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Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
OK, so the title is confusing but I didn't know how else to phrase it. I was wondering about match-ups in which one player's game just always fire on all cylinders against a particular opponent. This is beyond a case of a bad match-up. For example, Nadal is a bad match-up for Federer, but he doesn't necessarily look great against him all the time, even when he wins. However, Federer is not only a bad match-up for Roddick, but his entire game looks unplayable against him...

Some of the match-ups that stand out to me are:

Nadal vs. Berdych. Nadal always looks breathtaking against him, and everything clicks. He moves him around the court, his forehand looks world class (his DTL forehand is always clicking against him), and he passes him at will.

Djokovic vs. Gasquet. Novak is beyond a nightmare match-up for Gasquet. The Frenchmen's knack of standing far back behind the baseline as well as the weight of his shots suit Novak perfectly, and the result is almost always an absolute drubbing in which Djokovic looks sensational. He exposes Gasquet's forehand in the cross court exchanges, and takes time away from him on the backhand side (Gasquet likes to take huge cuts at the ball).

Federer vs. Roddick. This one is obvious.

Davydenko vs. Nadal. Davydenko treats Rafa's top spin with complete disregard (at least on hard courts), and has a field day bossing him from behind the baseline. He takes the ball so early, moves so well, and really just dominates Nadal from behind the baseline...

Let's hear your picks...
21-Aug-2013 12:07 PM
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Didi Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Nice thread idea. Djokovic vs. Ferrer springs to my mind. Whenever I watch them I get the feeling that Ferrer brings out the very best in Djokovic. Nole just thrives in every single rallye and can really execute any shot he wants at will and for fun. I don't know the exact statistics to prove my point but I would be willing to bet a lot that the success rate of Djokovic's DTL and CC backhand and forehand winners is at its highest whenever he faces Ferrer. He also comes up with the best forehand angles and drop shots against David which I don't see that often against any other player. Some excellent highlights of their AO Semi this year. Now that could be just a coincidence or maybe there could be a correlation between Ferrer's limited range of game and Djokovic's approach that turns David into a poor sparring partner.
21-Aug-2013 02:48 PM
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Broken_Shoelace (08-21-2013)
Moxie629 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Good one, Broken. I've always been fascinated by the "triangle" that Federer - Davydenko - Nadal make, and it leaves me scratching my head a bit. As you say, Davydenko's game is perfect for beating Nadal on hards, (or was. Not sure where ol' Davy is these days, in terms of game.) Federer, on the other hand, totally owns Nikolay (19-2, and a lot of those wins were pretty decisive.) And yet, Nadal's game tends to beat Federer's. Funny, that one. And I really don't get why Berdych's game doesn't seem to trouble Rafa...it seems he's got the type of game that should. And yet, he's a bit of a sore spot for Roger.

I don't mean to make it all about match-ups with Roger and Rafa...those are just two that have always seemed odd to me, with regards to R & R.
21-Aug-2013 04:45 PM
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1972Murat Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
As much as I understand BS' s point, when a player is clearly better than the other guy,like say Nole against Gasquest, clicking is easier. What intrigues me is when a player is NOT better than the opponent and still gives him a hard time. Davydenko-Nadal is a great example. I mean, it is pretty clear who the better player is, but still...something happens in that match and it becomes a struggle for Rafa. Another one is Rafa-Roger...I don't want to get into the whole thing about who the better player is, but for arguments sake let's say Nadal is the better player, does anyone here think Rafa is TWICE the player that Roger is? Yet, it is the record...

It reminds me of Sampras-Stich match-up. As good as Stich was, Pete was clearly the better player but he always struggled against Stich.

Also Edberg-Muster match-up. 10-0 for Edberg, 4 of them on clay ! I never understood that one.

I don't really have more examples from the current players because as I said, it is easy to click when you are better, or maybe I am not getting Broken's point.

21-Aug-2013 05:07 PM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(21-Aug-2013 02:48 PM)Didi Wrote:  Nice thread idea. Djokovic vs. Ferrer springs to my mind. Whenever I watch them I get the feeling that Ferrer brings out the very best in Djokovic. Nole just thrives in every single rallye and can really execute any shot he wants at will and for fun. I don't know the exact statistics to prove my point but I would be willing to bet a lot that the success rate of Djokovic's DTL and CC backhand and forehand winners is at its highest whenever he faces Ferrer. He also comes up with the best forehand angles and drop shots against David which I don't see that often against any other player. Some excellent highlights of their AO Semi this year. Now that could be just a coincidence or maybe there could be a correlation between Ferrer's limited range of game and Djokovic's approach that turns David into a poor sparring partner.

Yeah, that's another very good example. Djokovic does everything Ferrer does a lot better. The nature of the match-up means a lot of baseline exchanges, but the end result of said exchanges is often in Novak's favor. It allows him to showcase his shotmaking prowess as Ferrer can hang in the rallies, but not really get the ascendancy. It's the perfect combination for Novak's baseline game to shine.
21-Aug-2013 06:05 PM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Even though the H2H won't say it at this time I would say Berdych-Fed fits this perfectly. Berd's return, serve, and even defense seem way better than normal every time he plays Fed starting with AO 2009 when he blew a 2 set lead. The H2H is something like 5-4 in his favor since then but it feels a lot worse for Roger with 2 decisive losses at his best slams vs. Berdych. I kind of remember Tomas saying something to the effect that there is something about Roger's shots that he really likes...I can't argue with it.
(This post was last modified: 21-Aug-2013 06:42 PM by DarthFed.)
21-Aug-2013 06:42 PM
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Iona16 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Murray v Simon The h2h is 11-1. Simon won the first match but Andy has won the next 10 across all surfaces. Andy just does everything that little bit better.

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21-Aug-2013 07:22 PM
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rafanoy1992 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Here are my choices:

Federer-Simon: Simon has the type of game that frustrate every tennis player. But, in my opinion, Simon frustrates Federer the most. Just look the 2011 Australian Open and 2013 French Open. Those are the matches where Federer is winning at the first part but suddenly Simon comes back and takes two sets from Federer. Simon doesn't put pace on his shots so Federer naturally overcooks some of his shots. In addition, Simon quickness frustrates Federer too.

Blake-Nadal: I know Nadal has turned around this matchup but when Nadal was young, Blake just blasted Nadal's topsin to no end.

Federer-Blake: Federer just defended Blake's shot with no sweat.

Gulbis-Nadal: Yes, Nadal has not lost to Gulbis but everytime Gulbis plays Nadal, he will always a set from him. Gulbis shotsjust make Nadal very nervous. Unfortunately, Gulbis doesn't have the mental toughness to finish Nadal yet.

Ferrer-Almagro: Ferrer is just too consistent for Almagro.
22-Aug-2013 12:14 AM
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Fiero425 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(22-Aug-2013 12:14 AM)rafanoy1992 Wrote:  Here are my choices:

Federer-Simon: Simon has the type of game that frustrate every tennis player. But, in my opinion, Simon frustrates Federer the most. Just look the 2011 Australian Open and 2013 French Open. Those are the matches where Federer is winning at the first part but suddenly Simon comes back and takes two sets from Federer. Simon doesn't put pace on his shots so Federer naturally overcooks some of his shots. In addition, Simon quickness frustrates Federer too.

Blake-Nadal: I know Nadal has turned around this matchup but when Nadal was young, Blake just blasted Nadal's topsin to no end.

Federer-Blake: Federer just defended Blake's shot with no sweat.

Gulbis-Nadal: Yes, Nadal has not lost to Gulbis but everytime Gulbis plays Nadal, he will always a set from him. Gulbis shotsjust make Nadal very nervous. Unfortunately, Gulbis doesn't have the mental toughness to finish Nadal yet.

Ferrer-Almagro: Ferrer is just too consistent for Almagro.

A lot of player, esp. in the 2nd and 3rd tier have the abilty, but they often "can't finish!" At Wimbledon, IIRC, Verdasco was running over Murray in the quarters, but I told people, he won't finish it even with a 2 set to 0 lead! Sure enough he frittered the match away and allowed Murray to move on and take another major! - In a previous era, Borg "owned" a few players, never losing to them once; including Vitas Gerulaitis, Harold Solomon, & Eddie Dibbs!

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22-Aug-2013 02:33 AM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(22-Aug-2013 12:14 AM)rafanoy1992 Wrote:  Gulbis-Nadal: Yes, Nadal has not lost to Gulbis but everytime Gulbis plays Nadal, he will always a set from him. Gulbis shotsjust make Nadal very nervous. Unfortunately, Gulbis doesn't have the mental toughness to finish Nadal yet.

Yeah, I actually wanted to use this example, but decided against it since Gulbis has never beaten Nadal. Nevertheless, it seems like Gulbis' obligatory yearly "He's back! He has so much potential! He's getting his act together!" starts with an impressive performance against Nadal...and ends the very next match.
22-Aug-2013 04:42 AM
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Moxie629 (08-22-2013)
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Nice thread. Another to add to the ones above is Nadal - Ferrer. Ferrer is basically Nadal-lite and Nadal simply does everything Ferrer does better much to the misfortunate of Ferrer who plays him tough often, but the result is never in doubt.
22-Aug-2013 05:36 AM
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johnsteinbeck Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
^ after i saw Djokovic-Ferrer was mentioned, i thought of that, too. i guess the clicking is going on on the both sides of the net in those cases.

but of course, even more so (and mysteriously unmentioned): Federer v Ferrer. the h2h says it all. just three deciding sets in all those years, too. interesting, how Simon can frustrate Fed with his speed, but Ferru can't. one difference is the pace, i think. Ferrer always gives enough on it, taking away his own time, i guess.
22-Aug-2013 08:58 AM
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shawnbm Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
In terms of "clicking", I can think of no better example than Rafa against Roger--the Spaniard has almost never had an "off day"--yet he has against other players on numerous occasions and lost. Federer has been that way with Roddick and Hewitt. Perhaps it is because at one time Rafa and Roger were climbing up the ladder to those guys' heights? I don't know.

Good call on the Little Russian that Could and Nadal, Kieran. Davy seems to relish running Rafa around and controlling the points. Same for Nole and gasquet--the Frenchman is just out of sorts against Novak, who always seems to play well against him. Another is Federer v. "the new Federer"--he destroys them almost every time--he "clicks" against these upstarts. Rafa against Ferrer is along the same lines--he clicks against Daveed and typically outmuscles him every time.

Virgil Cane is the name ...
22-Aug-2013 09:11 AM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(22-Aug-2013 12:14 AM)rafanoy1992 Wrote:  Gulbis-Nadal: Yes, Nadal has not lost to Gulbis but everytime Gulbis plays Nadal, he will always a set from him. Gulbis shotsjust make Nadal very nervous. Unfortunately, Gulbis doesn't have the mental toughness to finish Nadal yet.



That is a great example of what separates Nadal. Gulbis comes out on fire and hits shots are simply TOO GOOD for Nadal. But Nadal ends up winning the matches with immense stamina and extreme persistence.

In fact, Nadal's stamina and persistence are so great that he even won a match this year when the other guy showed completely superior shotmaking ability to his own - on his best surface; Gulbis hit 59 winners to Nadal's 13, for the match, and Nadal still managed to win. That should tell people much more than it evidently does.

Oh well.

But a lot of players "click" against Nadal. They just get out-lasted by him. That's the difference. That's what separates Nadal. That's just the way it's been for some time now.
02-Sep-2013 09:50 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
As for replying to the OP, I would have to say that Nalbandian playing well against anyone is the best example of a player I can think of who just "clicks" against the competition. I know this isn't too specific, but then again it is - because it meets the requirements of the question in a very significant way. Nalbandian does just "click" against anyone and everyone when he is playing well.
02-Sep-2013 09:52 PM
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Haelfix Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Santoro - Safin was always one of the fun and obvious illustrations that matchup's matter.. That there isn't really a sharp divide between ranks (eg the rank 4 player isn't necessarily going to beat the rank 20 player), and that ranking and winning is more of an average value sort of deal..

So I mean there are general patterns that you can often see. A counterpuncher does well against an offensive player who does well against a grinder, who does well against the counterpuncher.

Players that return with accuracy and who have wheels tend to do well against serve and volleyers. etc

Of course, on the pro tour there are simply certain players who make opposing players very uncomfortable and there isn't really an obvious explanation.

I mean Roddick used to give Novak Djokovic all sorts of fits. Naively, one would have thought that Novak's returning skills would have bothered Andy and that there was a mismatch in the baseline game, but for whatever reason Djoker would often get tight and start missing. Just a little weird.
02-Sep-2013 10:52 PM
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Didi (09-02-2013)
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
Going back a couple decades, Becker and Edberg are pretty much historical equals but Boris destroyed Stefan, 25-10.

Obviously Sampras was better than Courier, but his 16-4 record against him was especially lopsided.

Or Borg over Connors, 15-5.
02-Sep-2013 11:35 PM
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britbox Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(02-Sep-2013 11:35 PM)El Dude Wrote:  Going back a couple decades, Becker and Edberg are pretty much historical equals but Boris destroyed Stefan, 25-10.

Obviously Sampras was better than Courier, but his 16-4 record against him was especially lopsided.

Or Borg over Connors, 15-5.

Edberg led Becker 3-1 when they met in majors though and he beat him in the YEC.

Becker's real dominance over Edberg was on carpet. They met 17 times with Boris winning 13.
03-Sep-2013 12:41 AM
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Fiero425 Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(03-Sep-2013 12:41 AM)britbox Wrote:  
(02-Sep-2013 11:35 PM)El Dude Wrote:  Going back a couple decades, Becker and Edberg are pretty much historical equals but Boris destroyed Stefan, 25-10.

Obviously Sampras was better than Courier, but his 16-4 record against him was especially lopsided.

Or Borg over Connors, 15-5.

Edberg led Becker 3-1 when they met in majors though and he beat him in the YEC.

Becker's real dominance over Edberg was on carpet. They met 17 times with Boris winning 13.

It's hard to have any real respect for Becker! Being mentored by Ian Tiriac, he ran psychological games on Edberg! Stefan will always be regarded a better person and player with a sustained, great career going back to his junior years winning the jr GS back in '83! He graduated to the big boys and started a run of major wins with 2 Aussie Opens, then 2 Wimbledon, and rounding out his career with 2 USO and being the #1 player for 72 weeks! He was also a good doubles player partnering with compatriat Anders Jarryd and winning 4 Davis Cup titles! He was a very good sportsman and won that coveted award several times!

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03-Sep-2013 01:03 AM
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Haelfix Offline
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RE: Players Who Just "Click" Against Certain Players?
(02-Sep-2013 11:35 PM)El Dude Wrote:  Or Borg over Connors, 15-5.

Borg-Connors was a little bit similar to Federer-Nadal. Connors kept it respectable early on, but he was already 26 and 27 when Borg really turned it on. You got the feeling that it would have been much closer if Connors was closer to his physical peak a few years earlier. After Connors hit 29, I don't think he won another game against Bjorn, the physical difference just made too much of an impact in the scoreline.

Borg always kept a few more balls in play, and had the more consistent baseline game, and it seemed that Connors had to play beyond himself to win. Then there was the height problem.. Connors was a little too small to really play against Borg's heavy spin.
(This post was last modified: 03-Sep-2013 02:16 AM by Haelfix.)
03-Sep-2013 02:13 AM
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