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Federer v Djokovic US Open 2015 Final - Report

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 14 Sep 2015, 4:58 am

First topic message reminder :

For those of you in the UK that went to bed:

Set 1 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
Federer’s first serve % (53) and serve quality when they were going in was not good enough. His timing especially on his forehand was not quite in, a few shots were going long. Djokovic was solid enough. He had a fall which drew blood but it was obviously only skin deep, I could see immediately from the fall that it was not serious. He was dominant from the start of the set and was all over Federer’s first two service games as Federer failed to take the initiative on his own serve. I also felt the court looked to be playing slower than other matches I’ve seen in the tournament while watching this set, but maybe Federer wasn’t generating enough power in the set (as I didn’t get that feeling in the rest of the match). However it was a largely forgettable set. If you have time to watch three sets on playback, watch 2 to 4.

Set 2 5-7 (0 breaks to 1)
If you only have time for one, the second set was of a very high standard although Federer missed 2-3 set points with Novak serving at 4-5 including an absolute sitter of a forehand, it was like bouncing up a bit on the service line in the middle of the court, got to be tension. But credit to him for the game he played at 5-6. Novak served superbly in that game. Of all the games in the whole match, it was the only one where Nole was constantly on the attack and Federer scrambling on the defensive to win it by waiting for the error or finally turning defence into the attack in the last point, rather a satisfying role reversal as Nole and Rafa have been doing that to him for years.

Federer’s first serve % (68) and potency was on the rise in set 2 (and remained decent for the rest of the match), and he was timing the ball better, and looking like he might turn in one of his best performances in recent years. Novak was also very good in set 2 I thought, dismissing a couple of threatening looking SABR attacks with a passing shot and a lob winner, and just answering the questions when asked – and they were certainly being asked by an aggressive Federer. At one point he won a point of a Federer smash by cracking a backhand that spun off Federer’s racket. Set 2 was superb, but a sour note was the pro Federer crowd shouting out as Djokovic went to serve, and cheering a missed first serve, something that was particularly notable throughout that set and continued to some extent for the rest of the match on and off.

Set 3 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
In set 3 Federer starting very aggressively, continuing the set 2 form briefly. Then they both lost serve (first Federer) with a loose game. Both players had a slight lull in the set, in the middle of the set Novak seemed to be losing focus and a bit tense, while Federer in general couldn’t sustain the set 2 level although both players continued to serve well enough. At 4-4 Federer, who missed a BP or two in the previous game, had a game point but tried to go for broke with a forehand from deep in his backhand corner leaving him exposed when Novak made a good get. Novak went on to break and win the set 6-4. The difference in the set was probably B/P conversion rates (2/2 vs 1/5). Both players were at a lower level in set 3 though. Federer served 71% first serves this set, but wasn’t as solid this set from the baseline.

Set 4 6-4 (2 breaks to 1)
At two sets to one: rather a feeling of inevitably about it all. Federer eventually going a double break down in the fourth with Djokovic passing him as he came to the net. From 5-2 and a double break down Federer came out swinging with nothing to lose and hit some cracking shots to ensure respectability on the scoreline, but when it really came to the crunch, BPs to level at 5-5, he could not do it.

The match overall.
Both played well, but neither at very best. Both played to their level.

Federer’s backhand was amazing in set 2, and very good the whole match actually. Going to the net for Federer was not as effective as it was against Stan. He did win 66% at the net but you go to the net when you are in the driving seat in the point. Djokovic also won 66% at net.

Novak’s formerly suspect smash appears to be OK now, not one bad one and has been better all year. As a result, he has no weak point. There was no real go to shot for Roger today. Maybe he could have tested the smash more today though.

SABR – I reckon Djokovic was up 5-4 but just a rough count, may not be precise. However I think it was unsettling him a little and maybe caused a double fault or two. It was notable to me that Djokovic did a prolonged fist shake celebration for winning a point against the SABR at a non-crucial moment when he had not done that even for saving break points. Maybe not a key to the match either way though.

Statistically speaking, the numbers suggest a closer match than it felt watching it. Total points won Djokovic leads only 147-145. W/UE Djokovic is in the negative 35/37. Federer is positive at 56/54 a decent number against this class of opponent.

In average play, they matched each other, but Djokovic was stronger on big points. Federer’s BP conversion rate of 4 from 23 is disastrous and match-deciding while Djokovic’s 6 from 13 is way more respectable. Sadly, there are echoes of Federer-Nadal 2006-2009. An alternative argument is breaking Novak once per set is not bad, but he lost his own serve too much. Djokovic had to break twice to win each set.

It’s the same old story for me. Djokovic is the mentally stronger player and that’s why he’s had the edge in the head to head since 2011, at least in slams. He is the player that saved match points and won against Federer twice at this tournament, he is the player that leads 3-0 in matches that went to 5 sets. It all adds up. That’s the difference. It’s the mental on the big points.

Final thought
So the CYGS slam being suggested for Djokovic after the Australian Open was not so silly after all in the end, he was only one match away from success.

Henman Bill

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Post by Henman Bill Tue 15 Sep 2015, 5:34 pm

summerblues wrote:Some more stats on the miserable BP conversion from Fed:

Throughout the match, they both served 21 times.
- Nole reached BPs in 8 separate games (13 BPs) and converted 6 of them.
- Fed reached BPs in 11 separate games (23BPs) and converted 4 of them.


Just for future reference where did you get this stat or did you produce it yourself somehow?

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Post by Henman Bill Tue 15 Sep 2015, 5:44 pm

Good comments from everyone on the how many slams for Djokovic debate.

I think the can't win slams in his 30s argument is being overstated. Players didn't win slams in their 30s in the past because they always tended to come up against a fellow great. Rosewall was brushed aside by Connors in a Wimbledon final, Connors ended up faing first Mcenroe and then losing consistently to Lendl, Becker shut out at Wimbledon by Sampras, Mcenroe losing semis finals at the end of his career to Agassi.

Agassi also faced Federer when he got to the US Open final in 2005. However, he did have more success in his 30s when faced with easier slam finalists. I think Djokovic had a good chance to enjoy some of that. The next great is going to have to come through pretty fast to stop Djokovic streaking ahead more.

Players also retired earlier in some cases in the past (Borg, Sampras to a slight extent) or maybe were less focused on tennis in the later part of their career (? Mcenroe?) and were less driven to keep bumping up the numbers.

We are also seeing a tendency to more longevity that might continue; if players' peak is moving from 22-26 in the past to say 24-29 today, then the 30-32 years are that much nearer peak.

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Post by Henman Bill Tue 15 Sep 2015, 5:47 pm

On the other hand, I think there is always too much short term ism on both forums and the media. An example is how Rafa was finished by 2011/2012 against Djokovic, and then dominating in 2013 again.

So I would not be at all surprised if next year Djokovic has some personal problems or an injury and has a poor year, and someone else goes to number 1 (at least in the second half of the year). It doesn't look likely now, but things do change from one year to the next.

The other part of the debate is whether Rafa will come back.

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Post by socal1976 Tue 15 Sep 2015, 6:02 pm

Henman Bill wrote:Good comments from everyone on the how many slams for Djokovic debate.

I think the can't win slams in his 30s argument is being overstated. Players didn't win slams in their 30s in the past because they always tended to come up against a fellow great. Rosewall was brushed aside by Connors in a Wimbledon final, Connors ended up faing first Mcenroe and then losing consistently to Lendl, Becker shut out at Wimbledon by Sampras, Mcenroe losing semis finals at the end of his career to Agassi.

Agassi also faced Federer when he got to the US Open final in 2005. However, he did have more success in his 30s when faced with easier slam finalists. I think Djokovic had a good chance to enjoy some of that. The next great is going to have to come through pretty fast to stop Djokovic streaking ahead more.

Players also retired earlier in some cases in the past (Borg, Sampras to a slight extent) or maybe were less focused on tennis in the later part of their career (? Mcenroe?) and were less driven to keep bumping up the numbers.

We are also seeing a tendency to more longevity that might continue; if players' peak is moving from 22-26 in the past to say 24-29 today, then the 30-32 years are that much nearer peak.

The key point here I think is the evolution of modern sports medicine. I mean the reason players burned out earlier was because the knowledge and the infrastructure didn't exist to keep them playing at or near peak fitness for so long. This especially helps in a sport like Tennis which is a physical but non-contact game. I mean we have even seen to some extent in football. I mean 50 years ago you tear your ACL you are done, over as footballer. Now you see large numbers of players playing after serious injuries like that and even making speedy comebacks. Also in areas of training, diet, and preventive care are at levels that simply didn't exist in the days of Borg or Mac. Plus the money is such that it really pays to stick around if you are at or near the top no matter how much effort it takes.

I also think Djokovic will be one of those players that has success later in his career. I would be surprised if he didn't win slams in his thirties and he still has a few more opportunities in his twenties as well. He has been super durable playing 70 plus matches a year for I don't know how many years in a row now. His fleixibility and core strength are remarkable, which are two key areas for staying injury free. Plus in regards to his game people tend to categorize him as a great defender and overlook the evolution of his game. He has been very smart in developing a very energy efficient style of play while still utilizing his defensive and speed advantages. He takes the ball early, has started getting more free points on serve, and has become much better in the forecourt to shorten points.

Of course none of us have a crystal ball and I would have thought you were nuts if at the end of 2013 you would have told me that Nadal would barely be in the top ten and would win only 1 slam in the next two years.

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Post by summerblues Thu 17 Sep 2015, 3:33 am

Henman Bill wrote:
summerblues wrote:Some more stats on the miserable BP conversion from Fed:

Throughout the match, they both served 21 times.
- Nole reached BPs in 8 separate games (13 BPs) and converted 6 of them.
- Fed reached BPs in 11 separate games (23BPs) and converted 4 of them.


Just for future reference where did you get this stat or did you produce it yourself somehow?
Somewhere in between.  This site has point-by-point scores (they show them during the match and a few days thereafter) but I had to count them from there manually:

http://www.scoreboard.com/game/djokovic-n-federer-r-2015/2DtOK9O8/#point-by-point;1

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Post by Henman Bill Thu 17 Sep 2015, 8:05 pm

thanks

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