Duel Match Stats/Reports - Agassi vs Chang, Cincinnati finals, 1995 & 1996


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Michael Chang 7-5, 6-2 in the Cincinnati final, 1995 on hard court

Having just won in Montreal (https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...i-vs-sampras-canadian-open-final-1995.645682/), the win gave Agassi a rare Canada-Cincinnati double. Chang had won the 2 previous editions of the tournament and Agassi would go on to defend his title the following year, again beating Chang in the final

Agassi won 80 points, Chang 68

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/68) 66%
- 1st serve points won (31/45) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (13/23) 57%
- Aces 10
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (20/68) 29%

- 1st serve percentage (41/80) 51%
- 1st serve points won (25/41) 61%
- 2nd serve points won (19/39) 49%
- Aces 6, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/80) 26%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 37%
- to BH 63%

Chang served....
- to FH 25%
- to BH 75%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 59 (22 FH, 37 BH), including 9 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH), including 2 runaround FH attempts
- 9 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (59/80) 74%

Chang made...
- 44 (15 FH, 28 BH, 1 ??), including 1 runaround FH and 9 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 5 (5 BH)
- 5 Forced (7 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (44/64) 69%

Break Points
Agassi 4/17 (7 games)
Chang 1/3 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 27 (15 FH, 2 BH, 5 FHV, 1 BH1/2V, 4 OH)
Chang 16 (6 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 1 OH)

Agassi had 10 regular FHs and 5 FH passes
- regular FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl (a return), 3 inside-out, 2 inside-in and 2 at net
- FH passes - 2 cc, 1 dtl and 2 lobs (both hit on the run)

- 2 BH passes - 1 inside-out and 1 dtl

- 2 from 'delayed' serve volley points - 2 FHVs, both swinging shots

- 1 other swinging FHV

- 1 OH was hit from the back of the court and was not a net point

- the BH1/2V was a stop shot

Chang's FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 inside-in and 1 at net

- BHs - 4 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out and his sole pass - a lob

- 2 FHVs were from return-approach points

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 27
- 17 Unforced (9 FH, 5 BH, 1 FHV, 2 OH)
- 10 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH, 1 Tweener)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.4

Chang 33
- 17 Unforced (9 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 10 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.2

(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
Agassi was...
- 17/21 (81%) at net, including...
- 2/4 (50%) serve-volleying, all first serves...
- 2/4 (50%) off 1st serve (all 'delayed' serve-volleys)
- 0/2 forced back from net

Chang was...
- 14/22 (64%) at net, including...
- 4/9 (44%) return-appoaching
- 1/1 forced back from net

Match Report
Court doesn't look as fast as Cincinnati is generally reputed to be. About normal for a hard court and with high-ish bounce that both players strategically utilize. Its also very hot - the thermometer shows 96 degrees Fahrenheit - which also plays a role in shaping the action

In the first set, the players settle into typical dog fight groundstroke battles. Agassi generally gets the better of them, abetted by Chang having a low first serve percentage (after 3 games, it stands at 15/34 @ 44%). This is particularly telling as Chang's second serve is harmless (Agassi's by contrast is at least safe)

Both players look to initiate and win via BH-BH crosscourt rallying. Agassi's strategy seems to be to wait out for or force an error - and he also hits a number of FH inside-outs to achieve that. Chang is more inclined to look for openings for a BH dtl winning play, and he's looking to come into net behind such shots too.

Both players mix up their BH cc's. There are flat shots and loopy ones. Indeed, its fair to call some of the shots moonballs, especially Chang's. These balls tend to bounce up high. Agassi has to cope with them from head height, which looks awkward though he manages ably. Chang faces fewer such balls, but being shorter, looks even more awkward handling it - and doesn't do so effectively all the time either.

Chang occasionally throws up moonball returns to Agassi's first serves. It seems to be a plan to draw errors from attempted aggressive shots to head high bouncing balls since Chang is returning Agassi well when he's being orthodox. The plan doesn't work well... Agassi's takes to running in and hitting swinging FHVs to deal with it.

After trading breaks, Chang survives an 18 point game where he saves 5 break points. Including the end of that game, he wins 11 service points in a row, mostly via unreturned serves but this is a bit deceptive. It seems to me that Agassi, when he goes down a couple of points on return, isn't willing to go all out to try to salvage the game and he somewhat 'tanks' the later returns (one assumes due to the heat).

Meanwhile on return, Chang switches track and starts return approaching. There's nothing chip-chargey about this - he takes full on swings at the ball and then comes into net. Its not enough to break though - the 2 return-approaches are the only two he wins in the game where he first employs the move. Agassi breaks in the next game and serves out the set. He's been the better player in the set - about equal of consistency, more damaging and serving better

In the second set, Chang starts approaching much more, particularly off the return. Agassi holds serve in a 14 point game (saving 1 break point) before Chang follows suit in a 12 pointer 9 saving 2 break points). Chang is broken in his next service game though - a quality game where the players combine to hit 5 winners. Agassi wraps it up a perfectly executed stop BH1/2V - made to look more beautiful for it being so uncharacteristic of his play.

After Chang is broken again - losing the game on a dreadful FHV error, there remains only for Agassi to serve it out. Which he does in an 8 point game in which Chang return-approaches thrice and comes to net a total of 5 times.

There's a near magic moment miss. On his first match point, Agassi is forced back from net as Chang seize the forecourt. Andre unleashes a tweener, which narrowly misses. In fact, it looked good to me (print isn't great) but no one seems to complain and I'm sure the ball was actually out. More mundanely but more certainly, Agassi closes the match with two unreturned serves

Playing Dynamics & Stats
- The Agassi one-two. He looks to control points with BH cc's - but his kill shot is the FH. Note the 15 FH winners to just 2 on the BH (also, 9 FH UEs to 5 BH ones). Baseline-to-baseline, there's no real safe spot against Andre

- Chang's BH is strong too. Note the 4 dtl winners off the toughest groundstroke in the game - and he forces a number of errors or takes charge of points with the shot. Sets it up well and rarely makes errors going for it. 7 BH UEs to 9 on the FH

- Chang's net game and strategy. I found this a bit odd. Presumably, he started approaching more and more because he felt he was being beaten from the back off the court (which he was). So why not look to come in off the serve or in his service games as well? Invariably approaching of full swings, he's still on the move when Agassi delivers his passing shots. Not the best situation (though at least no worse than being settled at net but giving Agassi extra time to line up the pass)

Chang does have a big first serve (bigger than his opponent) and he not only volleys well, but looks good doing it. My memory of Chang was of a guy who only came to net to shake hands, but in the few matches of his I've re-watched more recently, he looks very comfortable at net compared to other out and out baseliners like Agassi or Kafelnikov or even Lendl. If he was losing from the back, I think giving serve-volleying off first serves a go might have been worthwhile

He's a healthy 64% at net - and that against some typical high quality passing from Agassi. Twice, Agassi puts away running FH lobs - the stuff you expect from him, but for a baseliner like Chang to do so well at net against such an opponent makes me think he could have developed this area of his game to better advantage (in this match and beyond). He does well at net in the '96 Aus and US open finals also

- Chang's second serve. The weak link on show. He's probably fortunate Agassi didn't do more against it. At best, the shot is innocuous and more often, Agassi hits powerful deep returns that gives him control of the point. As much as anything else, this is what sets Chang back in baseline play

Summing up, tough baseline exchanges between two of the best at that type of thing. Agassi coming up ahead in these, using a seamless blend of controlling BHs and attacking FHs while mixing up flatness/loopiness of his shots. Chang's second serve a liability, his FH not as dangerous as FHs can be and making some bold moves towards the net to counter - but its not enough


Hall of Fame
In 1996, Agassi beat Chang 7-6(4), 6-4 in the Cincinnati final on hard court

Agassi had won his last tournament at the Olympic Games, Chang had won his last two at Washington and Los Angeles. Chang had beaten Agassi in Australian Open semis earlier in the year and would go onto do so again at US Open shortly after

Agassi won 81 points, Chang 74

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (42/70) 60%
- 1st serve points won (29/42) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (16/28) 57%
- Aces 7, Service Winners 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (23/70) 33%

- 1st serve percentage (39/85) 46%
- 1st serve points won (30/39) 77%
- 2nd serve points won (19/46) 41%
- Aces 6
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/85) 19%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 73%

Chang served....
- to FH 45%
- to BH 49%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 66 (34 FH, 32 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 10 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 6 Forced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (66/82) 80%

Chang made...
- 47 (11 FH, 36 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 6 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (1 FH, 3 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 6 (2 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 9 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (47/70) 67%

Break Points
Agassi 3/9 (6 games)
Chang 2/6 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 23 (13 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)
Chang 23 (14 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 OH)

Agassi's FHs -3 cc (1 return, 1 pass), 1 cc/inside-in, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 at net), 5 inside-in (1 at net) and 1 longline/inside-out pass
- BHs - 2 cc (1 not clean) and 2 dtl

- 1 FHV was a swinging, non-net shot

Chang's FHs - 3 cc (2 passes), 4 dtl (2 passes - 1 net-to-net), 1 dtl/inside-out at net, 3 inside-out (1 at net), 1 inside-in, 1 longline at net-to-net (that struck Agassi) and 1 net chord dribbler return
- BHs - 5 dtl (2 returns, 2 passes), 1 inside-out return and 1 lob

- 1 from a return-approach point, an OH

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 35
- 21 Unforced (13 FH, 8 BH)
- 14 Forced (3 FH, 11 BH)... with 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.0

Chang 32
- 17 Unforced (8 FH, 9 BH)
- 15 Forced (5 FH, 8 BH, 1 BHV, 1 BHOH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.3

(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 13/23 (57%) at net

Chang was...
- 12/17 (71%) at net, with...
- 4/6 (67%) return-approaching

Match Report
Great match of the power baseline variety on a fast-ish court. First set is near even - Chang has 4 set/break points at 5-4 in it and leads 4-3 in tiebreak with 2 serves to come - and Agassi steps up in those moments to deny him and carries on in same vein to take the set. Second set is more in favour of the winner, with his returning with great consistency to constantly pressure Chang's service games.

From baseline, Agassi is the stronger hitter, Chang the more consistent - while both players are both strong of hitting and consistent off the ground.
Both serve well - Agassi particularly at important times, Chang hammering down first serves regularly. Both occasionally even send down damaging second serves
Both return very well - Agassi's edge here is probably biggest factor in final outcome
Both move very well. For Chang, that's virtually a given. Agassi's is less to be counted on, but he's as sharp as could ask for. Chang is called on to do more of the running
Agassi comes to net regularly (by a baseliner's standard), based on being more commanding player from back, while Chang is outstanding on the pass and utilizes return-approaching to good effect

Stats have covered the match well, but needs some amplification

i) Agassi serving at 60%, Chang 46% - that's about Chang gunning down the first serve at all times. The point seems to be win the point right away with the shot. Serving like that, he's bound to miss it fairly regularly. Still, 46% in is low. Is it worth it? Probably not (more on that next point)

Agassi serves more conventionally and on whole, better. He cranks up his serve on more important points - and usually, wins point with unreturned serve or draws a weak return he can launch into. Otherwise, his first serve is 'just' solid

ii) Chang leading first serve points won 77% to 69%, while Agassi leads unreturned rate 33% to 19% is a bit odd

77% first serve points - 8% higher than Agassi manages - seems possibly worth the low first in count. Strangely though, his unreturned rate is a low 19%. This is about Agassi's returning

Big as Chang's serve is, Agassi seems to read it and is rarely caught out by direction. Chang certainly mixes that up - serving 45% to FH and 49% to BH. There's not actually a lot of weak returns from Agassi, even against first serves and Chang's left with minor initiative of third balls

To the the weak returns, he kills points immediatly. More often, he has to get into a rally, where he dictates. He isn't able to overwhelm Agassi. Agassi's impatience at being in reactive (if not defensive position) in the rallies sees him hit out with attempted point ending shots - particularly FH inside-out - which he usually misses

Some strong, deep and/or wide returns by Agassi too that wins him points outright or gives him advantage to start rallies

Agassi on his first serve gets sizable number of unreturned serves or like Chang, minor initiative to begin. Chang, like Agassi, returns with authority whatever he puts in play. From there, Agassi bosses play from the baseline to the tune of winning the point. No easy task because Chang scampers, defends and counter-punches with typical vigour - unlike the impatient Agassi when the shoe is on the other foot

Chang's hang-in their play is typical of him and exceptionally vigorous. Agassi's isn't poor by any means but suffers next to Chang's efforts. This is in line with what one would expect of the two

iii) Agassi leading second serve points won 57% to 41% - this is about the quality of return, which is one of two biggest differences between the two players

Both take second serves early, usually from inside court. Both send down forceful, wide and sometimes powerful second serves to counter (both have small number of forced return errors against second serves and make returns that would have been so marked had they missed). Both look to pound - usually successfully - the second serve return

Agassi does so significantly better. He returns harder, deeper and usually a big wide. Chang's pushed into reactive position at once - or makes an error (forced or otherwise). And play continues from that starting point, with Agassi being the bossier of shots

Chang's returning isn't far off Agassi but behind it in effective areas (power, depth, width). He's usually able to neutralize servers advantage without snatching it... and Agassi is able to seize command from neutral position. Chang turns to return-approaching - hard hit shots, not chips, that he follows to net - and going for outright winners to pick up the slack. With reasonable success - he wins 4/6 return-approaching and has 3 well struck return winners (+ a net chord dribbler) to Agassi's 1

If second serve points are key to the match, Agassi's superiority in pressuring-to-attacking returns (more pressuring than attacking) and superiority from baseline from neutral starting positions, is what makes up the difference between the two in it


Hall of Fame
iv) Forcefully ended points virtually equal, coupled with net play
Both with 23 winners. Agassi forcing 15 errors, Chang 14. Impressive figures. If Agassi's the one in charge, why are these numbers near equal. Couple of reasons -

- Chang's lower unreturned rate means he starts more baseline rallies completely in command, and he regularly finishes these aggressively. You see this in serve-volley matches all the time where unreturned serves are inversely related to volley winners. This is the baseline equivalent

- Chang's outstanding passing. 8/21 groundstroke winners are passes (1 other can reasonably be said to one). Agassi misses just one shot in forecourt - the rest of the 10 points he loses up there are all to Chang's winners. Agassi comes in off very strong approaches, but Chang seems to know his game inside-out and is always waiting in the right side for the approach shot - and makes some stunning passes

This also accounts for Agassi's relatively low 57% net points won. Coming in from such commanding positions, you might expect 80% points won. He does the needful on the volley (6 winners) and is rarely taxed with doing much due to strength of approach shots, but Chang is superb on the pass

Agassi being in command from back means he's able to come in more. All 23 of his net points are from rallies. Chang manages 11 by contrast. From Chang's point of view, its his passing - the key to which is his knowing which way the approach shot will come - that keeps action in play about 50-50. From Agassi's, still a good move coming in regularly. Finishing points from the back against Chang's whizzing-about counter-punching isn't easy and moving forward to more surely put points to be is a good idea. Much credit to Chang for great passing

There's a large lot of errors forced from baseline-to-baseline situations by both players. Chang's the more efficient in attack as he has to be since he's on it less often. Just 3 attacking UEs and 3 winner attempt ones (Agassi has 7 and 6, respectively). Which brings us to....

v) Unforced errors and UEFI - Agassi 21 at high UEFI of 49.0, Chang 17 at low 45.3 is accurate indicator of play

Play is hard hitting, pressuring and with plenty of moving-opponent-around play and deep neutral-ish shots. In other words, UEs tend to be on the tough side, especially Chang's

So both players with more winners than UEs - Agassi +2, Chang +6. Throw in forced errors, Agassi moves to +17, Chang +20... very high figures for a baseline match and good indicator of the very high quality of play

BH is Agassi's control center. Striking early, hard and deep cc, he's able to keep Chang pinned back. He falters some on dtl point finishers but BH cc rallies is what gives him command of play. FH is prone to attacking or winner attempt errors from just slightly advantageous positions and has match high 13 UEs. Could do with a bit more patience, but finishing Chang off is no easy business. Chang defends superbly, striking hard on the move to keep Agassi from strengthening his position still more and leading to the more attacking errors from him

Similar story when Chang's attacking. His hitting is a bit down from Agassi's of calibre and Agassi's scampering defence is a bit down from Chang's... both though, are good. Chang's more often able to finish points from advantageous positions

Match Progression
Agassi starts match by breaking with a couple of FH winners and drawing a tough FH UE before Chang double faults. Chang endures another tough hold in a 12 point game where he saves 3 break points before breaking back to even match at 4-4, a poor game from Agassi (3 FH UEs)

Having held a deuce game to move ahead for the first time 5-4, Chang brings out the return-approach at just the right time and has Agassi down 0-40 and 3 set points. He misses a second serve return on the first of them, before Agassi finds his best serves to go onto hold. Not before Chang brings up a 4th set point by hitting Agassi with a FH played net-to-net

Odd point early in tiebreak when there's apparently a bad bounce though goes through for a (not clean) winner for Agassi. Chang leaves 4-2 with a mini-break before Agassi raises his game, hitting some of his best shots to work Chang over and win 5 points in row to take the set

Players trade breaks early in second set too. Agassi gains his in an 8 point game where amidst forcing plays from him, Chang throws in 3 UEs (1 to a deep ball and not easy). Chang breaks right back to put match back on serve with a couple of net points (1 a return-approach) and winning another point he was on defensive on

Thereafter, its Agassi with all the chances. Chang faces break points in all 3 of his remaining service games. He manages to save them in first 2, but is broken in the third to end the match, with Agassi winning both points Chang was at net for. Starting with first set tiebreak, Agassi's return rate is 36/39 or 92% and they're usually heavy, deep or/and wide returns with Chang serving about the same strength as earlier in match

Summing up, outstanding baseline match. Good serving from both - Chang looking to end points with first serve, Agassi more selective in going big - including some powerful second serves. Great returning from both, especially Agassi, who's apt to take charge of points with the shot while Chang on top of returning firmly, hits a few wide winners and return-approaches

Baseline is intense, heavy stuff with lots of moving-opponent-around and good depth. Agassi is stronger hitter and apt to take charge from neutral positions (on top of with the return and serve) but Chang is more consistent, stronger in defence and more able to finish points when he's in charge. Agassi's attempts to add in net approaches to finish points aggressively are largely thwarted by outstanding passing by Chang

Ultimately, Agassi just that much stronger off the ground and with the return, but great showing form both players

Stats for US Open final between Chang and Pete Sampras - Match Stats/Report - Sampras vs Chang, US Open final, 1996 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)