Duel Match Stats/Reports - Sampras vs Agassi, Indian Wells & Miami finals, 1995


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 in the Indian Wells final, 1995 on hard court

Sampras was the defending champion. Agassi had recently won Australian Open, beating Sampras in the final

Sampras won 115 points, Agassi 98

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (60/100) 60%
- 1st serve points won (51/60) 85%
- 2nd serve points won (19/40) 48%
- Aces 18, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (40/100) 40%

- 1st serve percentage (81/113) 72%
- 1st serve points won (49/81) 60%
- 2nd serve points won (19/32) 59%
- Aces 9
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/113) 15%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 52%
- to BH 44%
- to Body 4%

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

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 94 (25 FH, 69 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Errors, comprising...
- 3 Unforced (1 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 5 Forced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (94/111) 85%

Agassi made...
- 57 (32 FH, 25 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 3 Winners (2 FH, 1 BH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 20 Forced (11 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (57/97) 59%

Break Points
Sampras 4/14 (8 games)
Agassi 1/4 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 25 (13 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 3 OH)
Agassi 32 (17 FH, 10 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)

Sampras' FHs - 7 cc (3 passes), 1 dtl, 1 inside-in, 1 lob and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 2 cc (1 pass) and 2 dtl (1 pass at net)

- 8 from serve-volley points
- 6 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 2 BHV, 2 FH at net)... 1 FHV was a net chord dribbler
- 1 second volley (1 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

Agassi's regular FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl, 5 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl and 4 inside-in
- FH passes - 2 cc, 1 dtl return and 1 inside-in return
- regular BHs - 1 cc, 5 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BH passes - 2 cc (1 return) and 1 inside-out

- 1 FHV was a swinging shot

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 46
- 25 Unforced (9 FH, 16 BH)
- 21 Forced (9 FH, 7 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.4

Agassi 48
- 28 Unforced (12 FH, 12 BH, 1 FHV, 3 BHV)… with 1 FH pass attempt
- 20 Forced (9 FH, 9 BH, 2 FHV)… with 2 FH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.3

(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
Sampras was...
- 38/51 (75%) at net, including...
- 32/41 (78%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 retreated

Agassi was...
- 15/30 (50%) at net, including...
- 0/3 serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 retreated

Match Report
Unplayable from Sampras. Agassi's quality of play fluctuates, but Sampras game and play is fool proof on a standard hard court. His running FH is the biggest noticeable leveller key to play - but pretty much everything is key (easy to notice or otherwise)

Serve? Good, even for him. 18 aces, 1 service winner, a good chunk of near service winners, 20/21 return errors he draws marked forced (including a couple 2nd serves), 40% unreturned rate. He serve-volleys behind all first serves and stays back off all seconds

The first serves that do come back at all usually do so weakly. His second serve is strong enough to be a decent first serve... on average, I'd say they're stronger than Agassi's first serves

Volleying? Careful. Gets a lot of easy high volleys and doesn't go for too much, thus minimizing errors (0 forecourt UEs). Leaves Agassi with running passes to make... odds would be heavily against Agassi able to, and so it proves

Tough volleys? Not many to be faced, but a couple of 1/2volleys he makes, including a winner suggests he'd have done dandy had he come up against more. 5 FEs in forecourt

Return? Doesn't miss a ball. 85% return rate. Granted, Agassi's serve is average for the most part (he cranks it up some in the last set, even then its not too strong) but can't ask for more than 85% return rate. His returns are neutral - neither attacking, nor passive of intent. Does well against Agassi's stronger serves too, usually chipping them back. Which gives Agassi some trouble as he's looking to hit very hard groundstrokes in third set and lack of pace of return is giving him trouble on that front

Baseline? He's both patient and appropriately aggressive. Agassi starts match looking to breakdown Pete's BH with BH cc's. Pete's BH not only holds up, but hits back near as firmly. Doesn't panic, doesn't go for too much, is happy to keep trading firm BHs. Off FH, he's not in a rush to attack either, but does like a normal, attacking baseliner. His FH is the hardest hit groundstroke in the match and gives Agassi all manners of trouble

Its Agassi that's driven to go for more or try to find other ways of ending points, in light of Pete's BH holding up. First, Agassi's no can't-miss-a-ball robot either. Though less error prone than Pete, he makes his fair share. Final BH UE tally - Agassi 12, Pete 16

Second, Agassi looks to kill points BH dtl (and sometimes FH inside-in). He has 5 BH dtl winners and 4 FH inside-in... but also misses going for these kill shots. On top of that is the Sampras running FH

Generally speaking, I've found it be one of the most misrepresented of shots. Generally, he misses a lot more than he makes... but as long as he ends up winning, the misses are forgotten and the ones made are celebrated with complete disregard to percentages. In this match though... he's making them at will, including on the pass. Many go for winners, others force errors, others still leave Agassi difficult shots

From Agassi's point of view
- he can barely make a return, and whatever he can is swatted away at net
- he can barely get a cheap service point and has to start everything neutrally
- he can't break down Pete's BH to the extent of dominance. Which is what he'd need, since Pete on the back of serve-volleying is completely dominant in service games
- he can't kill points to half-open FH court because Pete's too quick, races to balls and whacks FHs on the run, usually with point ending force

To be clear, Agassi is the better baseliner. He's hitting more winners, forcing more errors and making fewer unforced errors... but its not by much. Certainly not by enough to inspire confidence that he can keep holding serve for long

Note Agassi near equal success on first serve and second - winning 60% first serve points and 59% second serve. Sans the small 2 double faults, he's actually doing better off second serve points (even leaving in the high 9 first serve aces). Sampras by contrast wins 48% second serve points - and he has a much stronger second serve than Agassi's

The point isn't Sampras matching Agassi from the back - he doesn't, Agassi's better. The point is, he's always in the back court rallies and the key to it is that running FH. He's also faster than Agassi in covering the court
And that's all against the backdrop of Pete's serve giving him a humongous cushion to begin with

Agassi adds something new by approaching net, usually behind very strong approach shots. Even then, he can only win 50% net points. From rallies, he comes in almost 3 times as much as Pete (26 times to 10). Pete's good on the pass - and approach shots are such that Pete's invariably in defensive positions when he hits the pass, the running FH again playing a big role - Agassi isn't good on the volley... it doesn't come to much
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Hall of Fame
Match Progression
First set is somewhat drab, with Agassi looking to breakdown Pete's BH. Both players regulation groundies are particularly hard hit - its beat down play more than outlast. Sampras hits back nearly as hard. Agassi's change up dtl attacking shots are countered repeatedly by astonishing running FHs from Pete. Still, bulk of baseline points end with UEs

Its Agassi who grabs the first break, starting and ending the game with return passes (FH dtl and BH cc). Sampras breaks back at once in an error riddled game. Sampras continues to threaten on return regularly and Agassi faces break points in 5/6 service games. To gain the decisive break, Sampras ventures to net twice, a rare thing for him in the match

Sampras grabs the early break in the second, with errors from Agassi opening the door and Sampras finishing with attacking plays. From deuce, he forces an error with yet another succesful running FH. On break point, Agassi has to hit a running FH, but misses

Rest of set is easy holds, with Sampras taking it somewhat easy on return games. Agassi takes to coming to net more too. Sampras does not chase down balls in return games and tends to go for (and miss) ambitious attacking BHs early in rallies, in stark contrast to how he plays when he's not up a break

Third set is cracker. Sampras still dominates his first serve points with borderline unreturnable serves to go along with the large lot of genuinely unreturnable ones, but he makes so many first serves (34/44) that Agassi's bound to get a few good returns in

Baseline play is thrilling stuff - very hard hitting, open court, side-to-side running stuff. Sampras' chip, no pace returns tend to stump Agassi, who tries to hit them as hard as can. Agassi is sucking wind after certain hard running points and is obviously frustrated by the lot of unreturned serves he face. He takes it out on the ball - hitting even harder and serving as strongly as he can. Even then, Sampras is usually up to handling the shots

Sampras breaks in a brilliant 10 point game featuring hard hits, open court baseline rallies and approaches from Agassi before serving out the match

Summing up, Sampras coasting on big serving to hold and first class running FHs coupled with reasonably steady BH to thwart Agassi from the baseline. Agassi remains the stronger baseliner, but nowhere near the extent necessary to override his handicap on the serve

Stats for the pair's '01 final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...si-vs-sampras-indian-wells-final-2001.645781/


Hall of Fame
Agassi beat Sampras 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) in the Miami final, on hard court

Sampras was the defending champion, having beaten Agassi in the final the year before. Agassi would go onto defend the title the following year

Agassi won 101 points, Sampras 90

Sampras serve-volleyed off most first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (63/90) 70%
- 1st serve points won (45/63) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (19/27) 71%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/90) 20%

- 1st serve percentage (49/101) 49%
- 1st serve points won (34/49) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (30/52) 58%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (26/101) 26%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 31%
- to BH 66%
- to Body 2%

Sampras served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 41%
- to Body 10%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 71 (35 FH, 36 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH)
- 11 Forced (9 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (71/97) 73%

Sampras made...
- 71 (25 FH, 46 BH), including 4 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH)
- 6 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (71/89) 80%

Break Points
Agassi 2/8 (4 games)
Sampras 1/4 (2 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 30 (18 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
Sampras 23 (9 FH, 4 BH, 4 FHV, 2 BHV, 4 OH)

Agassi's regular FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl at net, 6 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- regular BHs - 1 dtl and 1 longline at net
- FH passes - 3 cc (1 return), 3 dtl (1 return) and 1 lob
- BH passes - 1 cc return, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in return

Sampras' FHs - 3 cc, 3 dtl (2 passes), 2 inside-out (1 pass) and 1 inside-in
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc and 1 lob

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

- 1 other BHV was a diving shot

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 40
- 24 Unforced (13 FH, 10 BH, 1 BHV)… with 1 BH pass attempt at net
- 16 Forced (10 FH, 6 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.8

Sampras 49
- 31 Unforced (18 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 18 Forced (8 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.6

(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
Agassi was...
- 16/24 (67%) at net, including...
- 0/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
- 1/1 return-approaching

Sampras was...
- 25/42 (60%) at net, including...
- 17/32 (53%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 17/30 (57%) off 1st serve and..
- 0/2 off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Agassi dominates from the baseline to a marked degree and earns a well deserved win. Sampras plays strangely. Match is very different from the Indian Wells encounter, which I'll use as a frame of reference to describe action

The court is a significantly slower than the previous match. About as slow as a hard court can be and with very high bounce. Sampras kicks serves get up head high and looped groundstrokes are about the same. Green, if not red, clay is probably quicker

Some odd numbers. Generally on slow court, second serve points won are low or the better player dominates both his serve and return second serve points. Here, both players command their second serve points - Agassi winning 71% (same rate as his first serve winning), Sampras 58%. You usually see this on fast surfaces, where even second serves give servers a healthy initiative. This court looks more like the sort where even first serve points would be 50-50 deals

The Sampras 58% is particularly difficult to explain. Some of it is due to his strategy, but the figure is a lot higher than I would have expected. Agassi's figures are somewhat explainable by Sampras' odd and unnecessary-ily serve-focused approach

Agassi wins 19 straight points at one stage - 11 serve, 8 return. He goes on to extend his return points won in a row to 9 after the overall streak ends

Serve & Return
Agassi's serve is harmless and Sampras returns without difficulty. Return rate is down to 5% from previous match, but is still a very healthy 80%. He doesn't tank on the return itself, but did return better in IW

Sampras can only muster 49% first serves in. And Agassi is able to return with relative comfort, even against first serves. Pete stays back off 9 first serves, so serve-volleys of 30/40 first serves or 75%, down from 100% in IW. A good move, seeing how comfortably and strongly Agassi returned. He wins 7/9 points he stayed back on too - many with unreturned serves. He doesn't look to come in early (or to a pointed degree at all) off them

In this match in particular, but in the pair as a whole, Sampras appears to be a bit scared of Agassi's passes. He won't come in off anything other than a very strong approach. In IW, that could be put down to his willingness to take on Agassi from the back, but not here

Some excellent second serving from Pete, far up from IW. The kick serve from the ad court in particular are often body serves that jump to Agassi's head. Extremely good returning from Agassi to get out of the way and usually hit them back firmly. In general, he plays head high balls better than anyone


Hall of Fame
Play - & Sampras' Strategy
Its the kind of court where returns can be made and servers advantage neutralized readily - and Sampras does both as well as can be asked for. In such situations, usually you'll see players make a play every return game because with sound (let alone 'good') play, they have a legitimate chance at breaking

Sampras' approaches it differently, like one might a fast court where break chances are likely to be rare. He makes the returns, but shows little fight thereafter - completely the opposite of IW match

In IW, Sampras was keen to trade hard hitting groundies with Agassi, protecting his BH well, thus making it so that if Agassi wanted to attack he'd have to do so to the FH and incredibly good on the counter-attacking, especially running FH

Here, he cuts short rallies and plays passively. Quite gently putting BHs in play and early in rallies, going for very low percentage winner attempts (off both wings). These shots tend to be about placement rather than power - he tries to guide balls on the lines, and misses almost always... no fight, no desire to take on Agassi from the back

One of the most astounding stats to come out is Sampras' UEFI of 51.6... an unseemly high number when 28/31 or 90% of his UEs are groundstrokes. Sampras' UE breakdown -
- Neutral 11 (35%)
- Attacking 4 (13%)
- Winner attempts (52%)…. Agassi by contrast has 21% winner attempt errors

Agassi has more neutral UEs with 15. Is this exaggerated and impatient baseline shotmaking on a slow court smart from Pete?

Usually, a player play like this when they're completely outmatched from the back or hopelessly less consistent in neutral rallies. Neither is true here. Why this approach?

Again, if a player wants to shorten points and avoid long grinds, they come to net to end points one way or the other. For a balanced all courter like Pete, this sounds like logical plan. He doesn't. From rallies, he comes in 9 times (winning 8). Agassi does so 22 times

Defensively as well, Pete is very slack. Agassi hits 13 baseline-to-baseline winners - and they're great shots. Pete though doesn't bother trying to retrieve many a ball that were by no means sure fire winners. Again, completely the opposite of IW match

Agassi is clearly the stronger baseliner and would almost certainly outlast Pete in long rallies. Also more likely to take charge of points and finish them forcefully (which in fact, happens). All credit to Agassi for dominant, high quality play from the back. Also noting Pete's strange strategy.... in light of conditions, how his abilities stack up next to Agassi and the likelihood of his serve being broken with Agassi returning relatively comfortably … its not a good approach at all

Agassi is very strong in play, finishing with 30 winners, 24 UEs and forcing 18 errors out of Pete. His heavier hitting perhaps influences Pete to go kamikaze of shot choice (mostly discredit Pete for this though), but he's commanding, and very able in turning that into ending points forcefully

As match wears on, he starts coming to net to finish as well. Just the 1 error in forecourt and wins 67% points up there... a vital complement to baseline superiority, especially on slow court. His passing is strong enough to discourage Pete from being too adventurous in coming forward - normal passes are hard hit enough to give at least 'not easy' volleys, and the good ones just go through for untouchable winners

Particularly in last set, there's plenty of Agassi FH inside-out to Sampras' BH, and few the other way round to. Contrast to IW, where it was mostly BH-BH. Generally, comparative footspeed issues make this a tricky business for Agassi, but it works well here. In this final phase, Sampras does his best on defence, but usually coughs up the error to wide BH (often forced)

Both players occasionally loop BHs too. Sampras rarely to the extent of moonballing. Balls rise up shoulder-to-head high... no easy matter to deal with. Agassi's up to it. On the BH, he plays back safely and on the FH, he's apt to go for (and make) stronger shots, usually inside-out

Match Progression
First set ends on thrilling note but is average of quality on the whole. Sampras serves at 44% so there's plenty of baseline action. These rallies are slow ones with Sampras just putting ball in play, Agassi making plenty of neutral errors, Sampras making errors going for low percentage winners from regulation position.

Sampras gains the early break through some good play, coming to net to dispatch an OH and making a precise passing winner when Agassi does the same

He has a hard time holding on to the break and has to save 3 break points in one game. Agassi's misses a routine second serve return on one point. One another, Agassi misses a highly makeable BH dtl pass, identical to one he'd made just a few points ago, but Sampras goes on to hold

Serving for the set, Sampras falls behind 0-40. On one of the break points, Sampras has to make a first 1/2volley and a second defensive BHOH, leaving Agassi with a very makeable pass that he misses. Sampras also hits a diving BHV winner in the game, that he holds after 14 points to take the set

In second set, returning at 2-2, Sampras moves to 0-40 needs 1 point to secure the break. The next one he wins comes 20 points later in the first game of the third, in a remarkable - likely unique passage of play... a combination of weak stuff from Pete and strong from Agassi

In being broken to love twice in row, Pete double faults 3 time and misses a FH winner attempt, while Agassi strikes two stunning passes (1 return, 1 lob) and gives Pete 2 near impossible volleys.
On service points, Agassi has 3 aces (at least 1 of which Sampras makes no attempt to play), strikes a BH winner at net, forces 3 passing winners and Sampras makes 2 baseline UEs

Third set is competitive, with no break points and each surviving a deuce game to hold. Sampras is quite passive in play - just looping BHs in play and not going for crazy winners out of the blue. Agassi uses FH inside-out to wear down Pete's BH and dashes to net to finish points. At choice times, Agassi's able to find his strongest serves too. Both in this match and in IW, Agassi looks to come to net on important points

The key point in tiebreak is Sampras missing a first volley BHV. Its near regulation first volley, a bit harder hit from Agassi. The shot somewhat summarizes Sampras' issues at net... he doesn't look like he fancies handling power returning and passes. This shot is comparatively easy and has been marked unforced. Boris Becker also got it the same way from Agassi

Sampras is only down one mini-break at 3-6, but Agassi pounds a FH inside-out return that he follows to net to force an error to close out the match. According to commentary, this takes Sampras' tiebreak record for the year to 1-9

Summing up, commanding showing from Agassi - commanding from the baseline, intimidating on the pass and equal parts heavy and consistent on the return, against good serves. Sampras' groundgame strategy is dubious - a mix of bailing on fights by going for crazy attacking shots, defending laxly and apprehensive of coming forward. As always, his acumen for when to do what is still sharp and match goes down to the wire, with the comfortably better player winning

Stats for the pair's next match, Canadian Open final later in the year - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...i-vs-sampras-canadian-open-final-1995.645682/
Stats for previous years final - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-vs-ivanisevic-miami-finals-1994-1996.671418/
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Agassi would have won IW final but his father got a planed heart surgery the day after the final. So his mind was not there. He should have lost the SF against Becker but help from Loconto at 5:4 in the first and two major unforced Errors from Becker in the Tiebreak made him into the final.