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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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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