— Tennis View Magazine (@TennisViewMag) January 13, 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 Ekaterina Makarova’s three-set win over Venus Williams 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:
Williams held a slight edge on serve, winning 60% of her total service points to Makarova’s 55%. Though Makarova had a higher first serve percentage (64% to Williams’ 55%), her weaker first serve won her just 61% to Williams’ 74% first serve points.
Looking at each players’ percentage of service points won from aces + unreturnables + return forced errors (i.e., “free points on serve”), Williams (16%) outpaced Makarova (10%).
Williams also held a slight edge on the return, winning 45% of her return points to Makarova’s 40%. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. While Williams dominated on Makarova’s serve in the first set, winning 61% of her return points, Makarova turned it around after that, and actually won about the same percentage of return points as Williams in the final two sets.
Williams returned Makarova’s serve more deeply, hitting 70% deep returns and 30% shallow (within the service box). Makarova hit 45% of her returns within the service box, and seemed to be trying to use sharp angles on the backhand return to her advantage.
We can see that Makarova’s game is driven by her two-handed backhand. The lefty hit 204 backhands and just 125 forehands in the match. In points she won, she was hitting fewer forehands. In contrast, Williams hit 218 forehands and 155 backhands. The balance between the two shots was similar in points she won and lost.
Given the above numbers, the match was very tight. Neither player was blowing the other away. Venus will rue the second set, in which she failed to convert break points, then double faulted three times to give away her service game, allowing Makarova to force a decider. Makarova just managed to edge Venus by virtue of winning a few key points here and there.
Thanks to Jeff Sackmann, you can chart matches yourself and get the same detailed stats you see here. Visit Heavy Topspin to get started.