Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Sampras, Indian Wells final, 2001


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Pete Sampras 7-6(5), 7-5, 6-1 in the Indian Wells final, 2001 on hard court

Agassi had recently won the Australian Open and would go onto claim the Sunshine double by triumphing in Miami shortly afterwards

Sampras serve-volleyed on all first serves and all but 2 second serves

Agassi won 110 points, Sampras 90

(Note: I'm missing two points - a Sampras service point in its entirety won by Sampras and a Sampras second serve point won by Sampras. Also, serve direction for an Agassi serve)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (80/106) 75%
- 1st serve points won (57/80) 71%
- 2nd serve points won (18/26) 69%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (25/106) 24%

- 1st serve percentage (47/93) 51%
- 1st serve points won (37/47) 79%
- 2nd serve points won (20/46) 43%
- Aces 14 - including 1 second serve, Service Winners 5
- Double Faults 11
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (34/93) 37%

Serve Pattern
Agassi served...
- to FH 14%
- to BH 86%

Sampras served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 48 (21 FH, 27 BH)
- 6 Winners (5 FH, 1 BH)
- 15 Errors, all forced...
- 15 Forced (8 FH, 7 BH)
- Return Rate (48/82) 59%

Sampras made...
- 79 (6 FH, 72 BH, 1 ??), including 5 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (1 FH, 8 BH), including 2 return-approach attempts
- 12 Forced (3 FH, 9 BH)
- Return Rate (79/104) 76%

Break Points
Agassi 3/10 (5 games)
Sampras 0/4 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Agassi 23 (12 FH, 11 BH)
Sampras 20 (4 FH, 5 BH, 4 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 2 OH)

Agassi's regular FHs - 2 inside-out and 1 inside-in
- FH passes - 1 cc return, 5 dtl (3 returns), 1 inside-in return, 1 at net and 1 lob

- regular BHs - 1 cc and 2 dtl
- BH passes - 4 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-in return and 1 very finely angled running-down-a-drop-volley at net

Sampras had 11 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (2 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 FH @ net)
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 2 OH)

- FHs - 1 cc return, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in

- BHs - 4 dtl and 1 dtl/inside-out

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Agassi 32
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH)
- 24 Forced (9 FH, 14 BH, 1 FHV)

Sampras 51
- 36 Unforced (14 FH, 16 BH, 2 FHV, 4 BHV)
- 15 Forced (4 FH, 5 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 3 BHV, 2 BH1/2V)

(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)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Agassi was 4/5 (80%) at net, with no serve-volleying

Sampras was 40/69 (58%) at net, including 35/60 (58%) serve-volleying - off first serves 19/29 (66%), off second 16/31 (52%) - and 3/6 (50%) return-approaching.

Match Report
A fine match

There's little between the two men in the first set. Sampras serves big - double faulting on average once a game - and follows all his serves to net. He's also keen to chip-charge the return when he can. Oppurtunities for doing so aren't easy to come by as Agassi serves a high first percentage - and also hits blistering passing shots when Sampras can make it to net

On the Agassi serve, the players settle into baseline exchanges. Nothing specifically stands out in these. Agassi isn't unduly targeting the Sampras BH, Sampras isn't being unduly aggressive with the FH or trying to find the net. Agassi is more consistent with his groundies and wears Pete down to win points and games. Sampras does strike 3 clean BH dtl winners.... usually a sign that he's at his very best. Here though, its an anomaly. He's playing relatively poorly from the baseline and yielding errors of every variety at regular intervals while Agassi remains rock solid.

Sampras strikes the most fantastic BH1/2V you'll ever see. Coming in behind the serve, he's greeted with a bullet of a return that reaches his feet as he's still a couple of feet behind the service line. Sampras drop half-volleys it at a sharp cross court angle and the ball drops just a foot or two past the net. Perfection.

In all, Sampras has break 4 break chances across three games (Agassi has none). The most significant of these is also a set point. He goes for a FH inside-out winner. The ball was there for the shot, but he overhits it. Not out of the norm of how he was playing - but a definite chance gone astray.

Pete's first three service points in the tiebreak are double fault, double fault and ace. This is sums up the match in a way - he seems to have decided whatever happens, it should happen as quickly as possible. The key points in the tiebreak is Agassi gaining a mini-break with an excellent BH inside-in return winner. After Sampras levels, he has another go at a FH inside-out winner... and this time, misses even more narrowly, leaving Agassi with set point. Andre has to earn it - and earn it he does with powerful BH dtl pass

Agassi is the stronger player in the second set. On serve, he continues to outmuscle and outlast Sampras from the back off the court. Furthermore, he serves 24/29 first serves (83%) thus discouraging the already conservative Sampras from getting any ideas of launching an attack on return. Agassi wins his last 16 service points in the set. Doesn't make an UE of any sort

On return, its Agassi who has all the chances - and wins the highlight reels points. Sampras goes down 0-40 as Agassi strikes three successive passing winners, but Pete serves his way out of trouble - and even throws in another BH dtl winner for good measure. In total, Agassi has 4 break chances across 2 games (excluding the game he finally breaks in) to Sampras' 0

On the spectacular points show, Agassi runs down a drop volley at full speed and puts away the winner at the finest of angles. Later in the same game, he flawlessly lobs an at net Sampras (Sampras response on the next point following these two points is to serve an ace). Finally, Agassi secures the first break of the match to love. He wins the first point in a nifty net to net battle which he's been dragged into by a Sampras drop volley. The players exchange 3-4 angled shots and volleys at net, ending with Sampras making the error. A double fault and 2 return winners later, the set is done

Sampras comes out a little flat in the third, while Agassi is looking to be more aggressive. Odd attacking UEs slip into his game, but he's still consistent enough that the pressure is all on Pete. Pete's broken first chance with both players having a hand in the matter. Sampras double faults and misses an easy volley, while Agassi swats a 1st serve return winner and forces a half-volley error. Its the same story on the second break. Two double faults and a volleying error from Pete, a 1st serve return winner and forcing a half-volley error from Agassi.... in short, Agassi plays well, Sampras' level drops for the one sided final set

Stats & Playing Dynamics
The action in this match is in line with my memory of the two players round about this time

Sampras retained his powerful serve and volley game, but his return and groundstrokes had deteriorated from his heyday in the mid '90s. He was never as good as Agassi from the backcourt, but could, in short bursts hang in there with him. Occasionally, even get the better of him. And if he could hold serve consistently (which was most of the time), he could go for broke from the baseline in return games

Not in this match. He isn't a patch on Agassi from the back... and just gets worn down over time.

Agassi for his part plays very solidly. Just 8 UEs. He's giving Sampras nothing... the onus is on Pete to make the play. And he isn't up to it. Agassi serves at a high 75% and directs 86% of those serves to the Sampras BH. And Pete has no answers.... just pushes and slices the ball back. In years gone by, he was apt to occasionally step in and take a whack at such balls. Here, his only attacking option is to return-approach off the few second serves he sees and the way Agassi hits passing shots when he has time to set up, this isn't a great long term strategy, even if Pete could have pulled it off

Pete's aggressive use of the second serve also costs him. 11 double faults, many of them at bad times (like the tiebreak or down break point). Altogether though, probably a wise choice. I don't think staying back on second serves would have done him much good, nor coming in off weaker second serves.... so credit to Agassi's returning, passing shots and consistency of the ground for pressuring Pete to go for so much on the second serve.

The area I thought Pete could have done things differently was to look to come in more on his return games. His serving strategy - all out serve-volleying and risky second serves - indicate that he didn't feel upto handling Agassi from the baseline. So why would it play out differently on return games?

Pete makes almost double the UEs off both his FH (14) and BH (16) as Agassi does overall (8). Most of the errors he forces out of Agassi (24, as opposed to making 15 himself) are by being at net. Staying back just wasn't a good option for Sampras in this match.... and perhaps he should have been more proactive in trying to avoid the situation

Summing, solid stuff from Andre Agassi. He returns powerfully against the still destructive Sampras serve game, serves solidly and gives his opponent nothing but pressure from the baseline. And Sampras isn't quite up to handling it