Ricoh ATP Matchfacts
RICOH ATP MatchFacts: Ferrer Serves Up Success
by Matt Fitzgerald|
David Ferrer has produced some of the best tennis of his career on the ATP World Tour in each of the past two seasons. After reaching the final at his first year-end championship in 2007, the Spaniard went two years before returning to the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2010. He appears in 2011 as the fifth seed after an impressive year, highlighted by a semi-final run at the Australian Open and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 runner-up showings in Monte-Carlo and Shanghai.
Although known as one of the most dangerous returners on tour, our RICOH ATP MatchFacts suggest that Ferrer’s resurgence in 2010 and 2011 is greatly due to his serve. “The most important indicators of success on the ATP World Tour are protecting your serve and breaking your opponent's serve,” says former player and leading tennis analyst Justin Gimelstob. “Ferrer has made vast improvements in both areas the past two years, which is why his success rate has increased drastically.”
The Spaniard won 77 per cent of his service games in 2009, placing him 39th in this RICOH ATP MatchFacts category, but has increased his hold-of-serve percentage to 84 per cent in 2011, elevating him to joint 13th on the list. He is tied with Rafael Nadal (and Janko Tipsarevic) and is four per cent higher than Andy Murray. But his most telling stat is his immense improvement when facing break point.
The 29 year old saved 59 per cent of his break points in 2009, which ranked him in just 35th place with four other players. He brought his number up to 65 per cent in 2010 and has gone a step further this season, raising it to a 66 per cent success rate. This vaults him into third place with the likes of London qualifiers Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and ace machines Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic. “Firstly his serve, while not as overpowering as some of his competitors, is very accurate. When you combine his accuracy with how well he defends his serve by attacking off the first groundstroke, he is one of the toughest players on the ATP World Tour to break,” assesses Gimelstob.
|Service Games Won||84%||81%||77%||78%|
|First Serve Points Won||73%||70%||69%||68%|
|Second Serve Points Won||55%||55%||52%||53%|
|Service Points Won||66%||65%||63%||63%|
|Break Points Saved||66%||65%||60%||59%|
It’s important to note that Ferrer has maintained his standing as one of the best returners in the game. He ranks fourth in second serve return points won and return games won in 2011, trailing only World No. 1 Djokovic, No. 2 Nadal and No. 3 Murray in the respective categories. “The cornerstone of Ferrer's success comes from his return of serve, as he has one of the best returns in tennis,” declares Gimelstob.
“He takes the return early, gets it on his opponents quickly, and neutralises players' biggest weapons routinely. His prowess on his second serve return in particular puts immense pressure on his opponents.”
Fellow Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualifier Tomas Berdych will also be appearing in London for the second year in a row. The Czech has compiled a consistent season, reaching the quarter-final stages or better at 15 of his 22 events. The RICOH ATP MatchFacts attribute Berdych’s stability in 2011 to a much improved return game, as he has career bests in all return-of-serve categories. His 29 per cent of return games won is four per cent higher than his best previous year in 2006, and his 41 per cent of return points won marks the first time he’s broken the 40 per cent mark. The list below shows Berdych’s MatchFacts Return Record Year-To-Date.
• 32% 1st Serve Return Points Won
• 54% 2nd Serve Return Points Won (Tied With 2008)
• 45% Break Points Converted
• 29% Return Games Won
• 41% Return Points Won
• 54% Total Points Won
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