Duel Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Becker, US Open semi-finals 90 & 95

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In 1990, Andre Agassi beat Boris Becker 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinal of the US Open on hard court

Becker had been the defending champion (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1989-uso-final-becker-lendl.195281/), while Agassi would go on to lose the final (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1990-uso-final-sampras-agassi.196287/) to Pete Sampras

Agassi won 139 points, Becker 113

This was a baseline match, with Becker rarely serve-volleying

(Note: I'm missing 1 Agassi serve point which he won. In a small number of points, minor partial data such as serve direction, return type etc. are missing)


Serve Stats
Agassi....

- 1st serve percentage (77/112) 69%
- 1st serve points won (55/77) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (18/34) 53%
- Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/111) 23%

Becker. ...
- 1st serve percentage (79/140) 56%
- 1st serve points won (50/79) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (25/61) 41%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/140) 19%

Serve Pattern
Agassi served...
- to FH 16%
- to BH 83%
- to Body 1%

Becker served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 62%
- to Body 5%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 109 (61 FH, 48 BH, 1 ??), including 22 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH), both runarounds
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (6 FH, 3 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (109/136) 80%

Becker made...
- 85 (19 FH, 64 BH, 2 ??), including 9 runaround FHs and 1 chip-charge
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (2 FH, 7 BH), including 1 runaround FH and 1 chip-charge attempt
- 14 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH)
- 1 unknown 1st serve return
- Return Rate (85/110) 77%

Break Points
Agassi 9/21 (11 games)
Becker 4/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 33 (21 FH, 10 BH, 2 BHV)
Becker 26 (12 FH, 6 BH, 4 FHV, 4 BHV)

Agassi's normal FHs (5 cc, 2 dtl, 3 i-o, 4 i-i, 2 longline, 2 @ net) and FH passes (1 cc, 1 longline, 1 i-o/dtl, 1 lob). Several of these were hit from mid-court

- on BH (2 cc, 2 dtl) and BH passes (3 cc, 3 dtl)

Becker on the FH (6 cc, 2 dtl, 1 i-o, 1 i-i), the inside-out being a runaround return. 1 cc and 1 dtl were extremely powerfully struck. He also had 1 running cc pass

- on BH (2 dtl, 1 i-o), plus 2 passes (1 cc, 1 dtl) and 1 acutely angled slice that was effectively a drop shot

- 2 volley winners came from serve-volley points - both FHVs, 1 a 1st volley the other a 2nd volley which was also a drop

- 1 other drop volley was a BHV


Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Agassi 61
- Unforced 28 (13 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)
- Forced 33 (18 FH, 12 BH, 2 BHV, 1 Tweener)

Becker 75
- Unforced 37 (11 FH, 20 BH, 4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- Forced 38 (21 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)

(Note 2: All half-volleys refer to such shots played at net)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was 12/18 (67%) at net, with no s/v

Becker was 28/52 (53%) at net, including 5/11 (45%) serve-volleying (all off the first serve) and 0/1 chip-charge returning

He was 0/1 when forced back from net

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In 1995, Andre Agassi again beat Boris Becker 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinal of the US Open.

Agassi was the world number, top seed and unbeaten since Wimbledon during which time he had picked up 4 titles on hard courts, but would go on to lose the final to Sampras (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1995-uso-final-sampras-agassi.230227/) and finish the year ranked #2

Agassi won 159 points, Becker 141

Becker almost always serve-volleyed off his first serve and frequently off the second

(Note: I'm missing 1 Becker serve point, that he wins while at net. It's likely a first serve ending with Agassi making a passing error)


Serve Stats
Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (85/135) 63%
- 1st serve points won (65/85) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (31/50) 62%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (51/135) 38%

Becker. ...
- 1st serve percentage (100/165) 61%
- 1st serve points won (78/100) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (25/65) 38%
- Aces 26, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 11
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (65/165) 39%

Serve Pattern
Agassi served...
- to FH 25%
- to BH 74%
- to Body 1%

Becker served...
- to FH 39%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 84 (36 FH, 48 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- 8 Winners (5 FH, 3 BH)
- 36 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 31 Forced (12 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (84/153) 55%

Becker made...
- 80 (19 FH, 61 BH), including 4 runaround FHs and 16 chip-charges
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 35 Errors, comprising...
- 17 Unforced (2 FH, 15 BH), including 2 runaround FHs and 4 chip-charge attempts
-18 Forced (12 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (80/131) 61%


Break Points
Agassi 2/10 (7 games)
Becker 2/11 (7 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 51 (26 FH, 19 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Becker 38 (5 FH, 7 BH, 12 FHV, 9 BHV, 5 OH)

Agassi's normal FHs (4 cc, 1 dtl, 2 i-o, 3 i-i, 1 longline) and FH passes (10 cc, 3 dtl, 1 longline). 1 FH cc pass was not clean

- on the BH, he had 1 regular dtl. Passes from the baseline (7 cc, 6 dtl, 1 i-i). He also had 3 running down drop shots/volleys that can be called passes - all dtl

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot and played from just behind the service line but has been counted as a net point.

- the BHV was to a high ball, not far from an OH

Becker had 11 first volley s/v point winners (5 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH) and 8 second 'volleys' (3 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 OH, 1 BH)

- on FH (1 cc, 1 dtl, 1 longline, 2 i-o), the cc and one i-o being returns

- on BH (4 dtl, 1 cc, 1 i-i), the i-i and 1 dtl being returns



Errors (Excluding returns and serves)
Agassi 32
- Unforced 9 (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Forced 23 (13 FH, 10 BH)

Becker 47
- Unforced 21 (5 FH, 10 BH, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
- Forced 26 (10 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)

(Note 2: All half-volleys refer to such shots played at net)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was 10/14 (71%) at net, with no s/v

He was 0/1 when forced back from net

Becker was 73/121 (60%) at net, including 55/84 (65%) serve-volleying - 44/65 (68%) off first serve, 11/19 (58%) off second - and 6/16 (38%) return-approaching (virtually all chip-charges)

Match Reports to follow...
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Two very different matches. Ironically, effectively four different players. And two different surfaces.

In 1990, Agassi's hitting full blooded strokes all the time and running around to hit FHs constantly while Becker is playing an aggressive baseline game. The conditions - be it court, balls, racquet tech - are medium of pace

In 1995, Agassi's still hitting hard but with an eye on safety and percentages too, and is equally happy off both wings, while Becker is serve-volleying constantly and looking to take the net. The conditions are fast.

Match Report 1990
This is a baseline slugfest.

First set is a brutal and brilliant affair, with both men going for big, big groundstrokes - and doing so well. First point of the match, Becker slaps a FH cc winner amidst a regulation FH-FH rally, just too much power. A couple of points later, his angled BH slice turns out to be a winner, effectively a drop shot. And Becker breaks. Agassi breaks right back though. Becker's first service point is the wildest double fault I've seen... both serves landing around the baseline.

The set progresses less dramatically but with high quality. Agassi is constantly running around to hit FHs, especially with his 2nd serve returns. You can get a sense of the pace of the court by the fact that Becker's kick serve is rising to Agassi's head height, but the American doesn't look particularly uncomfortable slapping the ball with full power regardless. Another highlight is a wrong footed Agassi spinning 360 rather than change direction to hit a backhand and a shot later, he forces a volleying error.

Becker has put aside serve-volleying for this encounter. You could say he plays in the style of Stan Wawrinka. His biggest shots are even more powerful than Agassi's (they are a bit flatter), but he's also far more error prone. A noticeable difference in Becker's strokes from the mid-80s matches of his I've watched recently is how much cleaner his backhand motion looks. This is how I remember Becker's BH... and I was a bit thrown off by seeing his crabby looking 80s BH.

Agassi misses 5 set points to take the first set. On a couple, he makes errors going for big groundstrokes (though that seems to be his normal shot choice for most of the match). On another, he misses a highly makeable volley.

After Becker takes the first, the rest of the match is more an exhibition of Agassi's ability than a tough match. In the second set, Becker comes to net a grand total of 4 times. Starting in this set and extending into the third, he's broken 6 times in a row(!) and 7/8 times. He himself breaks Agassi during this period, but he's badly outmatched trading groundstokes with the young American

Becker takes to approaching more in sets 3, but still gets creamed. He continues approaching in the 4th and his volleying is at its sharpest here. The set goes on serve to the end, when Agassi breaks with 4 successive winners and then serves out the match



Match Report 1995

A very tight match and a high quality one at that. The break points stats tells the tale
Agassi 2/10 (7 games)
Becker 2/11 (7 games)
The conditions appear much faster than in 1990 and everything is being hit at about waist height. Both players threaten the others serve and there are a number of deuce games without break points in them. Becker serve-volleys off his first serve consistently and frequently off the second too. Agassi is on point with his passing shots - hitting winners, forcing errors and making his opponent hit tough volleys

(I couldn't help but think of how well Stefan Edberg volleys watching this match. The tough volleys that Becker struggles with, Edberg routinely puts in play)

There's little between the two players. I think Becker was the better player in the first set and Agassi in the second. With both men on top of their games, the match hinges on a handful of important points. Both players rise to the occasion - and hit fine shots when down break point. Agassi however, takes both tiebreaks - and gains the first break off the match early in the third set

Becker however, raises his level to break twice to push the match into a fourth set. This is the loosest part of the match, with both men making more errors than usual

Becker is the better player in the 4th set and manufactures break points in a couple of games but is denied by good play by Agassi. The American by contrast can't make a dent in Becker's service games.

Then, against the run of play, Agassi wins the last 8 points of the match - holding to love and then breaking to love - to seal the match. He finishes with a pair of return winners

(A cute sidenote to the telecast is a 30-40 second sequence showcasing new faces in tennis - they show a just turned pro, 4 matches under her belt, 15 year old Venus Williams.... Here we are, 23 years later, and this old woman is still here)
 

krosero

Legend
Becker followed up both these USO losses to Agassi with AO titles.

As a Becker fan these matches were tough for me, but particularly the first. They were both 4-setters but '90 was not close. Back then Boris was still trying to beat baseliners at their own game, and it was maddening to watch. His coach, other players, commentators, all said he should be coming in all the time, and to forget about slugging from the back.

After the '90 USO Pete Sampras was quoted in Sports Illustrated: "Becker had a bad game plan. He tried to outslug Andre. He should have come to the net as soon as possible."

Interesting how in both '90 and '95, Becker lost to Agassi but the next day Pete accomplished what Boris could not do. Pete could hang with Andre from the baseline, more than hang, in fact. And he moved much better than Boris.

But at least the '95 Boris/Andre was close. Just came down to the tiebreaks.

Finally Boris was putting into practice the old advice (huge difference in his net stats from '90), and it made a difference though not quite enough.

Reminds me a little of your 3-Masters-finals thread, how Mac was the variable factor, upping his net game and beating Lendl. But Boris always had a tough time with Andre, and after '89 his only win was the '95 Wimb SF.

Nice observation about the Becker backhand. I think that was one reason he continued to hang with the new guys as long as he did.
 
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The 1995 Becker Agassi US match was interesting, because Agassi had led by a set and two breaks in that year's Wimbledon semi, seemed all over Becker (Becker put his arms in the air after winning a game in that second set!) and then Agassi blew the match, losing in 4 sets. Then they went to the US Open and Agassi won the first two sets and led by a break in the third, but Becker came back to win the set. It was close in the fourth, but Agassi finished Becker off with two great returns to break to win the match. Agassi gave Becker the coldest handshake I have ever seen! The good old days, the 90s.
 

krosero

Legend
Much better service numbers in '95 than in '90. That may be partly due to faster conditions, but Andre was a better server 5 years later.

And I recall some commentator (maybe Trabert?) saying that Becker tried to win that '90 match without his big weapon, the big first serve.

More surprising is that the unreturned percentage is very close each year, between the two players. Becker has only the tiniest edge over Andre in '95, and in '90 he's actually trailing Andre.

Shows too, how often Andre was able to get back Becker's serve, no matter how Boris served.

But I do think Becker's serve was a key factor in the tiebreaks. Compare the Becker/Agassi semis at Wimb and USO, in '95, both tight four-set matches.

- Becker won at Wimbledon, taking both tiebreaks, making 8 of 8 first serves in the tiebreaks, compared to Andre's 6 of 8.

- Agassi won at USO, taking both tiebreaks, making 7 of 9 first serves, to Becker's 4 of 11.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Becker followed up both these USO losses to Agassi with AO titles.

As a Becker fan these matches were tough for me, but particularly the first. They were both 4-setters but '90 was not close. Back then Boris was still trying to beat baseliners at their own game, and it was maddening to watch. His coach, other players, commentators, all said he should be coming in all the time, and to forget about slugging from the back.

After the '90 USO Pete Sampras was quoted in Sports Illustrated: "Becker had a bad game plan. He tried to outslug Andre. He should have come to the net as soon as possible."

Interesting how in both '90 and '95, Becker lost to Agassi but the next day Pete accomplished what Boris could not do. could hang with Andre from the baseline, more than hang, in fact. And he moved much better than Boris.

But at least the '95 Boris/Andre was close. Just came down to the tiebreaks.

Finally Boris was putting into practice the old advice (huge difference in his net stats from '90), and it made a difference though not quite enough.

.
Agreed. Becker could be a little inflexible/stubborn in his play. I think only Sampras could truly outhit Agassi from the baseline....for Boris, that was folly. And, even Sampras opportunistically came to net whenever he could against Andre. In Andre's 89 QF w/Connors, Connors learned from his '88 debacle and got into net wherever/whenever he could....and kept the match tight. Becker should've followed that model, which he eventually did in '95. Must be some kind of "macho" BS where the guys think "I can hit bigger and badder" than you can. Pretty stupid!
 

krosero

Legend
Washington Post in '90:

He dealt Becker a series of lacerating strokes for 34 winners that left the West German sprawled on the court in the third set, bemoaning line calls, his own wretched 53 unforced errors, and his inability to chase down his opponent’s unrelenting pace from the baseline....

After the first set, which represented perhaps the most engrossing and high quality tennis of the tournament, Becker fell apart. He hit just 28 winners to his 53 errors, and made just 37 percent of his first serves in the momentum-changing second set.

In the second and third sets he had his serve broken six consecutive times, but some of his lack of success was attributable to Agassi, who pinned him at the baseline and swung him from side to side with lashing pace.​


Hartford Courant in '95:

Against Becker, Agassi took advantage of 60 unforced errors. But Becker held a 25-12 advantage in aces.

"To lose two sets in tiebreakers without losing your serve even once is pretty hard to swallow," Becker said. "I had a few chances early on and was not able to break him. And on his service game I got a bit down. I was serving well, but I wasn't giving him much trouble on his service game.''

Both were nearly even on first- service points. But Agassi converted 63 percent of his second-serve points to 38 percent for Becker.​
 

tennistiger

Semi-Pro
In 1990 Becker was down by taking spleeping pills. He told that in his book. He often had problems in early beginning matches at that days.
 
John Feinstein reports in Hard Courts that Becker accepted after the match that it had been a mistake to try to beat Agassi from the baseline.

Interesting to hear about Agassi being more measured in 95. It's to be expected that a 25-year-old #1 with a great deal of experience would be more measured than his rawer 20-year-old self.
 

CHillTennis

Rookie
Two very different matches. Ironically, effectively four different players. And two different surfaces.

In 1990, Agassi's hitting full blooded strokes all the time and running around to hit FHs constantly while Becker is playing an aggressive baseline game. The conditions - be it court, balls, racquet tech - are medium of pace

In 1995, Agassi's still hitting hard but with an eye on safety and percentages too, and is equally happy off both wings, while Becker is serve-volleying constantly and looking to take the net. The conditions are fast.

Match Report 1990
This is a baseline slugfest.

First set is a brutal and brilliant affair, with both men going for big, big groundstrokes - and doing so well. First point of the match, Becker slaps a FH cc winner amidst a regulation FH-FH rally, just too much power. A couple of points later, his angled BH slice turns out to be a winner, effectively a drop shot. And Becker breaks. Agassi breaks right back though. Becker's first service point is the wildest double fault I've seen... both serves landing around the baseline.

The set progresses less dramatically but with high quality. Agassi is constantly running around to hit FHs, especially with his 2nd serve returns. You can get a sense of the pace of the court by the fact that Becker's kick serve is rising to Agassi's head height, but the American doesn't look particularly uncomfortable slapping the ball with full power regardless. Another highlight is a wrong footed Agassi spinning 360 rather than change direction to hit a backhand and a shot later, he forces a volleying error.

Becker has put aside serve-volleying for this encounter. You could say he plays in the style of Stan Wawrinka. His biggest shots are even more powerful than Agassi's (they are a bit flatter), but he's also far more error prone. A noticeable difference in Becker's strokes from the mid-80s matches of his I've watched recently is how much cleaner his backhand motion looks. This is how I remember Becker's BH... and I was a bit thrown off by seeing his crabby looking 80s BH.

Agassi misses 5 set points to take the first set. On a couple, he makes errors going for big groundstrokes (though that seems to be his normal shot choice for most of the match). On another, he misses a highly makeable volley.

After Becker takes the first, the rest of the match is more an exhibition of Agassi's ability than a tough match. In the second set, Becker comes to net a grand total of 4 times. Starting in this set and extending into the third, he's broken 6 times in a row(!) and 7/8 times. He himself breaks Agassi during this period, but he's badly outmatched trading groundstokes with the young American

Becker takes to approaching more in sets 3, but still gets creamed. He continues approaching in the 4th and his volleying is at its sharpest here. The set goes on serve to the end, when Agassi breaks with 4 successive winners and then serves out the match



Match Report 1995

A very tight match and a high quality one at that. The break points stats tells the tale


The conditions appear much faster than in 1990 and everything is being hit at about waist height. Both players threaten the others serve and there are a number of deuce games without break points in them. Becker serve-volleys off his first serve consistently and frequently off the second too. Agassi is on point with his passing shots - hitting winners, forcing errors and making his opponent hit tough volleys

(I couldn't help but think of how well Stefan Edberg volleys watching this match. The tough volleys that Becker struggles with, Edberg routinely puts in play)

There's little between the two players. I think Becker was the better player in the first set and Agassi in the second. With both men on top of their games, the match hinges on a handful of important points. Both players rise to the occasion - and hit fine shots when down break point. Agassi however, takes both tiebreaks - and gains the first break off the match early in the third set

Becker however, raises his level to break twice to push the match into a fourth set. This is the loosest part of the match, with both men making more errors than usual

Becker is the better player in the 4th set and manufactures break points in a couple of games but is denied by good play by Agassi. The American by contrast can't make a dent in Becker's service games.

Then, against the run of play, Agassi wins the last 8 points of the match - holding to love and then breaking to love - to seal the match. He finishes with a pair of return winners

(A cute sidenote to the telecast is a 30-40 second sequence showcasing new faces in tennis - they show a just turned pro, 4 matches under her belt, 15 year old Venus Williams.... Here we are, 23 years later, and this old woman is still here)
Great analysis of these two matches!

I wonder if the the court conditions and temperature would have played a deciding factor in Becker's approach?

Also, does anyone know if he beat Agassi from the net or baseline during their semi-final match at Wimbledon that year?
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
...'90 was not close. Back then Boris was still trying to beat baseliners at their own game, and it was maddening to watch. His coach, other players, commentators, all said he should be coming in all the time, and to forget about slugging from the back.

After the '90 USO Pete Sampras was quoted in Sports Illustrated: "Becker had a bad game plan. He tried to outslug Andre. He should have come to the net as soon as possible."
The commentators for the match quoted Ion Tiriac saying Becker wanted to play from the baseline and not just serve-volley because he found pure s/v all the time "boring"

Reminds me a little of your 3-Masters-finals thread, how Mac was the variable factor, upping his net game and beating Lendl. But Boris always had a tough time with Andre, and after '89 his only win was the '95 Wimb SF.
The 90 match reminded me off the 1982 final, where Mac was scared to approach (understandably), just like Becker here. But whats the alternative? trading groundstrokes was an even worse option - and Mac got hammered

Similarly, I don't think net rushing would have saved Boris in 1990.... Agassi was really launching into his returns and I doubt Boris could have handled the volley too well... but its got to be better than getting broken six games in a row staying back!

And I recall some commentator (maybe Trabert?) saying that Becker tried to win that '90 match without his big weapon, the big first serve.

More surprising is that the unreturned percentage is very close each year, between the two players. Becker has only the tiniest edge over Andre in '95, and in '90 he's actually trailing Andre.

Shows too, how often Andre was able to get back Becker's serve, no matter how Boris served.
Wind might have something to do with that.... Becker's first service point is a double fault with both deliveries landing around the baseline

Yes, I think Agassi's ability to read and return the Becker serve is the key.... given the difference in quality of the two men's serve (especially in 1990), its absolutely astonishing they've both got about the same percentage of unreturned serves. Agassi's serve in 1990 looks a WTA one

Becker stayed back to Agassi at the YEC later that year also... and that was in lightning fast conditions

In that match (semi-final), Becker openly admitted Agassi returned his serve better than anyone. Agassi for his part, when asked if Becker had the biggest serve in the game replied with a cheeky smile, "absolutely not"

I wonder if the the court conditions and temperature would have played a deciding factor in Becker's approach?

Also, does anyone know if he beat Agassi from the net or baseline during their semi-final match at Wimbledon that year?
Becker was wont to serve-volley 100% of the time on grass - 1st and 2nd serves. By that standard, he stayed back a fair bit, but of course, he was mostly coming in to net
-----

A lot of comments on Becker's strategy of staying back. Does anybody know if Becker was staying back in general in this tournament or whether it was just for this particular match against Agassi? @Moose Malloy maybe?

I understand Becker's decision, because Agassi's returning is absolutely not something that invites serve-volleying... and I never felt Becker was altogether confident in his ability to volley against real power hitting. Rather, he needed his big serve or some other strong approach to set up relatively simple volleys - that clearly wasn't working on Andre Agassi

Becker was 28/52 (53%) at net, including 5/11 (45%) serve-volleying (all off the first serve) and 0/1 chip-charge returning.... not great, but probably better than whatever numbers he was getting staying back
 
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