The Key To London Success: Saving Break Points?
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers points out three key areas to watch at The O2
Break points are the kingmakers in a tennis match.
They are the moments in time that carry the most weight, the most influential points to the final outcome. Saving break points when serving will once again go a long way in anointing the king of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals this month.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of saving break points for the Elite Eight during the 2016 season identifies three critical areas to watch: percentage of break points saved behind a first serve, behind a second serve, and the percentage-point gap between between the two, which highlights just how critical it is for players to make their first serve in this crucible of the 2016 season.
Focus No. 1: Percentage Saving Break Points Behind A First Serve
As you may expect, the tall timbers of Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic lead the way in saving break points behind a first serve, at 80 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively. Interestingly, Novak Djokovic is tied for third with 74 per cent, backing up his first serve with a ferocious “first-strike” baseline game that stops returners from extending the rally. The Serbian is tied with Stan Wawrinka. Raonic, Cilic, Djokovic and Wawrinka are the only players above the Elite Eight average.
Saving Break Points: Starting With A First Serve
|No.||Player||Starting Break Point With A First Serve|
Focus No. 2: Percentage Saving Break Points Behind A Second Serve
Wawrinka surges to the top of this important list, winning 64 per cent of break points behind a second serve. Japanese star Kei Nishikori jumps from sixth best in saving break points behind his first serve to second best in saving break points behind his second serve, which is a major reason he has successfully navigated his way back to London this year. A warning sign for both Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils is that they occupy the last two spots in this critical list. The two London newcomers are also last in saving break points behind first serves.
Saving Break Points: Starting With A Second Serve
|No.||Player||Starting Break Point With A Second Serve|
Focus No. 3: Percentage-Point Gap Between Saving Break Points Behind First Serve vs. Second Serve
The lower the number in this category the better, minimising the effect of missing a first serve in such an important moment in a match. The big guns, Cilic and Raonic, who did so well behind their first serve, fall to the bottom of this list.
Percentage-Point Gap Saving Break Points Behind First Serve vs. Second Serve
We conclude with the current No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Andy Murray. The Scot is a model of consistency in these three categories, finishing fifth in all of them. Maybe that’s the secret – stay solid while others rise and fall around you.