G’day from Roland Garros,
The top half of the men’s draw has eight players through to the 4th Round, which means one of these eight will be in the final. Here’s the draw.
- (1) Carlos Alcararaz vs. (17) Lorenzo Musetti
- (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Sebastian Ofner
- (3) Novak Djokovic vs. Juan Pablo Varillas
- (11) Karen Khackanov vs. Lorenzo Sonego
I came into the media center this morning to learn more about their forehand performance so far in the tournament. Who is hitting more winners or fewer errors, or has the best relationship between these two metrics?
It’s not easy because totals can vary widely by the number of sets played. For example, Novak Djokovic has won all three matches in straight sets = 9 sets. Juan Pablo Varillas has played three five-set matches (15 sets), so his data set will naturally be significantly more robust.
So I broke down forehand performance by sets played to try and compare apples to apples. Here’s what I found…
1: Forehand Winners / Set
Stefanos Tsitsipas has the most lethal forehand out of the top half, with almost seven (6.7) forehand winners per set to the fourth Round. Interestingly, his opponent is Sebastian Ofner, who is only averaging around half that total, at 3.64 forehand winners per set. You could imagine the Tsitsipas game plan would be to pound forehand to forehand in the Deuce court to extract a short ball to finish the point. It’s also interesting to see Alcaraz in the middle of the pack with 4.80 forehand winners per set and Djokovic second last with 4.44.
4th Rd: Top Half Of The Draw – Forehand Winners / Set
2: Forehand Errors / Set
Lorenzo Musetti has defeated Mikael Ymer, Alexander Shevchenko, and Cameron Norrie all in straight sets. Six of the nine sets played have either been 6-1 or 6-2. As you can see from the table below, he is the peak performer with the least amount of errors per set at 6.56. That is well below the average of this group at 9.44. Lorenzo Sonego is making the most errors at 11.33 per set.
4th Rd: Top Half Of The Draw – Forehand Error / Set
3: Forehand Winners – Forehand Errors
I like looking at total performance like this. Here’s how it works. Let’s use Novak as an example.
- Novak has hit 40 forehand winners
- Novak has hit 93 forehand errors
- 40 winners – 93 errors = -53
These numbers will almost always be negative as tennis has around 70% errors and 30% winners. Also, the more sets played, the higher the number. But in saying that, Varillas played the most sets and came in 3rd place with a -37 total. Musetti is once again the leader of the pack here, and in second place is his fourth-round opponent, Carlos Alcaraz. What a match-up that is proving to be!
4th Rd: Top Half Of The Draw – Forehand Winners – Forehand Errors
Tsitsipas has the most explosive forehand out of this group. I love his clean, tight technique that gets the ball through the court nice and fast, but it has a lot of rotation that really brings it down as it crosses the opponent’s service line. It’s a power forehand first and a spin forehand second.
Musetti is doing a great job of not letting his forehand loose. This has not always been the case, so it’s nice to pinpoint what parts of his game is improving. Lastly, Musetti, Alcaraz, Varillas, and Tsitsipas seem to have a good handle on winners – errors, all being below -40.
I hope you enjoyed a new way to evaluate forehand performance. Great looking forward to seeing how these matches unfold.