Murray d. Istomin: Recap and Detailed Stats

Tonight Andy Murray defeated Denis Istomin in four sets for a place in the quarterfinals against Stanislas Wawrinka. I logged every point, and have lots of stats for you to check out.

In particular, check out the new “key points” and “rally length” tables.

Murray started out sluggishly and never appeared to play at 100%. But what he brought was good enough, especially in the second set, when Istomin went down an early break and immediately started looking to the third set.

Istomin has a big game, with the ability to dictate play from the baseline. Murray spent a lot of time in classic Andy defense mode, and often it worked, as perhaps Istomin’s greatest weakness is his predilection for low-percentage shots. His 58 unforced errors (not counting double faults) don’t even convey the whole story, as so many of those should have been simple rallying shots. ┬áIt may not be easy to construct a point against a defender like Murray, but Istomin’s tactics didn’t do him much credit.

While Murray came through tonight, it marks another sign of weakness for defending champ. Playing like he did tonight won’t be enough to beat Wawrinka, let alone Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. His serve never really got going, and once he learned he could trust Istomin to lose points without too much help, he waited out his opponent. It worked, but it took over three hours. Andy in champion mode should have won this one in less than two.

Here are the complete chart-based stats.

2 thoughts on “Murray d. Istomin: Recap and Detailed Stats”

  1. It seems to me that, once Federer and Nadal retire, the top of the men’s game will be dominated by players with the same defensive outlook as Murray. Djokovic and Ferrer have both made the most of their talents by adopting this strategy, and arguably have done better than straightforwardly aggressive players like Berdych, Tsonga, and Del Potro.

  2. Brilliant, Jeff – Murray’s strategy was plenty evident to the non-charting observer, but the analysis lays bare exactly how efficient he is at that strategy. I agree that it’s not a strategy that may work against Wawrinka, if Stan ca keep playing at the level of defense and offense he did against Berdych. I hope he can, and will break through.

    At 28, Stan’s in his prime to do so: 28.5 was the average age of a R4 contender in the men’s draws at the 4 majors this year. Half the contenders were between 27 and 30; 25% 31 or over; 25% 26 or under.


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