Sinner - Medvedev under the X-ray: Everything needs to be at 100% against Daniil - UBITENNIS
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Sinner – Medvedev under the X-ray: Everything needs to be at 100% against Daniil

Statistical analysis of the Miami final, won fairly convincingly by the Russian 7-5 6-3.

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Given the occasion, Ubitennis has provided an analysis of the Miami final, in which Jannik Sinner was unable to bring out his best and was crushed by Medvedev who was able to stay calm and stick to his plan A. Unlike the Rotterdam final, in which Jannik was able to put pressure on the Russian in extended rallies during the first set, Sunday’s match was completely one-sided.

General summary: once again, we take the opportunity to present our own analysis of the main dimensions of the match with respect to serve and return:

The data is as follows (all values are expressed in percentages, along the axes of the radar graph):

1st_in -> first serves in play 1st_won -> points won on first serve 2nd_won -> points won on second serve Bp_saved -> break points saved Bp_converted -> break points converted 1st_ret_won -> points won on opponent’s first serve return 2nd_ret_won -> points won on opponent’s second serve return Pt_won -> points won Ret_Won -> points won on return Srv_won -> points won on serve

It is clear that under all the main serve metrics, Jannik was at a disadvantage and was more or less dominated. If we compare Sunday’s representation with that of Rotterdam, we can see that the step back can be mainly noticed in the performance relative to the second serve. While in the Netherlands Sinner was competitive on rallies, forcing Medvedev to change his tactics, in Miami he was at a disadvantage even in this situation.

Serve direction: based on the charting provided at the end of the article, we have graphically represented the serving directions chosen by the two players in detail:

The graphs are read as follows: the blue arrows represent the direction of serves from the ad side (with players serving from right to left). The yellow arrows represent the direction of serves from the deuce side (with players serving from left to right). The thickness of the arrow visually indicates how much a particular direction was chosen compared to the other. The values are expressed in percentage, with the service area divided into 6 areas:

Serves from the ad side Wide serves Body serves Serves on the T Serves from the deuce side Wide serves Body serves Serves on the T Let’s see once again how the choices were made and what has changed between Rotterdam and Miami:

Distribution of serving direction on the first serve for the Rotterdam final 2023

Distribution of serving direction on the first serve for the Miami final 2023

It’s impressive to see how in Medvedev’s case the choices were almost replicated to the millimetre, while Sinner tried to vary more, distributing more evenly and using less the slice serve out wide, which had still brought good results in Rotterdam.

In terms of the efficiency of these choices, let’s continue the comparison with Rotterdam.

Distribution of points won on first serve during the Rotterdam Final 2023

Distribution of points won on first serve during the Rotterdam Final 2023

This is perhaps the data that struck us the most: compared to Rotterdam, there seems to have been a deliberate choice to use less slice serves on the wide side in the deuce court. However, this tactical choice, just like in Rotterdam, proved to be the most profitable for Sinner. Since we now lack a counter-test, it would be interesting to see in a future match on a fast surface what would happen if Medvedev were served slice serves systematically (say, over 75% of the time). Perhaps, despite his great recovery skills, having to handle so much court coverage on the opponent’s serve could be too much even for him. On the other hand, the choice to shuffle the cards more seems to have paid off for Sinner on the advantage side. On Medvedev’s side, the same invincibility was observed when the Russian had put in his first serves.

Performance on return: both players were extremely conservative, as they rarely tried to be incisive on their opponent’s second serve. As for the return position, the Russian positioned himself as usual on the backcourt when returning the opponent’s first serve, and the approach was not very different on the second serves. In this case, we do not report the data for Rotterdam for the Russian as they are quite overlapping.

Return position – Daniil Medvedev MIAMI FINAL 2023

In Sinner’s case, the comparison with Rotterdam is interesting because we can notice some significant adjustments.

Return position – Jannik Sinner ROTTERDAM FINAL 2023

Return position – Jannik Sinner MIAMI FINAL 2023

On the return to Medvedev’s second serve, the Italian stayed much further back, trying to start the rally and give himself more time against the Russian’s unpredictable second serves. Whether this tactic paid off today is difficult to say as second serve returns are typically the battleground of attrition where rallies are likely to extend beyond 5 shots, and today Jannik showed clear physical limits. It’s a shame because there remains a question mark over the effectiveness of a deliberate tactical choice.

Length of rallies: this is where the difference with Rotterdam is most noticeable. While in the Netherlands, the first set was a rumination of prolonged rallies in which Jannik often came out on top, today there was no particular contest.

Distribution of rallies by number of exchanged shots – ROTTERDAM FINAL 2023

Distribution of rallies by number of exchanged shots – MIAMI FINAL 2023

The prevalence of Medvedev on short exchanges, although not spectacular, remains. While on prolonged exchanges, the Russian literally set the table and feasted on a Sinner who, as he expressed during the awards ceremony, was not in the best physical condition. However, as always, the Italian was good at not giving up and trying to fight with what he had.

Management of pressure situations: one of the great myths in tennis is that of mental solidity and the management of important points; in tennis, it’s known that points are not counted but weighed, so we asked ourselves a question: is it true that certain players are able to raise their level and serve better at certain moments, more frequently than usual? We then looked at what Jannik and Daniil did today: the percentage of first serves in the court for the two finalists was as follows:

General % of first serves in play – MIAMI FINAL 2023

Afterwards, we looked at what happened in some game situations that we considered “Pressure Points”: in other words, every time the score was at Break Point or 40-40, we considered that point to be a “delicate” point and we crossed the data. The result? In the end, the sample largely reflects the general population. Today we didn’t see many situations in this aspect that were much above or much below average.

% of first serves in play in pressure situations – MIAMI FINAL 2023

It’s interesting to see the choices the two players made in these crucial moments on their first serves. The classic question that inevitably crosses a player’s mind in these high-pressure situations is: where to serve? which direction to choose? Especially when they were playing on the advantage side, they tried to mix things up a bit: Medvedev, who had normally served only 55% of first serves in “pressure point” situations, went wide in 75% of cases. Sinner, on the other hand, always went down the middle when he found himself playing heavy shots from the advantage side!

Distribution % of serve direction in play during pressure situations – MIAMI FINAL 2023

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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