Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, Rome quarter-final, 2007


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-3 in the Rome quarter-final, 2007 on clay

Nadal was the defending champion and would go onto retain his title, beating Fernando Gonzalez in the final. Earlier in the year, Djokovic had won his first Masters title in Miami, beating Nadal along the way and would go onto play his first Slam final later in the year at the US Open. The two would meet again at upcoming French Open semi, with Nadal again winning

Nadal won 67 points, Djokovic 46

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (32/46) 70%
- 1st serve points won (26/32) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (7/14) 50%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/46) 11%

- 1st serve percentage (48/67) 72%
- 1st serve points won (27/48) 56%
- 2nd serve points won (6/19) 32%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (8/67) 12%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 7%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 64%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 58 (25 FH, 33 BH), including 7 runaround FHs
- 7 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (58/66) 88%

Djokovic made...
- 39 (11 FH, 28 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 3 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 2 Forced (2 FH)
- Return Rate (39/44) 89%

Break Points
Nadal 4/12 (6 games)
Djokovic 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 27 (14 FH, 6 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Djokovic 16 (9 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV, 3 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc passes, 3 dtl, 3 inside-out, 3 inside-in, 2 longline (1 pass) and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 1 dtl pass, 2 longline passes, 1 drop shot and 2 running-down-drop-shots cc at net

- the OH was on the bounce from the baseline

Djokovic's FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 6 inside-out (1 return) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl pass and 1 lob

- 2 OHs were on the bouce

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 20
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- 12 Forced (8 FH, 4 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.5

Djokovic 34
- 27 Unforced (12 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 7 Forced (5 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV)... with 2 FH running-down-drop-shot/net-chord-dribblers at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.1

(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 10/15 (67%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back

Djokovic was 13/25 (52%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 2/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Near perfect from Nadal. Djokovic actually plays well but isn't in the match

Look at Nadal's numbers. 27 winners to 8 UEs... that might be the best ratio I've seen on clay. In fact, on any surface other than where excessive serve-volleying is involved, that ratio would be fantastic. On clay, unheard of'ly so. In fact, Nadal has 20 total errors - still well below his winners

Having more winners than total errors sometimes happens when a player is giving up a lot of unreturned serves, i.e. by not getting returns in play, he's denying his opponent chances win points in play. Here, Nadal returns at 88%

8 UEs in play. Djoko has 27. Basically, Nadal doesn't miss a ball - to an extent beyond even his norm
Djokovic does well to force 12 errors out of Nadal... for every forced error, Nadal seems to get back 3 balls that would have been marked forced had he missed

In certain matches, a player is so consistent that it comes as a surprise when they make a UE. In this match, it almost gets to the point where one is surprised when Nadal doesn't put back in a play a full running, sliding, stretching shot from outside the court. Both his court coverage and defensive retrieving are otherworldly

And's with Djoko being good enough to get on the attack in the first place. Most action is dictated by Nadal. He runs Djoko about with usual combinations of FH inside-out and in, but the finishing is more varied than norm. Note variety of FH winners - couple cc passes, 3 each dtl, inside-out and inside-in, a drop shot, a couple longline

The BH is supremely secure with just 2 UEs, both in second set. Hits them hard and goes longline attackingly more than usual for the period. Particularly good BH day for him

Throws in drop shots occasionally when he's pushed Djoko back (2 winners, 1 error forced - without missing any attempts), comes to net to finish of points (6 volley winners) and finally, passes superbly, including on the run (6 winners and keeping Djoko down to 52% net points won)

He even serves reasonably well (during this period, he was apt to just roll first serves in)

Djokovic plays decently. Not a stretch to call it well, even - its just Nadal plays much better still

Good serving from him. 72% in and good chunk of them are forcefully wide. No surprise that Nadal gets back 88%, some of it deep, but usually, Djoko retains initiative on third ball. That he can't capililize much (he wins just 56% first serve points) is due to Nadal's play. There are a large number of Djoko serve out wide + third ball to open court (especially FH longline) that Nadal runs down and neutralizes

Very, very good returning. As noted earlier, Nadal serves with above his norm force. Djoko returns 89% of it. Just 3 errors (and 2 Nadal aces) - and his returns are taken earlier and hit flatter than Nadal's. You can't ask for much more on the return... what happens after is product of other things

Good in play too. Rallies are long and Djoko hits firmly off both sides. Nadal's just happens to never be missing a ball, so its left for Djoko to blink to the tune of 25 baseline UEs - with rally length long, that's a product of Nadal playing better, not Djoko playing badly.

Djoko mostly plays from behind the baseline. In years to come, when clay matches between the two were more competitive, he plays from on the baseline. Playing from behind baseline against Nadal is a losing game - he can't hit hard with point ending force from there (and even if he could, Nadal would almost certainly still get it back) so points become who-blinks-first affairs (very strong advantage Nadal) or the two strive to outmanuver the other (in this match, Nadal's a bit better at it). Not that outmanuvering Nadal necessarily leads to winning points either

He tries coming to net to finish. Only to be met by blazing passing shots, including on the dead run

In years to come, Djoko would target Nadal's half-open FH side with FH inside-outs and when he could manage, BH cc. He does the same here, though hardly at all with BH cc's. That shot just isn't hit hard (or early) enough to be troublesome. FH inside-out though is. 5 winners with the shot - and most of match high 8 FH FEs from Nadal come from the shot. Down sides are making errors trying (fair few) and he has to open his own court to do it, and Nadal can make merry with FH longline counters... but still, FH inside-out comes out net positive for Djoko

Djoko's no slouch defensively or of court coverage either, and isn't easy to force errors out of. Just 7 from him, and some of his UEs are on the move (which is due to natural error rate than movement). It might get lost for not being a patch on Nadal's movement - but good from Djoko in this area too

Match Progression
Nadal breaks to start match in a game highlighted by a remarkable running-down-drop shot, which leads to a Nadal BHV winner

Djoko struggles through his next 2 service games also, saving 7 points across them. The second of these games is particularly good with 2 players ending 7 points in succession with winners. The best of them is a Nadal running FH cc pass on a point where he runs down a series of strong shots from Djoko

Nadal adds a second break later. An odd shot choice from him in the game, when he runsaround his FH to hit a BH slice from near sideline

For the set, Nadal has 16 winners, and 3 UEs, to Djoko's 8 and 13

Djoko steps up a bit more and serves a bit harder in second set. He's straining to attack, and often as not, it ends against him. From 3-2 on serve, he loses the next 4 games to end the match. After giving up the first break to go down 3-4, he somewhat phones the rest of the match in, carelessly going for big shots from regulation positions

Summing up, first class showing from Nadal - good if basic on both serve and return and outstanding in play - especially off consistency and defence, with bossiness not far behind. Good in all areas from Djoko too - but he's up against some extra special stuff

Stats for pair's upcoming French Open semi -
Stats for pair's hard court matches earlier in the year -