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Federer's Rise Reflected In RICOH ATP MatchFacts

Roger Federer

Federer© Getty ImagesFederer has won 83.2 percent of his first serve points during his 17-match win streak.

Roger Federer showed he still has the game to compete with the world’s best by finishing the 2011 season with a 17-match winning streak. Following a heartbreaking defeat to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals, Federer played his best tennis of the year in the final weeks of the season. His improvement can be measured with the RICOH ATP MatchFacts, which indicate significant upgrades in first serve points won and break points converted during his undefeated reign. After triumphing in Basel and winning his first BNP Paribas Masters title in Paris, Federer hoisted a record sixth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown to return to the Top 3 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

Analysing Federer's Win Streak
For the season, Federer ranked second behind leader Milos Raonic for first serve points won with 78.7 percent, but the Swiss has done more damage since the US Open, winning 83.2 percent of those points in his 17 match victories, a 4.5 percent difference. Additionally, Federer, this year's top dog in second serve points won with 57.1 percent, maintained his level by winning 58 percent of those points since the US Open. His success on serve during this period has resulted in an improved service games won percentage, as Federer held serve 93.1 percent of the time. This is 4.1 percent higher than his season average of 89.6 percent, which ranks the 30 year old in second place behind John Isner, who claimed 90.7 percent of his service games.

The 16-time major champion has also been more opportunistic with his return game throughout the win streak. Placed outside of the season-long Top 10 in return games won at 28 percent (11th), Federer increased this figure to 31.4 percent. But his most compelling return statistic was a dramatic improvement in break points conversion percentage. Ranked in just 29th position for the season with a 41.5 percent success rate, Federer was far more proficient during his title run, converting 49 percent of his break point opportunities, a 7.5 percent differential. Had he been this effective throughout the year, Federer would rank first in this category, ahead of Xavier Malisse, who converted 48.5 percent of his break point chances.

Below is a table comparing Federer’s season RICOH ATP MatchFacts with the numbers from his 17-match win streak.

MatchFactsWin Streak2011 SeasonDifferential
1st Serve Points Won 83.2% 78.7% +4.5%
2nd Serve Points Won 58.0% 57.1% +0.9%
Service Games Won 93.7% 89.6% +4.1%
Break Points Saved 67.7% 64.8% +2.9%
1st Serve Return Points Won 31.2% 33.0% -1.8%
2nd Serve Return Points Won 54.2% 51.3% +2.9%
Break Points Converted 49.0% 41.5% +7.5%
Return Games Won 31.4% 28.1% +3.3%

While Federer did not win at least one major title in a season for the first time since 2002, it’s interesting to note that his first serve points won percentage of 78.7 in 2011 is better than what he registered in the years he tasted Grand Slam glory, with the exception of 2009:
2010-78.2%; 2009-79.3%; 2008-76.9%; 2007-77.3%; 2006-76.7%; 2005-76.3%; 2004-78.2%; 2003-78.5%.

The Rest Of The Big Four
In contrast to Federer, who has relied on strong service numbers to stay at the top, the rest of the Big Four have depended on their return games. World No. 1 Djokovic, second-ranked Rafael Nadal and World No. 4 Andy Murray marked themselves as the elite returners in 2011, placing inside the top four in three return categories.

Djokovic is at the front of the pack in return games won.

Novak Djokovic 38.8%
Andy Murray 36.1%
Rafael Nadal 34.5%

Murray topped Djokovic in first serve return points won.

Andy Murray 37.1%
Novak Djokovic 35.6%
Juan Ignacio Chela 34.4%
Rafael Nadal 34.2%

Djokovic leads all players in second serve return points won.

Novak Djokovic 57.5%
Rafael Nadal 56.7%
Andy Murray 56.0%

How To Use RICOH ATP MatchFacts

Player RICOH ATP MatchFacts:
Use the dropdown menus to see a player’s RICOH ATP MatchFacts by career or year and by all matches or by surface

Player Category Leaders in RICOH ATP MatchFacts:
See which players top the 10 RICOH ATP MatchFacts categories by searching by year or career and all matches or by surface

Top 200 RICOH ATP MatchFacts Leaders:
A fully sortable table comprising the Top 200-ranked players, measuring everything from tie-breaks won to double faults hit. View by year and by all matches or by surface.

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