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

Raphael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final of the US Open, 2013 on hard court

It was the third final in four years that the pair had played at the venue, and with the win, Nadal won his second Slam title of the year, having come into the tournament with a rare Canada-Cincinnati double

Nadal won 121 points, Djokovic 102

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (79/121) 65%
- 1st serve points won (51/79) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (24/42) 57%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/121) 16%

- 1st serve percentage (69/102) 68%
- 1st serve points won (41/69) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (16/33) 48%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (15/104) 66%

Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 6%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 66%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 84 (32 FH, 52 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (84/100) 84%

Djokovic made...
- 101 (55 FH, 46 BH)
- 5 Winners (4 FH, 1 BH)
- 17 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH), including 2 runaround FH attempts
- 13 Forced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (101/120) 84%

Break Points
Nadal 7/12 (7 games)
Djokovic 3/10 (6 games)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Nadal 25 (11 FH, 6 BH, 5 FHV, 3 OH)
Djokovic 36 (20 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 3 dtl, 3 inside-out, 1 drop shot, 1 long line and 1 at net

- BHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 1 dtl, 2 running down drop shots at net

- 1 FHV was a stop volley

Djokovic FHs - 3 cc, 3 dtl (all returns), 8 inside-out (1 return), 2 inside-in, 1 drop shot at net, 1 lob and 1 longline where Nadal falls down and isn't able to get a racquet on the ball

- BHs - 2 dtl, 1 at net, 1 drop shot, 1 run-down-a-drop shot, 1 net chord dribbler, and 1 return (inside-in)

- 1 FHV was the first volley of a serve-volley point and one other was a drop volley

- 2 BHVs were drop volleys, 1 a stop volley and a lob

- the OH was played from the baseline and not a net point

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 48
- 21 Unforced (10 FH, 10 BH) + 1 incorrect challenge
- 27 Forced (16 FH, 9 BH, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.5

Djokovic 76
- 52 Unforced (28 FH, 21 BH, 3 BHV)
- 24 Forced (12 FH, 8 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.5

(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)
(Note 3: Nadal challenged a call, where he made a weak defensive shot with Djokovic at the net. The very likely outcome of the point would have been Djokovic winner OH at net.... but as is, the point was decided by Nadal's challenge. I've marked it as an 'unforced error')

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Nadal was 14/18 (78%) at net, with no s/v

Djokovic was 21/39 (54%), including 3/5 serve-volleying (60%) - all first serve points

Match Report
No match between these two titans is 'easy', but this one is relatively so. Djokovic starts slowly is outmuscled at the start, rallies to parity in the second set and most of the third and then.... gives up the chase somewhat

You look at the numbers - UEs Nadal 21, Djokovic 52 - it looks like a match between a highly aggressive player vs a consistent one. Obviously, Nadal/Djokovic is more a match up between two highly consistent players - of shot, Nadal more loopy and Djokovic more flat - but both keyed in on not making errors. There are a number of long, gruelling rallies which the stats don't cover, so the attacker vs defender dynamic the stats hint at aren't that obvious, but it does seem like Djokovic abandons his Plan 'A' mid way through the match

According to the commentators, Nadal lost serve once in 80+ games coming in to the final. I find this extraordinary.... this is the type of thing you might expect from Pete Sampras or Roger Federer, but not Nadal, who isn't serving abnormally big as he was in 2010, His 16% unreturned serve percentage is a fair reflection of the quality of his serve and despite his superior court skills, dropping just 1 service game in 6 matches is not something you'd expect

The action is fast paced, with both players happy to open the court more than usual. Djokovic's BH is less solid than usual and he yields many errors from that side. Still, Nadal doesn't target the BH one dimensionally as he is apt to and the baseline rallies feature a healthy mix of crosscourt and longline exchanges.

Nadal is using the slice much more than he did in the pairs last encounter at this venue (, and it bothers Djokovic's rhythm. Usually, he handles slices better than anybody but here, its noticeable that the tactic disrupts him

Losing the majority of the long rallies that characterizes play between the two, Djokovic shifts to playing in a more first strike style for most of the second half of the match. It doesn't work. He still can't break through the wall that is Nadal's defence but does make more errors in short rallies trying to be aggressive. The thing is, this "aggression" is limited to hitting the ball harder or playing it deeper (not on attempting to hit winners and as we say, 'take the racquet out of Nadal's hands')

It seems to me Djokovic half-assed his strategy.... if it had come off, we'd say it was genius. But I don't think it was likely to come off.... one can outlast Nadal (very difficult, but possible for Djokovic) or out hit him (risky and beyond the great Serb's norm)…. Djokovic eventually tried to do a combination of the two.

As is, it fell flat.... the more aggressive Djoko, the greater the gap between the players (in Nadal's favour) the action turned.

Summing up - solid stuff from Nadal. The stats of his run to the final - and his Canada-Cincinnati double coming into the final - make that sound like cold praise.... but I did think Djoko underperformed more than anything.... which in its own way is compliment to how commanding the Spaniard was


Bionic Poster
Nadal is using the slice much more than he did in the pairs last encounter at this venue (, and it bothers Djokovic's rhythm. Usually, he handles slices better than anybody but here, its noticeable that the tactic disrupts him
no, he doesn't.
Nadal and Federer for instance are considerably better at handling slices than Djokovic.
Someone like Hewitt, Murray too.
slices are what Federer/Murray used to disrupt Djokovic's rhythm a lot before Becker in 14 when Djokovic shored up his game vs the slice, improved his own slice.
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Only 21 UEs at a GS final...
Not just that... his UE FI in a bunch of matches I've statis-tified recently are very high (which surprised me)

The UE Forcefulness Index is something I came up with to differentiate between unforced errors.... you can make UEs on neutral shots, attacking shots, extremely attacking shots (winner attempts) or even mildly defensive shots (too defensive, and they're usually forced errors)

I would have expected a consistent player like Nadal to score relatively low on this.... but in the few matches I've looked at, he has some of the highest scores

This is because he barely misses any neutral shots.... so whatever unforced errors he makes are from attacking of extremely attacking shots

His scores on this measure are on par with Roger Federer playing like a madman in 2015 US Open

With Federer, the tendency is for his aggressive shots to be balanced down by making a fair few neutral errors
With Nadal, he makes very few neutral errors, so most errors he makes are aggressive

I wouldn't have expected these two players to be on par in this area... but that's what I've found and the explanation for it
I remember the commentators and the ATP site raving on about Nadal not being broken on serve, I think up until the Gasquet match.
That was never going to last against a quality opponent like Novak.
Still kudos to Nadal, it was arguably his best displays and period on hard court, and Novak had no answers at the time.
Nole looked shell-shocked after the match , but fortunately recovered very quickly.