Cilic roped a couple of spectacular forehand return winners cross-court during the final, but overall Federer owned this specific serve location. Cilic only put 38 per cent (13/24) of Federer’s wide slice serves back in play. The Swiss cleverly dropped the power level on a lot of these wide serves, electing to pull Cilic off the court with heavy slice, making the ball cut more away from the 6’6” Croatian. Cilic put a higher 54 per cent (19/35) of his backhand returns back in play in the deuce court.
Overall, Federer had 48 serves unreturned for the match, while Cilic only had 41. Again, these numbers were in Cilic’s favor leading into the final, but Federer owned them in the last match of the tournament.
Serve and volley was a strategic play that Federer employed seven times in the final, winning all seven points. Federer won 80 per cent (41/51) of his serve and volley points for the tournament. Those 51 points represent eight per cent (51/603) of all first and second serve opportunities.
The only area of Federer’s game that was not humming was making first serves when facing break point. Overall, he faced nine break points in the final, and only made a first serve on three of them. Cilic faced 13 break points, and made a first serve on eight of them.
Is there any coincidence that this 36-year old is still going so strong by organising his game around short, quick hitting points rather than grinding out long points that add wear and tear to his body?
The renaissance of Roger is all about dictating at the start of the point. It’s a blueprint to take titles for players at all levels of our sport.