Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Verdasco, Monte Carlo final, 2010

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in the Monte Carlo final, 2010 on clay

It was Nadal's 6th title and 6th in a row at the event and he would go onto win the next 2 also. He would go follow up with titles in Madrid, Rome and French Open shortly after to complete a full sweep of all Masters and Slams on clay for a season. Verdasco was playing his first and to date, last Masters final

Nadal won 63 points, Verdasco 35

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (30/45) 67%
- 1st serve points won (20/30) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (9/15) 60%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (6/45) 13%

Verdasco...
- 1st serve percentage (31/53) 58%
- 1st serve points won (12/31) 39%
- 2nd serve points won (7/22) 32%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/53) 9%

Serve Patterns
Nadal served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 14%

Verdasco served...
- to FH 54%
- to BH 42%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 45 (27 FH, 18 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 3 Errors, all forced...
- 3 Forced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (45/50) 90%

Verdasco made...
- 38 (22 FH, 16 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 4 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Forced (1 BH)
- Return Rate (38/44) 86%

Break Points
Nadal 6/14 (7 games)
Verdasco 0/5 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Nadal 14 (8 FH, 5 BH, 1 OH)
Verdasco 12 (8 FH, 3 BH, 1 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 2 dtl (1 at net), 1 dtl/inside-out, 2 inside-in and 1 drop shot/cc at net
- BHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 1 dtl (not clean) and 1 drop shot

Verdasco's FHs - 3 cc (1 return), 2 dtl, 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in/cc
- BHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Nadal 17
- 11 Unforced (6 FH, 5 BH)
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)... with 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.3

Verdasco 40
- 31 Unforced (16 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net, 1 BH at net & 1 non-net, swinging FHV pass attempt
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50.3

(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 6/8 (75%)

Verdasco was...
- 3/9 (33%) at net, with...
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
Just what it looks like. An utter thrashing. Verdasco doesn't even play badly. He plays in the same style as Nadal and Nadal just happens to be a lot better than him at it

Neither player serves hard. Verdasco occasionally sends down the odd bigger or very wide serve, Nadal very rarely.

Both have 2 aces and all 3 of Nadal's return errors have been marked forced, including to a strong, wide second serve

Both players return with clock work consistency - Nadal 90%, Verd 86%. Neither player returns aggressively. Both throw out the rare attackingly wide return, Verdasco slightly more but frequency is negligible. Very consistent, neutral returning on whole. Verd slaps 1 FH return winner

Nadal's changed things a bit from previous year in that he rarely runsaround to hit FH return. Prior to this year, he'd do it constantly against 2nd serves in ad court in particular. Just 2 runaround FH returns from Nadal (Verdasco has 3)

Little advantage for server from the serve or the returner from the return, so neutral, 50-50 starting points for baseline rallies

And Nadal dominating the rallies (in terms of winning them, not the action). UEs read Nadal 11, Verd 31. Other things are near equal (Nadal +2 on winners and +3 in forcing errors)

There's a nice symmetry in numbers. Nadal wins
- 67% of his first serve points
- 60% of his second serve points
- 61% of his first return points
- 68% of his second return points

Sometimes you get incongruent numbers on clay, with players winning much larger lot of 1st serve points than seconds, though play is of same nature across different types of service points. Not here. These are logical numbers... if your the better court player and serve-return is a non-factor and unreturned serves are very low, theoretically, you should be winning about same percentage across different types of points

Both players play from comfortably behind baseline, putting balls in play. Both do so off both sides. Nadal has cut back on extent to which he runsaround to hit FHs, though he still keeps a slightly biased to BH side court position. Its actually Verdasco who runsaround to hit FHs more often

Balls are played with loopy spin. Nadal of his BH in particular, hits a bit harder than he had previous year. Not much and not too important. There are signs of him looking to play a more dual winged game though

From get-go, Verd occasionally looks for big, flat attacking shots. He's broken in first game missing such shots. Largely sticks to loopy, neutral play. Those rallies go on for considerable time, both players looking secure. Its Verd who more often throws in attempts to attack. Both consistent in the loopy stuff, Verd's attacking stuff gets put back in play by a busy and hustling Nadal. And Verd ends up making the errors to lose points

When Nadal does attack, he rarely fails to finish points in his favour by contrast. Verd's defence is good too, but its an area where Nadal is a street or two ahead. He's very difficult to get an error out of

Breakdown of UEs is interesting (and problematic to compile)
- Neutral - Nadal 7, Verd 9
- Attacking - Nadal 0, Verd 12
- Winner attempts - Nadal 4, Verd 10

2 points of interest. Near same neutral consistency and Nadal with perfect attacking record to Verd's looseness in attacking shots

The neutral UE similarity hints at just keeping ball in play passively is a possible alternative strategy for Verd. If points end within that dynamic, he's as likely as not to come out ahead.

Its unlikely that's how things would actually play out. If neutral play persists with Verd not taking initiative, Nadal is likely to. And Nadal has 0 attacking UEs while forcing 9 errors (which isn't easy with Verd's retrieving)

So Verd takes lead, moderate attacking position. Getting errors out of Nadal is like pulling a stubborn tooth... strong shots keep coming back. Verd ends up making the errors pushing the envelop, but attackingly and ultra-attackingly (i.e. with winner attempts)

Pretty composed showing from Verd. Other than game 5, Set 2 (when he's down 0-6, 1-3), he doesn't lose his cool and go on a wild attacking spree. With scoreline and play as it is, you'd hardly blame him if he had. He loses that game to love but plays his best game right after, having 5 break points in a 14 point game, though Nadal goes on to hold

Of Nadal's attacking play, he's more balanced than in previous years. Not running around to hit FHs so much goes hand in hand with not using FH inside-out so much, the shot that had (and continued being) the spear head of his offence. 0 FH inside-out winners from Nadal. He has 2 inside-in and 2 dtl based

To be clear, he hasn't put away the FH inside-out, but its role has been cut back. A more dual winged, central court position showing from Nadal than his previous norm. In such situations, dtl tends to become the default lead attacking play

Nadal's balanced showing has come through in numbers
- Winners - FH 8, BH 5
- UEs - FH 6, BH 5
- FEs - both 3

Nadal's defence is the standout. Ball after attacking ball comes back. Which makes even differentiating UE type tricky. Verd blasts what I would usually call 'winner attempts', only shots like that that he makes don't even draw errors, let alone go for winners. How can it be a 'winner attempt' if it probably wouldn't have gone for a winner or even drawn an error? So Verd's very high 50.3 UEFI slightly under-represents his play

50.3 for 29/31 baseline shots is a very, very high figure, particularly for clay. Its not that Verd is overly aggressive. Its that he rarely misses neutral shots, so whatever errors he makes ends up being more attacking ones. Nadal himself often has similar high counts and for the same reason

So from Verd's point of view, neutral play will either see him get outlasted or more likely, Nadal take initiative with Nadal being near perfect when he's attacking. So he turns to attacking first from solid, consistent base. His attacks are repeatedly thwarted 'til he misses going for strong shots

Coming to net doesn't help. Verd's just 3/9 up there. Twice he's got Nadal in hopeless positions - dragged way outside doubles alley, on the run, off balance by the time he reaches ball which is inches from the ground and Verd's covering the middle of net. Both times, Nadal makes the BH cc pass winner anyway. The FH cc pass winner is a bit different. Nadal's in utter defensive position against the approach shot, but puts it in play, Verd doesn't do much with the volley and Nadal slaps away the winner with seeming ease

Not many options for Verdasco

Summing up, near perfect showing from Nadal. He returns everything, is rock solid off both sides and playing dual winged, is seemingly just as rock solid or even more so when Verdasco attacks with powerful or/and wide flat shots, makes almost impossible passes and virtually always wins points that he's attacking on. Not bad from Verdasco, who also returns everything and is almost as solid from the back himself. He turns to attacking first but can't find a way past or through Nadal and eventually springs errors in striving to
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
This was an embrassing performance from Verdasco, there was no fight whatsoever, which was sad to see, considering what he did the year before. He had his one great year and then fell off.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Absolute masterclass of a match from Nadal and I'd certainly put that up there with the best matches he's played on clay.

Verdasco disappointed though.
 
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