Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Roddick, Queens Club semi-final, 2008


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-4 in the Queens Club semi-final, 2008 on grass

Nadal would go onto beat Novak Djokovic in the final ( and win Wimbledon
( a couple of weeks later

Nadal won 71 points, Roddick 61

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (44/61) 72%
- 1st serve points won (34/44) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (13/17) 76%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/61) 26%

- 1st serve percentage (47/61) 66%
- 1st serve points won (35/47) 74%
- 2nd serve points won (12/24) 50%
- Aces 15 (1 second serve), Service Winners 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (29/71) 41%

Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 21%
- to BH 77%
- to Body 2%

Roddick served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 39 (11 FH, 28 BH)
- 3 Winners (3 FH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH), a return-approach attempt
- 11 Forced (6 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (39/68) 57%

Roddick made...
- 45 (9 FH, 36 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 4 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH), including 1 runaround attempt
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (45/61) 74%

Break Points
Nadal 2/7 (3 games)
Roddick 0/4 (1 game)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Nadal 30 (23 FH, 3 BH, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
Roddick 6 (3 FH, 2 BH, 1 BHV)

Nadal's FHs 19 regular and 4 passes
- regular - 8 cc (1 return), 5 dtl (2 returns), 1 dtl/inside-out, 3 inside-out and 2 drop shots
- passes - 2 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out

- BHs - 1 regular cc, 1 running-down-a-drop-shot cc pass and 1 running dtl pass

Roddick had 3 FH inside-outs, 1 BH cc pass and 1 BH return net chord dribbler

- the BHV was played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 26
- 15 Unforced (11 FH, 4 BH)
- 11 Forced (5 FH, 6 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

Roddick 22
- 12 Unforced (7 FH, 5 BH)
- 10 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.2

(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...
- 10/13 (77%) at net

Roddick was...
- 11/21 (52%) at net, including...
- 2/2 serve-volleying, comprising...
- 1/1 off first serve and...
- 1/1 off second serve
- 1/4 (25%) return-approaching
Match Report
Using the play of the final as a frame of reference, a far more 2000s classic grass court showing from Nadal - and an excellent one. Roddick for his part, strategically is a bit dubious and heavily dependent on big serves for his success on this fast grass court

In the final (, Nadal largely played a sped up version of his normal game - standing back for the return, rallying from behind the baseline, allowing his opponent to dictate and relying on defence... with a lethal FH thrown in

Here, he takes the return orthodoxly (and well, against the humongous Roddick serve), steps up and is aggressive from the baseline (primarily off the FH - which is absolutely lethal) and is top notch on the pass. His serve is also more effective - though that's probably mostly due to Djokovic being a significantly better returner than Roddick - but nonetheless, its a good serve that can trouble anyone and isn't easy to attack

Roddick finds himself down 0-40 in the third game of the first set. He saves the first two break points with big serves. The third goes into a rally - which ends with a Nadal error (Ironically, exactly the same thing would happen in the decisive game of the second set, only then Roddick would be the one to make the error and yield the break). The set goes on fairly comfortably on serve. Roddick is sending down a mass of unreturned serves while Nadal is aggressively finishing baseline points with the FH - and also getting a fair few cheap service points.

Roddick distributes serves about 50-50 across Nadal's FH and BH. I'm not sure this was a good idea... while solid off both wings, clearly the Nadal FH is more dangerous. Roddick did the same thing in the '06 USO final where he actually served the majority to Roger Federer's FH - with even worse consequences. Not sure if it was Roddick's habit to do this.... generally, any server directs the majority to the naturally weaker and shorter reaching BH wing. Roddick is eventually broken in a 12 point game late in the set, in which Nadal slaps down 2 FH dtl return winners near the end, and breaks with another FH dtl. The single key point though is the penultimate one, where Roddick makes a routine BH error.

He fights hard when Nadal serves for the set though, gaining the only break points he has all match. Credit to Nadal for dealing with these in clutch fashion - he erases them with a BHV winner, an ace, a forced return error and FH winner off a body serve point. And Nadal serves it out to take the set.

The second set is even more serve dominated and the returner can scarcely win a point. Roddick is the one to blink. Going down 0-40 (2 errors leading him there), he saves the first two break points with serves and is in charge of the third one from the baseline. But makes an error to hand over the break

No drama thereafter. Match continues to go on serve - in the 5 remaining games, the returner wins 1 point (small consolation for Roddick is that that one point is the only return-approach point he won all match... the play did not go well for him this day) - and Nadal takes the match

Playing Dynamics & Stats
Roddick blasts away his serve. 17 aces/service winners (Nadal has 8) and 41% unreturned serves (Nadal 26)… no surprises there

But he's too passive after the serve. Nadal returns well (and from a normal position), so when the ball comes back, its not easy to attack. Still, Roddick lets himself down here. In baseline exchanges, he's usually playing from further back than the Spaniard

The UEFI (Nadal 47.3, Roddick a low 44.2) suggests Nadal was the more aggressive from the baseline. UEs (all from the baseline for both players) are Nadal 15, Roddick 12.... an unexpected outcome and again, indicating Roddick erred on the side of passivity and Nadal was uncharacteristically attacking. Forced error counts (Nadal 11, Roddick 10) further underline this point

And the winner count - Nadal 30, Roddick 6 - seal the point.

Note the obscene 23 FH winners from Nadal - and he hits them every which way - cc, dtl, inside-out, you name it. Some of this is due to Roddick's slow first step, though his court coverage on the run is good. He also doesn't seem to anticipate which way Nadal will go - though that's more attributable to Nadal's disguise then weakness in Roddick's anticipation

At the start of the match, Nadal looks to break down Roddick's BH with FH cc's. He switches tacks when Roddick's BH proves to hold up well.... and moves to more attacking, court opening/pointing ending stroke play. Occasionally, Nadal returns to the FH cc routine as a control policy later in the match, but usually briefly before looking for opening to kill the point.

In baseline play, Roddick hits hard (especially with the FH), but without much angle, disguise or taking the ball early. Nadal has plenty of the first two - and more taking the ball early than his opponent at least

Roddick's net rushing strategy isn't clear. He serve-volleys off the first point in the match. Not that it matters for this point - the serve would have drawn a return error anyway and Roddick is only about half-way to the service line when the error is made, but he has made a statement with the shot. Yet he doesn't serve-volley off the first serve again in the match (he does once off a second serve - winning the point)

Not sure what the thinking was. His serve seems to be too powerful for serve-volleying. If a first serve return actually comes back, it wold reach him before he's close to the net... and that's a situation it would take a better volleyer than Roddick to consistently deal with.

Roddick also return-approaches a number of times (4 to be exact, plus one attempt that ends on an error). This has its own problems. He's not in a settled position when the pass comes back and can't handle them. Not sure the ploy was a wise one for someone of his volleying ability. Nonetheless, probably a bigger part of the Roddick's sub-par 52% net points won is Nadal's passing.... which is very good, even by his standard

Summing up, a high quality grass showing from Nadal... good serve, good return against an excellent serve and particularly outstanding in baseline shot making (especially off the FH) and passing. For Roddick, a serve-bot showing, too passive and uncreative from the back and not good enough at the net. A good indicator of what Nadal is capable of when he turns to 'modern classic' ( to coin an oxymoron) grass court tennis
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Bionic Poster
Nadal was at the height of his (short-lived) grasscourt form in 2008. After winning Queen's he went on to become one of only 7 players in the open era to complete the Queen's-Wimbledon double (others being Connors, McEnroe, Becker, Sampras, Hewitt and Murray).

Each time Nadal won Wimbledon he had played at Queen's first. That's something he seems to have forgotten in his rather sniffy attitude towards playing there these days.


Bionic Poster
He retired with an ankle-injury from his semi-final match with Blake the following year. Went on to make his heroic swan-song at Wimbledon though.

He pulled out of the FO with a shoulder injury in 2008 as well, also retired from the FO in 2006 with a foot injury. That's two moral FO wins.

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
He pulled out of the FO with a shoulder injury in 2008 as well, also retired from the FO in 2006 with a foot injury. That's two moral FO wins.
Don't push it.

But moral 3rd rounds would've been huge in Roddick's belief to finally beat the old Fraud.