Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Rafter, Australian Open semi-final, 2001

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Pat Rafter 7-5, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 in the Australian Open semi-final, 2001 on hard court

Agassi, the defending champion, would go onto retain the title by beating Arnaud Clement in the final

Agassi won 161 points, Rafter 140

Rafter serve-volleyed of all but 2 first serves and 10 seconds

Serve Stats
Agassi...
- 1st serve percentage (106/148) 72%
- 1st serve points won (83/106) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (26/42) 62%
- Aces 10 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (47/148) 32%

Rafter...
- 1st serve percentage (96/153) 63%
- 1st serve points won (79/96) 82%
- 2nd serve points won (22/57) 39%
- Aces 22 (3 second serves), Service Winners 3
- Double Faults 6
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (51/153) 33%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 1%

Rafter served...
- to FH 36%
- to BH 83%
- to Body 11%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 96 (35 FH, 61 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 9 Winners (4 FH, 5 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- 26 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 25 Forced (11 FH, 14 BH)
- Return Rate (96/147) 65%

Rafter made...
- 98 (37 FH, 61 BH), including 4 runaround FHs, 11 return-approaches & 1 drop shot
- 7 Winners (5 FH, 2 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 drop shot
- 36 Errors, comprising...
- 18 Unforced (6 FH, 12 BH), including 1 runaround FH, 4 return-approach & 1 drop shot attempt
- 18 Forced (17 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (98/145) 68%

Break Points
Agassi 4/11 (6 games)
Rafter 2/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 43 (16 FH, 23 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Rafter 50 (14 FH, 2 BH, 15 FHV, 2 FH1/2V, 11 BHV, 5 OH, 1 BHOH)

Agassi had 9 returns (4 FH, 5 BH)
- FHs - 3 passes (1 runaround cc, 1 dtl, 1 longline) and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 3 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-in (all passes)

- FH passes - 3 cc (1 at net) and 1 inside-out
- FH regular - 3 dtl (1 running-down-drop-shot at net) and 3 inside-in (1 at net)

- BH passes - 3 cc (1 at net), 8 dtl (1 running-down-drop-shot at net) and 1 inside out
- BH regular - 2 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 drop shot

- 1 BHV was cc drive from the near the baseline and not a net point

Rafter had 32 from serve-volley points
- 21 first 'volleys' (10 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 BHOH, 2 FH at net)
- 11 second 'volleys' (3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 4 OH)

- 7 returns (5 FH, 2 BH)
- FHs - 2 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- BHs - 1 dtl slice and 1 drop shot (probably a mishit)

- FHs - 4 cc, 2 dtl and 1 inside-in

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 36
- 8 Unforced (2 FH, 6 BH)
- 28 Forced (11 FH, 16 BH, 1 FHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.8

Rafter 65
- 43 Unforced (9 FH, 23 BH, 4 FHV, 7 BHV)
- 22 Forced (4 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 3 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 2 BH1/2V, 1 BHOH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 43.5

(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...
- 13/19 (68%) at net, with..
- 1/3 (33%) forced back

Rafter was...
- 85/133 (64%) at net, including...
- 73/110 (66%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 56/72 (78%) off 1st serve and..
- 17/38 (45%) off 2nd serve
--
- 5/11 (45%) return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Fitness lets Patrick Rafter down in what was shaping up to be a great match. Commentary isn't in English so I'm not sure what happened - I think it started with cramps - but he plays like a zombie for the last two sets. Prior to that, the action was both high quality and even

Conditioning was likely to play a role in the match. It is obviously extremely hot. Rafter is sweating a lot right at the start and half way through the first set, Agassi joins him in that state. By the end of the first set, both players are completely drenched in sweat - Rafter in particular looks like someone whose jumped into a swimming pool with his clothes on

Rafter was known as a player who sweated profusely, but I don't recall it being this much. At changeovers, both players towel off. Half way through the first game after, he's invariably pouring sweat. If todays players towel off too much, this was a case when Rafter would have been well served to have done the same

Long before Rafter has his cramps, or whatever it was, both players look to conserve energy. As early as mid-way through the third set, both players semi-tank return games they've fallen behind on - returning carelessly and not running after balls

There's an amusing incident indicating that the heat had got to Agassi too. In 1999 US Open final, his opponent Todd Martin was clearly tired by the fifth set and Agassi had gone out of his way to demonstrate how fresh he was by running to and from changeovers. A little psychological demonstration of strength. In this match, he starts doing the same... but after jogging a couple of paces, thinks better of it and just walks to his chair. He's tired enough not to waste energy playing such games

Agassi plays like Mats Wilander, with an exaggerated attention to percentage tennis. Normally, he's apt to return very aggressively against serve-volleyers - seemingly preferring to make a return error than leave his opponent easy-ish volleys. Not in this match. His focus seems to be just getting the ball back in play. He does so with more power than most players would muster, but clearly that's the focus - and neither power nor placement of returns is exceptional. Note Rafter with 21 first volley winners. The bulk of them were easy volleys - though Rafter is precise in putting them away

Agassi does nothing with the serve. You hear of players effectively serving two first serves. Agassi basically serves 2 decent second serves. Most of the time, Rafter doesn't have to move and can take a comfortable swing on the return against first serves. Note Rafter with 18 unforced return errors. A large chunk of those were first serves... I saw nothing in them to warrant calling the misses forced errors

Note also Rafter striking 7 return of serve winners, most against first serves. Patrick Rafter should not be able to swat return winners against good first serves - and he doesn't, he swats them of very ordinary first serves

I think Rafter misses a trick in not chip-charging first serves. Early on, he hits some excellent chip-charge returns against the second serve - sharp and deep to the BH. He could probably have done so against many an Agassi first serve also. Instead, he tends to be passively slice BH returns

Rafter's return error breakdown is curious. Forced, its 17 FH and 1 BH. Unforced, its 6 FH and 12 BH... he does not return well off the BH at all - neither getting balls back in play nor being aggressive.

Bad returning from Rafter against at best, average serving from Agassi
On the flip side, Rafter serves decently enough and Agassi returns more consistently and less damagingly than his norm
End unreturned serve numbers (32% Agassi, 33% Rafter) is tainted by what happens post Rafter loss of conditioning. Rafter had a healthy lead on this front prior to that

Agassi's Wilander impression doesn't end with serving and returning. Note the 8 UEs in play for the match. And that isn't particularly affected by Rafter's troubles. After 2 hard fought sets, Agassi had 3 UEs. My stats and report from the final seem to indicate he played the same game there too. Likely, it was the way he played the whole tournamnet

Against another baseliner, I can see it being smart strategy. Against a net rusher like Rafter, I think it was risky (then again, what isn't against Pat Rafter?). As long as Rafter could hold serve off serve-volleying, he could let loose on return games with nothing to lose

Rafter struggles all match on his second serve points. First set, he wins 6/18 and second set, 1/5. Credit Agassi for making life difficult while holding back on return, but that doesn't help him against the first serve. Rafter dominates even post-condition loss (wins 21/28 @ 75% in last two sets. First 3 sets is even more dominant - 58/68 @ 85%)

Its a medium paced court... well as Rafter serves, I don't think he serves 85% first serve winning well. Some discredit to Agassi for letting this happen

Agassi is the stronger player in the first set. Rafter blows him away in the second - 15 winners, 6 UEs for him - with strong returning and choice, attacking baseline play. Third set is about dead even, and both players are feeling the heat by the end of it (Rafter more). Thereon, Rafter isn't in the match

Some credit to Agassi for taking Rafter's troubles in stride. Often you see players thrown off when their opponent gets injured. Not here. Agassi keeps playing the same way he has... with Rafter's level dropping drastically in all areas, there are more winners for Agassi, but the way he's playing hasn't changed

Summing up, potential great match between a very percentage conscious Agassi and the net rushing Rafter, falling short of that due to Rafter's physical issues. Conditions were very tough - credit Agassi's fitness for being upto handling it

Stats for the final between Agassi and Clement - https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/match-stats-report-agassi-vs-clement-australian-open-final-2001.645861/
 

krosero

Legend
Incredibly Rafter's previous best performance at the AO was his R16 loss to Agassi back in '95.

An AP report by John Pye:

In high humidity inside Rod Laver Arena, Agassi needed 3 hours, 7 minutes to advance to his fifth final in the last eight Grand Slam tournament.​
He made a backhand error in a third-set tiebreaker and fell behind, then rallied as Rafter began to cramp.​
In Sunday's final, he'll play the winner of Thursday's all-French semifinal between No. 15 Arnaud Clement or No. 16 Sebastien Grosjean.​
"They both have their weapons. ... They're both incredibly fast and they're both great competitors," Agassi said. "It will affect how I play, but I've basically got to stick to what it is I do."​
He has a 2-2 record against Clement and won his only match against Grosjean in straight sets during the first round of the 1998 U.S. Open.​
Agassi had 12 unforced errors in 50 games against Rafter and said it was more important to limit mistakes than seek a quick victory.​
"You're telling yourself just keep executing," he said. "But you don't want to take too many chances ... so it's a fine balance."​
Rafter was soaked in sweat after the match.​
"Yeah, it was definitely the heat," he said. "I think Andre and I both felt it, but I don't handle it quite as well I guess."​
In the fifth set, Rafter was limping on the court, unable to catch up with passing shots. He was examined by a trainer during the break between the fourth and fifth sets.​
Agassi, working Rafter to the corners of the court, had a combined 46 backhand and forehand winners in the last two sets.​

I saw a version of this match with partial coverage by Aussie TV. The announcers on that coverage were not certain what was troubling Rafter, but they thought that Pat looked just like he had in a recent Davis Cup tie in Barcelona, when he had had to default after a similar physical situation.

I took just two stats for the match.

In the tiebreak, Agassi made 6 of 6 first serves, Rafter 3 of 6.

Agassi made his first serve on 2 of 4 break points, Rafter on 9 of 11. Agassi’s two misses were in the second set; in that set he double-faulted on break point, at 1-2. Rafter’s two misses were in the fourth, after he started cramping.
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
(Agassi) made a backhand error in a third-set tiebreaker and fell behind, then rallied as Rafter began to cramp.
down the line winner attempt... unusually shot choice for him in this match

Most of the rest of the tiebreak was unreturned serves - 5/6 for Rafter, 4/5 for Agassi

Agassi had 12 unforced errors in 50 games against Rafter and said it was more important to limit mistakes than seek a quick victory."You're telling yourself just keep executing," he said. "But you don't want to take too many chances ... so it's a fine balance."
That's how I read Agassi's play

12 UEs... if that figure includes returns and double faults, we have an exact match. Rare. I remember it happened for a box score you provided for the Becker-Lendl '88 Masters match on Lendl's net points

Agassi, working Rafter to the corners of the court, had a combined 46 backhand and forehand winners in the last two sets.
He had 19 clean winners in the last 2 sets
And Rafter with 14 UEs and 7 FEs

That's a weirdly off figure

I saw a version of this match with partial coverage by Aussie TV. The announcers on that coverage were not certain what was troubling Rafter, but they thought that Pat looked just like he had in a recent Davis Cup tie in Barcelona, when he had had to default after a similar physical situation.
In the version I saw, commentary was in Japanese, but cut to English during changeovers - and they talked about this

They quoted Rafter as saying nothing like what happened in Barcelona had ever happened to him before and he thought the reason for it was how emotionally excited he'd gotten following Lleyton Hewitt's match (presumably just before taking the court himself)

Rafter seems to be a refreshingly, easy going guy. Saw a clip of him answering a question about how hard was it to get over the loss to Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 2000 final... the kind of question journalists ask looking for a "oh, it was so devastating and heartbreaking" type reply

He said something like it took a shower and beer.... not blase like, just authentic self-expression
 
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