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krosero
05-18-2009, 07:00 PM
Philippoussis d. Sampras, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9), 7-6 (3)
(under a closed roof)

Mark was 19, Pete 24.


Rocky Mountain News:

He hit 29 aces, 12 forehand winners and 11 backhand winners past Sampras in a 6-4, 7-6 (11-9), 7-6 (7-3) victory.

New York Times:

He served 29 aces, some as fast as 128 miles per hour....

In his match, played at night, Sampras was certainly not at his sharpest. He got only 54 percent of his serves in play, hit just 5 aces and failed to return serve particularly well on the scattered occasions when Philippoussis gave him the opportunity.

What was unusual was that Sampras was perpetually on the defensive. From the beginning, Philippoussis was the one dictating the dizzying pace.

"It's obvious he's very talented; time will tell if he can be that consistent week in and week out," said Sampras, well aware of Philippoussis' talent after struggling to beat him in the third round of last year's United States Open, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.

In his book Sampras wrote that Philippoussis should have won Wimbledon.


Contra Costa:

Philippoussis, 19, served 29 aces and had 65 winners against Sampras, 24, to gain back respectability.

Prime Sports’ stats for the match:

Philippoussis had 29 aces and 6 df’s, served at 62%, went 1 of 6 on break points and made 65 winners and 31 unforced errors.

Sampras had 5 aces and 1 df, served at 54%, went 0 of 2 on break points and made 39 winners and 20 ue.


My counts:

SERVICE

Philippoussis won 119 points overall, Sampras 109.

(The ATP has Mark leading 149-120 in total points because they counted aces and df’s twice.)

Philippoussis won 88 of 116 points on serve: 56 of 72 on first serve (78%), 32 of 44 on second (73%).

Sampras won 81 of 112 points on serve: 50 of 60 on first serve (83%), 31 of 52 on second (60%).


Philippoussis made 72 of 116 first serves (62%).
Sampras made 60 of 112 first serves (54%).


Philippoussis converted 1 of 6 break points, Sampras 0 of 2.

Philippoussis got his first serve into play on 1 of 2 break points.

Sampras got his first serve into play on 2 of 6 break points. The one time he was broken it was on a first serve.


Philippoussis had 29 aces (two on second serve), 6 df's.
Sampras had 5 aces, 1 df.

Philippoussis made 20 other unreturned serves, Sampras 36. Out of all those serves I gave Mark 1 service winner, Pete 4.


WINNERS

Philippoussis had 33 clean winners apart from service: 12 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 7 BHV, 1 OH.

Sampras had 30 clean winners apart from service: 12 FH, 4 BH, 7 FHV, 4 BHV, 3 OH.

Philippoussis had 1 return winner, a FH pass off a first serve. He made 7 other passing shots (5 BH’s).

Sampras had 3 return winners, all FH passes off first serves. He made 6 other passing shots (5 FH’s). He had no passes of any kind in the third set.

In addition, I gave Philippoussis two BH winners on judgment calls (I think Australia's Channel Seven did the same).

Kemitak
05-19-2009, 07:36 AM
Looking at the numbers, it seems impossible Sampras won. How did he do it?

Kemitak
05-19-2009, 07:37 AM
Wow! I just woke up. Sampras didn't win.
I'm dumb.
Dumb and ashamed.

krosero
05-19-2009, 07:40 PM
For the other thread on aces:

Mark's aces by set: 7, 12, 10
Pete's: 1, 2, 3

In their USO meeting a few months earlier, Pete hit a lot more aces (28 compared to Mark's 14).

krosero
05-19-2009, 07:44 PM
Six months after losing to Philippoussis, Pete lost in straights at Wimbledon, too, to Krajicek.

In his book (a very nice read, by the way, esp. if you're interested in strategy), Sampras talks a little bit about how what happened in that match.

He was suddenly going for his shots, especially his second serve. Whether he knew it or not, he was taking me into territory I least liked to visit. My m.o. called for me to approach even the most lethal serve-and-volleyers with the expectation that I'll get a good look at some second serves. If that happened, I could beat them. The strategy worked against Goran Ivanisevic, it worked against Boris Becker, and it worked against Stefan Edberg. But when it became harder for me to sniff at a second serve, it created a chain reaction. If I couldn't get to his serve, that put more pressure on mine. I think Richard sensed that, and his own excellent serving freed up the rest of his game, especially his return games. And that's how it almost always works. (p. 173)

I found it interesting how he described it as a "chain reaction," like something that goes from bad to worse.

It happens to everybody, of course, when they face a big server: you feel pressure on your own serve. But maybe for someone whose serve is not a big weapon anyway (someone who relies on defense), this particular chain reaction doesn't occur. A big server thrives on holding easily and putting the pressure on his opponent; when the tables are turned, I hear Pete saying, it can be very difficult to get out of it.

Something else that comes to mind when I think about Philippoussis-Sampras is a comment that Gerry Williams made about Sampras during the 1997 Grand Slam Cup final against Rafter.

Williams was doing commentary for Sky Sports. He said that looking for frailties in Sampras' game was like looking for blemishes in a Rembrandt, but:

We’ve mentioned one. He sometimes can lose concentration, only momentarily, but a good player will take advantage. The other is that sometimes I think when somebody really comes at him like a bulldozer, the way for example Rusedski did last night, he can recoil a little bit. He doesn’t snap back, not instinctively.

AndrewD
05-20-2009, 11:01 PM
It happens to everybody, of course, when they face a big server: you feel pressure on your own serve. But maybe for someone whose serve is not a big weapon anyway (someone who relies on defense), this particular chain reaction doesn't occur.

And that is where Pete got lucky. The guys who could hang with or better him on serve were either wildly inconsistent - Philippouissis and Krajicek - or past their best - Becker, Edberg, McEnroe. In his era he just didn't have to face up to a group of players whose strength was his weakness and who were able to match him for consistency.

I know the fans just don't want to believe it, but it's true and true in all sports. Simply,no-one dominates an entire sport or even just at one event in the manner of a Court, Graf, Sampras, Navratilova, Evert, Nadal, etc IF they have great opposition.

gpt
05-21-2009, 12:32 AM
This thread reminds me of watching Wimbledon around 1999 when Sampras faced Philippoussis in the QF. Mark one the first set and was looking to br striking the ball very well. I remember thinking he was a great chance to win it. Then early in the second set he did his knee and had to retire. That may have been his best chance to win Wimbledon.

Datacipher
05-21-2009, 02:57 AM
And that is where Pete got lucky. The guys who could hang with or better him on serve were either wildly inconsistent - Philippouissis and Krajicek - or past their best - Becker, Edberg, McEnroe. In his era he just didn't have to face up to a group of players whose strength was his weakness and who were able to match him for consistency.

I shouldn't need to point out that the above is, of course, nonsense. The last line is simply not "luck". In essence, this is saying "Pete was lucky, he didn't have to face anyone who played better"...uh...right...

Sampras played plenty of people with the strength of great serves, arguably, Sampras faced the greatest serving field of all time. Rusedski, Ivanisevic, Stich, Krajicek, Becker, Mcenroe, Edberg, Rafter, Rosset, Arthurs, Goellner, Forget, the list goes on and on...

Sure, a great serve game could make Sampras uncomfortable, it does that to everyone. Was it one of the few ways to bother Pete, sure. However, it took a bad serving/playing day from Sampras and a great one from the other guy to get to him. There is a REASON why Sampras came out on top so often, take away the serve, he still beats all those guys. Period.

Was Sampras "lucky"?! Well, can we name other big servers in any era who could have consistently gotten to Sampras this way? Or even won 40 out of 60 matches with a peak Sampras? Nope. Of the group just named, only Edberg and Mcenroe had near Sampras footspeed/quickness and, they most certainly would not have been completely safe behind their serves. As well as they both SV'd, Sampras would most certainly know he had a chance to break.

lambielspins
05-21-2009, 04:16 AM
And that is where Pete got lucky. The guys who could hang with or better him on serve were either wildly inconsistent - Philippouissis and Krajicek - or past their best - Becker, Edberg, McEnroe. In his era he just didn't have to face up to a group of players whose strength was his weakness and who were able to match him for consistency.

I know the fans just don't want to believe it, but it's true and true in all sports. Simply,no-one dominates an entire sport or even just at one event in the manner of a Court, Graf, Sampras, Navratilova, Evert, Nadal, etc IF they have great opposition.

Most of those people face alot of competition at the events they dominate.

Graf- dominated Wimbledon facing Navratilova, Seles, Sanchez Vicario, Novotna, and Hingis

Sampras- dominated Wimbledon and the U.S Open facing Agassi, Becker, Edberg, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Rafter

Navratilova- dominated Wimbledon facing Evert, Mandlikova, Goolagong, Wade, and Graf.

Evert- dominated the French Open facing Goolagong, Mandlikova, Navratilova, Graf, and Sabatini.

Nadal- dominated the French Open facing Federer, Djokovic, Ferrero, Coria, Nalbandian, and Davydenko

krosero
05-22-2009, 07:53 AM
And that is where Pete got lucky. The guys who could hang with or better him on serve were either wildly inconsistent - Philippouissis and Krajicek - or past their best - Becker, Edberg, McEnroe. In his era he just didn't have to face up to a group of players whose strength was his weakness and who were able to match him for consistency. By the time Sampras took the top ranking Edberg was on his way down and McEnroe, of course, was retired, having declined for years. I thought Becker was very good in the mid-90s but the things he improved as he aged -- his consistency and patience -- did essentially nothing to disturb Pete. I wonder how the young Becker's game would have matched up against Pete's -- the Becker who came at you "like a bulldozer." That Becker was more prone to beating himself on bad days but he disturbed a lot of people.

Overall, Becker, Edberg and McEnroe had better heads than Philippoussis and Krajicek (you can add Goran's name too), and no surprise, they won more titles. The 80s had a great field of serve-and-volley players and no one in that decade was going to win Wimbledon four or five times in a row (no one even got three). It was also true in the middle of the century when so many of the game's greats knew how to serve-and-volley and were contemporaries; not all of them played Slams but if they had they would have taken those titles from each other (similar topic: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=132091).

One thing about the Open Era is that wealth is so great, and fame such a draw, it can draw people into the game but also distract them from it, which is what seems to have happened with Mark (I'm talking about the distraction; I don't know in particular how or why he was drawn into the game). Maybe it was always true and only our lack of historical perspective prevents us from seeing it -- maybe there were always just as many great talents who lacked the most serious commitment, as there are now -- but one thing I can't believe is that wealth and fame were the same distractions for tennis players before the Open Era as they are now.

Fame can also impose itself unwanted, to the detriment of a player's game, for example Graf's in the early 90s. But that's another issue.

krosero
05-22-2009, 08:12 AM
And one thing I want to add on the issue of Pete's "luck" is that you can certainly point to deeper eras in the past, in terms of great serve-and-volleyers. And you can point to occasions where certain players, if they'd had more serious commitment or better heads in competition (or avoided injury), might have beaten Pete: Goran at W in '95 or '98, Mark maybe in '99. And if these players, and Krajicek and all the rest, had been more consistent, then there would have been other opportunities, etc. But if wealth and fame are one of the challenges for contemporary players, Pete should get credit for keeping his head on straight, showing the most seriousness and avoiding all distraction (a little like Borg who worked so hard, though in his case he was also popular). He writes about living a bit of a monkish life, right down to eating simple but nutritious foods. He was so serious, of course, that he was thought boring (I certainly thought so, when he was dominating). But those aspects of his personality came from his discipline, and it's is discipline that won him all those titles.

And it was also a certain amount of emotional maturity. He took his losses and just kept going. I've said that Pete was "lucky" in a way that Agassi went AWOL for so long after the '95 USO, and that Andre did not have to take the loss so hard. But he did, and it may be that didn't yet have the maturity to bounce back from it; in later years he could get whallopped in straights, or lose heartbreakers by narrow margins, all tough losses, and still keep going; that's when he'd learned to really get serious and work hard, something Pete had always known how to do.

I think in that way Pete is a lot like the old champions.

Datacipher
05-23-2009, 04:30 AM
Yes, Krosero, we can always imagine ways in which rivals could have been stronger, but of course, those arguments are highly speculative and simply cannot be described as "luck".

Was it "luck" that Mcenroe didn't train really hard and become as fit as Lendl?

Was it "luck" that Ivansevic got tight under pressure?

Was it "luck" that Courier didn't have more talent?

"luck" that Chang was short? "luck" that Becker simply couldn't move as gracefully as Sampras?

Nah. Fact is, Sampras played top level competition. His era had plenty of talent, plenty of variety, plenty of big servers. Pete was better than they were. As you point out, mental toughness is part of the game, all players struggle with that aspect as much as the physical, sometimes more. It's not luck. Fact is, even if they had all been tough, Sampras' physical game and strokes were still superior to them and pretty much anyone in history. I can't think of another player who was had a more complete game and was more athletically gifted than Sampras, not to mention the mental. Becker, Federer, Mcenroe, Laver....all had complete games and good athletic ability, though the fact is:

Becker was "much" worse in movement
Mcenroe didn't have nearly as much power
Federer is far more incomplete in terms of all court play (his volleying has gotten far worse if anything as his career has progressed)
Laver had everything, but he didn't have Sampras' reach or power

Now some of those guys had some things they did arguably better than Sampras, but, there was no era where Sampras wouldn't have flourished, and in my opinion, been #1.

grafrules
06-10-2009, 12:15 PM
Amazing to see Pete with only 5 aces in a match!

AAAA
06-10-2009, 01:16 PM
I remember this match. It was one of the few times a player overpowered Sampras from the baseline. Sampras really struggled to hit through the ball and keep his shots deep because Philippousis was hitting too hard for Pete on that day.

One commentator said it was one of the few times Pete was made to 'look small', like the way Chang got pushed around around when playing the hard hitting big guys when they were on form.

krosero
04-05-2013, 08:45 PM
Philippoussis made 10 of 15 first serves in the tiebreaks. Broken down by tiebreak:

7 of 10
3 of 5

Sampras made 10 of 15 first serves in the tiebreaks. Broken down by tiebreak:

8 of 10
2 of 5

Philippoussis lost only one point in the tiebreaks: his opening service point of the first tiebreak (on a first serve). Thereafter he suffered no mini-breaks: 14 straight service points won in tiebreaks.

Sampras, like Philippoussis, lost 1 point on his first serve.

Only Sampras lost points on second serve (3 altogether).

Bursztyn
04-06-2013, 01:36 AM
And that is where Pete got lucky. The guys who could hang with or better him on serve were either wildly inconsistent - Philippouissis and Krajicek - or past their best - Becker, Edberg, McEnroe. In his era he just didn't have to face up to a group of players whose strength was his weakness and who were able to match him for consistency.

Philippouissis and Krajicek (I would add Ivanisevic to this list too) had one thing in common; they were tall.

Do tall players tend to be less consistent then shorter guys? This is an assumption that many (well, at least some) posters share. If there is a link between players' height and consistency (with tall guys being less consistent) then how can it be explained?

- tall guys are more injury - prone because of the mechanics of joints, tendons and muscles (without going into details whih I don't know anyway:))
- tall guys are preferred by women, so tall players tend to engage in a partying lifestyle, making it more difficult to be consistent o the court (Safin).

mental midget
04-13-2013, 04:38 PM
Philippouissis and Krajicek (I would add Ivanisevic to this list too) had one thing in common; they were tall.

Do tall players tend to be less consistent then shorter guys? This is an assumption that many (well, at least some) posters share. If there is a link between players' height and consistency (with tall guys being less consistent) then how can it be explained?

- tall guys are more injury - prone because of the mechanics of joints, tendons and muscles (without going into details whih I don't know anyway:))
- tall guys are preferred by women, so tall players tend to engage in a partying lifestyle, making it more difficult to be consistent o the court (Safin).

they are absolutely more inconsistent. i believe it comes down to longer levers, frankly. just more room for error.

krosero
04-13-2013, 08:35 PM
Amazing to see Pete with only 5 aces in a match!According to the ATP Scud out-aced Sampras (or tied him) in all of their matches except two: their very first meeting (1995 USO) and their Davis Cup match, in '97.

Sampras led the ace count only by 17-16 in that latter match, but he had a wider margin than that, per Slice Serve Ace, in unreturned serves as a whole (49% vs 30%).

It was the same story in the AO match. Scud led 29-5 in aces but had a much smaller margin in unreturned serves as a whole.

Philippoussis served on 116 points and 49 serves did not come back: 42.2%
Sampras served on 112 points and 41 serves did not come back: 36.6%

krosero
04-15-2013, 06:46 PM
they are absolutely more inconsistent. i believe it comes down to longer levers, frankly. just more room for error.I think this long levers idea might explain what I've been seeing with the aces and unreturned serves. Philippoussis and Krajicek both stood at 6 ft. 5 in. Both of them tended to out-ace Sampras, sometimes by huge margins; in one particularly match in Paris, Krajicek kept Pete down to a measly total of 2 aces.

But when you look at the unreturned serves as a whole, Sampras makes up some of the margin -- against both Philippoussis and Krajicek.

So maybe it's their wingspan -- combined, of course, with some ability to read Pete's serve -- that robbed Pete of aces. But that wingspan would not really be of much help on serves for which you don't have to reach very far (on such serves the player with the more consistent groundstrokes will make more returns); and I wonder if long levers might actually be a hindrance when jammed by a serve.

obsessedtennisfandisorder
05-16-2013, 02:30 AM
Mark was one hell of a playa when on..I mean you can just hear him killing the ball off both wings in this vid...and that's on clay:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0erMmRYu7w

I remember that match in 1996...aussie very excited afta that.

Pete M.
05-16-2013, 07:04 AM
One thing about the Open Era is that wealth is so great, and fame such a draw, it can draw people into the game but also distract them from it, which is what seems to have happened with Mark (I'm talking about the distraction; I don't know in particular how or why he was drawn into the game). Maybe it was always true and only our lack of historical perspective prevents us from seeing it -- maybe there were always just as many great talents who lacked the most serious commitment, as there are now -- but one thing I can't believe is that wealth and fame were the same distractions for tennis players before the Open Era as they are now.

I totally agree. But I always thought Philippoussis was too slow and while his forehand was really powerful and good, was slightly unreliable. His backhand was a little fragile too, I believe it was too much slice. His net play was good enough for the 90's but his touch was poor in my opinion.

shakes1975
05-19-2013, 07:47 PM
Yes, Krosero, we can always imagine ways in which rivals could have been stronger, but of course, those arguments are highly speculative and simply cannot be described as "luck".

Was it "luck" that Mcenroe didn't train really hard and become as fit as Lendl?

Was it "luck" that Ivansevic got tight under pressure?

Was it "luck" that Courier didn't have more talent?

"luck" that Chang was short? "luck" that Becker simply couldn't move as gracefully as Sampras?

Nah. Fact is, Sampras played top level competition. His era had plenty of talent, plenty of variety, plenty of big servers. Pete was better than they were. As you point out, mental toughness is part of the game, all players struggle with that aspect as much as the physical, sometimes more. It's not luck. Fact is, even if they had all been tough, Sampras' physical game and strokes were still superior to them and pretty much anyone in history. I can't think of another player who was had a more complete game and was more athletically gifted than Sampras, not to mention the mental. Becker, Federer, Mcenroe, Laver....all had complete games and good athletic ability, though the fact is:

Becker was "much" worse in movement
Mcenroe didn't have nearly as much power
Federer is far more incomplete in terms of all court play (his volleying has gotten far worse if anything as his career has progressed)
Laver had everything, but he didn't have Sampras' reach or power

Now some of those guys had some things they did arguably better than Sampras, but, there was no era where Sampras wouldn't have flourished, and in my opinion, been #1.

Well said !! Sampras was the most complete player I've seen, and at his best, the most accurate offensive player ever.

magnut
05-19-2013, 08:38 PM
I remember that match. That was one of the all time red-line lights out performances by any player. I think that match hurt Mark more than it helped him as he thought he could play like that all the time. Marks knickname should have been "Red-line" on the tour because thats about how he played. When he was on (not much) he was unstopable.

I really think Pete screwed up that match from a preparation standpoint. I am not sure if it was bad scouting, bad strategy, bad food or what. Later that year Pete ran into Mark at the US Open and Mark was pretty hot. Pete beat him in straight sets. Mark was really never able to attain that level again. He started looking good for a while when Cash coached him in 98 but then dumped cash and went into red line mode again. Cash seemed to get Mark playing some smart tennis and the results started to show. Then Mark didnt want to pay him or something and went into idiot mode again.

magnut
05-19-2013, 08:47 PM
Well said !! Sampras was the most complete player I've seen, and at his best, the most accurate offensive player ever.

I agree with you on this. While I think there were better players at different aspects of the game (Edberg and Rafter), Pete was really consistent for an attacking player that would take a lot of risk with a power game. Probably the most consistant and complete power player we have seen IMO. It took really special players to find ways to get to him. I always found it interesting how Ferriera was one of those guys. Rafter was another. Something about those guys could really un-nerve Sampras and make him edgy.