Borg d. Gerulaitis 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 This match gets so many accolades as one of the best played at Wimbledon, it's a kind of standard. Dan Maskell called it one of the greatest if not the greatest match he'd ever seen there. Between them, Borg and Gerulaitis hit 132 clean winners (apart from service). Borg hit 58 winners: 15 FH, 22 BH, 10 FHV, 6 BHV, 5 overheads. Gerulaitis hit 74 winners: 13 FH, 11 BH, 24 FHV, 17 BHV, 9 overheads. Gerulaitis may have hit more winners than any other man that Borg defeated in his five-year run at Wimbledon. His rate of winners per game (1.45) is higher than Connors would have in the final on Sunday. It's even slightly higher than McEnroe's rate in the 1981 final over Borg (though McEnroe pulls ahead if aces are included). It's just barely lower than Mecir's rate of winners when he lost to Edberg in that five-set semifinal in 1988. From Neil Amdur's report in the New York Times: That game actually was at 1-2 in the third set. Gerulaitis held after 5 break points and 8 deuces. I counted 13 non-service winners, and there was also an ace -- a weird one that took place when Borg could not get out of the way of a serve and it hit his body rather than his racquet. Amdur mentions the players' speed, and that was one factor in how many rallies they had, though I'm not sure it explains why so many rallies ended with winners. He mentions their anticipation; I don't know if the two had started practicing with each other yet or become best friends. (Borg did not yet own Gerulaitis. Their two previous matches had gone to ultimate third sets. After this meeting, they met in four Slams, and every one of those matches went in straight sets to Borg). Maskell, more than once after a great rally, lamented what he said were widespread complaints about serve-and-volley tennis on grass not producing great rallies. He listed both service and return as particularly high in quality in this match. Both men were returning well, which may be a key to their high numbers of non-service winners. Borg came in behind a lot of his second serves but not all. He stayed back only occasionally on first serve. Gerulaitis followed everything in. So they got into a lot of rallies, but it was not because they were both staying at the baseline; usually one or the other was at net, sometimes both of them. When Borg played Connors in the 1981 semis, by contrast, there was more mutual rallying from the baseline, which makes it harder for the point to end in a winner. Borg and Gerulaitis gave each other a target at net, which meant at least the possibility of more winners, either in the form of volleys or passing shots. And they pulled off the shots. Borg’s winners came about 2-to-1 from ground strokes as opposed to volleys/smashes. Gerulaitis’ winners came 2-to-1 from the opposite direction. Borg hit 5 winners off Gerulaitis’ second serve and 2 off his first. All of these returns were passes. In addition he passed Gerulaitis with 11 forehands (including one lob) and 18 backhands (including three lobs). Including the service returns, then, Borg passed Gerulaitis a total of 36 times. Gerulaitis hit 2 winners off Borg’s second serve and 3 off his first. All of these returns were passes. In addition he passed Borg with 8 backhands (including one lob) and 8 forehands. Altogether he passed Borg 21 times. Borg hit 3 aces, Gerulaitis 4. Borg got a service return error from Gerulaitis 35 times – of which I judged 1 as a service winner. Gerulaitis got a service return error from Borg 40 times – of which I judged 5 as service winners. Borg had 3 double-faults. Gerulaitis served 9 – but none in the last two sets. Borg served at 57%, making 93 of 163 first serves. Gerulaitis served at 49%, making 93 of 190 first serves. Gerulaitis had a harder time holding serve than Borg did – until the fifth set. In each of the first four sets, Gerulaitis had to serve out more points than Borg – but in the fifth Borg served 51 points, Gerulaitis only 39. Borg won 177 points overall, Gerulaitis 176. Borg won 8 of the last 9 points, holding at love then breaking at 15. Borg converted 5 of 20 break points. In the last two sets he saw only two break points and won them both. Gerulaitis converted 4 of 11 break points. Borg got his first serve into play on 7 of the 11 break points he faced (a rate of 64%, somewhat higher than his overall percentage). Gerulaitis got his first serve into play on 7 of the 20 break points he faced (only 35%).