Duel Match Stats/Report - Connors vs Rosewall, Wimbledon & US Open finals, 1974

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Jimmy Connors beat Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final, 1974 on grass

It was Connors first Wimbledon and second Slam (of his career and of the year) title. For Rosewall, it was his last Wimbledon final - the first having been 20 years earlier as an amateur in 1954
@Moose Malloy previously presented stats https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1974-w-final-connors-rosewall.351115/

Connors won 100 points, Rosewall 70

Both players serve-volleyed off most first serves and Connors frequently off seconds

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (59/92) 64%
- 1st serve points won (40/59) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (17/33) 52%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (22/92) 24%

Rosewall...
- 1st serve percentage (47/78) 60%
- 1st serve points won (25/47) 53%
- 2nd serve points won (10/31) 32%
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/78) 18%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 9%

Rosewall served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 60 (21 FH, 39 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 5 return-approaches
- 5 Winners (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (60/74) 81%

Rosewall made...
- 67 (30 FH, 37 BH), including 5 runaround FHs & 10 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 16 Forced (7 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (67/89) 75%

Break Points
Connors 8/13 (9 games)
Rosewall 2/11 (6 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 33 (5 FH, 8 BH, 7 FHV, 7 BHV, 6 OH)
Rosewall 13 (1 FH, 5 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)

Connors had from 15 serve-volley points -
- 8 first volleys (3 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 6 second volleys (2 FHV, 4 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 1 other BHV was inside-out and 1 was off a return-approach point, played net-to-net against a serve-volleying Rosewall

- 5 Returns (2 FH, 3 BH)…. all but 1 BH were passes
- FHs - 1 cc and 1 inside-out (left by Rosewall)
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 longline left (left by Rosewall) were passes.... and 1 net chord dribbler

- FH passes - 1 dtl and 1 inside-out
- regular FHs - 1 net chord dribbler
- BH passes - 2 cc and 2 dtl
- regular BHs - 1 dtl

Rosewall had 3 from serve-volley points -
- 1 first volley (1 BHV)… a net chord dribbler
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 OH)… the FHV being a drop

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 OH)
- 1 other BHV was a drop

- FH passes - 1 dtl
- BH passes - , 1 cc and 3 dtl (1 return)
- regular BHs - 1 net chord dribbler return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 40
- 10 Unforced (4 FH, 2 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 30 Forced (11 FH, 10 BH, 1 FHV, 7 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47

Rosewall 41
- 16 Unforced (6 FH, 4 BH, 5 BHV, 1 OH)
- 25 Forced (1 FH, 16 BH, 2 FH1/2V, 4 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 Over Shoulder Lob Retrieval)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.1

(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
Connors was...
- 51/72 (71%) at net, including...
- 36/53 (68%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 24/35 (69%) off 1st serve and..
- 12/18 (67%) off 2nd serve
---
- 4/5 (80%) return-approaching
- 2/3 (67%) forced back/retreated

Rosewall was...
- 39/67 (58%) at net, including...
- 23/45 (51%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 21/40 (53%) off 1st serve and..
- 2/5 (40%) off 2nd serve
---
- 8/10 (80%) return-approaching


Match Report
First set is a mashing but the other two are competitive. Connors going to town on the Rosewall serve puts the Aussie in a hopeless situation of being under the gun in both serve and return games virtually every game and not far off every point

A word on the court. Its good and chewed up, more brown than green with some bad bounces. While I can't imagine such a mistake could possibly happen in a Wimbledon final, the net looks off to me, with scarcely an arc in the center - it looks like a horizontal line. Both players, Connors especially, hit a lot of let serves and there are a large number of net chord plays - including a total of 3 winners

Rosewall holds in the opening game - a 10 point affair - with 5 unreturned serves and 2 double faults. (If this were all you had to go on, most logical interpretation would be Rosewall was some kind of serve-bot... a thought that amuses me)

He holds serve once (a deuce game, no break points) in his next 8 service games

In first set, Connors doesn't serve-volley much. He does however knock down 11 winners to 2 UEs. Its a set where Connors is on fire and Rosewall was atrocious - the latter the stronger factor and limiting the scope for the former

Rosewall misses routine groundstrokes - often off the third ball - including approach shots and 1 first volley. Doesn't volley particularly well when he can (and is faced with a number of very strong passes), doesn't return particularly well (and those he does are knocked off for winners). Slaughter

Amusing piece of commentary. Connors at the middle of the net gets a gentle lob from Rosewall from outside the court - and lightly hits a short angled winner (he had been blasting smashes on the OH). Dan Maskell says Connors is known for his power but there's his touch, "not the easiest of shots". Strange way to describe a gimme OH that a player decides to not smash into the 7th row

Next 2 sets are competitive though.

In second set, while still under the gun on serve (he's broken 3/3 times - all 6 point games), Rosewall takes Connors to 18, 8, 8 and 5 points in return games

Some memorable shots - the first of the set is Rosewall BH slice-driving a dtl pass off a Connors smash. Connors hits a superb running FH dtl pass against a chip-charging Ken a couple points later and finishes the game with a serve-volley point where he hits a first 1/2volley and finishes with a stretching 3rd volley FHV winner

Connors is strong on the volley all match, but the pick of them is an inside-out BHV winner (1st volley off an approach from rallying), hit to a ball slightly below the net and coming at him powerfully

Its probably a slight exaggeration to call the third set dead even, but not much of one. Playing patterns have been so well established in the first set (specifically, the extent to which Rosewall is under fire on serve) that its hard not to continue to see it that way. Its not an incorrect way of seeing it either.... the difference is Rosewall steps up on return still more and challenges a by now regularly serve-volleying Connors with excellently placed and angled touch returns. Still, its a step behind Connors bashing ones, and Connors is the better player for that too
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Connors serves harder than I've seen him do. Good hard, first serves and even the seconds aren't easy to attack

I'd describe everything I've seen of his serve 1977 and onward as, at best average (including the 'improved' serve post-'82)… and between '77-'81 as below average to weak

What changed? Did he get injured in between? Why would a guy who can serve well suddenly switch to puffball serving?
Maybe he just lost it... because its not lack of effort that makes his post '82 serve less potent than what he shows in these two matches (he's obviously hitting the ball as hard as he can in some of those '82 onwards matches? Or maybe these matches are anomalies... the best serving he ever did in his life?

Rosewall's returning is just a bit disappointing. He misses a number of makeable returns. He does demonstrate what he's capable of on the shot too though, especially in the third set. His FH looks like a firm push, the BH similar but coming under the ball. For power, its about average (and looks less by comparison to Connors' thunderbolts) but he places the ball expertly in the third set, giving Connors a number of difficult first volleys via having him reach and stretch sideways (usually, forced first volleying errors are a product of the ball being low, not wide). He'd have been under pressure to deliver even without his service games being so vulnerable though because Connors is very good on the first volley (more on that later)

Part of the problem is eye. A few times, he obviously picks up the serve late and is rushed on the shot for it

He chip-charges excellently, winning 8/10 and without making an error. And against a passer who wasn't fooling around

Rosewall's serve is a sight. Front foot on the ground (possibly back foot too). Little ball toss (sometimes of to the side). And a little toss of the arm. No knees, no hips, no body, minimal shoulder action to add weight to the shot. It looks little more than the overarm equivalent of the round arm waist high ball we use to start rallies in warm-ups

For all that, he doesn't even serve an abnormally large percentage. Or even force Connors to stretch and reach, let alone jump to return (and that's not because of Connors' anticipation). Its not a gentle first serve by design... its just a weak one

I can understand serve isn't his best shot... many greats like that (Connors himself, Wilander, Agassi etc.). I can even understand keeping the foot on the ground if that'd become habitual (not sure when the rule was changed). What I don't understand is the complete ordinariness of shot mechanics... you couldn't design a service action to be less damaging. This from a guy who apparently switched from baselining to serve-volleying mid-career... and did so well. Adjustments as basic and simple as swivelling the hips or turning the shoulders would improve the serve. In the US Open final, even the ball toss is noticeably bad (and I rarely notice that... it'd have to be exceptionally bad for me to do so). Wonder the extent to which tossing with two balls in hand negatively effected players ability to toss well... must have to some extent

Not a fan of serving 69% to Connors' BH either. Look at the errors he's drawn - unforced its 3 FH, 1 BH and forced its 7 FH, 9 BH... numbers strongly suggesting FH return was far more vulnerable (keeping in mind that "forced error" against the Rosewall serve is mostly token acknowledgements, particularly to serve-volleying)

Connors... blasts returns. He returns very well and Rosewall has a very weak serve... not hard to see why Rosewall had such a hard time of it on serve

Play - Net, Passing & little Baseline
Some of the best volleying I've seen from Connors too

Doesn't face a lot of low volleys, but tends to get them back when he does. Same on the low-ish volleys (other matches I've seen, he tends to miss such balls). The best of it though is the untethered way he punches away anything above the net. Some are easy, but most are not putaways (many a player would volley looking for a passing error of them). Connors doesn't... goes for and gets the winner almost everytime (or leaves near impossible passes for Rosewall)

The 9 forecourt FEs indicate Rosewall did well on the pass/return too. Not overly hard volleys (i.e. bullets to the feet), more like low-ish and wide-ish ball. Rosewall does well with placing his passes - all elegance and style, not too powerful but more than you'd think looking at the shot. Still, his returning leaves Connors a big chunk of balls over the net... which are dispatched

Rosewall does ok at net too, considering the scoreline. For one thing, he gets a large number of very hard hit shots to his feet... and he's mostly able to get the ball back in play, even with 1/2volleys. Impossible to make them all of course, but 7 FEs in forecourt is more than good given what he was up against. On the other hand, although he doesn't get many easy volleys, he's less than impressive on them... neither hitting winners nor getting them into corners (though he's obviously trying to get them as far from Connors as possible). Some second and third chances on the pass for Connors

Connors passes like thunder. He'd probably win the match even without the second and third chances on the pass... its having that extra luxury that makes the score one sided

Couple of interesting stats. Note Rosewall with 0 FHV errors of any kind (he does have 1 FH1/2V FE)… and note Rosewall with just 1 FH FE to 16 BHs

First is a sign Connors was passing to Rosewall's BHV and volleying to his BH... I can't say I noticed that watching the action. Connors volleying is firm enough that most of Rosewall's passing errors were from hopeless situations... doubt it mattered if it was FH or BH

There's not much baseline-to-baseline action. In what there is, Connors is more consistent (Rosewall has a few routine errors), naturally more powerful and has much better court coverage. Court coverage is one of the areas where there's a huge difference between the two men, though with most of the action being at net, its not too big a factor in outcome

Summing up, fire and brimstone returning and passing from Connors against particularly weak serving means Rosewall is as much under fire serving as he is returning. And Connors serves hard and volleys with terminal intent to have him under plenty of fire returning. 2 Competitive sets - both of which Connors clearly has the better of - is the best fight Rosewall can make of it
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Jimmy Connors beat Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the US Open final, 1974 on grass

The win gave Connors his third Slam of year after Australian Open and Wimbledon, while he'd been barred entry to the French Open. It was Rosewall's last Slam final, just shy of 22 years after his first in 1953. Rosewall was a couple months short 40
@Moose Malloy previously presented stats https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/stats-for-1974-uso-final-connors-rosewall.173137/

Connors won 82 points, Rosewall 42

Both players serve-volleyed off most first serves and Connors frequently off seconds

(Note: I'm missing a Rosewall first serve point won by Connors. Based on audio, its likely a return of serve winner off a serve-volley point and has been counted as such)

Serve Stats
Connors...
- 1st serve percentage (47/70) 67%
- 1st serve points won (32/47) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (15/23) 65%
- Aces 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (20/70) 29%

Rosewall...
- 1st serve percentage (34/54) 65%
- 1st serve points won (10/34) 29%
- 2nd serve points won (9/20) 45%
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/54) 9%

Serve Patterns
Connors served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 7%

Rosewall served...
- to FH 29%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Connors made...
- 44 (14 FH, 29 BH, 1 ??), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 6 (1 FH, 4 BH, 1 ??)
- 5 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH), a return-approach attempt
- 4 Forced (1 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (44/51) 86%

Rosewall made...
- 50 (21 FH, 29 BH)
- 3 Winners (3 FH)
- 18 Errors, all forced...
- 18 Forced (8 FH, 10 BH)
- Return Rate (50/70) 71%

Break Points
Connors 8/16 (9 games)
Rosewall 0/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Connors 32 (8 FH, 7 BH, 4 FHV, 10 BHV, 2 OH, 1 ??)
Rosewall 8 (3 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)

Connors had 14 from serve-volley points -
- 8 first volleys (2 FHV, 6 BHV)… 1 BHV being a swinging shot and 1 a net chord dribbler
- 5 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
- 1 fourth volley (1 BHV)… a drop

- FH passes - 3 cc (1 at net), 3 dtl and 1 inside-in return that Rosewall left
- regular FH - 1 longline (Rosewall slipped to the ground for)
- BH passes - 2 cc (1 return), 3 dtl (1 return) and 2 inside-out returns
- FHV pass - 1 swinging inside-out from behind the serving line and not a net point for Connors

Rosewall had 3 first volleys from serve-volley points (1 FHV, 2 BHV)… the FHV was a bad bounce

- FHs - 3 inside-in returns (2 passes)
- BH - 1 dtl (as Connors was retreating from net)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Connors 29
- 11 Unforced (5 FH, 2 BH, 4 FHV)
- 18 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.1

Rosewall 25
- 10 Unforced (3 BH, 1 FHV, 6 BHV)
- 15 Forced (4 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 Over Shoulder Lob Retrieval)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(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
Connors was...
- 40/55 (73%) at net, including...
- 32/45 (71%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 22/31 (71%) off 1st serve and..
- 10/14 (71%) off 2nd serve
---
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/4 (25%) forced back/retreated

Rosewall was...
- 18/42 (43%) at net, including...
- 12/32 (38%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 9/29 (31%) off 1st serve and..
- 3/3 (100%) off 2nd serve
---
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Sometimes, a one sided scoreline is deceptive. This isn't one of those times. Its like watching a heavyweight take on a welterweight. I'll use the report from the previous encounter as a frame of reference

Its a faster, fresher looking court with fewer irregular bounces than the Wimbledon encounter but the lopsided match-up issue of Rosewall serve vs Connors return are still at the forefront.

Though doing a lot worse than at Wimbledon (Rosewall wins 29% first serve points here, one of the lowest I've seen. Connors was lower still in the double bagelling he took from Lendl in Forest Hills '84 on green clay), Rosewall serves a bit better. He places some serves as to make Connors move to get them at least.... though the shot is still slow enough (and Connors eye and footwork quick) that the American can run rather than have to lunge to meet such balls. In the light of conditions not being faster enough for Rosewall's serve to actually trouble Connors, the extra speed favours Connors. He can return send returns back even harder - and does

Rosewall again serving mostly to BH, directing 69% there. He hasn't learnt. His average ball toss looks lower than it was at Wimby (that's possibly due to my noticing it more due to this match being in better print)

Just 9% unreturned serves from Rosewall. And 6 return winners from Connors (1 of them I've tracked only through audio). Just 31% first serve-volley points won, which is the lowest I've tracked for a player coming in frequently.

On top of the match up disadvantage, Rosewall also has a bad volleying day. 7 volleying UEs, many of them routine first volleys that he nets, 6/7 being FHVs. A little harder than your typical routine first volley because Connors returns tend to be hit more powerfully than your typical second shot... but still volleys of comfortable height a player should put into play at least. Poor judgement from Rosewall too - he leaves 3 returns that land in for winners. The FH inside-in he leaves is spectacularly bad... when the ball passes him, it wouldn't even qualify as a high volley, but he lets it go too and it lands well in. Penultimate point of the match, coming forward on a return point, Rosewall nets a difficult high volley that was probably going long

Unlike Wimbledon, not many difficult low volleys made by Ken. The routine ones are enough.... and when Connors hits it right, it usually just goes through for winners. Just 2 forecourt FEs.

By contrast, Connors makes the most of the faster court on his serve and has 29% unreturned serves, with all 18 return errors being forced. This is largely due to his serve-volleying so frequently (he does so more than at Wimbledon, and complements it with delayed serve-volleys and third ball approaches), but its the kind of court where decent second serves aren't easy to return

No chip-charge returns at all from Ken in this one. Possibly due to Connors serve-volleying more of second serves, but this had been one of the highlights of his Wimby showing

Connors is just as commanding with his volleys as at Wimby but I thought his net coverage was a tad worse. 4 volleying UEs (all FHVs) are on the forced side of being unforced - normal power balls a little to the side or a little lower than the net - but more makeable that otherwise. Most come in the third set, which is the least uncompetitive (Rosewall wins 18 points in it. In the first and second, it was 13 and 15 respectively)

Noteworthy feature of both matches is Rosewall resorting to defensive lobs frequently. He only does so when he's well on the defensive and frequently forces Connors back (4 times in this match, 3 times at Wimby). Connors isn't bad with it either, though I haven't seen him use it near as much in later years. Think this is a reflection of one of the patterns of play that have changed over the years. Whereas now, and for a good long time by now OHs are seen as easy putaways, then it wasn't quite the case. In this light, Connors is heavy in the intent of his OHs in both matches too... he doesn't hold back on the smash and clearly sees it as a clean winner hitting option. There's a particularly good one in this match on the backpedal

7 baseline UEs from Connors to 3 from Rosewall. A number of Connors' were approach errors. Commentators note that FH approach was a shot that he'd made a number errors on throughout the tournament. Foreshadowing of problems to come. Some excellent passes on the run from Connors. There's 2 in game 2 of second set, as well as a BH inside-out return pass

Summing up, an out and out blowout with Connors overpowering and overwhelming Rosewall on all fronts
 
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