Match Stats/Report - Agassi vs Sampras, Los Angeles final, 2001


Hall of Fame
Andre Agassi beat Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-2 in the Los Angeles final, 2001 on hard court

It was Agassi's third straight win over Sampras, his longest winning run in the rivalry. Sampras would win the remaining 3 matches the pair were to play, starting shortly after in at the US Open

Agassi won 74 points, Sampras 60

Sampras serve-volleyed off all but 3 first serves and most seconds

(Note: I've made educated guesses about serve types for a couple of points and once, serve direction/return info)

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (57/71) 80%
- 1st serve points won (36/57) 63%
- 2nd serve points won (8/14) 57%
- Aces 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/71) 20%

- 1st serve percentage (34/63) 54%
- 1st serve points won (23/34) 68%
- 2nd serve points won (10/29) 34%
- Aces 9, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (19/63) 30%

Serve Patterns
Agassi served...
- to FH 17%
- to BH 80%
- to Body 3%

Sampras served...
- to FH 55%
- to BH 43%
- to Body 2%

Return Stats
Agassi made...
- 37 (19 FH, 18 BH)
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 8 Errors, all forced
- 8 Forced (5 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (37/56) 66%

Sampras made...
- 57 (11 FH, 46 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 5 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (3 FH), including 1 runaround FH
- 11 Errors, comprising...
- 9 Unforced (5 FH, 4 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach attempt
- 2 Forced (2 BH)
- Return Rate (57/71) 80%

Break Points
Agassi 4/7 (4 games)
Sampras 1/7 (3 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Agassi 8 (4 FH, 4 BH)
Sampras 21 (9 FH, 4 BH, 4 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Agassi's regular FH - 1 inside-out
- FH passes - 3 dtl
- BHs (all passes) - 2 cc (1 return) and 2 dtl (1 at net)

Sampras had 6 from serve-volley points, all first 'volleys'
- 6 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 FH at net)

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- FHs - 4 cc (2 returns), 1 dtl, 1 inside-out runaround return, 1 inside-in and 1 net chord dribbler
- BHs - 4 dtl

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Agassi 20
- 11 Unforced (6 FH, 5 BH)
- 9 Forced (7 FH, 2 BH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 45.5

Sampras 45
- 31 Unforced (10 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH)... the OH was on the bounce from no-man's land, a forced back net point
- 14 Forced (4 FH, 4 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV, 3 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 51.3

(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...
- 7/7 (100%) at net, with...
- 2/2 forced back

Sampras was...
- 23/46 (50%) at net, including...
- 18/34 (53%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 11/20 (55%) off 1st serve and..
- 7/14 (50%) off 2nd serve
- 3/5 (60%) return-approaching
- 0/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Tough match, despite comfortable looking scoreline, with Sampras attacking close to wild extent and Agassi counter-punching. Sampras missing too many volleys and double faulting shifts result Agassi's way. Court is on slow side of normal

Match is close enough that it doesn't take too much imagination to see it having gone other way -
- Break points - Agassi 4/7 (4 games), Sampras 1/7 (3 games) are near enough even
- Agassi serving 71 points Sampras' 63 demonstrating tough service holds for Agassi. 6 of Agassi's 9 service games go to deuce at least, while Sampras figure is bolstered by an outlier, 16 point game

Sampras' Serve Games
Standout stats include Sampras winning lowly 34% second serve points, mostly due to double faults. He has 7 (Agassi 0) and despite that high figure, doesn't serve particularly strong second serves (by his standard). Its high bouncing court - Agassi's able to kick serves, including the odd first, upto Sampras head. If Agassi can get serves to Sampras' head, surely the opposite is true. Pete doesn't try - serves flat second serves, just lighter versions of his first serve. Serve-volley vs staying back doesn't make much difference - he's 7/14 on the former and 3/8 on latter

He's not doing well in play even behind the big first serve either. Sans 11 aces/service winners but including return errors, he wins just 12/23 first serve points
All service points sans unreturned serves and double faults, he wins just 15/37 or 40.5%

You might expect this if Agassi returns ferociously, but that doesn't happen. This is one of Agassi's milder returning displays. He returns both serves from about 3 paces behind baseline. Its a good move and one he didn't practice nearly enough in general against big servers. Generally, he preferred staying on baseline, returning more damagingly at cost of lower return rate... against the biggest servers - especially those who volley well like Sampras - it wasn't worth it. Good move here to cut back on looking to damage at benefit of making more returns

And he reaps the potential benefits, though it comes as a bit of surprise. Sampras is poor on the volley, missing routine ones regularly. 8 UEs for 9 winners in forecourt is a terrible ratio. Note also relatively low forced passing errors (Agassi has 9 FEs - and not all of them are passes). He's not good on the difficult low volleys. Doesn't face many - Agassi returning is near regulation stuff - but usually misses. 6 forecourt FEs - that's significantly more than the number he makes. I'd estimate he puts in play at most 3 difficult volleys

From Agassi's point of view, standard returning and above average passing (by a general standard - not is own). 66% return rate giving mostly regulation first volleys isn't a good and would lead to trouble with good volleying. Its Sampras volleying that's off, not Agassi's returning that's on. He does well enough on the pass in play though

In nutshell, double faults and inconsistent volleying plague Sampras. Agassi does the needful - nothing spectacular. Good move from him to return orthodoxly and not overdo the kill-or-die style returning he usually goes in for against Sampras
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Hall of Fame
Agassi's Serve Games
At best average serving from Agassi, probably slightly below that. 80% first serves in is huge and usually comes with server doing very little with the shot. This showing is no exception. Barely a forceful first serve in sight from Agassi and almost everything is medium paced in swing zone. Pace is slow that even slightly outside swing zone - which is about as far wide as he goes - remains unforceful

9/11 Sampras return errors have been marked unforced. With 80% directed to his BH, he knows whats coming but can't hit returns with any authority. When does he get a ball on FH, he blasts it. Just 11 FH returns and 3 are winners, including a runaround. Otherwise, Sampras puts ball in play, often with slice, and then they rally from the back, with the exception of chip-charge returns

Pete looks eager to come in behind the return and chips deep, winning 3/5 points. He only sees 14 second serves and isn't bold enough to try against first serves (which would be difficult, but manageable at high risk). Probably not worth trying - Agassi's passing is too good and Pete's volleying isn't good enough to come in behind desperate, weak balls

Rest is rallies starting from baseline. The general trend in the match up was Agassi hitting BH cc's to breakdown Pete's BH, Pete cautiously looping BHs back (thus minimizing BH UEs), Agassi with option of going dtl to finish point (where he misses a few) and Pete taking on low percentage running FHs against it

Here, play is much livelier, with Sampras out for blood. On high bouncing court, he struggles to get over the ball to hit neutral BHs and misses fair few that way and can't pack any punch when he connects. Not a bad idea to just leave all that behind and go dtl for the winner... which is what he does a very large chunk of the time

All 4 of Pete's BH winners are dtl shots. He misses a lot more than that. Agassi rarely able to run ball down. BH strategy from Pete is to end point quickly - one way or another - not waste energy with passive cc rallies against heavier and more consistent BH of Agassi in high bouncing, slow-ish conditions. Good idea

Pete lashes out with the FH too, hitting some very powerful cc's and attacking longline change-ups. He's a bit slow on the running FH, usually misses and hits them short of point endingly strong when he connects

Agassi counter-punches. Its risky in that he's left play to be determined by how well Pete manages his attacks, especially since his movement isn't good. Defensively, Agassi scampers with full effort but there's plenty of room for improvement and he's caught on the run by slightly wide hit balls

Just 1 baseline-to-baseline winner from Agassi. Sampras has 8. Agassi's UEFI is modest 45.5. Sampras is very high 51.3 - he misses 11 winner attempts to Agassi's 2, and most are groundshots, not volleys

That's an accurate indicator of nature of play - Pete going bananas attacking off both sides, Agassi steadily putting ball in play

Accurate indicator of outcome of play is in the baseline UEs. Ordered from most to least secure -
- Agassi BH 5
- Agassi FH 6
- Pete FH 10
- Pete BH 12

Alternative way for Pete to attack might be to find way to net. He doesn't try. Just bangs down big groundies. Just 7 approaches from rallying. Agassi though does turn to coming in after pushing Pete back or to the side on important points and wins 7/7. He can probably boss Pete if he chooses - he does whenever he's in spot of trouble - but is content to counter-punch and let Pete hang himself blazing away from the back

In nutshell, safe serving from Agassi, steady but neutral returning by Pete followed by baseline rallies where Pete attacks nearly to reckless degree while Agassi hits heavy balls in play neutrally

Not bad thinking from Pete. Would be great thinking if he could lock down his service games

Match Progression
Very tough set with 74 points in it or 7.4 per game. In other words, average game is a deuce game. Sampras breaks to go up 4-2 as he's been threatening to in a game where his attacks come off (2 winners, forcing 1 error) but even then he needs a spot of luck to take him over the line in the form of a net chord dribbling winner

Agassi wins next 4 games and 8 of the next 9 to convert score of 2-4 to 6-4, 4-1. Drastic as that result is, play doesn't change much and games continue to be tough on both players serve

Very poor game from Pete to give up first break to love - opening with double fault and later, missing third ball BH cc winner attempt and then on break point, a high BHV
Sampras has 15-30 the game after, but Agassi overpowers him to hold. And breaks again in a deuce game with 3 double faults - including first and last point of the game. And another deuce game to round off the set, Sampras missing regulation return and routine BH from deuce

After holding to start the second set, Sampras has 3 break points in his first return game. Agassi overpowers or outmanuvers him on all 3 and follows with a break in a 16 point game

Its a good game with 3 aces and several powerful returns. Key points includes Sampras making a complete hash of an OH on the bounce from no-man's land on deuce. Several deuces later, Sampras misses routine BHV to bring go down break point. On it, he doesn't putaway a high FHV and Agassi does well to run it down and slap pass FH dtl for winner

Agassi adds a second break, half through his strong passes and returns, half Sampras double faulting and missing an attacking FH. No more drama for the remaining 3 games which are straightforward holds

Summing up, tough contest but not very good quality of play. Agassi alters his favoured, on-the-baseline return position to further back and is able to get more returns in play than he usually would but with less heat. It pays off because Sampras makes a hash of regulation volleys - and Agassi can still find the occasional low, powerful return that Sampras can't handle

On the baseline front, Pete looks to attack relentlessly and it comes out more sloppy than vigorous. Agassi leaves him to it, though he seems capable of outplaying him when needed. A contained showing from Agassi a loose one from Sampras

Stats for pair's Indian Wells final -