ATP ANALYSIS: Roger Federer's serving performance at 2017 ATP Finals



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ATP ANALYSIS: Roger Federer's serving performance at 2017 ATP Finals

Roger Federer went to London as the main contender for the last ATP trophy of the season, despite the fact he won his last ATP Finals crown in 2011. Swiss maestro had a great season behind him, backed by Tour leading 7 titles, and his fans hoped he could grab another one and close the season in perfect fashion.

Roger passed the round robin stage for the 14th time in 15 appearances at this event but he couldn't reach the final, losing in the semis to David Goffin, who halted him by 2-6 6-3 6-4. In this analysis, we will examine Roger's serve in those 4 matches he played in London, and what went wrong against Goffin compared to the previous 3 encounters that he won in the group.

Overall, it was a very solid performance from the 19-time Grand Slam champion, who dropped serve just 4 times during the week, fending off 19 out of 23 break chances to limit the damage in his games and to keep the pressure on rivals.

He managed to crush the resistance of Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic in the deciding sets since both German and Croat failed to follow Roger's serving numbers in the closing stages of the match. In addition, he faced no break points against Jack Sock in the opening round robin match, and that was his best match of the tournament in terms of the numbers he produced after his initial shot.

Marin Cilic could only earn 1 break point and the real struggle for Roger came in the matches against Alexander Zverev and David Goffin, saving 9 out of 11 break opportunities in both. It was enough to endure the Zverev test but not so much against David, who raised his level significantly after the first set to overpower Federer and march towards the final.

In 2017, Roger served at 62% and those were the numbers he mainly delivered in London as well, having difficulties to find the first serve versus Zverev (53%) but keeping it over 60% in the other 3 duels. He won 81% of the service points against Jack, and that dropped to 68% against Goffin, which proved not to be enough to carry him over the finish line.

Also, we could trace the tendency of his first serve points won downfall, from 90% against Jack to just 74% against David. Federer kept the second serve safe against Sock and Cilic but it was more exposed when Zverev and Goffin were on the other side of the net, allowing rivals to attack him more and create a respectable number of break points.

Opponents failed to return 114 Roger's serves, blasting almost 30 service winners in every match, and that brings us to his amazing serve placement, certainly one of the best in the history of the game. Without too much power, Roger was able to leave returners with no chance, finding that perfect spot on both the T line and wide part of the service field with his jaw-dropping accuracy.

Here in London, his 1st serve placement looked like this: In order to create a more detailed analysis of how well Roger served in London, we broke his initial shot to basic categories, covering the deuce and ad court, and also the area where the serve landed.

Overall, he won 78,5% of the points when he served from the deuce (right) side of the court, making a lot of damage with both serve on T line and those who traveled wide. Jack Sock and David Goffin were powerless while returning from the deuce court, with 6 points won for each (double faults are excluded in the whole analysis), while Zverev took 14 points, taming Roger's serves to the body and wide with success.

In the semi-final, Roger was 31-5 against Goffin on serve from deuce court when he placed serve on the T line or wide, and the Belgian had to search for better solutions when he was returning from the ad court, which he did.

Federer unleashed fury with his sere on the T line from deuce field, winning 66 out of 76 points, as neither rival managed to figure it pull some better numbers. 10 out of 17 serves to the middle of the court went to Roger, and he was 56-19 in the situations when his serve landed wide, using it most efficiently against Goffin (18 from 23 points won).

On the other hand, Roger's opponents looked to steal some thunder while returning from the ad court, keeping Federer on 69% of the points won. Sock wasn't able to do anything from this side of the court either, while Zverev grabbed 14 points, just like he did from the deuce side.

Cilic stood on 13 return points from ad side, also unable to control serves that found that sweet spot on the T line or wide, but it was Goffin who did his homework, preparing himself nicely and cracking some rock solid returns from this side of the court to earn those 2 precious breaks that eventually brought him the win.

Roger won just 5 out of 11 points when he served on the T line against the Belgian, and the wide serve didn't bring him what he was hoping for either, winning 10 out of 19 points. Sock, Zverev, and Cilic were unable to find that fine line and trouble Swiss' well-placed serves, Goffin did and it was enough to propel him over the finish line.

It has to be said that David had to produce some good serving if he wanted to secure the spot in the final, after all, he broke Roger just twice, and he was capable of pulling his service games together to resist and beat great rival for the first time.

An in-depth view of Roger Federer's serving performance in London:

 
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