Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Becker, Indian Wells semi-final, 1995


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Boris Becker 6-4, 7-6(4) in the Indian Wells semi-final, 1995 on hard court

Agassi, who had recently won the Australian Open, would go onto lose the final to Pete Sampras. Becker was ranked third in the world

Agassi won 73 points, Becker 68

Becker serve-volleyed off all first serves and most seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (51/70) 73%
- 1st serve points won (42/51) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (10/19) 53%
- Aces 1, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/70) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (51/71) 72%
- 1st serve points won (39/51) 76%
- 2nd serve points won (11/20) 55%
- Aces 14 (1 second serve, 1 not clean), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/71) 49%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 68%

Becker served....
- to FH 41%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 33 (13 FH, 20 BH)
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 17 Forced (8 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (33/68) 49%

Becker made...
- 49 (17 FH, 32 BH), including 2 runaround FHs, 9 return-approaches & 1 drop-return
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (3 FH, 8 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 5 Forced (2 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (49/68) 72%

Break Points
Agassi 1/5 (3 games)
Becker 0/1

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 26 (8 FH, 16 BH, 2 OH)
Becker 15 (3 FH, 1 BH, 2 FHV, 5 BHV, 4 OH)

Agassi's FH passes - 3 cc (1 return), 1 dtl, 1 inside-in return and 1 lob
- regular FHs - 1 inside-in and 1 inside-in/cc
- BH passes - 5 cc (1 return - played 1 handed), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out, 1 longline return and 4 lobs
- regular BHs - 3 dtl and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc at net

- 1 OH was on the bounce from the baseline

Becker had 7 from serve-volley points
- 5 first volleys (1 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 second volley (1 OH)
- 1 third volley (1 BHV)

- 2 from return-approach points - 1 BHV and 1 OH

- 1 other FHV was played net-to-net

- FHs - 2 dtl and 1 inside-in
- BH - 1 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 16
- 6 Unforced (2 FH, 4 BH)
- 10 Forced (4 FH, 6 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

Becker 25
- 16 Unforced (5 FH, 9 BH, 2 BHV)... with 2 FHs at net
- 9 Forced (3 FH, 1 FH1/2V, 5 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.5

(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...
- 4/7 (57%) at net, with...
- 1/2 forced back

Becker was...
- 35/61 (57%) at net, including...
- 29/46 (63%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 23/35 (66%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/11 (55%) off 2nd serve
- 4/9 (44%) return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back

Match Report
Very close, and surprisingly serve-dominated match on a slow-ish court. First set is decided by a bad line call, the second by a series of terrible shots in tiebreak by Becker. In between, returner is rarely able to muster any counter-play

In the case of Becker, this is surprising. Agassi's serve is average, his first serves about the quality of Becker's second. So why is he winning a gigantic 82% first serve points? Great as Agassi played, I would somewhat discredit Boris for this. Not only is he outmatched in play, he seems to feel it even more than it is

Serve & Return

Average serving from Agassi. He serves at 73% but has just the 1 ace (Becker has 14 - including a second serve). Typically, Becker's second serve is at least as strong as Agassi's first (in fact, probably stronger)

Decent returning from Boris. His return rate of 72% against average serving doesn't look great, but returns with significant aggression. Note all the fancy returns - 2 runaround FHs, 9 return-approaches (most chip-charges, but with a couple big cut ones thrown in) and 1 drop-return. On top of that, he regularly goes for big cut cc returns and occasionally, dtl winner attempts of the second shot. Not too successful with attacking returns but returning fairly consistently overall gives him the luxury of having a whack on occasion

Becker serves fantastically - this is probably the best serving display I've seen from him. For starters, 72% first serves in is outstanding for anyone, let alone him. He holds back a bit with the first serve, particularly in first set, but is near enough full throttle in second set. Still keeps the very high first in count, only now, he's raining down aces

Compare Becker's numbers with Pete Sampras' in the final to come -
- 1st serve in - Becker 72%, Sampras 60%
- Unreturned serves - Becker 49%, Sampras 40%
- Percentage of first serves per ace/service winner - Becker 31%, Sampras 32% (Boris also has a second serve ace)

In first set, Becker serves at 68%, unreturned rate 32% with aces/service winners 2
In second, its 74% in, 60% unreturned with 15 aces/service winners

Agassi returns about as well as possible. What he can get in play, he hits heftily. He doesn't budge from his taking-it-early position, which contributes to Boris' success

In general, Agassi never did move back and tone down counter-attacking returning. Would have been a good extra to have in his repertoire, when confronted by serving like this. Since he's winning overwhelming bulk of neutrally started points, he obviously doesn't need the return to grab initiative. is the damage his returns do worth all the unreturned serves he gives up due to his style and position?

Play - Baseline
Agassi plays from the baseline and is very strong. Off both sides, he hits with power, authority and consistency. Just 6 UEs for him (Becker has 16) to go with 26 winners... looks great

It is great.. but not as great as it looks, in overall context of match. First of all, he's giving up 2 boatloads of unreturned serves (almost all credit to Boris' serve for that), so basically starts with a handicap in play. Numbers less impressive than +20 on winners/UEs wouldn't cut it in this light

Note he's forced just 3 baseline errors out of Boris (who is typically, slow of foot) and has 5 baseline-to-baseline winners. Boris himself has 4 such winners and a comparable number of non-pass errors forced.
In other words, Agassi's advantage from the back is mostly one of consistency. Just the 6 UEs to Boris' 12

Boris though, seems to want absolutely nothing to do with playing Agassi from the back. Not only does he serve-volley almost all the time (stays back 6 second serves total), he looks to come in early (including off return) and throws in some desperately low percentage approaches (read: suicidal)

Clearly Agassi is the better baseliner, but not to the extent to justify Boris strategy. From baseline, Boris trails consistency off BH but is just as strong off FH (and doesn't even trail consistency there - he has 3 UEs to Agassi's 2). He lets loose with odd big BHs, including longline to go along with slices in both directions, occasionally dropped short intentionally

In nutshell, Boris plays well enough from baseline to have hung in and played a normal game with reasonable success, while looking for openings to come in (granted, the way Agassi hit, chances weren't likely to come up too often). Instead, he seems to be in mad rush to get to net


Hall of Fame
Play - Volley & Pass
Most of Becker at net vs Agassi on the pass is settled by Becker's serve, leaving smaller half of pie be Becker volley vs Agassi pass

Agassi comes out ahead on this - and his passing is first class. Especially the lobbing. And against good volleying from Bors

Just 2 volleying UEs from Boris and neither are easy. On first, he's not fully in position after chip-charging to a regulation ball. The second is to a slow, but dropping ball. He doesn't get many easy volleys, but doesn't miss them when he does. Punches them through well too, placing them away from Agassi

The passing errors Agassi makes are thus on hard side - they'd have to be fantastic shots for him to make the pass. And he does make a good number, especially with the lob. Some of them are played on run, at least 1 when the ball had actually passed him slightly and so on. And Boris - 1 of the best smashers the game has seen - doesn't have a ghost of a chance to OH, he doesn't even try. And the balls land well inside baseline for winners, with Boris rightly not bothering to try to retrieve them. A++ for Agassi on the lob

Rest is made up of Boris' 'suicide approaches', which are good pressure ploys at least. Agassi doesn't seem to mind - and just blasts passes by him, seemingly every time

In nutshell, good volleying from Boris, great passing from Agassi

Match Progression
First set is all easy holds, until the break. Agassi loses 5 points in 5 service games and sans the break, Becker loses 4 in 4 games. Becker serve-volleys virtually all the time, and looks to find net in return games, while Agassi hits meaty groundstrokes, usually short of attacking, without seeming to be able on missing

And then the break. 40-15 up, Becker serve-volleys down the 'T' and leaves Agassi's stretched return. It lands out, but is not called. Becker is furious - understandably - and carries on at the line judge a bit even next game. The chair, sporting dark glasses, won't overrule, though he does (correctly) a very similar ball when the players' roles reversed

3 great passes later (FH cc, BH lob and running FH lob) later, Agassi's broken

Becker gets to 0-30 with Agassi serving for set game after, with 2 net winners. Couple of attacking ground shot errors later - the FH is outright wild - Agassi's back in control and takes the set

Boris is still not a happy bunny at start of second set (first game of which carries on right after last game of first set without changeover), and his mood wouldn't be helped by Agassi bashing passes to go up 0-40

He responds beautifully. Having held back on serve in first set, he now lets loose. After Agassi misses a tough lob on first break point, rest of match 26/39 or 67% Becker serves don't come back. Next game, he's down break point again, having double faulted twice. He responds with 3 aces in a row

All easy holds form there to Agassi serving to take set into tiebreak. Becker launches a furious assault in it, raising his only break point with 3 attacking plays (2 winners, 1 forced error). Agassi though holds up just as impressively. Last 5 points in the game are all winner - 2 by Becker, 3 by Agassi

Tiebreak is interesting. Becker moves ahead with a perfect BH dtl from regulation position. Then he misses a regulation return, which isn't too bad, but follows up missing an easy, putaway FH at net to give back mini-break

Then wins a great point - his first volley 1/2volley bring Agassi in, his second volley a lob sending Agassi back, and his third volley a winner.
Then makes a suicidal approach - it'd be genius if he'd pulled it off and is worth a shot - but Agassi's up to making strong enough pass to win point
Then its Agassi's turn as he misses a regulation BH. It brings home just how solid he'd been all match
Becker has the last 2 words though. He misses a slowly dropping BHV and follows up by missing another FH at net - this one even easier than the first - a horrendous error. Agassi finishes with service winner

Summing up, serving about as good as you'll see from Boris, strong and steady baseline stuff from Agassi, good volleying from Boris, tremendous passing from Agassi... a high quality match. Boris is just a bit disappointing in his play in return games. Very little in the result - 1 bad call in first set and some terrible shots from Boris in second set tiebreak - gives it to Agassi

Stats for the final between Agassi and Pete Sampras -
Stats for pair's '90 semi -
Stats for their US Open semi later in the year -