The Five Keys To Medvedev's Tokyo Title
Some weeks, your serve gets white hot.
The 22-year-old Russian served his way to the biggest title of his career last week in winning the ATP 500 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018. Medvedev came through qualifying to win seven matches, only dropping one set along the way. In his past three matches, against No. 20 Milos Raonic, No. 31 Denis Shapovalov and No. 12 Kei Nishikori, Medvedev didn’t drop serve – holding 29 consecutive times.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Medvedev’s five main draw matches uncovers five keys to why his serve was “on” in the Orient.
1. Win The First Point
Medvedev used the scoreboard as a secondary weapon against his opponents, as he surged ahead 15/0 in 78 per cent (38/49) of his service games. He won 36 of 38 service games when leading 15/0 and nine of 11 when trailing 0/15.
Winning the opening point of your service game typically “sets the weather” for the rest of it. We play a sport of getting ahead, which then creates pressure for the returner to do a little more than normal to break.
2. Close The Door
The 6’6” Russian surged to a 30/0 lead 28 times during the tournament, and never once let his opponent back into the game to break him. In 2018, Medvedev has led 30/0 in 252 service games, but was broken seven times from that commanding position. There was no letting the opponents back into the contest in Tokyo.
Watch Highlights: Medvedev Upsets Nishikori To Win Tokyo Title
3. Win Three In A Row
This statistic requires a double-take! Medvedev raced to a 40/0 lead in almost half (24/49) of all service games he played in the main draw in Tokyo. As a comparison, Medvedev has only led 40/0 in 27 per cent (173/640) of his service games in 2018, and 26 per cent (155/595) in 2017.
4. The 4x Factor
In Tokyo last week, Medvedev hit four times as many aces as he committed double faults – with 32 aces and only eight double faults. That is an outstanding ratio. In 2018, he has hit 359 aces and 202 double faults, for a 1.8 ratio of aces to double faults.
5. Second-Serve Prowess
In the 2018 season, Roger Federer leads the tour with second-serve points won at 60 per cent. Medvedev was from another world in Tokyo in this specific metric, winning a jaw-dropping 65 per cent (72/111) of second-serve points in his five main draw matches. For the 2018 season, Medvedev is averaging only winning 51 per cent (882/1722) of his second serves.
Medvedev is in action Wednesday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters against Federer in the featured night match. Another opportunity to serve up more success.