Sunday, January 29, 2012

We Have a Winner

Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in an instant classic 2012 Australian Open Men's Final.  It took nearly six hours for Djokovic to prevail 7-5 in the fifth.  And Novak won.  Rafa didn't lose.

Let's go to the stat sheet.

Novak committed fewer unforced errors than Rafa did, 71 to 75.  So we might be tempted to say Rafa lost.  But that margin is small given that Djokovic won 193 points to 176 for Rafa.  The unforced error margin was only four out of seventeen.  Evidence that Rafa lost, but not convincing.

How about "littering the stat sheet"?  Which player dictated play by hitting more winners and committing more unforced errors?  Novak Djokovic wins the littering contest 118 to 105.

What if we add in forcing your opponent into the winning shots column?  Again, Djokovic appears to have won the match rather than waiting for Nadal to lose.  Djokovic hit 118 winning shots to 105 for Nadal.

Both players hit far more winning shots than they hit losing shots.  Djokers winning ratio was 118 to 71 (1.7) and Nadal's winning ratio was 105/75 (1.4).  Both guys were playing to win.

So congratulations to the winner, Novak Djokovic.  Well played.

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