Category Archives: French Open

ATP Finalists in Qualifying Draws

Earlier this week, twitterer Double_Faute noted that 13 former ATP finalists were among the 128 men in the Australian Open qualifying draw.  Since the term “finalist” evokes names like James Blake and Tommy Haas, that sounds like quite the minefield for other qualifiers to navigate.

As it turns out, though, 13 is exactly what we should expect.  Since 2007, the average qualifying draw at a Grand Slam event has included 13.4 former finalists.  Of course, Blake and Haas aren’t typical.  The usual finalist-turned-qualifier is more likely to have a record like that of Jerome Haehnel or Wayne Odesnik.

If you missed Odesnik’s crazy week at the 2009 US Clay Courts, I don’t blame you.  The discovery here isn’t that qualifying draws are so strong, its that so many players have reached an ATP final at some point along the way.  The top four may have a stranglehold on the game’s highest honors, but like spots in the rest of the top ten, finalists at ATP berths seem awfully easy to come by.

Some records

There were plenty of former champions (or finalists, anyway) who hit hard times in the spring and summer of 2007.  The ’07 Wimbledon qualifying draw featured 19 former ATP finalists, while qualies at Roland Garros included 23.  To give you a flavor of what that meant for the week of qualifying matches, here’s the complete list of former finalists in that draw:

Davide Sanguinetti, Albert Portas, Bohdan Ulihrach, Adrian Voinea, Ivo Minar, Gilles Muller, Ricardo Mello, Rainer Schuettler, Santiago Ventura, Ramon Delgado, Alex Calatrava, Andrei Pavel, Wesley Moodie, Harel Levy, Wayne Arthurs, Fernando Vicente, Christophe Rochus, Younes El Aynaoui, Jerome Haehnel, Mariano Zabaleta, Michel Kratochvil, George Bastl, Kenneth Carlsen

Yep, I had forgotten about most of those guys, too.

Of the last 24 slams–my records of qualie draws only go back to 2007–every one has had at least 7 former finalists in qualifying.  All but five have had at least 10.  The large numbers in 2007 may have been due in part to the wider array of ATP events in 1998 and before, but by 1999, the number of ATP events had dwindled to 71, just six more than in 2012.  So the effect is likely minimal, and we might find more former finalists in slam qualifying draws if we were able to look another 10 years back.

Anyway, in the time span we do have to work with, the number of former finalists in slam qualie draws isn’t going down.  Last year, those draws at Wimbledon and the French both had 16 former finalists.

The next wave

A question that qualifying-watchers might find more interesting is, how many men in these draws go on to reach ATP finals?  We’d all like to catch the next del Potro or Raonic on court 14, so how many future finalists are there?

The 2007 French continues to impress and amaze, with 22 men in the qualifying draw who went on to play in an ATP final.  There were certainly some guys worth watching that week in Paris:

Horacio Zeballos, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Pablo Andujar, Jeremy Chardy, Robin Haase, Lukasz Kubot, Mischa Zverev, Rajeev Ram, Michael Berrer, Martin Klizan, Frederico Gil, Frank Dancevic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Lukas Lacko, Viktor Troicki, Marcel Granollers, Dudi Sela, Wayne Odesnik, Fabio Fognini, Raemon Sluiter, Marin Cilic, Santiago Giraldo

(Yes, Zverev reached a final–after qualifying for the Metz event in 2010.  This post has taken an unusually long time to research and write because of the number of times I’ve felt the need to check.  I’m looking at you, Federico Gil.)

The 2007 Australian Open qualifying draw also featured 22 future finalists, and US Open qualies that year included 21.  Of course, many of those names overlap.

Here’s where the six years of data holds us back–I have no idea whether 22 is a historically high number.  Perhaps it’s typical once players’ careers have run their course.  Glancing at the full list of the 2007 Roland Garros qualifying draw, it does appear that we’ve seen all the finalists we’ll see, but of course the same doesn’t apply to qualies from 2009 or 2010.

Remarkably, though, we’ve already had two finalists from the 2012 US Open qualifying draw: Grega Zemlja and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Keep all of this in mind when you next watch a qualifying match.  The tennis might be messy and the players you’re watching may never be famous, but in a few years, you may see them again in the finals of your neighborhood ATP 250.

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Filed under French Open, Qualifiers, Records

Men’s and Women’s French Open Forecasts, Updating Live

Every match completed at Roland Garros has implications on the title chances of several players.  I’ve created two pages that update throughout the tournament to track each player’s odds of reaching each successive round:

For reference, you can check each player’s pre-tournament odds: men and women.

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Filed under Forecasting, French Open

2012 French Open Women’s Projections

For the Grand Slams, my ranking system takes aim at the WTA, too.  Here are pre-tournament odds for each player in the draw.

(Yes, it’s mid-day Monday and many first round matches are in the books.  I’ll post a link with automatically-updating odds soon; pre-tournament numbers on the record for comparison’s sake.)

    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
1   Victoria Azarenka         91.6%  85.8%  73.9%    14.3%  
    Alberta Brianti            8.4%   4.8%   1.8%     0.0%  
    Caroline Garcia           55.3%   5.6%   1.8%     0.0%  
    Dinah Pfizenmaier         44.7%   3.9%   1.1%     0.0%  
    Heidi El Tabakh           29.5%   9.0%   1.1%     0.0%  
    Aleksandra Wozniak        70.5%  36.2%   8.2%     0.1%  
    Alize Cornet              40.1%  19.5%   3.6%     0.0%  
31  Jie Zheng                 59.9%  35.3%   8.5%     0.1%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
20  Lucie Safarova            82.9%  57.2%  25.9%     0.5%  
    Anastasiya Yakimova       17.1%   5.6%   0.9%     0.0%  
    MJ Martinez Sanchez       74.6%  31.6%  10.5%     0.0%  
    Eva Birnerova             25.4%   5.6%   0.9%     0.0%  
    Vania King                57.6%  20.6%  10.7%     0.1%  
    Galina Voskoboeva         42.4%  12.5%   5.6%     0.0%  
    Kristina Mladenovic       12.7%   3.6%   1.0%     0.0%  
15  Dominika Cibulkova        87.3%  63.3%  44.5%     2.6%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
12  Sabine Lisicki            65.9%  35.2%  23.0%     0.5%  
    Bethanie Mattek-Sands     34.1%  12.7%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Ekaterina Makarova        69.5%  40.4%  27.3%     0.8%  
    Sloane Stephens           30.5%  11.7%   5.7%     0.0%  
    Mathilde Johansson        40.8%  10.9%   2.4%     0.0%  
    Anastasia Rodionova       59.2%  20.8%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Simona Halep              53.2%  37.1%  16.5%     0.2%  
24  Petra Cetkovska           46.8%  31.1%  12.7%     0.1%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
27  Nadia Petrova             55.7%  37.4%  15.3%     0.2%  
    Iveta Benesova            44.3%  27.4%   9.9%     0.1%  
    Laura Pous-Tio            37.5%  10.6%   2.4%     0.0%  
    Chanelle Scheepers        62.5%  24.7%   7.8%     0.0%  
    Irina Falconi             48.9%   8.4%   2.6%     0.0%  
    Edina Gallovits-Hall      51.1%   9.1%   2.9%     0.0%  
    Elena Baltacha            15.6%   8.8%   3.3%     0.0%  
6   Samantha Stosur           84.4%  73.7%  55.9%     4.4%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
3   Agnieszka Radwanska       86.1%  62.3%  47.5%     4.7%  
    Bojana Jovanovski         13.9%   4.4%   1.6%     0.0%  
    Venus Williams            78.7%  29.9%  18.4%     0.4%  
    Paula Ormaechea           21.3%   3.4%   1.1%     0.0%  
    Yung-Jan Chan             34.1%   8.6%   1.3%     0.0%  
    Kateryna Bondarenko       65.9%  25.3%   6.1%     0.0%  
    Mirjana Lucic             22.1%   9.6%   1.6%     0.0%  
26  Svetlana Kuznetsova       77.9%  56.5%  22.5%     0.5%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
21  Sara Errani               70.2%  48.9%  21.5%     0.3%  
    Casey Dellacqua           29.8%  14.8%   3.9%     0.0%  
    Melanie Oudin             40.7%  12.7%   3.0%     0.0%  
    Johanna Larsson           59.3%  23.6%   7.1%     0.0%  
    Stephanie Dubois          24.1%   4.3%   1.3%     0.0%  
    Shahar Peer               75.9%  28.7%  16.1%     0.1%  
    L Arruabarrena-Vecino     13.3%   4.1%   1.3%     0.0%  
13  Ana Ivanovic              86.7%  63.0%  45.9%     2.2%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
10  Angelique Kerber          88.3%  73.8%  56.2%     4.3%  
    Shuai Zhang               11.7%   4.7%   1.5%     0.0%  
    Romina Oprandi            46.5%   9.5%   3.7%     0.0%  
    Olga Govortsova           53.5%  11.9%   4.9%     0.0%  
    Anna Tatishvili           58.0%  18.0%   4.1%     0.0%  
    Alexa Glatch              42.0%  10.5%   1.9%     0.0%  
    Su-Wei Hsieh              31.8%  19.2%   5.3%     0.0%  
18  Flavia Pennetta           68.2%  52.2%  22.3%     0.4%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
29  A. Medina Garrigues       66.8%  48.5%  20.5%     0.1%  
    Laura Robson              33.2%  19.1%   5.4%     0.0%  
    Kai-Chen Chang            50.4%  16.4%   3.8%     0.0%  
    Irena Pavlovic            49.7%  16.0%   3.6%     0.0%  
    Petra Martic              58.2%  17.2%   8.9%     0.0%  
    Michaella Krajicek        41.8%   9.7%   4.3%     0.0%  
    Karolina Pliskova         15.4%   6.4%   2.5%     0.0%  
8   Marion Bartoli            84.6%  66.7%  51.1%     1.7%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
7   Na Li                     78.4%  71.0%  57.8%     8.4%  
    Sorana Cirstea            21.6%  15.6%   8.5%     0.1%  
    B Zahlavova Strycova      59.4%   8.9%   3.2%     0.0%  
    S Foretz Gacon            40.6%   4.5%   1.2%     0.0%  
    Christina McHale          75.3%  45.7%  15.4%     0.2%  
    Kiki Bertens              24.7%   8.5%   1.4%     0.0%  
    Lauren Davis              35.5%  13.0%   2.7%     0.0%  
30  Mona Barthel              64.5%  32.7%   9.7%     0.1%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
17  Roberta Vinci             50.3%  34.3%  22.7%     0.2%  
    Sofia Arvidsson           49.7%  33.7%  22.4%     0.2%  
    Yaroslava Shvedova        60.0%  21.3%  11.1%     0.0%  
    Mandy Minella             40.0%  10.7%   4.6%     0.0%  
    Tamarine Tanasugarn       25.3%   9.9%   2.4%     0.0%  
    Carla Suarez Navarro      74.7%  48.8%  23.3%     0.1%  
    Timea Babos               52.4%  22.3%   7.6%     0.0%  
    Sesil Karatantcheva       47.6%  19.0%   5.9%     0.0%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
14  Francesca Schiavone       81.6%  42.3%  25.8%     0.3%  
    Kimiko Date-Krumm         18.4%   3.7%   1.0%     0.0%  
    Tsvetana Pironkova        38.2%  18.1%   9.4%     0.1%  
    Yanina Wickmayer          61.8%  35.8%  22.5%     0.4%  
    Varvara Lepchenko         54.7%  23.0%   8.4%     0.0%  
    Ksenia Pervak             45.3%  17.3%   5.6%     0.0%  
    P Mayr-Achleitner         24.2%   9.4%   2.3%     0.0%  
19  Jelena Jankovic           75.8%  50.2%  25.1%     0.3%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
32  Monica Niculescu          64.8%  37.8%   8.0%     0.0%  
    Nina Bratchikova          35.2%  15.4%   2.1%     0.0%  
    Vera Dushevina            62.2%  31.9%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Claire Feuerstein         37.8%  14.9%   2.0%     0.0%  
    Pauline Parmentier        43.5%   6.1%   3.0%     0.0%  
    Urszula Radwanska         56.5%   9.7%   5.4%     0.0%  
    Ashleigh Barty             4.5%   1.1%   0.3%     0.0%  
4   Petra Kvitova             95.5%  83.0%  73.1%     8.5%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
5   Serena Williams           93.2%  87.6%  74.0%    23.3%  
    Virginie Razzano           6.8%   3.6%   1.1%     0.0%  
    Arantxa Rus               56.2%   5.4%   1.6%     0.0%  
    Jamie Hampton             43.8%   3.5%   0.9%     0.0%  
    Elena Vesnina             70.8%  29.7%   5.8%     0.1%  
    Heather Watson            29.2%   6.9%   0.7%     0.0%  
    Lucie Hradecka            32.2%  16.6%   2.9%     0.0%  
25  Julia Goerges             67.8%  46.7%  13.0%     0.6%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
23  Kaia Kanepi               75.3%  53.4%  22.4%     0.2%  
    Alexandra Panova          24.7%  11.0%   2.3%     0.0%  
    Irina-Camelia Begu        51.8%  18.8%   4.7%     0.0%  
    Aravane Rezai             48.2%  16.8%   3.9%     0.0%  
    Jarmila Gajdosova         56.8%  18.8%  10.2%     0.0%  
    Magdalena Rybarikova      43.2%  12.0%   5.8%     0.0%  
    Eleni Daniilidou          11.3%   3.1%   0.9%     0.0%  
9   Caroline Wozniacki        88.7%  66.1%  49.8%     2.3%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
16  Maria Kirilenko           75.9%  48.1%  24.8%     0.1%  
    Victoria Larriere         24.1%   8.7%   2.5%     0.0%  
    Klara Zakopalova          64.8%  31.2%  13.6%     0.0%  
    Lesia Tsurenko            35.2%  12.0%   3.8%     0.0%  
    Anne Keothavong           42.6%   9.6%   3.0%     0.0%  
    Melinda Czink             57.4%  15.7%   5.8%     0.0%  
    Greta Arn                 26.3%  15.5%   6.7%     0.0%  
22  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  73.7%  59.2%  39.9%     0.6%  
                                                            
    Player                      R64    R32    R16        W  
28  Shuai Peng                67.8%  44.7%  10.8%     0.1%  
    Tamira Paszek             32.2%  15.7%   2.3%     0.0%  
    Marina Erakovic           63.2%  28.0%   4.9%     0.0%  
    Lourdes Dominguez Lino    36.8%  11.6%   1.3%     0.0%  
    Polona Hercog             61.7%  11.2%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Ayumi Morita              38.3%   4.9%   2.2%     0.0%  
    Alexandra Cadantu          6.3%   2.1%   0.7%     0.0%  
2   Maria Sharapova           93.7%  81.9%  71.5%    14.8%

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Filed under Forecasting, French Open, WTA

2012 French Open Projections

Yesterday we saw who gained and lost from the French Open draw.  Today we get to what you really care about: Each player’s odds of progressing through the tournament.

According to my ranking system, combined with the actual draw, this year’s favorite is … a tie.  How’s that for a cop out–virtually even odds for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, both with roughly 30% chances of winning the event.  Roger Federer is in a distant third at 12%, with the unlikely Janko Tipsarevic far behind him in fourth with 5.7%.  No one (including myself) cares much for Janko’s chances, but this is a man who has beaten both Djokovic and Tomas Berdych on clay.  With the exception of David Ferrer (languishing as 8th favorite, below 3%), no one in the following pack has shown much clay-court consistency.

The highest-rated non-seeds are David Nalbandian, Thomaz Bellucci, and Marcos Baghdatis.  Nalbandian, of course, has a probable second-rounder with Federer, but if he gets through it, he’ll have the benefits of Federer’s easy early-round draw.  Baghdatis will have an early test in Nicolas Almagro, a man who is in form but may have spent his energy in the wrong French city.  And Bellucci drew Viktor Troicki, one of the weakest seeds, despite the Serb’s strong showing in Dusseldorf this week.

The full odds are below.  By Tuesday or Wednesday, I should have a page published that will update odds throughout the tournament.

    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
1   Novak Djokovic          96.6%  93.4%  88.1%    30.2%  
    Potito Starace           3.4%   1.8%   0.7%     0.0%  
    Blaz Kavcic             78.1%   4.5%   2.0%     0.0%  
WC  Lleyton Hewitt          21.9%   0.4%   0.1%     0.0%  
q   Filip Krajinovic        59.1%  18.6%   1.1%     0.0%  
q   Nicolas Devilder        40.9%   9.9%   0.4%     0.0%  
q   Michael Berrer          30.1%  17.8%   1.2%     0.0%  
30  Jurgen Melzer           69.9%  53.7%   6.5%     0.0%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
22  Andreas Seppi           56.5%  33.5%  16.1%     0.0%  
    Nikolay Davydenko       43.5%  23.0%   9.8%     0.0%  
    Mikhail Kukushkin       49.4%  21.3%   8.4%     0.0%  
    Ernests Gulbis          50.6%  22.2%   8.9%     0.0%  
q   Igor Sijsling           51.1%  15.2%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Gilles Muller           48.9%  14.3%   5.7%     0.0%  
    Steve Darcis            24.1%  12.3%   5.1%     0.0%  
14  Fernando Verdasco       75.9%  58.2%  39.9%     0.2%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
11  Gilles Simon            73.8%  59.4%  32.4%     0.3%  
    Ryan Harrison           26.2%  15.7%   5.1%     0.0%  
    Xavier Malisse          70.7%  20.5%   6.0%     0.0%  
WC  Brian Baker             29.3%   4.4%   0.7%     0.0%  
    Pablo Andujar           57.2%  13.7%   4.5%     0.0%  
    Victor Hanescu          42.8%   8.3%   2.3%     0.0%  
    Flavio Cipolla          15.4%   7.4%   2.1%     0.0%  
18  Stanislas Wawrinka      84.6%  70.6%  46.8%     0.8%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
28  Viktor Troicki          41.9%  25.6%   6.2%     0.0%  
    Thomaz Bellucci         58.1%  39.7%  11.8%     0.0%  
    Fabio Fognini           54.9%  20.2%   3.9%     0.0%  
WC  Adrian Mannarino        45.1%  14.5%   2.4%     0.0%  
    Cedrik-Marcel Stebe     58.0%   9.3%   3.9%     0.0%  
    Joao Souza              42.0%   5.2%   1.8%     0.0%  
q   Andrey Kuznetsov        10.2%   5.1%   2.0%     0.0%  
5   Jo-Wilfried Tsonga      89.8%  80.5%  68.0%     4.5%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
3   Roger Federer           93.5%  81.7%  73.8%    12.0%  
    Tobias Kamke             6.5%   2.2%   0.8%     0.0%  
    Adrian Ungur            24.7%   2.0%   0.8%     0.0%  
    David Nalbandian        75.3%  14.1%   9.0%     0.1%  
    Frank Dancevic          43.6%  17.7%   2.1%     0.0%  
    Martin Klizan           56.4%  25.9%   3.8%     0.0%  
    Nicolas Mahut           27.8%  11.0%   1.0%     0.0%  
26  Andy Roddick            72.2%  45.4%   8.7%     0.0%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
23  Radek Stepanek          46.6%  27.7%  13.2%     0.0%  
LL  David Goffin            53.4%  33.8%  17.3%     0.0%  
WC  Arnaud Clement          36.0%  10.9%   3.3%     0.0%  
    Alex Bogomolov Jr.      64.0%  27.5%  11.8%     0.0%  
    Karol Beck              33.9%   9.3%   3.1%     0.0%  
    Lukasz Kubot            66.1%  27.4%  13.6%     0.0%  
q   Florent Serra           26.0%  11.9%   4.7%     0.0%  
15  Feliciano Lopez         74.0%  51.4%  32.9%     0.0%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
9   Juan Martin Del Potro   87.7%  78.8%  63.9%     3.2%  
    Albert Montanes         12.3%   6.7%   2.6%     0.0%  
    E. Roger-Vasselin       50.0%   7.3%   2.6%     0.0%  
    Vasek Pospisil          50.0%   7.2%   2.5%     0.0%  
    Juan Carlos Ferrero     63.6%  27.3%   6.6%     0.0%  
WC  J. Dasnieres De Veigy   36.4%  11.3%   2.0%     0.0%  
q   D. Munoz-De La Nava     21.4%   7.9%   1.2%     0.0%  
21  Marin Cilic             78.6%  53.5%  18.5%     0.1%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
31  Kevin Anderson          70.0%  50.1%  15.9%     0.0%  
    Rui Machado             30.0%  15.8%   2.9%     0.0%  
WC  Eric Prodon             41.2%  12.2%   1.8%     0.0%  
q   Horacio Zeballos        58.8%  21.9%   4.3%     0.0%  
    Michael Llodra          46.9%  10.0%   5.2%     0.0%  
    Guillermo Garcia-Lopez  53.1%  12.5%   6.8%     0.0%  
    Dudi Sela               12.3%   4.8%   2.1%     0.0%  
7   Tomas Berdych           87.7%  72.6%  61.0%     2.3%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
6   David Ferrer            84.0%  70.2%  55.9%     2.4%  
    Lukas Lacko             16.0%   7.8%   3.4%     0.0%  
    Benoit Paire            49.1%  10.7%   4.7%     0.0%  
    Albert Ramos            50.9%  11.2%   5.0%     0.0%  
    Ivan Dodig              56.2%  31.3%  10.5%     0.0%  
    Robin Haase             43.8%  21.6%   6.2%     0.0%  
    James Blake             31.1%  10.6%   2.0%     0.0%  
27  Mikhail Youzhny         68.9%  36.5%  12.2%     0.0%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
20  Marcel Granollers       66.9%  44.7%  22.7%     0.1%  
q   Joao Sousa              33.1%  16.4%   5.9%     0.0%  
    Malek Jaziri            45.3%  16.6%   5.6%     0.0%  
    Philipp Petzschner      54.7%  22.3%   8.6%     0.0%  
WC  Paul-Henri Mathieu      50.0%  11.4%   3.7%     0.0%  
    Bjorn Phau              50.0%  11.4%   3.6%     0.0%  
q   Rogerio Dutra Silva     18.5%   9.7%   3.4%     0.0%  
10  John Isner              81.5%  67.5%  46.5%     0.5%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
16  Alexandr Dolgopolov     70.8%  58.8%  27.9%     0.2%  
    Sergiy Stakhovsky       29.3%  19.4%   5.7%     0.0%  
    Filippo Volandri        62.9%  15.5%   3.2%     0.0%  
q   Tommy Haas              37.1%   6.2%   0.9%     0.0%  
    Donald Young            43.2%   9.8%   3.8%     0.0%  
    Grigor DiMitrov         56.8%  15.5%   6.8%     0.0%  
q   Jurgen Zopp             17.8%   8.5%   3.3%     0.0%  
17  Richard Gasquet         82.2%  66.2%  48.5%     1.4%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
25  Bernard Tomic           73.8%  47.6%  17.1%     0.1%  
q   Andreas Haider-Maurer   26.2%  10.4%   1.9%     0.0%  
    Santiago Giraldo        63.3%  29.5%   8.5%     0.0%  
    Alejandro Falla         36.7%  12.5%   2.4%     0.0%  
    Jarkko Nieminen         48.3%   8.4%   3.2%     0.0%  
    Igor Andreev            51.7%   9.8%   3.8%     0.0%  
    Tatsuma Ito              8.9%   3.4%   0.9%     0.0%  
4   Andy Murray             91.1%  78.4%  62.1%     3.8%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
8   Janko Tipsarevic        82.5%  72.8%  64.6%     5.7%  
    Sam Querrey             17.5%  10.7%   6.7%     0.0%  
    Jeremy Chardy           64.0%  12.2%   6.9%     0.0%  
    Yen-Hsun Lu             36.0%   4.3%   1.8%     0.0%  
    Dmitry Tursunov         49.3%  17.2%   2.5%     0.0%  
    Go Soeda                50.7%  17.9%   2.5%     0.0%  
q   Mischa Zverev           34.1%  18.6%   3.1%     0.0%  
29  Julien Benneteau        65.9%  46.3%  11.8%     0.0%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
24  Philipp Kohlschreiber   70.5%  47.1%  23.0%     0.1%  
    Matthew Ebden           29.5%  13.5%   3.9%     0.0%  
    Olivier Rochus          41.2%  14.2%   4.1%     0.0%  
    Leonardo Mayer          58.8%  25.1%   9.2%     0.0%  
    Juan Ignacio Chela      29.5%   9.0%   3.6%     0.0%  
    Marcos Baghdatis        70.5%  34.8%  21.1%     0.1%  
    Paolo Lorenzi           21.6%   7.0%   2.5%     0.0%  
12  Nicolas Almagro         78.4%  49.2%  32.5%     0.2%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
13  Juan Monaco             69.3%  48.7%  23.3%     0.1%  
WC  Guillaume Rufin         30.7%  15.7%   4.9%     0.0%  
    Lukas Rosol             52.5%  19.2%   6.0%     0.0%  
    Carlos Berlocq          47.5%  16.4%   4.9%     0.0%  
q   Jesse Levine            50.8%  10.1%   3.2%     0.0%  
    Benjamin Becker         49.2%   9.6%   2.9%     0.0%  
    Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo   13.4%   6.3%   1.8%     0.0%  
19  Milos Raonic            86.6%  74.0%  52.9%     0.6%  
                                                          
    Player                    R64    R32    R16        W  
32  Florian Mayer           71.3%  50.2%   7.5%     0.1%  
    Daniel Gimeno-Traver    28.7%  13.8%   1.0%     0.0%  
q   Eduardo Schwank         43.4%  14.2%   1.0%     0.0%  
    Ivo Karlovic            56.6%  21.8%   1.9%     0.0%  
    Igor Kunitsyn           31.7%   1.3%   0.4%     0.0%  
    Denis Istomin           68.3%   4.9%   2.2%     0.0%  
    Simone Bolelli           3.8%   1.8%   0.7%     0.0%  
2   Rafael Nadal            96.2%  92.1%  85.3%    30.4%

 

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The Luck of the (2012 French Open) Draw

Without a single player setting foot on a match court, many players have already seen their chances of winning the French Open change quite a bit.

A Grand Slam draw can give, and it can take away.  Novak Djokovic is set to player Roger Federer in the semifinals (again), while Rafael Nadal won’t have to play either until the final.  Potito Starace will have to beat Novak Djokovic in order to reach the second round, while many of his unseeded fellow players have only to defeat a qualifier.  Life isn’t fair.

At every stage of the draw, there are winners and losers.  As I did last year, we can quantify the impact of the draw by comparing each player’s probability of reaching each round before and after the draw was set.  For instance, before the draw was set, Starace had a 66% chance of facing another unseeded player and a decent chance of reaching the second or third round.  Now that the draw was set, he might as well book his flight home.

To measure the impact, I used expected prize money, which wraps up in one number the probability that a player reaches each round.  For instance, Roger Federer was expected to win 329,000 euros before the draw was set; even with the unfortunate semifinal pairing, he’s still on track for roughly 329,000 euros.  Nadal saw a 3% improvement in expected prize money, largely because Fed and Djok are elsewhere, while Djokovic’s number stayed the same.  Yes, Fed in the semis is a rough draw, but Novak gets the benefit of a relatively easy path to the semis, with men like Jurgen Melzer and Fernando Verdasco standing in his way.

The Winners

Of the seeded players, the biggest winner of the draw was John Isner.  (This is a case where life might be fair–this is the guy who drew Nadal in last year’s first round.)  Isner’s expected prize money increased from 71,400 to 92,200, nearly a 30% jump.  Until he faces David Ferrer in the round of 16, there’s little standing in his way–and even Ferrer pales in comparison to some of the other top eight players who Isner could have drawn.

The other big winner is Richard Gasquet, whose expected prize money increased from 102,600 to 125,700.  While he is seeded outside of the top 16, his probable third-round opponent is the #16 seed Alexander Dolgopolov.  Numerically, anyway, you can’t get any luckier than that.

Taking into account the entire draw, no one got luckier than Alex Bogomolov Jr, whose expected takings rose from 26,600 to 36,000.  Bogie isn’t expected to get far, but he’ll face Arnaud Clement, then probably Radek Stepanek and Feliciano Lopez.  As Starace can tell you, it could be much worse.

The Losers

It’s a bad year for Italians at the French.  Among the top four worst draws–all players who lost about one-quarter of their expected prize money this morning–not only Starace but also Simone Bolelli are included.  After all, Bolelli drew Nadal!

The toughest luck among seeds fell to Viktor Troicki (loser of 26% of his expected prize money) and Gilles Simon (loser of 18%).  Both players are in Djokovic’s quarter, putting an effective end to any title hopes they may have … if they even make it that far.  Troicki drew one of the toughest clay-courters from the unseeded pool, Thomaz Bellucci, and if he gets to the second round, would play Adrian Mannarino or Fabio Fognini.  After that? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In actuality, Simon might have the toughest road.  His possible second-rounder is Brian Baker, the man who has taken Nice by storm.  My rankings don’t give Baker much credit yet–after all, he only has a recent few pro matches under his belt under Nice goes on the books–so it’s likely that he is more dangerous than my numbers give him credit for.  Simon’s already unfortunate French Open draw is worse than it looks.

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The Simon/Monfils 61-Shot Rally: In Perspective

A couple of weeks ago, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon made the unorthodox decision of extending their warm-up into the first game of the match.  Or somthing.  At 40-40 in the opening game, they counterpunched each other into oblivion, needing sixty-one shots before Monfils finally sent a slice long to end the point.

If you haven’t seen it, or you suffer from insomnia, click the link here.

What might be most remarkable about the rally is that, when Monfils made his error, there was no sign of the point drawing to a close — it isn’t hard to imagine those two hitting another 61 shots like that.  But even at 61, it’s an awfully long point.

So (asks the statistician) … how long was it?  Rally length is not widely available for ATP matches.  But thanks to IBM Pointstream, I do have rally length for each point on a Hawkeye court from the French Open.  (I’ve played around a bit with those numbers.)

From the French Open, we have roughly 20,000 men’s points to look at, which doesn’t count double faults.  About 35% of those points lasted only one stroke: an ace, a service winner, or an error of some sort on the return.  Only 15% of the points went 8 strokes or longer, and fewer than 10% reached 10 strokes.

In the entire tournament, only 12 rallies hit the 30-shot mark–only halfway to the Simon/Monfils level.  You won’t be surprised at most of the names involved in those dozen extreme points:

Mardy Fish    Gilles Simon       38  
Andy Murray   Viktor Troicki     37  
Gilles Simon  Robin Soderling    36  
David Ferrer  Sergiy Stakhovsky  33  
Andy Murray   Viktor Troicki     33  
David Ferrer  Gael Monfils       33  
Rafael Nadal  Pablo Andujar      32  
Tobias Kamke  Viktor Troicki     31  
David Ferrer  Sergiy Stakhovsky  31  
Rafael Nadal  Andy Murray        31  
Rafael Nadal  Pablo Andujar      30  
Andy Murray   Viktor Troicki     30

Both Simon and Monfils make an appearance, with Ferrer, Murray, and Nadal showing up multiple times.  What surprises me a bit are some of the guys who hung in there with the counterpunchers, especially Fish and Troicki.

In any event, 61 shots still stands out as a once-in-a-blue-moon accomplishment.

WTA rally length

Incidentally, you might suspect (as I did) that some WTA players would slug it out even longer.  Again using Pointstream data from the Hawkeye courts at the French, it turns out that ladies only reached the 30-shot threshold twice.  First, Marion Bartoli went to 33 against Olga Govortsova, and Na Li got to 32 shots against Silvia Soler-Espinosa.  The tongue-tying Wozniacki-Wozniak matchup comes in third, with a 28-stroke rally.

Wimbledon rallies

While we’re at it, let’s check the Wimbledon data.  Surprise, surprise–tied for the longest rally of the tournament is a 31-stroke exchange between Juan Martin del Potro and … Gilles Simon.  In fact, that match featured four of the 20 longest rallies of the tournament.

Also notable is Novak Djokovic, who reached 31, 30, and 29 against Bernard Tomic, and 25 (twice) and 24 against Marcos Baghdatis.

The true oddity in the top ten is John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, who somehow took a break from aces and errant groundstrokes to go 25-deep.  It was the  only point of the match that went longer than 12 shots.

 

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Fun With French Open Rally Length

At the ATP level, the ability to hang around in long rallies seems to be a key to success, especially on clay.  Most of the top players are such good defenders that a one-dimensional serve/forehand game just doesn’t cut it.

One stat you’ll occasionally see on television broadcasts is the number of points that reach a certain length, along with how each player is performing on those points.  The cutoff I’ve seen most frequently is 8 shots, and that seems like a reasonable enough line to draw.

Armed with point-by-point data from (most of) the men’s singles matches at the French Open, we can take a closer look.  The following table shows three numbers for each of the 16 players who reached the 4th round:

  • Average rally length–that’s the total number of shots per point for every point that the player contested.
  • Percentage of points that reached eight or more shots.
  • Percentage of eight-or-more-shot rallies that the player won.
PLAYER              Shots/Pt     8+  8+Wins  
Juan Ignacio Chela       5.3  25.7%   48.0%  
Gilles Simon             5.3  25.7%   59.8%  
Andy Murray              5.1  22.8%   50.5%  
Viktor Troicki           4.7  19.2%   48.9%  
Rafael Nadal             4.6  18.3%   56.5%  
Robin Soderling          4.6  19.5%   55.1%  
David Ferrer             4.5  16.8%   70.7%  
Alejandro Falla          4.5  19.7%   47.9%  
Gael Monfils             4.3  17.3%   44.8%  
Albert Montanes          4.3  15.2%   46.1%  
Fabio Fognini            4.3  15.5%   59.5%  
Novak Djokovic           4.1  16.0%   63.6%  
Richard Gasquet          4.0  13.9%   57.0%  
Roger Federer            3.9  14.0%   49.7%  
Ivan Ljubicic            3.7  11.8%   49.4%  
Stanislas Wawrinka       3.6  11.1%   46.2%

Unsurprisingly, the first two stats correlate quite closely.  The more eight-shot rallies you play, the higher your per-point average will be.  What may be more of a surprise is that the number of eight-shot rallies you play doesn’t appear to have much effect on your success in eight-shot rallies.  Andy Murray may be an instructive example here: He’s good at keeping himself in long points, but not always so good at doing what he needs to do to win them.

These numbers are far from authoritative–none of these stats comprise more than seven matches, and many comprise only four.  With so little data, a single opponent can skew the numbers.  For instance, Nadal was closer to the top of the rally-length leaderboard in the Australian Open, but a disproportionate number of his points came against John Isner, who is normally at the extreme other end.  Matches against Ljubicic and Federer also kept Nadal’s average down.

The same warning should be made about Ferrer’s impressive 70.7% winning percentage on long points.  I don’t doubt that he’s usually quite good in such rallies, but his four matches included two against players who are the exact opposite: Jarkko Nieminen and Sergiy Stakhovsky.

As more data of this sort becomes available, it will be interesting to see what trends emerge.

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