G’day from Melbourne! 🇦🇺🎾
Novak Djokovic returned to Melbourne Park last night with a dominant 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena.
Here are 10 stats from the match that drill down into his Rd 1 victory.
1: RALLY LENGTH
The first thing to understand is that the vast majority of points Novak played were in the 0-4 rally length. He played 55% of points in the short rallies, which was more than double any other rally length.
- 0-4 Shots = 55% (81)
- 5-8 Shots = 25% (37)
- 9+ Shots = 20% (30)
- Total = 148
The longest rally of the match was 28 shots, which Djokovic won. There was only one other rally for the match that reached 20+ shots. The long rallies are typically the more spectacular ones that stick in your memory, but it’s the short ones where he gains the most control in the match.
2: RALLY LENGTH ADVANTAGE
Djokovic won 17 more points than Carballes Baena in the 0-4 rally length. He also won 14 more points in the long rallies of 9+ and seven more in mid-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 a few takeaways here. Djokovic dominates more early than late in the rally, partly because of the bigger volume of points. Secondly, he crushed the Spaniard 22-8 in the Spaniard’s wheelhouse of longer rallies, which is an ominous sign for the rest of the tournament. Lastly, Djokovic won all three rally lengths. There was nowhere for Carballes Baena to find an opening.
3: RETURNS IN
- Djokovic = 74% (57/77)
- Tournament Average = 68%
Djokovic made 73% of returns in the Deuce Ct and 76% in the Ad court.
- Deuce Ct Forehand Returns = 68% made.
- Deuce Ct Backhand Returns = 88% made.
- Ad Court Forehand Returns = 73% made.
- Ad Court Backhand Returns = 89% made.
Djokovic made 70% of his forehand returns for the match and 89% of his backhand returns. He hit 37 forehand returns and 35 backhand returns. This was a strategic error from Carballes Baena to serve so much to the best backhand return in the world.
4: DJOKOVIC SERVE DIRECTION
Djokovic’s intentions in the Deuce court were crystal clear. The primary location was to hit the wide slider to pull his opponent off the court and open up an immediate hole in the Ad court to exploit.
Carballes Baena: 1st Serve Returns Deuce Court
- CB Forehand Returns = Made 15/20
- CB Backhand Returns = Made 6/10
Carballes Baena: 1st Serve Returns Ad Court
- CB Forehand Returns = Made 10/14
- CB Backhand Returns = Made 12/16
Things were different in the Ad court. Djokovic mixed out wide and down the T similarly, hitting 14 first serves to the forehand return and 16 to the backhand. In the Deuce court, he brought the heat out wide. In the Ad court, he worked on confusing his opponent. Look for similar patterns as he works his way through the draw.
5: AVERAGE RALLY LENGTH
The average rally length for the 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 play patterns and rally length to turn the screws on the opponent.
6: NET POINTS WON
Djokovic won a commanding 23/26 points at the net, including 4/4 serving and volleying. Coming to the net 26 times in three sets = 8.7 per set. This is an aggressive tactic that Djokovic is refining in round one to employ again and again as he moves through the tournament. As a comparison, Nadal won 20/24 in his Rd 1, four-set victory over Jack Draper. Nadal only averaged coming to the net six times per set. Djokovic is definitely refining his all-court game for the later rounds.
7: FOREHAND/BACKHAND PERFORMANCE
- Winners = 18
- Errors = 21
- +/- = -3
- Winners = 6
- Errors = 18
- +/- = -12
Djokovic’s forehand was the prime mover in this match. When you compare winners to errors, he was -3 on forehands and -12 on backhands. Djokovic has arguably the best backhand in the world, but the forehand typically has more impact on the match to secure victory.
8: SERVICE GAMES WON
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 is no chance of scoring an upset. Then you factor in that he is so dominant on returns that he always is a chance to break. He is winning on both ends of the spectrum.
9: BASELINE POINTS WON
- Djokovic = 59% (44/75)
- Tournament Average = 47%
Djokovic won a commanding 59% of his baseline points in round one. This is a really high number, even for him. Expect this average to come down a little as the tournament progresses, but it shows you how strong he already is from the back of the court.
10: BREAK POINTS
Djokovic won all three break points he faced – two with a first serve and one with a second serve. In all three instances, he serves to Carballes Baena’s forehand return side. He won one point with a forehand winner, one with a forehand volley winner, and also extracted a forehand error from his opponent. Djokovic dominated with forehands. Pure and simple.
Djokovic was “on song” in his round one win and felt better and better as the match progressed. Here are two post-match quotes.
“As I said, the great sign was that the longer the match went, the better I felt, the better I moved. I also adjusted to the game style of my opponent that I haven’t played for a while. Credit to him, he has served well, played well, particularly in the second set, to keep the match quite even.
But I think towards the end of the second, I just kind of started playing in another gear, so to say. The third set, I think first three games I lost one point or something, in the third set. So, yeah, just really glad to be able to finish the way I did.”
Djokovic now plays the winner of Hugo Dellien and qualifier Enzo Couacaud. Another great opportunity to fine-tune his game for week two here in Melbourne.