Duel Match Stats/Reports - Sampras vs Edberg, Indian Wells semi-finals, 1995 & 1994

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Pete Sampras beat Stefan Edberg 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Indian Wells semi-final, 1995 on hard court

Sampras would go onto defend his title by beating Andre Agassi in the final. Edberg was ranked 16 at the time

Sampras won 91 points, Edberg 88

Sampras serve-volleyed off all first serves and very rarely off seconds. Edberg serve-volleyed off all but 1 first serve and most of the time off seconds

(Note: I'm missing serve direction for 1 Sampras serve, an ace)

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (53/90) 59%
- 1st serve points won (43/53) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (15/37) 41%
- Aces 13, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/90) 37%

Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (62/89) 70%
- 1st serve points won (44/62) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (12/27) 44%
- Aces 6 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (30/89) 34%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 9%

Edberg served...
- to FH 21%
- to BH 53%
- to Body 26%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 55 (14 FH, 41 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 7 Winners (2 FH, 5 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 24 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 23 Forced (5 FH, 18 BH)
- Return Rate (55/85) 65%

Edberg made...
- 52 (15 FH, 37 BH), including 6 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 20 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 FH)
- 18 Forced (7 FH, 11 BH)
- Return Rate (52/86) 60%

Break Points
Sampras 4/8 (5 games)
Edberg 3/8 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 27 (9 FH, 13 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV)
Edberg 23 (4 FH, 9 BH, 3 FHV, 6 BHV, 1 OH)

Sampras had 7 returns (2 FH, 5 BH), all passes
- FHs - 1 cc and 1 runaround dtl
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in

- FH passes - 2 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BH passes - 1 cc, 5 dtl (1 at net) and 1 longline

- regular FH - 1 inside-out

-7 from serve-volley points -
- 3 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH at net)
- 4 second 'volleys' (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 FH at net)

Edberg had 8 from serve-volley points
- 7 first volleys (2 FHV, 5 BHV)
- 1 second volley (1 FHV)

- FH passes - 1 cc and 1 dtl return
- BH passes - 4 cc (1 net chord flicker), 1 dtl return, 1 inside-out return and 1 longline

- regular FHs - 2 inside-in
- regular BHs - 2 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 31
- 11 Unforced (4 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 20 Forced (4 FH, 13 BH, 1 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 53.6

Edberg 26
- 12 Unforced (2 FH, 2 BH, 4 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 14 Forced (6 FH, 4 BH, 3 BHV, 1 Behind-Back Volley)
- 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...
- 34/51 (67%) at net, including...
- 30/43 (70%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 29/39 (74%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/4 (25%) off 2nd serve
---
- 0/1 return-approaching

Edberg was...
- 51/82 (62%) at net, including...
- 46/70 (66%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 38/56 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 8/14 (57%) off 2nd serve
---
- 2/6 (33%) return-approaching

Match Report
Good tight match of fluctuating form. Sampras' hand of card does seem the more likely to come out on top on a slow-ish hard court

Break points - Sampras 4/8, Edberg 3/8 with both players having them in 5 games. Sampras serves 1 more game, 1 more point and wins 3 more points. Looks as close as you can get

In numbers, Sampras' big serve advantage doesn't seem much of major difference either - he's only +3% up on unreturned serve. By eye though, its a huge difference - more Edberg's below average serve setting him back then Sampras' big one giving him a big advantage

Serve & Return
Edberg's serve is ordinary. And he directs it very predictably to close to Sampras with 53% to the BH and 26% to body. In other words, where Sampras can reach the ball without trouble. Lots of kick serves but they don't get up too high - typically, lower ribs level. Sans serve-volleying (Edberg serve volleys almost 100% of the time for 2 sets), I'd estimate Sampras could comfortably return 80% of it

With all the serve-volleying, Sampras returns 65%. But, he's got a good shot on every return. Wouldn't be at all surprising if he hit any number of the balls he misses for winners or hit them with error-forcing authority
By contrast, Sampras serves bombs - that Edberg does well to get racquet on

The two miss similar number of returns - Sampras 24, Edberg 20 (discounting aces) - the kind Sampras misses are also the ones he whacks for winners, while the kind Edberg misses are near unreturnable

With a starting dynamic like that, I'd expect Sampras to string a few returns together sooner or later to break. Edberg by contrast, would probably need Sampras to miss first serves or miss some easy volleys to have chances on return... the prospects are loaded against Edberg here
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Play - Volley & Pass
Bar 1 Edberg first serve (when he was leading 40-0), both players serve-volley off all first serves. Edberg does so off almost all seconds too until the third set when a fair amount

Sampras serve sees to it that he doesn't face many tough volleys. The few he does, he handles well, especially the 1/2volley. Most balls are above the net for at least comfortable volleys, if not putaways

Sampras deals efficiently, volleying them away from Edberg but short of into corners. Court seems to be too slow for volleys to be punched through too decisively (even Edberg isn't able to do so). Edberg's usually left with a look at the pass at least,

On flip side, Edberg gets more difficult first volleys. He hits a few low ones back deftly but 1/2volleys weakly (which is normal for the shot - it suffers next to Sampras' showing though). Just 4 FEs on the volley (including a Behind-the-Back volley) isn't a bad number for Edberg

He's not too polished in killing points though, partially because the body-ish serving keeps court court closed for him to volley into. Sampras is left with makeable passes and even ones he has a good look on not infrequently. He also become predicatable in volleying to Sampras BH (note 13 BH FEs to 4 FH ones for Pete. Also, 7 non-return BH pass winners to 5 on FH)

Finally, quite a lot of drop-ish volleying from Edberg. They're not full on drop volleys, just volleyed short... Sampras tends to run them down and smack winners from around the service line

Quality of Edberg's volleys isn't great either. Note the high 8 UEs - almost all regulation to easy ones

On the pass, Edberg has few chances. Does about as well as he's allowed. Sampras makes some, misses some. There's scope for improvement, but in all, good showing from him, especially BH dtl, where he has 5 winners

Gist is, both on return-pass and pass in play, Sampras has more shots and good looks. And makes more as a result. Even in controlling for strength of approach shots (including serve), he probably would have advantage for clean hit passes. With the difference in approach shots thrown in... prospects for Edberg coming out ahead look slim. Throw in that Edberg actually proves less consistent on the volley (8 UEs to Sampras 4 forecourt ones), Sampras comes away with a big advantage

Play - Baseline
Not much of it going on, Edberg leading in what little there is. Sampras has 7 UEs, Edberg 4. Edberg has 4 winners, Sampras 1

Sampras is prone to trying to end points early, without much success, Edberg plays more neutrally.

Match Progression
Poor game from Sampras with a pair of double faults and 2 winner attempt misses (a FHV and a FH inside-out)

Edberg's pressed to consolidate though, with Sampras striking 3 return winners, but manages. Edberg breaks again in game 7, this time a strong game from him, ending with a great, running FH cc pass. Sampras breaks back in an extended game before Edberg serves out the set second time round

Momentum is firmly with Edberg and he has 2 break points in opening game of the second set. Baseline rally develops in the second of these, ending with an Edberg BH error - and Sampras goes on to hold

Sampras gains the break in game 6, with Edberg serving 2 doubles and Sampras wrapping up with 2 passes

Sampras breaks to start the third set with 4 winners, and looks to be in control of the match, returning comfortably to the point where Edberg starts staying back off second serves. Unexpectedly, Edberg breaks back in a very poor game from Sampras, missing 2 easy volleys, a third ball FH winner attempt and throwing in a double fault

Few games later though, Edberg returns the favour, missing 3 easy-to-regulation volleys in succession from 30-15 up to get broken. He's very close to smacking a ball in frustration at the end of it, but controls himself

Serving for the match, Sampras twice comes in behind his second serve - and the returns go by him both times. Edberg follows those up with a running get that leaves Sampras an awkward FH at net, that he's able to put in play for winner. Couple of points later, Sampras finishes with a stop BHV winner to end the match

Summing up, good, tight match. The huge difference in power of serve seems to stack prospects in Sampras' favour and in that light, Edberg does well to keep the match so close. He would have needed Sampras to play badly to get further than that but Sampras remains at least steady behind the big serve while having countless chances to make his own opportunities against Edberg's average serve

Stats for the final between Sampras and Andre Agassi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-reports-sampras-vs-agassi-indian-wells-miami-finals-1995.671575/
Stats for the pair's first match, '90 Los Angeles semi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-edberg-vs-sampras-los-angeles-semi-final-1990.659566/
 

beltsman

Legend
Play - Volley & Pass
Bar 1 Edberg first serve (when he was leading 40-0), both players serve-volley off all first serves. Edberg does so off almost all seconds too until the third set when a fair amount

Sampras serve sees to it that he doesn't face many tough volleys. The few he does, he handles well, especially the 1/2volley. Most balls are above the net for at least comfortable volleys, if not putaways

Sampras deals efficiently, volleying them away from Edberg but short of into corners. Court seems to be too slow for volleys to be punched through too decisively (even Edberg isn't able to do so). Edberg's usually left with a look at the pass at least,

On flip side, Edberg gets more difficult first volleys. He hits a few low ones back deftly but 1/2volleys weakly (which is normal for the shot - it suffers next to Sampras' showing though). Just 4 FEs on the volley (including a Behind-the-Back volley) isn't a bad number for Edberg

He's not too polished in killing points though, partially because the body-ish serving keeps court court closed for him to volley into. Sampras is left with makeable passes and even ones he has a good look on not infrequently. He also become predicatable in volleying to Sampras BH (note 13 BH FEs to 4 FH ones for Pete. Also, 7 non-return BH pass winners to 5 on FH)

Finally, quite a lot of drop-ish volleying from Edberg. They're not full on drop volleys, just volleyed short... Sampras tends to run them down and smack winners from around the service line

Quality of Edberg's volleys isn't great either. Note the high 8 UEs - almost all regulation to easy ones

On the pass, Edberg has few chances. Does about as well as he's allowed. Sampras makes some, misses some. There's scope for improvement, but in all, good showing from him, especially BH dtl, where he has 5 winners

Gist is, both on return-pass and pass in play, Sampras has more shots and good looks. And makes more as a result. Even in controlling for strength of approach shots (including serve), he probably would have advantage for clean hit passes. With the difference in approach shots thrown in... prospects for Edberg coming out ahead look slim. Throw in that Edberg actually proves less consistent on the volley (8 UEs to Sampras 4 forecourt ones), Sampras comes away with a big advantage

Play - Baseline
Not much of it going on, Edberg leading in what little there is. Sampras has 7 UEs, Edberg 4. Edberg has 4 winners, Sampras 1

Sampras is prone to trying to end points early, without much success, Edberg plays more neutrally.

Match Progression
Poor game from Sampras with a pair of double faults and 2 winner attempt misses (a FHV and a FH inside-out)

Edberg's pressed to consolidate though, with Sampras striking 3 return winners, but manages. Edberg breaks again in game 7, this time a strong game from him, ending with a great, running FH cc pass. Sampras breaks back in an extended game before Edberg serves out the set second time round

Momentum is firmly with Edberg and he has 2 break points in opening game of the second set. Baseline rally develops in the second of these, ending with an Edberg BH error - and Sampras goes on to hold

Sampras gains the break in game 6, with Edberg serving 2 doubles and Sampras wrapping up with 2 passes

Sampras breaks to start the third set with 4 winners, and looks to be in control of the match, returning comfortably to the point where Edberg starts staying back off second serves. Unexpectedly, Edberg breaks back in a very poor game from Sampras, missing 2 easy volleys, a third ball FH winner attempt and throwing in a double fault

Few games later though, Edberg returns the favour, missing 3 easy-to-regulation volleys in succession from 30-15 up to get broken. He's very close to smacking a ball in frustration at the end of it, but controls himself

Serving for the match, Sampras twice comes in behind his second serve - and the returns go by him both times. Edberg follows those up with a running get that leaves Sampras an awkward FH at net, that he's able to put in play for winner. Couple of points later, Sampras finishes with a stop BHV winner to end the match

Summing up, good, tight match. The huge difference in power of serve seems to stack prospects in Sampras' favour and in that light, Edberg does well to keep the match so close. He would have needed Sampras to play badly to get further than that but Sampras remains at least steady behind the big serve while having countless chances to make his own opportunities against Edberg's average serve

Stats for the final between Sampras and Andre Agassi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-reports-sampras-vs-agassi-indian-wells-miami-finals-1995.671575/
Stats for the pair's first match, '90 Los Angeles semi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-edberg-vs-sampras-los-angeles-semi-final-1990.659566/
Great stuff, thanks.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Edberg had a decent record overall against Sampras - 6-8 if I recall correctly, including a win in a Slam final. Sure, it was Baby Pete at the 1991 1992 USO , but Pete had already won a Slam at that point, so it was a legit quality win by Edberg
 
Last edited:

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Edberg had a decent record overall against Sampras - 6-8 if I recall correctly, including a win in a Slam final. Sure, it was Baby Pete at the 1991 USO , but Pete had already won a Slam at that point, so it was a legit quality win by Edberg
It was the 1992 U.S. Open, followed by a straight set win in the SF of the 1993 1994 Australian Open. Edberg also went on to beat Sampras in a 3rd set tiebreaker at Cincinnati in between Sampras's Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1993.
 
Last edited:

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
It was the 1992 U.S. Open, followed by a straight set win in the SF of the 1994 Australian Open. Edberg also went on to beat Sampras in a 3rd set tiebreaker at Cincinnati in between Sampras's Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1993.
I always get that mixed up. I always think he beat Sampras in 1991 and then Courier the next year, but it's the opposite.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Edberg had a decent record overall against Sampras - 6-8 if I recall correctly, including a win in a Slam final. Sure, it was Baby Pete at the 1991 1992 USO , but Pete had already won a Slam at that point, so it was a legit quality win by Edberg
This match took the h2h to 6-6

wouldn't dream of downplaying '92 match on grounds of Sampras being 'baby'... Sampras was already a great player by then. Maybe wasn't as consistent day to day - though even that's doubtful seeing as he wasn't too hot in that area for most of his reign at the top

From around the same period, this match is one of my favourites - as good as anything he ever produced


Not giving a pass to anybody that can play like that (and the semi with Lendl was near same quality)

It was the 1992 U.S. Open, followed by a straight set win in the SF of the 1994 Australian Open. Edberg also went on to beat Sampras in a 3rd set tiebreaker at Cincinnati in between Sampras's Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1993.
We all seem to be mistyping our years (I do stuff like that even titles sometimes)
Here's the '93 Aus semi


Great stuff, thanks.
My pleasure, Belts - thanks for mentioning it

Where ya' been Belts? Still baiting the kiddies? :)
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In 1994, Sampras beat Edberg 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the semi-final, on hard court

Sampras would go onto win his first title at the event, beating Petr Korda in the final. Edberg was ranked 4th at the time

Sampras won 91 points, Edberg 88

Both players serve-volleyed off all first serves. Off second, Sampras did so occasionally, Edberg vast majority of the time

Serve Stats
Sampras...
- 1st serve percentage (54/85) 64%
- 1st serve points won (42/54) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (18/31) 58%
- Aces 15, Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/85) 44%

Edberg...
- 1st serve percentage (55/94) 59%
- 1st serve points won (40/55) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (23/39) 59%
- Aces 8 (1 not clean)
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (39/94) 41%

Serve Patterns
Sampras served...
- to FH 54%
- to BH 35%
- to Body 11%

Edberg served...
- to FH 33%
- to BH 37%
- to Body 30%

Return Stats
Sampras made...
- 52 (16 FH, 36 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 7 Winners (5 FH, 2 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 30 Forced (11 FH, 19 BH)
- Return Rate (52/91) 57%

Edberg made...
- 43 (22 FH, 21 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 4 Winners (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 22 Errors, comprising...
- 4 Unforced (4 FH), including 3 return-approach attempts*
- 18 Forced (12 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (43/81) 53%

(*Note: Only clear cases have been marked 'return-approach attempts'. There are about 3-5 more that were likely planned return-approaches but less than clearly so - including some forced return errors)

Break Points
Sampras 2/9 (3 games)
Edberg 1/8 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Sampras 26 (11 FH, 5 BH, 3 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
Edberg 23 (4 FH, 6 BH, 7 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)

Sampras had 7 returns (5 FH, 2 BH), all passes
- FHs - 5 cc
- BHs - 1 dtl and 1 inside-in

- FH passes - 1 cc, 3 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 lob
- BH passes - 1 cc and 2 dtl (1 net chord pop over without which Edberg likely had ball covered)

- 8 from serve-volley points -
- 5 first volleys (2 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 3 second volleys (1 BHV, 2 OH)

- 1 other OH was on the bounce from the baseline

Edberg had 11 from serve-volley points
- 5 first volleys (3 FHV, 2 BHV)... 1 BHV was a net chord dribbler
- 6 second volley (3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BHOH)

- FH passes - 1 cc and 1 dtl return
- BH passes - 2 cc and 1 longline

- regular FH - 1 cc return
- regular BHs - 1 cc and 1 net chord dribbler return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Sampras 22
- 7 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH, 3 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 15 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.1

Edberg 24
- 12 Unforced (1 FH, 3 BH, 5 FHV, 3 BHV)... with 1 BH at net
- 12 Forced (2 FH, 8 BH, 2 BHV)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-volley at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50.8

(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 36/55 (65%) at net, including...
- 33/46 (72%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 26/38 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 7/8 (88%) off 2nd serve
---
- 0/1 return-approaching
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Edberg was 55/85 (65%) at net, including...
- 50/75 (67%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 32/47 (68%) off 1st serve and...
- 18/28 (64%) off 2nd serve
---
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
Though very similar of scoreline and basic stats, to my eye this is a much closer match in terms of prospects than the '95 encounter. In '95, chances of Sampras breaking through on return always seemed to greater than Edberg. Here, last 2 sets are near dead even - 1 good return/1 bad service game affairs and completely up in the air. Its not an exaggeration to say match could have gone either way, though taking into account Sampras clear superiority in first set (mostly due to poor play from Edberg), final result is the most appropriate

Note break point numbers: Sampras 2/9 (3 games), Edberg 1/8 (5 games)... Sampras would have had another had match point been thwarted

Both players serve-volley off all first serves. Sampras does so 27% of the time off second serves, Edberg 78%. Conditions seem normal for hard court, a bit quicker than the slowness of the following year

The key difference from previous year is Edberg's superior serving - particularly regarding direction with more serving to a side and not at the body - a topic deserving its own analysis. Match can be seen as two part affair - the first set (odds highly in Sampras' favour) and the next two (even odds)

The 1st Set
Poor first set from Edberg. He -
- serves close to body (much less rest of match)
- serves at 47.8% (rest of match 64.6%)
- makes 10 UEs (2 for rest of match - both in last game of match)

Even then, outcome of set isn't a never-in-doubt case. Just 1 break in it and Edberg has Sampras down 0-40 on back of 2 perfect BH cc passes and a double fault before the break comes (Sampras serves his way out - unreturned serves all all 4 break points in the game) before it. And Edberg has another break point as Sampras serves out the set - which is again met with an unreturned serve, and followed up by 2 more

Sampras breaks in a 12 point game featuring Edberg missing 4 regulation or easy volleys and a double fault on break point

That said, Sampras has far, far more chances and play is in line with '95 match viz. Pete returning comfortably enough as to make break chances likely. In addition to a regular deuce game, 1 Edberg service game lasts 22 points - to put that in perspective, he serves 25 points in 5 games next set and 23 points in 5 more in the last

Slight difference from '95 match where Sampras regularly hit very damaging returns. Here, he gets returns in play normally and Edberg makes a hash of volleys. 7 forecourt UEs for the set (including a BH at net)

The 2nd & 3rd Sets
Much better from Edberg, with Sampras' level about the same

Edberg loses 5 points in 5 service games and gets in 2 of Sampras' games

The first he does is an indicator of the tough task he has. He has to hit 3 remarkable winners to reach break point - a stretched FH dtl return pass, a FH cc pass (after Sampras fails to putaway 2 OHs - the first tricky, the second low-ish for an OH) and a running BH longline pass. On break point, Pete hits a top class, first volley, low-ish BHV inside-out for winner

Sampras is broken in the second. A poor game where he misses all 6 first serves, double faults once and make a couple baseline errors

Third set is almost all easy holds. Sampras loses 2 points in 4 service games. On the 5th, strong play from Edberg gives him break point. He flicks a half-volley lob from baseline to force Sampras back, comes in and hits a difficult low, wide BHV for winner to bring up break point. On it, he's faced with another deep volley that he can't handle

Edberg also loses 2 points in 4 service games, then he's broken to 15 to end the match. He opens the game missing 2 regulation volley misses - his first UEs in 21 games - and Sampras finishes strongly with a 1/2volley forcing return leading to a net-to-net Sampras FHV winner and on match point, a FH cc return pass winner

Serve & Return
Typical powerful serving display from Sampras, who bangs down 13 aces, 3 service winners and has 44% serves unreturned. Though rarely serve-volleying behind it, his second serve is a hefty blow too and he wins 7/8 when he does follow it to net. Not surprising - its a reasonable weapon

Edberg returns reasonably well. Obviously return rate of 53% isn't good... but what he makes, he makes with reasonable firmness. Sampras is not left with putaway volleys, but proves very good against difficult low ones, including half-volleys

You could say Edberg's returns invites Sampras to not volley well - lots of balls not difficult to put in play but not easy to putaway. Its not much to be going on from returners point of view, but often the best that can be managed against Pete

More later on Edberg's serving. Briefly, in first set he serves very body-ishly. Sampras does not return too damagingly but similar to Edberg in the match - and Edberg accepts invitation to not volley well

second and third sets, Sampras has difficulty returning against more classic, widely placed serves with body serves thrown in for variety. 22/48 of Edberg's serves go unreturned or 46%. Some discredit to Pete for this - even better placed, Edberg's serve probably doesn't warrant that kind of a number, particularly as Pete wasn't blasting returns but mostly credit to Edberg here

A very high level critique of Edberg's returning. His go to attacking return against second serves is return-approach (chip-charge or otherwise). He can't execute and misses at least 3 (about 3-4 more were probably attempts) and makes just 1. Against Sampras' strong second serve, its no easy shot to pull off... but its something Edberg would have needed to gain attacking chances
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Volley & Pass
Decent from Sampras on both fronts. His volleying isn't spectacular but he doesn't miss much (4 forecourt UEs, 3 FEs) and places volleys away from Edberg. It would require spectacular passing to do damage regardless and Edberg can rarely hit such a peak

One slight oddity. While serving mostly to Edberg's FH (54% to 35% to BH), Pete almost always volleys to BH (Edberg 7 BH FEs to 2 on FH)

Poor volleying for first set by Edberg and then he doesn't miss a ball until last game of match. He's in 2 part volleying style, while not volleying into corners, leaves Pete with difficult passes. He avoids Pete's FH like the plague, only volleying in that direction when its into a corner, leaving a full running pass (Pete has 3 FH FEs and 9 BHs)

Not much chance on the pass for Pete, but scope for doing better. He can rarely give Edberg a tough second volley

Summing up, very close match. Edberg's poor on serve and on the volley in first set but next 2 are both 50-50 deals. As steadier across match as a whole, Sampras taking it is most likely outcome

General - Edberg's Serving Strategies & Potential Alternatives
Body and body-ish serving is a general trend in Edberg's matches

Classic serve-volley tactics is to serve out and then volley into open court - QED
Edberg - the quintessential serve-volleyer - very often prefers body-ish serving, which leaves the court closed. Why?

I've speculated the reason has to do with inaccuracy of serve and high ability on volley

He's not a great spot server and serves out wide are often not too wide. Power of serve has varied over his career - in the '93 Grand Slam Cup semi, he's serving near as strong as Michael Stich - but generally, his serve has been about average of force

Average paced serve + serving in returners swing zone + serve-volleying... has obvious potential drawbacks. A good returner is liable to thrash winners - and often do against Edberg

By serving close to body, he cuts down on angles for returner to utilize at the cost of leaving open court to volley into

With his ability on the volley, its not a bad idea. Lesser volleyers would likely come to more grief as they miss more volleys and don't volley as decisively. Edberg though is one of the most consistent (i.e. few misses) and damaging (i.e. volleys into corners or well away from baseliner and usually punched through well)

In other words, he doesn't necessarily need a wide open court to be effective on volley, and by not serving out wide, he's making it harder to returners to pass him with the second shot

The bigger cost is that all the body-ish serving makes it relatively easy to return the serve. Edberg's serve isn't so powerful or precise as to be unreturnable when served close to body. A first serve to the body by someone like Sampras has to be fended off right in front of the body. By contrast, Edberg's serve might cramp returner for room a bit, and isn't fast enough to do that too much. Obviously, returner is more likely to make the return when he can reach it comfortably - as body-ish serves allow

In other words, he trusts to his volleys more than his serve. Somewhat out of necessity - his serve isn't strong enough to carry the full load, the way Sampras or Boris Becker's is

We see the problems of his approach in this match. With Sampras able to return reasonably comfortably since serves are easily within reach, Edberg's just a couple of volley errors away from being in plenty of trouble. As happens in the first set. And that's with Sampras returning just normally, putting balls in play firmly but not with challenging power or down low

Sampras is a player capable of being far more damaging with returns than he was in the '94 match

What of the alternative serving out wide? In this match, its a hit and Edberg's far and away better when he uses it. It makes his volleying life easier (in this match, also draws a boatload of errors)
The cost is there to see as well. Note Sampras' 5 FH cc return winners - including on match point. These all utilize the wide angle of the server (the BH return winners he hits are against body-ish serves by contrast)

In general, I think Edberg would have been better of leading more often with orthodoxly placed serving strategy and switching to body-ish if he found that coming in for severe stick, as opposed to the other way round

His serve, though not great, is no gimme either. I imagine normal wide serving would do for most opponents, in conjunction with his volleying and would leave him more margin of error on the volley

The way he more often did things
- returns could be made more comfortably
- thus, his volley was under pressure to deliver

An example of the kind of problems Edberg encountered against power returners are his matches against Andre Agassi - the most damaging of returners, so not a normal example by any means - in 2 matches in the 1990 Year End Championship

In round robin match, Edberg served more to body... and was on the receiving end of some astonishingly powerful returning. In final, he went wide - seemingly trying to keep ball as far from Agassi as he could. Not much changed - returns still got hammered because he's not accurate enough to hit lines with them... and serving to swing zone is even worse than serving to body against a heavy hitter

These issues only come up for a volleyer of Edberg's calibre. Lesser volleyers - basically, almost everyone else save a handful - need the extra space to volley effectively into. He doesn't necessarily. On the whole, I think he'd have done better to start orthodox and adjust from there then the other way round

Stats for '93 Grand Slam Cup semi between Edberg and Michael Stich - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-stich-vs-edberg-grand-slam-cup-semi-final-1993.668565/
Stats for Edberg's '90 YEC matches with Andre Agassi - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/duel-match-stats-report-agassi-vs-edberg-year-end-championship-finals-round-robin-1990.646450/
 
Top