Duel Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Agassi, Year End Championship semi-final, 1994 & round robin, 1996

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 the Year End Championship (World Tour Finals) semi-finals, 1994 on carpet in Frankfurt, Germany

Sampras would go onto win the event, beating Boris Becker in the final for his second title. Sampras was ranked number 1, Agassi 2

Sampras won 100 points (including a point penalty), Agassi 94

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves and 3 seconds

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (49/88) 56%
- 1st serve points won (40/49) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (24/39) 62%
- Aces 20 (1 second serve), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (44/88) 50%

Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (66/105) 63%
- 1st serve points won (45/66) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (25/39) 64%
- Aces 7 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/105) 29%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 5%

Agassi served...
- to FH 41%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 71 (35 FH, 36 BH), including 6 runaround FHs & 4 return-approaches
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 17 Forced (10 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (71/101) 70%

Agassi made...
- 42 (22 FH, 20 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 4 Winners (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 18 Forced (6 FH, 12 BH)
- Return Rate (42/86) 48%

Break Points
Sampras 3/13 (6 games)
Agassi 2/4 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 19 (13 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
Agassi 19 (7 FH, 8 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)

Sampras' FHs - 2 cc (1 return, which was not clean), 5 dtl, 2 inside-out, 2 inside-in (1 return) and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 dtl

- 4 from serve-volley points -
- 1 first 'volley' FH at net
- 2 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 1 third 'volley' BH at net

- 1 other BHV was a drop

Agassi's FHs - 4 cc (3 passes - 1 of them a return), 2 dtl return passes and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 4 dtl, 1 inside-out pass, 1 lob and 1 net chord dribbler return

- 1 FHV was the first volley of a serve-volley point
- 1 FHV was a double touch and played net-to-net

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 43
- 20 Unforced (6 FH, 12 BH, 2 FHV)
- 23 Forced (7 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 4 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 Behind Back)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47

Agassi 33
- 17 Unforced (8 FH, 8 BH, 1 Penalty)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 11 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.6

(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
Sampras was...
- 27/46 (59%) at net, including...
- 19/30 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 18/27 (67%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/3 (33%) off 2nd serve
--
- 2/2 return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back/retreated

Agassi was...
- 8/9 (89%) at net, including...
- 2/2 serve-volleying, both first serves

Match Report
Good match, could have been better with a more focused Agassi in the deciding set. The action is fairly straightforward

Some background. Sampras had thoroughly dominated the early part of the year, but injuries post-Wimbledon kept him out of action for much of the fall hard court season and he was finding his feet again so to speak in the indoor season. Agassi went the opposite route; a slow start to the year due to injury, wrist surgery and then turning the season around in the fall hard court season (including winning US Open) and he'd been the form player in the indoor season, winning titles in Paris (beating Sampras en route) and Vienna

Agassi came through his group undefeated. Sampras squeaked through his to set up this match between numbers 1 and 2

Agassi breaks first game of the match, forcing a 1/2volley error and winning three baseline points on second serves (Sampras serve-volleyed all the time off first serve and virtually stayed back off all seconds - as was his norm on carpet round about the time). And the rest of the set is easy holds

For Agassi, that means pounding Sampras down from the baseline, which he does, particularly targeting the Sampras BH. For Sampras, its a lot simpler. He just serves... after the first game, 14/18 of his serves don't come back

Second set is the best of the match. There's a kill-or-die sort of thing going on with Sampras first serve vs Agassi's return.... volleying and passing shots don't come into it much. Interesting but not exactly riveting. What is are the baseline battles. Its a combination of fast paced, open court dynamics and heavy hitting in closed court situations. Sampras cuts back on errors from the first set and the duels are competitive

Sampras breaks in a fantastic game to go up 3-1. Point 3 is rallying at its liveliest... both players hitting heavy and to the open court, both players chasing down the ball... and its Agassi whose forced into the error. Sampras stumps Agassi a couple points later by passively looping BHs crosscourt or slicing them (in this match, he almost always dealt with Agassi's BH cc's by coming over the ball with)... only to switch it up, runaround the BH to hit a FH inside-out winner to bring up break point.

Agassi break right back though with back to back passes and a FH inside-out winner. Set continues on serve, though Agassi has some hairy moments. He escapes a 0-40 situation to hold serve and has to save 3 break and set points in game 11, but makes it through to the tiebreak. He has a... disagreement with the umpire, the inability to handle calmly probably shapes the rest of the match

There are two key point in the tiebreak. Sampras gains a mini-break by approaching of a sharply angled BH cc to force a passing error. Later on, he resists giving back in a thrilling point. Sampras can just about reach a strong, wide pass from Agassi and he drop 1/2volleys it. Agassi reaches the ball at net and hits it fine cc... but Sampras is able to run it down sideways (still at net) and poke a BH into the open court for the winner

All the same, set point on Sampras' serve is an open point (anytime a rally starts off Sampras' service points is an oppurtunity for Agassi). The two get into a rally, but Agassi nets a routine enough BH

Third set is fairly poor from Agassi, who is clearly rattled after a series of needless altercations with the chair umpire. Sampras also half-tanks a couple of return games after going up a break but breaks again to put an end to the match

There's a curious point. Net to net, Agassi hits a double-touch FHV winner. I didn't know that was legal. According to commentators, it didn't used to be but is "now".... that's a strange rule to change out of the blue. Anyone know when it was changed? I doubt there was a sudden rise in double touch winners which made the authorities suddenly decide to change the rule allowing it
 
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Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Sampras typically bombs down first serves that are all but unplayable. Its not all just bombs though... he gets some aces with significantly slower but perfectly placed first serves also. Most of the return errors he forces while serve-volleying would probably have drawn errors even had he been staying back

I'm more impressed with the second serve. For 1 thing, its as big as many players' first serve, but variety, placement, disguise... all have a hand in making it effective. In later years, it seemed to me Sampras had gone full on over to living and dying off the second serve... bombing down potential aces and making lots of doubles, too. Here, its a measured and very strong shot... not too risky, but strong enough to give him control of points (as well as force errors on its own)

Agassi, when he can reach the serve, blasts it. Usually, he can't reach it. 50% unreturned serves for Sampras... when Agassi can get it back, he does so strongly enough to force volleying errors or elicit weak volleys. Not much draw-weak-return-hit-putaway-volley stuff going on

Agassi's serve is average of strength (probably a bit less). Sampras returns surely and proactively. Note the 6 runaround FH returns and the 4 return-approaches.... Sampras was prone to return serves mechanically by rote at times, but not here. 1 Sampras return is probably the hardest hit of the match.... FH cc, it just flashes to the other side, not far from Agassi but the server can just get the thinnest of touches on it (the kind you wouldn't know he had got without sound)

Sampras tanks a few returns in the third set... or at least, plays them without any apparent care (he's up a break)

Volleys & Passes
Not much of it going on, sans Agassi's first serve return. Sampras volleys well enough on the rare occasion he needs to, but also faces blistering pace. Note the 8 forced volleying/half-volleying errors - many were flagrantly forced while others would have required an excellent shot to get back in play

Agassi's net play might be more interesting. He barely comes in, but wins 8/9 there (the only he doesn't was a forced approach... and it took a fantastic shot from Sampras to deny him there)

Being the better baseliner overall... learning to come in might have been something Agassi would have liked to explore. He doesn't look bad at net. Both in this match and in general, I think Agassi under-utilized net play... his skills are good enough that allied with his outstanding baseline shots, he could have made it work well I think

Baseline
Here's where the fun is in this match

Initially, Agassi hits heavy, consistent but not overly aggressive (i.e. not trying to hit lines)... this is a test for Pete's consistency. And he doesn't pass it... the UEs come from Sampras' racquet, mostly of the BH. He doesn't disgrace himself by any means, but its clear who the better player is from the back

Action picks up still more in the second set. Agassi's still hitting heavy but Sampras hits more cleanly (and more consistently). There's a healthy amount of open court, running-each-other-from-side-to-side stuff going on too

Strong counter-hitting. There's a large number of strong attacking shots hit off strong attacking shots

Sampras probably has the edge in footspeed, but both are quick in covering the court. Sampras probably also comes out ahead in the FH side of the battle - he has 13 winners to Agassi's 7 and 2 fewer unforced errors. An exceptionally good FH day for Sampras, just normal for Agassi (which makes it good, of course)

It would be interesting to see who would win if both were playing exclusively from the baseline. With the big advantage he has on the serve, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be Sampras. He'd need that edge because though Pete has his moments, Agassi is still comfortably the better off the ground. He mostly dictates and keeps things BH-BH. He could probably have done more to keep things BH-BH... but out and out breaking-down-a-shot isn't Agassi's style... he's just as happy with the attacking open court alternative dynamic as the heavy-hitting-break-down-the-BH stuff (though he does better on the latter)

Agassi's meltdown
Serving at 5-6, 15-15 in the second set, Agassi hits a deep BH cc. Which the chair umpire calls out from the other side of the court. Replays show the ball was in. Agassi isn't happy (rightly) and argues that the umpire shouldn't overrule something that close from his position (also rightly)

One understands Agassi's frustration. Even had the ball been out, it was far too close for an overrule, especially from the far side of the court. And it puts him down 15-30 serving to stay in the set. He does go onto hold but has to save 3 break points to do so. Bad umpiring

And even worse handling of the bad umpiring. Agassi just doesn't let it go. For the rest of the game, he sarcastically asks the umpire if he's going to overrule very obvious calls. The umpire is either tone deaf or plays dumb... he answers one obviously sarcastic query with seeming sincerity.

Agassi swears - loudly and repeatedly. No warning. More bad umpiring

Having lost the tiebreak, Agassi seems to throw his racquet in the umpires general direction. At the change over, Agassi's still going on and on. Umpire finally speaks to him roughly.

After he's broken in opening game third set, Agassi swats a ball behind him, which apparently narrowly misses a linesperson. Umpire issues a warning. At changeover, umpire calls out the referee and Agassi is docked a point

Not sure why. Despite deserving it, Agassi had not been warned prior to his last show of frustration, so that's 1 offence. Unless he managed to get another while chatting with umpire (not unlikely)

1 more and Agassi forfeits. He holds it together. His play suffers very noticeably. Very bad handling of the situation
--

Summing up, a good match with baseline duels being the highlight. Heavy hitting interspersed with open court play and great movement from both players makes for good tennis - Agassi the better but Sampras getting a few good shots off too. And that's all he needs, since his serve is doing so much of the work for him. Unfortunate ending, with Agassi's level dropping, over some dopey anger issues with something he could have just let slide

Stats for the final between Sampras and Boris Becker - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-report-sampras-vs-becker-year-end-championship-finals-round-robin-1994.654019/
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In 1996, Sampras beat Agassi 6-2, 6-1 in the round robin on carpet in Hanover, Germany

Sampras would go onto win the event, beating Boris Becker in the final. Agassi would withdraw from the tournament - this being the only match he played

Sampras won 58 points, Agassi 27

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (19/38) 50%
- 1st serve points won (19/19) 100%
- 2nd serve points won (13/19) 68%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 2 (1 second serve)
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/38) 55%

Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (28/47) 60%
- 1st serve points won (14/28) 50%
- 2nd serve points won (7/29) 24%
- Aces 2 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (12/47) 26%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 53%

Agassi served...
- to FH 38%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 33 (11 FH, 22 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 8 Forced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (33/45) 73%

Agassi made...
- 17 (7 FH, 10 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (17/38) 45%

Break Points
Sampras 4/10 (5 games)
Agassi 0

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 17 (10 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)
Agassi 5 (2 FH, 2 BH, 1 OH)

Sampras' FHs - 2 cc, 6 dtl (1 pass) and 1 inside-in return
- BHs - 3 dtl and 1 inside-in return

- 3 from serve-volley points -
- 2 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 FH at net)
- 1 second volley (1 OH)

- the other FHV was from a return-approach point, very high and can reasonably be called an OH

Agassi's FHs - 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 2 cc (1 return)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 10
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.9

Agassi 18
- 12 Unforced (5 FH, 7 BH)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(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
Sampras was...
- 11/11 (100%) at net, including...
- 9/9 (100%) serve-volleying, all first serves
--
- 1/1 return-approaching

Agassi was...
- 3/5 (60%) at net

Match Report
A complete butt kicking - the stats speak for themselves. Agassi is thoroughly uninterested in playing but Sampras does play exceptionally well. Agassi's performance is a pity because it detracts from how well Sampras played and one can't know how much of the latter is due to the former

Bunch of stats worth noting. Sampras winning 100% first serve points, 100% net points and 55% unreturned serves stand out. How many 100% matches do we know of? I think Federer won 100% first serve points beating Murray 0 & 1 at WTF and Nadal was 100% at net of about 15 approaches in US Open final vs Kevin Anderson.... any others?

Sampras plays a drop shot... which very rare (in fact, I don't recall seeing any other examples). He does so because he'd popped a string and it seemed the best option. Other times I've seen him pop a string, he usually tries to approach.

Some splendid shots from Sampras on the run - both forehands and backhands. He goes FH dtl on the run more than usual (usual is near never)

Agassi, basically doesn't show up. Serves ok, returns with in a can't-be-bothered way.

I don't think Sampras served or returned better than usual - the extra success he enjoys from his (very high) serving norm is down to Agassi returning the way he did. Ditto the return, sans the very high norm part... couple of good back-to-back winners, but generally, he isn't neutralizing points or seizing control of them with the return or even scoring a notably high return rate (73%)

In play, Agassi looks to attacking place his groundstrokes near the lines (including the baseline). Makes a bunch of errors doing it, and not in long rallies. Sampras does move well to cover these shots. Sampras plays well from the baseline... reasonably consistent (7 UEs to Agassi's 12), with some great shots thrown in (13 grondstroke winners), but not only is Agassi not pressuring him at all, he's not even trying to move much

Interesting to track changes in Agassi's movements over the years. My memory of him was of being relatively lacking, but notice huge changes over the years. In late 80s to early 90s... he whizzed around court (better than the fleet Stefan Edberg in 1990). Seemed to have slowed by early 90s (normal in '92 Cincy vs Lendl). I believe it fluctuated with his weight... in the '94 match, they showed clips of his match with Sampras in Miami at the start of the year and he's a lot bulkier and the commentators noted that his movement was much better at the end of year. Through 94-95, movement good, but not outstanding like 5-7 years ago. After going on a fitness kick and returning to the top of the game, he was fitter - one of the fittest on the tour - but the extra muscle in his upper body seemed to have made him stiff and again, his court coverage didn't strike me as being particularly good

Whatever the case, in this match, its horrendous

The same umpire from '94 is in the chair. second point of the match, a Sampras ball lands near the corner and as Agassi hits it, makes a noise indicating he though it was out and looks to the chair to rule. He doesn't... but Sampras either also thought it was out or was disarmed by Agassi's protest and lets Agassi's ball go through for a winner

Commentary
Commentators are Fred Stolle, Cliff Drysdale and Mary Carillo - a good team I enjoy listening to (they're joined by Patrick McEnroe later). Few interesting things they say

- Agassi had missed the mandatory press conference for this event because he "wasn't feeling well" and fined 5% of his ATP earnings for the year

- they note that the big servers (Goran, Krajicek, Becker) had a field day on aces in previous matches and wonder how Sampras will do. Stolle say, "Sampras doesn't serve many aces" (I assume he means relative to Goran, Krajicek and Becker) and says he's going to "unoffically" count unreturnable serves for Sampras in the match. He's pretty generous in what he considers "unreturnable"... he calls a fairly regular Agassi serve "unreturnable" as Drysdale notes

- they note how temperamental Agassi is and he isn't always motivated. Drysdale specifically names his showing against Chang at Australian Open earlier in the year as "Agassi not trying his hardest". This is the match Agassi later claims to have tanked - good eye from Cliff

- they note in French Open '90 final, Agassi seemed more concerned about his hair looking nice than playing well (ok, I might have made that one up:p)

- Jack Kramer had passed away not long before the '94 match. Round about '94 - what with Sampras and Goran doing there thing at Wimby - there was a fair bit of talk about slowing down the game, encouraging rallies, too much power in the game, serve-volleying killing the game etc. Carillo quizzes her co-commentators about when these complaints had first been made. According to her, it was in 1950, when Bill Tilden had made in reference to Kramer's game and success

Summing up, about as good value as you can get when one player isn't playing properly. Sampras plays very well, but primarily the story here is Agassi phoning it in

they'd played a similarly short match on a similar surface recently in Stuttgart - that one wasn't so bad https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-report-becker-vs-sampras-final-sampras-vs-agassi-quarter-final-stuttgart-indoor-1996.647171/#post-13499530
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
- Jack Kramer had passed away not long before the '94 match. Round about '94 - what with Sampras and Goran doing there thing at Wimby - there was a fair bit of talk about slowing down the game, encouraging rallies, too much power in the game, serve-volleying killing the game etc. Carillo quizzes her co-commentators about when these complaints had first been made. According to her, it was in 1950, when Bill Tilden had made in reference to Kramer's game and success
Vines, not Kramer. (Still vividly remember Drysdale sharing the breaking news about Kramer's death in a live ESPN broadcast and paying tribute to him as one of the top 10 of all time and not just pre-Open Era.) Elly once said he saw his youthful self in Sampras so Bill throwing shade at him isn't that surprising.

Been out of the loop for the past few days but will get to the replies and relevant posts hopefully by this weekend.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Vines, not Kramer. (Still vividly remember Drysdale sharing the breaking news about Kramer's death in a live ESPN broadcast and paying tribute to him as one of the top 10 of all time and not just pre-Open Era.) Elly once said he saw his youthful self in Sampras so Bill throwing shade at him isn't that surprising.
Vines, right my mistake

I've confused the commentary from a 2009 US Open match.... it was Kramer's play that Tilden had an issue with in 1950 according to Carillo
---

More on commentary... I'm amused by the euphemisms used by the team for Agassi's play. "not playing his best" usually, which is like calling a guy in a coma not fully awake

Pat Mac insists its all down to Sampras' play. Sampras himself is quite excited, saying he couldn't play any better, that he didn't let Agassi play at all and "its not like he was tanking or anything"

Crowd aren't happy and hiss whistle there disapproval of how one sided things are from middle of the second to the end
 

krosero

Legend
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 the Year End Championship (World Tour Finals) semi-finals, 1994 on carpet in Frankfurt, Germany

Sampras would go onto win the event, beating Boris Becker in the final for his second title. Sampras was ranked number 1, Agassi 2

Sampras won 100 points (including a point penalty), Agassi 94

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves and 3 seconds

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (49/88) 56%
- 1st serve points won (40/49) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (24/39) 62%
- Aces 20 (1 second serve), Service Winners 3
So Sampras served 20 aces in 15 service games and 1 tiebreak, a rate of 1.25 aces per game/tb.

Here are some of his top ace rates; the list is by no means definitive, maybe other posters will know of more.

- 1.57 in a win over Agassi in 2002 USO final (33 aces in 21 games)

- 1.37 in a loss to Agassi in 2000 AO semis (37 aces in 25 games and 2 tb's)

- 1.33 in a loss to Agassi in 1995 AO final (28 aces in 20 games and 1 tb)

- 1.25 in a win over Agassi in 1994 YEC semis
 
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