Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open semi-final 2013

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 in the French Open semi-final, 2013 on clay

Nadal would go onto beat David Ferrer in the final to claim his record extending 8th title and for the second time, 4th in a row at the event. Djokovic had won the Australian Open earlier in the year and more recently, beaten Nadal in the Monte Carlo final. The two would go onto contest the US Open final later in the year, with Nadal again winning

Nadal won 177 points, Djokovic 158 (including a point penalty)

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (101/159) 64%
- 1st serve points won (73/101) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (35/58) 60%
- Aces 6 (including 1 whiff)
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/159) 21%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (118/175) 67%
- 1st serve points won (76/118) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (30/57) 53%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/175) 14%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 45%
- to BH 46%
- to Body 10%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 148 (66 FH, 82 BH), including 16 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (4 FH, 7 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (148/173) 86%

Djokovic made...
- 123 (71 FH, 52 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 5 Winners (4 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 27 Errors, comprising...
- 21 Unforced (9 FH, 12 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (123/156) 79%

Break Points
Nadal 8/16 (10 games)
Djokovic 5/9 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 52 (35 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
Djokovic 47 (26 FH, 10 BH, 1 FHV, 6 BHV, 4 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 15 dtl (1 at net), 12 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl, 2 inside-in, 1 inside-in/cc and 1 longline
- BHs - 8 cc (4 passes - 1 return. 1 non-return was misjudged and left by Djokovic), 1 cc/longline pass, 3 dtl (1 at net) and 1 inside-out

Djokovic's FHs - 3 cc, 9 dtl (4 returns - 1 runaround), 9 inside-out, 2 inside-in, 1 longline, 1 longline/inside-out pass and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 5 cc (1 return, 1 pass at net), 4 dtl and 1 drop shot

- 3 OHs were on the bounce

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 83
- 48 Unforced (28 FH, 19 BH, 1 Point Penalty)
- 35 Forced (17 FH, 15 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net and 3 BH running-down-drop-shots at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.4*

Djokovic 90
- 71 Unforced (32 FH, 34 BH, 4 OH, 1 Net Touch)... with 1 FH at net
- 19 Forced (10 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV)… with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net and 1 BH at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.6*

(Note *: Nadal's 'Point Penalty' UE has been excluded from his UEFI score. Djokovic's 'Net Touch' UE has been marked 'winner attempt' - the shot he played as he touched net)

(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 17/28 (61%) at net, with...
- 2/3 (67%) forced back

Djokovic was 31/48 (65%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, both 1st serves
---
- 0/1 retreated

Match Report
Great and highly competitive match with fortunes fluctuating back and forth throughout. Nadal is remarkably steady - given match length, style of play (heavy baselining), particularly given the surface - and able to turn it up from even than that overwhelming. Djokovic is more patchy and given Nadal's evenness of form, finds himself needing to turn it up a gear to make inroads. Which he does successfully too

It isn't the toughest of the pair's matches. In their encounters at Australian Open 2012 and US Open 2011 among others, neither player gave an inch and every single point seemed to be played as if it were the last by both men. Here, both focus more on their service games and are willing to ease up a bit on select return games or points. This is normal - what they did in Aus '12 and US '11 was abnormal

Thus, match has a relatively high proportion of easy holds. Note both players winning bulk of second serve points (Nadal 60%, Djoko 53%). On clay, this is often a sign of not good defence more than good offence

Overall stats are weighed in Nadal's favour due to third set that he wins 6-1. Remaining 4 sets are competitive - Nadal having better of the first, Djokovic the second and the last 2 virtually even. In fourth set, Nadal is twice up a break and even serves for the match, having gained his breaks mostly via Djokovic's errors. Both times, Djoko answers with a break, mostly via his own strong play. Djoko leads by a break in the fifth and is two holds away from the match at his closest. A famous (or infamous) goof where he touches the net after dispatching an OH on deuce probably costs him the game and match. In context of match, its not too surpising though... Djokovic's smashing is horrendous from start to finish, if there's been a worse demo of OH'ing in pro tennis, I haven't seen it.

Other noteworthy points of play are -
- Nadal hammering BHs
- Djoko's relatively high proneness to missing regulation returns
- Djoko's attacking play not being as strong as needed to overwhelm Nadal

Immediate Background of Playing Dynamics
The two are no strangers to playing on clay or in Paris - now, then or ever

Since 2006, they've met at least once on clay all but 1 year and usually more. And they've met more times in Paris (7) than any pair of players have met at any Slam

Around this period, prospects around their clay matches were about even. Djokovic was usually more proactive and apt to step in court and look to blast Nadal away or at least, beat him down

Djoko liked to use persistent FH cc's to break/beat down Nadal BH, while looking for FH dtl point finishers from that staple
More aggressively still, Djoko looked to attack Nadal's FH wing, especially with FH inside-outs and also, BH cc
Though the offense took the eye, Djoko's defense when called upon was as good as you could ask for too

Nadal generally was reactive. On BH, he looked to hold firm and have Djoko hit himself out going for more and more
With FH, he occasionally stepped up to contest command of point and when he got it, ran Djoko around with combinations of FH cc, inside-in and inside-out - the last being his favoured point finisher
He was often relegated to defending, scampering best he could and putting, or trying to put balls in play off back foot
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Differences & Key Features in this Match
- The extent to which Djokovic dictates play is small. Command of points is close to equal, with Djoko maintaining slightly more control

Nadal leads on winners 52-47, but Djoko leads in forcing errors 35-19... overall points won forcefully comes to Djokovic 82-71. Note also Djoko with slightly higher UEFI 47.6-46.4

- Nadal enjoying healthy consistency advantage with 48 UEs to Djoko's 71. Taking just neutral UEs, Nadal has 26, Djoko 34

Backbone of the two is Djoko's attacking vigour being someways off. Subsequently, the FEs he draws are mild and the UEs he draws are hard, relative to match-ups norm

Reasonable amount of 'hard' Nadal UEs, like running to ball in time but missing shot or dealing with average paced but deep, slightly wide ball. 'Soft' FEs include the kind of thing he used to be able to put in play regularly but isn't fast enough to here. His footspeed isn't up to it, but his defensive, late retrieving shots are still top notch

Looking at attacking efficiency more closely -
- Djoko has 20 attacking UEs, while forcing 35 errors out of Nadal. Nadal's numbers are 8 and 19... a better success rate (somewhat down to Nadal being stronger in defence)
- Djoko has 17 winner attempts UEs, while hitting 47 winners. Nadal's numbers are 52 and 12.... much better success rate from Nadal

The relative softness of Djoko's attacks can be seen in other areas. Nadal manages to counter-attack winning FH dtl's against Djoko's attacking FH inside-outs some of the time. In other matches, he almost never can - just makes a looped cc 'get'

Nadal retains a well back position on return and especially in deuce court, Djoko's able to easily and consistently pull him out wide with the serve, even second serves. And Nadal virtually always returns cc, leaving Djoko with a FH longline into open court

Djoko wins most such points, but he doesn't hit hard enough to kill them off consistently. Nadal's able to intercept the shot more regularly than one might expect... this is down to Djoko not hitting hard enough, not Nadal's footspeed, which is also good

Note Nadal's FE's. He has 17 FHs and 15 BHs. Usually, that ratio is heavily, heavily weighed towards FH FEs. Its not here because the FH FEs are low, not the BH FEs being high... Djoko isn't able to consummate his attacks to the Nadal FH as well as he usually does. Plenty of credit to Nadal's retrieving for that, but that's not up from norm. Nadal always retrieves well - the difference in outcome in this match compared to others is down to Djoko's attacking vigour, not Nadal's defenses

One of the keys to play is the Nadal BH. From the get go, he hammers BHs hard and heavy. In Monte Carlo final leading in to this match, Djoko had largely broken down the Nadal BH with FH cc's in conjunction with FH dtl finishers. Nadal hammers his regulation BH in such a way as to discourage that... it works, Djoko doesn't go in for much beat down FH cc'ng

Later on, Nadal ups the ante still and hits some amazing BH shots - winners from regulation positions or corner to corner, the kind of stuff he almost never does. Its very rare for Nadal to top Djoko in BH winners as he does here 13-10. And for all that, it remains the most consistent groundstroke on show with just 19 UEs (the rest are Nadal FH 28, Djoko FH 32, Djoko BH 34). Offensively, this as good it gets for Nadal's BH

Off the FH, again, Nadal looks to boss points. This is normal enough, but generally, he tends to ease his way into doing so after seeing how play is going (and usually, its going with Djoko dictating). Here, Nadal starts off that way - and carries on throughout. That coupled with counter-attacking shots go into the mammoth 35 FH winners he knocks away

From Djokovic's point of view, Nadal stepping up creates a major problem. He's not in charge of points to anything like he's used to being. And he can't outlast Nadal. And he's trailing serve-return complex (more on that later)... doesn't leave him with many options to dominate

He makes the most of it. Though not in charge as often and with attacking shots lacking their usual penetration, he's still well in positives when attacking as his numbers show. Trailing return rate does leave him with more commanding third balls, which he also nurses to successful end most of the time. He's very good on the volley (though the opposite on the OH), including the BHV and wins excellent 65% net points, with decent 48 approaches (Nadal has 28). Generally Djoko does well on FHV, especially with drop ones, but his BHV is at best, ordinary. Here he shows excellent touch of that side too

Probably the worst OH showing even Novak Djokovic has put on. He has 5 UEs on the shot (including the Net Touch), all of them to simple putaway balls. He's not even trying to putaway a couple of them balls, just hit them in court - which should be enough to win the point evetually, if not go for a winner. Of his 4 winners on the shot, 3 or on the bounce - even he can't mess those up

He's under a lot of pressure to maintain attacks. Even slightly less hard hit attacking shots see Nadal counter-attack, as opposed to counter punch

At times, Djoko's movements are suspect. Some awkward looking, lead footed shots and not moving to ball with full commitment. Not often, and not too big a deal in such a long match, but does serve to highlight how Nadal never does things like that. The BH in particular is prone to loose play and missing regulation balls... this is more a product of natural error rate than systematic breakdown against Nadal's FH

Nadal doesn't unduly go FH cc to Djoko's BH to break it down, preferring to hit attacking shots into open side more. When he does, he does hard and well, often missing his FH going to close to the line
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
The standout point is Djokovic being a bit more inconsistent on the return than he can afford

Standard serving of force and placement from both. On clay, it shouldn't matter much as both are solid enough returners to neutralize servers advantage quickly

Djokovic does, but misses a bit too much. 21 of his 27 return errors have been marked unforced, mostly regulation returns. The price of trying to habitually return deep

Under pressure, Nadal does bang down harder serves. Even these are imminently returnable (and are usually returned). Note Nadal's very balanced serving pattern (he serves 70 to FH, 71 to BH)... he'd know the probabilities of serving to Djoko better than anyone. BH return is more consistent, FH return is more damaging

Nadal with very high 86% return rate, 7% higher than Djoko at the cost of leaving Djoko with stronger initiative on third ball. Standard Nadal stuff... as outlined earlier, Djoko doesn't capitilize on initiative as well as he could have. And risky from Nadal's point of view

As prospects, I would have anticipated Djoko winning more points from strong third ball positions. Nadal's well back return position is a risky ploy in light of declined movement. you'd think with footspeed going down, he'd look to return less passively. He still has the willingness to run down balls and still does it well

Match Progression
Djokovic starts strong, stepping in, hitting hard, looking to finish points. He opens match with a love hold - 3 winners and a point endingly strong FH inside-in

Nadal though, steps up too and counter-hits just as hard. The strength of his BH shots is surprisingly hard, while he looks to take charge with the FH. Djokovic's BH is a bit loose in all ways - neutrally, going for attacking dtl shots or up against Nadal's FH cc. The break comes in a 12 point game. Djokovic missing 3 attacking dtl BHs has a big hang in it

Second set carries on the same way, Nadal slightly the better player, and breaking to go up 3-2 with Djoko making some strange errors from unbalanced positions

Djoko wins the next 4 games to take the set. Effective attacking BH cc's get him his first break and strong returning accounts for the second, which he wraps up with an excellent FH inside-in + inside-out 1-2 ending with winner - a play Nadal excels at

6-1 scoreline in third set is bit deceptive. Djoko misses a couple power baseline hits, is a bit sloppy and a touch flat... but nothing outrageously bad. Nadal though, captilizes to boss play thoroughly. He has 2 break points to make it a bagel. Two very well played points by Djoko to erase those - the first, coming forward after taking charge of point and finishing with elegant inside-out drop BHV winner, the second, a big error-forcing FH cc. He goes onto hold with Nadal somewhat throwing away the remaining 2 points... this is in line with earlier noted not-fighting-100%-on-every-point nature of match. Nadal, who'd been warned earlier, is docked a point for taking too much time between points as he serves out the set

Straight forward holds, other than the 4 breaks, in set 4. In fact, even the breaks are fairly straight forward and only 1 game goes to deuce.

Djoko returns to a good playing level, hitting hard and occasionally stepping it up to beat-down degree. He shifts to playing more off his FH. Nadal hangs in, gives as good as he gets hard-hitting wise while remaining the more consistent of shot

Nadal's twice up a break, gaining them via Djoko errors. Djoko breaks back at once both times, including as Nadal serves for the set, on back of attacking hitting

Djoko whiffs a return. Nadal can't entirely control expressing his amusement... an odd expression on his face, with his customary playing snarl, tinged with half a smile he can't hold back

Great beat down tiebreak from Djokovic - strong returns, heavy groundies, collaring points, coming to net to finish with good volleying and a deadly pass to finish

Momentum is with Djoko going into the third and he breaks to start the third in similar vein to his play at end of the last set, before saving a break point (which was brought up by a terrible OH error) to consolidate. Nadal raises his game to same level. The FH fires, but its the BH that takes the eye... some incredible BHs from Nadal in the set - point ending shots from regulation positions, corner to corner, from defensive positions and so on. He even throws in a very rare inside-out winner in penultimate game of match

He breaks back with Djoko serving 4-3 up, the crucial point of which is the famous, running-into-net as dispatching OH error from Djoko. Its actually won of his better OHs for the match - usually, he just misses. BH cc from Nadal from defensive position brings up break point soon after on which Djoko misses a third ball attacking FH

Play continues evenly on serve. Djoko's clearly lost all confidence in his OH. In game 14, he serve-volleys, fails to putaway 2 OHs and retreats to baseline. Couple of points later, he gently nets a retrieved tweener lob from Nadal

Very anticlimactic finish, with Djoko being broken to love in not only the worst played game of the match, but a up there with the worst Djoko's ever played. He opens with another OH miss - at least he was trying to hit winner with it. Next point, he leaves a Nadal pass that lands in for winner. From there, he misses two regulation third ball FHs to give up the break and match

Summing up, great match and top showing from Nadal - consistent as ever on return, dominant with his FH, outdoing himself with hard hitting, damaging BHs and defensively retrieving well. Djokovic remains the more attacking play by a slim margin, is a lot more patchy - at times faltering on return, barely moving his feet and prone to bouts of missing regulation shots - but seems to raise his game to stay level just when he needs to every time, until the last. Ordinarily, one might call the critical OH he goofs unfortunate but in this match, its about how well he was playing the shot all match

@The Guru - thoughts?

Stats for '12 Australian Open final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...c-vs-nadal-australian-open-final-2012.635927/
Stats for '11 US Open -https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-djokovic-vs-nadal-us-open-final-2011.633444/
Stats for '12 French final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...al-vs-djokovic-french-open-final-2012.669115/
Stats for '13 Monte Carlo final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...kovic-vs-nadal-monte-carlo-final-2013.670108/
Stats for '13 US Open final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-nadal-vs-djokovic-us-open-final-2013.633492/
 

The Guru

Hall of Fame
As always you have delivered a great and engaging match report. I have a couple of notes, questions, and comments.

When you're referencing the USO 2011 Final are you referring to the effort or to the level because while I think the 3rd set is my favorite set of tennis ever played I don't think the level is that high throughout.

Your description of Nadal's play very much fits my memory of the match. The backhand was firing and he was his consistent and ruthlessly efficient self. He was and always is very frustrating to root against when he just does not miss a ball that he gets to and given that he's one of the fastest human beings alive he got to a lot. How declined do you think his movement was in this match? I don't remember it being too far off peak levels. I haven't rewatched anything but highlights since I saw it live (hurts too much) so I trust your judgement.

To me this match was lost on Djokovic's mental. And obviously I'm coming at this from a Djokovic fan's perspective so I'm always blaming him or giving him the credit. I'm sure Nadal fan's would have lots of notes on how Nadal screwed some things up. As you said Djokovic was patchy and to me that came from him thinking too much out there and trying to play with more variety than he needed. He had winning patterns and he just needed to hammer them as much as he could. He went DTL with his BH way too much and missed to often doing it. He was too stubborn with that shot and too slow to run around his BH to start hammering FHs. Djokovic didn't have a good feel of risk/reward on his shots. He choose his aggressive moments poorly and often got little reward over just hitting a regulation ball but got the errors that came with being more aggressive.

The other thing that was incredibly frustrating was of course his overheads. He was volleying well and chose his moments to come forward well but became sheepish because he didn't want to hit an OH so badly. Yet another winning tactic he underplayed because of his mental.

The other big one was that he didn't serve wide as much as I would've liked and as you noted did not put enough on the FHDTL on the 3rd ball but enough whining.

To me after the break in the 5th Nadal became unleashed. He went full god mode and Djokovic as he often does good or bad played to his opponent's level as best he could. The net touch sucked and I think as you do that if he makes that shot he likely wins but Nadal was very much alive and the better player at that point. With his absurd level at that point he might've found a way. I might just want to believe that though.

Djokovic played a great match and man did I want this one for him bad. His clay level from 11-13 was outstanding and man was it deserving of a title. I wish this was the one. That's why Rafa is the King of Clay. I might just be a glutton for punishment but I really want to see one more RG final between these two because I really believe in Novak's chances. I thought his clay level last year was actually pretty damn good when he was on. Nadal would probably win but it would be fun nonetheless. Rafa's aura is so enormous on PC now that the mental strength it would take to beat him is almost too much to ask. But this isn't the Djokovic of 12-14 and his mental now is as secure as Fort Knox so if anyone could do it it's him. Nadal is scared of him too. The way he choked the second set in Rome last year the second it got tight is proof enough of that. What would you set the odds at for a 2020 Djokodal RG final?

Thanks for doing these. Always a pleasure.
 
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BrokenGears

Semi-Pro
Always considered this to be one of my favorite matches between the two. Highly quality match. Only really ****ty set was the third
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
When you're referencing the USO 2011 Final are you referring to the effort or to the level because while I think the 3rd set is my favorite set of tennis ever played I don't think the level is that high throughout.
Just the effort - and agree on match as whole and the third set

First 2 were terrible to watch, probably wind related

But you didn't see either guy give up the ghost down 30-0 and up a break... every point was played like it was important. To an abnormal extent. It'd be be more normal to do so on clay - they've apparently grown some sense in the 2 years

How declined do you think (Nadal's) movement was in this match?
The shift I've noticed is after 2008

Upto 2008, his court coverage is off the charts, he runs like a blur of a cartoon character
Starting 2009, that at least isn't true
Another noticeable drop from 2012 to 2013

Given his off the charts starting point, that leaves a lot of room to decline but still be very good - as he is here

Big change I see in Nadal upto '08 and after is -

- upto '08 he's not hassled about dictating from baseline. He doesn't have to be. If his opponent takes charge of baseline rallies, he can out-defend them... they'll make more errors forcing the pace then he will thwarting it

- post '08, particularly against Djokovic who both hits hard and does so sustainably (how hard and how sustainable varies a bit, but generally speaking), he'll probably lose more than he wins doing that

Hence, he has to find a way to be command from baseline. Think he does a great job of that here

Just court coverage, Djokovic is about his equal (other than his being patchy in all areas), Nadal with better back-foot retrieving

Another change in Nadal is how hard he hits his BH - as the side from which he almost always played neutrally upto 2008, its the area he'd have to beef up to keep from being have to made to run balls down

I don't think he likes playing BH cc rallies, even though he's very capable. When people try to break his BH down with FH cc's, he tends to start hitting BHs much harder than he usually does - if I'm not mistaken, to get them to stop trying

If he felt comfortable with these rallies, wouldn't he initiate them himself? He never does. Other FH > BH players in history like Borg and Lendl did as often as not (being right handers makes that an easier decision for them though)

In this match, he hits his BH probably harder and better than he ever had before. It had got broken down by Djoko in Monte Carlo coming into the match and he seems to have been ready for more of the same

2 good examples of Nadal's cartoon movements are '07 Rome (great for just demo of movement) '08 Hamburg (just a great match all around). If you get a chance to watch those, would be interested to hear your take on how it stacks up to 2013 movement


Djokovic was patchy and to me that came from him thinking too much out there and trying to play with more variety than he needed. He had winning patterns and he just needed to hammer them as much as he could. He went DTL with his BH way too much and missed to often doing it. He was too stubborn with that shot and too slow to run around his BH to start hammering FHs. Djokovic didn't have a good feel of risk/reward on his shots. He choose his aggressive moments poorly and often got little reward over just hitting a regulation ball but got the errors that came with being more aggressive.
I would somewhat credit Nadal for throwing Djoko's plans for a loop. I imagine Djoko's first plan was to go for beat-down FH cc's with dtl point finishers, as he'd done in Monte Carlo... and Nadal whacking BHs discouraged it

Djoko's chief go to winning patterns has been FH inside-out + BH cc attacks to Nadal's FH side and he is slow to go to it and doesn't as often as he has in winning efforts. Somewhat due to Nadal having a bigger piece of directing play than usual

Generally, he doesn't actually attack much with BH dtl. He does it into open court when its the obvious shot choice, but otherwise tends to use it at best, mildly attackingly and more often, as a neutral change-up

His BH attacks are centered on hard, wide, taken early cc shots. Not as effective as FH inside-outs

In this match, we see Nadal redirecting the attacking FH inside-outs FH dtl to open court for winner. Almost never see that - usually, he just pokes ball back cc however he can. I'd put this down to Djoko not hitting as hard as in other matches more than anything being different from Nadal

Djoko's learnt from past too. In '12 final, lack of FH inside-in from his shots cost him some. He's hitting them regularly and well here

To me after the break in the 5th Nadal became unleashed. He went full god mode and Djokovic as he often does good or bad played to his opponent's level as best he could. The net touch sucked and I think as you do that if he makes that shot he likely wins but Nadal was very much alive and the better player at that point. With his absurd level at that point he might've found a way. I might just want to believe that though.
I don't think it changed too much after the break

in remaining 4 service games, Nadal held to 15 everytime - losing 4 points in 4 games @ 1 per game
in first 3 service games, Djoko held to 30 twice and love once - losing 4 points in 3 games @ 1.33 per game

I think its more that Djoko was clearly better prior to the break, so the change to equality is a big step down for him
In his 3 holds, Nadal lost 7 points @ 2.33 per game
in his 4 holds, Djoko lost 6 points @ 1.5 per game

Djoko dominating play prior to the break, and play about even after it (and the crap game from Djoko settling it)

Djokovic played a great match and man did I want this one for him bad. His clay level from 11-13 was outstanding and man was it deserving of a title...
To my eye, French Open prospects between the two were 50-50 in 2011-2014 period - '11 slightly favouring Djokovic, '12 Nadal and the last 2 dead 50-50

Most likely outcome - 2 titles apiece, maybe 3-1 favouring one or the other (as likely Djokovic as not)

I'd primarily credit Nadal for taking all 4, rather than discredit Djokovic. Can't even discredit Djoko for not making the final one of those years - great showing from Federer to take him down in '11
Similar to Sampras going 4-0 with Agassi head to head at US Open... just 1 of those things

In light of Nadal's record at French, its easy to sweep these years away as "Nadal the invincible" or something like that. I think what he did in pipping Djokovic - his equal during the period - for 4 years is one of his greatest achievements

Always considered this to be one of my favorite matches between the two. Highly quality match. Only really ****ty set was the third
comparing it to heir 2 other 5 setters. Though similar in basic stats, this 1 was the most open

Australian '12 -
Points won - Djoko 193, Nadal 176
Points served - Djoko 166, Nadal 203
Break Points - Djoko 7/20 (13 games), Nadal 4/6 (5 games)

Wimby '18 -
Points won - Djoko 195, Nadal 191
Points served - Djoko 176, Nadal 210
Break Points - Djoko 4/19 (12 games), Nadal 4/11 (6 games)

Here -
Points won - Nadal 177, Djoko 158
Points served - Nadal 159, Djoko 175
Break Points - Nadal 8/16 (10 games), Djoko 5/9 (5 games)

The Aus and Wimby matches basically weren't even of play. One guy hanging in by his finger nails somehow and having chances at the end. If result had been reversed, you'd say Nadal manged to pinch it somehow

Here, much of those stats are biased by just the 1 set and while the winner does come off better, wouldn't have said Djoko pinched it somehow had he won

He earned his breaks in the fourth with strong play, overpowered Nadal in tiebreak, dominated first half of the fifth and held about even for rest of match

Do you have an outright favourite match between the two?
 
Just the effort - and agree on match as whole and the third set

First 2 were terrible to watch, probably wind related

But you didn't see either guy give up the ghost down 30-0 and up a break... every point was played like it was important. To an abnormal extent. It'd be be more normal to do so on clay - they've apparently grown some sense in the 2 years



The shift I've noticed is after 2008

Upto 2008, his court coverage is off the charts, he runs like a blur of a cartoon character
Starting 2009, that at least isn't true
Another noticeable drop from 2012 to 2013

Given his off the charts starting point, that leaves a lot of room to decline but still be very good - as he is here

Big change I see in Nadal upto '08 and after is -

- upto '08 he's not hassled about dictating from baseline. He doesn't have to be. If his opponent takes charge of baseline rallies, he can out-defend them... they'll make more errors forcing the pace then he will thwarting it

- post '08, particularly against Djokovic who both hits hard and does so sustainably (how hard and how sustainable varies a bit, but generally speaking), he'll probably lose more than he wins doing that

Hence, he has to find a way to be command from baseline. Think he does a great job of that here

Just court coverage, Djokovic is about his equal (other than his being patchy in all areas), Nadal with better back-foot retrieving

Another change in Nadal is how hard he hits his BH - as the side from which he almost always played neutrally upto 2008, its the area he'd have to beef up to keep from being have to made to run balls down

I don't think he likes playing BH cc rallies, even though he's very capable. When people try to break his BH down with FH cc's, he tends to start hitting BHs much harder than he usually does - if I'm not mistaken, to get them to stop trying

If he felt comfortable with these rallies, wouldn't he initiate them himself? He never does. Other FH > BH players in history like Borg and Lendl did as often as not (being right handers makes that an easier decision for them though)

In this match, he hits his BH probably harder and better than he ever had before. It had got broken down by Djoko in Monte Carlo coming into the match and he seems to have been ready for more of the same

2 good examples of Nadal's cartoon movements are '07 Rome (great for just demo of movement) '08 Hamburg (just a great match all around). If you get a chance to watch those, would be interested to hear your take on how it stacks up to 2013 movement




I would somewhat credit Nadal for throwing Djoko's plans for a loop. I imagine Djoko's first plan was to go for beat-down FH cc's with dtl point finishers, as he'd done in Monte Carlo... and Nadal whacking BHs discouraged it

Djoko's chief go to winning patterns has been FH inside-out + BH cc attacks to Nadal's FH side and he is slow to go to it and doesn't as often as he has in winning efforts. Somewhat due to Nadal having a bigger piece of directing play than usual

Generally, he doesn't actually attack much with BH dtl. He does it into open court when its the obvious shot choice, but otherwise tends to use it at best, mildly attackingly and more often, as a neutral change-up

His BH attacks are centered on hard, wide, taken early cc shots. Not as effective as FH inside-outs

In this match, we see Nadal redirecting the attacking FH inside-outs FH dtl to open court for winner. Almost never see that - usually, he just pokes ball back cc however he can. I'd put this down to Djoko not hitting as hard as in other matches more than anything being different from Nadal

Djoko's learnt from past too. In '12 final, lack of FH inside-in from his shots cost him some. He's hitting them regularly and well here



I don't think it changed too much after the break

in remaining 4 service games, Nadal held to 15 everytime - losing 4 points in 4 games @ 1 per game
in first 3 service games, Djoko held to 30 twice and love once - losing 4 points in 3 games @ 1.33 per game

I think its more that Djoko was clearly better prior to the break, so the change to equality is a big step down for him
In his 3 holds, Nadal lost 7 points @ 2.33 per game
in his 4 holds, Djoko lost 6 points @ 1.5 per game

Djoko dominating play prior to the break, and play about even after it (and the crap game from Djoko settling it)



To my eye, French Open prospects between the two were 50-50 in 2011-2014 period - '11 slightly favouring Djokovic, '12 Nadal and the last 2 dead 50-50

Most likely outcome - 2 titles apiece, maybe 3-1 favouring one or the other (as likely Djokovic as not)

I'd primarily credit Nadal for taking all 4, rather than discredit Djokovic. Can't even discredit Djoko for not making the final one of those years - great showing from Federer to take him down in '11
Similar to Sampras going 4-0 with Agassi head to head at US Open... just 1 of those things

In light of Nadal's record at French, its easy to sweep these years away as "Nadal the invincible" or something like that. I think what he did in pipping Djokovic - his equal during the period - for 4 years is one of his greatest achievements



comparing it to heir 2 other 5 setters. Though similar in basic stats, this 1 was the most open

Australian '12 -
Points won - Djoko 193, Nadal 176
Points served - Djoko 166, Nadal 203
Break Points - Djoko 7/20 (13 games), Nadal 4/6 (5 games)

Wimby '18 -
Points won - Djoko 195, Nadal 191
Points served - Djoko 176, Nadal 210
Break Points - Djoko 4/19 (12 games), Nadal 4/11 (6 games)

Here -
Points won - Nadal 177, Djoko 158
Points served - Nadal 159, Djoko 175
Break Points - Nadal 8/16 (10 games), Djoko 5/9 (5 games)

The Aus and Wimby matches basically weren't even of play. One guy hanging in by his finger nails somehow and having chances at the end. If result had been reversed, you'd say Nadal manged to pinch it somehow

Here, much of those stats are biased by just the 1 set and while the winner does come off better, wouldn't have said Djoko pinched it somehow had he won

He earned his breaks in the fourth with strong play, overpowered Nadal in tiebreak, dominated first half of the fifth and held about even for rest of match

Do you have an outright favourite match between the two?
So Nadal's statistical advantage in 2013 RG match is little below Djokovic's in 2012 AO and 2018 WB - this we know - but the conclusion is entirely different - this I didn't know. How interesting.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
So Nadal's statistical advantage in 2013 RG match is little below Djokovic's in 2012 AO and 2018 WB - this we know - but the conclusion is entirely different - this I didn't know. How interesting.
Honestly with Nadal up at 4-3 in the 4th this match felt like a formality and something like 13 USO, just with the ordering of sets permuted. Nadal was significantly better in the first and third, and needed to squander a break and lose 4 straight games to lose the 2nd.

After that, Djokovic started finding his range and kept it up all the way until the very end, but even then he made a spate of UFE to hand Nadal the chance to serve for it at 6-5 at the 4th, but again he started firing again.

In a way, Djokovic did here what Federer could not in 06 and that's to capitalize and take it into a "anyone's game" fifth despite that possibility seeming extremely bleak just a short while ago. Of course I wonder how those versions of Federer would have done vs a version of Nadal that's a bit easier to hit through rather than run all day energizer bunny gonna hit 50 straight balls to BH corner Nadal. Of course due to BH, easier for Djoker to do that on clay consistently, but Fed's FH on clay is still quite a bit more deadly than Novak's imo, and Nadal's CC FH was generally not as deadly by 2013 compared to earlier years (he elected instead to compensate with more venom DTL and IO). This is evident in Fedal's 11-12 slam meetings, Federer is probably troubled less by the FH to the BH compared to earlier years but instead is now troubled by his lateral movement being stretched trying to cover both corners (as well as the usual mental/approach shot/return headaches).
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Just the effort - and agree on match as whole and the third set

First 2 were terrible to watch, probably wind related

But you didn't see either guy give up the ghost down 30-0 and up a break... every point was played like it was important. To an abnormal extent. It'd be be more normal to do so on clay - they've apparently grown some sense in the 2 years



The shift I've noticed is after 2008

Upto 2008, his court coverage is off the charts, he runs like a blur of a cartoon character
Starting 2009, that at least isn't true
Another noticeable drop from 2012 to 2013

Given his off the charts starting point, that leaves a lot of room to decline but still be very good - as he is here

Big change I see in Nadal upto '08 and after is -

- upto '08 he's not hassled about dictating from baseline. He doesn't have to be. If his opponent takes charge of baseline rallies, he can out-defend them... they'll make more errors forcing the pace then he will thwarting it

- post '08, particularly against Djokovic who both hits hard and does so sustainably (how hard and how sustainable varies a bit, but generally speaking), he'll probably lose more than he wins doing that

Hence, he has to find a way to be command from baseline. Think he does a great job of that here

Just court coverage, Djokovic is about his equal (other than his being patchy in all areas), Nadal with better back-foot retrieving

Another change in Nadal is how hard he hits his BH - as the side from which he almost always played neutrally upto 2008, its the area he'd have to beef up to keep from being have to made to run balls down

I don't think he likes playing BH cc rallies, even though he's very capable. When people try to break his BH down with FH cc's, he tends to start hitting BHs much harder than he usually does - if I'm not mistaken, to get them to stop trying

If he felt comfortable with these rallies, wouldn't he initiate them himself? He never does. Other FH > BH players in history like Borg and Lendl did as often as not (being right handers makes that an easier decision for them though)

In this match, he hits his BH probably harder and better than he ever had before. It had got broken down by Djoko in Monte Carlo coming into the match and he seems to have been ready for more of the same

2 good examples of Nadal's cartoon movements are '07 Rome (great for just demo of movement) '08 Hamburg (just a great match all around). If you get a chance to watch those, would be interested to hear your take on how it stacks up to 2013 movement




I would somewhat credit Nadal for throwing Djoko's plans for a loop. I imagine Djoko's first plan was to go for beat-down FH cc's with dtl point finishers, as he'd done in Monte Carlo... and Nadal whacking BHs discouraged it

Djoko's chief go to winning patterns has been FH inside-out + BH cc attacks to Nadal's FH side and he is slow to go to it and doesn't as often as he has in winning efforts. Somewhat due to Nadal having a bigger piece of directing play than usual

Generally, he doesn't actually attack much with BH dtl. He does it into open court when its the obvious shot choice, but otherwise tends to use it at best, mildly attackingly and more often, as a neutral change-up

His BH attacks are centered on hard, wide, taken early cc shots. Not as effective as FH inside-outs

In this match, we see Nadal redirecting the attacking FH inside-outs FH dtl to open court for winner. Almost never see that - usually, he just pokes ball back cc however he can. I'd put this down to Djoko not hitting as hard as in other matches more than anything being different from Nadal

Djoko's learnt from past too. In '12 final, lack of FH inside-in from his shots cost him some. He's hitting them regularly and well here



I don't think it changed too much after the break

in remaining 4 service games, Nadal held to 15 everytime - losing 4 points in 4 games @ 1 per game
in first 3 service games, Djoko held to 30 twice and love once - losing 4 points in 3 games @ 1.33 per game

I think its more that Djoko was clearly better prior to the break, so the change to equality is a big step down for him
In his 3 holds, Nadal lost 7 points @ 2.33 per game
in his 4 holds, Djoko lost 6 points @ 1.5 per game

Djoko dominating play prior to the break, and play about even after it (and the crap game from Djoko settling it)



To my eye, French Open prospects between the two were 50-50 in 2011-2014 period - '11 slightly favouring Djokovic, '12 Nadal and the last 2 dead 50-50

Most likely outcome - 2 titles apiece, maybe 3-1 favouring one or the other (as likely Djokovic as not)

I'd primarily credit Nadal for taking all 4, rather than discredit Djokovic. Can't even discredit Djoko for not making the final one of those years - great showing from Federer to take him down in '11
Similar to Sampras going 4-0 with Agassi head to head at US Open... just 1 of those things

In light of Nadal's record at French, its easy to sweep these years away as "Nadal the invincible" or something like that. I think what he did in pipping Djokovic - his equal during the period - for 4 years is one of his greatest achievements



comparing it to heir 2 other 5 setters. Though similar in basic stats, this 1 was the most open

Australian '12 -
Points won - Djoko 193, Nadal 176
Points served - Djoko 166, Nadal 203
Break Points - Djoko 7/20 (13 games), Nadal 4/6 (5 games)

Wimby '18 -
Points won - Djoko 195, Nadal 191
Points served - Djoko 176, Nadal 210
Break Points - Djoko 4/19 (12 games), Nadal 4/11 (6 games)

Here -
Points won - Nadal 177, Djoko 158
Points served - Nadal 159, Djoko 175
Break Points - Nadal 8/16 (10 games), Djoko 5/9 (5 games)

The Aus and Wimby matches basically weren't even of play. One guy hanging in by his finger nails somehow and having chances at the end. If result had been reversed, you'd say Nadal manged to pinch it somehow

Here, much of those stats are biased by just the 1 set and while the winner does come off better, wouldn't have said Djoko pinched it somehow had he won

He earned his breaks in the fourth with strong play, overpowered Nadal in tiebreak, dominated first half of the fifth and held about even for rest of match

Do you have an outright favourite match between the two?
So this in a way confirms something most of us already kind of knew, that Nadal's footspeed declined noticeably after 2008 and again after the 2012 injury.

As usual, some fantastic work you've done here. Almost feel like I don't have to watch the match again. Always keen to read your next match report, keep up the good work!
 
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