Djokovic vs. Nadal
- Solid consistent 1st serve – 69% in play – 74% 1st serve points won – won 61% of 2nd serves
- Dominating return of serve – generated 86 break points in 21 sets played – broke serve 38 times – broke serve 7 or more times in 4 of 6 matches
- Forehand has been his weapon from the backcourt – 73 forehand winners (also had 77 forehand unforced errors)
- Amazing serving – broken just once in the tournament – faced only 12 break points in 19 sets played
- Dominating forehand from the baseline – 113 forehand winners
- Great play at net – won 108 of 133 net approaches (81%)
Nadal leads the head to head 21-15 having won 5 of their last 6 meetings. Djokovic won 7 straight from March 2011 through January 2012 including the 2012 Australian Open final which lasted 5 hours 53 minutes. Nadal won their last Grand Slam match earlier this year in Paris, 9-7 in the 5th set, in a relatively quick 4 hours 37 minutes.
Nadal held serve 73 straight games before getting broken in the 2nd set of his semifinal here and has done it with placement and variety rather than sheer power. He’s been moving his serves around the box to both the Deuce and Ad courts, going at the body quite a bit, and has used his lethal forehand to finish what his serve sets up.
When Djokovic was dominating Rafa in 2011, it was his two handed backhand crosscourt to the Nadal forehand that keyed his victories. Novak would use that shot to get Rafa deep and wide to his forehand side and that would open up the rest of the court. If Nadal answered back crosscourt, Djokovic had the down the line two hander (one of his favorite shots) and if Nadal hit his forehand down the line, Djokovic had a crosscourt forehand to make Nadal hit his backhand on the run. The challenge for Djokovic here is his backhand has not been as reliable as usual (32 backhand winners – 70 backhand unforced errors). He’ll need to improve on that to claim another US Open title.