Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Kiefer, Canadian Open final, 2008


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 in the Canadian Open final, 2008 on hard court in Toronto

It was Nadal's 5th title in a row, following wins in Hamburg, French Open, Queen's Club and Wimbledon and he would shortly after win the Olympic Gold medal in Beijing. Kiefer was unseeded and this would turn out to be the last final of his career

Nadal won 61 points, Kiefer 42

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (34/52) 65%
- 1st serve points won (26/34) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (12/18) 67%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (11/52) 21%

- 1st serve percentage (24/51) 47%
- 1st serve points won (20/24) 83%
- 2nd serve points won (8/27) 30%
- Aces 7
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/51) 33%

Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 6%

Kiefer served....
- to FH 41%
- to BH 59%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 29 (12 FH, 17 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 8 Forced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (29/46) 63%

Kiefer made...
- 40 (16 FH, 24 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (40/51) 78%

Break Points
Nadal 4/4
Kiefer 0/3 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Nadal 12 (6 FH, 1 FHV, 4 OH, 1 BHOH)
Kiefer 8 (4 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BH1/2V)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc, 1 cc/inside-in, 1 dtl pass and 3 inside-out

- 2 OHs were on the bounce from the baseline

Kiefer's FHs - 1 cc and 2 dtl
- BHs - 1 cc return

- 1 from a serve-volley point - a first 'volley' FH at net
- 1 from a return-approach point - a BH1/2V

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 16
- 13 Unforced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- 3 Forced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.6

Kiefer 33
- 24 Unforced (16 FH, 8 BH)
- 9 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(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...
- 10/11 (91%) at net, with...
- 2/3 (67%) forced back

Kiefer was...
- 9/15 (60%) at net, including...
- 4/5 (80%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Simple match where Nadal is simply, the better player off the ground on a normal, tilted toward quick hard court

Groundstroke UEs decisively read Nadal 13, Kiefer 24

Other stats of potential interest are Kiefer with just 47% first serves in, winning high 83% first serve points, good unreturned rate of 33%... but just 30% second serve points

In words, Kiefer dominates his first serve, but misses them very often. And without it, is squashed from the back. Its a bit unusual in that his first serve isn't particularly powerful. He's got 7 aces from 24 first serves or 29% of the time. Even that looks high. It looks a decent, hefty serve, usually directed not particularly wide... both aces and unreturned rate are on high side for its quality. He also serve-volleys a little bit, winning 4/5 so doing

83% first serves in is top notch and he couldn't ask for more. But with just 47% in, it doesn't much matter. Nadal could probably make more inroads against the first serve where it needed or eventually. It never is with such a low in count

Just average serving from Nadal - regulation, in swing zone stuff, not much difference between firsts and seconds. Just 2 aces and low 21% unreturned rate

Once rally starts after the return, its a no-contest. Nadal keeps ball in play with heavy spun FHs. He doesn't runaround much to take FHs, and hits standard, BHs too. Kiefer rallies along for awhile, then blinks to give up the error - QED

Its not a case of Nadal hitting particularly strong or Kiefer inconsistently. It looks just 2 different calibre players. Like a first or second round encounter. which is what it could have been Kiefer. Kiefer was unseeded, ranked 37 at the time, hadn't won a tournament in 8 years. He did however, have an impressive run to the final, beating among others Davydenko, Blake and Simon

16/24 Kiefer's UEs are FHs. He goes for dtl winners from near regulation positions, which is a good idea given the inevitable blink error ending points when rallies go longer. 2 dtl winners, but more errors than that. The FH heavy UE count also speaks to Nadal playing a basic, balanced dual winged game of keeping ball in play heavily, not running around to hit FHs or unduly looking to target Kiefer's BH with FH cc's

In fact, Nadal's a bit loose on his FH. He has 8 UEs on that side - same as Kiefer has on the BH. It would probably be in Kiefer's best interest if Nadal were looking to keep things FH-BH

Match Progression
Nadal breaks in game 5 - couple of Kiefer third ball errors and on break point, he misses a relatively simple FH1/2V serve-volleying. Nadal breaks again to end the set in a more forceful game from both player, though it ends with Kiefer missing 2 FHs and double faulting down break point. Nadal meanwhile, holds easily all set, losing 4 points in holding 4 times

Game 5 of 2nd set provides the most competitive tennis in the match. Kiefer steps up to attack more and proactively take net. He has 3 break points in an 18 point game, before Nadal holds. Highlights from the game include Kiefer coming in behind a strong inside-in BH return against first serve to hit a BH1/2V winner, whacking a BH cc return winner and striking an error forcing BH cc. Nadal isn't far behind with a net-to-net BHOH winner standing out amidst otherwise strong baseline play

Its the only game of the match where baseline action is even, with Kiefer stepping up to be pressuring to attacking and coming to net to augment it further

After Nadal holds though, he reels off the last 3 games. From 30-0 up, Kiefer double faults twice in a row before giving up the first break. He starts game 8 with an ace, but misses first serve next 5 points and Nadal plays aggressively on them to break again to end the match

Summing up, heavyweight vs lightweight type encounter where Nadal is just simply the stronger baseline player. He keeps ball in play heavily, short of attackingly off both sides - and Kiefer gives up the errors, usually sooner rather than later

Stats for '08 Olympic final between Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Gonzalez, Olympic Games final 2008 | Talk Tennis (
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Bionic Poster
I remember watching this match live, ah good times. They gave Rafa the Shawn Michaels pyro and all ;) 2008 was such an epic year :D