Instant Analysis – Wawrinka vs. Dodig

As predicted here yesterday , Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-4 in the first round of the Swiss Indoor championships in Basel.


1. Dodig’s poor serving his undoing:

Dodig had trouble getting his first serve in all match.  Wawrinka was sometimes tentative in his return game but was just presented with too many opportunities.  Dodig only got one first serve in play in the first game of the match and Wawrinka capitalized with an early break.   In the 9th game of the second set, Dodig served second serves at 30-30 and 30-40 and got burned.  His double fault at 30-40 ultimately cost him the set and the match.

2. Great level of play in set one:

Both players played extremely well in the first set of this match with Warinka hitting some tremendous lobs and drop shots and also powering his forehands down the line when given the opportunity.  Dodig displayed some great touch at the net and was particularly effective with his favored serve and volley game.

3. Dodig’s level tapered off in the big points in set two:

The second set certainly featured some less inspired tennis with both players producing some careless errors.  Of particular note, with Dodig leading 3-2 and Wawrinka serving at 15-30, Dodig received a particularly ineffectve 2nd serve from Wawrinka which he proceeded to dump into the net.  At 30-30, Dodig hit a loose forehand into the net after a brief rally and Wawrinka ultimately held to make it 3-3.

4. Injury may have had effect:

Dodig appeared to turn his ankle in the seventh game of the second set, which may have had an effect on the match.  While Dodig was able to continue (and win the seventh game), he did not win another game thereafter.

5. Wawrinka dominant on serve:

Wawrinka served at a respectable 58% and won an impressive 81% of points on his first serve.  When facing the only real challenge on his serve in the 2nd game of the first set, Wawrinka was able to hold with two big first serves.


With the 2nd set tied 4-4 and Dodig serving at 30-30, the players engaged in a tentative rally mostly from the backhand side.  After several strokes, Wawrinka hit a relatively short ball just outside the service line.  Dodig hit a brilliant forehand approach and advanced to the net.  Wawrinka tracked down the shot at full speed and answered with a remarkable forehand pass down the line to make the score 30-40.  Dodig would go on to double fault the next point leading to Wawrinka’s service break.

Other notes:

Despite the Basel event being played indoors, the court was playing relatively slowly.  This did not seem to have any negligible effect on the match.

– The crowd was relatively subdued throughout the match even though Swiss national Wawrinka was playing on home soil.  It was also less than a full house in attendance for a very nice first round match-up.

– Earlier in the day, Mardy Fish retired in his match against James Blake after just one game with a hamstring ailment.  This puts a dent into Fish’s aspirations of playing in the ATP World Tour Finals in November.

– The biggest upset of the day saw 29 year-old Swiss journeyman Martin Lammer (ranked 327 in the world) take out world #37 Mikhail Youzhny.  This was particularly surprising given Youzhny’s proficiency in indoor events, with a career mark of of 111-66 indoors and 4 titles.


  1. Incredible to see Dodig now to the player he was a year or two years ago, huge improvement. Today he didn’t play very well, but the amount of work he has put into to improve his game is phenomenal.

  2. Absolutely! 2.5 years ago, Dodig was a journeyman 24 year old who never had cracked the top 200 in the world. He is now world class and has the capability to win some tour events. His level was impressive in the first set after he was broken in the first game, but ultimately his first serve just was not dropping for him today.

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