Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Federer, Cincinnati quarter-final, 2013


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the Cincinnati quarter-final, 2013 on hard court

Nadal would go onto win the event, beating John Isner in the final. To date, its his only title at the tournament. He had earlier won the Canadian Open and would go onto win the US Open also. Federer was the defending champion

Nadal won 101 points, Federer 95

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (68/94) 72%
- 1st serve points won (50/68) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (16/26) 62%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/94) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (64/102) 63%
- 1st serve points won (43/64) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (24/38) 63%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/102) 25%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 9%
- to BH 85%
- to Body 6%

Federer served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 77 (27 FH, 50 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 15 Forced (9 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (77/102) 75%

Federer made...
- 68 (15 FH, 53 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 16 Unforced (2 FH, 14 BH)
- 6 Forced (1 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (68/93) 73%

Break Points
Nadal 2/9 (4 games)
Federer 1/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 23 (15 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHOH)
Federer 27 (17 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 5 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc, 7 dtl (1 pass) and 5 inside-out
- BHs (all passes) - 1 dtl, 1 inside-out/dtl and 2 lobs

- the BHOH was played net-to-net

Federer's FHs - 3 cc, 2 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 7 inside-out and 3 inside-in
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl

- 2 from serve-volley points - 2 first 'volleys' (1 BHV, 1 FH at net)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 42
- 26 Unforced (11 FH, 14 BH, 1 Challenge)
- 16 Forced (9 FH, 7 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.6

Federer 53
- 41 Unforced (17 FH, 23 BH, 1 BHV)
- 12 Forced (8 FH, 3 BH, 1 FHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

(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...
- 5/7 (71%) at net, with...
- 0/2 forced back

Federer was...
- 23/31 (74%) at net, including...
- 11/13 (85%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 9/11 (82%) off 1st serve and...
- 2/2 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/1 retreated

Match Report
Good match, particularly the first two sets where rallies are fluently competitive with high quality shot making thrown in. Third set is sees a let down from Federer, a rise from Nadal... more a let down from Federer than a rise from Nadal

Its rare for both players to win over 60% second serve points (Nadal 62%, Federer 63%) and usually indicative of a very fast court. That isn't the case here - court about normal, as moderate unreturned rates (27% and 25%) and low aces (3 and 4) suggest. Just a well played match from both players

Serve & Return
Beautiful serving from Federer. He mixes up serves and rarely belts them down full force. But every serve is placed with precision, moving Nadal as he wishes and/or opening the court. Nadal isn't returning from too far back, which would have made it easier to move him about either. Second serves as well as first come down this way - and with 0 double faults

Fed also serve-volleys behind much of it, winning 11/13, including both second serve points. The serves in question are again a mix - some stretching Nadal out wide, some down the middle keeping the court closed

Very good returning from Nadal to return 75% of it. The quality of serving was worth 30-40% unreturned rate... Nadal keeps it down to just 25%

By contrast, Nadal's serving is quite ordinary. Of pace, he trails Federer - who holds back in that respect - slightly. Of placement, distinctly ordinary. Just regulation serves to the BH, where a full 85% go. Little to no movement required from Fed to reach the ball and not powerful enough to be troubling

Fed's returning is of the same quality though. Misses regulation returns regularly (16 of his 22 errors have been marked unforced, most of them against first serves) and he isn't returning with attacking intent either. Push-swing type returns - better than chipping but there's plenty of scope to swing hard, which he doesn't do. Nadal can even take third ball FHs after gentle second serves

Nadal isn't running around returns much. Fed does so more, and he's doing it neutrally, not necessarily looking for killing FH shots

In short - good serving (Fed) vs good returning (Nadal) on one hand and ordinary stuff on both shots on the other. Fed probably edging serve-return complex... his serve leaves him more in charge of points than Nadal's does

Play - Baseline & Net
Both players look to hit heavy FH cc's to break down the others BH

Federer's beat-down FHs are stronger, but his BH is weaker. For most of the match, whoever has the ball on the FH side uses FH cc as an effective staple to win points

On BH, Nadal has 14 UEs, Fed 23... the Nadal number is high, and his BH does break down some. Its not uncommon in the match up for these Fed FH - Nadal BH to be 50-50 affairs, but not here. Nadal's pushed on defensive and caves a bit

On service games, Fed looks for attacking shots or winner attempts on the third ball, Nadal does so when he draws a weak return. In neutral FH-BH rallies, Fed on the BH often goes for sharp, counter-attacking cc's (usually misses) sooner or later (usually a bit later) while Nadal gamely sticks to regular BH cc shots and who-blinks-first play

Fed's BH UEs go up as the match wears on and in the last set, he's error-prone overall (of both sides), including missing BHs in duel-winged rallies. Purely in cc rallies, his BH holds up to Nadal's FH about as well as Nadal's does to his FH

And then we throw in the shot-making. Some tremendous FH stuff from both players. The variety stands out - both use cc to break down, but also to wade into weak returns, both use dtl effectively (Nadal has 6 winners, Fed turns play his way with the shot frequently), as ever inside-out is important for both (Nadal 5 winners, Fed 7). Fed strikes a couple of late inside-in winners but doesn't go this way much. Nadal doesn't have a winner, but uses the shot regularly in running Fed around

Winners/UEs on the FH - Nadal is +4, Fed equal. On the BH by contrast, Nadal is - 10, Fed -21

Summing up the FHs - Fed stronger on the neutral cc stuff, Nadal better at the moderately attacking moving-guy around type and shot making is good from both player

Nadal has a slight advantage of consistency for two sets (the final UE count - Nadal 26, Fed 41 is due to the third). To stay even, Fed utilizes net play. Its his instincts for when to come forward that stand out. The volleying itself is less than great... he doesn't miss much, but doesn't place them away from Nadal either

Of movement, Fed's footwork stands out as immaculate. His runaround shots require it - he does it often and in extreme cases, leaves himself in doubles alley to play FH inside-outs. Nadal is less apt to runaround, and more content to bash BHs. Of footspeed, neither are particularly fast, Nadal more so. Worth noting is that though not fast, it'd be an exaggeration to call Fed slow either. In their Rome match earlier in the year and at YEC later, he looks hampered on top of his basic capacity. Here, its just basic capacity

Match Progression
Big struggle to start the match, with Fed's first service game lasting 14 points (no break points) and Nadal's 10 (1 break point saved). Easy holds from there to game 11, when Fed steps things up to break. A FH dtl/inside-out winner from a regulation position brings up break point. On it, he hits an extra hard and angled FH cc from what he had been dishing out to force an error

Fed's even more decisive serving the set out, which he does with 4 winners - a BHV, 2 third ball FH inside-outs and a particularly good BH cc

Second set is higher quality still. The first featured plenty of FH-breaking-down-BH. Nadal tightens up his BH, and Fed shifts to coming to net more to finish points. Little between the two and set is decided by the final game. Fed missing attacking FHs leaves Nadal a chance, which he's up to taking with some strong play of his own. He finishes the set with a FH dtl winner which he set up by slightly outplaying Fed

Third set is a step from Fed on the return and step down in play. He makes returns surely, unlike earlier in the match but is error prone in play. Nadal doesn't just cut back on errors, he starts pushing Fed around with strong and varied FHs. After holding to love with an ace and 2 FH winners, Nadal opens his first return game with a perfect BH inside-out/dtl passing winner and ends it with a BH dtl pass near as good

He nurses the break to the end. From 40-0 up with 3 match points, Fed unloads with a series of FH inside-ins - 2 winners and 1 forcing an error to take the game to deuce, but Nadal holds on. After Fed misses a FH dtl winner attempt set up by a strong return, Nadal finishes things with a FH dtl of his own

Summing up, good match with Nadal dealing admirably against artful serving and able to step up and take charge of baseline with attacking FHs. Fed serves well all match and his play from the baseline and net are good for two sets as well. Nothing in it for two sets - the third is loose from Federer with Nadal raising his game slightly too


Bionic Poster
Fed had back issues throughout the summer of 2013 and a few weeks later, lost to Robredo at the USO, so Roger did well to force a third set. Nadal was playing extremely well and deserved the win.


I was just hoping for two competitive sets before the match, the Rome final before this had been horrible. But Fed played better than what I had expected, his serve looked much better and I was really hoping for at least semis in the USO but looking back I guess it was just the faster surface helping him.