Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Novak, Rome semi-final, 2002


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Jiri Novak 7-5, 6-4 in the Rome semi-final, 2002 on clay

Agassi would go onto win the title, beating Tommy Haas in the final for what would be his only Masters title on clay. Novak was seeded 14th, Agassi 9th

Agassi won 78 points, Novak 62

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (45/70) 64%
- 1st serve points won (32/45) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (18/25) 72%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/70) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (44/70) 63%
- 1st serve points won (30/44) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (12/26) 46%
- Aces 5 (1 second serve)
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (18/70) 26%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 49%
- to BH 51%

Novak served...
- to FH 46%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 51 (29 FH, 22 BH), including 5 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (2 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 13 Errors, comprising...
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 8 Forced (3 FH, 5 BH)
- Return Rate (51/69) 74%

Novak made...
- 50 (24 FH, 26 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH)
- 7 Forced (4 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (50/69) 72%

Break Points
Agassi 2/6 (3 games)
Novak 0/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 21 (12 FH, 4 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Novak 14 (6 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHV, 1 OH)

Agassi's FHs - 2 cc (1 pass), 1 dtl, 3 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl, 2 inside-in returns (1 runaround), 1 drop shot and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 1 drop shot, 1 lob and 1 'running-down-drop-shot' cc/drop shot at net (Agassi's at net against a net chord dribbler that he guides parallel to net)

- 1 OH on the bounce

Novak's FHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out and 2 inside-in
- BHs - 3 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 drop shot and 1 net chord dribbler

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 29
- 23 Unforced (16 FH, 6 BH, 1 FHV)
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44.8

Novak 37
- 33 Unforced (17 FH, 15 BH, 1 FHV)
- 4 Forced (2 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.0

(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 9/11 (82%) at net

Novak was 3/8 (38%) at net

Match Report
Quick little baseline match on what appears to be a particularly fast clay court. Agassi is cleaner striker in neutral play and gradually takes over to run Novak around with impressive, controlled point construction

Better returning by Agassi is key to his overall superiority. Novak not only has better serve, but its an impressively hefty one by any standard (not just compared to Agassi's decent one)

This comes out in basic stats. 1st serve figures are near even -

- 1st serve in - Agassi 64%, Novak 63%
- 1st serve won - Agassi 71%, Novak 68%

... but 2nd serve points won Agassi 72%, Novak 46%

Its kind of court where 'leading' play with clean hit groundies is liable to result in winning bulk of baseline points (as opposed to more intense 'attacking' play). And returning against strong serves isn't easy. That's whats behind the first serve in and won counts... neither player attacks unduly, but both have healthy unreturned rates (Agassi 27%, Novak 26%) and both servers take leading position after the return. And errors come by the returner

The difference in 2nd serve points spring out of Agassi being able to return normally to neutralizingly, while Novak's return sees same playing dyanamics as the 1st serve points

Stress on 'normal to neutralizing'. By no means does Agassi hammers or punish or dominate with the 2nd return. He gets it back without much trouble and position is 50-50 starting the rally. With Agassi being cleaner hitter, more consistent or more commanding to win 54% of those points

Novak with a good, healthy serve first that's genuinely damaging. Agassi's is of the just-enough to get the error variety

With in-count all but identical (Agassi serves 45 first serves, Novak 44)
- Novak's +1 on aces (he also has a 2nd serve ace) and +1 forcing return errors (with the ones he forces signficantly more difficult than the ones Agassi does, which tend to be 'makeable' returns). Agassi is +4 in drawing UEs (with Novak's errors being bit tougher and Novak more apt to go for the occasional big, point ending return attempt)

Not much in it in serve-return complex. And it is kind of court where serve has potential to be significant factor. Novak looks a good enough server to potentially make that work

Play ends up clearly favouring Agassi
- Winners - Agassi 21, Novak 14
- UEs - Agassi 23, Novak 33
- FES - Agassi 6, Novak 4

The star is the Agassi BH, which has miserly 6 UEs. All other groundies are clumped together (Novak BH 15, Agassi FH 16, Novak FH 17). Play is dual winged though and Agassi doesn't make undue attempt to keep things BH-BH, usually a favourite ploy of his

Agassi's FH is driving force behind his attacking play, almost all of which is in the second set and ends with 12 winners (as many as Novak's FH and BH put together)

So solid off the BH and damaging off the FH by Agassi - a sound, strong game

Note unusually symmetrical showing by Novak across wings
- Winners - 6 apiece
- FEs - 2 apiece
- UEs - FH 17, BH 15

He's a bit more damaging of the FH, but Agassi hits wider and more pressuringly/attackingly to that side with FH cc's, and his FH UEs are usually more attacking shots than his BH. His BH is quite good - of solidity and he can turn it up to hard hitting too, but its outdone by the clean hitting of Agassi's BH

Despite Agassi's signficant superiority, result isn't a certainty. Both players have break points in 3 games - Agassi snatches 2/6, Novak 0/4. Playing 'big points better' is a factor, which tends not to be the case on clay

Match Progression
Its a two part match. First half of first set is poor from both players - missing regulation returns and making UEs early in rallies

14 winners in 2nd set by Agassi, to just 7 in first set reflects changes in how playing dyanmics (and quality) across the 2 sets

Nominally, the first trip to net of match is point 36, but that's a very token approach and would very likely have forced an error without one (no volley is required). First bona fida approach than comes on point 53 in game 8

Play is roughly even, with Agassi having slight consistency advantage, Novak more apt to attack (including miss attacking). Agassi faces break points in both his first 2 service games. Novak climbs out of 0-40 to hold for 4-3 - Agassi missing regulation 1st serve return, blinking in one of the longer rallies of that part of the match and Novak getting a net chord dribbling winner off on the break points

Slighly curious incident when Novak plays Agassi's serve into the ground, certain it was a fault, a fraction of a second before its called a fault. Chair inspects and rules ball touched the line and correctly, Agassi is awarded the point

Agassi breaks towards end in a good game and is pushed to 10 points, saving 2 break points to serve things out. Erases 2nd break point with an ace and then its his turn to get the net chord dribbling winner. A perfectly, just wide enough BH cc mildly forces an error to end the set

Second set, Agassi plays much, much better and takes to moving Novak around, including forward with drop shots. That gets pressured errors or Agassi finishes with winner to open court or even comes in to finish. The superiority hitting of Agassi also become more pronounced and Novak's inability to do anything with the 2nd return means Agassi is always in command of his service games. He loses just 2 points in first 4 holds, though a double fault and powerful return sees him pushed to deuce in serving match out. That follows the sole break of the set - a powerful game by Agassi with 3 FH winners, including a runaround inside-in return on his second break point

14 winners, 8 UEs and commanding, moving Novak around play in the set by Agassi - outstanding showing

Summing up, Agassi returns well enough to neutralize the better serving Novak's second serves, is more secure off the ground (particularly of the BH) and able to take charge of action to move Novak side to side and open up possiblities for ending aggressively. Good showing from Agassi and not a bad one from Novak

Stats for the final between Agassi and Tommy Haas - Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Haas, Rome final, 2002 | Talk Tennis (