Every week, Tennis Analytics dives deep into the data, bringing you a stat of the week to help you understand tennis better and become a little smarter.
We’re closing out our Australian Open analysis with a look at the women’s champion, Naomi Osaka.
Stat of the Week: 57%
From the quarterfinals on, Naomi Osaka won 57% of all points played, 14% more than her opponents.
Against Serena, she won 56%.
There are only 2 ways to win a point.
- You hit a winner.
- Your opponent makes an error.
For every two winners hit by her opponent, Naomi hit three. That’s 50% more winners!
Then, she widened the gap further by making almost 25% fewer errors than her opponents. A double whammy!
While Naomi’s 1st serve percentage was lower than normal at 47%, she more than made up for this by winning 83% of those points. Her opponents may have had a better 1st serve percentage, but they won fewer points.
Let’s look at the math.
- Osaka: Served 174 points. Made 47% of 1st serves (82) | Won 83% of those (68)
- Opponents: Served 167 points. Made 54% of 1st serves (90) | Won 63% of those (57)
At this rate, Osaka wins 39 points on first serve for every 100 points played while her opponents win 34 points for every 100. That’s a BIG difference!
So what was Naomi’s first serve strategy?
She had a clear primary pattern of targeting the T, looking to negate angles for the returner.
Point of the Week
Sometimes you need to take a closer look at the stats in order to understand exactly what they mean.
Naomi’s 1st serve percentage is a great example. 47% is a low number by itself, and looks poor. However, winning 83% of those points paints a different picture.
It turns out, the numbers are really good.
Many players make the mistake of attaining a very high 1st serve percentage and then end up getting broken. It may be better to serve a bit more aggressively at a lower percentage to win more points.
What are your serve numbers?
Photo of the Week
Naomi Osaka’s forehand return with key positions.