Duel Match Stats/Reports - Sampras vs Becker, Wimbledon final & semi-final, 1995 & 1993


Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Boris Becker 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 the Wimbledon final, 1995 on grass

It was Sampras' 3rd straight title and would turn out to be the last of Becker's 7 finals at the event

Sampras won 138 points, Becker 108

Both players serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (57/106) 54%
- 1st serve points won (52/57) 91%
- 2nd serve points won (30/49) 61%
- Aces 24 (3 second serves, 1 possibly not clean), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (55/106) 52%

- 1st serve percentage (73/140) 52%
- 1st serve points won (58/73) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (26/67) 39%
- Aces 16 (2 second serves), Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 15
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (50/140) 36%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 61%
- to Body 6%

Becker served....
- to FH 32%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 75 (25 FH, 50 BH), including 1 runaround BH & 2 return-approaches
- 12 Winners (3 FH, 9 BH)
- 32 Errors, all forced...
- 32 Forced (10 FH, 22 BH)
- Return Rate (75/125) 60%

Becker made...
- 44 (11 FH, 33 BH)
- 5 Winners (2 FH, 3 BH)
- 30 Errors, all forced...
- 30 Forced (12 FH, 18 BH)
- Return Rate (44/99) 44%

Break Points
Sampras 5/16 (8 games)
Becker 0

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 35 (8 FH, 16 BH, 6 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
Becker 27 (5 FH, 5 BH, 9 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 4 OH)

Sampras had 11 from serve-volley points
- 3 first volleys (3 FHV)
- 7 second volleys (2 FHV, 2 BHV, 3 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 FHV), a lob

- 1 from a return-approach point, a BH cc pass at net

- 12 return (all passes) (3 FH, 9 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl (on which Becker slipped) and 1 inside-out
- BH - 4 cc, 4 dtl and 1 inside-out

- 11 regular passes (5 FH, 6 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc at net, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out at net and 1 running-down-drop-volley cc at net
- BHs - 3 cc and 3 dtl

Becker had 18 from serve-volley points
- 13 first 'volleys' (8 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 2 OH, 1 FH at net)... the FH1/2V caught net chord and slowed down on way over
- 4 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- 4 returns passes (2 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc
- BHs - 2 dtl

- 1 non-pass return - a BH net chord dribbler

- 4 regular passes (2 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl/inside-out
- BHs - 2 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 24
- 24 Forced (4 FH, 11 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 OH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-volley at net

Becker 33
- 10 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 23 Forced (8 FH, 8 BH, 2 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 3 BHV)... with 1 FH at net (a pass attempt)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53

(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...
- 62/81 (77%) at net, including...
- 57/74 (77%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 30/35 (86%) off 1st serve and...
- 27/39 (69%) off 2nd serve
- 1/2 return-approaching
- 1/1 retreated

Becker was...
- 67/110 (61%) at net, including...
- 66/107 (62%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 42/57 (74%) off 1st serve and...
- 24/50 (48%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
If there's been a more devastating, all round performance than Pete Sampras' here, I haven't seen it. Becker plays well... and is spifflicated for his troubles. Both players serve-volley 100% of the time

0 Unforced Errors in play from Sampras... I haven't seen or heard of such a thing. The often cited 3 UEs by John McEnroe in the '84 final is a total figure and made possible by his having had 0 double faults. Sampras has 7 but in play, not a 1 UE. Small matter of 35 winners and forcing 23 errors out of Becker to go along with it

Sampras locks down his service games tight as can be and Becker doesn't see a break point. In return games, the very strong Becker serve is dispatched to feeding Boris a diet of half-volleys and low volleys

Sampras Serve Game - Perfect?
Skimming over the serve itself, its near perfect

- 54% first serves in is moderate, but his second serving would make a good delivery for a good (not 'normal') servers first serve
- Wins 91% first serve points, which essentially means that 54% in is his freebie cushion
- 24 aces, 1 service winner. Becker is also banging down big serves, serves 34 more points... and has 16 and 2 respectively
- 52% unreturned rate. the 30 return errors he forces tend to be hard forced ones and even second serves would be forceful sans serve-volleying. Becker was on receiving end of similar figure in the '91 final versus Michael Stich. There, his return was somewhat at fault. Here its all Sampras' serve

Becker returns as well as he's allowed. He has no read on the serve, can only watch aces fly by, balls not far away from him might be a better way of putting it) are heavy enough that he regularly can't get return back to net

Usually when you see unreturned rate that high, returner faltering some or going for a lot on the return are factors. Not here. Boris returns about as well as he's allowed. He tones down his customary whack-everything-can-reach with will-miss-some-but-ones-that-go-in-will-be-damaging style out of necessity. There aren't enough balls in reach for it... and good amount of his returning is get return back anyway possible and still usually can't get it in

What he does return, he tends to strongly though. Plenty of tough half-volleys and low volleys for Sampras to cope with first up. Sampras keeps making them, especially the half-volleys. Just the 1 half-volley error - he faced a good many more that he's even to place reasonably well. Just 8 forecourt FEs on service games

Not many floating returns. Balls above net and about net high tend to be at least firmly hit and often more. They're volleyed into corners. Sampras being in 2-volley mode (first volley to corner and if needed, second to finish) instead of 1-volley mode (first volley for winners) is, if one is nit-picking severely, the only thing keeping his show on serve from being less than perfect

Just 3 first volley winners. 1 is an Edberg-esque FHV to firm ball just under net... and brings home how he wasn't looking to play such shots overall. Almost always, the first volley is put in corner, leaving Becker running passes

Wise of Pete to not bother about which side he's volleying to. Hit that far away from baseliner, it doesn't matter. Note Boris with equal FH and BH FEs (i.e. passing shots). Even great volleyers sometimes err in unduly aiming for BH

Finally, Pete's excellent at covering net for second volley. Boris does well to run down and get in play as many balls as he does... and tends to hit good passes when he can make them. Not putaway second volleys for Pete at all... but he zips about to cover the pass

In nutshell, all but perfect from Sampras, leaving Becker to do what little he can. He does it well, but... Sampras remains all but perfect
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Hall of Fame
Becker's Serve Games
Good - at a slight stretch you could even say 'very good' - from Becker. Rather better than that by Sampras

Huge first serving, near same of strength as Sampras with 14 aces and 2 service winners. Sampras does appear to read the serve better and isn't often caught out by direction or slow to move

This is not a typical Sampras, selectively letting serves go showing. On the return, he makes proper effort while apparently reading serve. Becker with 36% unreturned serves, which is good serving for the surface. It not being higher still has a lot to do with his 15 double faults. Not shy to go at Sampras FH out wide to deuce court either - in other matches, it sometimes costs him and he's forced to shift. Here, not too damaging on the big FH cc return from Pete

BH cc return though is very damaging. More the precise angle of shot than power. On the whole, Sampras returns firmly... rarely going over to outright powerful

And low. Lots and lots of low returns for Boris to handle. Boris is excellent at it. Note just 7 FEs in forecourt and just 2 are half-volleys. There are considerable stretches of play when all he's getting is potential FE volleys/half-volleys to make off the return... in this light, 7 is low. Boris makes the wide bulk of tough returns he's faced with

A standout stat that needs some explaining is Boris' apparently high 15 double faults. Its understandable and not as bad as it looks

Note Boris winning just 48% second serve-volley points (i.e. second serves sans aces and double faults). Given Boris, like Sampras, serves near first serve strong second serves, this is low... and he its only as high as it is because he's so good on half-volleys and low volleys. Sampras by contrast wins 69% second serve-volleying. I'd estimate quality of Becker's second serve to be good for at least 60% points won serve-volleying behind and he can only manage 48%, despite volleying particularly well against the difficult returns... this is all down to quality of Sampras' returning

In that light, going for more on second serves and double faulting more in consequence is fitting. Taking too much off the second serve would be asking for trouble... and he's got plenty of it without asking

Becker putsaway volleys above net (13 first volley winners to Pete's 3) and otherwise volleys away from Sampras, leaving difficult passes that Pete can't make or Becker's able to cover net well enough to win with further volleys. The 8 volleying UEs are on the hard side for being UEs - balls slightly under net or slightly wide typically, as opposed to comfortably above net - and most of it hit firmly

In short, good volleying Boris - putting tough ones back in play, putting away ones that are there to be putaway and coping with 'regulation plus' volleys

His forced weak volleys and half-volleys leave Sampras with shots on the passing shot, which he makes makes regularly. Again, BH cc being the most impressive

Sampras also zings away 12 return winners. That happens some percentage of the time against serve-volleying but 12 is on high side. Again, great stuff from Sampras

In short, it would be an injustice to say 'not a whole lot wrong' with Becker's serving game showing. Its downright good in fact. Against another opponent, or even the same one on another day, he might cruise through serve like clockwork

Instead, he has to serve 140 points while Sampras serves 106 and gets broken 5 times... and is pressured to go for more on second serves leading to double faults. All credit Sampras

Match Progression
Serve dominated first set. Sampras has the sole break point in game 2, a 10 point affair where he strikes 3 return winners. Becker comes through with 4 unreturned serves

In tiebreak, a Sampras double fault puts Becker ahead but he misses a regulation BH at net to hand back the mini-break. Becker takes the 'breaker with a strong return - the volley comes to Sampras low-ish, flat, above average power and right at his body - and Sampras nets the volley. Its probably the easiest shot he misses all match

Sampras takes charge of the match thereafter

He reaches 0-40 with 3 winners and goes on to break after pushing Becker back from net and forcing a BH pass error to go up 2-1
Next game, Becker hammer power returns. Sampras puts them back in play and holds to 30
Poor game from Boris to get broken again - pair of double faults, pair of volleying UEs, though on break point, he misses a FH1/2V

Becker's constantly under the gun in third set. He gives up the break in a mammoth 18 point game, where he double faults 3 times but the easiest volley he misses isn't particularly easy. He's taken to 8 and 10 points in subsequent games too, but resists being broken

Prior to that in set's opening game, he holds to 15. Other than an ace, he's faced with a 1/2volley first up on every point, including a wide one

Sampras meanwhile, doesn't lose a point on serve for the set until he steps up to serve for it. He falls behind 0-30 on back of a top Becker BH dtl passing winner and a lucky net chord running/dribbling winner return, but belts down 4 aces to finish. His serving is at its strongest in tail end of match and 11 aces rain down in last 5 service games, starting with last game of third set

Sampras breaks to start the fourth. Couple of precise BH passes keeps game at 30-30 before Becker double faults twice. Becker holds off Sampras in another furious return game filled with winning passes, which Becker matches of volleying ones

Sampras makes it 2 breaks after Becker double faults successively again to give him break point. Pete's return is probably just out on break point, but goes uncalled.

Some furious returning from Boris in last game of the match and a nice running, OH-error-forcing lob at net, but Pete puts the half-volleys in play and finishes with an ace and another strong unreturned serve

Summing up, About as close to perfect as a tennis showing can be from Sampras. As with many of his matches, action is a 'serve-bottish', but its wholly down to quality of his serve with Becker returning quite well given what he's up against. Volleying from Sampras is near flawless to back up the big serve

On other side of things, despite strong serving, Boris is faced with a barrage of regular low volleys and does well to not be overwhelmed by it but can hold out against such opposition for so long

0 Unforced Errors from Pete Sampras says most of it, 52% unreturned rate and 35 winners says the rest

Stats for '94 final between Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...as-vs-ivanisevic-wimbledon-final-1994.645560/
Stats for Becker's first Wimbledon final in '85 against Kevin Curren - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...becker-vs-curren-wimbledon-final-1985.649704/
Stats for '91 final between Michael Stich and Becker - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-stich-vs-becker-wimbledon-final-1991.675982/
Stats for '84 final between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...enroe-vs-connors-wimbledon-final-1984.656972/
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Hall of Fame
In 1993, Sampras beat Becker 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 the semi-final

Sampras would go onto win the event for the first time, beating Jim Courier in the final. Becker was aiming for an Open Era record 7th final

Sampras won 107 points, Becker 92

Both players serve-volleyed off all serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (63/103) 61%
- 1st serve points won (53/63) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (24/40) 60%
- Aces 13, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/103) 42%

- 1st serve percentage (49/96) 51%
- 1st serve points won (45/49) 92%
- 2nd serve points won (21/47) 45%
- Aces 14
- Double Faults 12
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/96) 45%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 52%
- to Body 6%

Becker served....
- to FH 31%
- to BH 45%
- to Body 24%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 41 (9 FH, 32 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 5 Winners (1 FH, 4 BH)
- 29 Errors, all forced...
- 29 Forced (11 FH, 18 BH)
- Return Rate (41/96) 43%

Becker made...
- 54 (26 FH, 28 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 5 Winners (4 FH, 1 BH)
- 27 Errors, all forced...
- 27 Forced (8 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (54/97) 56%

Break Points
Sampras 2/4 (4 games)
Becker 0/6 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 36 (3 FH, 8 BH, 13 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 3 OH, 1 BHOH)
Becker 21 (5 FH, 4 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 OH)

Sampras had 25 from serve-volley points
- 17 first 'volleys' (8 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV, 2 OH, 1 FH at net)... 1 one OH can reasonably be called a FHV and the FH1/2V was a net chord dribbler
- 6 second volleys (4 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 2 third volley (1 BHV, 1 BHOH)

- 1 FHV from a non serve-volley point

- 5 return (all passes) (1 FH, 4 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc
- BH - 1 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in

- 5 regular passes (1 FH, 4 BH)
- FH - 1 cc at net
- BHs - 3 cc and 1 dtl

Becker had 12 from serve-volley points
- 4 first volleys (1 FHV, 3 BHV)... the FHV can reasonably be called an OH and 1 BHV was a net chord dribbler
- 6 second volleys (1 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 2 third volley (1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V)

- 5 returns (all passes) (4 FH, 1 BH)
- FHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 2 inside-in
- BH - 1 cc

- 4 regular passes (1 FH, 3 BH)
- FH - 1 running-down-drop-volley dtl at net
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 22
- 6 Unforced (1 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV)... with 1 BH at net & 1 BHV was from a return-approach point
- 16 Forced (7 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BH1/2V, 1 OH)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-volley at net & 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53.3

Becker 16
- 3 Unforced (2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 13 Forced (2 FH, 7 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-volley 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 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...
- 63/88 (72%) at net, including...
- 61/81 (75%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 37/47 (79%) off 1st serve and...
- 24/34 (71%) off 2nd serve
- 0/2 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Becker was...
- 54/75 (72%) at net, including...
- 52/70 (74%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 31/35 (89%) off 1st serve and...
- 21/35 (60%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
A point-here, point-there match to decide result and all out 'Big Game' match of style. As such, deep analysis is an exercise in vanity

If there is a key to result, it would be Becker's high 12 double faults (to be more precise, he double faults at bad times. Sampras has 6) and Sampras' decisive volleying (he has 17 first 'volley' winners - Becker has 12 total). secondary, and related to the double faults, is first serve percentage - Sampras 61%, Becker 51%

Otherwise, stats look about equal... in fact, Becker edging them
- first serve points won - Sampras 84%, Becker 92%
- aces - Sampras 13, Becker 14
- unreturned rate, Sampras 42%, Becker 45%
- UEs - Sampras 6, Becker 3
- FEs - Sampras 16, Becker 13
- Net points won - Sampras 71.6%, Becker 72%
- Break Points - Sampras 2/4 (4 games), Becker 0/6 (4 games) {Sampras would have potentially 2 more if Becker had saved one of the two break points he lost}

Basically, server dominates throughout, and each set is decided by a couple of points

First set - almost nothing in it. Last game before tiebreak, Sampras has the only break point in the set (on back of pair of Becker double faults). On it, he just misses a BH dtl return off a second serve - couple of inches shorter and it'd have been winner. Otherwise, barely a sniff for returner

1 mini-break decides the tiebreak. Becker misses a BHV to a slowly dropping ball. Its well under net, but not powerful... a ball volleyer would expect to get into play, though it'd be difficult to hit for winner. Becker with 3 UEs the whole match... and 1 of them, which isn't even easy, costs him a set. That's how fine the margin for error is

Second set - Almost the worst possible service game one can theoretically play. He double faults 3 times and is broken to love (other point is also a second serve)

Becker gains his chances later on and Sampras' has to save 3 break points across his last 2 service holds. First game, he hits an excellent and daring inside-out BHV winner
Next game, Pete's down 15-40 serving for set. First break point is erased with a putaway first volley, the second with a regulation volley that's punched away with particular vigour

Third set - Sampras breaks to start with a daring approach and strong return + putaway pass at net combo... but the game begins and ends with Becker double faults
Boris has 2 break points as Sampras serves for the match - he can't make the return on the first, and another good inside-out BHV sets up an easy second volley winner on the second
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Hall of Fame
Serve & Return - Strategies & Play
Goes without saying serving is strong from both

2nd serving is cut below the '95 match. Strong enough second serves to serve-volley behind, but unlike '95, good chunk of it would be unforceful sans' serve-volleying. To be clear, there are genuinely forceful, wide serves made but,
- higher proportion of regular or makeable quality serves
- lower proportion of completely unreturnable second serves (0 aces/service winners. in '95, there would be 5)

Becker serves a large lot to the body (24% to Sampras' 6%) and it proves successful

Boris goes on a bender in the second set, where he makes 8/29 first serves or 28%, including a run of missing 15 in a row and 19/21 at a stretch. Its not uncommon for him - he not infrequently goes on first serve missing binges in general, but speaks to the decisions he has to make

Most missed first serves are just missing lines. Was it necessary to go for so much with the serve? Probably not - he serves safer in third set, and isn't too troubled as he wins 15/16 first serve points there. Nor does Sampras return even second serves so damagingly (unlike '95) as to pressure him to go for so much (he wins 60% 2nd serve-volleying). Contrast to 1990 final with Stefan Edberg, where he took plenty of the serve to get higher percentage in. In that match, Edberg returned significantly better than Pete does here and won the match

No easy decision on how much to go for and what price is too much for getting more cheap points... Boris' lost matches holding back like in '90. Here, he probably goes for too much on first serves... Sampras' returning/passing isn't strong enough to justify it and Boris volleying is good enough to warrant more confidence

Second question would be how much to go for on second serves. He doesn't go for an outrageous amount, but still double faults 12 times. In '95, he was pressured to by high quality returning. Not true of this match... just bad serving in this area

Returning is better than decent from both players, without touching great heights. Becker with large lead in return rate (56% to 43%) is based on his returning conservatively in third set, where he leaves Sampras comfy height first volleys. Sampras with lower rate but more regularly getting balls back low. which brings us to...

Play - Volley & Pass
For a couple of sets, Sampras is presented with low returns from Boris' returning. In last set, he gets more volleys above net

Either way, he's excellent. Makes the low 'volleys' (just 4 FEs - 3 of them 1/2volleys) and the comfortable ones (6 UEs - including 1 groundstroke and 1 non serve-volley, net-to-net shot)
He gets plenty of low volleys and 1/2volleying is particularly good, with decent placement and depth of shot. a major difference between two players is how they handle the low volleys. Sampras plays drop volleys where Becker volleys up... Sampras' way is much better as far as not leaving opponent a good shot on pass

This is one of Sampras' most decisive showings on the volley. In '95, he volleyed into corners. Here, he just dispatches winners. Just 9 passing FEs for Boris, while Pete has 27 forecourt winners. He sharply punches them through, not unlike Stefan Edberg's 1-volleying style

Becker also volleys very well. He gets a higher proportion and number of low 'volleys' and also has just 4 FEs (2 of them 1/2volleys). Not as good at the shots he makes - he tends to leave easier passes (which is normal, its Sampras' showing that's exceptional) - but makes more of them

Doesn't face as many comfy volleys. Regulation ones around net high are the easier ones he gets. Misses next to none (3 UEs) but not very decisive in his finishing. he volleys mostly to BH and when going to open court (regardless of which side), doesn't volley particularly far away from Sampras

Though it hasn't come out too well in the stats, its Becker who strains to volley to BH more. Sampras volleys to open court and hits winners but ends up forcing 7 BH FEs to just 2 on FH... the winners he hits are independent of which of Becker's side ball is hit. Becker ends up forcing 7 FH FEs and 3 BH ones, despite his more BH-targetting approach. Good lot of these would be from second volleys

High quality of volleying limits what passer can do. Becker in particular is left with almost no good shots on the pass. Sampras has a few more but can't do much with it. His winning passes come mostly after forcing a weak first volley, i.e. relatively easy pasdes. There's some excellent reaction volleying by Boris against these plays too

Summing up, high quality, big serve, serve-volleying match with very thin line between success and ultimate non-success. Becker has some trouble with serve-percentage and double faults which Sampras doesn't, which would push odds of result falling Pete's way. And it does
Stats for final between Sampras and Jim Courier - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...mpras-vs-courier-wimbledon-final-1993.676323/
Stats for '90 final between Stefan Edberg and Becker - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...edberg-vs-becker-wimbledon-final-1990.675878/
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