Duel Match Stats/Reports - Edberg vs Becker Masters final & round robin, 1989

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Stefan Edberg beat Boris Becker 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Masters (Year End Championship) 1989 on indoor carpet at Madison Square Garden, New York

It was Edberg's only Year Final title, while Becker was the defending champion and had won both Wimbledon, US Open and been the key figure in West Germany's Davis Cup triumph that year. Becker had handily won the pairs round robin match earlier in the tournament

Both players serve-volleyed on virtually all their first serves (Edberg all but 1, Becker all but 3), and Edberg did so on the majority of his second serves as well

Edberg won 122 points, Becker 117

Serve Stats
Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (75/118) 64%
- 1st serve points won (48/75) 64%
- 2nd serve points won (25/43) 58%
- Aces 3, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 5
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/118) 30%

Becker...
- 1st serve percentage (59/121) 49%
- 1st serve points won (45/59) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (27/62) 44%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/121) 27%

Serve Pattern
Edberg served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 50%
- to Body 14%

Becker served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 69%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Edberg made...
- 82 (26 FH, 56 BH), including 2 runaround FHs and 2 chip-charges
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- 12 Forced ( 5 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (82/115) 71%

Becker made...
- 78 (28 FH, 50 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 6 Winner (2 FH, 4 BH)
- 30 Errors, all forced (14 FH, 16 BH), including 1 runaround FH with Edberg serve-volleying on all the points
- Return Rate (78/113) 69%

Break Points
Edberg 7/13 (8 games)
Becker 3/4 (4 games)

Winners (including returns)
Edberg 38 (5 FH, 8 BH, 6 FHV, 9 BHV, 10 OH)
Becker 29 (10 FH, 9 BH, 4 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH)

For Edberg, 14/15 volleys and 8/10 overheads were from serve-volley points - 9 first volleys (4 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH), 12 second volleys (2 FHV, 4 BHV, 6 OH) and 1 third volley (1 OH). A second volley FHV was his only drop volley

- 1 OH was played with both players at net

- 9 passes (4 FH, 5 BH). Of the FHs, 2 were returns, 1 i-o and one at net chasing down a drop volley. Of the BHs, 2 were cc, 1 lob, 1 return i-o played from far behind the baseline and 1 played with both players at net

- non-pass groundstrokes 4 (1 FH, 3 BH). The FH was cc, 2 BHs dtl and 1 i-o

Becker had 6 volley winners of s/v points - 5 second volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV) and 1 third FHV. He also had a third ball FH at net

- 1 BHV was a diving drop volley

- 16 passes (8 FH, 8 BH). The FHs include 2 returns, both cc. The BHs include 4 returns - 2 inside-in, 1 dtl and 1 inadvertent lob

- non-Return passes are fairly even distributed between cc and dtl. 1 lob, a little under-chip BH

Errors(excluding returns and serve)
Edberg 50
- 13 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 6 BHV)
- 37 Forced (10 FH, 10 BH, 6 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)

Becker 43
- 14 Unforced (14 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV)
- 29 Forced (7 FH, 13 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 3 BH1/2V, 1 OH)

(Note: All half volleys refer to such shots played at net. Groundstroke half volleys have been included within the broader category of groundstrokes)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Edberg was 72/116 (62%) at net, including 61/98 (62%) serve-volleying - 42/69 (61%) off first serves, 19/29 (66%) off second - and 1/2 chip-charge returning

He was 1/2 when forced back from net

Becker was 40/62 (65%), including 32/49 (65%) serve-volleying - 29/41 (70%) off first serves, 3/8 (38%) off second

He was 1/2 when forced back from net
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Match Report
A strange match that began the way it did not continue. Becker is the much better player in the first set, as Edberg struggles to get the return in, while the German has no such trouble. Both are prone to UEs in the baseline exchanges that take place on Becker's 2nd serve points. Becker frequently tries to lob Edberg, and forces the Swede to make several awkward overheads

The ending of the second set is glorious stuff. Becker serves to take it to a tiebreaker but finds himself in quite a bit of trouble. Serve-volleying of a second serve, he's passed by a splend BH inside-out return from way behind the baseline. A couple of points later, a diving FHV isn't good enough to keep Edberg from making the pass at net and bring up set point. This is saved by a diving BHV winner. Finally, Becker seals the game with a FH cc pass on a rare 1st serve point he stayed back on

The tiebreaker is strange. Edberg basically does a Becker. All 7 of his service points are 1 shot deals - 2 aces, 2 doubles, a service winner and 2 Forced return errors. He seals the set with a brutal step in FH return winner.

Becker gains a break to start the 3rd but after Edberg breaks back, the match is one sided. Becker looks curiously uninspired.

For one thing, his first serve disappears. From after the first game of the 3rd set to the end of the match, his 1st serve percentage stands at 15/46 @ 33%, s/v's once off a second serve (loses the point) and wins just 10/31 of his 2nd serve points

Game 4, 4th set is particularly bad as Becker double faults 3 times and makes an awful FH error on break point in a 12 point game

There's plenty of baseline exchanges in this part of the match, with Becker usually missing his first serve and staying back on his second, and neither player appears to seem to have a pointed plan to take the net in these. In other words, they play normal, baseline tennis.

Becker is below on these. He's less aggressive as usual but does make the type of errors he's prone to anyway. Edberg uses his BH to open up the court.... creating sharp angles with it as well as attacking down the line when appropriate. On the FH, he's extremely secure, with high net coverage (just the 1 UE!), but not penetrating.

(One hears a lot about Edberg's "FH weakness". It looks to me as if it's a "weakness" as far as it not being dangerous goes. Since so many FHs are dangerous, point ending shots (like Becker's), I can see why he might have gained this reputation. But in the matches of his I've watched recently, its a dependable shot... it seems to have earned its reputation in the same way some people's BHs get a rep for being weak i.e. "not lethal" = weakness)

A key factor in the baseline exchanges is the relative speed of the players. Edberg is fleet of foot, Becker is if not slow, certainly not fast. Becker does force many errors from Edberg from the baseline so Edberg's miserly 4 groundstroke UEs might be a misinterpreted without this context

Edberg seems to have planned out serving close to Becker's body for the match. In addition to all the body serves, he not only rarely serves close to the lines but also rarely in Becker's hitting zone. In other words, the plan seems to be to cramp Becker with and not allow him to free his arms - even when the serves aren't body serves.

A note on Edberg's volleying. Its very good and he makes several difficult volleys. Still, I've marked him with 9 UEs on the volley, which looks on the high side for someone volleying well. I don't think many of these were easy volleys per se, but highly makeable ones. He's also very good on the smash in this match and most if not all of the ones he hits winners off are not put-aways

All in all, despite Edberg's classy showing, my feeling is Becker played badly more so than Edberg played well... and I do get the sense that if Becker plays well, he would beat Edberg most of the time due to the large difference in how well each can return the others serve
 
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This was one of the most impressive wins of Edberg's career. He lost badly to Becker on Friday, then had to play an on fire Lendl on Sat while suffering from a cold. No one gave him any shot of beating either Lendl or Becker. Ended Lendl's streak of 9 straight Masters finals with one of the best serving days of his career(43.5% unreturned serves, the highest I've seen from him)

I posted stats on that semi 10 years ago. Can't believe I'm still here...
 

andreh

Professional
This was one of the most impressive wins of Edberg's career.
It was a vindication for Edberg after a (for him) disappointing year coming in second too many times. The match probably played a big role in setting Edberg on the path to claiming the no. 1 ranking in 1990.
 

krosero

Legend
Aggressive Margins

Edberg 32.6%
Becker 30.5%

The stats are mostly unsurprising but Becker's unreturned rate is low.

Surprising that Becker made no UE errors on the return. I'm not sure whether that's a testament to Becker's returning or just indicates that Edberg never threw in a serve that was below-average quality (haven't seen this match yet).

Break points do stand out. Edberg generated a lot more break chances. Becker converted pretty well the ones he saw but he only saw 4.

Totally agree, Wasp, about Edberg's forehand (I think Becker underestimated it and tried too often to break it down). And very, very interesting about Edberg cramping Becker with his service directions, never had noticed that.
 

BringBackWood

Professional
@Waspsting interesting what you say about Edbergs FH. I was watching his 1990 IW F against Agassi recently and 1 one of the commentators said he was fine when he played it by instinct; it was when he had time that his FH became error prone.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Stats for their round robin match earlier in the tournament

Becker won 6-1, 6-4

Becker won 66 points, Edberg 44

Becker serve-volleyed all but once on first serve and rarely on second. Edberg serve-volleyed 100% in first set, in second stayed back on 5 first serves and majority of second

(Note: I'm missing data for 1 Edberg 1st serve on which he seems to have s/v'd and made a first volley error)

Serve Stats
Becker...
- 1st serve percentage 24/52 (46%)
- 1st serve points won 21/24 (88%)
- 2nd serve points won 18/28 (64%)
- Aces 9, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage 22/52 (42%)

Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage 39/58 (67%)
- 1st serve points won 20/39 (51%)
- 2nd serve points won 11/19 (58%)
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage 11/58 (19%)

(Edberg had no aces or service winners in my judgement)

Serve Pattern
Becker served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 4%

Edberg served...
- to FH 30%
- to BH 65%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 45 (15 FH, 29 BH, 1 unknown)
- 5 Winners (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Errors (4 FH, 7 BH), all forced with Edberg serve-volleying for almost all of them
- Return Rate (45/56) 80%

Edberg made...
- 26 (9 FH, 17 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (FH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 6 Unforced (1 FH, 5 BH), including 1 chip-charge attempt
- 6 Forced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- Return Rate (26/48) 54%

Break Points
Becker 3/5 (4 games)
Edberg 0/2 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 22 (8 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
Edberg 11 (2 FH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 4 OH)

Becker had 6 winners from serve-volley points - 3 first shots (1 FH at net, 2 BHV), 2 second volleys (2 FHV - 1 a drop volley) and a fourth volley OH

- 12 passes (7 FH, 5 BH). 3 FHs were cc, 1 dtl that flicked the top of the net throwing Edberg off who otherwise seemed to have it covered

- 3 FH passes were returns. 1 Edberg misjudged and allowed to go through, 1 dtl and 1 particularly good i-o

- of the BH passes, 2 were returns - both cc and 1 was particularly powerfully struck. Other BH passes were 2 dtl, 1 cc

- 2 non-pass BHs were both cc, 1 at net

Edberg had 7 s/v winners (1 FH @ net, 2 FHV, 1 BHV 3 OH). The OHs were second volleys, the rest were all first shots.

- 1 BHV was played with both players at net

- 1 OH from a chip-charge return

- 1 pass - a FH i-i return

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Becker 18
- 5 Unforced (2 FH, 1 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 13 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH, 1 FH1/2V)

Edberg 20
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 2 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 10 Forced (1 FH, 4 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/V)
- 1 unknown volley of unknown error type

(Note: all 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net)

Net Points
Becker was 20/26 (77%), including 15/19 (79%) serve-volleying - 15/19 (79%) off first serves, 5/6 (83%) off second serves.

He was 0/1 when forced back

Edberg was 29/49 (59%), including 25/42 (60%) serve-volleying - 19/33 (58%) off first serves, 6/9 (67%) off second serves - and 1/2 return-approaching
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Match Report
I'll use the play of the final as a frame of reference

This is what I imagined would happen if Becker played well. This is a fairly sound thrashing

Again, I'm noticing the ease with which Becker returns Edberg. The Swede serves at 67% and usually follows the serve to net but Becker still returns a very high 80% - and he does so forcefully.

That leaves Edberg with a lot to do on the volley. He again volleys very well - but has to because of the consistency and power of Becker's returns. Boris' passing is on point too - some of his winners are spectacular

Becker has a good day on accumulating cheap points and sends down aces at an impressive clip. Not much anyone can do about that

The baseline exchanges are lively. In the final, I thought Becker was insipid in this regard. Here he's looking to attack and the 'weakness' of Edberg's FH is more evident. Again, he's not threatening of this wing and against aggressive baseline play on a quick court, his fate seems to be in his opponents hands.

On the BH, Edberg isn't able to construct points because Becker is the aggresor

Edberg isn't cramping Becker with the serve like in the final. You can see the low body serve percentage - 6% (in the final it's 14%), but he's also not going for the lines. He's basically serving right in Becker's hitting zone. No aces or service winners - the closest he gets is a 2nd serve down the T that forces an error with Becker on match point

Summing up, brilliant from Becker, below par from Edberg.... I suppose that makes the final even more sweet for the eventual champion

Coincidentally, the following year, defending champion Edberg got it the same way from Andre Agassi - but both matches were competitive there
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
This was one of the most impressive wins of Edberg's career. He lost badly to Becker on Friday, then had to play an on fire Lendl on Sat while suffering from a cold. No one gave him any shot of beating either Lendl or Becker. Ended Lendl's streak of 9 straight Masters finals with one of the best serving days of his career(43.5% unreturned serves, the highest I've seen from him)

I posted stats on that semi 10 years ago. Can't believe I'm still here...
I agree. It was a terrific win. Becker usually had his way with Edberg indoors (and really generally, as his record was 25-10). And their 1989 seasons were at totally different trajectories. Edberg had a tough year - losing the FO final to upstart Chang in 5 sets (he'd never get a better chance for an FO title), then losing the Wimbledon final to Becker, and then getting destroyed by Connors in that horrible 4th round night match at the USO. Becker, on the other hand, had won Wimbledon AND the US Open that year. On top of all that, Becker had beat Edberg easily on carpet in 3 sets (best of 5) in the final of the Paris Masters in the fall. And on top of that, defending champion Becker had beat Edberg 6-4, 6-1 during the round robin portion of the Masters that year. Nothing suggested that Edberg could/would win the Masters final over Becker. A nice consolation prize in a year of Slam disappointment for Edberg.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
The stats are mostly unsurprising but Becker's unreturned rate is low.
I'd have put that down to low first serve percentage... he seemed to be missing every first serve for the last two sets and staying back, but your right. Overall, he's still serving 49% which is about normal for him, so the rate does look a bit low. Credit Edberg's returning for getting so many first serves in play... and he was impressively aggressive (in terms of power, not chip-charging stuff) returning second serves too

Surprising that Becker made no UE errors on the return. I'm not sure whether that's a testament to Becker's returning or just indicates that Edberg never threw in a serve that was below-average quality (haven't seen this match yet).
I almost always give a forced return error if the server is serve-volleying, which Edberg almost always was.

This is a tad problematic as far as how well these stats paint a picture goes... Edberg's serve is very returnable and one feels Becker should have at least got some of the returns marked 'forced' in play (even if they were just volleyed away)

By contrast, when Becker's serve-volleying, the Edberg missed returns being marked 'forced' gives a truer picture... just returning the Becker serve even without an approach is no easy matter

Becker with 0 unforced in the round robin match too

Coincidentally, the following year, defending champion Edberg got it the same way from Andre Agassi - but both matches were competitive there
Adding further onto the similarities, in '89, Edberg of course sensationally took out Ivan Lendl in the semis... so the top 2 players in the world in the semis and finals

in '90, Agassi did for Becker in the semis and Edberg in the final... the top two players in the world at the time, if memory serves
 
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