Stats for 1971 Wimbledon final (Newcombe-Smith)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, May 15, 2012.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Newcombe d. Smith 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

    Statistically there was very little between the two men, except in one category: BH return errors. Smith made 38 such errors, Newcombe 22.

    Rosewall had said this after the semis:

    "Smith is a dangerous player and he must have a chance. But Newcombe is much safer off the ground, and I make him favorite to win. It could well be a long match. I know roughly how it will go – Newcombe will serve to Smith’s backhand, and Smith will serve to Newcombe’s backhand, and mistakes will decide it."​

    Some other notable features of the match included Newcombe winning 19 straight points on serve, and Smith successfully making a long string of first serves.


    My service stats below.

    POINTS WON

    Newcombe won 156 points overall, Smith 142.

    Newcombe won 73 of 88 points on first serve (83%) and 29 of 60 on second serve (48%).

    Smith won 70 of 105 points on first serve (67%) and 26 of 45 on second serve (58%).


    These are the numbers if you look only at points in which the serve was returned successfully:

    Newcombe 67% on first serve (30/45) and 37% on second (15/41).
    Smith 53% on first serve (40/75) and 50% on second (12/24).

    Note: in the first two sets, if Newk could return Smith's first serve he had a better than even chance of winning the point. Over the course of those two sets, Smith was winning only 44% of the time when his 1st serve was returned (17/39), while winning 67% of the time when his 2nd serve came back (6/9).



    Newcombe won 19 straight points on serve to start off the fourth set. The New York Times wrote:

    In the finest sustained serving streak since Bob Falkenburg won here in 1948, he had four service games at love and was 5-4 and 40-love. Not a single point had Smith won against service all the way through the set. Desperately he fought off three set points to get to deuce. At advantage John aced him for 6-4 and two sets each.​

    So Newk came within 1 point of going an entire set without dropping a point on serve.


    SERVICE PERCENTAGES

    Newcombe made 88 of 148 first serves (59.5%). He missed 5 of 6 first serves at 5-6 in the second set – his worst service game of the match in terms of service faults – and was promptly broken.

    Smith made 105 of 150 first serves (70.0%). He had a stretch in which he made 20 straight first serves, including his first 3 serves of the second set. However he was broken during that stretch, at 2-3 in the first set, despite making 10 of 10 first serves in that game.

    (Something similar happened to Smith in '74 when he lost to Rosewall from two sets up. He opened the final set of that match with 15 straight first serves, but was broken during the streak.)


    Newcombe made his first serve on 6 of 8 break points, Smith on 11 of 13.

    Newcombe converted 4 of 13 break points, Smith 4 of 8. Smith did not earn any break points in Newcombe's first 9 service games.

    Newcombe was broken only during a bad patch late in the second set and through the third. During that run he lost his serve four out of five times -- twice from 30-love up. Overall he held in his first 10 service games and in his last 10.


    ACES, SERVICE WINNERS, DOUBLE FAULTS

    Newcombe had 9 clean aces and 5 double-faults.

    Smith had 6 clean aces (two on second serve) and 7 double-faults. He made two double-faults at 2-all in the fifth and was broken at love; those were the decisive errors of the match.


    Newcombe served 48 other unreturned serves, of which I judged 15 as service winners.

    Smith served 38 other unreturned serves, of which I judged 3 to be service winners.

    Breaking down the 48 return errors that Newcombe drew:
    - 10 FH, 38 BH
    - 34 first serves, 14 second serves

    Breaking down the 38 return errors that Smith drew:
    - 16 FH, 22 BH
    - 26 first serves, 12 second serves

    Winners and errors to follow in another post.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
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  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    WINNERS

    Newcombe made 42 clean winners: 8 FH, 8 BH, 12 FHV, 11 BHV, 3 OV.

    Smith made 44 clean winners: 7 FH, 11 BH, 12 FHV, 5 BHV, 9 OV.

    That's barely any difference, and the two men made exactly the same number of passes/lobs: 15. Of Newk's 15, seven were return winners. Smith had 8 return winners.


    UNFORCED ERRORS (apart from double-faults)

    Newcombe made 14 UE's: 1 FH, 8 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OV. He had a bad run in the third set in which he made 8 of these unforced errors (6 on his FHV). In that set he also threw in 3 of his 5 double-faults.

    Smith made 15 UE's: 8 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 OV.

    Again no difference between them in this category.


    FORCED ERRORS (apart from return errors, all of which I judged, incidentally, as forced)

    Newcombe made 35 forced errors in the rallies: 15 FH, 9 BH, 6 FHV, 5 BHV.

    Smith made 35 forced errors in the rallies: 11 FH, 10 BH, 8 FHV, 6 BHV.

    Again no difference. The big statistical difference between them was, as noted above, in the return errors.

    And Smith's two double-faults at 2-all in the fifth were the most costly individual errors of the match.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Seems like a very well played match. I'm surprised the backhand winners were equal or surpassed the forehand winners. I would guess a lot of that was because each player attacked the other's backhand which gave them more chances to hit backhand winners or am I wrong?
     
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  4. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Yes I think that's the reason. We have a few Connors matches in which he's hitting more winners from the FH than from the BH, no doubt because everyone tried to work over his FH.

    So yeah Newk and Smith went to each other's backhands, and yet each man was forced into errors more often on his FH side (talking just about the rallies -- not the return errors). I guess that's because they were going for more with their forehands. They often sliced their backhands, so they had safety on that side.

    And yes it was a well played match. I know many fans think of SV-on-every-serve as boring or one-dimensional, but this was one such match I enjoyed.
     
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  5. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    That's a lot of service winners. Newcombe's serve always looked bigger to me than Smith's.

    did you read SI's article on this Wimbledon? was surprised how similar it sounded to criticism's of 80s/90s grasscourt matches. The author went on about how brutal & boring this type of tennis was. And how Goolagong(the ladies champ that year) was such a pleasant contrast to the men's game.
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I got the impression that the general consensus was that Newcombe's serve was considered the best in the game at that time. Ashe described it as a heavy serve. People like Jack Kramer, Ashe and John Alexander called it the best serve in tennis. I thought Newcombe's second serve was one of the all time great second serve. Kramer described it as the best second serve by far.

    I saw a lot a Newcombe-Smith matches during the 1974 WCT season and I felt Newcombe was just a bit more solid in more areas than Smith. Those matches to me at the time seemed boring but I haven't seen serve and volley in a long time. I wonder how I would react now to that type of tennis.
     
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Newk served 148 points and 57 serves did not come back: 39%
    Smith served 150 points and 44 serves did not come back: 29%

    Some of that is due to Newk returning better than Smith. But I also thought Newk's serve was the better one. Particularly in the fourth set.

    Well I see so much baseline tennis today that SV tennis is refreshing. Back then it was a different story.

    His second serve was great, but strangely he's been under 50% success on second serve in the two matches we've taken that stat for him. He was at 48% in this one and 45% in his 75 AO win over Connors.

    In this match he won only 1 of 11 points on his second serve in the third set, losing his last 9. Then in the fourth set when he had his great service streak he won 8 of 10 on second serve. Strange fluctuations, might be worth watching these sets again and taking a closer look.

    You've read Vines' book so you know how he thought that players should develop their groundstrokes and not come in automatically behind all their serves. I'm reminded of that when I see Newk with low success on second serve -- but Vines pointedly said that Newcombe and Kramer were among the few who could get away with continual SV.

    And Smith was coming in behind all his second serves too, in this match, with a healthy success rate of 58%.

    That's a little surprising because a SV player needs to have a solid game to back up his serve, particularly on second serve. Between the two men you'd pick Newk as having the better volleys, the better overall game. But Smith was the one doing better on second serve.

    On first serve there's no question Newk was superior: 83% success rate vs. Smith's 67%. On first serve Newk was doing heavy damage.
     
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  8. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I had him at 71% on 2nd serve in the last 2 sets of the '73 USO Final.
     
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  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I've got him at 67% for the last two sets against Smith. He was unbroken in that stretch, and faced only 1 break point: exactly the same thing happened in his last two sets against Kodes.

    Newcombe's second serve was a key factor in the Kodes match; this was in the NY Times:

    As an acrobatic scrambler, retriever and hustler with tremendous maneuverability, [Kodes] represented an almost perfect contrast to the less mobile Newcombe, a serve-blaster and power-stroker with knockout punches from either side....

    Hitting his second serve deeper and harder -- "I thought that to be my main problem" -- Newcombe suddenly shot out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. When his first serve wasn't nipping the line for an ace (he served 14 aces to Kodes's five), his second serve still kept Kodes back.

    That's when Kodes started running out of miracles.​
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    And he could do that to anyone, even the great Jimmy Connors and his return. Newcombe was in general a power player who played it safe off his backhand as of course many used to do with one handers. In this match he imposed his power on Kodes' game and neutralized him.

    The 1975 Australian Open final which Newcombe won against Connors was actually a bit of a different style from the usual power game that Newcombe played. Newcombe lobbed a lot because he wasn't in top shape and he also survived a long semi against Tony Roche. Newcombe always had options. And he amazingly won that final against Connors in four sets when he really had no right to win considering the lack of match play also.
     
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  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I did see that final in 1971 on tv, and i remember, that Smith looked very raw at the beginning, Newcombe much more the seasoned pro. The momentum swang a few times, and Newk as always recovered well and in the last set he was always extremely dangerous. In his book, Newcombe highlights a moment in the fourth set, when he fell down and played possum, then suddenly sprang up with a Tarzan cry, only to get the crowd on his side. Smith had the habit of turning on an arrogant smile, when ahead. Newcombe wrote, that he wanted to put that smile away, and that this moment was the key to his recovery.
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Newcombe also wrote that he had fallen and had the wind knocked out of him. He didn't take the time to settle down and regroup his inner body. Newk believed it would take 10 to 15 minutes to regroup and that would cost him the third set but he felt he would come back strong to win the fourth and as he put it, finish him off in the fifth set.
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Newcombe was the perfect clutch player, he was considered being one of the best 5 set players ever.He seldom lost in a major final; I recall his 69 Wimbledon final but he was playing a top form Laver and he couldn´t have had a chance.But he owned all time greats like Rosewall,Smith,Kodes,Borg and Connors...
     
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  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    He usually played a power game, but he could do a lot more. He was expected to oppose Laver in their Wimbledon final with brute force, but he threw in dinks, slices and lobs, with success. And he did some of that against Connors, too.

    Which is pretty smart, because Connors fed off power. And I think trying to beat Laver in a straight-up contest of power was also a losing game.

    I don't think Newk really lacked match play before the 75AO. According to the ITF he had played in seven tournaments since the USO, playing in singles and doubles in most of them. The last one was the Masters, which ended about a week before the AO began.

    But what he did at the AO was still astonishing. He got only 1 day of rest (after his first match).

    Thursday – straights over Trevor Fancutt
    Saturday – five sets over Rolf Gehring
    Sunday – straights over Bob Carmichael
    Monday – five sets over Geoff Masters
    Tuesday – five sets over Tony Roche
    Wednesday – four sets over Connors
     
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  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The crowd did appreciate that little play, but they were very much pulling for Smith. After the match Newk told the press that he wished he could get the crowd on his side more often.
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    he was an all time favourite.It´s just that he was so dominating at his peak that the other players was the underdog...thus getting crowd´s support.

    But if you don´t root for the lovely Newk, whom are you rooting for?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
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  17. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Success on first and second serve when facing break point:

    Newcombe won 4 of 6 points on first serve (67%) and 0 of 2 on second (0%).
    Smith won 8 of 11 points on first serve (73%) and 1 of 2 on second (50%).

    Just as when he faced Laver in the ’69 final, whenever Newk fell back to his second serve on break point he got broken.
     
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