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krosero
12-16-2007, 08:11 PM
These are my own stats, unless otherwise noted.

Score: 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (11), 6-4
(58 games)
(4 hours)

Coming into the match, Sampras was 4-7 against Becker on indoor courts, and 9-7 overall (according to stats displayed during the match).



Sampras served at 64%, Becker at 58%, per the ATP site.


Sampras had 15 aces and 5 double faults.
Becker had 32 aces and 8 doubles.

(The ATP site puts Becker at 30 aces, but he had 32 clean ones, per my own count and that of the ZDF German television network).


Sampras made 50 winners: 16 FH, 8 BH, 14 FHV, 9 BHV, and 3 smashes.

Becker made 38 winners: 10 FH, 12 BH, 10 FHV, 5 BHV, and 1 smash.

(Note that both of my copies of this match are missing the first point won by Becker at 2-3 in the second set, so there could be 1 more winner).


Sampras' winners by set: 6, 13, 12, 13, 6
Becker's winners by set: 5, 8, 8, 11, 6

There was a bit of a letdown in the fifth set, with only one winner in the first 6 games.

You can also see a letdown in their service percentages, not in Becker's but in Sampras'.

Sampras' first-serve percentage by set: 63, 68, 65, 70, 50
Becker's first-serve percentage by set: 62, 66, 53, 56, 58

(These percentages are provided by the ZDF network for the first four sets; I counted serves myself in the fifth set).

So Sampras did not serve particularly well in the fifth set but held on. At the start of the set he looks clearly discouraged to me, having lost two match points in the fourth-set tiebreak. Of all his service games in the final set, he had the most trouble with his first. But he got through that one with two key service winners.

Both men served themselves out of trouble. Becker served a service winner and an ace down double break point at 2-3 in the second set. Sampras had service winners down break point at the start of the fourth set, and again when he faced two set points in the tiebreak. Neither Becker nor Sampras was able to pull out these sets in the end, however. More critical to the outcome is Sampras saving two break points at 2-3 in the third set with back-to-back aces. Had he not done so, with Becker holding so easily, Sampras might well have lost the third set and gone down two sets to one.

Sampras displayed great defense in Becker’s last service game. Six times Becker came in behind a first serve, and Sampras won four of those points – three times with clean passing shots.

That was the first time Becker was broken in the match, after 27 consecutive holds. Sampras himself held 25 straight times after being broken at 1-2 in the first set.

Each man won 1 of 5 break points. Two breaks in 55 service games, a remarkable achievement.

I watched their service motions; they are very different. Becker holds his racquet momentarily in the upright position before striking the ball. Sampras has his racquet in constant motion before hitting the ball. When it goes into play it looks like it’s been whipped into the court. Becker’s motion looks like a hammer coming down.

I did count service winners that were not aces, but it was a rough count at best. Without a clear definition of a service winner, I put Sampras at 14, Becker at 4. I got the impression that Pete may have let some of Becker’s aces go rather than stretch for an unreturnable serve. Becker often reached as far as he could for Sampras serves.

If you include only aces as service winners, then Sampras has 65 winners for the entire match, Becker 70.

ZDF included at least the aces, and perhaps other service winners, in their count of direkte punkte. After four sets, Sampras had 62 of these kinds of winners, and Becker 66. At that point Sampras had 38 unforced errors (vermeidbare fehler), Becker 37.


Sampras won 166 points overall, Becker 178. So in his two most difficult wins of 1996, Sampras won fewer points than did the man he beat (Alex Corretja won 218 points, and Sampras 213, in their USO quarterfinal). [These numbers are from the ATP and incorrect; see below].


Sampras and Becker hit fewer non-service winners than I had expected for a match of 58 games. Sampras leads Becker but he is still well below a rate of 1 winner per game (at .86). Laver in the 1969 Wimbledon final, 42 games long, had struck 54 winners – a rate of 1.29 per game. In a 1995 Wimbledon semifinal, 44 games long, Becker hit 48 winners, Agassi 49 (both rates standing at about 1.1).

One issue here may be that the 1996 match went by with unusual swiftness. There were few break points, as noted, and all but two of Becker’s service games failed even to go to deuce. In a way it’s not a surprise that Sampras and Becker would hit few winners per game, if the average game was short. The Becker-Agassi match, even though it was 14 games shorter than this one, had nearly as many points: 340 vs. 344.



The most destructive stroke on my chart (after Becker’s serve) is Sampras’ forehand, with 16 winners. It even exceeds Sampras’ 15 aces. Not far behind is Sampras’ forehand volley, with 14 winners. Becker’s most destructive stroke is his backhand, with 12 winners, followed by his forehand with 10 winners (in previous matches I have done for him his forehand has always been the more destructive).

Both Becker and Sampras are balanced, with Sampras getting slightly more winners from volleys/smashes than from ground strokes, and Becker slightly more from ground strokes.

But Sampras seems like the more diverse player in the sense that he struck 50 non-service winners and also hit 15 aces, while Becker struck 38 non-service winners and hit 32 aces. Forty-six percent of Becker’s clean winning shots came from his serve, while Sampras got just about a quarter of his clean winning shots from his serve.

Almost all of the service return winners in this match were off the first serve.

Becker returned Sampras' first serve 8 times with outright winners. He did it on three consecutive points in the opening game of the fourth set, when he forced Sampras to save two break points.

Sampras returned Becker's first serve twice with outright winners, and his second serve twice as well.

Becker had 6 other passing shots: 3 FH and 3 BH.

Sampras had 9 other passing shots: 4 FH and 5 BH. He hit 3 of his passing shots in a single game -- when he broke Becker in the fifth set.

There were no lob winners. These two basically hammered at each other, and threw up only defensive lobs, on the full stretch.


Moose, did you have net stats for this match, from ESPN?

Moose Malloy
12-31-2007, 10:52 PM
Moose, did you have net stats for this match, from ESPN?

at 3-4 in the 5th, espn flashed their numbers at net:

Sampras: 74 of 99

Becker: 65 of 80

I did stats on the RR match they played earlier in that event(missing a few points):

Sampras: 26 winners: 5 forehands, 10 backhands, 10 volleys, 1 overhead

Becker: 19 winners: 9 forehands, 4 backhands, 5 volleys, 1 overhead

Personally, I thought this was better than the final.

krosero
01-01-2008, 10:10 AM
Personally, I thought this was better than the final.I haven't seen the round-robin match, but they do have a higher rate of winners per game. Sampras went from a rate of exactly 1 winner per game in the round-robin match to a rate of .86 in the final. Becker also went down, from .73 to .66.

However the reason this happened is that the games in the round-robin match were longer, closer. Sampras won 1 of 10 break points, Becker 1 of 3: from that stat alone, Becker's service games look longer in the round-robin match than in the final.

The final had an average of only 5.93 points per game, which is comparable to some of the averages I'm seeing in straight-set blowouts. The round-robin match, which ironically did go in straight sets, had 7.23 points per game. Among the matches we've done or researched, I know of just three matches with longer games: Connors-Krickstein at 7.33, Agassi-Eltingh at 7.67, and Becker-Agassi at that same Wimbledon (1995), with 7.73.

If you take into account the longer games in the round-robin, the rate at which Sampras and Becker hit winners no longer appears very much different from the rate in the final. In both matches Sampras finished off about 14% of the total points with a winner of his own, while Becker is at 10% in the round-robin and 11% in the final.

But they did play a "closer" match in the round-robin, in the strict sense that they had more deuces, more break points.

noeledmonds
01-01-2008, 10:20 AM
Thanks very much krosero and moose for putting these statsitics on the forum. It is matches like this ATP Masters final that make me believe Sampras had one of the best mental games ever outside red clay. Sampras just raises his game at crucial moments in big matches.

I would love to see a comparison of the 1999 Wimbledon men's final with the 2005 Wimbeledon men's final. I would do the counts myself but unfortunately I lost copies of these matches when my computer was wiped.

Another match I would like to see the statistics for is the 1977 USO final. I recall Vilas performed spectacularly that day but I would be interested to see the specifc details.

krosero
01-01-2008, 10:49 AM
Thanks very much krosero and moose for putting these statsitics on the forum. It is matches like this ATP Masters final that make me believe Sampras had one of the best mental games ever outside red clay. Sampras just raises his game at crucial moments in big matches.

I would love to see a comparison of the 1999 Wimbledon men's final with the 2005 Wimbeledon men's final. I would do the counts myself but unfortunately I lost copies of these matches when my computer was wiped.

Another match I would like to see the statistics for is the 1977 USO final. I recall Vilas performed spectacularly that day but I would be interested to see the specifc details.I did the stats for the Vilas match here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=166716

I agree about Sampras, I had been thinking the same thing when I saw him raise his game at the end of the final. A few days ago I heard Agassi's commentary of the Fed-Roddick USO match last year, where he says that Sampras might lull you for most of a set and then strike quickly, so that the set would be over 6-4 or 7-5. He said that with Federer it was different, and I took his comments to mean that Fed kept his play at a less varied level.

The two Wimbledon finals you mention, Sampras-Agassi and Federer-Roddick, are interesting: they had the same number of games. The 2005 had fewer points, but we can take that into account in any comparison. (And I think we'd also need to take into account the changed surface). I don't own it. Maybe one of us at some point will do it. I have Sampras-Agassi on my list of matches to do.

noeledmonds
01-02-2008, 06:28 AM
I did the stats for the Vilas match here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=166716

Thanks for the link krosero. Although the statistics are of somewhat a suprise to me. I had no idea that the winners to errors ratio was as poor as that from both players. I guess this just shows how one's memory can be selective over time.

krosero
07-09-2008, 05:16 AM
Sampras won 166 points overall, Becker 178. So in his two most difficult wins of 1996, Sampras won fewer points than did the man he beat (Alex Corretja won 218 points, and Sampras 213, in their USO quarterfinal).

I got those figures from the ATP, and it looks like the Sampras-Corretja numbers are wrong.

The press did report that Corretja won more points than Sampras, but only one more. And the total number of points in the match were much lower than the ATP's figure.

The Washington Times:

Corretja won 188 points, Sampras won 187, and both players finished with 25 aces.

(The ATP has only 23 aces for Pete).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

They played 375 points with Corretja winning 188 to Sampras' 187. They both nailed 25 aces. Corretja had but 30 unforced errors. Sampras had 68.

The Orange County Register:

When someone asks how great this was, start with Corretja winning 188 points and Sampras 187.

I didn't find any source that reported the figures the ATP did for Total Points Won.


For the Becker match, the New York Times supports the ATP figures for Total Points Won and for Beckerís aces:

Becker, who won this season-ending event once in New York and twice in Frankfurt, opened the match with 4 straight aces and finished with 30. He won more points than Sampras over all (178 to 166).

The Associated Press reports 32 aces, which lines up with my own count and the running count by the ZDF network. But the AP agrees with the Times and the ATP on the point margin in Beckerís favor:

Becker actually won 12 more points than Sampras, but he dropped his serve to fall 5-4 behind in the final set and Sampras served out the match.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur:

Becker slammed 32 aces compared to Sampras' 15 and in fact won more points, 178 compared to 166.

I can't read German, but for those who can:

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Es war nur ein minimaler Unterschied, der nach vier Stunden den Ausschlag zuungunsten von Titelverteidiger Boris Becker gab - dieser gewann 178 von 344 Punkten, zwoelf mehr als der Weltranglistenerste, und "konnte nicht glauben, dass ich dieses Match verloren habe".


And ZDF has service percentages nearly the same as the ATPís. At 2-3 in the fifth, ZDF puts Sampras at 65% (one point higher than the ATP), Becker at 58% (same as the ATP).

More stuff from the NY Times:

"I'm sure if I would have lost, I would have been very disappointed," said Sampras, the winner in 1991 and 1994. "But walking down those steps before the match and hearing that crowd; they are not rooting against me, they are rooting for Boris, and it was nice to be a part of that. That's what this game is all about. It's not the money. It's the great matches, and this is one of the best matches I have ever been a part of."

Becker agreed and added, "For me, Pete is the finest player of all time."

laurie
07-09-2008, 05:33 AM
K, any chance to know when you will do the 1999 Wimby final? Cheers

krosero
07-09-2008, 07:30 AM
Actually that one is done already. Like all the matches we've done for the post-1991 period (when the ATP stats are available), I've been looking for contemporary reports to compare against the ATP. Again it looks like their figures are wrong; I'll finish up my presentation and post it shortly.

krosero
03-31-2009, 06:54 PM
I did stats on the RR match they played earlier in that event(missing a few points):

Sampras: 26 winners: 5 forehands, 10 backhands, 10 volleys, 1 overhead

Becker: 19 winners: 9 forehands, 4 backhands, 5 volleys, 1 overheadI got the same numbers, except 11 volleys for Sampras (and like you I'm missing some points).

I have each man winning 94 points (same as the ATP).

Personally, I thought this was better than the final.It was a lot of fun to watch.

krosero
03-31-2009, 06:56 PM
These two have a fascinating H2H, somewhat one-sided but interesting.

Becker ended up beating Sampras 7 times in their rivalry, all indoors. Three were round-robin victories in the Masters Cup in Germany. Three were straight-set victories in Stockholm. The only best-3-of-5, and the only final, was the five-setter in Stuttgart.

In the end Becker lost all his matches to Sampras on grass, clay and hard court. But he ended up 7-6 against Sampras indoors.

After the match in Stuttgart:

"He was just too good today - a great comeback," Sampras said graciously. "There's only one king in Germany and his name is Boris. Becker is the best indoor player I've ever played."

bet
03-31-2009, 11:16 PM
Krosero, in regards to their service motions, I think you will find that if you look at one of Becker's earlier serve incarnations, (I note at least 4 distinct versions), you will see that the one around 1985 actually resembles Sampras' serve more!

Sampras himself went through a few changes on the serve as well during his career.

BorisBeckerFan
04-03-2009, 11:33 PM
Becker VS Sampras are my favorite matches of all time. Way better than the 2008 Wimbledon Final. Thank you so much for the effort of putting these stats together. I wish Becker had come out on top more often but nonetheless these matches were awesome.

Shaolin
04-04-2009, 01:08 PM
God I love that match. Becker comes out and casually throws down 4 straight aces. Stays at an insanely high level the whole way. Glad I have it on dvd.

pc1
04-06-2009, 02:36 PM
That was a great match. It's one of the matches in Steve Flink's excellent book "The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century." Becker indoors was fabulous and it was played in Germany so the atmosphere was fantastic.

krosero
04-07-2013, 08:05 AM
Sampras made 17 of 24 first serves in the tiebreaks (71%), an impressive rate. He had 7 unreturned serves, all on first serves. Broken down by tiebreak:

5 of 6 (no mini-breaks of any kind)
4 of 6 (broken once, on a first serve)
8 of 12 (lost 3 of the 8 and lost all of the 4 points on second serve)

Becker made 12 of 23 first serves in the tiebreaks (52%). He had 6 unreturned serves, all on first serves. Broken down by tiebreak:

5 of 6 (broken once, on a first serve)
2 of 5 (won the 2)
5 of 12 (lost 1 of the 5, and lost 5 of the 7 on second serve)

Service was not an advantage in that marathon final tiebreak, won by Becker. Sampras won only 5 of 12 service points, Becker only 6 of 12.

_____________________

Sampras made his first serve on 3 of 5 break points (he saved 3 directly with unreturned serves). The one time he was broken it was on a second serve.

Becker made his first serve on 4 of 5 break points (he saved 2 directly with unreturned serves). The one time he was broken it was on a first serve.

krosero
04-07-2013, 08:08 AM
Becker won his first 13 points on first serve, lost one in the final game of the opening set, and then won his next 22 – ending in the first tiebreak.

So in the first two sets Becker lost only two points on first serve. Per the ATP he lost 10 points in all on first serve so perhaps he was losing something on it as the match progressed; when he was broken in his final service game he lost 4 of 6 points on his first serve.

(Becker opened the match with 4 aces but seemed to serve fewer aces as the match progressed.)

Becker fell behind double break point at 2-3 in the second set and proceeded to win his next 18 points on serve.

krosero
04-07-2013, 08:15 AM
And these stats are from Slice Serve Ace.

Sampras served on 179 points and 56 serves did not come back: 31.3%
Becker served on 165 points and 71 serves did not come back: 43.0%

A post by Slice Serve Ace in another thread some time ago:

Anyhoo, add to Pete's already formidable 1st serve possibly the greatest 2nd serve ever & his legendary reliability in the clutch, and you've got arguably the greatest shot in the history of tennis. (Fed's FH is the only other serious candidate I can think of.)

So who neutralized it better than anyone else? Not Courier, not Chang, and not even Agassi. Then who? You guessed it--Becker, at least indoors, in terms of % of unreturned serves. Like I just said, Pete almost always had over 40% of his serves unreturned (off clay). But not against Becker on indoor carpet, where the # was often kept below or just over 35%. And at their famous '96 YEC final, that # was a measly 31.3%!!! I've yet to come across an indoor match where Pete had a lower % of his serves unreturned. That's why you see so uncharacteristically few ace counts for Pete in those classic scraps (only 15 in that YEC final, over 5 tight sets). Becker was diving like crazy on those returns, and he was even serving bigger, like a man possessed (the German crowd might have had something to do with it).

That Becker was arguably the best indoor player ever, and would've been a scary opponent for anyone in history. Put it this way: if I knew that both players were gonna come out & play their best, I'd feel comfortable putting my hard-earned $$$ on Pete for every surface... except indoor carpet, even though he's just about the worst possible matchup for Boris!"

Bursztyn
04-07-2013, 09:29 AM
Sampras made 50 winners: 16 FH, 8 BH, 14 FHV, 9 BHV, and 3 smashes.

Becker made 38 winners: 10 FH, 12 BH, 10 FHV, 5 BHV, and 1 smash.

I did count service winners that were not aces, but it was a rough count at best. Without a clear definition of a service winner, I put Sampras at 14, Becker at 4. I got the impression that Pete may have let some of Beckerís aces go rather than stretch for an unreturnable serve. Becker often reached as far as he could for Sampras serves.

Sampras and Becker hit fewer non-service winners than I had expected for a match of 58 games. Sampras leads Becker but he is still well below a rate of 1 winner per game (at .86). Laver in the 1969 Wimbledon final, 42 games long, had struck 54 winners Ė a rate of 1.29 per game. In a 1995 Wimbledon semifinal, 44 games long, Becker hit 48 winners, Agassi 49 (both rates standing at about 1.1).

One issue here may be that the 1996 match went by with unusual swiftness. There were few break points, as noted, and all but two of Beckerís service games failed even to go to deuce. In a way itís not a surprise that Sampras and Becker would hit few winners per game, if the average game was short. The Becker-Agassi match, even though it was 14 games shorter than this one, had nearly as many points: 340 vs. 344.

This is one of my favourite matches.
An interesting thread, indeed.

Both players hit less then 1 non - service winner per game because of two factors, one of them you have already mentioned; the unusual shorteness of games played, the second being a substantial amount of aces and service winners struck by the players.

Sampras hit 15 aces and 14 service winners = 29
Becker hit 32 aces and 4 service winners = 36
Together they had 65 aces or service winners. In fact the total number could be even higher, it depend upon the definition of service winners. What about returns to the net and returns hit out?

Of course these two factors are correlated; aces and service winners contributed to the unusual swiftness with which the games proceeded.

I think the number of non - service winners per points played would be even better measure of the quantity of non - service winners.

Neverheless we should be careful trying to assess match quality by the number of non - service winners per points played. In the first game of the match Becker hit 4 consecutive aces, so his ratio of non - service winners to points played was 0.0, still it was a quality game by Becker.

mattennis
04-07-2013, 09:45 AM
One of the greatest matches ever.

Those Becker-Sampras indoor matches were the best of the best. Two titans heading on.

krosero
04-07-2013, 10:36 AM
I did stats on the RR match they played earlier in that event(missing a few points):

Sampras: 26 winners: 5 forehands, 10 backhands, 10 volleys, 1 overhead

Becker: 19 winners: 9 forehands, 4 backhands, 5 volleys, 1 overhead

Personally, I thought this was better than the final.I have some stats too.

Becker won 7-6 (12-10), 7-6 (4)

Each man won 94 points. Becker won 68 of 99 points on serve, Sampras 63 of 89 (so the ATP stats are correct for this match -- as they are for the final).

In the first set Becker won 15 consecutive first-serve points, Sampras 14 straight.

Becker won 7 of his last 8 first-serve points in the match. Sampras lost 4 of his last 6; at around that time he missed 12 of 13 first serves.



Becker made 7 of 16 first serves in the tiebreaks (44%). By tiebreak:

5 of 11 (he won 4 of the 5)
2 of 5 (he won them both)

Sampras made 9 of 17 first serves in the tiebreaks (53%). By tiebreak:

6 of 11 (he won 5 of the 6)
3 of 6 (he lost 2 of the 3 on first serve)

Becker made his first serve on 6 of 10 break points (60%). He was broken once, on a second serve.

Sampras made his first serve on 2 of 3 break points (67%). He was broken once, on a first serve.

Sampras converted only 1 of 10 break points (10%). Becker converted 1 of 3 (33%)

Sampras played well but not at his very best. He was missing his returns on second serves and his forehand was misfiring quite a bit. His service percentage was 13 points lower than in would be in the final; at one stretch late in this match he missed 12 of 13 first serves, and it cost him a service hold.

At 4-5 in the first set Becker missed three straight first serves and immediately went down triple set point. He then put in 5 straight first serves and won them all, holding for 5-all.

krosero
04-07-2013, 10:43 AM
This is one of my favourite matches.
An interesting thread, indeed.

Both players hit less then 1 non - service winner per game because of two factors, one of them you have already mentioned; the unusual shorteness of games played, the second being a substantial amount of aces and service winners struck by the players.

Sampras hit 15 aces and 14 service winners = 29
Becker hit 32 aces and 4 service winners = 36
Together they had 65 aces or service winners. In fact the total number could be even higher, it depend upon the definition of service winners. What about returns to the net and returns hit out?

Of course these two factors are correlated; aces and service winners contributed to the unusual swiftness with which the games proceeded.

I think the number of non - service winners per points played would be even better measure of the quantity of non - service winners.

Neverheless we should be careful trying to assess match quality by the number of non - service winners per points played. In the first game of the match Becker hit 4 consecutive aces, so his ratio of non - service winners to points played was 0.0, still it was a quality game by Becker.See post #18 for the full number of unreturned serves.

Yes it was the high number of aces and other unreturned serves that reduced the number of rallies (best example being that opening game by Becker). That's not surprising to me now, though, after I've done so many matches with high numbers of unreturned serves.

Bursztyn
04-07-2013, 11:36 AM
Sure. I should have noticed these numbers in post number 18.

Anyway, we can calculate the ratio of non - service winners (NSW) per total number of points minus the number of points with unreturned serves (rally points)

ratio NSW per rally point = (50 + 38 )/(344 -127)=88/217=0,41

ratio NSW per game =(50 + 38 )/58 = 1,52