In thin-margin games, stats can often illuminate where the naked eye can’t see. Tuesday night’s Roland Garros quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal promises to be such a contest, with the world No. 1 and 13-time Roland Garros champion heading into their 59th ATP Head2Head encounter.
ATPTour.com digs into the numbers to understand where the benefits may lie for each player, by analyzing data from the first four rounds of Roland Garros.
Each point begins with this crucial plane, so this overview will begin there as well. The most notable stat here is Novak Djokovic’s 82% save rate on break points. The Serb saved 14 of the 17 break points against him while Nadal erased half of the 18 break chances against his serve.
Both men have been strong on serve this fortnight, but they have dominated in slightly different ways. Nadal is stronger on the second serve, where he won 63% of his points against 56% for Djokovic. The Spaniard’s average second serve sits at 154.6 km/h while Djokovic delivers at an average of 142.5 km/h.
Nadal reaped the rewards of a more aggressive second delivery, while Djokovic has the first-serve advantage, winning 77% of those points against Nadal’s still solid 73%. Both men averaged around 182 mph on the first serve, with the Serb hitting 31 aces to Nadal’s seven.
|Saved breakpoints||14/17 (82%)||9/18 (50%)|
|First serve win rate||77%||73%|
|Second serve win rate||56%||63%|
|Avg. Second serve speed||142.5 km/h||154.6 km/h|
Both Nadal and Djokovic have won 41% of the first-serve return points, but the world No.1 maintains the advantage on the second-serve return, where he claimed 63% of the points offered, compared to Nadal’s 58%. .
Both men converted break points at roughly the same rate: Nadal at 46% (26/57) and Djokovic at 48% (23/58).
Rallies and net approaches
In short (0-4 hits), medium (5-8 hits), and long (8+ hits) length rallies, no significant advantage stands out. Both Djokovic and Nadal enjoyed strong advantages in all three categories.
Facing Félix Auger-Aliassime, Nadal lost the short exchanges, 41-44. Djokovic edged long rallies by a single point against Alex Molcan (22-21) and Diego Schwartzman (23-22).
Looking at the number of winners, both quarter-finalists are well over the 100 mark. But Djokovic hit 134 winners from 395 points won (33.9%) compared to Nadal’s 126 winners from 423 points won (27.8 %).
Despite Djokovic’s higher win rate, his average rally duration was significantly longer than Nadal’s: 5.25 shots versus 4.66 shots.
It’s also worth noting that Djokovic has committed more unforced fouls than forced (100-72), while Nadal’s number is skewed in the opposite direction with 97 unforced and 119 forced fouls on his racket.
When it comes to net play, the pair have visited the forecourt over 100 times, with Djokovic converting those points at a clip slightly above Nadal. The Serb won 80 of his 103 net points (78%) compared to 75 of 106 for Nadal (71%).
Time spent in the field
After the pair’s four-hour, 10-minute semi-final showdown in the 2021 Roland Garros semi-finals, another long game could favor Djokovic. The Serb has spent exactly two and a half hours less on the pitch than Nadal this fortnight, playing two sets less.
After fighting for four hours and 21 minutes in his five-set victory over Auger-Aliassime, Nadal spent 10 hours and 43 minutes on the court. Djokovic was effective in eight hours and 13 minutes of play.
Head2Head ATP History
While Djokovic holds a 30-28 overall advantage in this storied rivalry, Nadal holds a decisive 19-8 record on clay and an even stronger 7-2 mark at Roland Garros.
– Statistics published with the kind permission of Roland Garros