— 360 Deportes (@360DeportesEc) January 17, 2014
The Australian Open doesn’t provide very detailed match stats, but thanks to the Match Charting Project, I was able to chart point-by-point data for Serena Williams’ win over Daniela Hantuchova at the Australian Open to get in-depth insight into the match.
The full results are here, if you’d like to see the raw data.
Keeping in mind that no broad conclusions about either player should be drawn from such a small sample size, here are some takeaways from the match:
We all know that Serena Williams has arguably the best serve of all-time, and this match was a perfect display of how her serving ability has gotten her through some matches where she hasn’t been playing her best.
Serving at only 48% first serves in, Williams won a whopping 18% of her points on serve with an ace. To contrast, Hantuchova won just 4% of her service points with an ace, landing 54% of her first serves in.
Looking at an even better stat, free points (aces, unreturnables, and forced error returns), Williams won an incredible 31% of her service points without having to even deal with a return-of-serve from her opponent. Hantuchova, who was serving quite well in non-Serena terms, won 23% of her service points in that manner.
Fun fact: Williams hit two second serve aces in the match.
Williams is an elite returner, but she made more routine errors than normal, hitting unforced errors on 18% of the returnable serves she faced. Six of those seven errors came on second serve returns. Hantuchova hit just two unforced return errors (5% of returnable serves).
Despite her errors, Williams still managed to win an impressive 48% of return points. Imagine if she’d not been missing easy returns. Even when she’s clearly off her game, she’s still better than everyone else.
Williams, a player who often hits more backhands than forehands in her matches, hit 43 forehands and 64 backhands in the match. Hantuchova hit 50 forehands and 48 backhands.
Williams hit 11 unforced errors on each side, while Hantuchova hit 12 unforced forehand errors and seven unforced backhand errors.
Serena held off an opponent who was playing well by pretty much just playing in first gear. Though Hantuchova had her chances, Serena served her way out of trouble, saving five of six break points. She also converted four of seven break points on Hantuchova’s serve.
The moral of this story: It’s hard to play against Serena Williams, even on her bad days.
You can chart matches yourself and get the same detailed stats you see here. Visit Heavy Topspin to get started.