Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Thiem, Barcelona final, 2017


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the Barcelona final, 2017 on clay

It was Nadal's 10th title at the event. He'd recently won is 10th in Monte Carlo and would go onto win a 10th at French Open short after. Thiem would go onto win teh title in 2019, beating Nadal along the way

Nadal won 67 points, Thiem won 47

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (25/53) 66%
- 1st serve points won (25/35) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (13/18) 72%
- Aces 1 (a whiff, bad bounce related)
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (11/53) 21%

- 1st serve percentage (37/61) 61%
- 1st serve points won (22/37) 59%
- 2nd serve points won (10/24) 42%
- Aces 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/61) 21%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 23%
- to BH 75%
- to Body 2%

Thiem served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 48 (18 FH, 30 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 5 Forced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (48/61) 79%

Thiem made...
- 42 (14 FH, 28 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (42/53) 79%

Break Points
Nadal 3/8 (5 games)
Thiem 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 13 (8 FH, 2 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Thiem 13 (9 FH, 1 BH, 1 BHV, 2 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 1 cc/inside-in, 2 dtl, 3 inside-out, 1 drop shot and 1 running-down-drop-shot drop shot at net
- BHs - 1 cc return (bad bounce related) and 1 dtl

Thiem's FHs - 1 cc/inside-in, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 4 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BH pass - 1 cc

- 1 OH was on the bounce

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 21
- 15 Unforced (7 FH, 8 BH)
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)... with 1 FH at net & 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.3

Thiem 43
- 34 Unforced (22 FH, 12 BH)
- 9 Forced (5 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHOH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.1

(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 5/8 (63%) at net

Thiem was...
- 6/7 (86%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 1/1 retreated

Match Report
Unusual match based around serve + 1 aggression rather than rallying, particularly from Thiem, but also from Nadal. And Thiem really getting carried away with it by the end to extent of playing wildly poor

Still, a consummate showing from the winner, who looks to dominate with power baseline tennis, but is extremely strong in defence when called upon

Both players serve powerfully. This is as regularly powerful serving as I've seen from Nadal on clay. He looks for weak return and is moving inside court to finish quickly with beat-down hitting, just as much of BH as FH. Thiem not only serves powerfully but hits his spots nicely, dragging the backward positioned Nadal well outside of court. He's even more aggressive and looks for quick, back-away FH point finishers at once. Including when his serve hasn't moved Nadal out of position

21% unreturned rate for both players - high for clay, particularly against these returners. 7/10 Thiem return errors have been marked forced, which for Nadal, is high, while Thiem has decent 4 aces. Court isn't the best with few bad bounces

Along with power serving, Nadal's top notch in defence. He's tested considerably with Thiem going close to lines while belting the ball - and does well to retrieve many a tough ball. Still, the extent to which Thiem goes near lines isn't justified. Good as Nadal is on defence, its not a nothing-short-of-ball-in-corner-will-do showing - but Thiem keeps going for corners and lines

And its not the case that Thiem progresses to that stage either when nothing else works. Right from the start he goes for lines and corners. Its not worth it - and he misses about as often as not.This is either respecting your opponent too much or plain foolishness. Or both. He barely tests his rallying ability with Nadal. Admittedly, he comes up short when he does, but not to degree that looking for winners every other ball sounds like a great alternative

There is some neutral rallying type tennis on Nadal's service games, but even that's tilted towards attacking. Nadal throws up a few high, heavily spun FH cc's to test Thiem's BH against the shoulder high ball. Thiem's BH holds up (as in, doesn't give up errors) reasonably, without packing much punch

Generally, Nadal likes to persist with the FH cc's til opponents BH cracks. Not here. Sooner rather than later, he blasts a BH cc to open court to start attacking. The use of power BH cc (as opposed to back-away FH inside-out) is normal for Nadal during this period

From there, Nadal runs Thiem around with BH cc's, FH cc's and FH inside-out's hitting moderately hard and flat. Certainly not loopily. Thiem's movement is superb and he copes well with being run side to side, but Nadal doesn't let up. Odd Thiem going for broke winner attempt on run too - invariably missing

In nutshell - both players serving heftily, both looking to attack early on their service games. Thiem with unnecessrary and overdone all-in vigour, Nadal strongly but more sensibly. Both defend and move excellently

Play changes a bit in second set with Thiem seemingly frustrated and taking the attempts to finish quickly with winners to an out-to-lunch higher degree


Hall of Fame
Unreturned serves being equal leaves things to be decided in court action. And numbers have captured action well

- Winners - both 13
- Errors Forced - Nadal 9, Thiem 6
- UEs - Nadal 15, Thiem 34

Breakdown of UEs...
- Neutral - Nadal 9, Thiem 15
- Attacking - Nadal 4 Thiem 7
- Winner Attempts - Nadal 2, Thiem 12

First, Thiem's 34 UEs by far makes up biggest lost of points. Next, 13 winners to 12 winner attempt UEs and forcing 6 errors to 7 attacking UEs is extremely poor. Thiem just breaking even when attacking very vigorously

Healthy amount of credit to Nadal's defence for the FEs and attacking errors ratio. Some typical, amazing 'gets' from him. The winners though are more about Thiem's poor choices, going for big finishes from unfavourable positions. Its not that Nadal defends so well that nothing short of that will do, its more that that's Thiem's first line of attack. Its very unlikely to work - and doesn't

Nadal by contrast with 13 winners, 2 errors going for them and forcing 9 errors to 4 attacking errors - effective and efficient. And that's with Thiem defending well to keep his FEs down and encourage Nadal to go for more than hard hit, wide shots

Neutral UEs are usually at heart of result on clay (though not here because of Thiem's approach), and Nadal with sizable 9-15 advantage on that front. Most of Thiem's would be BHs. Thiem plays a look-for-winner-of FH, stay-steady-of BH game. Nadal's neutrals are more evenly distributed across wings

Thiem with 12 BH UEs isn't too bad (Nadal has 7 FHs, 8 BHs). He's trailing some neutrally, but not so much that he's apt to get squashed

Thiem's FH with by far match high 22 UEs. Those are mostly attacking and winner attempt shots - more a product of poor judgement than anything

Excellent balance by Nadal. He bosses play with powerful BHs and looks to finish with FH. 8/13 winners are FHs and nice balance of basic 2 dtl and fancier 3 inside-out. Its a solid, attacking showing out of central court postion, but not slow to improvise to take FHs when its possible either. Just the 2 BH winners - and 1 is a bad bounce related return - but BH has big role in keeping Thiem on the move and unsteady of position. Big changes in Nadal's game this year from years before when BHs role was limited to not giving up errors and was only powerful when pushed to it to discourage persistent FH cc beat-down attacks

Match Progression
Good, tough first set, with just the 1 love hold and 3 deuce games. Both players successfully attack early behind strong serving and both defend well on the move

Nadal saves a break point in opening game with a BHV. He misses his first 3 returns of the match - all marked UEs

Fantastic, net-to-net point in game 5 that Thiem wins, but its the only point of the game he does, followed by a 14 point Thiem hold (saving 2 break points) which features a 6 point passage with 5 winners

The sole break ends the set and highlight of it is Nadal making a series of defensives gets on the run against hammer shots by Thiem, taht Nadal ends up winnign by forcing FH error. Couple of BH UEs by Thiem closes out the game - 1 of them an odd choice of neutral third ball dtl BH, the next an attacking shot in the same direction

Second set is much poorer. Thiem, apparently frustrated, starts playing more and more rashly - and he wasn't exactly balanced prior to that. His first serve quality also drops and he's not able to move Nadal out of positon with it as he had in first set. Some good defence from Nadal too

Thiem saves 3 break points to hold for 1-1. And that's the last game he wins

Summing up, quite an attacking match - both players serving with intent, Nadal heavy hitting off both sides and Thiem overly aggressive in looking for perfect winners off his FH. Nice combo of ball bashing, shot making and typical astounding defensive 'gets' by Nadal. Thiem's all out attempts to blast Nadal off court is foolishly judged and compounded by apparent frustration to beyond even that in second half of match

More a strong showing from Nadal than a bad one from Thiem, but healthy amounts of both - Thiem's approach to play more or less dooming prospects of execution, and he doesn't show much stomatch for a tough grind

Stats for pair's Madrid final - Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Thiem, Madrid final, 2017 | Talk Tennis (
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