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


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the French Open final, 2013 on clay

It was Nadal's third title in a row, 8th overall and he would go onto win the following year also. This would turn out to be Ferrer's sole Slam final, which he reached without loss of set

Nadal won 100 points, Ferrer 72

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (61/87) 70%
- 1st serve points won (43/61) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (11/26) 42%
- Aces 5
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/87) 24%

- 1st serve percentage (53/85) 62%
- 1st serve points won (31/53) 58%
- 2nd serve points won (8/32) 25%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/85) 7%

Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 5%

Ferrer served...
- to FH 18%
- to BH 81%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 74 (24 FH, 50 BH), including 11 runaround FHs
- 5 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 2 Forced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (74/80) 93%

Ferrer made...
- 64 (29 FH, 35 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (64/85) 75%

Break Points
Nadal 8/16 (9 games)
Ferrer 3/12 (7 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Nadal 29 (19 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
Ferrer 20 (11 FH, 7 BH, 2 BHV)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 4 dtl, 12 inside-out (1 at net) and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 2 dtl and 1 drop shot

Ferrer's FHs - 1 cc, 3 dtl (1 runaround return), 6 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 3 cc (1 pass), 3 dtl (1 pass) and 1 drop shot

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 44
- 27 Unforced (12 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)
- 17 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.0

Ferrer 45
- 32 Unforced (16 FH, 16 BH)
- 13 Forced (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.6

(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)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Nadal was...
- 11/14 (79%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 2nd serve

Ferrer was...
- 7/11 (64%) at net, with...
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Good match and more competitive than the routine scoreline (in conjunction with the players concerned) might suggest . Nadal retains a small advantage in play - which statistically, can be escribed almost entirely to the shotmaking of his FH - and a sizable one in serve-return complex (mostly due to his sure returning), but does not maul or comprehensively outplay Ferrer as you might think seeing a 3, 2 and 3 scoreline

Ferrer has 12 break points in 7 games. He can only convert in 3 of them and keeps Nadal to low 42% second serve points won. Decent numbers. Nadal has break points in just 2 more games (but converts more times) and keeps Ferrer to a paltry 25% second serve points won

Consistency is a near wash (UEs - Nadal 27, Ferrer 32) and Ferrer actually leads in forcing errors (17 to 13) for total error numbers Nadal 44, Ferrer 45
Nadal has 9 more winners and a lead of 8 winners off the FH

The reason score is so comfortable is unreturned rates where Nadal has 24% to Ferrer's very, very low 7%. When Nadal rolls over someone on clay, the first thought you think probably isn't "well, he must've outserved him"... that though, is the biggest difference between the two and Nadal's advantage in actual play is not large

Serve & Return
The returning is better than the serving

Nadal with a mammoth 93% return rate. Ferrer's serve is average but he sends down reasonably forceful first serves, especially wide. Nadal just gets them all back. Just 2 FEs for him. Small number of very weak returns against particularly strong serves that Ferrer can run up and take in mid-court (usually winning) and decent number of serves out wide BH followed by FH longline to open court (that Nadal usually runs down and puts in play)

Good, moderately attacking wide crosscourt returning from both players that leaves server a running third ball. Both are up to task of handling such third balls - credit to servers movement but good returns. Ferrer also takes hard cracks on the return, the focus being power rather than placement. Again, Nadal manages to handle the tough third balls that come out of it

Nadal runsaround second serves to hit FHs in ad court alone. Its a neutralizing, not aggressive return and he hits with particularly heavy spin and loop

Nadal has the stronger serve and does most damage when going to Ferrer's FH. He serves minority 40% there but gets 9/16 errors from that side (counting a runaround FH as a serve to BH) and his 5 aces are also directed there. Ferrer stands to cover the serve to BH and is usually stretched out to reach the balls to his FH

Quick note on the oddity of Nadal's 1 serve-volley point, which is a second serve. Its not a bona fida serve-volley but there's not other way to mark it. Ferrer mis-anticipates a second serve to his BH and is thus forced to leap the other way to reach the ball to his FH. The error is forced, but as that's due to his preliminary movements, would have been marked unforced... only Nadal follows it to net


Hall of Fame
Play - Baseline
Action is baseline stuff and primarily who-blinks-first dynamic with varying amounts of move-other-guy-around thrown in. First set is particularly who-blinks-first based but livens up to includes more moving-around-play after that

Excellent court coverage from both players. Nadal is particularly good at defensive retrieving too, though Ferrer's no slouch in this area either. It occurs to me if a newcomer moved like Nadal does here, he would justly earn plaudits for outstanding footspeed and court coverage. For Nadal, this is what his standard has fallen to from earlier years when he was almost superhuman in this area

Nadal looks to control points with FH cc's to Ferrer's BH. He mostly keeps central court position, without unduly looking to runaround FHs. In these exchanges, Ferrer holds up reasonably but its clear Nadal has advantage - the more consistent (he has match low 12 FH UEs. Ferrer has 16 on BH) and the one dictating with heavier ball. Ferrer's occasional longline counters are run down and neutralized and his cc's are rarely forcefully strong

Ferrer seems comfortable playing behind baseline to begin with, and Nadal's FH keep him there. No attempt to step up... playing from there, he'd have to outlast Nadal regularly to come up ahead as its highly unlikely he could end points forcefully. He does move into court and overpowers Nadal a number of times but starting standard is behind baseline from Ferrer

Nadal's BH is a relatively loose and yields neutral UEs at greater rate than his FH. He finishes with 14 UEs (Ferrer has 16 of both sides). Defensively though, its his steadier side. Though not camping in BH court, Nadal remains most vulnerable moving to cover attacking shots to his FH. Ferrer has 6 FH inside-out winners and 2 BH cc's... good numbers, but 8 FH FEs for Nadal is low. Credit Nadal's defence

As ever, the star of the show is Nadal's FH with 19 winners (Ferrer has 20 total) to 12 UEs

Nadal finishing with excellent 29 winners, 27 UEs. This is the scary thing about him. He looks neither particularly attacking nor consistent... even then, that's his yield against a gritty opponent

Match Progression
First set is a feeling out one with gritty, outlasting rallies with some moving-around-play thrown in. Error rate for the two are similar and movement is good, especially Ferrer. Nadal looks vulnerable in FH corner but Ferrer isn't too powerful in shots in that direction and Nadal mostly retrieves ball there. Ferrer is made to run around a bit more and is up to handling it

Nadal has 6 winners and forces 5 errors while making 12 UEs. Ferrer's numbers are 4 winners, forcing 5 errors and making 10 UEs. Main difference is in serve-return. Nadal gets all but 2 serves back and Ferrer throws in a couple of double faults

Players trade breaks early in games ending with UEs. Ferrer's broken on a very poor FH inside-out winner attempt miss. He breaks back in greater style - striking a BH dtl pass winner after drop shotting Nadal in to bring up break point then winning a terrific rally to seal it

Nadal breaks to go up 4-3 with a typical, BH cc pass winner from off-balance position and has to save a break point to consolidate in a 10 point game after that. He breaks again to end set

Play picks up in intensity in the second and games become closer as well as livelier and the rallies are longer. There are 67 points in the 8 games, as opposed to 55 and 50 in the 1st and 3rd which are each a game longer... very tough stuff for a 6-2 set

Nadal starts going for winners after outmanuvering Ferrer (successfully) while Ferrer moves Nadal about and forces errors out of him, which is no easy task... most forceful shots come back, but Ferrer keeps at it til one doesn't

The last game is the only genuinely poor one of the match. Having just broken to move to 2-5, Ferrer opens with a third ball FH winner attempt UE and 2 double faults, before missing another FH winner attempt in a short rally to be broken to love. The game highlights how tough play otherwise is

Third set lies somewhere between the first two for liveliness and is also close. Two again trade breaks early - Nadal gaining his with 3 approaches, Ferrer with a couple of forcing points and a couple of Nadal winner attempt errors. Later, Nadal saves a break point to hold a deuce game and follows up by breaking in another deuce game, with Ferrer double faulting on break point.... and then serves out the match

Summing up, a controlled showing from Nadal and a commendable one from Ferrer. Both play tough in attritional rallies and both move excellently in fluid ones. Nadal perhaps has small advantage in both areas. Ferrer has no equivalent to the firepower of Nadal's FH when he turns it on. And Nadal with considerable head start going into rallies from having stronger serve and iron consistent return to begin with leaves him comfortably ahead overall

Little in it of consistency, but Nadal has that extra offensive edge of the dangerous FH to boot

Stats for the Nadal's semi with Novak Djokovic -
Stats for the '12 final between Nadal and Djokovic -

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
This had to be one of the more NID finals in recent history. Ferrer did ok, but everyone knew that the winner of the semi would go on to win the whole thing.

Would have been epic if Robredo had made the final, though.

Deleted member 770948

That was one of Nadal's worst French Opens, but people only remember the 5th Set vs. Djokovic which was full of winners.
Nadal's doctor had said he'd have a stiff knee for the first half of 2013, and I recall detecting a limp during some of his earlier tournaments.
And Nadal looked lethargic vs. Ferrer.
He moved significantly better in the North American Summer, which he swept.