I suppose you're right, really. I was thinking of the 2010 wins for Verdasco specifically (as the others all went with form) but obviously Nole went walkabouts a bit that season.
2012 Queen's : Tsonga got injured from his finger and wouldn't continue the tournament even if he had beat Dodig.Dodig beat Tsonga both the times they played. Assuming this is down to Tsonga being a clown on return?
Excellent thread and a useful bible, I have my own opinions I've formed over the years and I happen to have discovered a lot of matchup issues this guy has found. I agree with most of them, not only for the head to head stat but from a technical standpoint.I came accross a very unfortunate MTF thread questioning if matchups existed in tennis :facepalm: That however gave me the idea of discussing the worst matchup issues between top 10/20 players.
I'm not referring to awkward matchups here (eg. Berdych to Federer), more to situations where a certain players finds another (almost) impossible to overcome, extreme matchup issues and the reason why they exist. Here are some - five: (I left Federer vs Nadal out on purpose as that particular matchup has been discussed to death, was more looking to talk about less discussed matchups)
Nadal vs Berdych
Nadal leads 12-3, but has won the last 11 matches, dropping only 2 sets in the process. He won 20 consecutive sets at one point. Berdych played a brillaint match earlier this year in Australia, still didn't take more than a set.
Reasons for this:
-Berdych's game is based on overpowering/hitting through his opponents from the baseline, his serve isn't a huge weapon nor is his net game. Hitting through Nadal on the current uber slow conditions is almost impossible. Nadal just keeps retrieving one more ball until Berdych inevitably makes the error.
-Berdych can't do anything on the Nadal serve. He's one of the best returners on tour, does a lot of damage even on the Federer serve. But against Nadal? Nothing. Even on second serves he can rarely get the initiative off the return.
-Nadal knows how to play against Berdych. He's usually more aggressive vs Tomas than most other matches, can take his time away better than anyone else and also expose Tomas's movement issues (as Tomas himself admitted). He also has no trouble with Berdych's hitting patterns, he actually reads them like an open book and they play into his strengths.
Federer vs Ferrer
13-0 Federer, 3 sets won by Ferrer. Most sets pretty routine for Federer.
-Ferrer thrives on a consistent rythm from the baseline, Federer doesn't give him that at all; he has the variety to completely mess up Ferrer's game and timing and make him leave plenty of short balls
-Federer's ability to put away short balls and volleys. Among the same lines as the first point; Ferrer can be a tricky opponent when he's allowed to rally with his opponent and turn the match into an endurance/griding contest, Federer simply never allows that to happen. Add to that the fact that Ferrer can't return the Federer serve if his life depended on it and you have the most one sided head-to-head in top level tennis, only likely to become even more one sided.
Federer vs Soderling
16-1 Federer, 5 sets won by Soderling overall. Soderling did get him at RG once with a stunning performance, but the matchup issues remain. Reasons:
-Federer can take Soderling's time away/rush him and force him to be constantly on the defensive. This is the main issue really; Soderling loves to unleash his huge strokes and against Federer that is harder than against anyone else. Federer can wrestle the initiative and make him defend more than anyone else on tour and expose his movement issues. Soderling needs to serve huge and return great to have a chance against Federer on any given day, or else he will simply not allowed to have the initiative on most points, therefore being a sitting duck.
Del Potro vs Nishikori
4-0 Del Potro, 10-0 in sets, most of them blowouts. Complete ownage.
-Del Potro's power/foreand. Kei likes (and manages) to dictate from the baseline even against huge hitters like Tsonga and Berdych, but he can't deal with Delpo's power and all. Especially JMDP's forehand that constantly pushes him far behind the baseline. Despite his quickness around the court, Kei lacks world class defensive skills and really struggles when he's forced to play defense, which he invariably is against Delpo. His lack of a serve allows JMDP to have the initiative even on his serve games and break him time and again (20 breaks in 10 sets). Will be tough for Kei to even win a set in this matchup in the future if he can't come up with a different strategy, rallying with Del Potro is a losing battle as the Argentine easily overpowers him.
Djokovic vs Cilic
7-0 Djokovic, one set for Cilic with 9-7 in the tiebreak. All very straightforward wins for Novak.
-Cilic's serve is horrible for a guy his size and a liability in general (not that strong 1st serve, poor %), Djokovic is the best returner on tour... you do the Math.
-Nole can easily frustrate Marin with his defense, making him go for too much and leak errors. Nole can even overpower him at times as well. There's basically no safe place to go for Marin in this matchup.
I know there are more examples (maybe more glarring) and also maybe more reasons for these examples, these were just the first that came to mind. Do feel free to argue these five and the reasons and to indicate others
Other matchups discussed - some of them not complete mismatches but still interesting discussions - , with links:
Ferrer vs Almagro
Andreev vs Kohlschreiber
Davydenko vs Gonzalez
Davydenko vs Blake
Del Potro vs Soderling
Gasquet vs Simon
Simon vs Federer
Ferrer vs Gasquet - + most of the posts from #62 to #70
Murray vs Simon
Murray vs Federer
Davydenko vs Berdych
Nadal vs Dolgopolov
Del Potro vs Haas
Haas vs Nadal
Simon vs Tipsarevic - also post #139
Haas vs Davydenko - also post #146
Berdych vs Del Potro
Gasquet vs Nadal
Monfils vs Kohlschreiber
Nalbandian vs Soderling
Soderling vs Tsonga
Ferrer vs Del Potro
Nalbandian vs Gasquet
Nadal vs Wawrinka
del Potro vs big hitters
Worst matchups for Djokovic, Del Potro, Tsonga, Simon (including best matchups) and Murray - most posts from #76 to #117
Youzhny has lost his abilities.Can you explain F.Mayer vs Youzhny (Mayer leads 5-3 against Youzhny, and he has won four times in a row.)
It's very interestiong.
Also Nishikori vs Cilic (Kei leads 4-2 against Marin)
Nonsense. Youzhnny had the season of his career, LAST! and he hadn't played any tennis barely going into the australian open, whereas Florian had competed against Murray and everyone in a warm up 500 event.Youzhny has lost his abilities.
Now F.Mayer has better serve,slice,volleys and BH. Also Youzhny nowadays is more inconsistent.
Kei reads very well Cilic's serve and has better BH. Also Cilic is more inconsistent than Kei,so Cilic needs to play his best to win vs Kei like US OPEN 2012.
Yes,Youzhny played pretty good last year,but he lost his serve.Nonsense. Youzhnny had the season of his career, LAST! and he hadn't played any tennis barely going into the australian open, whereas Florian had competed against Murray and everyone in a warm up 500 event.
Youzhny is extremely talented, talented enough for the top 10, IMO, ability wise he is as good as Gasquet. Many are blinded by Youzhny's occasional mental breakdowns but he's not a choker, just a headcase when he's not happy with his game.
It's an even matchup between the both. I am not comparing how talented they both are. If we were going on talent, Federer would beat Nadal matchup wise.Yes,Youzhny played pretty good last year,but he lost his serve.
Mayer is also very talented. The best junkballer on tour.
The h2h is 5-5. It's a pretty even matchup. Whoever plays better, normally wins. Gasquet has a sneaky serve that Berdych can't read and whenever Richie resorts to moonballing in the middle of the court, those balls get properly punished.Can anyone say who has advantage in Berdych - Gasquet rivalry?
I think Wawa has two major problems, which are related to each other.The Wawrinka Nadal matchup should be considered removing from this thread however. Most of that head to head was formed before Wawrinka blossomed into this guy he is here today.
If you now look at Wawrinka, he is player that stands ontop of the baseline and that is able to take the ball on the rise, frontfoot style and connect with the ball on his backhand above shoulder and infront of him. He has to raw power in his backhand to fight against the pace the ball has generated from the topspin that reacted off the court. Obviously if Wawrinka is on the real backfoot, it is still difficult for him to defend on the backhand side because he has a single hander but it's not as hard as the others have it. He takes the ball on the frontfoot, which Nadal doesn't like because this gives Rafa less time to prepare with his footwork to hit whipped heavy forehands. The serve is difficult for Nadal to deal with when served to his backhand and easily sets up the one two combination punch for him, if Rafa is able to get it back.
It's not a matchup which Wawrinka wins, but it's not a matchup that Nadal wins either. It's an even matchup. If you look at both their last encounters, Wawrinka got tight on one or two points here and there. In the tiebreak at the o2 he got tight when he was unlucky and got tight with one or two shots, when you have less margin for error on your shots and know you're under pressure to be aggressive mostly all the time, it can take it's tole and you do sort of get tight.
I agree and I disagree. Admittedly you do need to be incredibly solid off both wings and have impecible movement, whilst then also possessing the awareness and ability to to pounce with INTENT (not half heartedly) with offense. However. It doesn't remain strictly the rule. You can be playing an extremely low percentage game to a relatively high percentage level and have success agaisnt Rafa, his defensive movement is not as good as Djokovic's. You can lack margin for error on your shots and still beat him, but in laymans terms, just not miss alot. Lukas Rosol and Robin Soderling are examples of this. Although Soderling had a bit of margin for error, as he did apply cover to his shots. Wawrinka is more in the soderling camp, not interms of style but interms of how he hurts Rafa. Big serve and rather big off both wings.I think Wawa has two major problems, which are related to each other.
1. His return is not great, he will come second in rallies, and his serve, while good, is not lights-out, so on average Rafa will be in more return games than Stan.
2. His margin for error is much lower than Rafa's, and his movement is not very good, so over time he will find himself coming under too much pressure to execute his shots.
These problems will tend to just mount up, mentally, during a match, especially in best of 5 in his first slam final, against a guy he has never even won a set against.
I agree in a way that you can't really call these match-up issues per se, but whatever you call them, it's a problem for him.
I think to hang with Rafa, you must be really solid off both wings (double-handed backhand helps here), and have impeccable movement and depth of shot. It helps if you can get the ball out wide also, e.g. Novak is so good at that on both wings.