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krosero 05-09-2008 06:41 PM

Stats for 1978 RG final (Borg-Vilas)
Borg d. Vilas 6-1, 6-1, 6-3

The match lasted 1 hour 49 minutes.

By my count, there were 133 points. Borg won 84, Vilas 49 (so Borg got 63% of the points). Borg gave up 22 points on serve and won more points on Vilas’ serve than Vilas himself did (38 to 27).

Borg had 0 aces and 1 double.
Vilas had 0 aces and 5 doubles.

The exact winner counts are a problem because the Italian TV coverage isolated on one player at a time during a stretch spanning six points (for example:

In that stretch there were only 2 winners, both by Borg: I put them down as a BHV and a BH pass.

The totals:

Borg made 21 clean winners: 9 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV.

Vilas made 20 clean winners: 4 FH, 3 BH, 5 FHV, 5 BHV, 3 overheads.

Vilas had more winners from volleys/smashes than from ground strokes, 13 vs. 7 (in the third set alone it was 6 vs. 2).

Borg had 2 BH passes in the first set, 2 FH passes in the second, and 4 more of each in the third. His 8 passing shots in the third set account for all but two of his winners in that set. His 12 passing shots altogether account for a majority of his winners.

If not for Vilas' increasingly frequent trips to the net, neither player would have had a high winner count.

Vilas had only one passing shot, a FH in the first set. He did have a BH lob winner in the next game, though.

I counted the net advances, though it was some time ago, and unfortunately I did not describe exactly what method I used. Nevertheless the picture is clear: Borg coming in less as the match progressed, Vilas more.

Borg came to net 26 times and won 16 (or 62%). Since he won 63% of all the points in the match, what he was doing at net was essentially no more successful than anything else.

Vilas came to net 49 times and won 25 (or 51%). Since Vilas won only 37% of the points overall, he was right to come in.

Borg’s trips to net became less frequent as the match went on, divided by set as follows: 14, 6, 6.

Vilas came to net with increasing frequency. His approaches per set were: 6, 16, 26.

There were only 6 serve-and-volley points in the match, all by Vilas, all following a wide serve in the ad court. He won five of them (but did not make his first attempt until the last game of the second set).

Vilas used his backhand slice to approach at least 13 times (once for a clear winner), while Borg did so at least twice.

Vilas was the only one to return a serve and come in, losing both of his attempts, each on Borg’s second serve. Borg came to net 9 times during Vilas’ service games, Vilas 18 times on Borg’s serve.

llgc8080 05-10-2008 04:16 AM

again thanskssssssss!

hoodjem 05-10-2008 06:09 AM

Sounds like there was no way (either rallying or at net) Vilas could beat Borg that day.

63% of the points: wow!

Q&M son 05-12-2008 06:56 AM

Thanks for this one.


krosero 07-20-2011 05:40 PM

Additional stats
By my count (again doing a little guesswork on those 6 points where only one side of the court is shown):

Borg made 19 unforced errors: 10 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OV, 1 DF
Vilas made 51 unforced errors: 9 FH, 31 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OV, 5 DF

Borg made 10 forced errors: 2 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV
Vilas made 12 forced errors: 4 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV

Borg worked over Vilas’ backhand and really broke it down. His tactic seemed often to pull Vilas wide with crosscourt backhands and then drive a forehand into Vilas’ backhand corner. That forced Vilas into some errors, but he coughed up plenty of unforced errors under the pressure as well.

31 UE and only 3 clean winners from the Vilas BH.

krosero 07-20-2011 05:41 PM

Some service stats (these did not involve any guesswork on those 6 points in question).

Borg had no aces but he had 5 unreturned serves. Vilas had 3. Neither man had a service winner in my judgment.

Borg made 35 of 68 first serves (51.5%).
Vilas made 44 of 65 first serves (67.7%).

Borg converted 8 of 10 break points, Vilas 2 of 3.

Borg made his first serve on 2 of 3 break points, Vilas on 4 of 10.

Vilas held in 3 of 11 service games; he did not hold serve until the second set but he did hold in his last two service games of the match.

Borg won 25 of 35 points on first serve (71%), and 21 of 33 on second (64%).

Vilas won 18 of 44 points on first serve (41%), and 9 of 21 on second (43%).

And if you set aside Vilas’ 5 double-faults, he won 9 of 16 points on second serve, or 56%. So really if his serve went in he was quite a bit more likely to win on second serve than on first. In fact his rate on second serve is better than even, and you can’t say that about too many of his stats in this match.

krosero 07-20-2011 05:51 PM

The New York Times reported that Vilas did not look sharp throughout the tournament, that he lacked punch on his backhand:


Both players favor baseline play, but it was Borg, playing to Vilas’s backhand and hammering the ball with his forehand, who did most of the attacking. The match was marked by long rallies as both players slugged it out from the baselines.

In the second game of the second set, the ball crossed the net 39 times in a single rally. Two points later it crossed the net 86 times. Borg won both rallies.
Bud Collins in The Boston Globe:


The awesome Swede lost 32 games, no sets in seven matches.

“We play much alike, but I do everything a little better than Guillermo,” was Borg’s accurate summary. Vilas hasn’t the variety to bother Borg as Adriano Panatta did, pushing the Italian final to five sets a fortnight ago.

“Go to the net,” muttered spectator Henri Cochet, 76, who had led the parade of champions and won the inaugural title at Roland Garros in 1928. Cochet, Lacoste and Borotra made France supreme as Davis Cup holders between 1927 and 1932. Eventually Vilas took that advice, at the direction of his courtside guru, Ion Tiriac. Although that pepped up the match somewhat, and Vilas’ unaccustomed number of forays (41) were reasonably successful (21 points), the fact remains that Vilas is as happy near the net as a haddock. “I like it when Guillermo comes in,” said Borg, now 17-4 in the rivalry.

Mustard 07-21-2011 07:05 AM

Vilas played a lot better than the scoreline suggests. Borg was just a little better in everything, though, which is why Vilas' usual strengths became weaknesses.

krosero 07-21-2011 07:07 PM


Originally Posted by Mustard (Post 5850140)
Vilas played a lot better than the scoreline suggests. Borg was just a little better in everything, though, which is why Vilas' usual strengths became weaknesses.

Right, if you just take a quick look at the stats you'd think that Vilas' BH was his weakness. But Vilas had a fine BH. It's just that this was a match of long rallies, and Vilas was usually the first to cough up the error. And since Borg was playing to Vilas' BH (the stroke that is usually attacked in tennis anyway), that's where the error came from.

That's not to say that Vilas could not have done better. It's not as if all of these errors came after long strenous rallies; many came near the start of rallies and were clearly unforced. But it is to say that you have to look at Vilas' BH errors in the context of how the match was played.

krosero 07-21-2011 07:08 PM

Here are a few stats and observations for some of their other matches -- these were all won by Borg.

1975 French final (6-2, 6-3, 6-4):


Vilas seemed to be missing his first serve often and making unforced errors on his backhand. (Associated Press)
1976 Dallas WCT final (1-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-1):


Borg won the second set, 6-1, in 20 minutes. The backhand that some observers consider the best in the game failed Vilas, as he made 10 errors on that side, compared to but four for Borg, who put Vilas under pressure by hitting deep to the baseline. (NY Times)
1976 Wimbledon QF (6-3, 6-0, 6-2)


He hit vicious top-spin forehands and subdued his rival with sheer power. Vilas did not help himself by serving 10 double-faults. (St. Petersburg Times)
1980 Pepsi Grand Slam SF (6-2, 6-1):


Borg jerked Vilas around the court with deep, top-spin strokes, setting himself up for unplayable forehand blasts. “I tried to be a little more aggressive than usual, especially when I had a chance to come in on my forehand,” said Borg. Vilas, who had 33 unforced errors, seemed off balance on the slow, green clay, which normally is his favorite surface. He was content to rally defensively from the baseline, waiting for errors that never came. (AP)
The New York Times wrote a bit about their friendship before their '76 final in Dallas:


“When you go on the court,” Borg said today, “you hate everyone. It is the way it has to be.”

“For sure, I hate,” Vilas said. “The friendship will exist after the match. But on the court you must do what you must to beat the man on the other side.”

... They will probably trade topspin ground strokes from the baseline, and the player with the most patience will win....

The difference some tennis followers seem to be speculating is intensity. This is Vilas’s first appearance in the W.C.T. final, while Borg has reached the final in the two years he has played the circuit, losing to Ashe last year and to John Newcombe in 1974.

“I will try so hard to win,” Bork [sic] said, showing a rare public depth of emotion. “I will do everything to win. I have lost here twice, and I want so badly to win. I have not felt like this before, not like this time. I think Guillermo wants badly to win. But I know how badly I want to win.”

They practiced together this afternoon, as they had all week. And they left the court as friends, as they had all week and for the three years they had been practicing together.

Limpinhitter 07-21-2011 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by krosero (Post 5849113)
. . . 31 UE and only 3 clean winners from the Vilas BH.

That was the match. I wonder to what extent Borg was responsible for all of Vilas BH UE's.

borg number one 07-21-2011 08:28 PM

Borg could really clamp down on any errors, thereby making even the great Vilas backhand look error prone. Losing just 32 games during a entire French Open run is an amazing stat. (Vilas hitting. Thanks to Krosero.)

BTURNER 07-21-2011 09:41 PM

there are basically only four was a point can end here. Borg hits a winner. Borg makes an error. Vilas hits a winner. Vilas makes an error. Vilas isn't going to hit many winners on clay vs the fastest man in the sport. and Borg isn't going to make many errors on any surface. That makes for the inevitable. Vilas simply makes the rallies longer before the inevitable than most.

Moose Malloy 07-22-2011 11:28 AM


Borg made 35 of 68 first serves (51.5%).
surprisingly low % for Borg


31 UE and only 3 clean winners from the Vilas BH
do you know what his bh error count was in the '77 USO final?

krosero 07-22-2011 01:47 PM


Originally Posted by Moose Malloy (Post 5852986)
surprisingly low % for Borg

do you know what his bh error count was in the '77 USO final?

A little surprising considering his high % in the 79-81 finals. But he had low percentages in some matches against Connors, too, because he didn't have to worry about Jimmy taking his second serve and coming in behind it. I think this was similar, except that Borg really wasn't even doing much with the first serve. He knew it would come down to rallying with Vilas and he didn't put any special effort into his serving.

And Vilas didn't, either, for the most part. Very casual serving in large stretches of this match, just start-the-point serving.

It's pretty rare to see a player go a whole set without missing a return, but Borg did it in the first set, Vilas in the second.

I do think Vilas started to do more with his serves at the end when he decided to do some SV.

Don't have Vilas' BH stat for '77.

jean pierre 07-22-2011 10:17 PM

What are the stats for their match in Nations Cup 80 ?

krosero 07-23-2011 04:56 PM

I haven't found any stats for that match.

pc1 07-23-2011 05:15 PM

The Nations Cup match was televised so maybe someone can get it someday.

Stuart S 08-10-2011 01:05 AM

French Open, NOT the RG!
Just as an aside, folks: the "RG final" (sic) is the FRENCH OPEN, to give it its proper (and pretty obvious) title.

I find it quite amazing how frequently on this site the French Open is referred to as either "The RG" or "Roland Garros".

Roland Garros is the LOCATION of that tournament. That's all. It is not, and never has been, its TITLE.

BTURNER 08-10-2011 02:28 PM


Originally Posted by Stuart S (Post 5889951)
Just as an aside, folks: the "RG final" (sic) is the FRENCH OPEN, to give it its proper (and pretty obvious) title.

I find it quite amazing how frequently on this site the French Open is referred to as either "The RG" or "Roland Garros".

Roland Garros is the LOCATION of that tournament. That's all. It is not, and never has been, its TITLE.

From Wiki:
" Roland Garros was a French aviator during World War I.

Roland Garros may also refer to:

The French Open, a Grand Slam tennis tournament referred to in French as Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros.
Roland Garros Airport, the airport in Saint-Denis, Réunion
Stade Roland Garros, a tennis stadium in Paris, France..."

I emboldened the relevant part. We use it as a synonym for the entire tournament because it is one!

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