Duel Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Edberg, Year End Championship finals & round robin 1990

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Stefan Edberg 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-2 in the Year End Championship final, 1990 on carpet in Frankfurt, Germany

Edberg was the world number 1 and defending champion, while Agassi had been runner-up at the French Open and US Open that year

Agassi won 158 points, Edberg 151

Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 2 first serves and about half the time off seconds

Serve Stats
Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (105/170) 62%
- 1st serve points won (69/105) 66%
- 2nd serve points won (35/65) 54%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/170) 19%

Edberg....
- 1st serve percentage (80/139) 58%
- 1st serve points won (57/80) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (28/59) 47%
- Aces 10, Service Winners 4 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/139) 32%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 1%

Edberg served....
- to FH 34%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 87 (33 FH, 54 BH), including 9 runaround FHs and 2 return-approaches
- 13 Winners (6 FH, 7 BH)
- 30 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 BH)
- 27 Forced (13 FH, 13 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- Return Rate (87/131) 66%

Edberg made...
- 136 (49 FH, 87 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 21 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (5 FH, 1 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 13 Forced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (136/169) 80%

Break Points
Agassi 6/12 (8 games)
Edberg 4/17 (8 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 54 (16 FH, 17 BH, 11 FHV, 7 BHV, 3 OH)
Edberg 38 (12 FH, 3 BH, 10 FHV, 8 BHV, 5 OH)

Agassi had passes 24 (10 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV)
- the FHs - 5 cc (2 returns), 2 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out return and 1 lob
- the BHs - 7 cc (5 returns), 3 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out and 2 lobs
- the FHV was hit from just inside the baseline and not a net point

- 8 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (5 FHV, 1 BHV), 2 of the FHVs being swinging shots
- 2 second volleys (1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 1 OH was hit from the baseline and not a net point

- 10 non-pass groundstrokes (6 FH, 4 BH)
- the FHs - 2 cc (both returns), 2 dtl and 2 inside-out
- the BHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl (1 return)

Edberg had 18 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 9 second volleys (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH), 1 BHV being a lob
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 4 passes (3 FH, 1 BH)
- the FHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl
- the BH - 1 cc

- regular FHs - 6 cc (2 returns), 3 inside-out (1 at net and 1 return), 1 net chord dribbler and 1 around the net post (which landed out but went uncalled)
- regular BHs - 1 inside-out and 1 net chord dribbler return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 68
- 26 Unforced (8 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 42 Forced (15 FH, 25 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

Edberg 63
- 28 Unforced (8 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 35 Forced (4 FH, 13 BH, 5 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 10 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was...
- 35/50 (70%) at net, including...
- 15/18 (83%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 0/2 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Edberg was...
- 82/133 (62%) at net, including...
- 57/91 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 43/65 (66%) off 1st serve and...
- 14/26 (54%) off 2nd serve
---
- 12/21 (57%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
A fantastic match and had it gone to 5, would likely be spoken of in the same breath as Becker-Lendl '88 and Sampras-Becker '96. In fact, I prefer this match to both. It has everything. The conditions are very fast. According to the commentators, this is due to the balls and not the court

The consummately polished serve-volleying of Edberg vs the power baselining/returning/passing of Agassi is the cornerstone, but there's more to it than that. Agassi comes to net a healthy amount of the time (he has as many volley winners as Edberg!) and the baseline rallies are open court affairs - it seems like every crosscourt shot is redirected down the line as both players seek to run the other around, along with the contrast of Agassi's brute power and Edberg's elegance. And both move well - this is the fastest I've seen Agassi moves. He covers the court better than Edberg

In the first set, Agassi breaks early and moves 4-1 ahead. He's returning with frightening power. Edberg is using his standard, use-the-serve-as-a-way-to-get-upto-net (i.e. not aiming for lines) and anything he can reach, Agassi's giving the full treatment. He hits winners and forces many first volley errors with the second shot. The same way its difficult to get a return UE facing Ivanisevic's serve, it looks difficult to get an unforced volleying error against Agassi's return. Naturally, he misses a number of returns hitting so hard also... but the play is on his racquet

From the baseline, Agassi initially looks to work over the Edberg BH, which he does with BH cc's and FH inside-outs. Not much comes off it - Edberg is up to holding the heavy groundstrokes at bay, particularly with the slice but again, the play is on the American's racquet.... looking to bash through Edberg's defences, while the Swede looks to wait for him to make errors going for too much.

There are break points in all of the last six games of the set. Edberg capitilizes in all 3 games he has chances, while Agassi can only do so twice as the defending champion takes it.

I like the adjustments made by both players in the second set. Edberg starts serving more aggressively - more powerful and closer to the lines. The return errors he forces from here on are 'normal' forced returns (i.e. the force of the serve itself is the cause of the error, not Agassi's highly aggressive returning)… with Edberg serve-volleying so often, even the latter type of errors are marked forced, so can't be differentiated from the former via forced/unforced dichotomy. And Agassi drops trying to break down the BH and looks to play a brand of aggressive, move the opponent around baseline tennis. Stefan is happy to dance

Along with this, Agassi also comes into net a lot more, including serve-volleying. And is highly effective at it. Stefan utilizes plenty of chip charge returns... and is highly effective at it. The set goes on serve til the tiebreak and its Stefan who has looked more likely to break. Agassi saves two break points early and also holds a game to love with 4 winners in succession, including a very sharply angled BH cc (1 of three times in the match he hits 3 or more winners in a row in the match. the other two instances are on return games).

The key point in the tiebreak is the mini-break Agassi gets with Stefan serving 4-5 down. Its a BH cc return winner and might be the hardest hit shot in a match littered with hard hitting shots - its through before Edberg's half-way to net. Agassi seals the set on the first set point on his serve with another thundering pass, this time FH cc against the chip-charge return off Edberg.

To start the third, Agassi breaks at once, reeling off 3 passing winners in a row (2 of them returns), before Edberg double faults after serving an ace. Playing dynamics remain as they were in the second. Edberg is a bit lucky to break back, which he does by hitting a FH winner around the net post. The ball was actually comfortably out - you don't even need a replay to see it. The match continues on serve. Agassi saves 3 break points in game 8 with a service winner, an approach and serve-volleying. Edberg gives up his serve towards the end with back to back double faults, after earlier missing a tricky OH, which he didn't move to well enough

Fourth set is competitive too, despite the 6-2 scoreline. Agassi breaks via a typical hard hit return winner, 2 relatively difficult volleying UEs from Edberg and a very much forced one. Next game, its Edberg's turn to reel off 3 consecutive winners on return, but Agassi climbs out of the 0-40 hole with strong play. He breaks again to make the scoreline look more one sided than it was.... but it has been Agassi raising his level at points that gave him this set
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serving & Returning
After the first set, Edberg serves more aggressively than usual, having had his usual blasted by Agassi in the opener. He serves well, but has been pushed out of his comfort zone. 58% serving is not great for him - but was necessary. The Swede returns excellently. He takes to taking Agassi's first serve from well behind the baseline and gets a lot of balls back in play. 80% return rate on this quick court is impressive and he does it without giving Agassi an undue advantage on the third ball most of the time. Edberg also chip-charge returns more than usual (21 times, winning 12) and does so well. He gets most back deep and often low and even varies direction with it (a number are inside-out BH chip-charges... not a shot you see every day). Winning more than 50% against Agassi's passing shots is a testament to how well he executed this play

Agassi's returning is the dynamo of the match. He blasts anything he can reach - leaving Edberg with some impossible volleys. He's not at his best in moving to balls that are out of immediate reach, which Stefan capitilizes on in the last three sets. But the threat of the big return keeps Edberg under constant pressure. Agassi serves well enough. His serve is about as big as Edberg serving at his biggest

Net Play & Passing
The key is Agassi's passing (including the return), which is brutal. When do you see Stefan Edberg have 18 forced errors in the forecourt? And the 7 unforced errors are mostly not easy either... and he's under pressure to make them since he's bound to lose points at net when Agassi connects full bloodedly. I doubt anyone could have done better than Edberg did on the volley against this barrage (he's still winning 62% at net, 63% serve-volleying - including 54% off second serves) - potentially match winning numbers. But he is up against an awful lot. There's also the Agassi lob to think about

Agassi also comes to net a healthy 50 times, including 18 serve-volleys. He doesn't look all that sure in approaching and does have the style of an 'unnatural volleyer', but gets the results. A number of his FHV are swinging shots. The 5 errors he makes on the volley are fairly simple.... if Edberg missed them, it would be a shock. Nothing particularly good or bad about Edberg's passing

Note again - Agassi with the same number of volley winners as Edberg

Movement
I tend to think of Agassi's movement as slower than average and Edberg's as exceptional. In this match anyway, Agassi is probably faster in covering the court than Stefan. He's haring about just short of Chang speed. Nonetheless, his footwork isn't quite as sure

Baseline Dynamics
Some of the most dynamic baseline stuff you'll see. Everything is about opening the court and keeping it open and both players run each other from side to side. They finish with identical groundstroke UEs (8 FH, 13 BH) and with Edberg having 2 extra volleying errors … the UEFI (Agassi 48.5, Edberg 45.7) is suggesting Agassi was the more aggressive player. which is an accurate description

He's clearly more powerful, can hit just as sharply of angle and even his movement is better.

@CHillTennis analysed the 1990 French Open final and thought Agassi lacked a FH cc - and one can somewhat see that here. Of course, he has a FH cc, but uses it as a point killer, not something to build up a point on the way he does with the BH. Edberg too is less flexible off the FH

'Clutch' Play
I gather there was a perception of Agassi as being a choker round about this time, while Edberg was a hardened match player and newly minted world number 1. Here though, its Agassi that comes out ahead.

Agassi steps up when down break point, frequently serve-volleying or otherwise approaching the net or holding his nerve when confronted by a chip-charging Edberg.

Edberg does have little let downs with volleying errors and double faults in key games but that's not choking (the reason the games are 'key' is because he has the let downs). He's under immense pressure - playing attacking baseline tennis against a heavier hitter and constantly under the gun when at net. Other than double faulting twice to yield a break, there's nothing to criticize in Edberg's nerves other than he wasn't perfect

Credit here to Agassi for clutch, no discredit to Edberg for 'choking'

Potential Alternative Strategies
With Edberg is forced to serve bigger, he elects to go for the lines. How might going the body serve route have gone? Its a serve he uses excellently, and with Agassi's relatively slow footwork, may have proved effective. One understands the decision not to try this. I think Edberg just wanted to keep the ball as far away from Agassi's hitting zone as possible (wisely)

One thing missing from Edberg's game in general is variety in his volleying. Specifically, the lack of or disinclination to use drop/stop volleys. On a rare day when the passing shots are coming too hot and heavy for even him, this is a noticeable lack. Agassi is in grooved mode when dealing with the at net Edberg.... and a few drop volleys might have been worth testing him out with. Also probably wouldn't have worked (even if Stefan could pull it off, which is doubtful) since Agassi stands on the baseline and would be ready to run down anything short

Summing up.... a fantastic match, the best at what they do battle of volleyer vs passer, very lively baseline action, steady returning and dangerous returning, good but not overwhelming serves.... this match has it all. Wonderful performance from Agassi, but it takes two to tango and Edberg also does his bit

(will post up round robin match soon...
 
Yeah this was a fun match. I recorded it back in the day an watched it several times. It was broadcast on ABC and their camera angles and sound were much better than other indoor events of the time, it sounded like they were hitting so hard. Think Arthur Ashe did commentary.

Agassi was often called one of the fastest players on tour back then.

The net stats are pretty shocking, especially Agassi serve and volleying 18 times. I had agassi coming in 93 times in his 5 setter vs Wilander at 88 RG, but there wasn't much S&V(really a lot of his approaches in that match would have been winners against most players but Wilander was able to get them back so they became net points)

and 12 aces for Agassi seems pretty high for him back then.

Do you have a link to the RR match? Didn't realize it was on YouTube.

I do have their RR match from 89 on DVD, its a pretty bad match, Agassi improved remarkably in one year at that event. Him winning 1990 YEC was considered pretty shocking at the time. He only played one event after the USO and lost first round, so there were absolutely no signs he was in great form. Between this, making the finals of RG two years in a row with barely any clay warmups, and of course winning Wimbledon out of nowhere, not sure how anyone could not consider him one of the mist talented players of all time.
 
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beltsman

Legend
Andre Agassi beat Stefan Edberg 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-2 in the Year End Championship final, 1990 on carpet in Frankfurt, Germany

Edberg was the world number 1 and defending champion (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-edberg-vs-becker-masters-final-1989.623707/), while Agassi had been runner-up at the French Open and US Open that year

Agassi won 158 points, Edberg 151

Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 2 first serves and about half the time off seconds

Serve Stats
Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (105/170) 62%
- 1st serve points won (69/105) 66%
- 2nd serve points won (35/65) 54%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/170) 19%

Edberg....
- 1st serve percentage (80/139) 58%
- 1st serve points won (57/80) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (28/59) 47%
- Aces 10, 4 Service Winners (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/139) 32%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 1%

Edberg served....
- to FH 34%
- to BH 63%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 87 (33 FH, 54 BH), including 9 runaround FHs and 2 return-approaches
- 13 Winners (6 FH, 7 BH)
- 30 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (3 BH)
- 27 Forced (13 FH, 13 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- Return Rate (87/131) 66%

Edberg made...
- 136 (49 FH, 87 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 21 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (5 FH, 1 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 13 Forced (8 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (136/169) 80%

Break Points
Agassi 6/12 (8 games)
Edberg 4/17 (8 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 54 (16 FH, 17 BH, 11 FHV, 7 BHV, 3 OH)
Edberg 38 (12 FH, 3 BH, 10 FHV, 8 BHV, 5 OH)

Agassi had passes 24 (10 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV)
- the FHs - 5 cc (2 returns), 2 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 inside-out return and 1 lob
- the BHs - 7 cc (5 returns), 3 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out and 2 lobs
- the FHV was hit from just inside the baseline and not a net point

- 8 from serve-volley points
- 6 first volleys (5 FHV, 1 BHV), 2 of the FHVs being swinging shots
- 2 second volleys (1 BHV, 1 OH)

- 1 OH was hit from the baseline and not a net point

- 10 non-pass groundstrokes (6 FH, 4 BH)
- the FHs - 2 cc (both returns), 2 dtl and 2 inside-out
- the BHs - 1 cc and 3 dtl (1 return)

Edberg had 18 from serve-volley points
- 8 first volleys (3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 9 second volleys (4 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH), 1 BHV being a lob
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 4 passes (3 FH, 1 BH)
- the FHs - 2 cc and 1 dtl
- the BH - 1 cc

- regular FHs - 6 cc (2 returns), 3 inside-out (1 at net and 1 return), 1 net chord dribbler and 1 around the net post (which landed out but went uncalled)
- regular BHs - 1 inside-out and 1 net chord dribbler return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 68
- 26 Unforced (8 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 42 Forced (15 FH, 25 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.5

Edberg 63
- 28 Unforced (8 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 35 Forced (4 FH, 13 BH, 5 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 10 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.7

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was...
- 35/50 (70%) at net, including...
- 15/18 (83%) serve-volleying, all first serves
----------------------------------
- 0/2 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Edberg was...
- 82/133 (62%) at net, including...
- 57/91 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 43/65 (66%) off 1st serve and...
- 14/26 (54%) off second serve
--------------------------------
- 12/21 (57%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back from net
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dude, put these in a book!
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In the round robin stage, Edberg beat Agassi 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5)

Edberg serve-volleyed on the vast majority off first serves and about half the time off second

Edberg won 118 points, Agassi 115

Serve Stats
Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (70/116) 60%
- 1st serve points won (48/70) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (21/46) 46%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (31/116) 27%

Agassi....
- 1st serve percentage (60/115) 52%
- 1st serve points won (38/60) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (28/55) 51%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/115) 17%

Serve Patterns
Edberg served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 10%

Agassi served....
- to FH 26%
- to BH 72%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Edberg made...
- 95 (35 FH, 61 BH, 2 ??), including 6 runaround FHs and 16 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 7 Forced (2 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (95/114) 83%

Agassi made...
- 82 (35 FH, 47 BH), including 5 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 11 Winners (3 FH, 8 BH)
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH attempt
- 22 Forced (10 FH, 12 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (82/113) 73%

Break Points
Edberg 4/11 (7 games)
Agassi 5/9 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Edberg 36 (6 FH, 4 BH, 10 FHV, 13 BHV, 3 OH)
Agassi 44 (14 FH, 17 BH, 5 FHV, 6 BHV, 2 OH)

Edberg had 14 from serve-volley points
- 10 first volleys (3 FHV, 7 BHV), 1 BHV being a net chord dribbler
- 4 second volleys (4 FHV)

- 2 passes (1 FH, 1 BH), both dtl

- 5 FHs - 2 cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 net chord dribbler return
- 3 BHs - 2 dtl and 2 inside-out

Agassi had 11 returns (3 FH, 8 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out (all passes)
- BHs - 1 cc, 4 dtl and 3 inside-in (all but 1 dtl being passes)

- 14 other passes (6 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- the FHs - 5 cc (1 not clean and 1 at net) and 1 lob
- the BHs - 1 cc, 4 dtl and 2 lobs
- the BHV - a drive from just inside the baseline

- 2 from serve-volley points (2 FHV), both swinging shots
- other volleys include 1 drop FHV and 2 drop BHVs

- non-pass groundstrokes 5 FHs and 2 BHs
- the FHs - 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 net chord dribbler
- the BHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Edberg 46
- 25 Unforced (8 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 21 Forced (5 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 7 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.8

Agassi 50
- 23 Unforced (5 FH, 17 BH, 1 BHV)
- 27 Forced (8 FH, 18 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.2

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Edberg was...
- 73/115 (63%) at net, including...
- 53/83 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 40/59 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 13/24 (54%) off second serve
----------------------------------
- 10/16 (63%) return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back

Agassi was...
- 19/26 (73%) at net, including...
- 2/4 (50%) serve-volleying, all first serves
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1/1 return-approaching
0/1 forced back

Match Report
I'll use the action from the finals as a frame of reference.

A good match, though not as good as the final. But perhaps more thrilling due to the highs and lows in play. So often, matches are regarded as great due to the ups and downs, whereas a match with uniform high level of play doesn't get noticed as much

If Edberg was strongly favoured going into the match, nothing in the early part of the first set sounds anything out of the ordinary. Opening game, Agassi has to dig his way out of 0-40 to hold. Edberg replies by holding to love with 4 unreturned serves. And then breaks Agassi with 4 consecutive winners.

Agassi does break back a couple of games later, with Edberg making 2 poor volleying errors. But the Swede breaks again next game - this time reeling off 3 consecutive winners to do so. He steps up to serve for the set at 5-4 and reaches 40-15. And then the fun begins

First set point - 1st serve, whack. BH return winner, hit as hard as can be
Second set point - 1st serve, slip. BH return winner on the stretch, guiding the ball down the line
Third set point a bit later - 2nd serve, whack. Impossible volley to make
Fifth set point later still - 2nd serve, whack. An even harder hit return winner, this time off the FH
Agassi's first break point - 2nd serve, whack for the return winner

No matter. Edberg breaks back to love, highlighted by a point where he is run around from side to side repeatedly, but comes away with a FH cc winner. And he steps up to serve for the set a second time

First point - 1st serve, whack. Return FH dtl winner.
3rd point, whack. BH dtl pass.
6th point, 2nd serve, whack. BH cc return winner

Edberg dominates the tiebreak and leads it 6-0, before closing it out 7-4. But the message Agassi sent in the last few games has been a frightening one. Most of his returns would probably have been winners against an opponent staying on the baseline - its as if no one has hit a tennis ball harder

Edberg starts staying back 2nd set onwards, occasionally even off the first serve. Baseline play is less lively than in the final. There are occasional down-the-middle rallies. Agassi turns to trying to break down the Edberg BH. Edberg slices a lot. Edberg delivers a very slow first serve he stays back on (to see what would happen?). Agassi hits a couple of moonballs - one goes out, the other Edberg can only push back tamely from about head high and Agassi puts it away FH inside-in for the winner. The high ball to the one handed BH... always a tricky business. Agassi hits back to back drop volleys - one of each wing, which would make Edberg himself proud.

Agassi starts the third with a break, appropriately taking it with a return winner. He opens the door for Edberg to break back with two loose errors in game 6 - missing a BH into a wide open court and an approach error - and Edberg sweeps in with chip-charge returns and forcing baseline play. There's an excellent pass by Agassi in game 11, when he drives a BHV just inside the baseline to pass Edberg.

In the tie break, Edberg holds steady, despite a double fault while Agassi falters. Two errors in particular prove to e the difference - 1 a missed BH (a short ball asking to be punished) and 1 routine FH - both Agassi service points. Edberg for his part sends down 3 unreturned serves and finishes up with a FHV

All in all, a great curtain raiser for the even better final

Couple of points - Edberg sends down 11 body serves and they prove effective. Its his go-to play in the first tiebreak - 4/6 serves are so directed and he wins 3. I wonder why he didn't try it in the final

- Edberg again chip-charge returning superbly - winning 10/16. I don't recall Edberg being this partial to chip-charging... if my memory isn't false, I don't know why he wasn't. He does it excellently.

- Edberg again returning very consistently 84% return rate. Agassi just doesn't get cheap points

- Agassi serving poorly. For most of the match, his percentage is below 50. Strangely enough, its at its worst in the 2nd set (45%), but he wins 12/13 first serve points in the set

Summing up - a tough close match. The takeaway would be how lethal Agassi could be with the return of serve. Edberg, even with a few feathers ruffled, remains purposeful and focused on the end goal
 

andreh

Professional
Edberg was highly motivated. He needed 2 RR wins, I believe to keep Becker from the no. 1 spot and get his name on the Year End no. 1 list. In a sense, this match and the next against Sampras was more about the Edberg-Becker rivalry than the actual opponents he faced.

Edberg-Agassi matches are fun to watch. The contrast in styles are highly entertaining. They were often very close. 3-3 in head to head by 1992, which was Edberg's last really competitive year.
 
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