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-   -   Stats for Ashe-Connors (1975 W final) (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=192672)

krosero 04-17-2008 07:01 PM

Stats for Ashe-Connors (1975 W final)
 
Ashe d. Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4

Ashe actually has a higher rate of winners here than in the '69 match where he and Laver were ripping the ball. Of course, power is not the only way to produce winners, but I was still surprised at how much power Ashe produced in this match.

I'm just seeing the match for the first time, partly because from everything I've read about it, I had the impression that it was mainly about junkballing from Ashe and errors from Connors. The match was actually more complex than that.

Steve Flink included it as one of the 20 greatest matches of the century. He said that previously Ashe had been a low-percentage player, going for big shots at ill-advised moments. Against Connors, I thought he was still often going for the big winner, but he never seemed to do it when he was out of position or the opening wasn't there. He was playing the percentages, in other words. Sometimes to create an opening he would need some touch and finesse, and then he would go for the big shot; sometimes he didn't need it and would just do classical Big Game serve-and-volley.

He just always seemed to know when he could go for it. When he did, I sometimes expected Connors to react well, since Jimmy liked pace; but then he'd be already out of position, or off balance, or just didn't have his strokes in groove. Ashe wasn't letting him get in a groove. He wasn't moonballing Jimmy or junkballing his way through the match; he was mixing it up.


The following are my counts.

Ashe won 135 points overall, Connors 101.

SERVICE

Ashe won 69 of 105 points on his serve (or 66%); Connors 65 of 131 (or 49.6%).

Ashe served at 73%, making 77 of 105 first serves.
Connors served at 75%, making 98 of 131 first serves.

Ashe's percentages by set: 69, 71, 74, 77.
Connors' percentages by set: 70, 55, 77, 86

Ashe had 4 aces, 30 other unreturned serves (of which I judged 2 as service winners), and 2 double-faults.

Connors had 1 ace, 27 other unreturned serves (of which I judged 6 as service winners), and 3 double-faults.

Ashe converted 8 of 21 break points.

Connors converted 3 of 4 break points. He did not earn a break point until the last game of the second set.

Ashe put his first serve into play on 3 of the 4 break points he faced.

Connors put his first serve into play on 17 of the 21 break points he faced (or 81% of the time). After serving a second serve on break point in the first game of the third set, he faced break point 13 more times and put his first serve into play every time, though he was still broken 3 times in that span.


WINNERS

Ashe made 31 clean winners apart from service: 3 FH, 8 BH, 13 FHV, 3 BHV, 4 smashes.

Connors made 38 clean winners part from service: 14 FH, 8 BH, 5 FHV, 5 BHV, 6 smashes.

Ashe's winners by set: 7, 8, 8, 8
Connors' winners by set: 3, 6, 19, 10

The real surprise here is Ashe’s forehand volley, the stroke known as his weakness: it was his most destructive stroke, with 13 winners. The only stroke in the match that exceeded it was Connors’ forehand, again a mild surprise because that shot often failed Jimmy throughout his career – especially on the low approach. Ashe gave him the low forehand and Connors missed it at times, but it wasn’t what lost him the match. Maskell thought it was actually Connors’ backhand approach that was costing him the match; no question his approach from that side was often short or missed.

Both players are known for having stronger backhands than forehands, but neither one dominated here from the backhand. That shows that Ashe was successfully keeping the ball away from Connors’ backhand; and that Ashe was not driving his own backhand as much as he might have usually done. It was on passing shots that Ashe most often chose to dink, slice or lob.

The only other Ashe match for which we have stats (by Urban) is that semifinal against Laver at the '69 Wimbledon. Ashe had 7 aces and the following winners: 6 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, and 3 overheads. That match was only two games longer than this one, so it’s a nice comparison (although Ashe lost that one).

Against Laver, Ashe was really pumping the first serve, and sometimes serving consecutive aces, as I recall; against Connors he took some speed off. He had very few winners at the net against Laver – largely because his forehand volley was not as successful then. (His backhand volley winners against Laver and Connors were nearly the same). And against Laver he had almost twice as many ground stroke winners as he did against Connors – partly because Laver presented constant target at net, and Ashe just went for his passing shots then.

By contrast, there was one time in the third set here when Connors was at net and Ashe just tried to power the backhand past him. Jimmy cut it off and wagged his finger at Arthur, as if to say that he couldn't put it past him. He was comfortable with pace and he got a little more of it in the third set; he even went all the way up to 3-love in the fourth.

Ashe had two service return winners, both backhands off Jimmy’s first serve. Both were passes. He had six other passing shot winners – four from the backhand (including a pair of lobs).

Connors had 10 service return winners, including 6 forehands off Ashe’s second serve. The remaining return winners were all off Ashe’s first serve, split evenly between forehand and backhand. Ashe was coming in on all the return winners. In addition, Connors had 10 passing shots, including 6 from the forehand. One of his backhands was a lob.


Errors (forced and unforced)

Subtracting the aces and clean winners from the total points won:

Ashe made 62 total errors. Of those I counted 27 return errors and 2 double-faults. That leaves him making 33 errors in points that had at least a successful return, that is, in rallies.

Connors made 100 total errors. Of those I counted 30 return errors and 3 double-faults. That leaves him making 67 errors in rallies.

Ashe’s margin over Connors in the “rally” points is 34 – the same margin by which Ashe won the match.

krosero 04-17-2008 07:18 PM

Done with the 70s, for now. Back to the future for me.

Moose Malloy 04-18-2008 10:04 AM

You beat me to another one:)

Surprised that Connors still managed to hit more winners, even in a somewhat lopsided loss.

guess this is the ket stat here:

Quote:

Ashe made 35 forced and unforced errors. Connors made 65.
Quote:

Ashe served at 73%, making 77 of 105 first serves.

Connors served at 75%, making 98 of 131 first serves
Wow, that's impressive, I wonder how often major finals have had both players serve at 70%?


and here was some more from flink on this match in an article on TTC website recently:

Quote:

Be that as it may, let's return to the subject of that Wimbledon 1975 final against Connors. By then, Ashe had learned to temporize, to modify his game, to play the percentages as well as taking the right kinds of risks. And he had worked assiduously on improving the low forehand volley. As he told me later that year, "I'm concentrating on not hitting that low forehand volley into the net as I did in the past. I would say 80% of those forehand volley misses were in the net. Now, I may miss it, but I'm going to hit it over the baseline. And now, if it does go over the net, it usually goes in. My backhand volley is really an offensive weapon whereas the forehand volley, unless I've got a sitter, is a shot to set up the next one."

Ashe's nearly impeccable execution on the low forehand volley was one of the keys to his improbable 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Connors at Wimbledon in one of the biggest upsets in modern times on the fabled Centre Court. His strategic acumen that day was nothing short of stupendous. He baffled Connors with a wide array of spins and speeds, exchanging his normally potent ground strokes for subtle and effective variations of pace, swinging his slice serve wide in the deuce court to stifle Connors on his two-handed backhand return, pulling his rival off the court time and again with that play. As Ashe said, "I hit that wide serve in the deuce court better than anybody else. I can swing a left-hander wider than any other right-handed big server."

Recollecting the triumph over Connors for me in an interview ten years later, Ashe pointed out, "The shots were just flowing for me that day. I wasn't trying to hit the shots. They were just coming off my racket." Perhaps he felt that sense of security because he was absolutely convinced he was going to win that match. As Ashe recalled, "I had the strangest feeling that I just could not lose that day. I remember looking up at the clock for the first time and it was only 41 minutes past two o'clock and the score was already 6-1, 6-1 for me. I said to myself, 'I just can't lose today. I'm going to win. That's all there is to it.'"

And yet, Ashe realized that looking up at the score and recognizing how little time had passed was problematic. He told me, "A part of me was saying,' Hey, I'm not supposed to be beating Connors so easily.' When you are in the zone as I was, your perspective of time is completely warped. What snapped me out of that time warp against Connors was seeing precisely how little time had elapsed. In hindsight, I wish I had never looked at that clock because that put me back on the left side of my brain, the logical part. Playing in the zone is playing on the right side of your brain; it is creative, mystical, letting your body do what it knows how to do. Logic, rationality and reasoning don't interfere. I really think if I had not looked up at that clock, I would have beaten Connors in straight sets."

After Connors battled back with customary spark and fury to take the third set, he took a 3-0 lead in the fourth set. Ashe was only down one service break, but Connors was coming at him ferociously. Ashe had a critical decision to make: should he stick with his game plan or start blasting away more audaciously as he would have done in years gone by? Wisely, Ashe stayed with his original strategy and collected six of the last seven games to complete the triumph.
http://www.tennischannel.com/news/Ne...px?newsid=3838

Moose Malloy 04-18-2008 12:46 PM

Quote:

If you subtract the aces, doubles, non-service winners and return errors, then:

Ashe made 35 forced and unforced errors. Connors made 65.
I assume some of those return errors were caused by someone coming forward, so wouldn't the forced error counts really be higher if that was factored in?

In that Edberg match I did recently, I wouldn't call most of Lendl's unreturned serves as 'return errors' but as forced errors.

krosero 04-18-2008 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moose Malloy (Post 2263356)
I assume some of those return errors were caused by someone coming forward, so wouldn't the forced error counts really be higher if that was factored in?

In that Edberg match I did recently, I wouldn't call most of Lendl's unreturned serves as 'return errors' but as forced errors.

Yes, the total forced error count would be higher if return errors were added. In a match like this, with good servers and aggressive net players, most return errors are forced.

Return errors are usually forced but Levin said that sometimes a return of a second serve can be an unforced error (if the server is not at net). He also wrote that doubles can technically be called unforced errors. That's why I've usually written, "Apart from return errors and doubles, so-and-so made X number of forced and unforced errors." I'm just trying to separate all the errors, so you get a sense of how many were made on returns, how many in rallies, and how many by double-faulting.

That's what I'm trying to do, though of course it's different from most stats out there. Typically, published stats don't break down errors into return or non-return; nor do they give you any way to calculate the total errors, forced and unforced. Usually you only get unforced errors (without an indication of how many might have occurred on service returns), double-faults, and a few forced errors in the form of service winners (if those are even reported explicitly).

bluegrasser 03-23-2009 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moose Malloy (Post 2263356)
I assume some of those return errors were caused by someone coming forward, so wouldn't the forced error counts really be higher if that was factored in?

In that Edberg match I did recently, I wouldn't call most of Lendl's unreturned serves as 'return errors' but as forced errors.

It was so much tougher then with the low bounce thus causing more errors IMHO - now the grass with the higher bounce is more favorable to the baseline bashers of today's game. ..yawn The high risk tennis of the past was more entertaining, except for that Becker/Stich final.

krosero 07-20-2009 02:58 PM

Since the topic of Ashe's game plan came up in another thread, I'm quoting a little from Fred Tupper's report in the NY Times, to go with Flink's quote above:

Quote:

Ashe confounded him. He threw "junk" at Jimmy, he chipped and dinked, mostly to the backhand. He tossed up lobs. He served solidly all the way through, and his forehand volley, admittedly his weakness, was a tower of strength at the infighting around the net.

"I played well, I was confident," he said.

Arthur had found his game plan by watching the Connors-Raul Ramirez match on tape, not the Tanner match. "It may have looked suicidal," he said of his tactics, but the result was there for all to see.

He took the pace off the ball and gave the slugger little to bang at, and he served wide to the backhand to pull Connors off balance.
I think Tupper is highlighting what Arthur did differently, so he talks about the off-pace shots. I'm sure he doesn't mean that Ashe threw nothing but junk at Connors. His regular power game was still there, it was just mixed in with the offpace stuff.

In his book on the greatest matches of the 20th century, Flink wrote that during the third set Ashe started gunning his first serves, in the same way that had gotten him into trouble in previous matches against Connors. Flink said that Connors started ramming returns back.

On my stat sheet I have Connors hitting a series of outright winners off Arthur's first serve, starting in the last game of the second set (when he earned his first break point) and running through early in the fourth set (when he went up 3-love). Apart from that stretch, he didn't have any outright winners off first serves, or get a service break, so Flink is probably on to something when he says that Arthur temporarily went back to the old habit of gunning the first serve.

May be interesting to check it next time I see the match.

BTURNER 07-20-2009 08:21 PM

YOU promised!!!!!!!Look in 3 to four weeks you said. Back to the future!!!! Waht happened to 1987!

krosero 07-20-2009 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BTURNER (Post 3713278)
YOU promised!!!!!!!Look in 3 to four weeks you said. Back to the future!!!! Waht happened to 1987!

Well, I said in the next weeks, though I never committed to 3 or 4. But you're being good natured about it, and I don't mean to get all serious either. I will definitely get to it; I didn't forget about it at all.

jimbo333 07-21-2009 03:06 PM

So even Ashe admits he was lucky. He clearly was. Connors hit too many unforced errors to win that match. It wasn't Ashe playing well, it was Connors playing badly (apart from his serve).

By the way, great work Krosero, just pick a match that Connors wins next time eh:)

sspihawaii 07-21-2009 09:42 PM

I don't think Ashe said that at all. He certainly didn't say he was "lucky." He said that he was playing amazingly well, and was in the zone.

Connors was an amazing player, in that for roughly 11 years (1974-84), he virtually always played at almost exactly the same level, match in, match out. That meant that he very, very rarely was upset by lesser players, esp. at the slams, but lost a lot of matches to other top players. If he was playing a McEnroe, Borg, Ashe, Newcombe, etc. who was playing at his peak, Connors had almost no chance, because he really didn't have the ability to elevate his game. But on the other hand, if another top player wasn't playing all that well, Connors would almost always win, because his game rarely fell beyond a certain level.

Datacipher 07-21-2009 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moose Malloy (Post 2262980)
Wow, that's impressive, I wonder how often major finals have had both players serve at 70%?
newsid=3838[/url]

Arthur Ashe mentioned in a book that his serving strategy was to try to pull Connors as far out of court as possible to open up the court for volleys, and that "meant more slice and spin serves than flat ones". He also mentions being aware that Tanner had blasted serves at Connors in the semi's and not won many games. While he did say that he wanted to make Connors generate his own pace, and prevent him from opening up the court, by hitting short and down the middle underspin, he also mentions that he planned to go for big shots IF a clear opening was there.

He also mentioned planning to lob over Connors 2 handed backhand should he attack the net.

jimbo333 07-22-2009 03:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sspihawaii (Post 3717054)
I don't think Ashe said that at all. He certainly didn't say he was "lucky." He said that he was playing amazingly well, and was in the zone.

Connors was an amazing player, in that for roughly 11 years (1974-84), he virtually always played at almost exactly the same level, match in, match out. That meant that he very, very rarely was upset by lesser players, esp. at the slams, but lost a lot of matches to other top players. If he was playing a McEnroe, Borg, Ashe, Newcombe, etc. who was playing at his peak, Connors had almost no chance, because he really didn't have the ability to elevate his game. But on the other hand, if another top player wasn't playing all that well, Connors would almost always win, because his game rarely fell beyond a certain level.

Ashe said he didn't know how he played so well, so I would say he was lucky.

Your point about Connors overall consistency was partly true. But he could also raise his game. Connors at his peak would always beat Ashe and Newcombe at their best. I'd have to agree with Borg and McEnroe though, when they were at the top of their game they could beat anyone.

hoodjem 07-22-2009 05:09 AM

I remember watching that Wimby final, and being surprised that "ole man Ashe" could defeat the youthful power, brashness, and hunger of Connors.

I don't remember details, but it did seem that that Ashe picked Connors apart, sliced and diced him, dissected him. I went away thinking that Ashe had played a strategically brilliant match to neutralize the power of Connors.

jamesblakefan#1 08-09-2010 09:12 PM

FWIW this match is on youtube in full.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcLBv...eature=related

jrepac 08-10-2010 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimbo333 (Post 3717368)
Ashe said he didn't know how he played so well, so I would say he was lucky.

Your point about Connors overall consistency was partly true. But he could also raise his game. Connors at his peak would always beat Ashe and Newcombe at their best. I'd have to agree with Borg and McEnroe though, when they were at the top of their game they could beat anyone.

Connors could certainly raise his game at times; Ashe was a fine player who came up w/an interesting strategy and executed it perfectly in that '75 final. As it was, Jimmy was coming back at him and Arthur was wavering a bit from his plan. At his best, Jimmy was better than Arthur and Newk...Borg and Mac could play tennis at a stratospheric level when they were "on", so tough for Jimmy to touch them. But, if they were just a tad off their games, lookout.

pc1 08-10-2010 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrepac (Post 4932949)
Connors could certainly raise his game at times; Ashe was a fine player who came up w/an interesting strategy and executed it perfectly in that '75 final. As it was, Jimmy was coming back at him and Arthur was wavering a bit from his plan. At his best, Jimmy was better than Arthur and Newk...Borg and Mac could play tennis at a stratospheric level when they were "on", so tough for Jimmy to touch them. But, if they were just a tad off their games, lookout.

Generally I agree with about everything you stated. Perhaps Newcombe could have been better on average than Connors on grass but even that is debatable despite the fact Newcombe beat him twice in majors on grass.

In a way the Ashe-Connors Wimbledon final is the exact opposite of matches today. Ashe played a match that would give Connors the most chance to make errors unlike today where everyone hits topspin and goes for winners. Ashe broke up Connors' game. No one does that anyone without the exception a bit when Federer does it when he hits his soft crosscourt sliced backhand.

jamesblakefan#1 08-10-2010 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4933943)
Generally I agree with about everything you stated. Perhaps Newcombe could have been better on average than Connors on grass but even that is debatable despite the fact Newcombe beat him twice in majors on grass.

In a way the Ashe-Connors Wimbledon final is the exact opposite of matches today. Ashe played a match that would give Connors the most chance to make errors unlike today where everyone hits topspin and goes for winners. Ashe broke up Connors' game. No one does that anyone without the exception a bit when Federer does it when he hits his soft crosscourt sliced backhand.

Watching Ashe's play reminded me a lot of what Santoro used to do with the different spins and slices to throw guys off their games. It was very unlike Ashe's usual gameplan, but it worked to damn near perfection in throwing Connors out of sorts.

urban 08-10-2010 11:00 PM

Connor's problem on grass was his serve, which could be attacked very well. Even Rosewall made 2 breaks out of the 6 games he won in 1974. So i think, that Newk and Ashe would beat Connors on grass more than they would lose. Ashe was breaking him at will, and his own wide slice serve to the dh backhand was working well. Ashe like Evonne could get nervous, when leading, and that got to him in the 3rd set, after butchering Connors in the first 2 sets. When he regrouped in the 4th, it was over for Connors.

jrepac 08-11-2010 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4933943)
Generally I agree with about everything you stated. Perhaps Newcombe could have been better on average than Connors on grass but even that is debatable despite the fact Newcombe beat him twice in majors on grass.

In a way the Ashe-Connors Wimbledon final is the exact opposite of matches today. Ashe played a match that would give Connors the most chance to make errors unlike today where everyone hits topspin and goes for winners. Ashe broke up Connors' game. No one does that anyone without the exception a bit when Federer does it when he hits his soft crosscourt sliced backhand.

This match just speaks to the ability of some of the greats to change up their game, when needed. Even Connors figured that out in his later years, adding more S&V to the mix, I think! But, nowadays, it seems most guys are incapable of doing that. They've got one style....pound away!


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