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View Full Version : Stats for 1988 W final (Graf-Navratilova)


krosero
12-27-2007, 07:25 PM
Score: 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
(27 games)

Since Warriorroger invited us to watch this on YouTube, I did, and I jotted down the winners. I was a little more casual with this than with the men's matches I've done, because it's never been my intention to start a whole new project on women's matches; but it's hard for me now to watch tennis matches and let the stats go unrecorded. :)

I started counting from 4-3 in the first set, when NBC displayed the winners broken down by serve, FH, BH, and net. For what it's worth, I had the same total number of winners (service and non-service) that NBC gave for each player at 1-love in the third. And the network kept a running count of aces and Graf forehands, also in sync with what I counted.

Graf had 4 aces, 4 service winners, and 1 double.

Navratilova had 1 ace, 3 service winners, and 3 doubles. Two of her doubles were in the final game.


Graf hit 53 winners: 22 forehands, 16 backhands, 15 at net.

Navratilova hit 19 winners: 1 forehand, 4 backhands, 14 at net.

So Graf had more winners at net (barely) than Navratilova.


Graf's winners (non-service) by set: 21, 20, 12.

Navratilova's winners (non-service) by set: 11, 5, 3.


Graf's rate of non-service winners per game is 1.96. That is higher than any rate I know about for a men's match even with their aces and service winners included.

Graf's rate of service and non-service winners combined is 2.26 per game.

Navratilova has a rate of .70 for non-service winners, and .85 for all winners.

For comparison, let's take the 2005 Wimbledon final in which Venus Williams defeated Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 7-6 (4), 9-7 (or 39 games).

Williams hit 49 winners, per the NY Times. Presuming that this includes winners of every kind, that is a rate of 1.26 per game, compared to Graf's 2.26.

If the Times stat includes only non-service winners, then the comparison is with Graf's 1.96.


There is also the winner/error ratio. NBC displayed the winners and unforced errors at 1-love in the third. Graf had 2.88 times as many winners of all kinds as errors (49 vs. 17), Navratilova 1.75 times as many (21 vs. 12).

Williams hit 29 unforced errors for the whole match, so that's a ratio of 1.69.


As I said, I did this one more a little more casually than usual, so I don't have the usual detail, like the number of passing shots. And I suspect that one reason Graf has such a higher number of winners in this match is that Navratilova presented a constant target.

As of 1-love in the third, per NBC, Graf had won 16 points at net, Navratilova 47.

As of 1-love in the third, Graf was serving at 63%, Navratilova at 60%.


I'm glad this match was uploaded, because even though I hadn't intended to count winners for any women's matches, this was one match where almost 20 years later I remembered Graf just hitting a flood of them. It's a good touchstone, and an interesting comparison with the men.

Warriorroger
12-28-2007, 01:43 AM
Score: 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
(27 games)

Since Warriorroger invited us to watch this on YouTube, I did, and I jotted down the winners. I was a little more casual with this than with the men's matches I've done, because it's never been my intention to start a whole new project on women's matches; but it's hard for me now to watch tennis matches and let the stats go unrecorded. :)

I started counting from 4-3 in the first set, when NBC displayed the winners broken down by serve, FH, BH, and net. For what it's worth, I had the same total number of winners (service and non-service) that NBC gave for each player at 1-love in the third. And the network kept a running count of aces and Graf forehands, also in sync with what I counted.

Graf had 4 aces, 4 service winners, and 1 double.

Navratilova had 1 ace, 3 service winners, and 3 doubles. Two of her doubles were in the final game.


Graf hit 53 winners: 22 forehands, 16 backhands, 15 at net.

Navratilova hit 19 winners: 1 forehand, 4 backhands, 14 at net.

So Graf had more winners at net (barely) than Navratilova.


Graf's winners (non-service) by set: 21, 20, 12.

Navratilova's winners (non-service) by set: 11, 5, 3.


Graf's rate of non-service winners per game is 1.96. That is higher than any rate I know about for a men's match even with their aces and service winners included.

Graf's rate of service and non-service winners combined is 2.26 per game.

Navratilova has a rate of .70 for non-service winners, and .85 for all winners.

For comparison, let's take the 2005 Wimbledon final in which Venus Williams defeated Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 7-6 (4), 9-7 (or 39 games).

Williams hit 49 winners, per the NY Times. Presuming that this includes winners of every kind, that is a rate of 1.26 per game, compared to Graf's 2.26.

If the Times stat includes only non-service winners, then the comparison is with Graf's 1.96.


There is also the winner/error ratio. NBC displayed the winners and unforced errors at 1-love in the third. Graf had 2.88 times as many winners of all kinds as errors (49 vs. 17), Navratilova 1.75 times as many (21 vs. 12).

Williams hit 29 unforced errors for the whole match, so that's a ratio of 1.69.


As I said, I did this one more a little more casually than usual, so I don't have the usual detail, like the number of passing shots. And I suspect that one reason Graf has such a higher number of winners in this match is that Navratilova presented a constant target.

As of 1-love in the third, per NBC, Graf had won 16 points at net, Navratilova 47.

As of 1-love in the third, Graf was serving at 63%, Navratilova at 60%.


I'm glad this match was uploaded, because even though I hadn't intended to count winners for any women's matches, this was one match where almost 20 years later I remembered Graf just hitting a flood of them. It's a good touchstone, and an interesting comparison with the men.


Thanks Krosero: what an effort and very interesting to see the many winners Steffi hit during that match. You're right about the target remark, many of the winners were passing shots or lobs.

krosero
01-02-2008, 06:49 PM
Graf d. Williams, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

I saw this one on YouTube. The NBC coverage is missing about the equivalent of five games.

NBC did provide running counts of aces and doubles, which helped me to count those.

For the whole match, Graf had 2 aces and 3 doubles. Williams had 4 aces and 2 doubles.

At 3-2 in the third, Graf had made 23 winners of all kinds (aces, service winners, and other strokes), next to 27 unforced errors. Williams had 28 winners and 34 unforced errors.

They were very evenly matched in these stats. The real story of the match was the break points: Graf converted 4 of 6, Williams only 3 of 15. Williams was broken in all three sets, but she broke Graf only in the second set.



Each player's winner-to-error ratio was below 1.0. Graf was at .85, Williams at .82.

Compare that to Venus' ratio of 1.69 in the (whole) 2005 final.

And in the 1988 final, early in the third set, Graf had been at 2.88 and Navratilova at 1.75.



In the 1999 match, as of 3-2 in the third, Graf's rate of winners per game was 1.05. Williams was at 1.27.

Compare that to Venus' rate for the (whole) 2005 final, which was 1.26. Graf's rate in the (whole) 1988 final had been 2.26, with Navratilova at .85.



For me the 1988 final was, not the most dramatic match, but the most exciting kind of tennis. Martina and Steffi were moving around extremely fast, both sideways and forward. Watching those points you feel as if the ball might go anywhere, and as if points might suddenly end with an angled winner.

And the 1988 final did have more winners. That is primarily caused, I think, by Martina's net-rushing: it resulted in volley winners and passing shots.

After 21 games, Navratilova had won 47 points at net, Graf 16. After the same number of games in 1999, Williams had won 19 points at net (out of 30 approaches). Graf had won 4 (out of 7 approaches).

In the games covered by NBC, I counted 19 non-service winners made by Williams -- 12 of them with volleys or overheads. Graf had just 2 backhand volleys, out of 15 winners.

Graf made both of those backhand volleys in one game, when she broke Williams at 2-all in the third (one of them was a sharp backhand drop volley of a kind I've rarely seen her make). This suggests that she was capable of approaching more, but approached only just enough to win.

krosero
01-02-2008, 08:00 PM
Just looked up the stats in the New York Times.

This one had fewer approaches than the Wimbledon final two months earlier, and fewer winners.

Graf had 33 winners of all kinds: 0 aces, 7 service winners, and 26 placement winners.

Sabatini had 23 winners of all kinds: 4 aces, 5 service winners, and 14 placement winners.


Graf won 2 of 8 approaches. Sabatini won 16 of 26.


So Graf had an average of 1.32 winners of all kinds per game, Sabatini .92.

Those numbers are much lower than Graf's numbers against Navratilova, and closer to the figures for the 1999 and 2005 matches.


Graf had just as many unforced errors as winners. Sabatini's ratio of winners to unforced errors was .74.

Again, that's closer to the 1999 and 2005 matches than the figures in the Navratilova match.

obanaghan
01-09-2008, 01:58 PM
I remember that 88 W final. Martina looked as if she would win in straight sets and then the Graf backhand killed her.

Steffi outhit Martina in a way Evert could not. The guard changed and passed Martina that afternoon. Likewise, Graf was passed by Seles since she could hit the living hell out of the ball on both sides. Seles in turn was passed by the Williams' because they could hit the ball hard like her AND could run.

CEvertFan
01-09-2008, 03:01 PM
I remember that 88 W final. Martina looked as if she would win in straight sets and then the Graf backhand killed her.

Steffi outhit Martina in a way Evert could not. The guard changed and passed Martina that afternoon. Likewise, Graf was passed by Seles since she could hit the living hell out of the ball on both sides. Seles in turn was passed by the Williams' because they could hit the ball hard like her AND could run.


Evert's intention was never to outhit Martina in the first place. Evert's game was about accuracy and depth on her groundstrokes and mental toughness, not power. 37 wins over Martina indicates that her strategy worked just as well as Graf's far more powerful game did.

Gasquetrules
01-10-2008, 05:39 PM
I've got copies of two of the Graf-Navratilova GS finals from '88. I believe the matches between these two were perhaps the best women's tennis of any era.

Granted, the Williams sisters hit harder today. And Venus plays unbelievable defense with her movement. And to compete with them other women such as Graf or Davenport or Sharapova or whomever must also hit with more power. So yeah, both Venus and Serena produce a lot of errors and force their opponents to do likewise.

But for total quality of play, I still much prefer the Graf-Navratilova matchups for the great all-court play and athleticsm both women display.

Graf was always criticized for two things later in her career: 1. rarely hitting with topspin off the backhand; and 2. not coming to net often enough.

But in her Wimbledon final (especially) with Navratilova, Graf routinely hits topspin passing shots and comes to net just as often as Navratilova does. Why? Because Martina attacked the net constantly and she compelld Graf to do these things to beat her. And Graf did. So Graf hit flawless topspin backhands and showed great netplay as a teenager. She could have done this throughout her career... but didn't need to. She could win without playing this way because virtually no other women after Navratilova played at the same level.

BTW, despite hitting some great backhand topspin passes, Graf's sliced passing shot worked even better than the topspin. Graf could thread the slice through a needle, and it stayed so low and the heavy underspin made for a lot of volley errors from Martina. In contrast if Steffi hit with topspin on the pass and Martina got her racquet on it she rarely missed the volley. The topspin drive was only effective when Steffi had the room to blow the shot past Martina.

I like Maruesmo's game a lot because it reminds me so much of Martina's.

grafrules
01-10-2008, 05:58 PM
Graf was forced to use her topspin backhand when she played Navratilova since trying to win passing Martina all day with a slice was never going to work, even with Martina already slightly past her prime. She showed she could do it effectively in her matches with Martina from 87-89, especialy 88 and 89, and it was great to see. I wish she had that same confidence to use it vs a baseliner or all court player during those times such a player was giving her great trouble, like Seles or Sabatini in the early 90s, as it would probably have helped her immensely if she did, but it seemed there was never enough urgency to feel she had to unless she played an all out attacker.

CEvertFan
01-10-2008, 08:42 PM
Graf was forced to use her topspin backhand when she played Navratilova since trying to win passing Martina all day with a slice was never going to work, even with Martina already slightly past her prime. She showed she could do it effectively in her matches with Martina from 87-89, especialy 88 and 89, and it was great to see. I wish she had that same confidence to use it vs a baseliner or all court player during those times such a player was giving her great trouble, like Seles or Sabatini in the early 90s, as it would probably have helped her immensely if she did, but it seemed there was never enough urgency to feel she had to unless she played an all out attacker.

Graf knew that against a baseliner or an all court player (although I think calling Sabatini an all court player is stretching it just a little as she played mostly from the baseline) that she would be involved mainly in baseline rallies, and the baseline was where Graf felt most comfortable and at her most confident so there was never any urgency or desire for her to further improve the topspin backhand or her net game.

She felt she needed to do it against a pure serve volley player like Navratilova because when she wasn't going for those shots (taking the net away from Navratilova or hitting great topspin backhands) she wound up losing to Martina. Also after Martina was no longer a major threat, Steffi rarely ever used those shots (much more the topspin backhand than the volley) during her matches and if a shot isn't used regularly one can't expect to suddenly call on it and be able to rely on it, and there were times I saw her go for one later in her career during a match and wind up hitting a very bad topspin backhand and then she wouldn't even attempt it again during the match because in her mind it had become too much of an unreliable shot. Also in '88 and '89 (when she was 19 and 20 years old) I believe Graf was absolutely filled with youthful confidence and felt she could do no wrong on the court and that no one could challenge her at that time (and for the most part she was correct since both Navratilova and Evert were past their primes) and therefore any shot she tried worked flawlessly for her for the most part.

All in all she did more than well enough without a great net game or a consistently good topspin backhand, but imagine how many more possible Slam titles she could have had if she had developed those parts of her game to their fullest potential.

Warriorroger
01-12-2008, 12:12 AM
Graf knew that against a baseliner or an all court player (although I think calling Sabatini an all court player is stretching it just a little as she played mostly from the baseline) that she would be involved mainly in baseline rallies, and the baseline was where Graf felt most comfortable and at her most confident so there was never any urgency or desire for her to further improve the topspin backhand or her net game.

She felt she needed to do it against a pure serve volley player like Navratilova because when she wasn't going for those shots (taking the net away from Navratilova or hitting great topspin backhands) she wound up losing to Martina. Also after Martina was no longer a major threat, Steffi rarely ever used those shots (much more the topspin backhand than the volley) during her matches and if a shot isn't used regularly one can't expect to suddenly call on it and be able to rely on it, and there were times I saw her go for one later in her career during a match and wind up hitting a very bad topspin backhand and then she wouldn't even attempt it again during the match because in her mind it had become too much of an unreliable shot. Also in '88 and '89 (when she was 19 and 20 years old) I believe Graf was absolutely filled with youthful confidence and felt she could do no wrong on the court and that no one could challenge her at that time (and for the most part she was correct since both Navratilova and Evert were past their primes) and therefore any shot she tried worked flawlessly for her for the most part.

All in all she did more than well enough without a great net game or a consistently good topspin backhand, but imagine how many more possible Slam titles she could have had if she had developed those parts of her game to their fullest potential.

Agree on most parts. I think she would have won more titles (if she stayed healthy), if she had more of a netgame, the netgame she showed in 1988. Her slice is different and better (except for the 91-93) years than any player male/female past/present, cause it made players hit up, so she could hit the big forehand. Her winning less slams (IMO) had more to do with her reluctance in coming to the net. There have been thousands of moments where she could have stand at the net, because she just hit a punishing shot, and she let the player back in the rally. Seles is known for her power and angles, but she also had a lot of shots back. If you look at the 1990 RG final, Monica played great and smart, Steffi also played great, but not strategically wise. Monica was much sharper and stronger that day from the baseline and Steffi should have come in. But that's the great thing when great players meet each other, they make each other better.

Everone says Martina was past her prime when she played Graf, I think 1988/89 Martina served better and hit harder, was more in shape then 70s Martina. And in a way they were the same, athlete versus athlete. I think when both had a good day on the same day, it produced the best matches: past/present. Therefore it is fitting that they were tied in their carreerd at 9-9.

hewittboy
01-12-2008, 12:24 AM
To be honest I think Graf had some very good volleying technique. If she had just forced herself to be more of an all court player she would have been a very accomplished volleyer I think. It was just stubborness on her part. She just could never commit mentally to it. Like CEvertFan said rarely in her career did she need to anyway, so that was probably a large part of it.

Gasquetrules
01-12-2008, 04:44 PM
To be honest I think Graf had some very good volleying technique. If she had just forced herself to be more of an all court player she would have been a very accomplished volleyer I think. It was just stubborness on her part. She just could never commit mentally to it. Like CEvertFan said rarely in her career did she need to anyway, so that was probably a large part of it.

Graf proved early on that she had a complete game. But after Navratilova left the game, Steffi didn't need to hit over her backhand or volley that much to win. This says more about women's tennis than Graf's tennis.

And let's be honest. Graf's sliced backhand was a very good shot. It worked extremely well on grass. Steffi could hit it consistently within a foot of the baseline; it stayed very low and was quite hard to attack. In her final Wimbledon she beat Venus Williams from the baseline with that sliced backhand. To Venus' credit she did a wonderful job bending her knees and getting down low to play Graf's deep sliced drives back... but Venus couldn't really attack the shot or she would hit it out. All she could do was try to roll it back deep in the court and hope for something shorter that would bounce higher that she could knock the felt off of... but she almost never got it. What a dillema!!! Keep hitting to Steffi's backhand and eventually make an error trying to create something off that deep and low slice, or take the chance of hitting to Steffi's forehand.

Steffi's backhand slice was very accurate and very consistent and probably worked better against the typical topspinning female baseliner than a one-handed backhand drive would have. And as someone just pointed out, the slice really did work great to force her opponents to hit up on the ball and set up the power forehand putaway.

Gasquetrules
01-15-2008, 04:18 PM
Sorry... wrong thread.

krosero
01-22-2008, 05:01 PM
Since this match has the highest rate of winners per game in any match I know about, I decided to get my own count, this time from the beginning, and to get the service percentages.

(And while I was at it I got some stats on how many of Graf's backhand winners were overhand or topspin).

Again my own counts matched up perfectly with NBC's mid-match stats for total winners (including service winners), aces and Graf forehand winners.


Graf had 4 aces, 4 service winners, and 1 double.

Navratilova had 1 ace, 3 service winners, and 3 doubles.


Graf made 52 of 74 first serves (or 70%).
Navratilova made 62 of 101 first serves (or 61%).


Graf’s percentages by set:
25/38 (66%)
15/21 (71%)
12/15 (80%)

Navratilova’s percentages by set:
28/46 (61%)
15/28 (54%)
19/27 (70%)

Graf won 8 of 19 break points, Navratilova 4 of 4.

Graf put her first serve into play on 2 of 4 break points, Navratilova on 15 of 19 (or 79%).

Graf won 97 points, Navratilova 78.

Graf won 44 of 74 points on her serve. Navratilova won only 48 of 101, less than 50%.


Graf made 53 non-service winners: 22 FH, 16 BH, 7 FHV, 3 BHV, 5 overheads.

Navratilova made 19 non-service winners: 1 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 8 BHV, 4 overheads.


Graf returned Navratilova's serve 20 times for clean winners (12 times off the first serve), with 10 FH's and 10 BH's. All but one of these was a passing shot.

Graf had the only lob winners of the match, both of them sliced backhands at 2-all in the first set, when she broke Navratilova.

Graf also passed Navratilova 13 other times, with 9 FH’s and 4 BH’s.

So Graf passed Navratilova in one way or another 34 times: 18 times with her forehand, 16 times with her backhand.

Of the 16 backhand winners, 7 were topspin or flat. Four of the seven were service returns (including the netcord dribbler at match point).

Navratilova returned Graf’s second serve twice for clean winners, once with a FH and once with a BH. She also returned Graf's first serve with a BH winner. None of these were passes; and Martina had no lob winners. But she did pass Steffi twice, with topspin backhands; both times she broke Graf’s service.

In a way, then, both women did their best when they came over the backhand.