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View Full Version : Some stats for 1986 Davis Cup final (Cash-Pernfors)


krosero
11-26-2007, 11:15 PM
This is one of the best grass-court matches I've seen: a true contrast of styles, a great comeback, and the underdog playing in the zone.

Score: Cash d. Pernfors 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
(46 games)

The match was played at Kooyong Stadium, a month before the Australian Open was held there for the last time.

Cash had 11 aces and 10 doubles.
Pernfors had 0 aces and 7 doubles.


Cash made 47 winners: 3 forehands, 1 backhand, 11 forehand volleys, 17 backhand volleys, and 15 smashes.

Pernfors made 45 winners: 20 forehands, 20 backhands, 3 forehand volleys, 2 backhand volleys, and 0 smashes.

[Note: I'm missing two points won by Pernfors at 3-love in the second set].

Cash’s winners by set: 6, 10, 9, 11, 11
Pernfors’ by set: 9, 13, 9, 9, 5

Cash’s 43 smash/volley winners fall just short of the 45 that McEnroe hit in the 1981 Wimbledon final, which was also 46 games long. But Cash is a grasscourt player and this is no surprise.

Pernfors, however, had no grasscourt weapons to speak of. This was only the 6th grasscourt match of his career. He was a short guy (5 ft. 8 in., 172 cm.), and he had 0 aces in this match. His service percentage was not particularly high for someone who did not go for aces. He threw in 7 doubles to boot. He had no winning overheads, and only 5 volley winners. He preferred not to slice balls, and generally picked them up with a semi-Western forehand and a loopy two-handed backhand.

But what he did with these two wings was impressive.

He had 23 passing shots (16 off the FH). In addition he had 13 service return winners (9 off the BH). And he had 3 lob winners (all off the BH).

Among Cash’s ground stroke winners there were no service returns, no lobs, and only one passing shot, though it was a crucial one: a fantastic running FH that helped him get the crucial break at 2-all in the fifth.

Cash's low count of ground stroke winners may be due to nothing more than Pernfors' style. When Lendl attacked Cash constantly in their Wimbledon final and served much stronger than Pernfors, Cash had many great service returns and winning lobs. By contrast, Pernfors spun his serve in, and Cash simply put in back in play; and Pernfors rarely presented a target at the net.

The announcers said that Cash had prepared entirely against serve-and-volleyers; he was not prepared to face this style.

But it is still remarkable that Pernfors could go up two sets on him and keep the match competitive for five sets.

This is the sort of match that makes me wonder if there's more of an explanation than merely the fact that Pernfors was in the zone.

Pernfors hit 40 ground stroke winners, just 1 less than Borg did against Tanner on Wimbledon grass. Pernfors was in the same mold as Borg (except without a serve or net game, and much less power on his ground strokes). Like Borg you might say that his game was not suited to grass. And without a serve or power, that is mostly true. The reason Cash got his man in the end was that he had a better serve.

But what Pernfors did with his ground strokes was more than luck, and that's where I wonder about our definitions of what constitutes grasscourt strengths.

In the classical game, the ball would bounce low or erratically on grass, and it would arrive so quickly at the racquet that the reply would typically be a slice or a flat drive. Slices were often effective, but they might float high into a waiting volley. Flat drives often ended long or in the net.

But with topspin and flicking wrists, you can pick up a ball that used to be sliced, and drive it. Yet unlike a flat drive, you can pick the ball up so it clears the net, while still bringing it back in the court.

A topspin player is not able necessarily to dig up balls any better than someone who can chop, slice and dink; and if he has a two-handed stroke he will definitely have a harder time with low balls; but when he does pick it up he is able to drive it (safely), making possible a large number of passing shots and a low error count.

This last part is key, because Connors departed in some ways from the classical grasscourt game by driving everything – but he still did it flat. He’d get a lot of passing shots, a lot of putaways with his groundies, etc. But he also put a lot of shots into the net. Topspin was the “next” step away from the classical game. The word has to be in quotes because topspin was not an invention of the 1970s; and Laver is already showing in the 60s how many winners you can produce on grass with topspin.

I’ve never seen Ken Rosewall’s matches but I expect him, of course, to have had a lot of passing shots and winning groundies. With his strong slice backhand he may be an exception to the general picture I’m painting.

Just that for now. On top of being an exciting match, it was also thought-provoking. Comments welcome as always.

AndrewD
11-27-2007, 11:36 AM
But it is still remarkable that Pernfors could go up two sets on him and keep the match competitive for five sets.


Not really. Pernfors made it to the Rd16 at the 86 Wimbledon, playing exactly the same style of tennis and only lost to Becker 4-6 6-7 2-6. At the Aus Open, due to the heat drying the courts, he had a higher bounce which was a much better match for his grips. The rest of it comes down to him being a very tough player, not having anywhere near the pressure on him that Cash did and grass courts (with a player advancing to net) giving him the chance to use his greatest weapon - the ability to improvise with wristy, whippy shots.

krosero
11-27-2007, 04:13 PM
Not really. Pernfors made it to the Rd16 at the 86 Wimbledon, playing exactly the same style of tennis and only lost to Becker 4-6 6-7 2-6. At the Aus Open, due to the heat drying the courts, he had a higher bounce which was a much better match for his grips. The rest of it comes down to him being a very tough player, not having anywhere near the pressure on him that Cash did and grass courts (with a player advancing to net) giving him the chance to use his greatest weapon - the ability to improvise with wristy, whippy shots.I'd agree with a lot of this, and when I say that what Pernfors did was remarkable, I don't mean that it was inexplicable. The high bounce, produced by the heat, certainly closed some of the gap between him and Cash. As you say, Pernfors was also a tough player, and he had nothing to lose while the pressure was on Cash. But what he did was still remarkable. The announcers knew the circumstances (like the condition of the court) going into the match, and had seen Pernfors straight-set 32-year-old McNamee in an earlier rubber, so they knew that Cash faced a serious opponent, at least in theory; they knew also that the pressure was on Cash, and that he could sometimes be a slow starter. Yet one of the announcers said that he might have expected Pernfors to take a set, but not to go up two sets. They were all amazed at what Pernfors was doing.

And though they observed that Cash began with a low service percentage, they said that what was happening was not due to Cash's playing badly.

But still, it's only one match, and in any match a lot of unexpected things can happen. I was interested also in the general question of what constitutes a strength on grass. Is it a liability to hit flicking topsin shots on grass, or a strength? Because the balls arrive low and fast as compared to other surfaces, your choices are normally limited to a slice or a flat drive with low clearance; but precisely for that reason, if you can flick wristy shots and put some top on them, you have the ability to drive balls and give them some clearance.

This is not really question of which style is better. That's too big a question; and in any case, every style has its strengths and weaknesses. I'm just wondering if it's too far to say that a wristy topspin style has its own kind of strengths on grass.

AndrewD
11-27-2007, 05:30 PM
What I meant was that, although Pernfors was completely in the zone for the first set and 3/4's, it wasn't as though he'd never played at that level before. I called the service line in 5 of his matches at the 1990 Aus Open plus a couple overseas and he just seemed to have the ability to hit a hot streak and be unplayable for a set or two. He didn't knock anyone off the court but he confused them, teased them and tormented them with his ability to run everything down and hit the most amazing shots. Against Cash he did all of that plus illustrated why the Davis Cup and the majors should always be best of 5 sets.

If you ever find a copy of the 1992 Aus Open match between John McEnroe and Andrei Cherkasov, let me know. It was one of the few matches where I actually got a bit of 'face time' and I'd love to see it again.

krosero
11-27-2007, 05:47 PM
What I meant was that, although Pernfors was completely in the zone for the first set and 3/4's, it wasn't as though he'd never played at that level before. I called the service line in 5 of his matches at the 1990 Aus Open plus a couple overseas and he just seemed to have the ability to hit a hot streak and be unplayable for a set or two. He didn't knock anyone off the court but he confused them, teased them and tormented them with his ability to run everything down and hit the most amazing shots. Against Cash he did all of that plus illustrated why the Davis Cup and the majors should always be best of 5 sets.

If you ever find a copy of the 1992 Aus Open match between John McEnroe and Andrei Cherkasov, let me know. It was one of the few matches where I actually got a bit of 'face time' and I'd love to see it again.Will do, and I see what you meant about Pernfors. No doubt he was a unique player.

Moose Malloy
11-29-2007, 01:00 PM
does anyone know why Pernfors played instead of Wilander this tie?

krosero
11-29-2007, 01:58 PM
does anyone know why Pernfors played instead of Wilander this tie?Wilander got married on January 3 and I seem to remember that was the reason.

Moose Malloy
12-03-2007, 11:10 AM
was just watching the '86 Davis Cup Final Highlight show(aired on TTC a few years ago)

In the intro they said it was a 'bombshell' that Pernfors was picked over Jarryd or Nystrom, since Pernfors had only played one previous Davis Cup match. They just said Wilander was 'unavailable' for the tie.

They showed a few games of Pernfors-McNamee & Pernfors-Cash, he was on fire that tie, making incredible shots. Commentators were very impressed & said he had a lot of feel. His lob was amazing.

krosero, how was the picture quality on this match? I've held off on getting it, but it seems like quite a classic.

krosero
12-03-2007, 02:07 PM
krosero, how was the picture quality on this match? I've held off on getting it, but it seems like quite a classic.I first saw it several months ago, when I had not watched tennis on DVD in a long time. I had trouble following the ball and only watched the match once. That was when I posted here about the poor quality. But watching it recently, when I've been watching a lot of matches on DVD, I could see the ball without a problem.

I use a telescope under light-polluted skies, and in astronomy the eye gets better at seeing indistinct objects with practice. Maybe something like that is going on. (Certainly you can see the ball better on the actual tennis court, with practice). If it is, I'd say you'd have no problem, if you're watching old tennis dvd's regularly on the same screen.

The site across the pond (I don't think you're allowed to give links here?) does not list the match, but it might be worth asking anyway.

Moose Malloy
12-03-2007, 02:12 PM
I assume you got it from Rick?

krosero
12-03-2007, 02:46 PM
I assume you got it from Rick?Correct. /quote]

krosero
12-12-2008, 07:17 PM
I have new stats below.

While getting these I confirmed that all 13 of Pernfors' return winners were passing shots (he made 9 off first serves -- six of these from the BH side).


Now the new stats. (Note: on the two points missing, won by Pernfors, I gave him a first serve and a second. I’m also missing a Cash serve at 4-3 in the fifth, on a point that he lost; I gave him a second serve.)


Cash won 157 points overall, Pernfors 151.

SERVICE

Cash won 95 of 160 points on serve (59%). He won 61 of 93 on first serve (66%) and 34 of 67 on second (51%).

Pernfors won 86 of 148 points on serve (58%). He won 67 of 99 on first serve (68%) and 19 of 49 on second (39%).


Cash served at 58%, making 93 of 160 first serves. By set:

12/26 - 46%
24/44 - 55%
25/39 - 64%
20/30 - 67%
12/21 - 57%

Pernfors served at 67%, making 99 of 148 first serves. By set:

11/21 - 52%
19/35 - 54%
13/21 - 62%
34/42 - 81%
22/29 - 76%


Cash was unbroken in the last three sets, holding 15 straight times; he faced no break points in the fifth set.

Cash converted 7 of 9 break points, Pernfors 6 of 17.

Cash made his first serve on 9 of 17 break points. He was broken 3 times on first serve, 3 times on second.

Pernfors made his first serve on 2 of 9 break points. He was broken once on first serve, 6 times on second.

Cash actually stayed back on a first serve at break point, love-2 in the second set, and lost the point. It’s the only time I noticed him staying back on first or second serve.


Cash drew 37 return errors (15 with second serves). Pernfors drew 40 return errors (8 with second serves). Out of all these serves I gave Cash 6 service winners, Pernfors 2.


Errors (forced and unforced)

Subtracting the winners and aces from the total points won:

Cash made 106 total errors. Of those I counted 40 return errors and 10 double-faults. That leaves him making 56 errors in points that had at least a successful return, that is, in rallies.

Pernfors made 99 total errors. Of those I counted 37 return errors and 7 double-faults. That leaves him making 55 errors in rallies.

Borgforever
12-12-2008, 07:47 PM
Well, I blow you away guys regarding having great copy of this match.

I have a perfect, mint condition copy of this like it was recorded from live TV yesterday. Crisp, razor-sharp, fantastic colors, the ball thick and white -- easy as hell to follow -- and the sound .. you can hear them breathing and the mosquitoes...

Moose Malloy
12-14-2008, 07:13 PM
I have a perfect, mint condition copy of this like it was recorded from live TV yesterday. Crisp, razor-sharp, fantastic colors, the ball thick and white -- easy as hell to follow -- and the sound .. you can hear them breathing and the mosquitoes...

I think you know what I'm thinking...