Match Stats/Report - Aguilera vs Becker, Hamburg final 1990


Hall of Fame
Juan Aguilera beat Boris Becker 6-1, 6-0, 7-6(7) in the Hamburg final 1990 on clay

It was Aguilera's second title in Hamburg and the only final Becker played there

Aguilera won 106 points, Becker 77

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (51/88) 58%
- 1st serve points won (35/51) 69%
- 2nd serve points won (21/37) 57%
- Aces 3
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (17/88) 19%

- 1st serve percentage (58/95) 61%
- 1st serve points won (30/58) 52%
- 2nd serve points won (15/37) 41%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/95) 17%

Serve Patterns
Aguilera served...
- to FH 26%
- to BH 74%

Becker served...
- to FH 35%
- to BH 49%
- to Body 15%

Return Stats
Aguilera made...
- 77 (32 FH, 45 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 2 Winners (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 15 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (2 BH)
- 13 Forced (7 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (77/93) 83%

Becker made...
- 69 (28 FH, 41 BH), including 11 runaround FH and 3 return-approaches
- 1 Winner (1 FH), a runaround FH
- 14 Errors, comprising...
- 8 Unforced (6 FH, 2 BH), including 5 runaround FH attempts
- 6 Forced (4 FH, 2 BH)
- Return Rate (69/86) 80%

Break Points
Aguilera 8/18 (9 games)
Becker 3/7 (5 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Aguilera 29 (12 FH, 13 BH, 1 FHV, 3 OH)
Becker 20 (4 FH, 4 BH, 1 FHV, 9 BHV, 2 OH)

Aguilera had 19 passes (10 FH, 9 BH)
- FHs - 5 cc, 3 dtl (1 return), 1 net-to-net and 1 lob
- BHs - 7 dtl (1 at net), 1 inside-out return and 1 lob

- regular FHs - 1 cc and 1 dtl
- regular BHs - 1 dtl/inside-out, 1 at net and 2 drop shots

- the FHV was net-to-net

Becker's FHs - 1 cc, 1 inside-out runaround return, 1 inside-in and 1 at net
- BHs - 1 cc pass, 2 dtl and 1 drop shot running-down-drop-shot

- 1 from serve-volley points, a re-approach BHV
- 1 from return-approach points (1 OH)

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Aguilera 39
- 13 Unforced (4 FH, 8 BH, 1 OH)
- 26 Forced (10 FH, 14 BH, 2 BHV)… with 2 FH at net (1 pass attempt) & 1 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.7

Becker 58
- 42 Unforced (18 FH, 18 BH, 3 FHV, 3 BHV)
- 16 Forced (5 FH, 6 BH, 5 BHV)… with 2 BH at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.7

(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
Aguilera was 11/18 (61%) at net

Becker was...
- 37/71 (52%) at net, including...
- 8/15 (53%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 2/3 (67%) return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back
Match Report
An thrashing, particularly the first two sets. From 1-1 in the first set, Aguilera wins the next 11 games to go up 2 sets to love and his play is well nigh flawless in this part of the match. The third set is hard fought though

Who is Juan Aguilera? According to ATP site, his career high ranking was 7 achieved in 1984. His win-loss record is below 50% on all surfaces bar clay. All 5 of his career titles were achieved on clay. And this (1990) was his last year on the tour. He seems to have been an out and out clay court specialist but best result at the French Open is a solitary 4th round (Becker reached the semis 3 times and at least the 4th round 5 times)

His style is easy on the eyes. On the BH, he almost always slices - both regularly and drive-slicing - and never seems to miss. He brings out the BH drive occasionally when going dtl for a forceful play, or passing. On the FH, he hits with a lovely swinging arc and loopily. Also a very steady shot. His speed of foot isn't tested much in this match, but he's clearly very comfortable moving on the surface

A word on the surface. Its low bouncing for a clay court with a lot of balls staying at about waist high. This impression is accentuated by all the slices hit by both players, many of which stay thigh height. Ball does bounce up chest high or so when the players loop the ball more, particularly Aguilera

For two sets, Aguilera barely misses a ball. There are long rallies - mostly BH-BH ones - and he just gets the ball back every time. Becker tends to blink first in these situations. Becker takes the net as an offensive ploy but is usually passed - and Aguilera's style makes it look effortless.

Aguilera hits back to back passing winners in game 2 - the only one Becker wins in the first two sets - a BH lob and a BH dtl. On his next return game, he adds 3 more - a FH cc from mid-court, a FH played with both men at net and a BH dtl. And next return game, its 4 winners (broken up by a Becker FHV winner) - BH dtl pass, FH cc pass, a superbly disguised BH drop shot and another FH cc pass

Second return game of the second set is even better. The Spaniard opens with 3 passing winners - a FH cc from mid-court, a BH dtl and a return FH dtl. Becker saves the first break point with an unreturned serves, and exclaims, "he's missing the ball". Unfortunately for Boris, "he" doesn't miss 2 further winners in the game.

And the next return game is even better still! A BH lob forces Becker to make an awkward BHOH, which gives Juan time to line up his next pass - and just for fun, he goes FH lob for the winner (pass looked an easier option). Becker serve-volleys, only to be passed by a perfectly placed, lightly touched BH inside-out return. And just to show its not all about passing.... Aguilera finishes the game with a BH dtl, slightly inside-out winner from the baseline to end one of the countless BH-BH rallies the players were having

In between all this, Aguilera is holding serve by outlasting Boris in who-blinks-first rallies (mostly BH-BH ones, most of them slicey affairs). And so it continues

Becker's strategy, play and statistics
Note just the 1 ace from Boris. This is because he wasn't trying for aces. He does at the start of the match and just misses a number of first serves aimed at the line (particularly out wide). After the first couple of games, he chooses to serve mostly down the middle. Note the high 13% of body serves, and most serves are body-ish serves, just a bit over to one side or the other. This fits with a pattern I've noticed about Becker.... he has his going-for-aces mode and his serving-close-to-the-body mode and doesn't mix them much

The baseline rallies are in line with my memory of Becker as a power hitter but not a point constructionist from the back court. Disinclined to serve-volley much, he settles into baseline rallies, but its all one dimensional, cc stuff. 'Who-blinks-first-tennis', who'll yield the unforced error.... and though rallies go on for awhile, its pretty obvious who the more consistent player is

An alternative strategy for Boris, if he was unwilling to come to net, was to look to move Aguilera around, but he doesn't do this. Probably because he can't - he's a 1-2 or just a 1 puncher, not a combination player

I'd question the strategy of playing BH-BH so much as well. Both players are fairly passive in these exchanges, but on the FH, Becker is more attacking, hits more powerfully and deeper. Not enough to overpower Juan, but trying out FH-FH looked a better ploy than BH-BH. Sometimes Becker goes FH inside-out to the Aguilera BH, but the Spaniard copes easily enough. I don't think Becker had the FH inside-in shot... seeing how the inside-outs and BH cc's were going and that things were much better for him on the other side, it would be an obvious way to change playing dynamics that were against him

Not that going to Aguilera's FH is any guarantee of success.... the Spaniard has 0 UEs of the wing after 2 sets and ends with a miserly 3 (Becker has 18), but it was probably a better option than BH-BH patience games

Both Becker's footspeed and footwork are less than good. The footwork plays a role in his not being able to get around BH's smoothly and he's slow in movement both sidewise and forward. Some of the FEs I've given him (23 in total) are mild ones. Is lightly on the move when making the shot.... a good clay courter should get these balls back. Juan does, and does so smoothly one could be forgiven for not noticing he's doing it

Becker's also not at his best on the volley. Again, his movement to the net isn't quick and this causes part of the problem. He only misses one genuinely easy volley and the other 5 UEs I've given him aren't 'easy' by UE standards. This fits with my both my memory and recent looks at Boris' game.... he has good days and not so good days on the volley. Somedays he looks like can't miss and others, he's missing a lot of makeable ones (without ever going into the doldrums of routinely missing easy ones)

Summing up, a sublime performance from the little known Aguilera - as good as anything you'll see from many a better known player. Consistency itself off the ground (and with pretty shots too) and excellent on the pass. Faulty strategy a part of Becker's woes and just not consistent enough from the back to match his opponent in the way he tried to
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It's a bit of a curious statistic that Becker never won a clay court tournament. One would have expected at least one. He came close a few times, though.