Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Novak Djokovic claimed his 3rd major title of the year and the 10th of his career with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer in 3 hours 20 minutes. The key to the match were the big points – the break points – where Federer had 23 break points against Djokovic’s serve and converted just 4 times. Djokovic had 13 break points against Federer’s serve and broke 6 times. For the match Djokovic won 147 total points to 145 for Federer.

Federer was the aggressor, hitting more winners (56 to 35) and making more unforced errors (54 to 37) but one of the key reasons Federer struggled on break points was that 29 of his 54 unforced errors came from his favorite and usually most dependable shot, his forehand. Federer hit 64% of his 1st serves in play, won 71% of those points and won just 46% when he had to hit a 2nd serve. Djokovic hit 62% of his 1st serves in play, won 66% of those points and won 54% on 2nd serve for the match.

First set to Djokovic 6-4 in 41 minutes. Federer had lost serve only twice in reaching the final was broken twice in the first set by Djokovic. His serve and unforced errors were the issue for Federer. He hit 53% of his 1st serves in play (well below his 65% tournament average) and he won just 8 of 19 points when he had to hit a 2nd serve (42%), again well below what he did to reach the final (61% 2nd serve points won). Federer faced break points in 4 of his 5 service games in the opening set. He faced 8 total break points and put his 1st serve in just twice (25%) on those points.

Federer had 16 unforced errors and 11 winners in the opening set – Djokovic had 7 winners and 8 unforced. Djokovic hit 69% of his 1st serves in play and won 72% of those points – he also won 63% on 2nd serves.

Second set to Federer 7-5 in 62 minutes. Federer improved his serving (1st serves in play 68%) and dominated with his 1st serve in the set (won 21 of 23 first serve points). After facing 8 break points against serve in the opening set, Federer did not face a break point in the 2nd set. Instead it was Djokovic who felt all the pressure. Djokovic faced 9 break points in the 2nd set and finally lost the 9th one which was also a set point at 5-6.

Federer did not back off his aggressive style – he hit 15 winners and made 15 unforced errors in the 2nd set. Djokovic had 11 winners and 10 unforced errors. Federer’s return of serve was very impressive in the 2nd set as he returned 43 of 51 (84%) which gave Djokovic very few easy points on serve.

Third set Djokovic 6-4 in 50 minutes. This set was all about the big points. Federer had 5 chances to break Djokovic and converted once. Djokovic had 2 break points against Federer and converted them both. After trading breaks in the third and fourth games of the set, Federer had 2 break points with Djokovic serving at 3-4 to take a 5-3 lead and could not convert. With Djokovic serving for the set at 5-4, Federer had 2 more break chances that he let slip away.

Federer won more points in the 3rd set than Djokovic (37-36), he hit more winners (13-10), had fewer unforced errors (11-12), but the big points cost him the set. Through 3 sets Djokovic had broken Federer’s serve 5 times.

Fourth set Djokovic 6-4 in 47 minutes. Djokovic jumped out to an early lead breaking Federer in the opening game of the set and breaking again for a 5-2 lead. Federer didn’t go away easily as he broke Djokovic to get back to 3-5, held for 4-5 and had 3 more break chances in the final game of the match before Djokovic closed it out. The final set was a microcosm of the entire match as Federer converted just 1 of his 6 break chances.


Djokovic did not hit a lot of 1st serves in play when he faced break point, but his performance on 2nd serve under that pressure was remarkable – he won 10 of the 11 break points he had to play on his 2nd serve – the only one he lost was when he was serving for the match leading 5-2 in the 4th set.



For more U. S. Open 2015 commentary by the numbers, follow #GameChangersIBM on Twitter

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September, 12th 2015



Djokovic vs. Federer

Djokovic Highlights:

  • Great serving – 64% 1sts serves in play – 78% 1st serve points won – 64% 2nd serve points won
  • Strong return game – 74% returns in play – 36% won returning 1st serves – 56% won returning 2nd serves – 35 breaks in 68 return games (41%)
  • 59 forehand winners – 34 backhand winners (but 63 backhand unforced errors)


Federer Highlights:

  • Almost flawless serving – held 80 of 82 service games – 65% 1st serves in play – 82% 1st serve points won – 61% 2nd serve points won
  • Strong return game – won 38% returning 1st serves – 52% returning 2nd serves – broke serve 29 times in 79 return games (37%)
  • Great balance from the backcourt – 59 forehand winners – 44 backhand winners



Federer leads their head to head 21-20 having won 3 of their last 4 meetings on hard courts.  Federer defeated Djokovic in their last meeting last month in Cincinnati.  These are the two best players in the world playing their best tennis.  The surface helps Federer’s aggressive game and his much improved backhand gives him hope that he can claim his 6th US Open title.  Both players have been dominant on serve and the challenge as always for Federer in this matchup will be to withstand Djokovic’s return pressure and apply pressure when Djokovic is serving.

Federer will need to apply consistent pressure on Djokovic from the ground as well.  Nishikori defeated Djokovic here last year by taking the ball early and taking time away from Djokovic.  Federer has been doing that very well in his early round matches and will need to continue to take the ball on the rise and hit out on his backhand to keep Djokovic on the defensive.  1st serves in play is usually a key in this matchup as both players excel behind their first serves.  Both have been effective returning 2nd serves and that’s a strength for Djokovic.

Federer came into the Wimbledon final this year having lost serve just once, but his serve just couldn’t stand up to the pressure of Djokovic’s return and Roger wasn’t able to exert enough pressure on Djokovic’s serve. In Cincinnati Federer did not face a break point and it was Djokovic under constant pressure.  So we’ve got one of the greatest aggressive players in Federer against one of the greatest defenders in Djokovic.  Should be another classic.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.35.40 AM


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Flavia Pennetta claimed her first Grand Slam singles title with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Roberta Vinci in 1 hour 33 minutes.  Pennetta was able to handle the low bouncing slice and the net rushing style of Vinci much better than Serena Williams did in the semifinals.  Pennetta’s defense was strong, holding Vinci to just 15 of 30 points on net approaches.  Pennetta showed her doubles skills winning 16 of 20 when she came in.

Pennetta started slowly, showing nerves and making mistakes which kept the first set close (Pennetta hit 17 winners and made 19 unforced errors in the 1st set), but she cleaned up her game in the 2nd set (11 winners and just 3 unforced errors).  Vinci struggled to find the form that took her to victory over world number 1 Serena Williams just 24 hours earlier.  Playing against an opponent who moved much better than Serena, Vinci’s low slice and angled approaches didn’t create the same results.  Vinci had 10 winners and made 20 unforced errors in the first set, 11 winners and 10 unforced in the second set, but that improvement couldn’t keep pace with how well Pennetta played as the match progressed.

Pennetta held 8 of her 10 service games – dropping serve once in each set.  Vinci was able to convert 2 of her 4 break chances.  Pennetta broke Vinci’s serve 4 times, once in the first set and 3 times in the second set. Both players hit 64% of their first serves in play – Pennetta won 69% of her 1st serve points while Vinci was able to win just 55% when she hit her 1st serves in.  Vinci’s inability to control her own 1st serves ultimately cost her the match.

Vinci’s challenge was to try to go for more against her bigger, stronger opponent.  That resulted in Vinci making many more unforced errors than usual as her margin for error just got too small.  With Pennetta not making mistakes in the 2nd set she was able to close it out with ease.


So how did Pennetta go from being the 26th seed to being the US Open Champion?  Let’s look at her serving and returning numbers for 2015 coming into the US Open and what she accomplished during the tournament:

USO_65_Pennetta_twitter_SI 9.12  

There’s an old saying in tennis “your only as good as your 2nd serve”, well Flavia Pennetta improved her performance on her own 2nd serve and returning 2nd serves in the US Open against opponents who included a former US Open champ (Stosur) and 2 players ranked in the top 5 in the world (Kvitova and Halep).  Improving her 2nd serve performance from 45% won to 54% won helped her increase her service games won to 77%.  Improving her return of 2nd serve improved her return games won percentage to 47% from 37%.  Improve your 2nd serve and you could become second to none!


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September, 12th 2015


Vinci Highlights:
Solid serving under pressure – she saved 35 of 51 break points faced
Strong return game – won 38% returning 1st serves – won 54% returning 2nd serves – 25 breaks in 61 return games played
Forehand is her from the backcourt – 42 forehand winners – 9 backhand winners, but backhand slice can be effective

Pennetta Highlights:
Solid serving – 68% won on 1st serves – 55% won on 2nd serves is exceptional – she saved 23 of 38 break points faced
Strong return game – won 41% returning 1st serves – won 60% returning 2nd serves – 30 breaks in 66 return games played
Solid and balanced from the backcourt – 37 forehand winners – 37 backhand winners

Matchup: Pennetta leads their head to head 5-3 including their last meeting here at the US Open in 2013. Pennetta has more attacking options than Vinci (the same number of winners off her forehand and backhand), where Vinci will look to attack with her forehand. They have similar styles in that they both prefer to play defensive rather than aggressive tennis. It will be interesting to see which player tries to take charge.

Pennetta is the bigger, more powerful of the two and she can be aggressive with either her forehand or backhand. Vinci can attack with her backhand but it will almost always be with a slice approach or drop shot. Vinci is a very good doubles player and will look to get into net whenever the opportunity arises. Both players are good returning serve, especially 2nd serves, so getting first serves in play will be key for both.

Nerves will play a big part of this match as this is the first career Grand Slam final for both. Pennetta has been known to feel nerves in big matches and she is the favorite based on ranking and head to head history so it will be key for her to try to stay calm and focused on her game. Vinci should play the same way she did in the semis against Serena Williams, just hit the ball in the court and run!!

2015 US Open Women’s Final Preview
15 Aces 20
13 Double Faults 15
24% Unreturned Serves 27%
59% 1st Serve % 57%
66% 1st Serve Points 68%
51% 2nd Serve Points 55%
16 Broken 15
51 Break Points Faced 38
61 Games Served 65
74% Service Games Held 77%
106 mph Fastest Serve 109 mph
94 mph Average 1st Serve 99 mph
75 mph Average 2nd Serve 77 mph
75% Returns in Play 78%
38% 1st Return Points Won 41%
54% 2nd Return Points Won 60%
25 Breaks of Serve 30
57 Break Points 66
44% Pct. Converted 45%
61 Return Games Played 63
41% Return Games Won % 48%
42 Forehand Winners 37
63 Forehand Unforced Errors 38
9 Backhand Winners 37
36 Backhand Unforced Errors 30
104 Winners 106
119 Unforced Errors 88
70 of 116 Net Points Won 28 of 48
60% Net Points Won 58%
51% Baseline Points Won 54%
52 Games Lost 48
4 Sets lost 3
29.03 feet Distance per Point 35.34 feet
4.66 miles Total Distance Run 5.59 miles
9:25 Time on Court 8:55
  Statistics courtesy of

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Flavia Pennetta upset the world number 2 Simona Halep 6-1, 6-3 in just 59 minutes to advance to her first ever Grand Slam singles final.  Pennetta dominated the match from the outset as Halep could not find her rhythm and gave away too many easy points.  As the match progressed Pennetta became more aggressive and really took control.

Flavia Pennetta took the opening set in just 28 minutes.  She faced just one break point and did not lose serve while Halep felt the pressure of facing 5 break points.  Pennetta broke twice and the set was hers.  Pennetta had 7 total winners to just 4 from Halep and Halep had more unforced errors 14 – to 11.

Halep jumped out to a quick lead in the 2nd set and looked like she was going to make this a match.  She led 3-1, 15-15, serving and Pennetta came alive.  Pennetta ran off the next 15 straight points – 6 from Halep unforced errors – 7 Pennetta winners – a 2 errors forced by Pennetta’s aggressive play to take a 5-3 lead.  Halep won the first point of the next game to end the streak, but Pennetta won the match on her second match point with her 9th forehand winner, breaking Halep for the 6th time.  Pennetta hit 16 total winners in the 2nd set and made just 5 unforced errors, showing aggression that she hadn’t shown much throughout the tournament.

For the match, Pennetta had 23 total winners, made 16 unforced errors, held 6 of 8 service games and broke Halep’s serve 6 times.  Halep hit 10 total winners, made 23 unforced errors and won only 18 of her 45 service points.  Pennetta dominated the short and mid-length points winning 44 of 66 points that lasted fewer than 9 shots.  Halep was able to hold her own on the really long rallies winning 14 of 27 points that lasted more than 8 shots.

Unseeded Roberta Vinci ended Serena Williams’ march to history with a 3 set victory to claim her spot in the US Open Women’s Singles Final.  Vinci overcame the power of Serena by using her slice backhand to move the ball around, her great court coverage to spit back as many shots as she could and some solid tactical tennis to advance to her first career Grand Slam final, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours.  Her win sets up an historic US Open final between two Italian women, a Grand Slam first.

Serena Williams powered her way through the opening set against Roberta Vinci 6-2, in 31 minutes, taking the last 5 games after Vinci broke for a 2-1 lead.  Williams hammered home 16 winners to just 3 from Vinci.  Williams broke Vinci 3 straight times, dominating when Vinci had to hit a 2nd serve (Serena won 8 of 11 second serve return points).  Vinci won just 10 of her 24 total service points.  Both players made 8 unforced errors in the set.

Williams started the 2nd set with a couple of loose points and was quickly down 0-40 on her serve.  She fired back to take the next 5 points to hold for a 1-0 lead.  Serena once again got down 0-40 on her serve in the 5th game of the set and fought off 2 break points before giving up the break with a backhand unforced error sprayed wide down the line.  Vinci consolidated the break to take a 4-2 lead in the set.  Vinci fought off break points in her next two service games to take the 2nd set 6-4.  Serena had 19 total winners and 13 unforced errors in the set – Vinci had 9 winners and made only 4 unforced errors.  After dropping serve 3 times in the opening set, Vinci held all 5 of her service games in the 2nd set, saving 2 break points against her serve.  Serena fired in 8 aces in the set but faced 6 break points and lost serve once which cost her the set.

Serena came out strong to start the 3rd set and broke for a 2-0 lead.  Vinci broke right back courtesy of 4 unforced errors from Williams in the next game to get them back on serve at 1-2.  They stayed on serve until the 7th game of the set when Serena gave up back to back unforced errors to give the break and the lead to Vinci 4-3.  Vinci saved 2 break points at 4-3 to hold for 5-3 and served out the match at love to win 6-4.

For the match Williams hit 50 total winners and made 40 unforced errors – Vinci had 19 winners and 20 unforced errors. Williams won more total points 93 to 85, but she converted just 4 of her 11 break point chances.  Vinci was a perfect 2 of 2 in the final set.  Serena’s backhand, usually her stronger side, fell apart under the pressure and the persistence of Vinci’s low bouncing slice – Serena hit 7 backhand winners but made 22 backhand unforced errors.  Vinci also used her doubles skills, winning 18 of her 25 net approaches.  After losing 3 of her first 4 service games, Vinci held 9 of her last 10 and saved 5 of the 6 break points she faced in the final two sets.

Novak Djokovic crushed defending champ Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 in 1 hour 25 minutes.  Djokovic dominated in every facet of the game, breaking the hard serving Cilic 8 times in 10 service games.  Djokovic finished the match with 16 total winners and just 13 unforced errors – Cilic had 11 total winners and made 37 unforced errors.  Djokovic hit 66% 1st serves in play, won 76% of those 1st serve points and won an amazing 79% on his 2nd serve and didn’t face a break point until the 3rd set. Cilic hit just 45% of his 1st serves in play, won 60% of those points but won just 8 of 36 points when he had to hit a 2nd serve.  For the match, Cilic won just 26 of his 66 service points and held serve twice.

Roger Federer demolished Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hour 32 minutes to advance to the US Open final for the first time in 6 years.  Federer dominated on serve, from the baseline and at net.  Federer did not lose serve, saved the 4 break points he faced and broke Wawrinka’s serve 5 times. Federer ended the match with his 10th ace.  He hit 65% of his 1st serves in play, won 80% of his 1st serve points and 63% of his 2nd serve points.  Federer held all 13 of his service games.  He finished the match with 29 total winners and just 17 unforced errors, won 22 of 28 net approaches and 44 of 68 baseline points.

Wawrinka hit just 49% of his 1st serves in play and won just 58% of those points.  Stan had 25 total winners and 30 unforced errors.  Nothing seemed to work for him – he won just 9 of 18 net approaches and only 21 of 78 baseline points.

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