Friday 29 June 2012

Goliath vs David (Federer defeats Benneteau) Wimbledon 2012

Just a day after Nadal went out of Wimbledon, Federer seemed to be on the course to join him. Walking onto the Centre Court today, Federer had not lost before the quarter-finals of Wimbledon during his previous 9 visits here. His last loss before the QF stage at Wimbledon was way back in 2002, when he lost in the first round.

Benneteau had won 8 matches during his 9 (inclusive of this year) visits to Wimbledon when he walked onto the Centre Court today. He was 1-2 head to head against Federer, but he won the pair's last encounter in the second round of Master Series Paris in 2009.

It was Rosol who rocked the crowd yesterday, and it Benneteau who started rocking the crowd today. Benneteau fired the first bullet when he broke Federer at 4-4 to give himself a chance to serve for the first set. Though Federer saved two set points but a big serve from Benneteau did the job. Fed served a poor 44% against Bene's 62%. The most notable stat of the first set was the Winners-Unforced errors differential. Fed was -3, while Bene was +2. Bene did not face a break point in the first set.

Federer held to open the second set and broke Bene's serve to go up 2-0, but Bene broke right away and held his serve to to level the match. Federer had 3 set points when Bene served to stay in the set at 5-6, but Bene saved the first with a forehand into the corner, second with an ACE and the third with a sweet drop-shot that caught Fed off-guard. The tie break was all Bene as he went up 6-2. Fed saved one set point with an ACE but Bene was not to be denied on the second. The most notable stat was the winners-unforced errors differential. Fed was +1, while Bene was a whooping +18.

Federer went down two sets to love, this has happened before as well. Federer went down two sets to love against Haas in the 2009 Roland Garros, just one day after Soderling took out Nadal in the 4th round. However, Federer did recover to win that match in three sets.

Federer broke to open the third set, held and broke again and held again to go up 4-0. Bene held serve, as did Federer and bene held again to force Federer to serve for the set, and serve he did winning the set 6-2.

Bene saved 3 break points while serving at 2-2 in the fourth set. The set went on serve till the tie-break. Bene saved one set point when Federer's backhand pass went into the net, but Federer was quick to earn a second set point on which Bene netted the forehand to let the Swiss Master stay alive in the match.

There was no David this time as the fifth set started. The Goliath had other plans for David. Fed held to open the final set and Bene responded likewise but that was all David could do against Goliath today, as Fed held and broke, held and broke and held to remind David that this was not his day. With this Fed not only kept his 32 consecutive QF streaks of Grand Slams alive but also kept his quest for the record equalling 7th Wimbledon trophy and the race to the top spot alive.

Let us have a look at what the numbers tell us about the match:

Description   Federer         Benneteau   
Aces      14        15
Double faults        4        10
1st serves in      65%        68%
1st serve points won      79%        69%
2nd serve points won      56%        51%
Net points won      56%        62%
Break points won      38%        33%
Receiving points won      37%        29%
Winners      53        59
Unforced errors      29        32
Total points won    173      151

Federer's first serve came back in the last three sets to save him and destroy Benneteau. Federer was clearly efficient in winning points on the first and second serve as against Benneteau. Federer is normally good at winning points at net, but today his proficiency at net was far below, winning only 56% of the net trips.

"It was a tough match. Oh my God, it was brutal. Bit of luck maybe on my side, who knows? I tried in the third, fourth and fifth to stay alive. I'm very fortunate and very happy the crowd was so into the match, and I appreciate that enormously. Julien was playing amazing. I knew it was going to be difficult. He played so well, he was making me doubt for most of the match. The thing is to stay calm, you just try to play tough and focus point for point." Federer in on-court interview.

Federer moves on to face Malisse for a spot in the quarter-finals. Yesterday was David's day but today Goliath reminded David that he is not done yet. How far will Federer go? The last time it happened at French Open in 2009 (Federer went down 2 sets to love to Tommy Haas, the day after Nadal went down to Soderling), Federer went on to win the title. Will we see a repeat? Only time will tell us.


  1. Konstantin Medvedovsky30 June 2012 at 12:06


    I love this site. I'm curious if you could help me out and let me know where you get some of these statistics from? Is there a database you work off of? I'm curious to know for instance where I can get Sharapova's second serve percentage or something. I'm curious in poking around with some of this data myself, but haven't been able to find the necessary data.


  2. Thanks Konstantin for the appreciation :)
    There is no database I am working off :), I am trying to maintain my excel sheets for this data. For Women's tennis, you will have to look into the match stats at the end of each match, that is what I do. However, for men tennis, the stats are available on