way. Davy hammering groundies and occasionally, coming in off very strong shots to finish at net. Nadal running around 4-5 paces behind baseline to try to get balls in play - and hope Davy misses. Rope-a-dope by Nadal

You could say it works, given action remains just about dead even. Its a lot of work to just keep things even from Nadal's point of view

Some good stuff from Davy attacking, especially the cc shots. BH cc is powerful enough to force errors. And he throws out particularly wide FH cc's to do the same on the other side. Some good defensive stuff from Nadal to resist to a point but neither Davy's attack nor Nadal's defence is top drawer

With the kind of short balls Nadal coughs up, absolutely obliterating him (as opposed to running him side to side) is doable. Davy doesn't do it. And Nadal's norm of defence during this period is considerably better than what he shows in this match. He's not easy to get an error out of, but also not ridiculously difficult either. This isn't a Nadal-being-a-wall-so-attacking-errors-must-follow match, its a Davy getting trigger eager and messing up just a tad. No need to try blasting perfect FH winners into corners when Nadal's missing more moderate shots or poking them back so short that attacking it thereafter (or taking net) is easier way to finish him off

Drastic changes between 2 sets in terms of type of play. No changes in outcome - 2 players remain neck and neck

Part 3 - Nadal steps up to take charge and attack. From middle of final set to the end

Play continues same way as 2 trade breaks to start the decider. Davy steps back a bit from attacking, resetting dynamic to closer to what it was in first set. Finally, Nadal steps up for the only time in the match and proceeds to destroy Davy with step in FH inside-outs, wide cc shots, strong returns, even a serve-volley. No more short balls from Nadal - he goes hard and deep to dominate with something to spare

In last 5 games, Nadal has 7 winners (+ an ace) and forces 4 errors. In matches prior 31 games (counting the 2 tiebreaks as games), he has 21 winners (+ 3 aces) and forces 17 errors

Stats in Play
Great numbers for both players

- Winners - Nadal 28, Davy 32
- Errors Forced - Nadal 21, Davy 36
- UEs - Nadal 36, Davy 53

Davy leading points ended aggressively by 19. Nadal leading UEs (as in, he has fewer) by 17
Both players in positives ending points aggressively/UE differential - Nadal +13, Davy +18

In attacks, Davy's leads with FHs as much as possible, but BH is a handful too. Not only is 13 FH winners to 8 BH ones fairly balanced, but he's forcing errors off both wings with cc shots. A great, high percentage way to attack. And he comes to net to finish, where he's 21/32. Whe

Given how much more he's attacked with the FH, the proportion of winner reflects his BH doing a better job offensively. Note also Nadal's FEs - 19 FHs, 14 BHs, which would roughly be inverse of effectiveness of Davy's attacking groundstrokes (i.e. Davy's BH forces bulk of FH errors and Davy's FH forces bulk of BH errors)

Nadal as ever is FH dependent offence with 20/28 winners coming from the shot. Barely comes in - just 17 times, many of them drop shot related and is under 50% at net - and BHs job is just to hold steady. Despite being the most consistent shot on show, its not particularly so

Groundstrokes ordered by consistency -
- Nadal BH 14
- Davy BH 16
- Nadal FH 22
- Davy FH 37

And UE types
- Neutral - Nadal 18, Davy 23
- Attacking - both 11
- Winner Attempts - Nadal 7, Davy 19

Davy's BH having relatively low 16 UEs is an outstanding outcome from him. Less so than you'd think because there isn't much systematic Nadal FH cc'ng attempts to break it down but far more so because its a big time weapon. In that light, you'd expect high attackign errors coming out of that side on top of neutrals - but that hasn't happened. Great job by the Davy BH

Nadal's BH top of the consistency tree. Even so, its a bit loose by his standard and apt to blink, though FH is worse on that front. He's steady enough off the BH that Davy's forced to go extra wide to force the errors. Davy's FH cc attacking shots are highly effective, with few errors

Nadal's FH is the big and most efficient killer with 20 winners, 22 UEs - miles ahead of any other shot. The efficiency in attacking is terrific, which you can see with relatively low attacking and winner attempt errors. Most of Davy's considerable 12 FH FEs would be drawn by Nadal's FH dtl too

Davy's FH is the biggest, attacking powerhouse of the match. He's the one attacking most of the time and FHs what he prefers to do it with. 37 UEs and the large 19 winner attempt ones speaks to it faltering plenty too. Probably too much

Nadal with equal 36 UEs and FEs is very rare for a clay court, baseline match. Most logical explanation for him is he's so solid that only way points end is that he's forced into errors. That's not what happens - he's considerably down in both consistency and defence - apparently, to near equal extent

In light of Nadal not being as difficult to get errors out of as he tends to be, those stats suggesting Davy would have been better of attacking with less vigour. He's forced 36 errors while making 11 attacking errors (plenty of attacking shots don't draw errors too, of course), compared to hit 32 winners while making 19 errors trying

For most of match, there's little danger of Nadal counter-attacking should Davy drop his vigour. He's either happy putting balls in play in first set or camped miles behind the baseline in the second

Summing up, a great match in how close it is and how tense it gets, particularly latter part of 2nd set. Action is good without quite hitting the great mark. The story of the match more dominates than the quality of action and the story teller is Nadal

Finding himself a bit loose off the ground - enough that Davydenko can stay with him from the back without attacking - Nadal falls back to defend outright, effectively daring Davydenko to attack and apparently counting on defending well enough that Davydenko will miss more than is worth it by overreaching. Nadal doesn't defend overly well, but neither does Davydenko attack so and things remain equal

Regardless of dynamic - neutral exchanges until someone blinks or Davydenko allowed to attack as Nadal defends - the two remain neck and neck. The Davydenko attacking vs Nadal defending dyanmic is a good one, but with room for improvement in both players showings

Match turns for good near the end when Nadal finally steps up to attack himself and he proceeds to thrash his opponent. No real reason why he coudn't have done this earlier

Stats for Nadal's quarter-final with Novak Djokovic - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, Rome quarter-final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for the final between Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Gonzalez, Rome final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)

@ForehandCross - thoughts?
Keep it up man
 
Interesting how you choose to consistently remind us that such a close fight was only possible because Nadal was actually not all that great at all, relative to his norm at any rate. I imagine you rate the prospects of BOATovic beating that Nadal quite highly, given that he's far better than those weak era mugs.
 

tudwell

Legend
Interesting how you choose to consistently remind us that such a close fight was only possible because Nadal was actually not all that great at all, relative to his norm at any rate. I imagine you rate the prospects of BOATovic beating that Nadal quite highly, given that he's far better than those weak era mugs.
Come on, man. Waspsting has his biases like anybody else, but at least he clearly engages deeply with a match – not just passively watching it for entertainment – before writing up such an analysis. I'm sure most here (myself most definitely included) wade into all sorts of discussions with just a fuzzy memory and a few minutes of YouTube highlights to go off of.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
One of the best clay matches ever. Thanks @Waspsting for this analysis!
My pleasure!

I like the match and rate it a bit lower than you do

Nadal's off. And its close

There are matches where Nadal is on that are just as close (or closer even)... so to me, those matches are higher quality ones

I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for something like the '05 and '06 finals - both of which fit the both-players-at-top-of-their-game + very-tight match that I particularly like

I was particularl hopeful too, because I know Davy's capable of bossing even a top form Nadal about and because Nadal's quarter was one of his absolute best matches (@MichaelNadal - if your looking for young Nadal matches, that one is highly recommended. One almost feels sorry for Djoko - though I doubt you will)

Instead, we get this off Nadal, a Davy that needs an open invitation to step up and attack, good but less than great attack vs defend battle... and the ending is the least tense part of the match

There are matches where a guy steps it up at crunch time and its just timely. Here, my feeling was Nadal could have done this 2 hours ago

Do you remember we had a discussion about our favorite matches,? Do you remember which match stats thread that was in?
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
Arguably their best match (Shanghai 06 and Doha 10 have to be mentioned), two main conclusions I drew from watching it.

Nadal's ability to raise his game on clay to a level that nobody (during his era at least) can match when he switches to his attacking mode and fully employs his FH an BH as solely offensive weapons. He either hits through the court like it is grass or forces the errors with enormous weight. He did that to Davydenko at the end of the match, to Novak in the fifth set of 2013 RG, to Murray at 2014 Rome, etc.

Davydenko's formula of keeping Nadal pinned to either corner and far from the mid-court (where he is most dangerous) by hitting the targets placed between the base and the service line, but only one meter far from the sidelines. And while he didn't have enough firepower to hurt him on clay, he never lost a match to him on HC after this encounter, using more or less the same strategy. But I never saw a player who hits with less or the same amount of spin as Davy and who can find such incredible angles, the guy was scary good and his court geometry was too much for Rafa.
 
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