Good morning from Melbourne! 🇦🇺🎾
Novak Djokovic returned to Melbourne Park last night with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over Roberto Carballes Baena.
Here are 10 match stats leading up to his victory in Rd 1.
1: RALLY LENGTH
The first thing to understand is that the vast majority of Novak’s points came from 0-4 trades. In the short rallies, he scored 55% of the points, more than double the score of any other rally length.
- 0-4 Shots = 55% (81)
- 5-8 shots = 25% (37)
- 9+ shots = 20% (30)
- Total = 148
The longest rally in a match is 28 shots won by Djokovic. There was only one other rally in the match where more than 20 shots were achieved. Long rallies are usually more spectacular and memorable, but short rallies give him the most control in the game.
2: RALLY LENGTH ADVANTAGE
Djokovic scored 17 points more than Baena’s Carballes in the 0-4 length of the rally. He also scored 14 more points in the long 9+ rallies and seven more in the medium length rallies.
- 0-4 shots: Djokovic 49 / Carballes Baena 32 = Djokovic +17
- 5-8 shots = Djokovic 22 / Carballes Baena 15 = Djokovic + 7
- 9+ shots = Djokovic 22 / Carballes Baena 8 = Djokovic +14
- Total = 148
There are several takeaways here. Djokovic dominates more at the start than at the end of the rally, partly because of his higher points tally. Secondly, he crushed the Spaniard 22-8 in the Spaniard’s wheelhouse in longer rallies, which bodes ill for the rest of the tournament. Finally, Djokovic won all three lengths of rallies. Carballes Baena had nowhere to find an empty seat.
- Djokovic = 74% (57/77)
- Tournament average = 68%
Djokovic recorded 73% returns in Deuce Ct and 76% in Ad court.
- Forehand returns Deuce Ct = 68% done.
- Deuce Ct backhand turns = 88% done.
- Ad Court forehand returns = 73% done.
- Ad Court Backhand Returns = 89% done.
Djokovic made 70% of the match’s forehand returns and 89% of the backhand returns. He hit 37 forehand returns and 35 backhand returns. It was a strategic mistake by Carballes Baena that served so much to the best backhand in the world.
4: DJOKOVIC SERVICE DIRECTION
Djokovic’s intentions on the Deuce court were crystal clear. The primary location was a wide slider stroke to pull the opponent away from the court and open an immediate advertising court hole for exploitation.
Carballes Baena: First serve returns Deuce Court
- Forehand Turns CB = Made 15/20
- CB Backhand Turns = Done 6/10
Carballes Baena: The first serve returns to the advertising court
- Forehand Turns CB = Made 10/14
- CB Backhand Turns = Completed 12/16
In the advertising court, things were different. Djokovic similarly mixed wide and down the T, landing 14 first serves for forehand return and 16 for backhand. In Deuce’s court, he warmed up the heat. In the advertising court, he worked to confuse the opponent. Look for similar patterns as it makes its way through the draw.
5: AVERAGE RALLY LENGTH
The average length of a rally in a match was 5.25 shots. This is exactly where Djokovic likes to be. The key here is that the point develops a little, but not too much. It’s all about finding the right playing patterns and rallies to screw your opponent.
6: NET POINTS WINNING
Djokovic scored an impressive 23/26 at the net, including a 4/4 serve and volley. Hitting the net 26 times in three sets = 8.7 per set. This is an aggressive tactic that Djokovic perfects in the first round to use again and again as he progresses through the tournament. In comparison, Nadal won 20/24 in his Rd 1, four set victory over Jack Draper. He still averaged only six times per set. Djokovic definitely refines his game across the court for the later innings.
7: EXECUTING FOREHOK/BACKHOK
- Winners = 18
- Errors = 21
- +/- = -3
- Winners = 6
- Errors = 18
- +/- = -12
Djokovic’s forehand was the main move in this match. When you compare winners vs. errors, he had -3 on the forehands and -12 on the backhands. Djokovic has arguably the best backhand in the world, but the forehand usually has more of an impact and wins the match.
8: WIN SERVICE
Djokovic served 13 times in the match. He won all 13 games, including saving all three break points he faced. If you can’t break the Super Serb, there’s no chance of getting an upset. Then you consider that he is so dominant in turns that he always has a chance to break. It wins at both ends of the spectrum.
9: BASE POINTS WON
- Djokovic = 59% (44/75)
- Tournament average = 47%
Djokovic scored an impressive 59% of his base points in the first round. That’s a really big number, even for him. Expect this average to drop a bit as the tournament progresses, but it shows how strong he is already at the back of the court.
10: BREAK POINTS
Djokovic won all three break points he faced – two on the first serve and one on the second serve. He serves on the return side of Carballes Baena’s forehand on all three occasions. He scored one point with a forehand volley winner, one with a forehand volley winner, and also extracted a forehand fault from his opponent. Djokovic dominated with forehands. Pure and simple.
Djokovic was “on song” in his first-round victory and felt better and better as the match progressed. Here are two post-match quotes.
“Like I said, the big sign was that the longer the match went on, the better I felt, the better I moved. I’ve also adapted to my opponent’s style of play, which I haven’t played in a while. Thanks to him, he served well, he played well, especially in the second set, which made the game even.
But I think by the end of the second one, I just started playing in a different gear, so to speak. In the third set, I think in the first three games I lost a point or something, in the third set. So yeah, I’m just glad I could end up like me.
Djokovic now plays winner Hugo Dellien and qualifier Enzo Couacauda. Another great opportunity to polish your game in the second week here in Melbourne.