Duel Match Stats/Reports - Borg vs McEnroe, Masters semi-final & round robin, 1979 & 1980


Hall of Fame
Bjorn Borg beat John McEnroe 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(1) in the Year End Championship (Masters) semi-final, 1979 on carpet in New York, USA

Borg would go onto win the event for the first time, beating Vitas Gerulaitis in the final. McEnroe was the defending champion

Borg won 120 points, McEnroe 106

McEnroe serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and most seconds

(Note: I'm missing 2 games, one by each player. Most likely, both were holds - the alternative is that both were breaks
Missing games - Set 1, Games 1 & 2)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (75/120) 63%
- 1st serve points won (50/75) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (29/45) 64%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/120) 18%

- 1st serve percentage (53/106) 50%
- 1st serve points won (38/53) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (27/53) 51%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/106) 25%

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 20%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 14%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 67%
- to Body 7%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 79 (30 FH, 49 BH), including 7 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 9 Winners (3 FH, 6 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 21 Errors, all forced...
- 21 Forced (7 FH, 14 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (79/105) 75%

McEnroe made...
- 98 (31 FH, 67 BH), including 12 runaround FHs & 8 return-approaches
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 2 return-approach attempts (including the runaround FH)
- 8 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (98/119) 82%

Break Points
Borg 3/6 (4 games)
McEnroe 2/12 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 47 (14 FH, 19 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 7 OH)
McEnroe 35 (5 FH, 2 BH, 14 FHV, 11 BHV, 3 OH)

Borg had 22 passes (6 FH, 16 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl returns (1 runaround), 1 inside-out return and 1 inside-out/dtl
- BHs - 7 cc (1 return), 4 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out/dtl, 3 inside-in returns and 1 lob

- regular FHs - 2 cc at net, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- regular BHs - 3 cc (1 possibly not clean)

- 2 from serve-volley points - a first 'volley' FH at net and a third volley OH

- 4 OHs were on the bounce - 1 from just behind the service line that's been counted a net point and 3 from well behind that have not

McEnroe had 23 from serve-volley points
- 16 first 'volleys' (8 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH, 2 FH at net)… the OH can reasonably be called a FHV and 1 FH at net was a drop shot
- 6 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 2 from return-approach points (1 BHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 1 cc pass and 1 dtl
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 44
- 18 Unforced (6 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 26 Forced (14 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.4

McEnroe 51
- 34 Unforced (12 FH, 13 BH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 OH)… with 1 FH at net & 1 BH at net
- 17 Forced (6 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.4

(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 are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Borg was...
- 28/38 (74%) at net, including...
- 7/9 (78%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 5/5 (100%) forced back/retreated

McEnroe was...
- 72/111 (65%) at net, including...
- 54/84 (64%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 32/47 (68%) off 1st serve and..
- 22/37 (59%) off 2nd serve
- 6/8 (75%) return-approaching
- 2/4 (50%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Excellent match, especially the first half where both players are at their best. Quality remains high, but a couple of notches lower in the second half, with a drop in Mac's level manifesting in less lively action. Mac's the better player for the first half (barely), Borg the second (bit more clearly)

McEnroe all but always serve-volleys for two sets, but stays back regularly off second serves in the final set. Borg is aggressive of play, especially in first two sets, looking to forcefully end points from the back and coming to net (including serve-volleying on occasion) regularly. Baseline action in the first set in particular is open court stuff, with both players running the other side to side and both making open to coming in off that dynamic

Baseline action simmers down considerably after about a set and a half. Mac appears, if not tired, at least not energetic enough to keep up the high pace and takes to passively dinking and junking more groundstrokes, thus slowing down the pace. Borg continues to be attacking (by his standard)… he shifts to a more 'beat down' (as opposed to 'whisk away') brand of baseline play. He also cuts back on approaching but is more successful at net as he comes in from more commanding positions (as opposed to coming in without necessarily having pushed Mac out of position, as he had done in early part of match)

Match Progression
Mac has the better of first set, despite making just 13/34 first serves. He serve-volleys of second serves... and hits some beautiful volleys. With Borg also being very good on the pass, it make for an exciting contest

Mac can convert just 1/9 break points across 3 games. Among the ones he misses is a very OH that was also set point. Borg by contrast is 1/1 in a game where he reels off 4 successive winners from 40-15 down - 2 of them passes (2 returns). Both players are strong on their second serve points - Borg winning 11/16, Mac 13/21. Borg serves 50 points, to Mac's 34

The tiebreak starts poorly - Mac double faulting, followed by Borg making an approach error - but is high quality from there. Mac has his typical serve-volley plays. Borg puts away a nifty inside-out FHV winner and recovers from being forced away from net by hitting an OH on the bounce from the back for another winner.

Borg goes down a mini-break when he's hesitant in moving forward to serve-volley and the volley ends up a low one that he can't make. He restores parity with a BH inside-in return winner. The key point turns out to be a Mac runaround, charge-approach FH return that draws an error. He doesn't have it easy serving the set out - needing 2 good volleys to win the point

Turning point of the match is game 6 of second set, where Mac survives 2 break points to hold a 10 point game. Up to this point, action had been fast and furious. Afterwards, it noticeably slows down, though isn't slow by a normal standard. Mac's intensity and movement fall off some. He's broken next service game, with Borg making 2 return winners and forcing an OH error and on break point, a Mac can't handle a reaction volley to a strong pass

Borg's pushed to deuce in serving out the set. This time, he's up to making the BH cc pass against chip-charging Mac. On set point, he runs down a sharply angled Mac BH cc and goes on to win the point

Borg breaks to start the third in a thrilling game. On second point, his return hits the top of the tape hard enough to pop over Mac, who has to run back to baseline to retrieve the ball as Borg approaches and finishes with a FHV winner. Break point is similar, sans the luck. Mac hits a good drop volley, Borg manages to run it down and lobs Mac at net, who is able to get ball back in play with his back to net, but Borg's there to again finish a with a simple FHV

Mac continues to less than intense, and Borg holds comfortably. He's broken with Mac return-approaching 3 times and coming to net one other time - otherwise, easy holds for Borg. Meanwhile, Borg's making enough passes to make life tricky for Mac, who doesn't help himself by staying back more and more of second serves. For the match, he's 5/15 @ 33% on second serve points he stays back on. Serve-volleying, he's 22/37 @ 59%

While he'd started the first tiebreak with a double starts this one with an ace, just his 4th. And its the last point he wins. 2 surgically precise inside-out/dtl passing winners from Borg - 1 of each wing - an easy missed volley and missing a return-approach attempt by a long way - sees the score to 6-1 for Borg. He finishes with a crisp BH cc return winner pass
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Hall of Fame
Serve & Return
Neither player is particularly effective with the serve. Court seems about normal pace, not particularly slow - but that perception might be biased by the fast paced, open court playing dynamic

Borg mixes up his serves - many a ordinary, not challenging first serve with a few biffed down hard. Even the latter don't trouble Mac much. Mac also clearly reads the serve well - he's often moving into position during the ball toss

20% unreturned rate isn't good from Borg's point of view. Mac isn't powerful of return though and Borg retains advantage on third ball

Could McEnroe have utilized return-approaching more? He wins 6/8 when he does (plus 2 errors trying - including a bad one in the final set tiebreak)… the serves he does so to aren't noticeably any different from the one's he doesn't. After his level drops a bit mid-way through the second set... being at net is the only time he seems to be a threat in return games, and when staying back, is just outplayed regularly. Some scope for Mac to have done more on the return

By his standard, Borg returns from close in. He's a good few feet behind during Mac's service motion, but hops in quickly to make contact a step or two behind baseline. He's also quite safe on the return, which is part of the reason for Mac's relatively low 25% unreturned rate. Lots of balls put in play well above the net that Mac can have his way with. Note the 16 first volley winners... about 2/3 were easy volleys

There's also the small matter of 9 return winners. Superb, 1 and all. BH inside-in is particularly good … 1 of his winners is better described as 'inside-in/cc'. Generally speaking, Borg doesn't go for many BH inside-out returns in the deuce court, so the inside-in has to be good for him to be highly effective. And it is here

Mac catches Borg out with second serves to the FH a couple of times. Most go to the BH and Borg takes to running around them... the serve to the FH proves effective at such times

In nutshell, the returning is better than the serving in this match from both players. Both consistent on the second shot, the server usually retaining an advantage on the third ball (be at Mac at net or Borg on the baseline). Some stunning ones from Borg that go for winners. Maybe not as adventurous in chip-charging as he could have been from Mac

Play - Volleys & Passing
Despite the excellent 74% net points won, I didn't think Borg was particularly good up front

For one thing, the UEs he makes were downright easy, almost putaways. He also gets caught coming in a couple of times, less than great net instincts - though they're decent on the whole

Also note he's 5/5 forced back/retreated from net, which doesn't reflect on his volley. He's excellent on the on the bounce OH from near the baseline with 3 winners... a shot even today top players struggle to put away consistently. On points ending with Borg at net, he's still a very good 23/33 @70% points won

Most of his volleying winners are complete putaways, and anything a bit difficult, he tends to miss. He has 4 volleying FEs... Mac has 2 having dealt with dozens more balls with the potential to be so marked. I'd say average volleying at best against ordinary passing, despite the numbers

And McEnroe? He also misses a few easy balls and has 11 UEs in forecourt, including 2 OHs. Ones as easy as can be, the other is tricky and borderline forced... but he could have backtracked to deal with it as Borg was doing

Still, he volleys very well. For every miss, he putsaway 3 winners. Many are easy as earlier noted, but he makes even the ones that aren't particularly look so. Plenty of elegant, touch drop volleys for variety and added aesthetic appeal. And he barely misses a difficult volley - just 3 FEs, 1 an OH - and he had to make a healthy number of difficult ones. Not only doesn't he miss, but he places them to leave Borg difficult passes

Borg passes superbly. His winners are flawless and he's thwarted from being even more successful by excellent volleying from Mac. Exceptional court coverage running after volleys to corner too (more on that later)

Play - Baseline
Its Borg who implements open court dynamics. From the start, he's looking to forcefully end points

Given his obvious greater consistency, one might think he'd be better of playing more neutrally to just outlast Mac to win points from the back, but Borg seems to know what he's doing. I imagine all the running around on the baseline contributes to Mac's level falling later in the match in a way it likely wouldn't if he were just standing around playing regulation groundies

Borg is naturally more consistent from the back. He does make a few more BH errors than normal. He's particularly attacking with this shot, often going dtl. Mac by contrast, barely has a BH dtl - in this match or generally. He's at his best with BH cc, which he can angle sharply and occasionally give a good punch too... but you rarely see Mac playing any neutral or attacking BH dtl's, other than a full body push approach

8 BH UEs from Borg, high for him, but off the ground, he has a total 14 UEs. Mac has 23. That gap gets bigger and bigger in third set... in the liveliest part of the match, gap is much smaller, though Borg still leading. Borg's also winning more points forcefully

Movement is an important part of playing open court tennis. McEnroe is good, Borg is outstanding. Runs down everything in a flash, extending to chasing Mac's well placed volleys. You can see McEnroe' problems -

- his natural error rate is higher
- he's a lot less attacking (Note Borg's very high UEFI of 49.4 with 22% of errors being in forecourt. Mac's is 47.4 with 32% in forecourt)
- and he can't even force points to an end because Borg runs everything down

In all, Mac does extremely well to minimize the baseline gap

Later in the match, Mac slows down the pace of action, playing dinks and slices. Borg continues to hit hard, but Mac's play cuts down the scope for opening the court. Borg primarily leads with the FH in this part of the match, hitting heavy cc's to Mac's BH and breaking it down. He's not slow to attack FH inside-out either, often using it to approach

The decline in Mac' movement is also clear, it looks like a fitness matter

In final set, Borg wins 19/22 first serve points @ 86%. Rest of the match, he wins 58%. He doesn't serve or play appreciably better... its more Mac playing less well, largely due to passivity

Having more or less caved from the back after a set and a half, its Mac's net game and serve-volleying that keeps match in balance. Borg's heavy enough of shot to discourage Mac manufacturing approaches, and the defending champion doesn't go in for low percentage approaches. Just dinks and junks balls back best he can. He's not too bad at it, Borg is just much better hitting heavy
Summing up, excellent and intense match. There's the usual high quality Mac at net vs Borg passing battle, with both playing superbly - Mac better, but Borg always at least a threat - but also lively open court baseline action and an attacking minded Borg breaking down a more passive Mac. Who's on top varies across the match - when they're both fresh, its McEnroe but as match wears on, its Borg. Physical fitness might be the most important factor in the final result


Hall of Fame
In 1980, Borg beat McEnroe 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-6(2) in the round robin

Borg would go onto win the event again, beating Jimmy Connors in the semis and Ivan Lendl in the final. McEnroe was eliminated in the round robin stage, having lost all 3 matches

Borg won 117 points, McEnroe 110 (including 2 penalty points)

McEnroe serve-volleyed off all first serves and overwhelming majority off seconds

(Note: I've made educated guesses or deductions about 6-7 serve types. Serve direction for 4 Borg service points are missing)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (76/117) 65%
- 1st serve points won (55/72) 72%
- 2nd serve points won (23/41) 56%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (27/117) 23%

- 1st serve percentage (60/108) 56%
- 1st serve points won (48/60) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (21/48) 44%
- Aces 5, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (36/108) 33%

Serve Patterns
Borg served...
- to FH 22%
- to BH 71%
- to Body 7%

McEnroe served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 64%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Borg made...
- 65 (29 FH, 36 BH), including 9 runaround FHs
- 8 Winners (4 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 29 Errors, all forced...
- 29 Forced (14 FH, 15 BH), including 4 runaround FHs
- Return Rate (65/101) 64%

McEnroe made...
- 87 (25 FH, 58 BH, 4 ??), including 5 runaround FHs & 12 return-approaches
- 23 Errors, comprising...
- 15 Unforced (6 FH, 9 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 8 Forced (1 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (87/114) 76%

Break Points
Borg 3/8 (4 games)
McEnroe 2/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Borg 32 (11 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 3 OH)
McEnroe 40 (1 FH, 5 BH, 23 FHV, 8 BHV, 3 OH)

Borg had 18 passes - 8 returns (4 FH, 4 BH) and 10 regular (3 FH, 7 BH)
- FH returns - 1 runaround cc, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BH returns - 3 cc and 1 dtl
- regular FHs - 1 dtl, 1 inside-out (not clean) and 1 longline/inside-out
- regular BHs - 2 cc, 4 dtl and 1 longline

- non-pass FHs - 1 dtl at net, 1 inside-out at net, 1 inside-in and 1 running-down-drop-volley dtl at net
- non-pass BH - 1 cc

- 2 from serve volley points (2 BHV), both first volleys
- 1 OH was on the bounce and 1 can reasonably be called a FHV

McEnroe had 20 from serve-volley points
- 14 first 'volleys' (9 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH, 1 FH at net)
- 5 second volleys (2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV)

- 5 from return-approach points (5 FHV)

- BHs (all passes) - 3 dtl (1 a net chord pop over, which would have been difficult for Borg even without the pop over) and 2 lobs

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Borg 31
- 9 Unforced (1 FH, 6 BH, 2 Point Penalty)
- 22 Forced (14 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV)… with 1 FH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.9

McEnroe 51
- 30 Unforced (8 FH, 14 BH, 5 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)… with 1 FH at net
- 21 Forced (7 FH, 5 BH, 4 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 4 BHV)… with 1 FH at net
- 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 are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Borg was...
- 22/29 (76%) at net, including...
- 6/8 (75%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves

McEnroe was...
- 84/122 (69%) at net, including...
- 58/86 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 41/53 (77%) off 1st serve and..
- 17/33 (52%) off 2nd serve
- 6/12 (50%) return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Another high quality match. Couple of differences from the previous year. Borg is returning from well behind the baseline and the baseline rallies are a lot less lively

McEnroe serve-volleys off all his serves in first set, all but 2 in the third and stays back on a 5 in the middle set. Borg himself serve-volleys a bit - 8 times total, mostly in the last set
Mac skates through first serve points all match - in all, winning 80% of them. With Borg standing so far back, Mac is able to move him out of position with even decently placed serves - the and the volleying away winners is made to look a formality

As impressive as Mac looks volleying winner after winner - he has 35 of them in the forecourt - its only so because Borg's strategy allows it with his returning strategy. Both against tough first serves and largely seconds too, Borg does his best to get return in play, even if its a high floater. He doesn't hit many high, floating returns, but anything above net is good enough for Mac... and he's able to come in good and tight to net to maximize the balls that he can reach that are relatively high

I've always felt its better to make the net rusher make an easy volley than to miss the return. You lose no extra points for being on the receiving end of a winner, and you'll sneak a few points in via volleying errors. Mac has 9 forecourt UEs... most of them serve-volleying

Mac's attacking game is extremely fluent of look. He has more winners (40) than Borg has total errors (31)…. this is enabled by Borg making so many returns, as well as Mac's own sublime volleying

Its not just putting balls in play returning from Borg. He belts them when he can... and his harder hit returns, especially against the second serve, are very good. Mac's second serve is strong enough to be a weapon and one would imagine, a good bet to serve-volley behind

He pays the price of 7 double faults - which is on the high side of being acceptable for how strong his second serve is - but is more or less pressured into them. Good second serves are belted back hard... it would likely get him into trouble were he to play more safe with them to reduce double faults. Just 52% second serve-volley points won, which is about the same as the 4/8 he wins staying back off them (he usually comes to net from rallying on the ones he wins)

Good returning from Borg. What he can do damage against, he does. What he can't, he makes Mac play an extra ball. Mac's volleying though is a class above... just puts away winners right, left and center, deep volleys and drop/stop volleys, those that are there to be putaway and those that aren't quite there to be putaway. And all the while, moving forward as to make as many in the putaway category as possible

Note also Borg with 14 FH FEs to just 7 on the BH. Overwhelming bulk of these are passes. What isn't whisked away for a winner are placed to give Borg difficult running passes. No need to target a side when the man is on the run

Nothing wrong with Borg's passing either. Its fair to say he passes as well as he's allowed to 10 passing winners and forcing 11 volleying errors aren't great numbers... its as good as can be with Mac volleying as he does, and Borg giving weight to consistency more than forcefulness on the return shot

From the baseline, contest is a complete mismatch. Borg makes 6 UEs, Mac 22. Borg's forcing errors and hitting a few winners too. Very solid from Borg, especially off the FH, where he has just 1 UE
Mac does not look for the net as much as he could have. Borg hits heavy and strong, but there's still scope to manufacture approaches from the back

Against John McEnroe, keeping him away from net would be high priority for all baseliners
Ivan Lendl tends to hit so strong as to make it very difficult to manufacture an approach, and makes a few errors doing so. Mats Wilander tends to be very consistent, makes fewer errors, but is easier to come in to

Borg here is somewhere in between, closer to Wilander side of things. Mac wins a huge 20/24 points coming in off rallies, mostly after hitting a shot into half-open court (i.e. approaching from advantageous position). Borg's strength of passing comes through in Mac winning just 6/12 return-approaching... he passes well enough that coming in from neutral position was likely to go against Mac more often that not

Still, its better than being worn down from the baseline, as was happening when Mac stayed back. More than the '79 match, there was scope for Mac to manufacture approaches more... to do so would have been akin to what Borg does on the return; maximizes chances, better than the alternative, but likely to lose more points than not, given how good Borg is on the pass

During periods when Mac is being particularly adventurous coming forward, Borg takes the net away from him. The champion comes in 29 times himself

This is probably the best volleying I've seen from Borg other than on grass. Just the 1 error, and its forced - a high but wide ball he was stretched to make. No plonking volleys into middle of court... he swipes them through cleanly. He wins 76% of his net points... there's scope for him coming in more too

As is, Borg's priorities seem to be keeping Mac from coming forward ahead of coming forward himself. His net play is good enough for the latter to have been a viable option as well. In the coming semi final against Jimmy Connors, he would serve-volley 33% off first serves. In this match, its just 11%

No demons in the Borg serve. He mixes them up, but even first serves are very returnable. He usually misses when going for a big one, and maintains 65% first serves in... he seems to have been alert to the need for it, to keep Mac attacking second serves. Some of his first serves are difficult to tell apart from his seconds. The second serves are stronger than his norm too, though well short of being a weapon and with good play, attackable

Borg's movement also stand out. He's constantly twinkly off footwork and about and runs like a hare. Mac's noticeably slower than previous year. His right thigh is strapped
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Hall of Fame
Match Progression
Tough first set, with just the 1 break by Borg to decide it. That game is won via strong passing - 2 BH winners and a flagrantly forced volleying error do the trick

Meanwhile, 4 other games go to deuce, including Borg's last 3. Mac lets himself down when he has chances. On is only break chance, the two get into a long rally, which ends with Mac missing an attacking BH cc. He follows up with 2 more groundstroke errors to lose the game. In the two other games he takes Borg to deuce, he misses regulation returns at key times

Early on, Borg is keen to come to net and does effectively. He does so less as the set wears on, when its clear he can outlast/beat down Mac from the baseline. Mac's baseline play in this set is not good... for it to be beneath Borg's is expected, but even by a normal standard, he makes routine errors. Borg though, is a wall with 2 unforced errors

Players trade breaks mid-way through the second set. Mac breaks first - passing Borg twice (once with help from a net chord pop over, but the ball would have been a very difficult volley even without it), and winning 2 net points

Borg breaks back at once, capitilizing on Mac staying back off 3 second serves, though he finishes with a rasping BH cc return passing winner against a second serve

Mac takes to regularly coming to net in return games. His baseline is much better here, and he uses to create such chances. Missing an easy OH though gives Borg a hold in a 10 point game, and then the defending champion breaks to love with more strong passing to leave himself serving for the match

Mac though breaks just as impressively. He's finds net 4 times (winning 3) and the only time Borg approaches, Mac puts a perfect BH lob over him for the winner. He wraps up the break with a delightful drop BHV winner

The tiebreak is on serve, when Borg hits a FH passing winner to keep it that way and move ahead 4-3. Only the chair umpire calls the ball out. It was well and obviously in. Borg protests, politely but stubbornly and is docked first one and then a second point for delay of game. And loses the next point on serve. Probably the only time in his career this happened to the usually unflappable Borg. He'd gently queried a line call earlier in the match as well

15-0 up in the opening game of the third, Borg serves an ace, which the umpire again, calls out. Both players seem to think it was an ace and Borg again has a few words with the chair. McEnroe responds by deliberately hitting the next ball out to go down 30-0. He'd go onto lose the game after reaching deuce

Borg serve-volleys more and comes to net more in this set, keeping Mac away from it. Mac goes back to serve-volleying of virtually all second serves. Mostly comfortable holds. Both players are taken to deuce once without facing break point. Serving at 4-4 deuce, Borg commandingly wins a point... but umpire rules the point has to be replayed due to an erroneous call. An unhappy Borg dispatches a BHV serve-volley winner on the replayed point and next service game, holds to love with 4 unreturned serves (2 aces)…. his strongest serving of the match

Borg plays a wonderful tiebreak, gaining early mini-break running-down-drop-volley FH dtl winner. Mac restores parity with a BH dtl pass. Borg wins the next two points on Mac's serve - the first with a thundering BH cc return winner, the next with a less than overwhelming pass to a ball he had plenty of time to line up, but its strong enough to get the volleying error from Mac. Ending is just a bit anti-climatic as Mac blinks off the BH twice in baseline rallies

Neither player shakes the umpires hand at the end. Understandable for Borg, but wonder what Mac's issue was? Maybe just solidarity with an opponent he respected very highly

Summing up, another tip-top contest. Mac volleys fantastically, Borg passes as well as he's allowed while allowing Mac more volleying chances than the year before. Off the ground, Borg is a wall while Mac's loose in parts and not fully prepared to finding net to escape. As with the previous year, next to nothing between the players

Stats for the Borg's semi with Jimmy Connors - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...rg-vs-connors-masters-semi-final-1980.620354/