We started on Monday with 128 players holding big dreams of being the last one standing in Melbourne this year.
Ninety-six have already packed their bags after four days of play, leaving just 32 players still alive in the singles draw. Of the players that are left, let’s take a look at who has dominated on the serving side of the equation in the first two rounds. The leading three players in each statistical category are highlighted below.
To give the serve data some perspective, below is a quote from Novak Djokovic’s second-round post-match press conference. He thinks the courts are slick!
1st Serves In (Tournament Average = 64%)
- Nick Kyrgios = 72% (159/221)
- Mikael Ymer = 72% (227/316)
- Rafael Nadal = 71% (99/139)
Kyrgios was from another planet in his opening round match against Frederico Ferreira Silva, making a jaw-dropping 80% (55/69) of his first serves. His fastest first serve was 215 km/h, while averaging 191 km/h. Kyrgios struck 14 aces in the 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory, and was broken twice in 15 service games. Ymer has had two very impressive wins against Hubert Hurkacz and Carlos Alcaraz. He made 76% of his first serves in the five-set victory over Hurkacz.
1st Serve Points Won (Tournament Average = 71%)
- Milos Raonic = 89% (92/103)
- Alex De Minaur = 86% (81/94)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas = 85% (107/126)
Very interesting to see De Minaur in second position here. He is not doing it with aces, as he only has five – compared to Raonic’s 43. He has defeated Tennys Sandgren and Pablo Cuevas, both in straight sets. The quick Melbourne courts have definitely been to his liking. You may not think of De Minaur as a huge server, but of the 32 players left in the draw, he has the fastest serve of the tournament, at 228km/h (141.7mph). De Minaur plays Fabio Fognini next.
2nd Serve Points Won (Tournament Average = 51%)
- Milos Raonic = 69% (37/54)
- Novak Djokovic = 63% (38/60)
- Felix Auger-Aliassime = 63% (29/46)
Raonic is again leading the pack behind his second serve. He has defeated Federico Coria and Corentin Moutet in the first two rounds and now plays Marton Fucsovics in the third round. Raonic has hit eight aces from his second serve. Djokovic sits ominously in second place. In his second-round victory against Frances Tiafoe, Djokovic was hitting a lot of surprise 2nd serves to the forehand. In the Deuce court, 10 went wide to the forehand, seven at the body, and only three to the center (the traditional 2nd serve location). In the Ad court, Djokovic went 13 to the center to the forehand, four at the body, and only four out wide. The secret sauce is in the mix.
Unreturned 1st Serves (Tournament Average = 38%)
- Matteo Berrettini = 59% (88/150)
- Milos Raonic = 58% (60/103)
- Lloyd Harris = 57% (84/147)
Berrettini has defeated Kevin Anderson and Tomas Machac and plays Karen Khachanov next. The Italian is averaging almost six out of every 10 first serves not coming back in play. He has 33 aces in the tournament so far and is loving the quick conditions in Melbourne. South African, Lloyd Harris, sits in third positon out of 32 players and will be brimming with confidence after a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Aussie Alexei Popyrin.
Unreturned 2nd Serves (Tournament Average = 19%)
- Milos Raonic = 33% (15/46)
- Nick Kyrgios = 29% (16/56)
- Feliciano Lopez = 28% (32/113)
Just imagine how nice it must feel to have a third of your 2nd serves unreturned! That should be illegal, but that’s exactly where Raonic sits after two rounds with 33% second serves unreturned. Kyrgios sits in second place. The Aussie likes to mix second serve speeds a lot to keep opponents off balance. Feliciano Lopez fought back from a two-set deficit in his second-round match against Lorenzo Sonego, triumphing 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Things get decidedly tougher for the Spaniard in the next round as he faces Andrey Rublev.
- Lloyd Harris = 46
- Nick Kyrgios = 44
- Milos Raonic = 43
Harris dropped 21 aces in his Rd 1 match and 25 in his second round. Harris plays American, Mackenzie McDonald in the third round. Expect 20+ aces in that match as well. On the other end of the spectrum, Diego Schwartzman has battled through to the third round while only collecting one ace for the tournament. The other players to be in single digits for aces are De Minaur (5), Fabio Fognini (7), Dominic Thiem (8), Ymer (9), and Fucsovics (9).
Break Points Saved (Tournament Average = 60%)
- Milos Raonic = 100% (2/2)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas = 100% (3/3)
- Matteo Berrettini = 94% (15/16)
I am not sure which is more impressive… Raonic and Tsitsipas not being broken yet for the tournament of Berrettini fending off 15 out of 16 break points faced. Both are admirable efforts! Felix Auger-Aliassime has only faced one break point in the tournament to date, but he lost it. Ymer has faced the most break points of players left in the tournament with 32. He has saved 63% (20/32) of them.
Service Games Won (Tournament Average = 79%)
- Milos Raonic = 100% (31/31)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas = 100% (36/36)
- Matteo Berrettini = 97% (34/35)
Getting broken is going to happen in a tennis match – unless of course you are Raonic or Tsitsipas! They are the only two players who have won every service game so far. There are a slew of players who have only been broken once in the tournament so far. They are Berrettini (34/35), Rublev (29/30), Dimitrov (28/29), De Minaur (27/28), Nadal (25/26), Auger-Aliassime (24/25), and Aslan Karatsev (22/23).
Is this the year that the best servers wrestle back control of Rod Laver Arena from the best returners? The slick courts will certainly help.