Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Tsitsipas, Canadian Open final, 2018


Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 7-6(4) in the Canadian Open final, 2019 on hard court in Toronto

It was Nadal's 4th title at the event. Tsitsipas was unseeded, turned 20 on day of the match and had beaten Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, defending champion Alex Zverev and Kevin Anderson in succession in route to his first Masters final. He would go onto win the Next Gen Finals in Milan at the end of the year

Nadal won 68 points, Tsitsipas 51

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (32/57) 56%
- 1st serve points won (30/32) 94%
- 2nd serve points won (15/25) 60%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/57) 21%

- 1st serve percentage (35/62) 56%
- 1st serve points won (25/35) 52%
- 2nd serve points won (14/27) 52%
- Aces 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/62) 26%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 7%

Tsitsipas served...
- to FH 13%
- to BH 82%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 46 (11 FH, 35 BH), inclding 4 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 10 Unforced (1 FH, 9 BH)
- 3 Forced (3 BH)
- Return Rate (46/62) 74%

Tsitsipas made...
- 43 (11 FH, 32 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- 1 Forced (1 FH)
- Return Rate (43/55) 78%

Break Points
Nadal 3/6 (3 games)
Tsitsipas 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 23 (16 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Tsitsipas 12 (8 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc, 7 dtl, 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in, 1 inside-in/cc and 1 drop shot (a net chord roll over)
- BHs - 2 cc passes, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out return

Tsitsipas' FHs - 3 cc, 2 dtl and 3 inside-out
- BH - 1 cc

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a second volley OH

- the FHV was a swinging shot

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 21
- 11 Unforced (5 FH, 6 BH)
- 10 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.4

Tsitsipas 33
- 26 Unforced (17 FH, 9 BH)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

(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 7/7 (100%) at net

Tsitsipas was...
- 7/12 (58%) at net, including...
- 1/2 serve-volleying, comprising...
- 1/1 off 1st serve and...
- 0/1 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Very strong showing from Nadal who's always in command over a Tsitsipas who simply looks outmatched on a normal hard court

A set and 4-2 with a break up, Nadal's lost a grand total of 2 points on serve. 1 a double fault. Meanwhile on return, he has no problems putting ball in play and outlasting Tsis with heavy groundstrokes. By this point, he's eased off going for much on return and seems content to serve out the routine win. Tsis holds his last 5 service games to 15, routinely

Things go off that script when Tsis breaks to 30 as Nadal serves for the match. And Nadal's pushed to 10 points and has to save a break/set point in his next service game too. On the point in question, his drop shot tumbles over the net chord for a winner. He'd missed an identical shot just 2 points ago. He goes onto hold, and in tiebreak, a couple of FH inside-out winner attempt misses from Tsis sees Nadal through to victory, which he seals with his 16th FH winner

Some remarkable numbers for Nadal. He wins 30/32 or 94% first serve points. From start of match, he wins 27/28 service points, including 21 in a row. He extends first serve poinst won in a row to 19. Its not because the serve is overwhelming (modest 4 aces and low 21% unreturned serves), and nothing particularly weak about Tsis' returning either. Nadal's in killer mode on the FH though, and apt to dispatch anything not particularly damaging for a third ball winner

23 winners to 11 UEs is a ridiculously good figure. In fact, he has more winners than total errors of 21. You see numbers like this usually when there's a very large lot of unreturned serves, which isn't the case here

Its a great showing, but those numbers are a bit flattering. There's also the matter of Tsis' high 26 UEs, which is the biggest of the numbers on show

Winners - Nadal 23, Tsis 12
UEs - Nadal 11, Tsis 26
FEs - Nadal 10, Tsis 7

11 UEs to 10 FEs is a very FE heavy yield of errors from Nadal. This usually happens when the opponent is at net regularly (limiting scope to make UEs) or when the player scarcely makes a UE, thus making it so that the only way opponent can win points is by hitting winner or forcing error. The latter is particularly common for Nadal

Neither is true here. Tsis is at net a modest 12 times (and wins just a tick over 50%). And the lack of UEs is more a product of Tsis blinking first and without too much pressure than Nadal being particularly wall like. Also, good lot of Nadal's FEs are on the mild side, balls he at any rate is in habit of getting back in play more often than not

So, neither the most consistent nor the most defensively impressive of showing from Nadal. To be clear, he's good enough in both areas. But uber consistency and/or uber strong defence are two plausiable reasons for very, very rare more winners than total errors showing. It isn't the case here

High destructiveness though is. Any non-strong (as opposed to weak) return from Tsis is dispatched, usually FH dtl. Same thing once rally develops. In first set, he holds a game with 4 third ball FH winners - first inside-out, second cc, third dtl and the last cc, close to being cc/inside-in. Would have been a uniquely symmetrical game if last 1 had been inside-in

Another thing Nadal does particularly well is temper his attacks when shot making drops from virtually perfect. He takes to hitting more moderate attacking shot and following it to net to finish. A perfect 7/7 at net for Nadal, including 3 winners

There's scope for improvement in his returning. 10/13 return errors have been marked unforced, including 6 2nd serve return misses. For him, that's unusual. Tsis rarely serves damagingly wide and most returns, even against first serves are routine.

And Tsitsipas? Serve isn't damaging of placement and 26% unreturned rate with it is good outcome for him. He also draws a good few short returns that he dispatches with his FH (8 winners). Serving 82% to Nadal's BH is a rookie move. Serving majority to BH is standard. Against Nadal, whose looser off the FH return than the BH in general, not optimal

Just routine, in swing zone serving from Nadal. Good 78% return rate by Tsis and not leaving particularly easy third ball. All credit to Nadal for smacking winners and making Tsis' returning look poor. Its not bad returning, but clearly, needs to be better against a Nadal in this type of form and mood

He struggles to keep up with Nadal from the baseline. Typical Nadal FH cc'ng draws soft BH replies that Nadal dispatches, but at least Tsis BH holds up reasonbly, though lacking punch. Just 9 UEs (Nadal has 6). Its the FH that falters more with match high 17 UEs. This includes shots of all kinds - winner attempts (particularly inside-out) as well as neutral shots. He sets up the kill shots well, but tends to miss the finisher. 9 winner attempt UEs (all baseline shots) to 12 winners (9 of them baseline shots) is a poor ratio. Good set up, and balls are there for the shot (if not obvious shot choice), but fails to execute. Better then going for wild winners from neutral positions at least

Couple of odd incidents. Nadal serves an ace with a body serve, that Tsis misses after getting out the way. Later, a fan calls out loudly just as Tsis serves a fault. Not much the umpire can do after the fact, but Nadal grants him another first serve. Strangely, that point can be seen as turning point. Prior to it, Nadal had lost 3 points in 8 service games. Right after, he loses 8 points in 2 games (+ 1 in the tiebreak)

Summing up, strong showing from Nadal, with FH shot making being first class and he's a class above his Tsitsipas off consistency of the ground, while hitting a heavy spun ball. A bit nondescript from Tsitsipas. He just looks a lower tier baseliner than his opponent and doesn't have anything to make up the slack, like a big serve or adventurous net play