Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Federer, Basel first round, 1998


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2 in the Basel first round/round of 32, 1998 on indoor hard court

This was the first match between the pair. Agassi would go onto win the next 2, Federer the remaining 8 after that. Agassi would go onto lose in the final to Tim Henman. Federer was 17 years old and playing in the event for the first time.

Agassi won 62 points, Federer 41

(Note: I'm missing 1 Agassi service point, won by Agassi. I've made educated guesses about serve type for a small number of points
Missing point - Set 2, Game 4, Point 3)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (24/49) 49%
- 1st serve points won (19/24) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (16/25) 64%
- Unknown serve points won (1/1)
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/49) 39%

- 1st serve percentage (31/53) 58%
- 1st serve points won (21/31) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (6/22) 27%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (13/53) 25%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 27%
- to BH 73%

Federer served...
- to FH 47%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 38 (20 FH, 18 BH)
- 9 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (38/51) 75%

Federer made...
- 29 (10 FH, 19 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (3 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Forced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (29/48) 60%

Break Points
Agassi 4/8 (5 games)
Federer 1/2 (1 game)

Winners (excluding serves, including returns)
Agassi 8 (3 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV)
Federer 10 (8 FH, 2 BH)

Agassi's FHs - 2 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl and 1 drop shot

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first volley, FHV

- the other FHV was a non-net, swinging shot

Federer's FHs - 1 cc at net, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 return), 3 inside-in (1 return) and 1 running-down-drop-shot cc/inside-in pass at net
- BHs - 1 cc and 1 longline/cc

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 17
- 14 Unforced (7 FH, 7 BH)
- 3 Forced (2 FH, 1 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 42.9

Federer 32
- 24 Unforced (11 FH, 10 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH at net & 1 non-net FHV
- 8 Forced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.0

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(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...
- 5/6 (83%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 2nd serve

Federer was 4/7 (57%) at net

Match Report
Comfortable win for Agassi, who is the cleaner hitter, while Federer struggles to return in a baseline match on a fast, indoor hard court

Slightly surprising stat is Agassi with large 39% unreturned serves, a full 14% higher than Federer. Court is fast enough for a figure like that for Agassi, though he needs some help from Federer not returning well to get there

There's very little net play - 13 approaches between the two players, about 3-4 of them forced - which leaves rest of play to be fought out from the baseline, with Agassi having the cushion of leading on serve-return complex. And Agassi hits categorically cleaner and harder than Fed, particularly of the BH, where Fed seems particularly outmatched

Agassi leads the baseline dance. He goes dual winged - hammering BHs hard and by his standard, attackingly wide regularly. In general, he tends to go for regulation angled, firm hit BH cc's. Here, he hits harder and throws out wider ones regularly. Fed's BH isn't up to it. He's by far the softer hitter, pushed back or wide and rushed even when slicing. Just a case of Agassi's clean hitting being much better than his opponents and possibly Fed never having encountered hitting of this calibre. When slicing, he's often caught with ball almost past him

On FH, Agassi hits wider more often and Fed's forced to chase balls. Fed holds his own on this wing and his FH has match high 8 winners (Agassi has that many total). The winners come from aggressive shot choices from near regulation positions, but neutrally, Agassi's shot carries more weight. The wide hitting opens up angles and there's significant, open court, running each other side to side play

Movement is about equal. Fed is fleet of foot, and Agassi (slightly surprisingly), the same. Fed's counter-hits in running rallies are wider placed, so Agassi has to do his share of running - and manages

Low 3 FEs for Agassi is largely down to him running such balls down. Fed has 8 - and more of his UEs are relatively difficult shots on the move, too. His missing running shots is more about consistency issues in his shots more than movement ones

Coincidentally, both players have same number of baseline UEs of each wing. Agassi has 7, Fed 10 (excluding a FH at net).... giving Agassi overall baseline advantage of 14 - 21 (Fed also has a baseline FHV UE)

On top of leading play, Agassi seems to know just what he wants to do. Overpower and push Fed around, and move him sideways to hit FHs on move. Its typical Agassi play - not going for winners or even necessarily, forcing errors. More like pressuring and encouraging errors through hard hits and measured, just wide enough placement. His hitting advantage on BH is large, and looking to breakdown Fed's fragile looking BH suggests itself, but Agassi keeps things dual winged

Fed reacts. There are flashes of brilliance - a FH inside-in off third ball against a deep-ish return, 2 cc based BHs to end wide open court rallies, a lovely running-down-drop-volley flicked FH played net to net. And a couple of FH return winners. Mostly though, he has to play Agassi's game - getting pushed back or runaround. And he has spurts of errors

Play isn't even. Federer in particular, loosens up (in a good way) and is more enterprising as match wears on, going for his FH attacking shots and countering with BH dtl shots that catch Agassi out. He also serves more strongly as match wears on (particularly the second serve - but Agassi does this too) and goes for more on the return. It pays off for a brief while before the error bug bites him.

UEFI captures each players style. Agassi's very low 42.9 is function of his 'neutral' shot being powerful enough on this quick court to be damaging (particularly with Fed being loose - in bad way). Fed's is a high 48... he needs to go for enterprising, and hence, riskier shots to end points as his rallying shots don't have that kind of heat behind them
Breakdown of UEs -
- Neutral - Agassi 11, Fed 12
- Attacking - Agassi 2, Fed 5
- Winner Attempts - Agassi 1, Fed 7

Behind all play is serve-return complex. Federer's serving isn't a patch on what it would come to be, but is still a decent first shot. Agassi though, returns commandingly. Right at start, he seems to be looking for winners with the return but eases back after breaking to just, hard hitting, initiative grabbing stuff. Fed wins just 27% second serve points. In second set, he starts serving some forcefully wide second serves to counter, but just a few. About half Fed's first serves are well in Agassi's reach, and anything there gets bopped firmly at least - and usually more

By contrast, Fed struggles against near regulation serves just slightly wide. 7/15 of his return errors are unforced (just 2/9 of Agassi's are). The BH return in particular is vulnerable. The 6 FEs on that side are mostly on makeable side too. Like Fed, Agassi starts serving harder, wider second serves later in match

Fed with slight advantage on the serve alone, and more definitely so in light of his serving at 58% to Agassi's 49%. But Agassi with a much larger one on the return - he thumps his, Fed blocks balls back, while being prone to miss regulation or near regulation returns. On a court this quick, they're not easy returns

Match Progression
Agassi starts like he means business, hammering the ball of both sides, including on the return. A FH inside-out third ball winner and a swinging FHV winner from no-man's land decorate his opening service game, then breaks by taking net on break point and holds again to go up 3-0. Fed survives a 14 point hold to get on the board

Agassi eases of a bit in return games after, and the 1 break is good enough for the set. He opens second set with another break.

Fed breaks back, hitting BH longlines for first time in match that catch Agassi out. And then holds to love in a commanding game to take lead 2-1. That's the last game he wins as he gets particularly error prone. 13/21 UEs come in last 5 games, including 7 in successive points across 3 games (9 if you count a return miss). Agassi comes in behind a second serve on match point to dispatch an easy FHV winner

Summing up, typical, bossily solid match from Agassi - thumping returns and pounding groundstrokes (powerfully off BH where he has large hitting advantage with Fed being a bit soft and wider off FH, where Fed has his chances too). Some nice shot making from Fed and impressive footspeed, but he's not upto trading groundstrokes for long with the heavyweight Agassi

Stats for their last match, the '05 US Open final - (21) Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Agassi, US Open final, 2005 | Talk Tennis (