Brain Game: The moment Djokovic overturned the Wimbledon final against Kyrgios | ATP circuit
The longest rally had the biggest effect on the end result.
Novak Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, reversing his fortunes early in the second set by finding his consistency and rhythm in 23 strokes . service rally at 1-1, 30/30. It was the longest point of the match, and the exact tonic Djokovic needed to reinvigorate his game after losing the opening set. He won that long point and a 19-shot rally on the next point at 40/30.
These two points were the dividing line in the game. They reported exactly when the momentum changed and where Djokovic took control of the game with his championship mojo. The following breakdown identifies the change in fortunes in the extended rallies before this time and after.
Rallies over 9 shots
First 8 rallies (till 1-1, 30/30, second set): Kyrgios won 7/Djokovic won 1
Rest of the game: Kyrgios won 3/Djokovic won 16
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Djokovic’s confidence suddenly boiled over after hammering his advantage into longer rallies, and he broke Kyrgios’ serve to like in the next game. It was the first time Djokovic had broken Kyrgios in just over five tennis sets, dating back to their two matches in 2017, which the Aussie won. A broken serve shattered focus and concentration for Kyrgios, whose body language became increasingly irritated for the remainder of the game.
Djokovic only won 36% (4/11) of all rallies that lasted five or more moves in the first set, but that climbed to 63% (36/57) in the remaining three sets as Djokovic understood that it was much better. to grind with Kyrgios than to go along with him playing first-strike tennis.
Djokovic was hungry for grassroots rallies and his winning percentage from the back of the pitch proves his plan worked to perfection.
Base points earned
Djokovic: 63% (61/97)
Kyrgios: 33% (33/100)
Djokovic won almost double (61-33) the number of points when he finished the point from the baseline compared to Kyrgios. His main focus was to go after Kyrgios’ forehand on the Deuce pitch, breaking it up by forcing the Aussie to repeatedly hit his forehand while running. Djokovic made just 14 forehand errors for the game, while Kyrgios made 41.
It is important to note that the final, like most matches on the Tour, was not won by the player who hit the most winners. The following breakdown speaks to the reality of winning titles on the biggest stage in the world.
Total number of errors
As Djokovic’s groundstroke game blossomed, that success spread to other areas of his game, especially with his first serve.
Djokovic wins first serve points
First two sets: 74% (29/39)
Last two sets: 92% (33/36)
The Serb has dropped just three points behind his first serve in 11 service games over the last two sets. Once he started the match winning exchanges of 23 and 19 shots early in the second set, it felt like a switch had been flipped. Until then, Djokovic had mostly reacted to the heat Kyrgios was throwing at him with big serves and aggressive net play. After that, Djokovic was the more confident and positive player, leading Kyrgios side by side from the back of the pitch.
The two long rallies settled Djokovic’s game and paved the way for his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and 21st Grand Slam trophy overall.