News ID: 255878
Published: 0225 GMT July 16, 2019

How Djokovic dominated tiebreaks against Federer

How Djokovic dominated tiebreaks against Federer

What happened in the three tiebreaks was the exact opposite of what happened all around them.

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) in Sunday’s Wimbledon final after saving two match points with Federer serving 8-7, 40/15 in the fifth set, and then Djokovic dramatically saved two break points on his own serve at 11-11, Ad Out, just a few games later, reported.

The match statistics were overwhelmingly dominated by Federer, except for a handful of moments when Djokovic was able to reign supreme. In all three sets Djokovic won, he controlled the tiebreaks, making Federer significantly bend to his own intentions of playing the big points on the Serbian’s terms with both players trading blows from the back of the court.

At first glance, Federer’s overall net stats look extremely impressive. But when you break down when they occurred – and more importantly when they didn’t – the first real glimpse of this stunning defeat becomes clearer.

Federer won 13/15 points serving and volleying and 51/65 points approaching the net from a baseline position. But in the 33 total points in all three tiebreaks combined, the Swiss won only one solitary point at net from just two forays forward.

Check mate.

Twenty of the 33 points (61 percent) in the three tiebreaks were contested with both players standing at the baseline, which played perfectly into Djokovic’s masterplan. Djokovic won 16 of the baseline exchanges, while Federer accumulated only four. Of the eight rallies that reached double digits, Djokovic won six.

In the big moments at the end of sets one, three and five, with an illustrious Wimbledon title up for grabs, Djokovic fought the fight on his terms – and ultimately on his turf. To rub salt into the wound, Djokovic won more points at net (three) than Federer did (one) in the three tiebreaks.

When Federer held two championship points serving at 8-7, 40/15 in the fifth set, he lost four consecutive points. Three of them were contested with both players standing at the back of the court.

The match contained 422 points, with almost half of them (46 percent) finishing with both players standing on their own baseline after the serve and return had successfully been hit in the court.

Throughout the match, when Djokovic kept Federer back and was able to go toe-to-toe from the trenches, he crafted a vastly superior advantage.


First serves to body


Serving right at the body with first serves is a forgotten tactic of yesteryear, rarely seen on the ATP Tour on any surface. Djokovic might have single-handedly revived it on Sunday at SW19. In an effort to jam up Federer’s forward-moving return strategy, Djokovic aimed right at Federer 10 times in the final, winning an impressive eight of those points.

By contrast, Federer served only one first-serve at Djokovic’s body in the final, winning the point. Djokovic also hit nine first-serves at the body against Hubert Hurkacz in the third round, winning eight of nine. If we start seeing an uptick in body serves in the upcoming North-American hard-court swing, we might know why.

Djokovic’s fifth Wimbledon title is impressive on so many levels. Forcing Federer to play the majority of tiebreak points in baseline-to-baseline exchanges is as close to the bullseye of why he won as you will get.


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